Nov 21, 2013

Memphis Means Music?

Memphis has a rich musical heritage. It's not to be denied. Blues, jazz, rock and roll, country, it all got its start right here. Okay, that's somewhat debatable but the point is, Memphis is the root of many forms of American music. Sadly, I don't feel like it's fully embraced by most Memphians.

Bryan and I have a theory behind this.

After visiting New Orleans multiple times you can't not be affected by music. At pretty much any point in the day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, after dinner, late into the night. But in Memphis if you want to hear live music you pretty much either have to go to Beale or stay up past your bedtime. That's just one reason we are so thankful for the Levitt Shell. They provide live music at a reasonable time - and for free!  So now I sound like an old person. But still - music should be played at all times of the day not just after 10 pm. 

Yesterday it was announced that Lafayette's Music Room will be re-opening on the Square next year. I'm so excited to have another music venue in the neighborhood, but I hope they will consider an earlier start time for their musical acts.

Nov 15, 2013

Weekly Links

Here's a few things that I liked/found inspiring or funny. Enjoy!

Do you think Bryan will let me get goats?

A simple how-to on handlettering. I shall be practicing all weekend.

I love Jenny' Thanksgiving Secretary.

Great NPR story on one of my favorite authors Roald Dahl

Possibly my next craft project. I wonder if I can do a Christmas theme?

Nov 14, 2013

The First Freeze

Tuesday night we had our first freeze of the winter. Winter is officially here. Okay, well not officially, but the summer's over.

Monday it was relatively warm so I spent the morning picking the last of the green tomatoes and pulling up the plants. The garden looks so sad now to me. Empty. We still have plants in four out of seven beds, which is the majority, but still. Without those crazy, out of control tomatoes it just seems empty now.

Here's what it was looking like before I got to work. Roux was there to help.

Out of control.  Also of note, the carrots to the front of this picture are doing well.

Not amused.

This bed contains rosemary and peppers. I never figured out what kind of peppers the plant on the left was.

The current state of my kitchen counter.

Tearing up the summer's garden has me thinking about next year. We've talked about forgetting our professional backyard plan and just planting edible plants. I'm thinking about doing more peas/beans along the back fence line. Maybe I should do the tomatoes there since they got so big this year? I'm not sure. Either way, I'm looking forward to getting my Seed Saver catalog in January and starting to plot out next years garden.

Nov 11, 2013

Husk Nashville Review

I'm a little obsessed with the show Mind of a Chef. Have you seen it? Our local PBS doesn't air it so I have to watch clips and episodes online when available.

I've been re-watching the first season with Bryan and we giggle like girls when David Chang and Sean Brock swear to be best friends at Pappy Van Winkle. It's often reenacted at our house.

Last week we were in Nashville and had a large time slot for lunch so I knew where we were going. I had to try Husk. We arrived about 12:30 or so and were taken right away to a table. The exterior looks to be a goregous traditional building, the first few rooms inside seem the same, but as you pass through the middle area it opens up and the whole back side of the building is glass. We were seated downstairs. On one side we had a great view of the gardens and pear trees, but the other was a bright purple wall color and funky Venetian glass chandeliers. It didn't seem to match to me. Our tables were rustic wood and iron, plates of carved wood and hand thrown pottery, and re-used wine bottles as water glasses. I'm not a purple girl so maybe it was just me.

The lunch menu changes daily and is very affordable, which is one reason I didn't mind stopping here for lunch. We ordered the smoked salmon deviled eggs to start.

It came with four but we dove in before I thought to take a picture. They were delicate and tasty.

I ordered the beef special of the day:

Tender flank steak with a chimchurri sauce, roasted cauliflower with cauliflower puree, and I didn't catch what the green stuff was on the left hand side. It was one of the top two steaks I've had in my life. (The other best being at Mimi's in the Marigny.)

Bryan got the vegetable plate:

It featured a 62 minute poached egg over stone ground grits, oats, kale and butternut squash, roasted cauliflower, and sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes were interesting because the skin was cripsy, almost fried, but the vegetable was very tender. Bryan is not a cauliflower fan, but did say these were the best cauliflower he's ever had.

