The ladies of the Charleston Wine + Food Festival find themselves in Music City for more feasting as they make their way across the South on an eating and drinking tour.
We left Atlanta and drove for hours through the mountains in the pouring rain and finally made it to stop number two: Nashville. We looked like a bunch of hillbillies when we pulled up to the five-star Hermitage Hotel with our car packed to the gills with ten days worth of luggage.
The Hermitage is where Sean Brock got his start, and is now the home base for Chef Tyler Brown, who is the executive chef of the Capitol Grille. We'll be eating there on our last night, but our first stop was Tandy Wilson's City House. Wilson, who cooked with Robert Stehling during the 2011 W+F Festival, is one cool cat.
His restaurant is reflective of his laid-back style. From the outside, the restaurant looks like it could be his home, as guests enjoy themselves on a screened porch surrounded by low lying trees. Inside, he gutted the space and left the kitchen open.
On Sunday, he offers a menu of earthy and comforting fare, with lots of small plates and pizzas. We loved this place and hope to get Tandy to come back to the festival.
Some of our favorite eats:
Angel's Picks: With a name like dirty rice balls, how could I resist? They were nice and crunchy, yet soft and had a great dirty taste. I also really loved the beer-braised ribs that fell off the bone and served atop some of the best cole slaw I've ever had. The slaw had a pickled flavor and was made with some really tasty cabbage. For dessert, the peanut butter mascarpone pizzelle with chocolate peanuts and chocolate gelato was delicious. Looking at our plates after dinner, we agreed that everything would have been awesome to take back to the hotel for a late-night reprisal.
Randi's Picks: I have to go with the summer sausage with the pickled Brussels sprouts and wheat thins. The sausage was thickly sliced and had amazing flavor. The braised ribs with slaw was fall-off-the-bone goodness. A last-minute order of Aaron's wings were delicious with a mayo and vinegar-based white sauce. The final favorite was the pork meatballs, tomato ragu, grana padano, and garlic toast was perfect.
Sara's Picks: The summer sausage with pickled sprouts was great. I haven't had Brussels sprouts prepared like that before, and I loved them. I also loved the dirty rice balls. The Italian influence on the menu was definitely a plus for me, but then they surprised you with beer-braised ribs that fell of the bone — like butter. Another plus (for me) was the heavy-on-the-Italian wine list. I enjoyed a nice red from Bascilicata.
After some good ol' honky tonk, we hit the sack to rest up for another full day of fun in Nashville. More to come on what we see, do, and taste soon.