Lannae's Food and Travel

I hope you like my food and travel blog.

August 30, 2012


pulled pork sandwich

There has been so much change in the 12th Ave South area over the past dozen years.  When we first moved here, there was a really sad and scary daycare center, a carwash that never really worked and was more about unsavory people hanging out near it at night, a convenient store where flatbed truck driving "contractor" types would buy a suitcase full of beer at 7 a.m. and various gunshots heard now and again.  Then, Laurell's moved into a brick building on the north side of the 12th Ave S commerce area.  Laurell's was ahead of its time. I would stop in to get etouffee or other take out containers for dinner at home.  Laurell's had really good oyster and New Orlean's inspired food when there wasn't anything else like it in Nashville.  It was a sad day in 1999 when Laurell's just could not make a go of it in the old neighborhood.  Laurell's was awesome and I still think fondly of Laurell's, but because the area was just a bit burnt out at the time, and no new development or neighborhood clean up was coming in, Laurell's just couldn't hold up the neighborhood on her own.  I still wish we had Laurell's on the street, but maybe someday Laurell's will be reborn in this now healthy neighborhood.

Now, over a dozen years later on the street, there are some very popular restaurants, coffee shops, and some very interesting shops to walk into.  A dozen years and a dozen+ stores later, 12th Ave S is now a destination.  We haven't heard gunshots in years, and haven't seen unsavory characters loitering at the carwash, well because the defunct carwash is gone.  The scary daycare center is also gone.  One business that has been around forever was Harb's Rug Shop, and my neighbor, a real old timer family from the turn of the previous century, considered Harb's as a staple of our neighborhood and always thought Harb's would be around forever.  It was a big surprise to all the old timer neighbors when Harb's closed its 12th Ave S store front and started building out Edley's.  We were afraid, rumors were flying that the Harb Howell's sold out, starting a crappy chain BBQ joint, going to have a sports bar bbq in there with a lot of whooping and hollering, etc.  We just don't need another place with SUV road hogging @ssholes clogging up our street while double parking to go to Edley's.  Even on pre-opening day, Edley's staff invited neighborhood and special guests for an evening at Edley's and it was disgusting with Qdob@ food being offered, not Edley's bbq.  "What did the Howell's do?" we all asked because they were starting out far behind the 8 ball and none of were impressed.

Well, luckily time did tell, and Edley's IS NOT A CHAIN (rumors were untrue!!), has good pork BBQ, good BBQ wings, and has become a favorite hangout for many people of us in the 'hood.  My pal from a few blocks away, him and and his family are there every afternoon after church.  Other neighbors and I have these happy conversations about Edley's and we all like the pulled pork and wings!  The price point is right for us.  The problem I have (it isn't really a problem) is that Edley's serves too many wings in one order, and it is too much for me to eat.  We haven't quite found the side that we love yet, and we might not.  I didn't love the collards because it was too spicy hot and cayenne peppery.  I didn't love the baked beans, but I don't hate them.  The mac and cheese was dry, grainy and gummy (like the cheese sauce broke into a cottage cheese lumpy thing and the whey water was adsorbed by the noodles making the dish dry) every time I've gone at lunch and dinner.  It is house made mac and cheese, not food distributor, which is a big plus, but the recipe does not hold up to a warmer/steam table waiting to be served.  If I ever get the nerve, I may ask them to re-think the mac and cheese to be able to sit on in a warmer before being served.  Or, maybe serve a cheesey potato instead, that can hold up to a warming table.  I still have a bunch of other sides to taste, and will likely find at least one that wows me, or at least be my go-to side.  The room is really comfortable, and is going to be a great place to go with the roll top doors wide open during a nice spring or fall day.  We like the bar too.  So you have to go to the food line for food, and bar line for bar, but if you don't want the bar, you don't have to stand in that line.  That save time for everyone.  If you want only the bar, that is cool too.

During football season, I will see you and my neighbors at  Edley's!  That is if we can find a seat.

August 21, 2012

The Colonel

 Replica of Colonel Sanders

I travel the region quite a bit, and Corbin, KY is no exception.  For about a decade I have driven right by the home and birthplace of the legendary Colonel Sanders' Kentucky Fried Chicken in Corbin, KY, and I never went in until now.  There were a couple thoughts going through my mind as I pulled in to the parking lot at the Harland Sanders Museum and Cafe: 1. Is fried chicken I am about to order for dinner going to be as goods as I remember from being a kid in the '70s (on the rare occasion that my mom did not cook dinner), and 2. Is my experience going to Corbin, KY going to be like that of Peter Griffin.

