Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Gathering at Livingston Mercantile

The Gathering at Livingston Mercantile

Grits and Grillades (12 hour smoked pork shoulder, tomato pepper gravy, cheddar pepper grits)

         I recently had brunch with one of my good friends at a new restaurant in my hometown area (Madison County) in Mississippi called the Gathering at Livingston Mercantile. I had never heard of this restaurant, but was pleasantly surprised to visit this awesome new restaurant in the area. The minute I walked in I said to my friend "this place is sooooo Nashville!!!!".  Crystal lived in Nashville for years before she moved back to this area when she got married last year so she laughed in agreement!

          The decor is great and the service was wonderful! The food ->> Fabulous!!! The places is truly off the beaten path, but is well worth the trip. I have a feeling that it wont be long before that whole area it is located in is totally developed with new neighborhoods, other restaurants, store, etc.

I'm looking forward to my next visit back...I may try them for dinner next time!!

You can find The Gathering here on their website

- Dr. Carmen

Thursday, July 9, 2015

5th and Taylor

5th & Taylor

          One of the newest restaurants to hit the food scene in Nashville is 5th & Taylor in the Germantown neighborhood! I tried it out for an after-work social gathering with a couple of my girls a few weeks ago and loved it! Here are a couple of things a enjoyed from that evening:

 These dinner rolls are just lovely :-)

I almost could have just stuck with a 2nd order of these Sausage Cheddar biscuits (appetizer)...they are that good!!!

 This beer-can chicken is super delicious and juicy! (Note: I don't think they normally leave the can of beer with the diner, but you know his food blogger asked them to lol!). The mashed potatoes are perfect with this chicken!

 How dang-on awesome is this dessert?? It's the Elvis Moon Pie complete with bananas, peanut butter, chocolate, bacon on the bottom...AND a picture of Elvis crafted in chocolate right there on the plate!!!

❒  Reservations are highly suggested
❒  I love that they offer complimentary valet parking (remember to tip the valet!)
❒  They have a pretty large outdoor patio with it's own bar!
❒  It's pretty easy to find because the address is self explanatory - 5th & Taylor Streets (lol)

- Dr. April

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bacardi Rum Factory Tour Puerto Rico

Bacardi Rum Factory Tour Puerto Rico

         In my previous post I detailed the "EAT" component of my recent Eat. Pray. Dream. Vacation to San Juan, Puerto Rico. One of those stops along my culinary journey involved a trip to the Bacardi Rum Factory for a tour of the facilities.

         Bacardi is the largest producer of rum in the entire world and it was awesome to be able to see the history of the family owned company as well as the process behind how the rum is made.

Bacardi Rum Factory

           Don Facundo Bacardí Massó immigrated to Santiago de Cuba in 1830 when he set up business as a wine merchant and importer. Within a few years, he began to experiment with the distillation of rum. After years of experimentation he achieved a breakthrough that revolutionized the manufacture of rum and eventually transformed it from a local Caribbean beverage into an internationally consumed spirit.

         The new type of rum, Bacardí, much lighter and milder than the local spirits, became the local favorite. On February 4, 1862, Don Facundo Bacardí and his brother, José, bought a small tin distillery which included a copper cast iron alembic. With this the stage was set for Don Facundo to revolutionize the spirit industry. (From the Bacardi Website)

Bacardi Rum Factory

We jumped on one of the tour buses which drove us around the property and gave us a history of the company
Bacardi Rum Factory

 An example of one of the earlier types of barrels that held the rum as it matured
Bacardi Rum Factory

Many parts of the tour were off limits to photography, as it should be, but we were able take pictures again once we got to this part of the tour - a bar type environment set up with the various types of drinks crafted from the Bacardi Rum!
Bacardi Rum Factory

Parting gifts are always great :-). The tour admission includes a commemorative glass along with a Rum cocktail!
Bacardi Rum Factory

          The Bacardi Rum Factory is in the Cantano area of the island and isn't within walking distance of San Juan. We took a cab there and back with a cool cab driver named Guilermo! We paid him $80, round trip, and he acted as our personal chauffeur - he drove us there, stayed until we were done, then drove us back to our hotel. There are certainly cheaper methods of getting there but sometimes spending a little money for convenience is worth it!

For more info about the Bacardi Factory or if you're interested in taking a tour, visit their website here --->

- Dr. April

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The EAT in EAT. Pray. Dream. Puerto Rico

The "EAT" in EAT. Pray. DREAM Puerto Rico!

