Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Kocktails and Kouture - A Meshing of Food and Fashion in The Gulch

Kocktails & Kouture - A Meshing of Food and Fashion in The Gulch

There is a fabulous new venue in Nashville that allows you to kill two birds with one stone - eating and shopping. Kocktails & Kouture is the concept created by sisters Blair and Baily Bodden that fits perfectly into one of Nashville's most hip and trendy neighborhoods - The Gulch.  Kocktails & Kouture combines Baley's expertise in dining with Blair's fashion background. In fact their parents have owned and operated a successful BBQ restaurant in Franklin for many years, Mickey Roo's, and the sisters grew up working in that restaurant.

The sisters both graduated from the University of Alabama where Blair majored in apparel and textile design. She considers herself the "creative mind" of the business. Bailey, who has a degree in marketing and management from the University of Alabama, considers herself the business savvy component to the business. While Blair lived in New York city for a while after college she ate out often to experience the culture and all the amazing things NYC has to offer. She found a cool spot called Limelight Marketplace, a marketplace that was once an episcopal church but, has since been converted to a shopping destination for everything from clothes to food and everything in between. This experience started the creative juices flowing between the two sisters and eventually Kocktails & Kouture was born.

The dining concept of Kocktails and Kouture is to create small plates in a sharing environment. Executive Chef Bryan Camp says "it's a remodeling of traditional food"! Speaking of Executive Chef Bryan Camp, he has been a chef for the past 6 years and his experience is evident in the dishes I enjoyed. He started out his culinary career learning directly from the founders of Carrabba's Restaurants - pretty cool! He has also worked as a chef for a Hilton Hotel and Bound'ry here in Nashville.

Now that you know a little bit about the background, check out pics of this chic new spot and, of course, some great shots that I took....ENJOY!

I can't say enough about the decor...it's so stylish!

The Black and White portraits and that Chandelier........WOW!


I made a quick trip over to the"Kouture" side to check out the great couture clothing...

More great portraits!

Even the menus are kouture...I love the attention to detail

Pan Seared Ahi Tuna - Tuna, soy ginger cabbage an accompanied with citrus reduction and a bit of Siracha
Not only was this dish GORGEOUS to photograph but was perfectly seasoned with flavors of the soy ginger cabbage and vegetables!

I love the aesthetics of this dish......

Caprese Salad - Fanned 4x5 tomato fanned and served with balsamic reduction, fresh milk mozzarella, roasted garlic and drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette and fresh Julienne basil

Caprese Salad is one of my favorite salads and this is my first time ever having one presented this way....Great presentation!

The Rat Pack - Jack Daniels Honey, fresh muddled apple, maple syrup, cinnamon, cranberry, ginger ale. Check out the Kocktails & Kouture Signature logo atop this drink!

I just adore the orchid added as garnish for this salad below. It's sooooo pretty!

Wait for it..........

Wait for it..........

WOW!!!! How beautiful is this salad?!?!?!

Chicken & Brown Sugar Pecan Salad - Anjou Pears, dried cranberries and sweet onion tossed in Poppyseed dressing. This salad is PERFECT!

Kocktails & Kouture is located on the ground floor of Velocity in The Gulch Condos and offers a great view of the courtyard. In fact, K&K offers courtyard seating!

Anything garnished with mint is bound to be good!

This Bananas Foster is AMAZING!

Bananas Foster - Traditional Vanilla Ice Cream with dark rum and brown sugar butter sauce. Chef Bryan coats the bananas in brown sugar then torches them with a blow torch as it were a Creme Brulee...How cool!

First of all, the presentation is beautiful - a work of art!  This dessert was so good that I ate it with a fork because I was too impatient to wait for a spoon. The ice cream was melting and seeping through the prongs in the fork but, I didn't care because as long as at least 50% of each fork full actually made it to my mouth I was satisfied! LOL

I'm speechless...........

Chicken & Goat Cheese Pizzetta - Chicken, goat cheese, five flavor Italian Cheese. The pizzetta is a great combination of flavors. The crust is crispy, doesn't have too much sauce and the goat cheese has a nice smooth, creamy texture. It is topped with lightly seasoned chicken accents.

