29 May 2009

Friday Night Slice, Part 14

Brick's Cafe



Brick's Cafe is one of the relatively newer joints in town, opened in 2003 in its Franklin (Fieldstone Farms) spot. The locally owned and operated restaurant now has three locations across town, taking a spot in the recently renovated Brentwood Place Shopping Center (next to Five Guys) and taking over the space formerly occupied by Uncle Gio's Pizza (R.I.P.) on Nolensville Road in the South Nashville Cane Ridge area.

A friend of mine has been recommending Brick's for a few weeks now and she was kind enough to join me at the Brentwood location to split a pepperoni and cheese pizza for this week's installment of Friday Night Slice.

Side note about aforementioned friend: She used to be a vegetarian. She is currently married to a butcher / meat manager. *Used to* be a vegetarian.

Brick's touts itself as a causal restaurant that specializes in brick oven pizzas. Unlike other places I've visited, there was no denying the authenticity here as a huge, open face, fiery brick oven overlooks the dining room. The place was much jazzier than I was expecting with skinny beverage glasses and swanky black linens, and the menu was far more expansive than I had anticipated as well. Brick's offers soups, salads, sandwiches and pastas along with a large, inventive pizza menu including a Crawfish and Hot Sausage pie.



Our pepperoni and cheese pizza arrived piping hot. Steam escaped as we removed the first triangular-cut slice to reveal a heavy, high pull-away factor cheese that was immediately promising. The cheese and the sauce equally vie for attention in the first bite as both are unique and delicious. The sauce is thick and sweet with small tomato chunks and fresh spices that step out of the standard Italian comfort zone. The cheese is a tangy mozzarella with a smoked provolone that is thick, smooth and absolutely amazing. The crust was distinct and surprising as well - a thin crust with a soft, flexible base, fluffy interior and cracker-crisp outside edge. The pepperoni was rather mild, but fresh, tasty and a perfect complement to the sauce.



Everything about Brick's was a pleasant, welcome surprise. We've all had the ho hum wood fired pizzas in "regular restaurants" where chefs attempt to cover a multitude of sins with a heavy sprinkling of random spices (I'm pointing to you, Bosco's), but Brick's appropriately marries unique flavors and offers a great pizza that is different than what you'll find in most places around middle Tennessee. I'll definitely be back to explore the menu more. Thanks, Rachel!

Brick's Cafe
3 Locations: Nashville, Brentwood and Franklin
Sun-Thur 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm
Dine In and Take 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 Italian Beef
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
Friday Night Slice, Part 8: Ahart's Pizza Garden (Murfreesboro)
Friday Night Slice, Part 9: New York Pizza Depot (Clarksville)
Friday Night Slice, Part 10: Matteo's Pizzeria
Friday Night Slice, Part 11: Angelo's Picnic Pizza
Friday Night Slice, Part 12: Manny's House of Pizza
Friday Night Slice, Part 13: Nashville Pizza Co.

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

27 May 2009

BBQ SAUCE OF THE WEEK: Heffys



This week, we have the pleasure of reviewing not just one sauce, but a whole line of barbecue sauces.

Heffys was developed by three friends using an "old Kansas recipe" and launched at the American Royal in 2007. In a short time, the sauce company has experienced quite a bit of success, having picked up wins at both the 2008 Royal and the 2009 Scovie Awards.

Unlike some product lines where the sauces are completely different from each other, Heffys sauces are quite similar, with all three seemingly having been developed from the same base sauce.

The "Original" version is very much ketchup-based, with notable elements of Worcestershire and mustard that give the sauce a nice tanginess. It has a lightly sweet and spicy finish. The texture of the sauce is silky smooth and of medium viscosity.

The "Sweet Mesquite" sauce is basically a thicker, sweeter version of the original. Although that tanginess is still present, it is overshadowed by a honey and brown sugar sweetness. This is the most conventional of the three sauces.

In my opinion, the Heffys base formula reaches its greatest height in the "Hot & Spicy" version of the sauce. Here, our old friend Habanero makes an appearance and kicks the heat level up a couple of notches. The mustard and Worcestershire tanginess and the light sweetness are excellent complements for the burning heat of the peppers. And the peppers even seem to bring out some flavors that were not apparent in the other versions, specifically a bright almost citrus-y flavor.

Grades:

Original - B+
Sweet Mesquite - B
Hot & Spicy - A-

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

We have a bottle of Heffys BBQ Sauce to give away to one of our readers. 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 and sent a free bottle of sauce. Just leave an email address so that we can contact the winner.

BBQ Sauce Giveaway

Congrats to Barbara for wining the BBQ Sauce of the week. I will be sending you a complimentary bottle of RedRum Sweet BBQ Sauce.

26 May 2009

Memphis in May Barbecue Fest 2009 Photos



























































































Check back soon for a full report.

22 May 2009

Friday Night Slice, Part 13

Nashville Pizza Company



"The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire. Discuss." - Linda Richman

With two locations in Franklin, the Nashville Pizza Company is a locally owned business that's been serving thin-crust pies since 1997 - "locally" owned by two native Arkansans (hence the smoked ham Razorback pizza on the menu) who moved here specifically to set up shop and dominate the pizza market with fresh ingredients and a unique crust.

Pizza by the slice is available during lunch hours, but every other pizza is made fresh to order with your choice of standard or exotic ingredients. NPC additionally offers Specialty (and Super Specialty) pizzas including Harvey's Special (smoked turkey, jalapenos, mozzarella and cheddar) and The Florentine (olive oil, mozzarella, parmesan, pepper jack, garlic, Alfredo sauce, spinach, onions, mushrooms, bacon, artichoke hearts and tomatoes). But you know what we ordered.



The NPC crust is the thinnest of the thin as it is folded, pressed, rolled flat and brushed lightly with water on the base before baking. It's brittle and cracker-thin all the way to the curved edge, similar to the thin crust Chicago-style or St. Louis-style pies but without the square party cut. The flavor is (intentionally) minimal but the crunch is great.



The full and slightly spicy sauce was outstanding. It was gently thick with a bit of graininess from the tiny bits of tomato and spice, nicely covering the crust interior. The flavor went well with the thin sliced pepperoni rounds that also held a bit of spice. The cheese, unfortunately, was the biggest disappointment. The quantity was average and the pull-away was fair, but the quality and flavor that you expect from the non-chains was wholly absent. You could tell it was fresh cheese (a basic mozzarella) and it was there for you in every bite, but it never asked you to notice it.

The underwhelming cheese made the whole pie fall into the mediocre "eh, it was pretty good" category, but then we looked down:



No leftovers. EVERY piece had been eaten. Hmm. It was certainly good enough to finish. The Mr. attributes it to the thin crust. He says that this crust doesn't give you that "false fullness" that you get with other crusts and other foods (like pasta). Perhaps I need to recommend this pizza more than I thought I would? The must-try crust and excellent sauce are worth the trip, but for now, I don't think that Nashville's best pizza is in Franklin.

Nashville Pizza Company
Hillsboro Road and Watson Glen
Mon-Thur: 11am-9pm; Fri-Sat: 11am-10pm; Sun: 12pm-8pm
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 Italian Beef
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
Friday Night Slice, Part 8: Ahart's Pizza Garden (Murfreesboro)
Friday Night Slice, Part 9: New York Pizza Depot (Clarksville)
Friday Night Slice, Part 10: Matteo's Pizzeria
Friday Night Slice, Part 11: Angelo's Picnic Pizza
Friday Night Slice, Part 12: Manny's House of Pizza

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