Looking Back

It’s been almost a month since the wedding. I honestly cannot believe it-all that build up, almost a year of planning, the anxiety, the excitement, and the in between “we’re getting married” feelings. Now it’s all in the past. I am a married woman.

Of course it’s never too soon to reminisce. The entire honeymoon Chris and I re-lived the wedding. From the ceremony to the food to the group Macarena dance, the entire night was as perfect as perfect could be. Ok I’ll admit it, the few days before were a lot. I was nervous, not about marrying C but about the logistics. What if it rained? What if the food was terrible? What if I fell in front of everyone? There were a million questions racing through my mind. And the day of time flashed by. I woke up, worked out with my friends, took a walk, ate a light lunch, had my makeup done, and then all of of a sudden I was kissing my groom as the deluge of guests began to line up.

One month later as I think about the day, I take delight in knowing I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was the perfect wedding weekend. And the best part is knowing that the adventure has just began!

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Biker Babes

My Bachelorette party began with class-we ladies came dressed to the nines, ready to casually sip champagne and nosh on lighter fare artfully prepared by my maid of honor, Maddie Teren and her wonderful mother. Roasted beet chips topped with goat cheese, fresh spring rolls, mini grilled cheese and caramelized onion sandwiches, apple sausage pineapple skewers, and home-made pickled veggies. My kind of spread. Conversation was had, gifts were opened, stories were told. Graceful beginnings, that is until I was presented with a gift. And inside said parcel was a bicycle helmet with attached veil. Let the rip roaring wild times begin.

Bachelorette party Pedal Tavern style: for the rest of the evening my fellow friends and I pedaled a giant group bicycle vehicle around downtown Nashville blasting bad pop music, screaming at the top of our lungs, and enjoying free flowing libations. So much for no drinking and driving, right?!

The night was silly, raunchy, and full of squeals, just the way I always imagined it. And My bachelorette party kicked those other bachelorette parties we ran into ass! I always did love a little competition.

 

Strolling

It finally feels like Spring. Green so bright you need sunglasses and sunshine so bright sweat drips from every pore (why parks with no swimming pools exist is beyond me!). Sunday afternoon sunbathing was in order. I slept and woke up in a puddle of perspiration and drool with an already visible tan whole Chris did stunts with his miniature soccer ball. Continue reading

It’s LIVE

Today has been a great day, a great, great, great day; more to come late but for those of you on pins and needles here is one reason:

My first post has gone live. Head on over to Small Kitchen College, the spin-off sister site of Big Girls Small Kitchen to view post and see the fab content on both sites!

I know you are all dying to read my personal picks in my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee!

I am a Silly Goose

Yesterday I wrote a little Nashville restaurant round-up spotlighting the best of the best in my precious hometown. I was pretty proud of the end result, even rewarded myself by whipping up a batch of apple-sauce drop cookies to celebrate.

Then the dinner hour rolled around and my tummy began to grumble. 1 hour later, my mother and I were sitting at the bar inside of The Silly Goose restaurant on Eastland Avenue is East Nashville, watching the chefs hard at work preparing beautifully plated and equally tasty apps, entrees, and desserts.

I’m a silly goose for not trying The Silly Goose sooner!

The space itself is small with long communal tables and private tables as well as a bar that seats 5. The lighting is dim and the whole restaurant has that puzzlingly industrial and yet cozy feel to it. The kitchen is actually part of the restaurant itself. There is no hiding for the team of chefs. They work as we watch. Sitting at the bar offers prime views of these masters at work. Mom and I loved watching them prep and plate each and every dish with such confidence and speed.

It was hard to decide what to order here. The Silly Goose is all about local, organic, and wholesome. Certainly the head chef has a talent for unique flavor profiles and pairings. Nothing on this menu is in the least bit expected or ordinary.

To start we ordered The Flower Shop, an assortment of roasted mushrooms, black pepper mascarpone, and artichokes with a scrumptious walnut pesto and mustard pinot noir emulsion.  The dish itself opens like a blooming flower, too!

For my entree, I chose the Dorothy Bailey salad, a mix of arugula, flat brea, roasted beets, caramelized onion compote, and goat milk feta cheese. I loved making little sandwiches using the flatbread provided. Simple ingredients, intense flavors, the way a good meal should be.

Mom had The Hustler, a greek yogurt marinated chicken served grilled and skewered atop a bed of seasoned, warm lentils. She didn’t leave a single bite behind so I assume this was some finger-licking chicken, y’all!

