Lannae's Food and Travel

I hope you like my food and travel blog.

October 27, 2013


squid salad

Sonabona (formerly named Benkay) has been around for a long time, and is one of the last "old school" sushi bars and Japanese restaurants in Nashville.  I was told that Sonabona was renamed some years ago because the owner's thought the name Benkay was too harsh, and wanted to soften the name.  Sonabona is both a Japanese restaurant and Japanese grocery store.  Every chef I have ever asked about a Japanese grocery store, they send me to Sonabona.  The best thing I like about Sonabona is that Sonabona is a Japanese restaurant with a Japanese aesthetic and they try to make the Japanese food simply to allow the natural flavors to come through.  Some other "Asian"-esque restaurants in Nashville is a hodge-podge of  styles, and none of the styles are made well, and makes me frown.  Sonabona makes me smile.

I want to start by saying the sushi rice is made correctly here.  Nigiri sushi and chirashi are nothing if the rice is not correct.  And so far so good, all the fish in sushi I have ever gotten here in the past decade has been trimmed well so there isn't any bones or sinew to deal with.  And the menu has a lot of photos of food, and when the dishes come to the table, the dishes actually look like the photos.  The squid salad that came to my table looks exactly like the squid salad in the menu photo.  The squid salad was just divine.  The squid salad was squid and not pig anus.  When you go and get those cheap frozen breaded calamari rings made with imitation calamari, it is pig anus, pig poop hole, pig crapper.  The squid at Sonabona is REAL SQUID.  I love this squid salad because it is lightly dressed with vinegar, seaweed, pickled veggies and sesame seeds.  The natural flavor of squid is allowed to come through.

The interior of this restaurant is just how it has been for years.  It is not flashy or modern, it is just a simple Japanese restaurant.  The interior is really what I want.  I don't need the all the flashy decor, lights, and funkiness, I just want a straight forward representation of Japanese food.

There are not too many of these old school Japanese restaurants left in Nashville.  I am going to keep going to Sonabona and enjoy this place as long as I can.

October 22, 2013

Farm to Fork

Farm to Fork

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dinner at 7:00 pm

Come at 6:30 pm to browse the Green Door Gourmet shop and enjoy fall colors on the farm.

Green Door Gourmet at Hidden Valley Farm

7011 River Road Nashville, TN 37209

$75 ticket includes a dinner prepared by some of Nashville’s finest chefs. Yazoo Beer made with hops from Bells Bend and wine pairings from the Wine Chap will also be served.

 All ticket proceeds go directly to the work of the Cumberland River Compact.
Hey everyone!  This is a great cause, the Cumberland River Compact is a non-profit working with local, state and federal agencies for the health of the Cumberland River Basin.  A healthy Cumberland River and watershed is good for recreation, commerce, economic well-being and environment.

Come to the great event and here is what is in store for the evening:

Etch Executive Chef Deb Paquette will be pairing an exquisite dish using cauliflower with Yazoo Brewing Company’s Yazoo Bells Bend Preservation Ale, a limited-released brew made from hops grown in the Bells Bend area of Davidson County. 

Guerry McComus, Executive Chef at The Yellow Porch, who will prepare a southern Shepherd’s pie using Red Wattle pork raised in Davidson County.

Laura Wilson, the chef behind the Grow Local Kitchen at Nashville’s Farmers Market  and Nashville’s 2011 and 2012 “Iron Fork” winner (and only Chef to win Iron Fork twice), will serve a savory squash dish using produce from vendors at the Nashville Farmers Market. 

Chefs from The Southern will be preparing “a devil of an egg” made with eggs from Willow Farm in Summertown, TN.

Richard Jones, Executive Chef at Green Door Gourmet, who will be preparing a kale salad with owner Sylvia Ganier.

In addition to ale donated by Yazoo Brewing Company, Kathleen Cotter, owner Bloomy Rind, and Dustin and Justyne Noble, owners of Noble Springs Dairy are donating cheese; and Richard Payne, owner of the Wine Chap, is donating wine pairings.

