Nashville Restaurants and Food
Midweek: Goodness Gracious, Kenny's, Amish Daytrip and Fido for Dinner
We did the staycation thing this year and found it quite enjoyable. We don’t usually talk about our vacations; however all of these tips are things you can do yourself in a daytrip or in the case of our first mention, about any time you want.
We’ve done the Fido breakfast for years. They started dinner service quite a while ago and it’s taken us this long to get there. It’s still the same loud, bustling coffee joint in the evening as it is during the day and perhaps even more so. The menu is a short one and changes often. This day promised salmon, a couple of soups, a burger, ratatouille and a couple of other entrees. That Local Burger is a revelation and of unusual construction: grass-fed beef and lamb patty topped with fennel, fig, onion straws and Kenny’s cheddar cheese. It’s pretty darn good and a perfect medium rare as ordered. We’d stack this sucker up against anything at the all-burger joints. Thai chicken noodle soup is a hybrid of spicy and wholesome all at the same time. The ratatouille is the embodiment of summer: eggplant, whole cherry tomatoes, and the unusual addition of shitake mushrooms and Noble Springs goat cheese. The Veggie Eater was not offered a spoon with her soup, but soon learned it was not necessary, as it was so chunky it was easily managed with a fork.
Fido may not be the place for a romantic dinner due to that bustle, but would prove an excellent choice for a fun date. We paid $23 with tax and tip.
And speaking of Kenny’s cheese- we took a day trip to Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese in Austin, Kentucky. It’s about an hour and a half from Nashville. If you call ahead they’ll be happy to arrange a tour for you. It’s not much more than a visit to the production room and storage room. What you do get is a walk-through of the entire cheese making process with plenty of time for questions. Kenny’s is unpasteurized, which means the milk comes straight out of the cow and into the processing tub, where it gets cooked up and then turned to curd for pressing. Kenny has expanded his cheese line-up lately and his wife says business has been good, up nearly 40 percent last year. We sampled the new varieties including Joe (coffee infused) and Ted (a blue rind named after Kenny’s granddad). Our favorite was the two and-a-half year old cheddar. We asked if he was considering aging the cheddar longer and were told that while they would like to do that, the demand is simply too high to allow any product to sit idly by. We thank Mrs. Mattingly and their employees for their hospitality. It’s an enjoyable trip thanks to the interesting tour, the bucolic countryside and the Amish in the area. There are plenty of roadside stands and markets to stop in and browse.
Pizza anyone? We asked for a recommendation for a local lunch spot and Kenny’s wife mentioned a bakery down the highway. The Country Bakery on Highway 87 in Austin is an unassuming place run by Mennonite folks. There’s a tiny little counter at one end and a few picnic tables outside. They turn out a variety of wonderful breads, doughnuts, fritters and cookies. The special of the day was white chili. I shrugged and decided to give it a go. One sip and I could tell everything was going to be great: it’s spicy, complex and full of sausage and chicken- one of the best of its kind I have had. The rest of the lunch menu doesn’t look to offer much, until you get a closer look at the pizza. Pizza is the mainstay of the joint and that fresh dough goes to good use. It’s excellent pizza from the hearty crust to the toppings. A meat supreme found a generous spread of bacon, ham, sausage and pepperoni. They made a special veggie pizza on request—it was loaded with pickled banana peppers to add a little zing, green peppers, onions, and olives. Who knew Mennonites could make great pizza? We do now. If you go, check out the wooden Amish Buggy figurine with Pizza and Bakery sales logo on it…pretty interesting.
You’ll see Amish folks along the main drags on the way out to Kenny’s and if you get off the beaten track you’ll find plenty of Amish farm stands and crafts for sale. Quite frankly, the Amish thing often seems a bit ridiculous if you’re only buying Amish stuff from large manufacturers in Ohio.
Habegger’s is located just off Highway 100 west of Scottsville, Kentucky. You’ll find the usual selection of Troyer stuff. The real find is the veggie chips. They take beets, pumpkin, carrot and green beans and turn them into a healthier version of the veggie chips you can buy in the store. It’s cheap enough in bulk to really stock up.
A daytrip to Murfreesboro led us to Goodness Gracious Café. It’s located just off the square on College Street in downtown Murfreesboro. The historic home is decorated in an eclectic Southern-style. It’s obvious from the get-go that everything is house made. Puff pastry chicken is a great lunch. The pineapple cheese casserole was both different and excellent. You’d think that pineapple might be too much for casserole, but cooked-up it works well. Blue cheese bacon slaw is finely diced with nuts for a unique flavor. The Veggie Eater had the Four Cheese and Herb Quiche of the day, coupled with a choice of two sides, a garden salad and sweet potato fries. The quiche is a savory single serve pie, complete with homemade pie crust. The salad is generous in size, with a fabulous homemade bleu cheese dressing. The sweet potato fries were baked, but amazingly crispy.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Nashville Restaurants and Food