12DOC: Eighth and Roast

Photo Feb 07, 12 38 05 PM

Nestled comfortably on 8th Avenue beside a tanning salon (the window says it’s a “skin studio,” which sounds kind of gross and awesome) is Eighth and Roast, the coffee company whose name I cannot write correctly on first attempt because “eighth” is a weird word that starts to lose all meaning once you stare at it too long.

12days The shop is airy and open and so cozy. I am squeezing in time for this coffee project before I head to work and it’s really a shame because all these spaces I’m visiting are so comfortable and inviting, and make me want to sit and sip while gazing out the window and leafing noncommittally through a newspaper. Alas, there aren’t enough hours in the day lately. I’ll work on that. (Note to self: No you won’t.)

I told the baristas I was interested in getting some hand-poured coffee since I’d never had hand-poured before. They told me they had four varieties available, and one of them said he’d been drinking the Cup of Excellence, which was a Brazilian roast. I said YES PLEASE possibly a little too quickly and he set about pouring me a cup. At Eighth and Roast, the baristas have to come out from behind the counter to do the hand pour, as it’s over at a station a few feet from the counter. I sat nearby to wait and tried not to stare at the young man making my coffee too creepily, even though I was curious about the process. I don’t know. I get weird around boys. And girls. And dogs. Is that sad?

Anyway, enjoy this surreptitiously taken photo of a young man making my pour-over Cup of Excellence.

Photo Feb 07, 12 38 41 PM
Young men with large pant cuffs making coffee. Is that a theme calendar yet? It should be.

Photo Feb 07, 12 42 39 PM The coffee was delicious. I didn’t put anything in it; just drank it up in all its bright black glory. I say bright because it had a really smooth and mildly fruity finish to it. My coffee vocabulary is a little lacking, I confess. I am not sure when I am tasting a bean’s quality or the effects of a particular roasting style or preparation style. This quest is making me want to get educated about coffee, the way I tried to learn about wine when I started drinking it. (That was back before I decided I was perfectly fine with wine in a box and I wasn’t going to worry too much about its legs or notes or finish because I am too broke to really care about those things in practice, even if the theory is kind of beautiful.)

Also, how classy is their logo? I felt a little like an urban sophisticate running around with that cup in my hands. Which is hard for me to do, really, because I am kind of this tidal wave of clumsy bumpkin most of the time.

Another great local roaster to add to the list. Can’t wait to pick up a bag next time I’m there.

Food words

_MG_7925

Wednesday night a group of us from work went to the first of two Nashville Nights events hosted by 12th and Broad, a newish group in town seeking to bring together local creative types for events and collaborations that celebrate Nashville.

The Nashville Nights event was a two-night celebration of food writing, held at Arnold’s (where I’ve still never been for lunch). We listened to some local writers read excerpts of top-notch food writing while sampling some of Vivek Surti‘s cuisine, which was a delicious mashup of Indian and Southern flavors. Some nice young man handed me a bourbon cocktail that was tasty, and there was a plate of salted ham and some tiny unleavened biscuits to snack on, and some sort of lemony chess pie got involved there at the end.

_MG_7928 _MG_7932

Our hosts prompted us during the dinner to think about what emotions and memories the flavors and dishes evoked, and to write that stuff down and share it. It got a little easier to write as the bourbon disappeared, but I still wasn’t up to sharing anything. I feel rusty as a writer, and way too self-conscious in general. (I thought that would go away in my 30s. What gives?!)

We were asked to write a six-word story about a memory of Brussels sprouts. Here’s mine:

Wouldn’t eat them. Got spanking. Barfed.

It occurred to me later that that’s actually not entirely true. My faulty bourbon-addled memory got the events out of order. What really happened is more like Choked them down. Barfed. Got spanking.

Speaking of bourbon, we were supposed to write a little about an experience with bourbon we’d had over the years. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that most of my experiences with bourbon ended in ways that I couldn’t write about in front of strangers and co-workers. Bourbon, in my life, has traditionally led to questionable decisions. Everything I write about bourbon turns into smut.

We were then asked to come up with a metaphor for the pie. It was a bright pie, with hints of ginger and lemon. I’m normally not all that into pie, but I decided it was a little lick of sunshine.

It was a fun few hours and got me out of my comfort zone in lots of different ways. Looking forward to the next event!

12DOC: Garage Coffee Company

_MG_7887

_MG_7897 _MG_7886

Nestled in the repurposed and kiiinda out-of-the-way Marathon Motor Works building is Garage Coffee Company. Their shop is tiny but warm, leathery and garage-y in the best, cleanest way possible (no grease!). I stopped in and asked for recommendations from the two baristas and felt awkward enough that I blurted out that I just wanted a black coffee before they had time to really come up with something good for me.

12days I sugared it up ever so slightly, got a blueberry muffin to go and took my cup into the hallway of the building, which has been converted into retail and office space with some large historical pictures and info placards on the walls explaining what the plant used to be about. Pretty interesting to just sort of wander around and look at stuff, even if it’s not heated out there in the hallways. It was fairly dead when I was there on a Tuesday afternoon and I would have liked to spend more time exploring the shops, but I had to get to work.

So, the Garage coffee. It’s a bold, dark roast, and it has bite. I thought it was pretty tasty and qualifies for the trucker coffee spectrum. I considered buying a bag of beans to take home, but figure I’ve got plenty of chances to do that, since I plan to go back and try the Slingshot, which everyone on Yelp recommends. And I try to do what strangers on the internet tell me when I can.