We managed to pass on dessert though the aptly names Sex (an exploration of all things chocolate) was certainly tempting.

My goose is now on the loose, counting down the weeks until I am back again.

Nashville Noshing

I love to snack. In fact I love to snack so much that I would almost opt out of traditional meals in favor of light bites every two hours or so. A perfect day in my eyes involves non-stop exploration punctuated by frequent small plates. Perhaps this is why I love traveling. It’s the perfect excuse to do just that and you better believe I capitalize on this.

Before I moved to New York City for college, I erased  Nashville from the foodie hotspot list. New York City loomed ahead of me like a hot fudge sundae and Nashville was nothing but a cone of old deep fried oreos.

I am not sure when it happened but out of nowhere Nashville up’d the ante. No longer just a haven for fried foods, barbecue, and the traditional meat and three, Nashville has become a sort-of locavoe foodie paradise, with new independently owned restaurants making use of the abundant fresh produce and tastes of the South at its fingertips in style.

Here is a list of my favorite spots for eating and spending time in and around Nashville. Next time you’re in my hometown, do try a couple. You won’t be sorry. And New York, you better watch your back. There’s another city in the town and she’s a looker!

1. The Wild Cow: This vegetarian restaurant in the “it” neighborhood of the moment, East Nashville, offers fun and flavorful vegetarian/vegan friendly dishes in a laid-back, low-key atmosphere. Make sure to order the homemade hummus of the day and the sweet potato black bean tacos. Save room for one of their vegan cakes of the day!

2. Jenni’s Splendid Ice Cream: Simply the best and most unique ice cream flavors I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying, and I am an ice cream addict, too. I loved the cognac fig and goat cheese as well as the buckeye state (pb and chocolate mixture). The queen city cayenne, a nod to the chocolate and chile sensation, is delightful and spicy, while the bangkok peanut really does taste like pad thai in ice cream form.

3. Germantown Cafe: This elegant restaurant is perfect for a date night with it’s indulgent yet refined menu and small portions. Where this restaurant lacks in portion size, it makes up for in sheer flavor. The green plate features perfectly tender swiss chard with a crispy potato leek pancake and marinated artichoke hearts and is every bit as delicious as the hunk of peanut butter cheesecake we ordered for dessert. Do not miss the lobster bisque!

4. Burger Up: This is your neighborhood burger joint on crack. Unique burger combinations served with your choice of house fries, onion rings, sautéed spinach, or sweet tater fries and homemade Jack Daniels Ketchup. The quinoa based veggie burger is delicious no matter which way you spin it with its avocado and creme fraiche garnish on a soft brioche bun. Great salads and fried pickles to boot, I am obsessed.

5. Cowgirl Cupcake Company: I am not usually a cupcake gal, but this adorable and artsy little bakery could turn the biggest cupcake hater into a fan. I love the unique flavors (gingerbread spice, pumpkin cinnamon, eggnog) and their awesome displays. Go just for the ambiance and then buy yourself a couple to consume while you walk the streets of historic downtown Franklin

 

6. The Red Pony: High off the sugar intake from the aforementioned cupcakes, hurry in to The Red Pony, also in Franklin, for “sophisticated Southern cuisine”. I love when you can see the chefs at work in the kitchen because you know how hard those guys are working to wow you, so snag a seat near the glass windows and watch as your meal is prepared. The spinach salad is a mud with its ample candied pecans and and goat cheese. Say yes to the shrimp and grits and the almond dusted mahi, both rich in their own ways. I dare you not to lick the dish clean. Order the Chocolate Demise for dessert. This gooey, hot out of the oven chocolate cake is paired with rich, dense brownie chunks and vanilla ice cream that achieves that “oh my god, this is good” moment.

7. PortaVia: Nashville doesn’t have many great Italian offerings. If you are interested in quality over quantity in this department, more than likely you must prepare to be disappointed. However, relative newcomer, PortaVia, serves up simple Italian classics at affordable prices. This is your go to spot for a relaxed mid-week dinner amongst friends. I love the Grande salad with its mixed greens, balsamic vinaigrette, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, olives, and roasted mushrooms as a starter to share. The paninis are fresh and delicious as is somewhat decadent lobster ravioli. The home-made gelato offers a refreshing end to the meal.

10. Bongo Java/Fido’s: Good coffee, good desserts, great ambiance. This is Nashville’s New York inspired coffee house in the ever-trendy Hillsboro Village/Belmont University areas of town.