31 March 2009

BBQ Sauce Winner

Congrats to Katie for winning a bottle of EJ's Gourmet Mombo Sauce. Stay tuned for more sauce giveaways.

30 March 2009

Clarksville this week

This will be a light posting week with Clarksville coming up on Friday. I am getting the trailer ready and trying to remember how to cook everything. Stay tuned for a full report from Clarksville.

We will announce a winner for the BBQ Sauce of the Week later today.

26 March 2009

Music Thursday: ATLiens



Last weekend, we headed a little further down south to Atlanta, GA. In honor of our road trip, we bring you the Peach State's finest: Outkast. ATLiens is the title track off of the second album released by Andre 3000 and Big Boi in 1996.


side notes and recommendations:
Our dining in Atlanta was outstanding, culminating with a fabulous Sunday brunch at the West Egg Cafe. In addition to the wonderful coffee from local Atlanta roasters Batdorf and Bronson - Dancing Goats, we collectively feasted on fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese and a horseradish dill sauce, Eggs Benedict with coca-cola glazed ham, scrambled eggs with maple bacon and skillet potatoes, and Eggs Benedict over salmon cakes. And since it's almost Friday...we highly recommend the stunning New York-style pies at Fellini's Pizza as well.

25 March 2009

BBQ SAUCE OF THE WEEK: EJ's Gourmet Mombo Sauce and Giveaway



Mombo sauce? At first I thought this might just be a catchy name used for marketing purposes. But after a little bit of Googling, I discovered that there is definitely such a thing as "Mumbo sauce" (the sauce is alternately referred to as 'Mumbo' on the Galloway Gourmet Foods website). Apparently Mumbo sauce is a regional specialty of Chinese takeout shops in the Washington D.C. area, often applied to chicken wings.

While I can't be sure that Galloway's Gourmet Mombo Sauce has any direct connection to the Mumbo sauces of the D.C. area (Galloway is a small California company), their sauce sure would be good on some chicken wings!

It's a thick sauce with bits of onion and garlic suspended throughout. Right off the bat, it's sweet - brown sugar sweet - and savory, with big flavor from the bits of onion and garlic. There is also a definite dose of cumin involved, and a hint of celery flavor. The heat kicks in shortly after and burns just enough to leave your lips tingling.

Grade: A

This week we are starting a new feature to the BBQ Sauce of the Week...

WIN a FREE BOTTLE of the BBQ SAUCE OF THE WEEK!

We have a bottle of EJ's Gourmet Mombo Sauce to giveaway to one of our readers. This sauce is the reigning 2009 Scovie Award winner for all-natural barbecue sauces. All you have to do is visit the website and post a comment here. One winner will be randomly selected on the following Tuesday night (3/31) and sent a free bottle of sauce. Just leave an email address so that we can contact the winner.

24 March 2009

Fifth Third or 5/3 or 1.66 lb. Burger


Spring is in the air. Today was sunny and 72 degrees. That also means that baseball is just around the corner. Spring Training is already underway, and stadiums across the land are preparing for opening day. Here in Nashville, our very own Nashville Sounds' Greer Stadium has been overhauled in the off-season to the tune of $2.5 million. Upgrades include a new paint job, new consession areas, and an actual LED screen. They are even teaming up with local brewery Yazoo to supply the beer for everyone's favorite night, Thirsty Thursday. While the new Greer Stadium is set to open on April 9th, the guy from Man Food is eagerly waiting for opening day at Fifth Third Ballpark. Home of the West Michigan Whitecaps, the 5/3 Ballpark is also the new home of the all new 5/3 or 1.66667 lb. burger that includes salsa, sour cream, and a chili Frito pie served on an eight inch sesame seed bun.

Now in the past, we have seen wild balk park creations and even some BBQ Addicts that explode for bacon, but this creation is equally over the top. Here are the stats:


Fifth Third Burger Nutritional Value
DAILY VALUE
Calorie4889244%
Total Fat299g460%
Sat. Fat199g597%
Cholesterol744mg248%
Sodium10,887mg454%
Total Carbs354g118%
Protein198g105%



It is recommended for 1-4 people, but if an individual finishes it in one sitting he/she wins a nice 5/3 t-shirt. However, you could just skip the burger and sign up for a Fifth Third credit card to get the free shirt. It's really up to you.