          I recently made an impromptu trip to one of the most amazing places I've ever visited -San Juan, Puerto Rico! This trip went from idea to actualization in about a month's time. It's one of the most awesome vacations I've taken in a long time because there was no stress involved in planning the trip. I first shared an overview of the trip on my Life Leadership Blog in a blog post HERE

San Juan Puerto Rico

Dr Carmen April Puerto Rico

          It all started from a conversation I had with a good friend of mine saying that in 2015 I wanted to travel someplace out of the country that I've never been before. I've wanted to travel to Puerto Rico for a long time - over 10 yrs, but have never had the opportunity because of school, residency, starting my medical practice, etc.

          I really needed a vacation and when she said she could use one to, it was game on!! Puerto Rico was at the top of my list of places to go so I booked my ticket and the hotel room and less than a month later I was kicked back with my feet in the sand on the beautiful beaches of San Juan, Puerto Rico!

(Yep, these are really my feet in the sand lol! I took this with my iPhone)

          There was no itinerary, no agenda. For the 4 days we were there we didn't really decide until each morning where we planned to go and what we planned to do that day!

          I considered this an EAT. Pray. Dream. Vacation! As I mentioned previously, I've already shared the "Pray" and "DREAM" aspects of the trip HERE on my other blog and now I'm sharing with you some of the EAT component I enjoyed during this trip to Paradise!



 Asere,  Cubano Kitchen and Bar

           This was the very first restaurant we dined at the first evening in San Juan and it surely set the tone for everything else good we would encounter during the trip! Because we dined outside on the patio and it started to get dark shortly after we arrived, I couldn't take as many pictures as I would like (y'all know I can't STAND using on-camera flash with food photography lol! )

Just trust me on this one...the food and ambiance was AMAZING!!!

Asere Puerto Rico
(This photo from the restaurant Facebook Page)

 White Sangria
Asere Puerto Rico

Asere Puerto Rico
 (This photo is from the Restaurant Facebook page)

 Ocean Bar and Grill at The Ritz Carlton Hotel San Juan

          This restaurant is literally right on the beach connected with the Ritz Carlton and is simply gorgeous! We dined on the patio and soaked up the beautiful sun! This lunch was part of my totally relaxing day at the Ritz Carlton Spa - pure luxury :-)
Ritz Carlton Spa Puerto Rico

Cuban Sandwich (one of my favorite kind of sandwiches EVER!)
Ritz Carlton San Juan

I love a great spa day - Spa Manicure, Relaxation room, lunch on the patio, Steam room and whirlpool! Dreaming of my next trip back there :-)
Dr Carmen April Relaxation


Mojito's Restaurant in Old San Juan

(Here's a link to it on Trip Advisor)

Pork is a staple of most Puerto Rican restaurant menus! It's usually cooked so well that no added sauce is needed.
Mojito's Restaurant Puerto Rico

 Amazing tropical cheesecake for dessert :-)
Mojito's Restaurant Puerto Rico



Oceano Puerto Rico
 (From the Oceano Website)

         Oceano......How I love thee!!! This restaurant is right across the street from the hotel we stayed in and the first visit there had us hooked for the rest of the trip!! Not only is the place chic and gorgeous, but the food is out of this world!!! 

All of the pictures below are pics I captured either on my iPhone or my DSLR camera and really show just how beautiful this place is. We literally went back a couple of times in the few days we were there...hehe!
Dr. Carmen April Puerto Rico
Just me basking in the gorgeous sun of Puerto Rico :-)

Oceano Puerto Rico

Oceano Puerto Rico

Oceano Puerto Rico

Oceano Puerto Rico

Oceano Puerto Rico

Oceano Puerto Rico
The restaurant at night!



waikiki puerto rico

           I wanted to certainly visit this restaurant because it is co-owned by the owners of one of my favorite Puerto Rican Restaurants in Nashville - Salsa!

            As you can see, it was night time when we visited so my photos aren't the clearest, but you get the picture!! The food was amazing including that Seafood Pasta...Yum!! The ocean is literally on the other side of that white wall and it was so calming to hear the waves crashing along the shore during dinner :-)

waikiki puerto rico


Bazille at Nordstom

Bazille Nordstrom Puerto Rico

          I LOVE a good Nordstrom restaurant and this one, Bazille, is in the brand new Mall of San Juan!! This new luxury shopping mall had only been open for about 3 weeks when we visited and some of the restaurants and stores were still being added. However, all I needed to know was that this one in Nordstrom was open and I was happy! We sat outside on the deck and enjoyed the weather and this great lunch!

Bazille Nordstrom Puerto Rico

Bazille Nordstrom Puerto Rico


The Bacardi Rum Factory

Bacardi Rum Factory

            I'm actually creating a separate post for the Bacardi Rum Factory and I'll post that in a couple of days. Once I do I'll also create a link here leading to it!

