Tag Archives: wine

A Nashville Birthday Part 2

Day two of my birthday celebration begins with coffee in bed courtesy of my most wonderful husband Gordon, while Susan and Michael, recently retired, got up at 6AM and waited.  Don’t blame me – they had the schedule beforehand and could have done any number of things.  We scedattled (first time I’ve written this word instead of just speaking it – I don’t believe it really exists)  (wait!  There’s google!  Yes it DOES exist!)  Did anyone see the Google monopoly expose on 60 Minutes last week?  But I digress…  🙂 OK, let’s try this again…

We scedattled off to The Loveless Café, our longest drive the WHOLE trip – of 30 minutes, to this most wonderful old-timey motel that had been turned into a smokehouse, a gift shop, and a restaurant.  Their numerous awards do not lie.  Everybody gets a picture underneath their 1950’s neon sign, lit up day and night.  We chose the cutouts (above).  Everyone was so thrilled with their food – G had catfish for breakfast which we agreed was the best catfish we’ve ever had…I even liked their tartar sauce which was NOT Frisch’s 🙂  … or mine… and I had possibly the best grits I’ve ever had (and my brother agreed).  This is a tough one because I make the best grits I’ve ever had, and many others say the same thing about MINE.  These were plain, not like mine, but their texture was heavenly.  I’ve never had someone else’s grits that did not need butter.  The Loveless is famous for their biscuits, and here I have to depart from the common folk.  Sue me, whip me, call me bad names, but Bojangles “chain” biscuits have them (and everybody else) beat in my book when it comes to biscuits.  Their country ham was to die for.  They age it on premise.  Susan had a pimiento cheese and country ham biscuit which she loved – I tasted it and did not think the pimiento cheese came close to Wallace Station – but that really is a matter of taste.  It’s the “experience” here…do not miss.  Oh!  And the best sweet tea I ever drank!  (Sorry daddy).

After unabashedly sticking our butts out, crouching down into the cutout, and begging some stranger to take our pic, we headed off to Belle Meade – a horse breeding plantation, where to this day most Triple Crown winners owe their bloodline to Bonnie Scotland.  I’ve never sought out plantations north or west of Virginia, but this is one not to be missed.  It contains a Dairy, Train Station, Mill and Blacksmith Shop, Greenhouse, Slave Quarters, and the Horse Sale Barn as well as the “big house” – and the requisite gift shop and ice cream parlor.

They very interestingly had the front parlor set up to show how a wake would be celebrated – to denote all of the premature deaths occurring at that time (cholera, measles, TB, etc) that are completely preventable today.  It is an open wicker bench to lay the body on, with space underneath for a block of ice to hold decay at bay while getting people to the event.  The body is held there for numerous days to insure the person is in fact really dead.  Sometimes they’re just really ill and climb out of it (literally) – this is why it’s called a WAKE!!!  Best piece of information I got all day!!!  Just the sort of gruesomeness that turns me on.

Last but not least, Belle Meade has a winery…we tasted 6 wines and I asked for more so got tastes of two sparklings as well (my favorite, as well as the Vidal Blanc which seems to grow very well in this region and the hands that make the wine are QUITE comfortable with the grape.

This wasn’t enough for us so we headed home to clean up and change for an early dinner at 5th and Taylor – our most hoity toity dinner of the trip.  Really cool digs “warehouse style”, a GREAT glass of Pinot Noir, great service and wonderful food made me pleased with this reservation.  I had two appetizers: Duck Pate and accoutrement, as well as a Tomato Pie.  I didn’t know it would be the size of an individual pan pizza (think Uno’s) – so I had one piece and brought the rest “home” (another great reason to Air B&B!)  Susan had THE BEST Roasted Chicken I’ve ever had EXCEPT Gordon’s.  My brother had a burger that was so damned big he liked his other burger the next night better because it was more “well proportioned”!!

THEN…we Lyfted to The Ryman Auditorium for Larry Gatlin and Friends…who turned out to be Crystal Gayle that night.  She hasn’t lost it.  I’m not very happy with Larry – he did not respond to my request to play “I’ve Done Enough Dyin’” – a song I’ve been in love with since I was 11 years old when it came out.  I highly recommend you U Tube or whatever this song from his early years.  It makes me cry every time I hear it.  The Ryman is a bucket list item I have now crossed off.  Amazing space.  Hallowed ground.  They search everything and both my brother and husband had knives on them – they were REQUIRED to throw them AWAY.  My brother had the presence of mind to hide his on top of a column, Gordon showed his badge and asked that they keep it for him, they said NO.  Not a happy man.  They were a security company vs. Nashville Police so the badge may have done more harm than good??   Regardless…NOT a happy man.  We then made it home, and COLLAPSED.  This might be my favorite day of my birthday trip.