23 March 2009

NASHVILLE BARBECUE: Part 10 - Williamson County



Is the number of barbecue restaurants in a given area inversely proportional to the relative degree of wealth in that area? The thought occured to me as I scouted barbecue restaurants in Williamson County - the wealthiest county in Tennessee and the 18th wealthiest in the United States. Let's take a look.

We'll use the counties surrounding Nashville as our test population (excluding Cheatham County, because it doesn't have any people or barbecue restaurants).



If we look at the population of each county and the number of barbecue restaurants in each county, we can arrive at a normalized number of barbecue restaurants per 10,000 population. This tells us how many barbecue restaurants there are in each county relative to the population. Clearly, Williamson has the lowest number of barbecue restaurants relative to its population.



If we add in median household income, we can start to see the relationship between relative wealth and the number of barbecue restaurants. It's clear that the county with the lowest median household income - Robertson - actually has the highest number of barbecue restaurants relative to population, while Williamson has the lowest.



If we count only independent barbecue restaurants - no chains - the relationship seems to become even more pronounced. While it's impossible to tell if this relationship is legitimate based on such a small sample size, it appears that there is at least some negative correlation happening here.

On to the food...



What Williamson County may lack in quantity, they certainly make up for in quality, at least when it comes to Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint in Nolensville. Since it opened in 2006, Pat Martin's place has become a destination for great barbecue in Middle Tennessee - a place that is truly worth the drive from Nashville or beyond.



Pat learned the barbecue craft cooking in whole hog country in West Tennessee. And although he's not cooking on cinder block pits, he's committed to doing barbecue right. It's always a good sign when you see a stack of wood and an axe out in front of a barbecue joint.



Martin's offers both spare ribs and baby backs, and you can get them wet or dry. On this particular day I went with the baby backs, and they were outstanding - cooked to a perfect tenderness, not quite falling off the bone, and seasoned just right.



The pulled pork sandwich was a big delicious mess. The coarsely chopped slaw provided a nice crispy counterpoint to the tender, juicy pork underneath. Put a spoonful or two of Martin's delicious tomato-based sauce on top for a shot of sweetness and you've got a real treat of a sandwich.



Williamson County's other local barbecue joint is in Franklin. BB's Bar-B-Q is on Highway 96, not far from downtown Franklin. I'm not sure exactly how long BB's has been operating, but I've only discovered it in the last couple of years. Although they have a handful of tables, it is primarily a drive-thru establishment. They offer a pretty extensive menu (see top photo).



The pulled pork sandwich was serviceable - lots of bark pieces and good flavor, but overcooked to the point where it was a bit dry. Tomato-based sauce was average.



The ribs were unremarkable - St. Louis style spares unadorned, with lots of smoke flavor but not much else, and not cooked quite enough.

Highlights: Martin's baby back ribs (Real Good), Martin's pulled pork sandwich (Real Good)

Disclaimer: Please note that these reports are based on particular servings of barbecue at a particular day and time. Barbecue can be prone to fluctuation. Your experiences may vary.

More reports in this series:
Part 1 - The Legends
Part 2 - The Chain Gang
Part 3 - Local Chains
Part 4 - Jefferson Street
Part 5 - Clarksville Highway
Part 6 - East Nashville
Part 7 - The West Side
Part 8 - Memphis Imports
Part 9 - T for Texas
Part 10 - Williamson County
Part 11 - Murfreesboro
Part 12 - La Vergne & Smyrna
Part 13 - Wilson County
Part 14 - Catching Up in Nashville
Part 15 - Hendersonville & White House
Part 16 - Portland & Gallatin
Part 17 - Robertson County
Part 18 - Dickson County
Part 19 - "Barbecue by any other name..."
Part 20 - Places We Missed
Part 21 - More Places We Missed

22 March 2009

Rock the Vote

Dear Ulika Readers,
If you enjoy reading this blog, please take just a moment of your time to vote for us. Just simply follow this link > HERE < and vote for the Ulika Food Blog.