          As I said earlier, Puerto Rico is absolute Paradise!!! The island is beautiful, the people are beautiful, the food is beautiful and the energy is beautiful! The dining experience alone is enough to make me want to take a monthly trip to the island lol!

 I'll be back....sooner than later :-)

- Dr. April

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

2015 Ragin Cajun Crawfish Boil

2015 Ragin' Cajun Crawfish Boil

          The 16th Annual Ragin’ Cajun Crawfish Boil is on Saturday, April 11th from 4pm to 9pm at Cumberland Park. Tickets include all-you-can-eat crawfish and sides along with all-you-can-drink beer and live entertainment. This annual event is hosted by the Nashville Junior Chamber with proceeds benefiting the Special Olympics of Tennessee.
          I've volunteered at the Crawfish Boil's Beer Pour Station the past 4 years and have had a bast! Prior to my shift each year I arrive early to enjoy my share of Crawfish and all the fixin's. 

Over 2,000 people attend this annual event and 3,000 pounds of fresh crawfish are provided. To view the 2015 entertainment line up, visit:

Tickets on sale now! Get $5 OFF using the code "NERD"!!

Early Bird Ticket: $39.95 (SOLD OUT)
Does not include early entry, just a discounted price for purchasing early

Includes: early entry at 3pm, VIP air-conditioned bathroom, separate beer line, and a free 22-ounce beer stein

General Admission:
$44.95 until April 4th
$49.95 from April 5th – April 11th
$55 at the door (if available)
 This wonderful event is presented by the Nashville Junior Chamber
- Dr. April

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pink Goes Red for Heart Disease Awareness

Pink Goes Red for Heart Disease Awareness

          Let me first start with a confession.....I actually started this post last year (Yes, like 2014!!!!). Somehow it got lost in the shuffle and I'm just now realizing that I never posted it lol! 

          However, I put this post together in observance on the American Heart Association's "Go Red For Women" Campaign and the program that my sorority chapter (The Kappa Lambda Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc ) did to recognize this day last February. Since my Sorority's official colors are Pink & Green, we call our event "Pink Goes Red for Heart Disease Awareness"

          This "Go Red For Women Campaign occurs every year in February and since we are once again in it is!!

Go Red For Women

          I was responsible for coming up with some cute, heart-healthy snacks for our event. I cut out hearts in these apples simply by using a heart-shaped cookie cutter to punch out and remove only the skin of the apple. I then brushed the exposed area of the inside of the apple with lemon-juice - it prevents the apple from turning brown in response to oxidation!!
Heart Disease Awareness

The next items I created where Yogurt Parfaits using Vanilla yogurt, cherries and granola - layered on top of each other to give the traditional parfait appearance. I found some cute heart-shaped stickers to attach to the spoon handles and added them to each parfait as decoration!
Yogurt Parfait

Cute, right?!?!?
Heart Disease Awarness

Here are some of the other heart-healthy snacks we had available for our guests.....

And yes, that's me discussing some heart-health facts to our attendees. Did you know that 1 in 3 women in the United States dies of Heart Disease every year??? That is a staggering statistic that we must lower in this country! Adopting healthy eating habits and getting proper exercise are 2 major ways of doing so.
Heart Disease Awareness

What are doing doing today to keep your heart healthy??????

-- Dr. April

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Prima Nashville

Fine Dining at Prima Restaurant

One of the latest Fine Dining Restaurants to descend upon Nashville is Prima! I visited Prima on a chilly Sunday afternoon recently and had a meal that warmed my appetite and my spirit :-)

The restaurant is absolutely beautiful  - ambiance, interior decor, and the staff. 
Prima Nashville

          Once I was guided to my seat, the hostess whisked my coat off to coat-check, a minor but major detail, in my book.

          Check out how gorgeous the table settings are :-). Another awesome touch that I love at Prima is that the waitress brings out both a White AND a Black napkin on a silver platter and you, as the diner, decide which color you would like!

Prima Nashville

 And yes, this is one of the many gorgeous lighting fixtures that adorn this restaurant!
Prima Nashville

 This may look like a regular loaf of bread with the accompanied butter, but let me tell you...........
Prima Nashville
 This bread is laid over the grill and has a delicious "smokey" flavor and aroma!

           For my main course I decided to go with the Braised Rabbit -Absolutely delicious! I'm glad I went with the Mashed Potatoes as my side - it matched perfectly with the rabbit.
Prima Nashville

This is the "Oblea" that I enjoyed for dessert! It's made of Dulce De Leche, Goat's Milk, Caramel, Cinnamon and a whole lot of goodness!
Prima Nashville

I highly recommend Prima for you next Fine Dining Experience in Nashville!

You can find Prima online at

AND in person at 

700 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37203 (In The Gulch)

-Dr. April