Lannae's Food and Travel

I hope you like my food and travel blog.

December 22, 2010

Help Peter Chinn's Staff


Peter Chinn's Korean Taco at the Cheeseburger Charley's location on 21s Ave South in the Vanderbilt Area is closing at this location starting tomorrow! What that means is the loyal staff were told yesterday they are all fired, the location is closing, and basically have F-ing sucky X-mas. So, tomorrow, please go to Peter Chinn's/Former Cheeseburger Charley's and TIP BIG!
Help the soon-to-be former staff of Cheeseburger Charley's and Peter Chinn's have a slightly easier X-mas with lots of BIG TIPS!

They all just lost their jobs, please help them! Thank you.

December 20, 2010

Bagel Face

Bagel Face is modest bagel shop in East Nashville and it is only open in the mornings until the bagels are sold out. Yup, but 10 am on Sunday morning, it is a possibility that you will be SOL. The things we like about Bagel Face is that it has the look and feel of a little neighborhood bagel shop in the boroughs of NY, and the bagels sell out early, so you know you are getting fresh bagels everyday. We like salt, garlic, onion, and garlic onion bagels of which Bagel Face makes. Another thing I like about this shop is that they sell small quantity cream cheese containers which are perfect for 1 - 3 bagels. That is a pet peeve of mine at the chain bagel place, that if you buy one or two bagels, your only choice is to buy a huge quantity container of cream cheese meant for a dozen bagels. What a waste of food and money. Thank you Bagel Face for making a nice, non-wasteful quantity of cream cheese for your customers. I love cream cheese on my bagel, so the little container is perfect for 1 - 2 bagels for me.

So, a couple weeks ago, on a snow flurry Sunday morning, the man went out to Bagel Face to get a couple bagels and cream cheese for us. It was mid-morning, and under ordinary circumstances, we would have been SOL for getting bagels from Bagel Face at that late hour, but since the weather was snow flurries which many Nashvilllians don't travel in, we had a shot at getting bagels, and we did!

The man brought the bagels home and we toasted them up and added just the right amount of cream cheese from the little container form Bagel Face. As we ate the bagels and sipped on coffee, we were talking about our past lives in NYC and Phila. When the man lived in Astoria, Queens back in the 80s, he lived near a place with a vinyl sign saying "Hot Bagels". Bagel Face reminds him of this little place called "Hot Bagels". That little place made bagels fresh and hot, and when they sold out, the little shop closed its doors for the day. We decided to google "Hot Bagels" and Astoria and what do you suppose came up? You guessed it, a store called Bagelberry came up and reading Yelp reviews etc, other people, currently in 2010 even, claimed that they too thought this place was called "Hot Bagels" because of the vinyl sign outside. Eh, it is nice to know that somethings have not changed. It was fun to think back to the good ol' days of delicious Astoria Queens bagels.

This is one reason why I love food. It is just exciting when some food, aroma, taste, and texture triggers a great memory from the past.

Bagel Face Bakery on Urbanspoon

December 15, 2010

Tacos Part 3

Get on the tweet to find out what the menu is for the day, and if the RV is going out on the road.

breakfast taco with eggs and chorizo

Early on, I was one of the early adopters of the Mas Tacos tweet. Mas Tacos early on would find places for lunch or dinner in East Nashville to sell tacos and agua fresca. It took a little for Nashvillian hipsters to catch onto the Mas Taco tweets, but when they did, the lines around the Mas Taco RV were around the block. Mas Taco was the 1st truly Nashville mobile taco truck since I have lived in Nashville. The story I heard about the Mas Taco RV truck was that this old circa 1970s avocado green RV was that an old relative and original owner of the RV left this gem of a vehicle to the Taco Lady. The Taco Lady tried to figure out what to do with the RV, and came up with idea of being the 1st truly mobile taco truck. Some of the early tacos I remember were chicken, fried avocado, and quinoa. The early days of the RV was to have one meat taco, one veggie taco, and some agua fresca. Then, after the truck got really popular, it was SRO, you had to get there early, or they would sell out.

