Lannae's Food and Travel

I hope you like my food and travel blog.

November 30, 2006

Provence - Oui Oui!

Nashville has one of the best locally made, independently owned bread companies! How did Nashville got so lucky to have such a great bread maker from San Francisco to come here and set up shop? I mean, there is the whole lore of San Francisco sour dough bread thing, and there are some fantastic bakeries in the Bay Area, and some one would leave all that and come to Nashville? Thank you Terry for doing so! The original Provence location has the best bread, soup, salads, and cheeses in town. There are other satellite locations with very good lunch items that cater to the clients of the area, but the original location has it all! This is the only shop in town that carries Mimolette, a very hard orange cheese that has the texture and lasting power of a good parmigiano cheese, has a nice nutty flavor, and is aged for one year. If I buy Mimolette, I either have to get it from Provence, or mail order it from

Anyway, when my cousin came sliding into town for 18 hours, she was needing a quick snack as she arrived, so I high-tailed it out to Provence for a little help. For about $10, I got a huge plater of 3 cheeses, salad greens, fresh roasted mixed nuts, and fresh fruit. I added a slice of brie to the presentation. I also got a loaf of an artisan round Italian farmer's bread to accompany. I also added a little dish of extra virgin rosemary-garlic olive oil made from organic Central Valley (that would be California) olives for dipping the bread. This olive oil is so flavorful from the olives and herbs, that we only needed a very little to eat with our snack.


November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving Part 4

Thanksgiving, the food saga continues. Friday, the day after Thanksgiving usually means that there is a lot of creativity in turkey dishes. Turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey burritoes, turkey stew, and turkey straight up and repeat of the Thanksgiving dinner. We were so lucky to be invited to repeat Thanksgiving, and we jumped on the opportunity to get more turkey.

What happened earlier during the day on Friday was a trip to the gym to work off some of Thurday's 4 Thanksgiving plates.
I put on my #2 pair of running shoes to workout in them on even number days of the calendar. Note, my #1 pair of running shoes are for the odd numbere days of the calendar. I went on my merry way. After the gym, for a reward, I was going to go back to Joey's House of Pizza. And wouldn't you know it, Joey decided to take some family time and close up shop from Thursday to Sunday, and to re-open on Monday. =( What were were going to do? We had no Thanksgiving leftovers, and we had no excellent pizza? What now? THEN, Thanksgiving #3, D&L, called us and saved us from some some bad portion of a meal I froze over 6 months ago. Yes, D&L invited us over for Thanksgiving #4 - the leftovers.

We jumped into the car, and found ourselves in Thanksgiving #4 with all the fixings! There was stuffing reheated with lots of crunchy bits, freshly re-steamed green beans and spaghetti squash, a nice big green salad, re-roasted red potatoes with a nice crisp outside, sweet potato mash with a hint of spice, and soft yummy insides, cranberry sauce, apple sauce and lots of gravy.

There were also petit pain from Provence. Don't they look great? Give me a stick of butter, an a petit pain, and I am in heaven! Well, usually. This time, since I had piled my plate high with all other goodies, I had no room for a dinner bread roll.

Here is my lovely Thanksgiving plate #5 at Thanksgiving dinner #4. It sure beats my Thanksgiving meal #1 of a banana and rice crispy treat from the Nashshille airport.

Here is the best part of being invited to Thanksgiving at someone elses house: We don't have leftovers at OUR house, there is no cleanup after everyone, and we don't have to eat turkey everyday for a week. BUT, we get to enjoy the company of good friends, get just enough Thanksgiving food to smile and feel full, and we don't have to eat turkey for the rest of the month. =) All in all, we had a very good Thanksgiving food adventure this year, and we are ready for the next year.

November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving Part 3

Looking to enjoy more friends on Tgiving, we left J&M's and went over to D&L, whom we met 4 years ago when they felt bad for us for trying to cut down a giant weed bush, for hours, with a hand saw. They came over with a gas powered hedge cutter, and cut down the weed bush in 2 minutes.

We stopped on in to D&L's and there were lots and of people there too. Mind you, I had already eaten 2 full plates and plenty of dessert at J&M's, but what they hey, I went for another round of delicous food!

To start off on the top of my list was homemade cranbery sauce with cranberry and oranges. I used to do research on a long stretch of roadway next to cranberry bogs on Cape Cod, MA, very close to Plymouth Rock, where it snows a lot. Instead of using salt to de-ice roads, we used a short chain sugar de-icers. Salt ruins plants and bogs, rusts out cars, and ruins asphalt roads. The sugar de-icer does not ruin these things, and it actually is beneficial to plants and fauna. So, everyone out there who enjoys dried cranberries, cranberrry juice, cranberry sauce, and cranberries in general, can thank me for saving the viability of our cranberry bogs!