Make your own Herbed Vinegar!

app Baba Lula Ganoush

Wanna be fancy?  Wanna “look” fancy at your next get together?  Pick your vinegar:  Apple Cider, White, Wine, or Rice …let’s stop there and keep it simple.  Add 3 tablespoons fresh herb or mixture of herbs of your choice (mix a couple and make it a “house” vinegar”) for every quart of vinegar.

Don’t use ground herbs or spices because the vinegar will get cloudy.  Store it at room temperature, with a lid on, making sure your herbs are covered in the vinegar.  It will be ready in 24 hours, and after you use some, you can top it off again with the same original vinegar.  Just make sure your herbs stay covered.  If you’d like, you can remove the herbs after a couple of days.  Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering uses our Tarragon Vinegar to make pickles that we put in several recipes ( see pic of our Baba Lula Ganoush garnished with them!)

Vinegar is a preservative, but it does have its limits.  The word itself is derived from the French “vin aigre” meaning  “sour wine”.  Don’t use more than around 3 tablespoons of your herb mix per quart because too much foreign “matter” can result in food poisoning.  Happy Creating!

Happy New Year 2015!

Flash and his Bread Xmas 2014

Happy New Year Everyone! I’m back from yet another trip to “the homeland” with some fresh ideas for 2015. Much food and wine was enjoyed this season, including the Muscadine Grape from my brother’s farm, Cane Creek, served in many different ways, and my husband Gordon’s “Flash Bread” – seen to the right. We were cutting and serving it from my sister-in-law’s kitchen in the foothills of Asheville, NC. Look for the Muscadine Grape on new 2015 Lula’s Menus. There’ll be Roasted Chicken Risotto Simmered in a Muscadine Reduction, among other things!

I don’t want to talk about food at the beginning of this amazing new year, though. I want to talk about my amazing husband Gordon, and his role in my life, and yours. You see, he’s a First Responder. I’ve been quiet and taken in all that has happened in the past few months nationwide, and I’ve listened, and I’ve felt the repercussions of our sad, but hopeful I dare to say, state of affairs. What prompted me to focus on this is the fact that I was asked not to wear my favorite “hoodie” on our trip down south.  Gordon gave it to me – it says “Property of Covington PD” on the back of it. You see, police officers are now very cautious of quite a few things. They think twice about bringing their cruiser home and parking it in the driveway. They are wary of the clothing they wear. They are afraid for their families, because of attempted kidnappings and harassment. I can no longer wear my favorite piece of casual clothing because I might get attacked in a parking lot. There have been more than 16 police deaths since the Grand Jury Decision in Ferguson, but you’re probably not aware of this because reporting harm to a first responder or his or her family isn’t “sexy”. Only reporting misconduct and corruption within the ranks is considered bankable. Do we have bad cops? Sure. They are human like the rest of us – including the bad politicians, bad salesmen, bad financiers, and bad musicians (not to mention bad cooks). But for the most part we have a society depending on the good instincts, intentions, talent, and training of our police forces. While we as a society slowly erode their benefits, salaries, pensions, etc., we expect them to shoulder an increasing amount of responsibility as cutbacks at the federal, state and local level are removing personnel virtually essential to the safety of your first responders, and my husband.

I want you to know a little bit about my husband the man. He’s a well educated, very intelligent, thoughtful, serious, funny, and well read person. He runs marathons for charity. He enjoys ridiculously bad action and fantasy movies and can watch them over and over again. He is an excellent gift wrapper. He’s a fabulous bread baker. He hates yard work. He has a remarkable palate and uses it to bring me home wine I love. He is a first responder whose mission is to protect and serve, but like all of his friends and compatriots across the country, his FIRST job is to come home alive.

Coming home alive is not an easy proposition when you’re working against drug cartels, herion and crystal meth addicts (too many addictions to name them all), stopping armed robberies, and getting shot at, all of which Gordon has endured, not to mention broken bones while on the job. These do not make up the bulk of his days though. The very unglamorous duties of finding lost dogs and returning them home, negotiating domestic disputes, and making sure children are safe both within their homes and without, are his daily bread. Being intimate with his community, including getting to know both the good and the bad, and attending various township meetings is his charge. These things make the Thin Blue Line a little stronger for you.

People tend to forget that police officers don’t make the laws; they are bound to enforce them. They do not have the luxury of the spirit of the law; they must adhere to the letter of the law. My husband’s split second decisions determine whether I get to see him at the end of each day, or whether I will never see him again. So the next time you pass a police officer on the street, look him in the eye and smile, or say “hello”. Let him know that you think what he’s doing matters, and that he or she is appreciated and not taken for granted. He may not smile back – he takes his job very seriously, but trust me, it makes a difference. By the way…I know for a fact that police officers are allowed to eat during their break (would you like a 10, 12, or sometimes 16 hour shift without a break and some food?) and they like donuts no more or less than the rest of us.  🙂