Inventive chefs have restaurants in Music City singing a different tune. Check out five of our favorite openings.
With a strong Southern food identity and a bevy of nearby farms, all Nashville needed to become a red-hot culinary destination was a dose of innovation—and it has arrived. At the Catbird Seat(1711 Division St.; $$$), chefs Josh Habiger and Erik Anderson have turned heads with their whimsical tasting menu (Wonder Bread purée, anyone?). Pizzas get a creative spin at Bella Nashville(Farmers Market, 900 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.; 615/457-3863; lunch only; $), where toppings include hummus and beets. The hip coffee shop Barista Parlor(pictured; 519B Gallatin Ave.; 615/712-9766; $$) offers more than just cups of joe: its chicken and waffles sells out in hours. Local food icon Deb Paquette goes global at Etch(303 Demonbreun St.;$$$), serving dishes such as Moroccan-spiced duck breast with harissa cranberries. Finally, Silo(1121 Fifth Ave. N.;$$) offers smoked-pork pot pie and grits with bacon jam, proof that even down-home classics can have an edge.
The food truck movement has officially made its way across the pond. In fact, some of London's best new restaurants—Pitt Cue Co., for example—started on wheels, while a number of brick-and-mortar spots—like Wahaca—are going mobile. Meanwhile, this summer saw the launch of Street Feast, a super-popular Friday night market in Dalston with a range of global vendors (Mama’s Jerk Station; Pop Up Barbados; Kimchi Cult; Bhangra Burger). It began as a 12-week pop-up, but it’s still around; in late September, it moved into an indoor spot farther east in Hackney, with live entertainment to boot.
Christine Ajudua is Travel + Leisure's London correspondent.
Together with CNN, Travel + Leisure's multi-platform series 100 Places to Eat Like a Local combines iReports from you, television spots, chef recommendations, and editor finds to spotlight the best local food finds around the world over the next few months. Here's one iReport here.
CNN PRODUCER NOTE | While on a two week motorcycle trip from her home in Maryland to and around Nova Scotia, sasstagg says she discovered Cabin Coffee, a store that she says serves delicious scones that are extra tasty. "They were taking the scones out from the oven when I walked in and they had me at first glimpse and first whiff. They were hot and fresh from the oven and loaded with fresh local berries," she says. "You can't get scones like that in Maryland, even from my local coffee shop that makes them from scratch."
Shoppers who frequent Whole Foods in search of organic broccoli and fair-trade coffee beans will soon have another kind of offering to browse: food-related travel itineraries.
Starting this spring, the natural-foods supermarket chain will launch Whole Journeys, a series of international trips geared toward “active foodies.” The small-group excursions, which will combine physical pursuits like biking and hiking with explorations of food culture, range from pedaling through the vineyards and orchards of Provence to trekking along the ancient Tea and Horse route in southwestern China.
Black Ivory coffee claims to be one of the rarest, most refined coffees in the world, and retails for a whopping $1,110 per kilogram. And now, it's being offered at the Anantara Resort properties in Thailand,the Maldives, and Abu Dhabi.
How could this wonderful coffee be so luxurious, you might ask? Its proteins—and their associated bitter taste—are broken down during a "refining" process. That process, it turns out, involves a rescued street elephant chomping a huge load of the Thai Arabica beans, digesting them, and then, let's just say, jettisoning the remnants from his or her anterior region.
What’s happening in the Lone Star State’s capital of cool? Just ask the locals.
Callie Hernandez, assistant manager, Maya Star boutique: “The Woodland restaurant (1716 S. Congress Ave.; $$) is like my second home. I always get the stuffed tomato with Asiago cream sauce.”
Nils Juul-Hansen, producer-director: “On hot evenings, take a dip in Barton Springs, a natural limestone pool that holds steady at a cool 68 degrees. Free swim, from 9 to 10 p.m., is particularly fun.”
Kiah Denson, artist: “Shop Schatzelein(1713 S. First St.) for vintage trinkets and pieces from regional artisans. There’s something for everyone, at every price point.”
Joshua Bingaman, founder, Progress Coffee: “I’m a sucker for the new Easy Tiger(709 E. Sixth St.), a bakery and beer garden tucked away in downtown. The pretzels are awesome!”
Ed Hughey and Kerri Keaton Hughey, founders, Wellgro Co.: “Catch a movie at Violet Crown(434 W. Second St.), an art-house theater with reserved seats and a full-service café.”
Shannon Hollis, co-owner, Method Hair salon: “The mango-habanero margarita at Takoba(1411 E. Seventh St.;$$) is a must—sweet, sour, and spicy. Perfection.”
Restaurant Pricing Key $Less than $25 $$$25 to $75 $$$$75 to $150 $$$$More than $150
Travel + Leisure teamed up with CNN to create the delicious multi-platform series 100 Places to Eat Like a Local. Combining iReports from you, television spots, chef recommendations, and editor finds, we’ll be spotlighting the best local food finds around the world over the next few months. For more, watch the video.
A few weeks ago, Dominique Crenn of San Francisco’s Atelier Crenn became the first female chef in the U.S. to earn two Michelin stars. She certainly gets points for creativity: The France native substitutes her own 13-line poem for the restaurant’s longer tasting menu—one course per line. (The five-course menu is equally artistic, with dishes called “The Sea’ and “Walk in a Forest.”) This weekend, Crenn will be teaching a master class at the Omnivore World Tour, taking place Nov. 9–11 in San Francisco. Here, she dishes on her big win, her restaurant bucket list, and more.
Q: How does it feel to be the first woman in the U.S. to earn two Michelin stars? A:I’m from France and grew up with Michelin and respect it in a different way. It feels great for my team because we’re pushing for excellence every day, trying to bring the best experience to our customers, from the food to the wine to the service. I also think it’s inspiring for young women. Women can kick ass, too!