Monday, August 09, 2004

Someone asked me what I write about on here when I'm in Nashville. If I remember correctly, food comes up quite a bit, and it really hasn't at all this summer. So now, some thoughts about food. And drink.

I haven't exactly been watching my weight or budget while I've been up here, which I blame on the fact that I know this is a temporary stint. I haven't looked at my citicard bill in a while, and I think I'll just save the shock til I get back home. Or my credit card starts getting rejected. Whichever comes first.

I don't know why this is such a foreign concept elsewhere in the country, but tossed salad bars rock. I mean, simple: you choose a type of greenery, choose your own ingredients and dressing, and they whip it up for you in a big bowl, and package it up. This doesn't sound very impressive, I know, but I can't think of one lunch take-out place in Nashville that does this. It's the *tossed* aspect that makes it that much better. My favorite place is called Mangia on 48th between Madison and 5th. It's always hella crowded, and someone at work noted that "it's almost criminal to pay eight dollars for a salad," but good god are they good.

I have eaten very good sushi more times than I care to mention. Mostly for lunch at Haru, but I did finally hit one of those conveyor belt sushi joints. In fact, I'm almost OD'd on sushi, and I think it'll be a long time before I can eat Nashville's FedEx sushi again.

I knew I was getting bad about eating out when I started buying breakfast on my way to work. But it's cheap, and good. The midtown-ubiquitous Pax was my mainstay for a while, but then I discovered people in a tiny metal box on the corner of 49th and Park who make better egg white sandwiches for cheaper. Okay, and my mom would never let me buy stuff from the street food vendors when I was a kid, so it's a guilty pleasure.

I haven't had as much wacky ethnic food as I intended. One of the few new things I have tried is lunch at a Japanese tea and crepe shop (48th/47thish and 3rd), where I had an oddly good roasted eel-mayo(?)-lettuce crepe. It was good until I saw a big ol' roach run up their wall, at least.

Hot and Crusty is a 24 hour bakery on my block. It has single-handedly undone the two miles and thensome of walking I do each day. Pizza, fresh bread, pastries. Twenty-fucking-four-hours-a-day. Bastards! Their nine-grain bread is great, but their seven-grain sucks. Can two grains make that much of a difference? I don't get it.

In terms of "real" dining out, I was rarin' to go when I first got here, going to celebrity chef places like Town, Felidia, and Lupa. All of those by the way are very, very good. But I've grown fonder of little Italian and French cafes all over the place, especially Cafe Med. on 3rd and 60something.

Granted, even hole-in-the-wall Chinese take-out here is pure pleasure compared to Chinese food in Nashville (blech.)

Yesterday I was telling tales such as these to my Nashville friend John, and he suggested a steady diet of barbeque and fried chicken when I get back Nashville, so as to prime my taste buds for Tennessee sushi. Smart.

I'm getting full just writing this. I'll save beverage talk for another day. I don't even mean alcoholic beverages. Sheesh! I'd need a whole separate website for that.


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