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.


Ran Like a Mother, Ate Like a Dad

On Mother’s Day, my wife, youngest daughter, and I all participated in a charity 5K run called “Run Like a Mother”. It was the first 5K for all of us. My wife wanted to do it both for the charity Kelly’s Angels (which supports children who have lost their mothers), and also as part of her health and fitness journey. I did it for the charity (my mom died when my sister was only 7) and to support my wife.

The day started pretty early for a weekend. We had to be there at 7:30 in the morning and it takes a half hour to get there. I hadn’t preregistered, so I did so when we arrived. Then we each got our number. I was 602. I’m sure there were more people that registered after me.

The run started at 9:00 and we were a good ways towards the back of the crowd. My wife and I weren’t planning on running fast so we didn’t want to get in the way of others. Since we were so far back, it started as more of a walk until things opened up a little. Kate took off running at this point while I stayed with Linda. Shortly afterwards, Linda started jogging. We jogged a bit then walked a bit throughout the entire hilly course. Generally we walked uphill and jogged down. Around 51 minutes later we arrived at the finish line with Kate cheering us on. Apparently the numbers we wore were tagged in some way. Shortly after we finished, they posted the standings. Kate came in 218th. I was 444 and Linda was 445. According to the web page with the stats, there were 566 runners so we beat over 100 people. Not bad for our first 5K.

When we got back into town, we stopped in for breakfast at a local cafe. The coffee wasn’t great, but my Challah French Toast pretty good. After breakfast we went home and chilled out most of the day. Later on, I went to the store to pick up some steaks. Earlier in the week, I had seen a new seasoning I want to try at BJ’s Wholesale Club, but I didn’t want to spend $7 on a huge container of it. Well, as luck would have it Hannaford had a small packet.

Brown Sugar Bourbon MarinadeI don’t drink bourbon, but I do like brown sugar so I wanted to give it a try. I seasoned Linda’s steak with the usual garlic powder, onion powder, and Nature’s Seasons, but I used the new marinade on mine. As it cooked, it appeared that some of the marinade may have come off. The steak looked great, but I didn’t think the flavor was very strong. It was good, so I am definitely going to use the rest of the packet on my next steak.

Brown Sugar Bourbon SteakOverall, we had a great Mother’s Day. We ran our first 5K and had some great steaks.  I ran like a mother and ate like a dad. Who could ask for more?

TGI Fridays Gift Card

Over the holidays, my brother gave us a gift card to TGI Fridays. My wife and I don’t tend to eat out often. Usually we do carryout instead and eat in the comfort of our own home. Last weekend we decided to treat ourselves to a nice late lunch. We figured dinner would be more crowded – especially on the weekend.

We started with the potato skins and mozzarella sticks. These are two of our favorite appetizers at TGI Fridays – anywhere really. We didn’t finish all of them on purpose. They are pretty filling and we wanted room for our meals. We did, however, get them boxed up to take home with us for later.

Linda ordered the Hibachi Steak Skewers. They are made with Black Angus steak. It’s marinated in a black pepper soy sauce with some garlic and basted with a miso glaze. It’s all served over a jasmine rice pilaf. She ordered broccoli as her side dish. I’m not sure why, but the skewers come with some grilled pita bread too. She gave me a taste of some of the steak from the skewers and it was pretty good. I couldn’t even tell it had garlic in the marinade.

TGI Fridays Hibachi Steak SkewersI ordered the Black Angus Flat Iron Steak. It’s topped with a maison butter which I didn’t care for much, but it didn’t detract from the steak much. The steak was very flavorful and incredibly tender. It’s also very lean. I don’t leave anything behind like I usually do. That’s why I always try to find a TGI Fridays when I travel for business. I’ve even found a few airports that have one. Anyway, I selected broccoli and sweet potato fries as my two sides. The broccoli was OK, but I prefer the florets. They also weren’t seasoned very well or possibly at all. There’s something that strange to hear coming from me. The sweet potato fries were really good. I think they were baked because they weren’t oily. They didn’t have the kick that my sweet potato fries do, but I really liked them.

TGI Fridays Black Angus Flat Iron SteakIt was a very enjoyable meal out. Later that night, we heated up the leftover potato skins and mozzarella sticks. Overall, I’d have to say that TGI Fridays is probably one of my favorite restaurants. If it was a little closer we might be more inclined to eat there more often. It makes a really nice treat though.