Thanks
Team Ulika

20 March 2009

Friday Night Slice, Part 8

Ahart's Pizza Garden

This week, we're traveling Southeast on I-24 to Ahart's Pizza Garden in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. We first learned about Ahart's a few years back when the Mr. was in school in Murfreesboro. One of his professors recommended the new local pizza spot opened in 2003 by his neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Ahart.



Ahart's offers fresh, handmade thin crust pizzas. You can design your own pizza with either traditional or gourmet toppings (including the likes of albacore tuna, almonds, capers, or a dollop of sour cream?) or choose from the 22 signature styles ranging from the 'Boro Pizza (fresh basil, sun dried tomato, garlic and feta cheese) to the Bony Marony (no sauce, broccoli, mushrooms, fajita chicken, tomato, garlic, parmesan and roasted red pepper). We, of course, ordered the regular 10" thin crust pizza with cheese and pepperoni.



Ahart's crust is very thin, dense and crunchy. It's certainly not intended to be the highlight of the pizza as it has a very plain flavor with little happening beyond the standard ingredients. The sauce is middle-of-the-road as well - a basic tomato sauce that is spread evenly and thinly without any lingering chunks. The cheese is a creamy and tasty blended mozzarella and mild provolone which decreases the pull-away, but adds a slight smoky flavor. The pepperoni slices were typical of what you'll find in most pizza places: pretty good and pretty juicy, but with an uneventful amount of spice of flavor. I think that I could have done without that dousing of oregano on top though - it seemed a little heavier than usual.



We've visited Ahart's a number of times over the years and it has always been great. It became a staple of our visits to the 'Boro. Unfortunately, on the evening that we dined-in for this review, the pizza was not quite as good as I remembered. Maybe it was just an off night. I'll certainly keep going back.

...and for those of you who save room for dessert, you'll certainly want to take a peek at the dessert tray, featuring the homemade cheesecakes and pies of Mrs. Bonita Ahart. Mrs. Ahart was in the restaurant on the evening of our visit and we sampled a slice of her thick, gooey and delicious Oreo pie. Mmmm.



the dining experience:

Ahart's has a family-owned, local feel, offering a cozy medium-sized dining room with booths, tables, televisions and a couple of arcade games. On Friday nights and game nights, the restaurant is more crowded, but its the never loud, bustling room that you'll find at MAFIAoZA's or Pizza Perfect. With pizzas made to order, it isn't the fastest place that you could go, but the service is always friendly.



Ahart's Pizza Garden
476 Old Fort Pkwy. Murfreesboro, TN 37128 (map)
Sun - Thur: 11:00am - 9:00pm, Fri - Sat: 11:00am - 10:00pm
Dine In and Carry Out


* * * * *

Cold Pizza:
Friday Night Slice, Part 1: MAFIAoZA's and Joey's House of Pizza
Friday Night Slice, Part 2: Pizza Perfect and Pizza Perfect Kebobs
Friday Night Slice, Part 3: Rudino's Pizza and Grinders

Friday Night Slice, Part 4: Chicago Style

Friday Night Slice, Part 5: Pie In The Sky

Friday Night Slice, Part 6: Castrillo's Pizza
Friday Night Slice, Part 7: California Pizza Kitchen


Got any suggestions for places that I should cover? Let me know!

19 March 2009

BBQ IN THE NEWS: Rise and Fire - Gus Johnson's Beale Street Experience


In honor of the greatest sporting event in the world getting underway today, here's a tidbit about one of those personalities that makes the tournament so special - Gus Johnson. Sports blog The Big Lead had a story yesterday about Johnson's recent late night experience at Memphis' Blues City Cafe. It seems Johnson wasn't too pleased with the food or the service, got into a shouting match with the manager, and eventually wound up in the back seat of a police car. No charges were filed. Man, I would love to hear Gus Johnson in a shouting match.

Having actually dined at Blues City Cafe last time I was in Memphis, I have to say that I side with Gus. That place is a straight up tourist trap. Their barbecue is buddy and their "World's Best Tamales" aren't even that good either.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, a few of Gus Johnson's greatest hits. Enjoy the games!

Music Thursday: Neutral Milk Hotel

This week, I bring you a selection from the mrs.'s favorite band.

