Monday, May 14, 2012

Mad Donna's Brunch

So...after two recent visits to Mad Donna's on the East Side (I had never been before), I have decided to officially declare it (possibly) my favorite brunch spot in town.  Ok, Ok...I'm not going to lie...I am a tiny bit swayed by the fact that they have this...

A Bloody Mary bar.  

Fact:  Bloody Mary's are one of my favorite indulgences...especially for Sunday brunch.  However...I do not like most that are made for me...therefore I rarely order them. I'll admit I am pretty picky when it comes to this, but I like what I like.  Which is my own Bloody Mary.  Lots of hot sauce, Worcestershire, and horse radish.  In short--spicy with a lot of flavor.  So if you have a bloody mary bar, I'm pretty much sold from the start.  I'll worry about the food after I have had one of these...

So good.  And beautiful, right?!  A good Bloody Mary is a colorful one IMHO. 

And then there's the food...

What I've ordered...

The Big Don.

Grilled Provence Tuscan bread stuffed with eggs, bacon, pepper jack cheese, tomato, and dijon mayo.

Let's be honest, you can't really go wrong with these ingredients on buttered, naturally, it's seriously good.  But I especially like this bread.  I don't eat a lot of sandwiches because I always feel weighed down afterwards, but this bread is really light.  Balances nicely with the other heavy additions to the sandwich.  And the grits are just grits.  With melted cheese.  Pretty basic...but completely fine with me.  I don't need my grits too fancy. 


The Maltese Omelette.

Spinach, caramelized onions, tomatoes, artichoke hearts with rosemary potatoes and grits.  **I actually left off the artichoke hearts (not a fan).

As I have mentioned before, this girl loves an omelette.  A lot. And I give this one a thumbs up.  Just a good old fashioned omelette.  Nice egg consistency with a good veggie mix.  Also, it's huge.  I actually ate 1/2 for lunch and the rest for my dinner.  I was a little skeptical about the potatoes at first.  I usually like messy hashbrowns (whatever that means)--these were perfectly sliced bits of new potatoes with rosemary.  But, they were pretty tasty.  Tip: order a side of the gravy (or do like I did--steal from someone who ordered some) and dip them in it...unreal.  But they are pretty good without, as well.  Certainly healthier, that's for sure.  

Other plates found on the table...

Quiche of the day. 

Sausage, onion, and cheese quiche with a side salad and...gravy.  Woah, the sausage gravy.  It was one of my favorite things on the table.  After reaching over for 1/2 the meal to steal bites, I eventually just took it into my possession.  Pretty sure I was just using the potatoes as a vessel for the gravy.  Or, I was dipping everything in it, actually.  It's unreal.  I will order it as a side every time from here on out. No matter what I order.

Overheard at the table...

Ben: "Real men don't eat quiche.  You've heard that before, right?!"  They apparently eat this one, though.  Both guys at the table ordered it, in fact.  It was huge.  And really, really a rich, eggy, sausagy cake.  The gravy was to top it, but he wasn't into it.  Worked out well for me and my potatoes, though.  

The Captain's French Toast.

Why The Captain's?  Because it's crusted with Cap'n Crunch.  This needs no explanation.  It's obviously amazing...unless you are that one person on this planet who doesn't like Cap'n Crunch (and I shame you).  It's definitely interesting and worth trying.  But really sweet--I'd also order a salty side to bring it down a notch.

I. Love. Brunch. 


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mom's Day!

Just a little post in honor of this lady...

I know I may be a little bit biased, but I happen to think she is not only the greatest mother in the world but also one of the best people around.  

Unbelievably supportive of me and everything I do.  And filled with more love and generosity than is usually humanly possible.  

How adorable is my mother?!  Sweetest, most amazing person I have ever known.  I love you.  My mother.  My best friend.  

Happy Happy Mother's Day!!  I'm more thankful for you than you could ever know.  



Saturday, May 12, 2012

Burgers, Bratwurst, and Billiards

Last night The Walter's (one of my most favorite duos) and I made it over to East Nashville for dinner and drinks at The Pharmacy.  I've wanted to eat here for a while now because almost anytime anyone brings up good burgers in Nashville this is always brought in the mix. And since I am always down for a really good was only a matter of time.  

I have to say after last night's venture, this is definitely one of my new top spots.  The atmosphere, food, beer selection, price range--it's one of the best, for sure.  It's considered a biergarten--which I was unaware of until last night--so the interior was very German--dark wood panels with contrasting white walls--with an old school milkshake parlor feel, as well.  There is a wrap around bar in the back of the restaurant where the bartenders are serving beer and making milkshakes--next trip I'm trying one.  That's a certainty.

There is a patio that opens to a huge lawn with large tables where almost everyone is drinking from liter-sized beer mugs.  On a perfect night like last night, sitting outside in the biergarten with a great beer and friends is as close to my heaven as I can get on a Friday evening.  

I'd love to be able to tell you the exact name of this beer but for some reason...I can't imagine why...not one of us can remember it.  We did manage to pull together Tangerine Wheat though--which I thought was pretty impressive.  It was really light--a great outdoor-warm-night-beer.  

Emily had been one time before and on the ride over told me about The Farm Burger she had last has the patty. That's all I heard and I was sold. I intended to order that, but after seeing The Stroganoff Burger on the menu, I changed my mind.  If not for any reason other than absolute curiosity.  It is a...stroganoff....burger.  Had to try it.  Had to.  