pozole - pork and hominy soup or stew

That was then, this is now. Mas Taco still goes on in the RV on occasion, but now the Taco Lady makes tacos, soups, and agua fresca out of a building in East Nashville. The space is basically not improved on the outside. The Mas Taco 1/2 of the building I think still says "Deli" on the outside from when it was a little convenience store selling beer, gum, chips, etc. The other 1/2 I think it is a hair salon, but it hasn't been open anytime I have been by it. Mas Tacos side has about a 1/2 dozen tables of 2 -4 people, and it is still a good place for takeout. The menu has expanded from the RV days menus. The last time we were at Mas Tacos on Saturday there were breakfast tacos with eggs; there were lunch tacos with pork, fried avocado, butternut squash or quinoa; and there were soups including pazole.

I liked the pazole quite a bit. The only thing, it is just personal preference, is that I don't like most pork, and I don't generally eat pork, except for bacon. So, the pazole is a pork and hominy soup, and I love hominy. I ate around the pork in the soup. I wonder if the next time I am at Mas Taco and they have pazole, that I can ask them to ladle out the broth and hominy, and no pork. The broth was really a nice spicy broth.

what it looks like from my table

People dining seemed to like the fried avocado tacos. It is universally liked by meat eaters and veggie eaters alike. Everyone I have talked to about Mas Tacos likes the fried avocado. I have not tried the avocado tacos, but every time I have been to the Mas Taco RV or store, I plan on getting the fried avocado, but never quite got there. At the RV, the fried avocado was usually sold out by the time I got to the door. At the store, there are so many other interesting options that I try the other options, and put the fried avocado off until the next time. One day I will try the fried avocado taco.

Mas Tacos Por Favor on Urbanspoon

December 10, 2010

Tacos Part 2

Breaking News (Dec 23, 2010)
Peter Chinn's at this location will close
for good at this location today.
Go to Peter Chinn's and
TIP THE STAFF BIG because they
are now without jobs 2 days before XMas.
Please go and TIP BIG!
The word is, Peter Chinn's Korean Tacos and Burgers owners are looking for a new location, but they don't quite know where and when.

spicy pork tacos

As everyone should know by now Peter Chinn's Korean BBQ taco has moved to 21st Ave South, in the Vanderbilt area with the same old hours 11am-8 pm M-Sat. Peter Chinn's took over the old Cheeseburger Charley's location, expanded the Peter Chinn's menu, and kept the Cheeseburger Charley's Menu. On the menu are spicy pork, fish, kogi, bulgogi kim chi tacos, burritos and quesadillas which are all Korean taco inspired dishes. On the cheeseburger side, there are burgers, turkey, veggie, milkshakes, fries and onion rings.

My standard meal is 1 spicy pork taco $2, 1 kogi taco $2, and 1 small onion ring to share $2, and a cup of water $0.25 for the cup. This is plenty of food for a lunch for me. The tacos are all made to order. When I ordered a fish and bulgogi taco, the fish and bulgogi was cooked while I waited. The tacos are topped with lettuce and house made Korean style pickled cucumber which provides a nice Korean flavor to the taco. The tacos are served with a little container of house made hot sauce. The hot sauce can vary in spicy hotness from batch to batch, and from ladle to ladle One hot sauce I got wasn't that hot, it was a pale orange color, and I dumped it all onto my taco. This pale orange color sauce was perfect for the taco, and added a little flavorful heat. The next time, my hot sauce container was more orangey-red in color, and I dumped it all onto my taco. It was so much hotter, and I temporarily lost my hearing because my head was sweating, and my inner ear was sweating and swelling from the spicy hotness. My suggestion is, use the hot sauce sparingly until you can gage the heat level in the hot sauce.