_MG_7899 _MG_7904

While milling around the Village, I did make time stop in to Bang Candy Company because my thighs said I had to. I bought a sackful of treats to take to my team at work and a salted caramel for myself. The chocolate-covered honeycomb toffee was a hit with everyone, but I was personally surprised by and impressed with the Fireball peppermint bark, which had FREAKING POP ROCKS in it. Have you had POP ROCKS lately? I have to put that in all-caps because it’s so delightful to my 32-year-old palate. Also, I got a bunch of the marshmallows, which is Bang’s specialty, but I am not a big marshmallow fan so I let my team take care of those. I heard good things, though! And I have decided I’m not above making some hot chocolate and sinking one of those behemoths into it to see what happens.

Some words about some food

I so rarely get out to restaurants in town that don’t rhyme with “Jo’s Codway Frappe*” that when I do, I feel compelled to take a photo of what I ate and tell the internet. You know, like we ancient bloggers used to do all the time!

First up, the new Saint Anejo on “M Street,” which is actually on McGavock, isn’t it? (Everything is on McGavock, somehow.)

Untitled

I had the duck confit enchiladas, which came in a bowl with some greenery and cilantro and limes on the side. They were delicious. Excellent comfort food for a cold day or for when you are super starving. Sadly, we ate there for a work lunch so I didn’t get to sample any of the tequila. But we did have chips and three varieties of salsa. They served us tiny portions of the salsa but all three variations were pretty tasty and pretty mild for those of us who are ridiculous gringos.

The service was a little weird, as our server seemed kind of bewildered by our group of eight that had to split into two booths because there are hardly any tables in the place to push together. (Despite that, it’s a very cool space with huge windows and cute little shotgun-shell lights strung around the bar.) She took one table’s orders way before the other table’s, and we ended up getting our food before the rest of our group ordered. It was awkward but obviously not a huge deal, because my table got our food first. Heh.

Second up is The Southern, a steak and oyster joint where Kristin and I had brunch a few days ago.

Last hurrah before the diet comes back. Thanks, @kmhall83, for the good food and company.

I wanted to do a traditional eggs ‘n’ meat plate, but then I saw that chicken and waffles were a choice. So I sort of didn’t really have a choice at all, see. The waffles were tasty and the chicken was nice and crunchy, and the seasoning was cut just right by the syrup. We stayed for a while in the giant booth and enjoyed several refills of coffee and truly good service.

This is another cool spot, right at the bottom of the Pinnacle building on Demonbreun and Third. Holden enjoyed the giant fish hanging over the doorway near the kitchen, and ate the hell out of their seasonal fruit cup.

One of these days I might get brave and try an oyster, but maybe I ought to pick a cheaper joint for my first go-round.

*Mo’s Broadway Cafe, our cafeteria at work, where a meat ‘n’ two plus drink costs $5.89. Yum.

Hunger

I have had prouder moments than the time yesterday when I was twenty minutes away from meeting my friend Ashley for dinner, and found myself standing in the kitchen, desperately spooning gobs of peanut butter into my mouth and breaking off pieces of crumbly cheese onto tiny toasts and cramming them in my gullet, suddenly confident in the knowledge that if I had to wait twenty more minutes to eat, I would die, DIE, right there on my kitchen floor, or in my car, or, hell, in line at Chipotle.

Hunger has morphed from a somewhat annoying natural daily phenomenon into a beast whose wrath I fear if I don’t keep it sated with a constant trickle of snacks. The goal is to make the hunger purr instead of roar when it’s time for an actual meal, but it’s not an exact science, and I suck at all kinds of science anyway.

Right now, every raisin in the vicinity of my mouth needs to fear for its shriveled little life.

I’ve spent my whole life being fucked up about food and eating, and what amount of consumption is proper and appropriate and necessary. Suffice it to say that this extreme shift in how much I want and need to consume is throwing me for a bit of a loop. But it’s also very freeing to have no choice but to put that bullshit aside.

Day 106/365: Strawberry Pickin’

17april7

Courtney was nice enough to invite me to go strawberry picking at Jones Orchard with her and Dustin, Daphne, and her sister Chelsea. The weather was amazing and I didn’t even break a sweat. That’s how I gauge good weather. Sunny? Check. Breezy? Check. Sweaty? Nope. EFFING FABULOUS. We let the munchkin go nuts, picking her own crop and sampling some of the pickins first — to make sure they met her quality standards, of course. This is what a qualified strawberry quality tester looks like after a hard day at the office:

17april14

I got a pretty good haul myself — a box of big, fat, red berries for $4 or so. And I picked up a little apple cake wrapped in plastic, which I disposed of easily AND WITHOUT SHAME later that night. I made quick stop at McCarter Coffee down the street to pick up some beans for the boyfriend (and for me, in my moments of weakness) and came out smelling like I’d bathed in the stuff. Mmmmm.

Millington is such a charmer when it wants to be.

[Project 365

Day 96/365: Yum

Day 96: Yum

I haven’t historically liked beans or tomatoes, and yet this was delicious. Thanks, AY-D!

[Project 365]

Day 86/365: Pancakes!

27march1

I usually only need about eight practice pancakes before I can make a decent one.

[Project 365]

Day 83/365: DeJaVu

24march4

So, so good. Damn.

[Project 365]

Day 70/365: Taco Salad

11march1

The boyfriend’s attempt to trick me into eating more avocados. Hint: They’re in the topping.

[Project 365]