Peter Griffin visits Corbin KY looking for Colonel Sanders

I admit that for the decade of driving in and around Corbin, my mind flashes to the 19 second Family Guy gag of Peter Griffin trying to go meet Colonel Sanders in Corbin, KY, and the KFC employee is trying to tell Peter Griffin that the Colonel is dead.

Historic Marker

So I pull into the parking lot, and the building is quaint on the outside, and I got out of the car to read the official historic marker.  It talks about the Colonel Harland Sanders starting a restaurant in Corbin, KY in 1932, and took his recipes on the road in 1956.  That got me thinking about how much I liked the gravy and chicken as kid, and my hopes were high that this KFC location will take my taste  buds back to my childhood.

Front Door

I really think something changed with KFC in the 1980s when RJ Reynolds and Pepsi Co bought and sold the brand.  The gravy and chicken crust is not like what I remember as a kid, and I stopped eating KFC back in the 1980s because it wasn't what I remembered, the flavor and texture wasn't quite like the Colonel's original recipes from the 1970s.  So, on this recent day, I went in and ordered a two piece extra crispy meal with mashed potatoes, gravy and a biscuit thinking somehow Corbin will take me back to the the old ways.  It did not.  The potatoes were a stiff and pasty, the gravy didn't have that roasted chicken flavor I remembered, and the biscuit was cold and crumbly.  As for the chicken, the crust was ok, but tasted a bit like raw flour, and had a less than crunchy texture.  The chicken inside was hard, dry, stringy and grey indicating the chicken is frozen, and/or was cooked and sat too long under the heat lamps to dry out the chicken and make the crust a bit floury and limp.  I ate a few bites of each item on my tray, I ate enough of this meal to hold me over until morning, but I threw the rest out because I just did not care for it.  The quality, flavor and texture here is no different than any other franchise location in the USA, and it is unfortunate that I was hoping for something special here in Corbin.  I guess it is my problem and expectation, rather than really thinking through the reality of getting a meal here.

Original Kitchen Replica

It is a shame that the rest of the world gets this current type of fried chicken and may think this is representative of southern fried chicken.  Fried chicken in the South is so much better.  There are a lot of people in the South USA who make their family's fried chicken recipes either for their families or at a mom and pop shop.  Part of my expanding waistline is because there are some excellent fried chicken joints in the south where the cooks do take a lot of pride in their recipes, just like Colonel Harland Sanders did 80 years ago.  So far though, for my travels though TN, KY, GA, AL, MS, MO, NC and SC, I have tasted excellent fried chicken (and some not so excellent), and gravy on potatoes, and none taste like the memory of Kentucky Fried Chicken of my childhood.  So, Colonel, I believe your secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices is still a secret.

Original Recipe Card

After my attempt at KFC dinner, I bussed my tray and went to look at the few museum displays.  I did enjoy looking at recipe cards.  At one time, Colonel Sanders gave away recipe cards for his salad dressings and side items for people who dined in his restaurant.  His chicken recipe remained a secret and he never gave away that recipe card.  I enjoyed looking at his baked beans recipe, and it is complex with some surprise ingredients like cinnamon, cayenne and ginger.  I also enjoyed looking at a replica of bedrooms that were available at the Inn portion of the original restaurant and inn because the display was a bit hokey.  

Recipe Cards

After looking at the replica bedrooms, I had one final thought about Colonel Sanders and Eastern Kentucky:  who stayed in his inn?  Corbin is in Eastern Kentucky coal country, and there were big coal companies in the 1930s, 40s during the war effort, and the early 50s before steam engines went to diesel and petroleum.  Even Henry Ford owned part of a neighboring mountain and coal mine to harvest coal to keep his plants running.  Did Henry Ford, other big mine executives stay with the Colonel and had dinner each evening at the inn and restaurant?  Who stayed there and got to enjoy the real deal Colonel Harland Sanders' recipes?

August 15, 2012

Dinner for 16

My pals and I hosted a local, local organic, local biodynamic organic dinner for 20 people (16 adults and 4 teens) total.   The whole theme was having a dinner with all local ingredients.  Beverages, appetizers, main dishes, and dessert were all locally sourced.  Despite the 7 weeks of no rain and drought, we are actually having a decent yield from local farmers and the backyard.