Neutral Milk Hotel loosely aligned in Athens, Georgia as part of the Elephant 6 movement in the mid to late 1990s along with the likes of Olivia Tremor Control, Apples in Stereo and Of Montreal.

This week's song, Holland, 1945, is from their much loved album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. Given a full '10' by Pitchfork Media, the album is considered to be one of the greatest indie rock albums of all time.


15 March 2009

DIY Project: Sink Part 2

This weekend, I picked up an electric 2.5 gallon Tiny Titan water heater that I found on Craigslist. I also got the hole cut for the sink, and added a grey water tank.

Here is an updated picture of the sink:

13 March 2009

Friday Night Slice, Part 7

California Pizza Kitchen



California Pizza Kitchen began in 1985 when two fancy Beverly Hills lawyers hired Wolfgang Puck's pizza chef to create an authentic California-style gourmet pizza menu. Their restaurant featured a swanky, 70-seat dining room and an open kitchen built around a large wood-burning oven. Presenting barbecued chicken, duck breast, rabbit sausage, roe, scallops and more, the upscale take on the comfortable staple was a huge hit and the restaurant continued growing throughout the the 1990s, attracting the Pepsi Company and other big name investors to begin a vigorous expansion campaign. With backing from Kraft foods, they began distributing a line of frozen pizzas across the United States. CPK then went public in 2000 and currently has around 250 restaurants including 27 international locations with their most recent opening in Dubai.

After hearing about it for years, California Pizza Kitchen finally marched into the Hill Center in 2007, bringing its imaginative line of hearth-baked pizzas to Nashville.

A California pizza typically includes a thinner, sourdough crust, but it's the fresh, exotic (and traditionally local) toppings that define the style. CPK serves a wide variety of wood-fired pizzas with non-traditional toppings such as pear and gorgonzola, Jamaican jerk chicken, Japanese eggplant, mango and tandoori chicken, and the most popular Original Barbecue Chicken Pizza. Since I've stuck to plain, traditional toppings for my pizza reviews thus far, we ordered our pizza with half pepperoni and cheese and half "the works." Our pizza arrived piping hot, sliced into six pieces.



Note: I'd love to hear your thoughts on the exotic pizzas. What have you tried? What do you recommend?

The crust was thin with a very crisp, crunchy exterior and soft, most interior. There was a very slight sweetness in the dough, but mostly a fresh, natural "bready" taste. As someone who is very used to noting smoke flavor in her food, I can't say that I really detected any of the smoky flavor in the crust that I had been told to expect from a wood-burning oven. As the open kitchen offers a direct view into the oven, the Mr. and I spied the logs inside the oven and oddly didn't notice them changing size over the course of the evening. I could certainly be mistaken, but I only know of one kind of log that doesn't burn down.

But anyway...the traditional tomato sauce was very light and very sweet, thinly brushed over the crust. The cheese was good, nothing dazzling, but good. It had a little parmesan flavor mixed with the mozzarella, sitting firmly over the sauce with almost no pull away. The standout on the plain half of the pie was the pepperoni. It was crisp, masterfully sliced, juicy and flavorful in the center with crunchy, perfectly cooked edges. The "works" half included the pepperoni as well, along with sweet Italian sausage and fresh, crunchy veggies (mushrooms, onions, black olives and green peppers).




the dining experience:

CPK certainly offers a trendier, more upscale dining experience than that of your standard pizza parlor. The open dining room was decorated purposefully and tastefully with a defined lighting scheme. The crowd was certainly Hill Center-chic sophisticated and there was a noted lack of toddlers and cheerios. There was a brief wait on the Friday evening when we visited, but those who rolled in just five minutes after us could have waited 30 minutes or more as the restaurant was completely packed. Our waiter (Jared) was attentive and very friendly as was the manager who stopped by as we finished our meal.



To be fair, the more exotic toppings are what makes CPK stand out. But in general, the traditional topping pizza was pretty good. It felt a little bit like they offered it only because they had to though, like the hot dogs and mac and cheese found on the bottom corner of the menu at other restaurants. The hunt for the best slice carries on...

