Lannae's Food and Travel

I hope you like my food and travel blog.

January 27, 2011

Nature's Beauty

frost ribbon

It has been a snowy and cool winter here in Nashville, and it kind of reminds me of my time in Boston. But, down here, there is a lot more open fields and natural walkways along creeks and rivers than in Boston, so it is easier to enjoy the natural winter splendor in Nashville than in Boston. One of nature's beautiful winter gift are frost ribbons in fields of mature grasses. Take a look the beautiful frost ribbon above. The frost is so thin and delicate, it breaks into small icy shards when I tried to pick it up. December 2010 was the 1st time I have ever seen this type of thing before. Have you seen this? Have you grown up with this? If so, drop me a line in comments or emails and let me know how nature makes this pretty frost ribbon.

January 21, 2011

Giant Turnip

This giant turnip was grown by one of my CSA - Bells Bend Neighborhood Farms. This turnip is really heavy and the biggest turnip I have ever seen. It reminds me of the children's tale of the giant turnip.

January 15, 2011

Cheesy Comfort Food

the grilled cheese sandwich

The deal is Chrystal uses Tennessee made ingredients in her grilled cheese sandwiches including Silke's bread, Benton's bacon, and Sweetwater cheese. There is a soy based cheese Chrystal offers for the vegans, but in my opinion, what is the point of a a grilled "cheese" when you don't want the cheese. The concept is simple, get on the tweet or facebook listing for the Grilled Cheeserie, find out where they are going to be, and go order a grilled cheese. You can choose the type of bread, type of cheese, and any other type of filling on the daily changing menu that you may want. Chrystal cooks it up, and voila! A perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Chrystal offers soups such as the classic tomato soup on the side as well, and that is usually only an additional $1. Talk about the ultimate comfort food.

the truck

If you see the truck, stop in for a snack or meal. My observation is that this food truck was started in the cold winter months. It is a bit questionable to start this biz in cold weather which people don't like to be outside. I wonder how business is. I wonder if business will pick up for this delightful truck when spring hits. I wonder what the strategy was to open this mobile food truck during the coldest time of year.

Grilled Cheeserie on Urbanspoon

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January 7, 2011

Traditional NYE

For 3 years in a row, we have decided to take our New Year's Eve meal at City House, followed up by a little Yee-Hawing sounds from Old Crow Medicine Show. Great meal, happy crowd, good music made for a really nice evening to greet the New Year. May we have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

the open kitchen

cotechino over lentils
collard green rolls with rocotta and tomato sauce

clabber cream with fennel, radish and cauliflower
egg salad, smoked trout on toast

gnocchi over broccoli rabe

mushroom lasagna

beef ragu over grits

seafood crepe

choco upside down cake

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January 2, 2011

Mad Donnas

brunch - southwestern omelet, avocado bacon Swiss burger

Sorry the photos are so bad and grainy, they are from a camera phone. My trusty Canon Elph has finally started to fail. My flash smokes. Has this happened to anyone? Can I fix it? What does that mean? The camera can still take photos just fine without a flash, but the flash smokes every time. Any suggestions about a new camera that can take an SD Card? I just bought another SD card, so I want to get another camera with SD card technology.

A few weeks ago, I just got back into town after an exhausting few days of eating some really bad banquet food that I normally don’t eat. There was a lot of rubber chicken served at this event, and not many veggies were available. I tried to step out of the conference center to see what there could be for restaurants or coffee, or anything that was not banquet food, there was nothing. The conference center was an island in a deserted city, and the only game in town was the conference center restaurants, bar, gift shop. Friday and Saturday night there was nowhere else to go besides the giant hotel. I felt like I was being held captive in a manufactured environment that I could not escape. It was like a Twilight Zone, no matter where I tried to go, I ended up at the same hotel restaurant or hotel bar. Everyone I asked, staff, other guests, people on the street, they all pointed me back to the doors of the hotel and conference center. I was defeated in trying to find locally grown or made food while I was in the Twilight Zone.

hot sauce bar for Bloody Mary's

When I got back, it was time for Sunday Brunch and I was too tired to cook. I wanted to go to eat somewhere that was completely opposite of giant hotel highly processed generic banquet food. The options that come into mind are always sushi, vegetarian and local. This time, I decided I wanted to go to Mad Donna, a locally owned restaurant. Mad Donna has recently revamped the menu to be more accessible to those who want a neighborhoody type feel, comfort food, bar food and fun food. The menu remains friendly to the vegetarians and vegans. Also, as usual, special orders to make a dish into vegetarian or vegan is no problem, as for no cheese, no eggs, no meat, and Billy the chef will make your meal exactly as you want. If you have an allergy to some ingredient, let them know, and Billy will not put it into your dish. It is just really easy to eat at Mad Donna’s with the widest variety of picky eaters because Mad Donna’s will adjust to what customers want and need.

We got a breakfast and a lunch item, or we both got brunch items. The southwestern omelet and the avocado bacon Swiss burger were exactly what we wanted. For Sunday Brunch, the mac and cheeses are not on the menu because there are so many other brunch items that are, and the kitchen isn’t big enough to include the mac and cheese on Sunday. I suggest the mac and cheeses, the perfect comfort food with a twist, for lunch or dinner during the rest of the week. On Sunday, they have other fun brunch foods like Cap’n Crunch French toast and build your own Bloody Mary bar. Mad Donna’s Sunday Bloody Mary bar has all sorts of goodies. There is horseradish, lemons, hot pickles, olives, peppers, and dozens hot sauces. It was really fun looking over the hot sauces and peppers to see what was on the Bloody Mary bar, and the pickles and hot sauces are sure to help cure anyone’s hangover.

I should mention, Rachel who is the managing owner of Mad Donna's, has a concept for her dinner menu that should appeal to budget minded. There are options for dinner and daily specials that can be paired with a drink special, and you can walk out of Mad Donna's with a meal, a beer or mixed drink for less than $10. There is Tuesday taco day when you can get tacos and a Dos Perros for less than $10, or Wednesday wing day when you can get some really hot Hades chicken wings, and a cooling drink for less than $10. There are also plenty of soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches and wraps that are also under $10.

more Bloody Mary toppings

Mad Donna's is located in the old Radio Cafe location. There is a thing amongst Nashvillians in which the old-timers always give directions by the old business that has closed. Old-timers are defined as people who remember at least 1 former business in a location. This is what I mean. Today, I was giving directions to Mad Donna's by saying it is the old Radio Cafe Location at 14th and Woodland. I did not just say it is on 14th and Woodland, I had to say the old business which was the Radio Cafe. It has been many years since the Radio Cafe closed for good, and Mad Donna's started renovating and creating this restaurant and bar. Other examples are the Stoney River used to be the old Rio Bravo, or the new Pink Berry is in the old Blockbuster movie rental, next to the old Tower Records. Whatever business is in the old Tower Records is where Tower Records used to be. If people want directions in the area of where the old Tower Records used to be, I usually say it is near the old Tower Records, which closed years ago. I gave directions the other day referring to the Melrose Bowling Lanes location, which is now a big hole in the ground because of a failed and bankrupt developer. I used to get irritated by the old timers doing that to me when I first moved here, when I asked for directions, and when they would refer to the "old this place" or the "former that place". I am not sure when I became an old timer, but I am one now. I have become one of the old timers referring to the "old this place" to give directions.

Anyway, I guess I should mention the elephant in the room about Mad Donna's filing for Chapter 11 financial re-organization. I can tell you that Mad Donna's is business as usual, and you will enjoy a meal of comfort food at reasonable prices no matter what is going.

Mad Donna's on Urbanspoon