Pit Bull Transport

Our trip back from New Jersey was an interesting one. We sometimes work with an organization called Out Of The Pits that rescues Pit Bulls and places them into good homes. Before we left for New Jersey, we heard of three adorable 12 week old puppies that were coming up from the south. They needed someone to pick them up in Newburgh and bring them to Coxsackie. We were going to be driving right by both on our way home so we let them know we were interested. We got a call telling us that pick up time would be around 2 PM in Newburgh. We decided to head out early and we arrived in Newburgh around 11:00. That gave us some time to relax and prepare.

When we first arrived in Newburgh we went to Barnes & Noble to look for a few books my wife wanted and to get online for a little bit. Then we made our way over to Petsmart because we realized we had forgotten to pack leashes. It’s a good thing we didn’t bring them or we never would have gone to Petsmart. We told a few of the employees what we were doing and they brought us to look at seat belt harnesses. In the same isle, we spotted a back seat hammock that protects the seats and prevents pets from easily climbing up front. I’m glad we got it – but more on that later. On to the food.

We decided to grab lunch at Longhorn Steakhouse since we had plenty of time to enjoy a good meal before we picked up the puppies. We ordered what turned out to be a huge order of cheese fries as an appetizer. Between the two of us, we didn’t finish it. We both ordered the Flat Iron Steak. I got mine with broccoli and rice pilaf.

The steak was delicious. I get mine done medium-well. I like the Flat Iron steak because it’s a little more lean a cut than the NY strip steak. I generally will eat the whole thing rather than leaving a lot of pieces of fat behind. The rice pilaf was a little spicy, but I’ve been getting used to spicier foods lately so that was OK. I have no idea what the little red-orange flakes are in it though – and I’m not sure I want to know either.  The broccoli was a bit bigger than I prefer. I like the baby broccoli florets. I ended up cutting up the broccoli into smaller pieces so I could scoop it up with some rice.

So after we ate, we went to meet the people transporting the puppies to Newburgh. We were surprised to find that they had a total of 7 dogs in the van. It turns out we were meeting in Newburgh because that was the exit they needed to take to catch Rt 84 headed towards Connecticut and Rhode Island where the rest of the dogs were going. The puppies had scars on their backs that we were told probably were from a cheap flea medicine.

We took the puppies on the leashes and let them play in the grass a little bit before we loaded them in the back seat. I was hoping they would wear themselves out a little and also go to the bathroom. As I mentioned earlier, I’m so glad we stopped at Petsmart for the water repellent car hammock. Just a few minutes into the drive somebody got a little excited back there. After about half the trip, they settled down.

The people picking them up in Coxackie were just a few minutes behind us. They told us a little about the puppies and showed us pictures of what they looked like when they first were taken in by Out Of The Pits. They also told us that only one was currently spoken for and that the other male was available. We have an older female Pit Bull (Mugsy), who doesn’t always get along with other dogs. They said that a male puppy probably wouldn’t be considered a threat and might work. We are considering the possibility of taking one in, but we need to think about it more.

My Bovine Autopsy

This is what’s left after I finish my steak. I don’t like fat. It tastes bad and feels weird. So I routinely trim it off my steak, pork chops, or any other meat with fat. In fact, I cut a little extra off just to make sure there is no noticeable traces of fat. My wife often comments that it looks more like an autopsy than a meal. This  was a pretty lean cut so there isn’t as much left over as there sometimes is. With a bigger, less lean cut there is often enough left on my plate to feed another person. It’s one thing to do this in the comfort of my own home, but when we eat out I often wonder what the wait staff thinks when they clear our table.

Eating Out Sucks

As a fussy eater, the world outside my own kitchen can be a scary place. At home, I can make sure food is prepared with ingredients I like. You won’t find any onions on my burgers. However, when I eat out, I find myself at the mercy of the chef and wait staff. When I get a cheeseburger from Outback Steakhouse, I have to make sure I ask for “just burger, cheese, and bun”.

Even my choice of restaurant is affected by my fussy eating. I tend to stick with American fare where I can usually get a steak, burger, chicken tenders, or pizza. At an Italian restaurant, I’ll get the Chicken Parmesan, but I scrape off most of the sauce. Mexican and Indian food are out of the question. I’ve found one or two things I’ll eat at a Japanese steakhouse.

Eating out with family is always interesting since family members often consider “What will Bob eat?” when picking a restaurant. I feel like I am limiting their choices. When ordering food at most restaurants I just know the wait staff and chefs get irritated at my special orders.

This is part of the reason I want to break my fussy ways. I’d like to be able to eat out like a normal person. I’d like to order straight from the menu with fewer (or no) substitutions or special orders.

I’m not quite ready to try out new few out and about, but if you make suggestions for me to try at home, I’m willing to work at it.

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