Veggie Center Piece

The menu and dinner started out with happy hour including drinks and appetizers.  The appetizers included cantaloupe (Pikeville) wrapped in TennShoeToe smoked air dried ham (Hamery M'boro), a cheese board including smoked cheddar (Sweetwater Valley) St Jerome and a St Jerome with blue veins (Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese), awesome pickles including grapes, butternut squash, plums, turnips and carrots (Pickle Me This, East Nashville), caprese salad skewers with purple and yellow tomatoes (The Farm Summertown) basil (my organic backyard) and fresh mozzarella balls (Lazzaroli Pasta Shoppe), and gazpacho (Swafford Farm Pikeville).   The guests were arriving and mingling and enjoying themselves.  The pickles were the favorite of the crowd.  These pickles are not like cucumber pickles from the grocery store, rather they are spicy, sweet and sour in all the right places on the tongue.  

Watermelon Agua Fresca

We started off with the beverages, both non-alcholic and alcoholic.  Henry, one of the teens at the dinner is a real chef.  He loves trying interesting things, and he likes making plates and food presentations look great.  Look at the watermelon aqua fresca bowl.  Henry carved the top of the watermelon with a paring knife, one cut at a time.  He made the aqua fresca with no added sugar or honey, and the watermelon water was just delightful.

Other Beverages

Other beverages include water, filtered from the tap (Cumberland River water via Metro Water), Yazoo porter, Jackelope saison, and Beachaven Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.   Everyone enjoyed and partook in the Cumberland River water, and felt refreshed drinking it.  We liked the beer.  We enjoyed the wine too, except the Zinfandel. We were not expecting the Zin to be so sweet like a grape syrup.   So, off the Zinfandel went into my crock of vinegar to become vinegar.  

Yellow and Purple cherry tomatoes

After about an hour of sipping and snacking, it was time to move to the dining room and have our sit down dinner portion of the evening.  The main courses included vegetarian and meat eating options.  The pasta course included a vegetarian pasta dish made of small shell pasta (Lazzaroli Pasta Shoppe) mixed with basil, thyme, oregano, garlic, cayenne (my organic garden), garlic scapes, garlic, butternut squash (Barefoot Farmer), water (Metro Water Cumberland River) and soy sauce (Bluegrass Soy Sauce).  The meat eating pasta is just like the veggie pasta, but small diced Benton's Bacon was added to the mix.

Caprese Salad Skewers

The meat course was a dry rub roasted brisket (Wind Acres via Porter Road Butcher East Nashville).  The dry rub, was made  by the gourmet chef of the house, my pal's 12 year old son.  The kid is already reading gourmet cooking magazines like Gourmet, Cook's Illustrated, and others.  He has learned how to sugar crystallized basil leaves, mastering Jeni's Ice Cream recipes, and combining herbs and spices for the brisket dry rub.  OK, do I admit this, the kid cooked most of the dishes, yes he did.  He was the one who made the cantaloupe and smoked ham, the caprese salad, the brisket dry rub and the ice cream.  He just might be the next Eric Ripert.  Kid, invite me over anytime for your culinary creations!

Spicy Pickles

The vegetable portion of the dinner included a ratatouille (Swaffords Farm, Smiley Farm,  Nashville Farmer's Market) and a fresh cucumber salad with onion (Barefoot Farmer, Bells Bend Neighborhood Farms) and my red wine vinegar (27 year old starter Northampton MA). 

Cheese Board

The ratatouille was a work of art.  The host got all the veggies or the ratatouille with all being about the same diameter.  He has a small handheld mandolin and he sliced all the veggies one slice at a time. Then in a huge roasting pan, he arranged all the thinly sliced ratatouille veggies in a beautiful spiral pattern.  We oo-ed and ah-ed at the lovely dish.  The best part about the dish is that is is pretty and delicious at the same time.


The cucumber salad is the 1st cucumber salad I ever made.  I called my Iowa pal, for how to make it because she is the master of diced fresh vegetable yumminess.  She offered up her recipe and I ran with it.  So, I diced up cucumbers and onions (Barefoot Farmer and Bells Bend farms) and added salt and fresh ground black pepper and stirred the diced veggies.  I let that sit for a minute while I mixed up the vinegar portion in a bowl.  I mixed red wine vinegar (my crock) and water (Metro Water Cumberland River) with fresh dill (Barefoot Farmer), thyme, cayenne (my organic garden), and honey (my friend's bee hive).  At the time I was done making the vinegar portion, the salt allowed the cucumbers to give a little moisture.  I put the cucumbers in a Ziplock baggie, and Ipoured the red wine vinegar mix over the cucumbers and I mooshed them around.  I tasted it right away, and it was kind of bad.  I crossed my fingers, and let the cucumbers marinate for about 4 hours in the fridge to be ready for dinner.  Thank goodness, it all worked out and the cucumbers came together.  It was actually one of dinner guest's favorite dish.