Yes, back to the dinner. Here was the buffet table of hot foods: turkey, dressing, green beans with carmelized onions, mashed sweet potatoes, red potatoes, spaghetti squash, roles, and Tofurkey (non-meat turkey). Yup, after 2 giant plates and dessert at J&M's house, I did take a tasting of all hot foods from D&L's house.

Here is the cool salad table. Yup, after 2 full giant plates from J&M's house, I took a little of all the salad items at D&L's house too. The salad table included shrimp, fresh pineapple, Waldorf salad, green lettuce salad, onions, cheese, olives, pecans, deviled eggs and vegetable crudette.

Here is a nice picture of the table at D&L's house. I would like to inform you that I had a 2nd plate at D&L's as well. It was turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce. Now look, I spent 2 1/2 years freezing my ass off, sometimes neck deep in snow, trying to help the farmland (cranberry bog) fouling problem due to road salt deicing. I am not kidding around, and I am going to enjoy as much cranberry sauce, cranberry juice, and cranberries in general from here on out! I had to have 4 plates with cranberry sauce on each plate just to make Thanksgiving right.

Here is a post-blogpost-note. Tim is still the record holder for having the most Thanksgiving Dinners on one Thanksgiving. Tim went to his in-law's relative's house to start with a full dinner, then he went to his parent's house for a full dinner, and THEN he went over the Mr&Mrs A's house for yet another full dinner. That would be approximately 6 plates of food for Tim (and no he is not huge, he is a bean pole!) for one Thanksgiving. I found myself this year at 2/3 of the way to Tim's Thanksgiving record. Next year, shall I attempt to break the legendary record held by Tim?

Thanksgiving Part 2

Part 2 for our Thanksgiving adventure at home. We had many offer to share more food on Thanksgiving, and we completely took advantage of that. We, ourselves, had no food in the house due to thinking we were eating 1200 miles away for days, we had sparingly made fresh food all week as to eat it all and not waste food, so we really needed to eat at other peoples homes. It was either that, or take out Chinese, but even the take out places closed early so they could celebrate at home.

Our friends J&M and so great! They were so nice to offer Thanksgiving to all the people who could not get to their family's for the day. J is a vegetarian, but J decided to treat us all with a cruelty free, hormone free, free range, turkey, and J cooked it. M is Italian, and if you know Italians, there are always situations where they offer TONS OF FOOD because guest may go hunger otherwise. =) When we got to J&M's, there were the HUGEST platters of cheese, crackers, artichoke hearts, olives, mozzarella and tomatos, eggplant and cauliflower, and all the beverages from wine, beer, water, and soda you could ever want. These were just the starters folks.
Here is the tomato and mozzarella, like M's good Italian American family would have.

Here is the pot of steaming hot potatoes getting ready to be garlicky mashed potatoes. Yes folks, there is a whole head (not clove, but head) of roasted garlic that will make these potatoes creamy, garlicky and delicious!

Here is round 2, all the sides of the main dinner, cornbread dressing, corn, garlicky mashed potatoes, green bean casserole made the traditional way, and potato salad. The green bean casserole is awesome! It is green beans, a can of Campbell's condensed cream of mushroom soup, a little milk, baked until hot, and then finished with French's crispy fried onions on top. This is a dish that is a funny tradition, but I love it!

Here is vegetarian J's free range, hormone free, cruelty free turkey. Bring it on baby! It was basted with lots of delicious butter and Italian herbs. *kiss-kiss* delicious! Thanks J&M for a great turkey, and leftover for us to take home.

J&M got extra big plates for dinner. These plates are about 150% the size of normal dinner plates. As you can see, I took a FULL plate. YUM! And I took another plate full too. AND we had pumpkin pie, ice cream and cookies for dessert. Yup, can you say food coma?

All this, and we had #2 dinner to go!

Thanksgiving Part 1

Thanksgiving, this is a USA tradition of having tons of food with family and friends, and it was solidified as a holiday during the USA Civil War and a declaration of President Lincoln. So, here we are 150 years later, with lots of stressed out people traveling on the Wednesday Nov 22, the heaviest travel day in the USA, and trying to get to somewhere via, trains, planes and automobiles.

We are no different this year. We were trying to get to the elder's homeland of Boston, 1200 miles away, so we started out bright and early on Wednesday November 22, and we got to the airport to wait. Smooth sailing as we started, arriving at the airport 2 hours before our flight (we did exactly as the airport authorities told us on the news the night before), the lines were not too bad, and we thought we were home free. 5 hour wait later, our plane still was in the hangar getting worked on due to computer failure. I don't know about you, but I am not partial to getting on a plane that has computer failure. We decided to cut our losses, go back to our home, and get a refund on our trip. Before we left the airport, they did give us food vouchers for $10 of terrible airport food. If you have been to the Nashville Airport, THE FOOD SUCKS! So, we ended up getting a couple cups of coffee, a banana and a rice crispy treat. See food above.