Needless to say we cleaned our plates. I stopped short of licking my plate, but I thought about it. We turned down dessert, but I thought about that pumpkin cheese pie for several hours afterwards.

The service was a little slow. Our waitress was very kind and thorough, but slow between visits. About 1:30 or so we were eating our main dishes and I swear they were vacuuming upstairs. I really didn't appreciate that. Bryan mentioned it could have been a blender or something in the partially exposed kitchen, but regardless. Blending or vacuuming while diners are still eating is just rude and not something I'd expect at an establishment like Husk.

Overall, I was not disappointed in the food and was pleased we were able to make the stop. A few polishes to the service side and it can be an excellent restaurant.

Nov 8, 2013

The Holiday Rush

The Holidays... they are a comin'. It feels like every year gets more and more rushed. The pressure put on earlier and earlier.

Earlier this week when we were traveling I noticed that in every single small town we stopped in all the little shops were already decorated for Christmas. I found it refreshing in the one store I stopped in that wasn't decorated, but as I was checking out the owner said she had just been pulling down the trees. Sigh...

I love Christmas. Seriously, I do, more than the average person. But I refuse to celebrate or "get in the spirit" until after Thanksgiving. I understand from a shop owners perspective to get the decorations up and capture some of those sales. But... I don't know. It was a little sad to see. Do they just skip right past a fall harvest time?

Fortunately in the blog world, where I spend most of my time, has been focusing on Thanksgiving themes (turkey, sides, table decorations, oh my!) a few thoughts toward Christmas thrown in there. Small things like thinking about stockings or Christmas cards. Honestly, that stuff is on my mind too, in a brain storming "what will I do this year" kind of way.

This month I'm writing something I'm thankful for each day on a slip of paper and putting it in a glass bowl in our dining room. Just a little something to keep me thinking about what I'm thankful for and in the moment. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving and planning the big meal with our families since we will be in town after all.

Thanksgiving, at least to me, has been the more relaxed holiday. That one last time to chill out before Christmas rush. It's a time to eat a big meal and then veg out on the couch with your relatives. Being an adult who cooks kinda makes it a little more stressful, but I'm hoping that without the job pressure I can relax more than usual and soak it all in. Because in the end it's not about if your dish was the best or if your table was the prettiest, it's about spending time with your family and friends.

Nov 7, 2013

Working Road Trip

We've embraced the Rachel-as-Bryan's-secretary/assistant role fully now. We are both loving the flexibility and togetherness. (That's probably a whole other post as everyone who finds out that we are working together ask about it.)  Bryan will start traveling selling the new season (Fall 2014!) in another week or so, but one of his goals for the off season was to go to more events to support the stores and build brand awareness. He scheduled a couple of events this week at different stores and being his trusty assistant I got to travel with him. 

Tuesday morning we woke up early (for someone who doesn't set an alarm anymore) and hit the road towards Huntsville, AL. I had been to Huntsville (space camp!) twice as a child, but didn't really recall anything about the area or the drive. 

Our GPS took us on some back roads as our first destination was outside of Huntsville in a small town called Guntersville. Ya'll, our drive was beautiful. I had no idea that northern Alabama was so gorgeous. Maybe it's the leaves changing colors and my newly stress-free life, but holy moly. We drove through farming communities and I pointed out all the cute farm houses where I would be perfectly happy. I found two towns I'm willing to retire in. 

Guntersville, Alabama... who knows anything about this town? Because I'm in love. The town is on a little penninsula surrounded be a big lake (or river?). It's got a quaint little downtown area with tons of cute boutiques and antique stores! We had lunch at this little cafe and all the locals knew each other and stopped to say hello. I swear it was right out of Gilmore Girls. (Bryan and I both dream of retiring in a Stars Hollow type town.) We even saw an old man Luke in an old truck drive down the street. 

Our lunch counter view looking out. You can kinda see the water between the trees. 

Following lunch and Bryan stopping into the store there we drove on to Huntsville about an hour away. We stopped in a store there and talked with the employees. It's fun watching Bryan in full on work mode. It's been a while since I've seen him with customers. 

