Nashville Noshing

About a month ago, my wife and I visited our daughter in Nashville, TN for a week. We had a great time. We got to be in the booth when she was interviewed on Lightning 100 and got VIP seats for her show at The Basement East. Since we had never been to Nashville, she really wanted to show us some of the traditional sights (like the Country Music Hall of Fame), but also some lesser known places that where big down there.

She took us to a lot of local shops selling all sorts of things. The one that caught my attention was called Chocolate F/X. It’s a local chocolate shop that specializes in mixing hand made chocolate with Hollywood special effects. The results are amazing. Here’s a werewolf they had on display.

Chocolate F/X - Werewolf

It’s difficult to get an idea of scale from the picture. It was probably about 10 inches across the shoulders and stood almost as high. I don’t think it was for sale though. They did have some smaller pieces that were available. I opted for one of my favorite horror characters, Freddy Kruger.

Chocolate F/X - Freddy Kruger

The week was topped off by a visit to one of Nashville’s best restaurants – Kayne Prime. I knew it was supposed to be high end, but I really got a better sense of what that meant when we pulled up and a McLaren was parked out front.

Kayne Prime - McLaren

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the McLaren, it’s easily $250K and was such a sweet ride that I couldn’t help but get a picture of it even though I’m kind of partial to Lamborghini. Then again, I’ll never be able to afford either of them.

When we went inside, they had a team of waiters and assistants that served you. Oddly, the assistant waiter turned out to be from a town neighboring our home. He joked that we could talk about anything but football – our High School always beat theirs. They had some really nice steaks on the menu. My wife went with the Prime Rib, and I decided on the Flat Iron steak. We got a bunch of appetizers/sides for the table including risotto tater tots and a delicious macaroni gratinee. There were others, but they didn’t interest me.

Kayne Prime - Dinner Kayne Prime - Meal

The meal was awesome. The only steak I have had that was better was at Murray’s Steakhouse in Minneapolis. If you are ever in Nashville, and want a nice upscale dinner, I highly recommend going to Kayne Prime.

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Superbowl Snacks and Steaks

Since the light went out during the third quarter, I’m taking the time to post a little but about the snacks and steaks we had during the game.

Superbowl - Chocolate Ecstasy

Last night my wife, Linda, made her famous Chocolate Ecstasy. It’s a pretty simple dessert to make and it goes fast. All you need is some chocolate pudding, Cool Whip, brownies, and Crunch bars. Start at the bottom of the dessert dish and line it with brownies. Then add a layer of pudding, a layer of Cool Whip and top it off with broken up pieces of Crunch bar. Then do it all over again for as many layers as you want. It is probably my favorite dessert that my wife makes. Scratch that – it IS my favorite dessert she makes.

Superbowl - Chocolate Ecstasy PlatedAn hour before the game started we prepped some homemade mozzarella sticks. We’ve done them before and  it’s always hard to get them to come out right. This time I did pretty well. Slice up the mozzarella into sticks and dip it in egg then in bread crumbs. Set them on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then heat some cooking oil. I cook just one at a time so they don’t get away from me. I dip them briefly until they get golden brown and then pull them out. This is where we usually have problems. It’s hard to cook them all the way through without running into problems. This time I decided not to worry about that. I just made sure the outside looked good.

Superbowl - Homemade Mozzarella SticksWhen they were all done, I put them in the oven at 400 for a few minutes to let them melt a bit more on the inside. I think this is how I am going to do them from now on because they came out better than they ever have this way.

Superbowl - Mozzarella SticksA little before the game I fired up the grill and cooked up a nice rib-eye for Linda and a New York Strip for myself.

Superbowl SteaksI made up plantains for Linda and some fries for both of us to go along with the steaks. It was a great meal, but I made sure to leave room for dessert.

Superbowl Strip Steak

Neither of us really had much serious interest in the game since our teams didn’t make it in. Since the Ravens beat the Patriots (who I wanted to see in the game) I figure they deserve to win the Superbowl. So far things are going their way.

Anyway, the lights are back on and so is the game, so I’m headed back to the couch to see more of it and those hilarious commercials. The M&Ms “I Would Do Anything For Love” commercial is my favorite this year.