The fun part about going to Peter Chinn's now is that there is the American Cheeseburger menu along with the Korean BBQ Taco menu. There is something for everyone! Peter Chinn's kept the burger topping bar, so you can make the burger how you want it. There is lettuce, tomato, 2 types of mushrooms, 2 types of pickles, onions, jalapenos, olives, and other stuff that can't remember right now. Also, scoring big points from me, the fries and onion rings are fresh hand cut, and fried to order, and the milkshakes are actually made with ice cream and milk. If you order onion rings, you can watch the onion ring guy take fresh onions and hand dip them in the batter and put them into the fryer. These are the best onion rings in town for sure. The milk shakes are also made to order. The gal making the milk shakes scoops the ice cream adds the milk and whirls up the milkshake in an old fashioned stainless steel milkshake maker. The fries, onion rings and milkshakes will take some time to make because they are actually making them to your order, they are not pre-packed by a food distributor.

kogi burrito

At this location, Peter Chinn's expanded the Korean BBQ taco menu to include burritos and quesadillas. I did try the kogi burrito. It included kogi beef, rice, a small smear of black beans, lettuce and house made pickled cucumber. It was good, but it was way too much food for me, so I will continue to just get 2 tacos instead of the burrito. For those who have bigger appetites than me, this is a fine option for lunch.

There is something for everyone on this menu. There is the veggie burger for those who are veggies, there are the Korean BBQ tacos and burritos for those who want some Korean spice in their lives, there are the fresh cut and fried to order fries and onion rings for those who like the all American deep fried treats, there are regular burgers if you really want to go all American, and there are the delicious made to order milkshakes that are thick and yummy.

spicy pork taco takeout

Positives about this location are the parking lot, eat in option and take out option. Since Peter Chinn's opened a few weeks ago in this location, we have eaten in every single time. I also think that this location is relatively safe for patrons to come and go. I say that because at the former location, I was robbed at about 7:30 pm after dark, while waiting for my tacos to be made. The reason why I got robbed is because I have gotten soft while living in Nashville. I have lived through some interesting places as a kid, and young adult, and I realized while living in Nashville, I have lost my "don't F with me attitude". When I was in a kid in Boston, I walked through the Combat Zone nearly everyday after school to get from my part-time job to Chinatown. The Combat Zone was the red light district of Boston, with girlie shows, prostitution, pimps and drugs. Never did I have a problem traversing this area. Now, in 2010, the Combat Zone is no longer due to mail order adult videos, the expansion of Chinatown, the expansion of the theater district, and expansion of offices squeezing out the antiquated business of the girlie shows. When I lived in Phila, it was the heyday for the Italian mafia in South Phila, and it was the onslaught of the underground war between the Chinese gangs in Phila Chinatown fighting the new comer Vietnamese gangs trying to take over territory. At the time, if you were of East Asian decent or looked East Asian, it was advisable to stay away from Chinatown at night because you didn't want to be mistaken for an opposite gang member. Now, in 2010, the Phila Chinatown is an easy mix of Chinese and Vietnamese that is inviting for all to come see shops and dine at delicious restaurants in the spirit of both nationalities. Also, there was and still is a hardness to Phila in general where you have to exude an air of protecting your own space or you are going to get ripped off. It is that simple, just offer a little confidence that you can handle yourself, and no one would mess with you. So, the robber at the old Peter Chinn's location, saw that I was an easy mark because I have become soft. Not until I got mad like a Phila trained M-F, did he realize who he was talking to, and he completely backed off. Yeah, that's right - don't F with me, my Phila M-F attitude has been awakened after a long sleep.