Wednesday November 22 saga continues. We happily drive away from the Nashville Airport on Wednesday November 22, after 6 hours of waiting around for nothing, and got caught in I-40 holiday traffic for an hour (5 miles to our exit). Ah, traveling for great American Holiday - there is nothing like it. I think we did great in recovering from a major fumble, and we drove straight to Joey's House of Pizza for a little Brooklyn Love. We got to Joey's at after 4 pm, about 7 hours after we started our fumbled journey, and this was the 1st real food we had all day! Just a note I love the original House of Pizza run by Manny in downtown Nashville, in the historic Arcade, but parking is a bit tight downtown.

What happened to our plane? We were supposed to connect with a flight in NYC. The plane did take off eventually, at 8:30 pm, nearly 12 HOURS LATER, and it arrived in NYC at 11:15 pm. The only catch is that the last connecting flight to Boston left at 10:58 pm. Yup, so do the math, we made the right decision. The next earliest time they could get us to Boston would have been Thursday at 4:20 pm. Doh!

November 17, 2006

2nd Harvest

2nd Harvest is a fantastic organization trying to solve the hunger problem in Middle Tennessee, and 2nd Harvest goes at solving the problem in many different ways. In the past couple of years, 2nd Harvest Food Bank distributed over 14 million pounds per year of food to hungry men, women and children of middle Tennessee. Amazing!

My friends, F&C, mentioned that they read about chefs donating their expertise to make lunch once per week on Friday at the 2nd Harvest Food Bank, but the meals are for purchase at $10+ any other donations, and profits go back to the 2nd Harvest Food Bank. There are 6 distinct menus, that rotate from week to week. So we decided to gather up friends and drive into the great business park north of town, and seek out 2nd Harvest. I stopped briefly to take this pictures of the red trees in the business park. It is hard to see the beauty in an asphalt, cinder block, parking lot business park, but these trees were quite beautiful.

So, F&C and friends get to the door, and there is a state of the art kitchen with lots of volunteers cooking a buffet meal from fresh ingredients. The menu, subject to change depending on the availability of fresh ingredients was: Friday, November 10- Asian Journey The Asian Journey buffet includes Vietnamese table salad, grilled curried steak with roasted peppers, orange honey chicken, fried tofu with green beans, jasmine rice, and macaroon cookies. Other weeks have different themes besides Asain and they are Tuscan, Cajun, Southwestern, American and French themes. I cannot wait to try them all!

Here is my picture. I had beef and broccoli, Thai green lettuce salad, honey orange chicken, rice and I opted for water not tea. There was dessert - macaroon cookies, but I had to not eat one because I pigged out on my meal. The chicken was fresh breast meat that was cut and stir fried with slices of fresh oranges, the broccoli and beef was also freshly stir fried, and the salad was refreshing with a citrus spicy dressing. Fabulous for the money and company!

I learned so much from my trip to 2nd Harvest Food Bank! The 2nd Harvest Culinary Arts Center is a catering group, food safety teacher, cooking demostrator, culinary classroom, and fundraiser for 2nd Harvest. I love 2nd Harvest and their mission of which they do so well. There is so many ways to give to 2nd Harvest: donation of funds, food, volunteering and lastly dining on Friday gourmet lunch at the 2nd Harvest Culinary Arts Center! Now that is Fantastic!


November 10, 2006

The Search for New Orleans

Crescent Cafe and Oyster Bar
416 21st Ave South
Nashville, TN
615 321-2522

When we were in New Orleans, we went out of the French Quarter into some neighborhood with a little diner and laundromat. It was the best bread and seafood gumbo we had in New Orleans. This was before I started blogging about my dining experiences, so I cannot tell you the joint name, the area of town, nor how we got there. I just know the bread and gumbo was awesome, inexpensive, and served by an old salty dog. It has become a magical meal in my mind.
So we have been lucky to have a few NOLA trasplants here in Nashville, and we went to another NOLA inspired joints in town, and it was Crescent Cafe (behind the San Antonio Taco Company). It is supposed to be an oyster bar, but I don't think they do that anymore. The place has changed to be more of a bar for a singer and songwriter venue, rather than a NOLA joint. It was quite smoky in there, as the dining room and bar are all one little room, and all the 4 other people there were smokers. We tried to order some beer to start, and the first few choices, the waiter said they were out of them, and we started to get a little scared that they just did not have their act together.