Almost Forgot About Pie

With all that’s been going on lately, I almost forgot to go into more detail about the various pies that we had on Thanksgiving. My wife made two pies from scratch – an apple crumble and a pecan pie. My daughter brought over a no-bake chocolate pumpkin pie.

No-bake Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

The chocolate pumpkin pie was totally new to me. I’d never even heard of such a thing. I was also quite surprised that it was not baked like most pies. Then again, a normal chocolate pie isn’t baked so I guess it may make some sense after all. Mixing chocolate and pumpkin seemed like a strange idea. I’ve tried chocolate covered fruit before and didn’t care for it. I’m a chocoholic, so I’m very picky about my chocolate. Don’t go tainting it with fruit or vegetables. It looked a bit like a normal chocolate pie, but it definitely didn’t taste like one. It used the darker, less sweet chocolate and had a strange aftertaste that I just didn’t like.

Homemade Pecan Pie

The pecan pie was one my wife really thought I’d like. It is supposed to be very sweet and since I have a sweet tooth, I had high hopes for this one. She said the pecans kind of dissolve into a sweet gooey filling. The middle of the pie certainly did, but the top still has distinct pecans. I’m not really into nuts, except peanuts which aren’t really a nut anyway. They are legumes. When I tried some of the pie, it had a very sweet taste, but also a very nutty aftertaste which ruined it for me.

The final pie we had for Thanksgiving was an apple pie. Linda made it from scratch and used a lot of cinnamon, which I love. I failed to take a picture of it, but it looked pretty good. The crumble topping was really tasty too. The middle of the pie was OK. I’m not really into apples, but with the cinnamon it was something I could probably learn to like. Of the 3 pies, this was definitely the best. If she makes another one for Christmas I’ll probably give it another try.

S’Mores Indoors

I’m a little behind on this post. We had a pool party at the house this past weekend with a few friends. Between my trip to California and the party, I was pretty wiped out by Monday.

Anyway,we had typical summer grilling food at the party. I had burgers, hot dogs, southwestern chicken, and peppers and onions on the grill. They all went over pretty well, but we had some leftovers. Actually we had a lot of leftovers now that I think of it. Although that’s because we had some no-shows too.

There was one thing, however, that went fast – S’Mores, and we never had to start a fire. When we were shopping for the party at BJ’s we stumbled upon S’Mores Indoors. It’s like a pizza with a graham cracker crust, chocolate for sauce, and marshmallows for cheese. Just 10 Minutes in the oven at 400 degrees and you have a yummy treat. Fortunately there were 2 in the box. I didn’t get any of the first one, so when the second one came out I set aside a slice for myself before bringing it out to the crowd.

Did I mention that most of the people at the party were all fitness buffs? Many of them were from the Gold’s Gym that my wife works at and works out in. They devoured both pies in no time despite knowing they probably should have avoided it altogether. That’s how good it was. I’m sure they all spent a little extra time at the gym the next day or two to burn it off.

College Experimentation

Back in college I experimented with some of the foods I like to see if I could come up with something new that I liked. I have a major sweet tooth so Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup was a part of those experiments. Along with discovering the Resses’s Peanut Butter Dog, I stumbled upon the Chocolate Fluffer-nutter. I would spread peanut butter on one slice, and Fluff on the other. Then I would pour a small amount of chocolate syrup and spread it over the Fluff side.

I’d love to hear about any strange but tasty food you’ve tried and what you think of my Chocolate Fluffer-nutter.

A Strange Concoction

As a fussy eater, it’s sometimes a little tiring eating basically the same things over and over. To deal with that, when I was younger I would sometimes try mixing things I did like together in new and unusual ways. Most of the time, the result wasn’t nearly as good as I’d hoped.

I did come up with one that was surprisingly good. I took a hotdog roll and spread peanut butter on it. Then I added a hotdog. If that isn’t strange enough for you, I then poured Hershey’s chocolate syrup over the hotdog. I affectionately referred to this as the Reese’s Peanut Butter Dog.  Unfortunately, they’re not really good for you so I’ve pretty much taken these out of my diet.

I’ve only managed to convince one friend to try one and he thought it was interesting. If any of you are daring enough to try it, let me know what you think of it.

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