Ratatouille before baking 

The dessert portion of the meal included two desserts.  Blueberry bars and basil lemon ice cream.  My pals did such a nice job making the desserts.

Ratatouille after baking

The blueberries I picked in early July and froze them.  When I went to pick the berries, it was about 103F and at the end of a 7 week drought with not one drop of water.  These berries are a secret little feral blueberry patch that does not get irrigated and are completely natural.   We actually had an early spring, so the berries peaked about a month earlier, so what was on the bushes were a lot of dried up blueberries.  There were some that were ripe, but very small, meaty and quite flavorful instead of plump and juicy because of the lack of rain.  So, I went out in early July at about noon and it was hot.  I thought I would be ok if I were just out there for an hour or 2, because heck, I actually worked outside all week in heavy clothing and it was a piece of cake.  Picking berries was going to be a walk in the park with shorts and flip flops on. So, as I picked the berries, there were quite a few briar thorns from some other opportunistic plants intermingled with the blueberries, and my hands and arms were getting ripped up.  Some briars were catching in my hair and clothing.  Sigh, I slogged on.  Then after about two hours, I called it quits, and was so hot, did not have cold water in the car and I was miles from civilization.  I was by myself and in trouble.  Since I work outside a lot in the summer, I recognized my own symptoms I was in heat exhaustion and heading down the path to heat stroke.  Dumb me, I know better.  At work, we are quite serious about worker safety, and NEVER EVER let anyone get to this point, we have annual training about this, and unsafe behavior is not allowed!  At this temperature, policy at work is to take mandatory breaks in a cool area, drink plenty of cool water and gatorade.  I have worked outside in the summer for over 20 years, and I have never been in heat exhaustion before.  Anyway, I got myself in the car, sweating (a lot - gross but at least a good sign) dry heaving (bad sign), and got myself safely to the closest convenient store with AC and gatorade, ice and water.  I stayed there sipping water and gatorade until I felt better.   Well, you know it, I am never going to make this mistake ever again.  Hydrate, shade, rest in a cool place BEFORE any heat exhaustion symptoms show up!

I just hope that everyone thought the blueberry bars were the best blueberry bars they have ever eaten!  I know they were the best I have eaten!  

Blueberry bars

And the dessert that everyone thought was quite unique, the basil lemon ice cream made with a Jeni's Ice Cream recipe.  The basil is from my pal's backyard, and the milk came from Hatcher and JD Dairies.  The three flavors were lemon with a little basil, a lemon-basil, and a basil with a little lemon.  The trio of ice cream was served with the kid's crystallized basil leaf as garnish.  But, the back story is that the ice cream was made in 4 batches.  But you say there were only 3 flavor profiles. Yes, you are right.  The 1st batch, the whole kitchen was able to enjoy the flavored cream.  As the ice cream base was whirling in the the blender, the blender decided to give way and splash basil cream all over the kitchen!  Ah, the kitchen never tasted so good!  My pals, they wanted a new blender anyway, so day two with a new blender they created these creamy desserts.

Basil Lemon ice cream

The evening came to a close, and we were all stuffed.  The company was great, conversation was great, and the food and beverages were great.  It was really fun to see people with a look of surprise with some of the flavors they never had before, like the smoke air dried ham, the basil ice cream, and the pickles.  It was fun to hear people say how pretty the ratatouille platter was.  We enjoyed critiquing the wine.  I decided that I don't get to see some of these guests enough during the year, and I hope to enjoy their company more in the up coming months and years.  

August 9, 2012

Gluten Free

Gluten Free Cooking Class
with Sam Tucker

corn flour

Sam Tucker, pastry chef at Watermark, and former sous chef and current friend of Laura Wilson of Grow Local Kitchen, offered a gluten free cakes and muffin class at the Nashville Farmer's Market.  I am interested because it seems that the older I get, the less tolerant I am of wheat.  There is a lot to love about wheat products, but they just don't love me back.  It was great to take a class with Sam because his household lives gluten free.  And not only his house, he has a whole gluten free portion of his dessert lineup at Watermark too!  Yes, you read that correctly, if you dine at Watermark, and are gluten free, you CAN have dessert and eat it too!  He wants everyone to be included in the dining experience, including dessert, so he always has a gluten free dessert.

sponge cake batter

So this is what I learned, Bob's Red Mill has gluten free flour, and the company tests the flour to make sure that there is no detectable gluten in what they sell.  If you want to get your own flour, teff flour is good and is the same stuff that injera is made.  Millet (amaranth) flour and quinoa flour are also gluten free.  The blend that Sam likes best, and he thinks it resembles wheat flour quite well is equal portions of almond flour, brown rice flour and white rice flour.  Tapioca flour, the same stuff use in some white noodle covered dim sum, is also a nice flour to cook with.  