Clearly it was unreal.  It tasted exactly how you would expect, too--stroganoff on a burger.  Simple enough description. But that is really how I would explain it.  Oh yeah, and tots dipped in the dripped sauce.  Yep.  I did that.  And it was so, so good. 

Emily decided to try the right side of the menu (the bratwurst) and went for a The Currywurst this time.  She liked it, but she had burger envy.  But, hey...gotta try it at least once, right?  

Kevin's The Mission Burger.  

I didn't try it, but it looked pretty tasty.  Guac and black beans on a burger.  Done and done.  He said it was fantastic.  

Love this photo Kevin took of me and Emily...

Hm...what to do after ? Naturally head to Melrose Billiards for some pool.  

One of my favorite spots.    

Gotta love a good Nashville Friday night...


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe

Recently we welcomed a new restaurant--Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe--to the Bandywood/Green Hills area.  And lucky for me, it's right across the street from my work.   

I've planned to write about it since starting the blog because I've eaten there almost (that I've worked) since their opening.  First of all, I LOVE Greek food.  Secondly a great soup and salad is top on my list of favorites.  Especially for lunch.  Also I try to eat somewhat healthy for lunch so I can kill something not-so-good-for-me for dinner. Great rationale, right? (I like to think so.) 

More importantly, I like a great meal that's affordable.  

So far I have had the Greek Salad, the Mediterranean Salad, and my regular staple--the Lemon Chicken Soup**I wish so badly I had a photo of the soup--honestly one of my favorite things ever. It's shredded chicken breast with rice in a lemon broth. Perfect for a healthy/filling lunch.  Ah. I crave it almost daily. 

Last night my friend was in the area and wanted to try it so we dined-in and sat on the outdoor patio. I branched out of my usual Greek Salad run for the Mediterranean Salad with Beef Tenderloin. (mixed lettuce, garbanzo beans, roasted red peppers, onion, tomatoes, roasted pecans, and feta--with a balsamic vinegarette). It was seriously good.  I cleaned my plate, in fact.  Not a rare occurrence, but worth noting in this case. 

Everything I have tried so far has been delicious--and really fresh and light.  My friend tried the Grilled Chicken Roll-Up (grilled chicken and feta with a side of salsa) and she loved it as well. 

All in all, a great choice when you want something fresh, healthy, affordable, quick, and no fuss.   And the service is stellar--prompt and everyone is so friendly.  

You can see all of the prices--along with the nutritional facts--on the website

Go try the new Green Hills location (2190 Bandywood Drive) or the other Nashville location--3001 West End Ave.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Slice of Bama

This past weekend I went home to Alabama to celebrate "Faux Mother's Day" with my parents since I won't be able to make it home for the actual holiday.  We live in the country in the same home that we've been in since I was born (that my father built). I always love being home--being out in the country, hanging with my parents, eating great home cooked meals, spending time with our pets--it always brings me back down to earth.  I even crave it a lot of times.  

I planned while I was home to take a lot of photos of the land--it's so green and beautiful there--especially now in the Spring.  

Photos like this one...

Or this...

But instead, they all seemed to come out looking more like this...

And this...

And then even this...

But seriously...can you blame me?!  Look. at. that. face.  That's Gabe...the newest Tabor...and my newest obsession.  He deserves his very own post (obviously), so I will save all the gushy details of my love for him for now.  Wait until you see all the amazing photos I took of him this weekend.  Seriously.  It's impossible for him not to take the best picture of all time...every.single.time. 

At least I managed to combine the two (outdoor shots with a little bit of Gabe) at times...

And squeeze in one or two of the blooming plants around the property...

But wait...what's this??  Oh yes. Another earth-shatteringly cute picture of Gabe.  This time he's in the pool, y'all!

Ok, ok.  Moving on.  For now. 

Maybe shooting outdoors somewhere Gabe is not around may be less distracting.  

Like Downtown.  On the river.

I found it hard to get away from this tree.  Spanish Moss. Probably top 5 in the reasons why I loved growing up in that area.  Trees like this are everywhere along the river. I really can't think of many things more beautiful.  

While home, there was a benefit that some friends put together for Habitat for Humanity at a restaurant on the river called The New Orleans Bar & Grill.  There was a rib-off and some friends played music.

I like this shot a lot because you can see the river and The Edmond Pettus Bridge in the background...

It was a great event and I'm glad I was able to go.  Catching up with old friends, seeing some play music, while participating in something for a great cause.  Made my trip home that much better.  I do wish I had gotten a shot of the ribs from the rib-off, though.  The ones I tried were unreal.  

FYI--check out the band.  The name is Lowdown South.  

And, of course, while home I ate some seriously good always.  

Mom's untouchable (trust me, I've tried) mashed potatoes...

And her grits...

How she can take two of the most basic foods and turn them into the most amazing things you have ever tasted, I will never know.  But I'm pretty sure the answer to that lies mostly with one word...Butter. I've learned to not watch the process and just sit back and enjoy.  There's always plenty of time to work it off.  And it's so, so, so worth it. 

Dad's pancakes.  A Sunday morning Tabor tradition.  Oh I love them.  

Grilled-out burgers.  Also one of my favorite things.  As you can see, though, by the time I am done with it, it's a bit more green than most would want.  What can I say?!  I love an over-dressed burger.  

You can see why I always seem to come back to Nashville 5 lbs happier, right?

So that's my trip home in a nutshell.  Family...pets...outdoors...great food.  And this time a little extra friend time and music, as well.  Pretty great way to spend a Faux Mother's Day.  

Of course I can't leave without one more.  

Pic of Gabe, that is...

And I'm pretty OK with that.