Peter Chinn's Korean BBQ Taco on Urbanspoon

December 2, 2010

Tacos Part 1

Local Taco Brentwood, TN
146 Pewitt Dr., Brentwood, TN
(615) 915-4666

Guacamole and chips

I must say I was underwhelmed at the ho-hum food, a little grossed out at the lack of table cleaning at the Sylvan Park location of Local Taco, and a little bummed out by the who-gives-a-sh!t service. I had not been back since the couple times I went in the 1st few months the Sylvan Park location has been open. BUT, location and chefs are everything, and there is a new/2nd location for the Local Taco. On the day the 2nd Local Taco opened, I happened to be be getting my hair cut just a couple doors down from the Brentwood Local Taco location, and all the hair consultants in the shop were all a-buzz over the new restaurant. They asked if I wanted in on the lunch order, and flatly said NO WAY, I don't like that food. How sad for me because the food at the Brentwood Local Taco is SO GOOD because Deb Paquette, from Zola fame, was helping her buddy start up this location, revamp and add menu items, and actually make good food. I wish that the Sylvan Park location could be this good! When I finally heard that Deb was the menu's creative director, and was actually cooking for the Brentwood location, I made a beeline to the crowded door. So, that first day I went to the new Brentwood Local Taco location, I ordered a bunch of sides, apps and tacos to go, so we could try these things at the house. Oh, everything was so good, and there were some exceptionally delicious foods that made me go back for 3 meals in a row. I didn't go to Brentwood much, but now I look for an excuse to go to Brentwood, and then swing by Local Taco.

Just a note to end this section of the blog post, I heard that Deb has finally left Nashville for warmer Caribbean beaches with her husband Ernie. They had planned to do that after closing Zola, but apparently there was a slight delay between closing Zola and getting to their warm, beautiful, beachy, laidback haven. Thank you delay for allowing the Brentwood Local Taco to be so good. I miss Zola, I will miss Ernie and Deb's cooking, and I wish Deb and Ernie much happiness in their beach paradise. Come visit often Deb and cook more for Nashville!

Cuban corn

On the Brentwood Local Taco menu are some creative tacos that Deb designed. Examples include a Mediterranean inspired lamb meatball with feta, onion, cucumber and tomato. There is another one with house smoked salmon, creama, onion and capers, which is one of my favorites. Another favorite is the grilled steak taco which is marinated tender steak strips with tomatoes and onions. These 3 are Deb creations and can only be found at the Brentwood location. As tacos go, these 3 will keep me coming back to Brentwood over and over again.

Mexi-tator tots and steak taco

There are other dishes that show off Deb's solid food style. I tried her Peruvian steak, which is a solid winner because of the the herb and avocado sauce, and the excellent cooking technique. The question I have is that whoever takes over the kitchen, do they know how to cook a steak? For a side dish, the Mexi-Tator-Tots are a solid A+ in my opinion. These tator tots are only available at the Brentwood location, and are so delicious, that I went back 3 days in a row to get an order of these yummies. How I suggest to order the Mexi-Tots are to get the spicy orange sauce on the side, and dip the tots in the sauce. 2 times I got the tots with sauce on the side, and the tots were these perfectly spiced, smooth and chuncky, crispy outside, delicious inside, balls of potato goodness. I dipped the tots in the sauce, and was in heaven with the flavors and texture of this side dish. The 1 time when I got the tots with the sauce on them, the tots got soggy. The tots actually travel well during takeout orders because they kitchen will pack up the tots in a paper container with vents, so steam escapes and the tots stay crunchy on the outside, and the orange sauce is packed in it's own little container perfect for dipping.

Mexican coke

The last thing I really like about this place is the bar. There is a full bar for beer, wine, and hard liquor. They also serve up Mexican coke made with sugar and phosphoric acid, not the American coke made with high fructose corn syrup. The Mexican coke has that original crisp taste and fizz that can only come from sugar and phosphoric acid. High fructose corn syrup can never have this quality of a fine soda. The Brentwood location also serves up 2 flavors of Jarrito's soda, there is Mandarina orange, and I think a limon lime. I am not sure how much these soda cost at the Brentwood location, but I heard they cost $5 a pop at the Sylvan Park location. That is a little odd to spend more on a soda than most any menu item at the Sylvan Park location. It is likely the Jarrito's are also now $5 at Brentwood too. If it were me, and I guess it is me when I dine out, I would not buy a Jarrito's soda at Local Taco, when I know I can spend only $1.50 at Central and South American inspired restaurants on Nolensville Rd, and spend even less for a 2 liter bottle at any ethnic market on Nolensville Rd. I really don't need soda with a meal, but it certainly is a nice treat though.

Local Taco on Urbanspoon