We learned how to make a sponge cake, and zucchini bread without wheat flour.  Part of the technique I learned was that you can't cream the butter or butter - egg mixture too much.  The more blending and beating, the more air gets mixed into the butter and eggs, and the lighter and fluffier the cake or muffin will be.  And when adding flour, don't put it in the mixer, gently fold in the flour until incorporated so that the air bubbles don't deflate. 

There were a few mulling around after class, and Sam showed us how to make a pate a choux.  A pate a choux is a dough that can be used for beignets, eclairs, and gluten free buns.  The pate a choux is made by boiling a liquid, and then stirring in flour until it "dries".  Then after it looks dry, add eggs until the dough is a wet dough that folds quickly under the finger test.  This is a similar method to make har gau dim sum noodle wrappers, but I have never seen anyone make it before, and now I have.  I have some confidence to try making both pate a choux and har gau noodles. 

sponge cake

I am having a ball taking all these classes offered at 4:30 pm on Sunday afternoon.  I have taken fermentation 101, canning, whole fish, oysters, and now gluten free baking.  I learned how to make kim chi, sour kraut, gluten free muffins and cake, and how to cook a full dinner with whole fish and oysters.      There are offal classes, and butchering classes too, which I am interested in.  Until next time!

August 3, 2012

Darlene to the Rescue!

(located in Green Hills inside the 
Famous Fox's Donut Den!)

This story is too good to pass up!  I was recently invited to a beautiful wedding in Nashville.  The bride, she is just a beautiful bride like you would see in the bridal magazines.  The groom, he is tall dark and handsome.  They are the couple fairy tales are made of.  The bride and groom's families and friends obviously love the bride and groom, and the families were looking forward to this wedding day for a long time.  The bride and groom planned this joyous occasion for about a year.  The reception went off without a hitch and was spectacular.

After the ceremony, we headed to the reception.  We walked in and it was so tastefully decorated, the food and drink stations were around the room, and the beautiful wedding cake and groom's cake were on tables in the center of the room.  We ooo-ed and ahh-ed at the cakes and went about our way through the reception.  At our table of 10, we finished our meal, and we were all saying how "chilled out" this wedding is.  The bridal party and parents all seems so composed.  The air about the reception was enjoyable and relaxed.  Everything seemed to be going picture perfectly.  Then, it was time for the bride and groom to cut the cake.  We got up to see this part of the reception and the bride and groom are so sweet and nice, so there was no cake-in-face smashing for them.   They both each got a nice taste of cake, and they each got champagne to toast each other.  This cake cutting was just heart warming, and a perfect end to a lovely wedding ceremony and wedding reception.

Then, I see the mother of the bride, she is chatting with group of family friends, and her friends all said, "Hey, you gotta hear this!!"  At 6 a.m., the day of the wedding, the mother of the bride goes to the original cake baker, the baker they opted for nearly a year ago, and found the doors locked and no wedding cake to be had.  It turns out that the original baker was hospitalized and in serious health, and did not bake the wedding cake.  YIKES!  So, the mother of the bride, starts calling around to every cake baker in Nashville, and Darlene's Cakes ( was the only one picking up the phone at 6:15 a.m. because Darlene is at work at 6 a.m. everyday, and open until midnight everyday, AND Darlene has free cake delivery anywhere in the Nashville area!  So, the mother of the bride asked Darlene, can you deliver a cake and groom's cake to a wedding in less than 12 hours? Darlene said, "YES!"  OK folks, if you know anything about wedding cakes, they don't appear "Poof!" in 12 hours unless you are the AMAZING Darlene!  The mother of the bride wants everyone to know how Darlene magically made the wedding cake and groom's cake appear, and how Darlene saved the day and delivering the cakes on time before the beginning of the reception.

 Darlene's Cakes ( delivered a four (4) tiered wedding cake and a grooms cake in less than 12 hours.   The cake was moist, and delicious.  The top tier of the cake went home with the bride and groom for their 1st anniversary celebration.  The other tiers, there were strawberry, almond and vanilla swirl.  The grooms cake was chocolate.  It was the best cake I have ever eaten in Nashville.  Most people who know me, know I don't like cake, but Darlene's Cakes are exceptional, and I just loved tasting the cake.

So folks in Nashville, if you have cake or cupcake needs, Darlene is your cake baker!  She can pull off anything!

And to the newly-weds, may you have a lifetime of blessings, joy and happiness together!

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