October 20, 2013

Mason's at the Loews


Onion and Corn Bisque

Brandon Frohne is one of the best new chefs to come on the scene in Nashville, and you can taste his food at Mason's Restaurant and Bar located inside the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel.  Loews is considered one of the "swankiest" hotels in Nashville.  Swank it may be, but don't let that stop you from coming into the hotel's Mason's Restaurant and Bar.  Mason's is quite accessible, has some nice food with a nod to its Southern roots, and always has a good deals to be had.   Check out the link above and click on "events" and see what is on special for the week.  In the past few weeks, Wednesday nights was $5 burgers and fries with a $3 draft beer.  There are some good draft beer including Yazoo.  Yes, a lovely full meal for $8.  This week it is Happy Hour everyday from 4 -6 pm with $3 drafts and1/2 off all bar menu items.  You read that correctly 1/2 off ALL of the bar menu items.  What a good deal.

Also, there is no worries about parking, the restaurant and bar validates, so come on down to Loews Mason's Restaurant and Bar, park for free, park your Leaf at the charging station, or park your regular car in a normal spot.  Better yet, take the bus #3 and get off at the bus stop close by on West End Ave.

Burger Special
Since late summer, when I am not on biz travel, I have been on a rather tight budget because my work decided to cut back and dock pay, and is continuing to do so.  There are no extras for me this year, no vacation this year, no movies, no concerts, nothing that has an excess cost to it.  I have volunteered for a local biodynamic farmer in trade for all the fruit and veggies I can carry.  I have taken to food preservation (see my previous pickling blog posts) so my volunteering will pay off for months to come. And going out to eat has slowed, and we only go out if we can get a good deal.  I have been taking advantage of discount gift cards, web-based coupons, and special offers made by each restaurant.  I have "Liked" many of my favorite restaurants on Facebook, and go visit their websites from time to time to see what deals I can find.

A couple weeks ago, Mason's Restaurant and Bar is an answer to having an really nice "champagne" dining experience on a "beer" budget.  I got the hamburger special for $5 (originally $14+ addons) and a seltzer for $3.  The burger was the weekly special of a burger, peanut cabbages slaw, farm egg, and smoked pork bbq accompanied by a generous portion of hand-cut fries.  This came with personal sized mayo and ketchup jars.  The Man got a simply cheese burger (originally $14)  and a $3 Yazoo draft.  My burger was great.  I just like the richness of the egg yolk when it oozes out into pork and slaw making the ingredients become a whole new thing.  The slaw had a nice contrasting crunch from the crispy cabbage and peanuts to the softness of the egg and bun.  The Man enjoyed his burger too, it was exactly how he wanted it, plain and simple cheese and a burger on a bun.  No fuss, no muss, and he was happy!  So, our bill on this evening came out to $16 plus tax and tip for food and beverage for two people.  Free parking, a lot off food and beverage, and surroundings of where the stars stay for one low price of $8 per person is a good deal to me.

October 13, 2013

Peck of Peppers

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.  Where are the peck of pickled peppers that Peter Piper picked?  OK, I don't know Peter, and there isn't a peck of pickled peppers, but I did make a few jars of pickled peppers in the traditional fermentation way.  This time, now that the weather has gotten cooler, it took 6 days to get the lacto fermentation to a level of sour where I want it to be.  The peppers are still crunchy, a little salty, a little sour, and with a nice spice flavor. They are so good!

I am going to just eat these pepper straight up.  These peppers would be great on salads, sandwiches, and any food item that needs a crunchy sour bite.

I started out with a small bag of biodynamic organic yellow peppers, onion and fresh dill from the Barefoot Farmer, including sweet yellow peppers and hot banana peppers.  I got a couple biodynamic garlic cloves from Bells Bend Farms.  I got some yellow mustard seed, black pepper corns, cumin seeds, and kosher salt.  I have a bunch of filtered Cumberland River Water from my tap.

Here is the method:
1. In a big pitcher, stir in 6 tablespoons of salt into 2 quarts of cold water until dissolved.
2. Rinse peppers, onion and garlic, and slice.
3. Place sliced peppers, onion and garlic into dishwasher clean jars.
4. Place spices into the jars too.  I used fresh dill, peppercorns, mustard seed and cumin seed.
5. Pour cold, room temperature salt water to the top each jar, and make sure all veggies are submerged.
6.  Let the jars sit out on the counter, loosen the tops daily to let the gas out, and push down the veggies to keep them submerged.  Put in the fridge when your pickles taste like you want them to.

Easy, even I can do this!