California Pizza Kitchen
Hill Center: 4031 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville, TN 37215 (map)
Mon - Sat: 11:00am - 10:00pm, Sun: 11:00am - 9:00pm
Dine In and Carry Out

* * * * *

Cold Pizza:
Friday Night Slice, Part 1: MAFIAoZA's and Joey's House of Pizza
Friday Night Slice, Part 2: Pizza Perfect and Pizza Perfect Kebobs
Friday Night Slice, Part 3: Rudino's Pizza and Grinders

Friday Night Slice, Part 4: Chicago Style

Friday Night Slice, Part 5: Pie In The Sky

Friday Night Slice, Part 6: Castrillo's Pizza

Got any suggestions for places that I should cover? Let me know!

12 March 2009

Music Thursday: The Bomb Remix

If you are in Nashville on Friday, check out How I Became The Bomb's EP release show at The Mercy Lounge. I am sure they will have something fun planned for Friday the 13th. Before the show check out DPaul's remix of Formal Occasion.


11 March 2009

BBQ SAUCE OF THE WEEK: Bar-B-Bar New Orleans Smoky Blues BBQ Sauce



If ever there was proof that "New Orleans" gets thrown around like so much cheap confetti in the marketing of food products, this week's sauce is it.

First of all, it is kind of bizarre to me that the Big Easy has been co-opted as a locale that invokes barbecue greatness. Don't get me wrong, New Orleans is a great food town, but for barbecue? I don't know.

The product in question is made by a company called Bar-B-Bar, which hails from - wait for it - Kent, England. Although the Bar-B-Bar logo says "1925", the story on their campy website implies that the company is much younger than that. The story goes that GrillMaster, the anonymous founder/creator, was bored at a South Coast "beach barbi" and decided that better barbecue sauce was the answer. Thus, a line of sauces that has apparently been successful on that side of the pond - they claim to be "Europe's leading award-winning gourmet barbecue brand."

Unfortunately, this is not a sauce that New Orleanians should be proud to have their city associated with. It looks like it could be promising - thick and dark, with lots of spices suspended in it. But even a quick whiff of the stuff is enough to tell that something is not right here. The taste is overwhelmingly of soy sauce, with a smokiness and a molasses flavor that only intensify the soy sauce flavor. The overall essense of the sauce is savory, almost like...dare I say...Marmite?

Grade: D

DIY Project: Sink

Here is the start of my little sink project.



I found this heavy duty cart on Craigslist for $30. I plan on cutting out a hole in the top and dropping in my sink. I am also looking at purchasing a 110v water heater that I will mount to the base of the cart. It has locking casters and a towel bar on the front.

It even has a place for my hose pipe.


Eventually I will either make this into a more permanent setup in my trailer, or I will get a three bay stainless sink mounted in my trailer.

Stay tuned for updates on this project.

10 March 2009

Ulika Update

Our first contest of the year is quickly approaching. In just three weeks, we will be headed to Clarksville for the 2nd Annual Porkin' in the Park contest. This year, Ulika has added a new competition trailer. Last year we rented a trailer for all of our contests, but we are now the proud owners of a CM enclosed 16' v-nose trailer. The trailer should be delivered either later this week or early next week. Of course, I will post some pictures when the trailer arrives. Next week we will have a practice run on all of our competition meats. I have a few new twists with my ribs and pork which were the categories in which we placed the lowest in 2008. We are just hoping that the judges will still like what we do to our chicken and brisket. We are really looking forward to cooking again and seeing some folks we haven't seen in a while.

Tweet This


06 March 2009

Friday Night Slice, Part 6

Castrillo's Pizza

"East Nashville. Where friendships go to die."
- Roadie

For this edition of Friday Night Slice, we took the first of several trips down the long and winding road that leads to East Nashville. The hipster urban sprawl over the past few years has been the impetus for many new businesses on the East side, with new restaurants cropping up alongside new coffee shops, bars, modern furniture stores and expensive haircut salons...

But Castrillo's isn't new, it just has new owners. For a long time, Castrillo's has enjoyed the reputation of being a somewhat hidden gem in the Nashville pizza world, but the new owners cut out the dining-in option, billing the restaurant (according to the "hey, I just learned FLASH!" website) as "East Nashville's take out and delivery Italian bistro." So on this Friday evening, we took out.