Gotta love this presentation too!

More great pics of the decor!

I love cocktails with fun names.........Check these out!

They offer a great Weekend Brunch including Bottomless Mimosas!!!!

More from the "Kouture" side....

Fab, right!! Kocktails & Kouture is an awesome addition to the Gulch and brings this awesome meshing of food and fashion. 

Visit Kocktails & Kouture online @  www.kocktailsandkouture.com


316 11th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37203

Don't forget to check out my main website @ www.DinnerWithNerds.com

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Garden Brunch Cafe feature in Mocha Market Magazine

Hi friends! It's a nice and sunny, but really cold, day here in Nashville and I am at one of favorite coffee shops blogging away! I just realized that I never showed you all the feature that I wrote on Garden Brunch Cafe in Mocha Market Magazine a couple of months ago. Well,  here it is (better late than never, right?)!

I want to give a special shout out to Publisher Ernie Campbell and the staff at Mocha Market Magazine! I am really happy with the final magazine layout :-)

You can check out Mocha Market Magazine online @ www.mochamarket.com

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

--Dr. April

Don't forget to check out my main website @ www.DinnerWithNerds.com

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Southern Steak & Oyster - Southern Style Surf "n" Turf in the heart of Nashville

Southern Style Surf 'N' Turf in the heart of Nashville - The Southern Steak and Oyster

I experienced more than I expected on a recent visit to The Southern Steak and Oyster on the ground floor of the Pinnacle at Symphony Place in the heart of SoBro (South Broadway)! I've been to The Southern a couple of times for Sunday Brunch after church and love everything about this restaurant including the food, the decor, the service AND the even......the LADIES ROOM (more on that in a moment)!

As the name implies, you can enjoy a southern version of everything ranging from an amazing steak (One of the best I've ever had) to shrimp that tastes like it was just plucked from the ocean yesterday. Because The Southern is serious about the freshness of all of its food and ingredients, I would bet the shrimp was literally picked from the ocean in the previous day or two.

The Southern Steak and Oyster is owned by the the Founder of TomKats Catering Group, Tom Morales. He started out in the catering business, catering to the stars on movie sets and music tours. Executive Chef Matt Farley enjoyed a great career as a Chef in New York City before moving to Nashville to share all that great culinary experience with us here in the Music City. Chef Farley's right hand man, Chef Tyler Stewart gave me a run down of all the fresh ingredients that they use to create such great cuisine and he also explained what the Nudie Suit is ( more on that in a minute too!)

Check out some of the amazing dishes I tried at The Southern Steak and Oyster!

The Southern offers its own, one-of-a-kind Sauces and Signature Sauces in the restaurant and online @ www.thesouthernnashville.com

A sauce named "So good You'll want to Slap Your Mama" must be something amazing LOL!

Of course, I had to pull the hot sauce featuring my Alma Mater to the front of the shelf....GO DAWGS!!

Hemorrhoid Helper Hot Sauce: Burns Both Ways - I don't think I'm ready for this one!

More of the great sauces created by owner, Tom Morales

Cool decor!

The Southern is open for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner and everything in between so there are a couple of menus to choose from depending on the time of day you come to dine.

Like I said.......I LOVE the decor!

The Southern - "South of Somewhere"

Is it Happy Hour Yet???

The Dominican Pork Appetizer - Caribbean spiced pork atop a sweet potato grit cake and topped with mango pico. 
I love this dish because it contains so many great Caribbean flavors including mango and the perfectly seasoned pork. The avocado offers a smooth, creamy texture in the midst of all those great exciting flavors!

New Orleans Style BBQ Peel-N-Eat Shrimp - These came out piping hot and with a delicious aroma that took me straight to Bourbon Street in The Big Easy! I loved them!

The Southern has a full bar featuring many national and local brands

The Southern certainly knows their way around oysters and taught me a lesson, or two...... or three about oysters!