Dispite to the cigarette smoke, no oyster bar (eventhough the name implies that there would be), and the lack of beverage choices (eventhough the beer menu was extensive and they were out of most beer) we stayed. I got the cup of combo gumbo and salad. The salad dressing was fresh and lemony. The gumbo was surprisingly good. The toast rounds were also surprisingly like the bread you get for po-boys in NOLA. Hmmm. OK, it seems as though Crescent scaled down on the menu to a NOLA version bar food instead of being a restaurant.

Matt ordered a crab imperial special appetizer. It was kind of a strange presentation. Instead of it being in a small bowl or cup for dipping, it was all spread out thinly on a plate, served with four toast rounds. The flavor was better than it needed to be, but difficult to get up off the plate to spread on the toast.
We also ordered 1/4 of a muffoletta sandwich. The bread was a bit much for the filling of two thin slices of ham, cheese and olives. The flavor was good, but a bit too much bread for me. Matt did not seem to mind the great amount of bread to filling. Despite the slow start of being out of a lot of the food and beverage offerings in the menu, the smokers, and the strange presentation choices, the food was actually better than I expected.


November 8, 2006

A Nice Chap

We had been watching an old downtown car showroom be transformed to something. We thought it was going to be a sports bar, or night club, or something other than what it is. To our surprise, it is now Chappy's which is a Gulf Region (I mean Mexico not Persian) inspired restaurant. Chappy had lived in New Orleans, and had a restaurant on the coast of the Gulf, and Katrina just wiped out everything. Chappy came north to Nashville, decided it wasn't too bad here. and opened up shop.
Here is Chappy. If you look on his restaurant website, you can see his logo drawing looks just like him. Chappy's is designed for a diner who wants to treat themselves well, like you would if you were a tourist in New Orleans. There was a level of decorum that seemed to come out of me as I was there. There was a level of Gulf Coast style civility from the staff, but there was also an air of earnest hope that we really enjoyed our meal and dining experience. On top of the decorum and civility, there was also this layer of "letting your hair down" and "kick back" to really enjoy yourself as a member of the Chappy family. The vibe around Chappy's is really unique in Nashville, I never thought a place could be like this in Nashville, and I thought I would have to travel all the way down the Natchez Trace to enjoy the full Gulf Coast dining experience. Lucky for me, I get to stay home and get all the goods from Chappy's.

Our meal started off with a loaf of bread and four different types of butter. There was butter, cajun butter, berry butter and chive butter. I had a little taste of each. Yummy.

We started our meal with soup, Matt got the gumbo and I got the oyster and artichoke made with real cream. Yup, I was not counting fat grams this evening, and I just enjoyed the soup.

Matt got the flounder with crab, and a potato on the side. This picture does not do the flounder justice. It was very tasty indeed. I was debating on whether to post the photo or not because our memory of this flounder was "WOW" and the picture is just "oh." Believe me, how can you go wrong with fresh crab and cream sauce on top of a lightly fried flouder filet?

I got the oyster plate. Again, the photo does not do the oysters justice. I generally eat my oysters raw and not fried because I do not like heavy breaded fried things. I ordered the fried oysters anyway, just to see what Chappy was made out of. What I got were very lightly breaded oysters with a little corn meal in the batter, and oysters that were just cooked, not over cooked, and I could still taste the oyster. I liked them.

I really hope that Nashville shows Chappy a warm welcome and insentive to stay. I think that there is a place for Chappy here, and we have a nice Gulf Coast restaurant right here in town.


November 4, 2006


A few years ago, a Friend bought a couple houses in New Orleans, LA. One was a single family house, and the second was a duplex. The idea was to be a landlord, have a NOLA friend manage the properties, and make some money off of rent. It never worked out very well, as these buildings were in the 9th Ward, in tough shape to begin with, an absent landlord possibly asking for too much rent, and no one really ever rented these places. Then, the worst thing possible happened - Katrina. Both buildings were totalled, and the duplex was completely lifted off the foundation, and then plopped down broken completely twisted and askew. The upswing is that the houses were empty and no one died in these buildings. The question Friend asked all along was, "Is it right to be a slumlord? Someone give me a sign!" Well, the biggest "sign" came in the form of Katrina, and Friend knew the answer to the question. Friend was one of the first people to get the buildings re-built, and they have been renting all three units non-stop since finishing the re-build. Because the NOLA Friend, who was managing the buildings, moved to Denver, my Friend sold both buildings this year. To celebrate the new good decision, Friend threw a Bye Bye NOLA party with their take on NOLA food.

The food was set up buffet style with shrimp, dirty rice, red beans, corn and other goodies.

Here is a big bowl of corn.

Here is a big bowl of red beans from Bro's.Shrimp. Probably farmed, so they are probably not from the Gulf of Mexico.