Castrillo's serves a hand-tossed pie with a tasty, gooey and slightly chewy crust. It is thick, soft and buttery without any overwhelming (or underwhelming) flavors to detract from its primary role. The sauce is similarly simple in flavors, gently spiced and spread evenly in appropriate, middle-of-the-road quantities. The texture of the sauce is outstanding with consistently well-blended tomato throughout and a calm, complementary dousing of oregano.

The freshness and quality of the toppings was apparent. The pepperoni was juicy while the mozzarella was dense and creamy, generously covering the top of each slice with a very high pull-away.





Overall, the pizza was good. Nothing mindblowing, but a solid good. I would certainly go back when in the area. While we stuck to pepperoni and cheese for this review, Castrillo's offers a variety of interesting specialty pizzas (i.e. "Under the Sea" starring octopus, mussels and crab on a pizza) along with calzones and deli subs, pasta, wings, appetizers and desserts.

Castrillo's
1404 McGavock Pike, Nashville, TN, 37216 (map)
Mon - Sat 11:00am - 2:00pm and 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm, Sun 11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Take Out and Delivery Only

* * * * *

Cold Pizza:
Friday Night Slice, Part 1: MAFIAoZA's and Joey's House of Pizza
Friday Night Slice, Part 2: Pizza Perfect and Pizza Perfect Kebobs
Friday Night Slice, Part 3: Rudino's Pizza and Grinders

Friday Night Slice, Part 4: Chicago Style

Friday Night Slice, Part 5: Pie In The Sky


Got any suggestions for places that I should cover? Let me know!

05 March 2009

Music Thursday: Extra Hot Edition

Last week, I went to a party that was graciously serving a buffet of Prince's Hot Chicken. There were four 12x20 aluminum pans full of Prince's wonderful, delicious hot chicken wings and each pan contained one of the four heat levels (mild, medium, hot, and extra hot). As a big fan of the hot, I went straight for it. Luckily, I had my pick because most people were starting with the mild or medium.

I have had Prince's lately and the hot didn't seem as hot as it used to be, but this wing had some real kick. After downing that wing and a few Yazoo crushers, I was challenged to a piece of the extra hot. The extra hot had gone virtually untouched all night. Well, I was in just the right...errrr, wrong state of mind to say yes. After the first bite I thought, this is not much hotter than the hot. Unfortunately this line of thinking had me going back for a second piece of extra hot. WOW. It was extremely hot. It had a purplish tint and the spice hit my lips immediately. Each bite was hotter and hotter and so so good. Most people ask me how I can eat that hot chicken. I just have to reply that it is like crack. After one bite you have to go for the next and the next. Also like crack you, will have to pay the consequences in the end. I am glad I can say that I have tried the extra hot, but I think that I will stick to ordering just plain hot next time.

Widespread Panic 10/31/02 NOLA - Hot in Herre

02 March 2009

NASHVILLE BARBECUE: Part 9 - T for Texas



When it comes to barbecue, Tennessee is indisputably pork country. If you ask any native Nashvillian, barbecue means pulled pork or pork ribs. But as our city has grown and attracted more and more transplants, it's no surprise that the Texans have eventually made their presence felt. Thus - "Texas Style" barbecue restaurants.

Because we're talking Texas here, I am going to stay away from the usual porcine measuring sticks, and instead order just brisket and sausage. Let me just say up front that my cumulative exposure to brisket and especially sausage is not very high, so I am by no means an expert. But I will do my best.





Unlike our other two places in this report, Tex's is not a relative newcomer to the Nashville landscape - they claim to have been in business for over 30 years. Their hours are very limited - Monday through Friday, 11AM to 2PM - so it's tough to make it to Tex's unless you work in the area.



Tex's is also unique in that they offer perhaps the only barbecue buffet in Nashville. It's not a true all-you-can-eat buffet, but rather a "two-pass" buffet, meaning that you can go through the buffet line twice. As stated before, I stuck to the brisket and sausage.



I could tell right from the beginning that the brisket was off the mark. Perhaps it was just not fresh, but this brisket was completely dry, almost to the point of being crumbly. The bark had nice flavor, but the lack of moisture and tenderness in the meat was too much to overcome.