Wanna hear a funny story?? When I was in college at Mississippi State University I was an athletic trainer and traveled with the athletic teams. On a trip to The Big Easy, New Orleans, for the Men's SEC Basketball Championship one year, I was pressured (peer pressure is a BEAST!) into eating raw oysters by the cheerleaders! I never really like raw oysters because of the texture and this experience in New Orleans was no different. The cheerleaders encouraged me to swallow it whole but, of course, the idea of swallowing this oyster raw scared the living daylights out of me! The fear overtook my ability to actually swallow it whole causing the oyster to just sit in my mouth.......intensifying my greatest oyster phobia! It freaked me out so much that I did not eat another oyster for 10 YEARS!!!! Soooooo....hats off to the oyster guru's at The Southern for helping me overcome my fear and actually eating this entire plate of RAW OYSTERS :-)

"Mornings" Menu - The Highway is one of my favorites! It's The Southern's version of Chicken-N- Waffles
I love the quote from Executive Chef Matt Farley on the bottom of this menu - "Don't Squat with your Spurs on!" I agree.....that sounds painful LOL

Brunch Menu

Prime Ribeye with Truffle Butter and House Cut French Fries - This steak was PERFECT! The texture was perfect, the seasoning was perfect and the Truffle Butter....you guessed it - Perfect! This really was one of the top 5 steaks I have EVER had!

Mmmmmmmm....that Truffle Butter!

Grit Souffle topped with Apple Brandied Butternut Squash and Pineapple along with a scoop of Jeni's Pistachio and Honey Ice Cream. Jeni's is a local ice creamery here in Nashville.

I loved this dessert because it is sweet but, not too sweet. It all just kind of melts in your mouth!

The Oyster List - The Southern specializes in Cold Water Oysters

I still can't believe I ate all of these oysters.....MAJOR milestone for me!

I enjoyed a Blue Point Oyster, Beausoleil Oyster from New Brunswick Canada (very briny), Shigoku oyster, Kusshi oyster (combination briny then sweet), Fire Lake Oyster from New Brunswick, and Kumamoto Oyster from the North West Pacific - these oysters mature for 7 years!



.......And More oysters!

I turned the oysters over once I finished them all to admire the different type of shells

This is Gary. I credit Gary with helping me overcome my fear of eating raw oysters! He is one of the Oyster Guru's at The Southern and he really knows his stuff about them. First of all, he negated the myth that raw oysters have to be swallowed. I agree with him that this doesn't make sense. Alternatively, if you chew the oysters you can actually taste the various flavors. He hinted at what I could expect from each oyster and best of all ->> he did not laugh at me as I got through the first couple of raw oysters with obvious reservation LOL!
Thanks Gary!

Oysters Southern - Oysters baked with collard greens, fresh corn and Parmesan with Andouille sausage, onions, cream and garlic. Let the church say AMEN!!!!!

I had no problem or reservation with the baked Oysters Southern. They are GREAT!

Chef Tyler Stewart schooled me on the Nudie Suit offering here at The Southern. All you Country Music fans may be familiar with them - those well recognized decorative and rhinestone-covered suits worn by many country music stars. They are custom designed and tailored suites just like the steaks that you can request here. You can step right up to the open kitchen counter and place an order for your own culinary Nudie Suit - a custom tailored steak, in terms of both cut and size, to your liking.

Sustainability is important to the folks at The Southern and they use as many local food suppliers as possible. Their beef come Bear Creek Farm, a local beef farm nearby in Leipers Fork, TN

Now, Switching gears a little bit........................

Do you remember me telling you that the Ladies room was pretty sweet too?!!??! It's so cool that I had to take pics here as well :-).
Yep, that's me.....taking pictures in the ladies room!!

Soooo...you see the faucet but, where is the sink?? It looks like all that is beneath the faucet is a marble counter top but, that is actually the "sink". I've tried to figure out the physics behind this but, I couldn't so I will just accept the fact that is works! (I guess that's why I am a doctor and Food Blogger.....not an engineer, architect or designer LOL)

How cool is it that they feature vintage movies on the wall of the restroom as well....Pretty Cool!

Wow, didn't I tell you everything was amazing!?!? The next time you are hanging out in Downtown Nashville, here visiting the city or live and work in the area, you HAVE to check out The Southern Steak and Oyster....You'll be glad you did!

You can find them at
150 3rd Ave South
Nashville, TN

-Dr. April

Don't forget to check out my main website @ www.DinnerWithNerds.com