We had some time to kill before we needed to be at the next store so we visited one of Huntsville local breweries. Huntsville has a burgoning beer scene with 4-5 breweries. How is Memphis behind Huntsville?!?!?! Seriously?! 

We had a couple of pints at Straight to Ale tap room and talked with a local beer maker who had some fascinating stories of home brewing and cheap beer travel. (Panama has $0.50 beer, fyi.) 

The main reason we were in Huntsville was to attend Diva Night at the local Fleet Feet location. I wasn't sure what to expect going in and honestly wondering who goes to these types of events. But they had a great turnout of enthusiastic ladies willing to sip some free wine and win some door prizes. 

My little diva! 

After the event we grabbed some food a local farm to table type restaurant for a good meal. 

Wednesday morning we headed north towards Nashville. We stopped in Franklin to see an account and grab some coffee from a local shop in an old house. Franklin is a charming town if you've never been there. 

In light of my recent obsession with Mind of a Chef I insisted we have lunch at Husk. I'll be back soon with a full review of that in another post. 

We had another big gap in the afternoon but this time we hit up some of my favorite places: Container Store and Trader Joe's! Heaven! 

Our last event was a try-on event at a local group run. The group met out in Nolansville which is way out in the country. The rain held off all day until it was time to run. Blergh! We still had a ton of interest in the brand (this time CW-X) and a bun ch of try-ons. 

We hit the road just after 7:30 and were both exhausted. This was the one thing about traveling that I'm not good at dealing with. Weariness. Just about 30 minutes outside of town my eyes just refused to stay open anymore. We had to turn on the top 40 radio station to stay awake. But we made it. 

Overall it was fun to get out, see accounts and new cities, and spend some time with Bryan seeing what he does. I have a feeling there will be more of these trips in our future... hopefully to New Orleans soon as I've got the NOLA bug going strong right now. 

Nov 4, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Basketball season is finally here!!!!

Okay, so for those of you know don't know me, I'm not really a sports girl. I hate football, don't care for baseball, hockey, or golf. But I do love some basketball. Part of it is because I'm a Memphian and Memphis is a basketball town. First with our Tigers and now the Grizzlies.

Over the last few years Bryan and I have become increasingly loyal Grizzly fans. Last year we attended somewhere around 12 games and this year we decided to spring for the 11 game ticket pack. It was a big decision, but one I'm glad we made.

Friday was the regular season home opener. On Thursday Tony Allen, TA or Grindfather, gave away 500 tickets for those willing to stand in the rain to get them. One of the beauties of my current situation is that I have that flexibility. So stand in the rain I did.

So Friday we high tailed it to downtown at 6 when Bryan got off work at Breakaway. I was worried that with parking, security, and getting to our nosebleed seats we would miss the opening, which is my favorite part. We were amazed at how quickly and smoothly we were able to get in.

Bryan and I are kind of like George Costanza in that we refuse to pay to park downtown. I'm willing to cave sometimes when there are time constraints or high heels involved, but for the most part, never. Last year we found a great spot to park close to the stadium on the street for free. (No, I'm not telling where our spot is!) But it was already taken when we got down there. We were able to find a free on-street spot a little further away though without too much searching.

The security line to get in only took maybe five minutes. Last year we waited sometimes up to 20 minutes to get in. Maybe we were a little early for the rush that night, I'm not sure. But either way, I was impressed and even told the security guy so.

Our seats were not the best, but they were free! We were just happy to be there. I love the hype and excitement and opening night is always a fun.

The Grizz were down most of the game, but after an exciting last few minutes of the 4th quarter we went into overtime and beat the opposing team. Such a fun night!

My highlights include:
- Saying hi to our favorite beer pour-er, Larry
- Grizz Grannies and Grandpas
- Bongo Cam
- just being in the Grindhouse

Here's to many more fun nights and Grizz wins!

Nov 1, 2013

Weekly Links

Happy Friday! Here are a few links I enjoyed this last week.

Why Southern Food Matters by John T.

Video Stores Explained to Modern Kids... brilliant and nostalgic.

How To Clean A Cast Iron Skillet from grace bonney on Vimeo.
From Design Sponge: How to clean your cast iron! I so needed this.

Gorgeous home renovation!

See ya'll next week!