The sausage was not incredible either, but it was better. It was smoothly ground and tender, with a nice mild smoky flavor.



Yep, that's a baseball stadium. Herschel Greer Stadium, to be exact, which is home to our minor league baseball team, the Nashville Sounds. It is also the latest home to Judge Bean's Bar-B-Que, which really upped the ante for Texas barbecue in this area when it opened in 2002, but has since made a series of puzzling location changes, eventually winding up in the penthouse suite of Greer Stadium, where it was to be open year-round, whether there was a baseball game or not. I had not been to Bean's since they moved to the stadium, so I was eager to check it out. But on the Saturday that I visited, all doors to the stadium were locked, and nobody was home, save for a baseball team practicing in the lower parking lot (!).





The stadium appeared to be in the midst of a renovation (painting it dark gray???), so maybe that explains why Judge Bean's was not open. But I also heard a rumor that proprietor Aubrey Bean had a heart attack recently, so maybe it was that. If so, get well soon, Judge, because I want Shrimp Diablos while I watch the Sounds this summer.



Mickey Roos Barbecue is kind of an offshoot of Judge Bean's. Rooster Beane, one of the co-founders, is Aubrey Bean's brother, and spent time in his restaurant before launching Mickey Roos with Mickey Bodden in an abandoned Mexican restaurant in Franklin (which was once a Rax Roast Beef!). Judge Bean's influence is readily apparent in the menu, which is almost identical. As before, I ordered brisket and sausage.



This brisket was quite good. Cooked perfectly, it was tender and juicy as could be, but not falling apart. It had great fresh beefy flavor and a healthy dose of smokiness. The bark was not set quite as well as it could have been, but overall, the brisket was good. I've had worse brisket from Roos, but I don't think I've had better.



I liked the sausage even better. Like the sausage at Tex's, it was very smoothly ground and tender, but the casing on this sausage had a great snap that yielded a nice variety of texture. This sausage was considerably spicier, too. Great spicy, savory smoky flavor overall.

Highlights: Mickey Roos sausage (Good)

Disclaimer: Please note that these reports are based on particular servings of barbecue at a particular day and time. Barbecue can be prone to fluctuation. Your experiences may vary.

More reports in this series:
Part 1 - The Legends
Part 2 - The Chain Gang
Part 3 - Local Chains
Part 4 - Jefferson Street
Part 5 - Clarksville Highway
Part 6 - East Nashville
Part 7 - The West Side
Part 8 - Memphis Imports
Part 9 - T for Texas
Part 10 - Williamson County
Part 11 - Murfreesboro
Part 12 - La Vergne & Smyrna
Part 13 - Wilson County
Part 14 - Catching Up in Nashville
Part 15 - Hendersonville & White House
Part 16 - Portland & Gallatin
Part 17 - Robertson County
Part 18 - Dickson County
Part 19 - "Barbecue by any other name..."
Part 20 - Places We Missed
Part 21 - More Places We Missed

Red White and Food

I saw this on the Scene's Bites blog, and I just love it when people go ahead and give me the a blog topic...

When strolling the aisles of a grocery store in Tennessee, you are sure to find Purity Ice Cream, Clifty Farm Country Ham, and Vietti chili...but you won't find any wine. Sure, you can pick up a case of your favorite crushers, but the closest thing to wine is the sparkling grape juice that your parents got for you every New Years when you were a kid.

The Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association has dubbed today Red White and Food day in the blogosphere, asking bloggers to type in support of their mission to bring wine to grocery stores.

Currently, long-standing Tennessee law only allows wine to be sold in liquor stores. Red White and Food seeks to give customers more choices, asking legislators to create a license that will allow retail food stores to sell wine.

But it is not just the food retail outlets that would benefit from this legislation, the liquor stores will as well. As the laws stand today, a liquor store can ONLY sell liquor. This means that you can not buy Bloody Mary mix with your vodka or pick up some ice to go with that bottle of 21 year old scotch. The Red White and Food group wants to see liquor stores have the opportunity to sell ice, soft drinks, juice, mixers, and other "grocery" items associated with alcoholic beverages.

To learn more and support the cause, visit Red White and Food.