Sunday, November 23, 2014

Love, Peace & Pho!

There is no better time for pho than when the weather starts getting cold and winter is closing in! 

I had the pleasure of dining at Love, Peace and Pho recently after catching a TPAC matinee with three of my girlfriends/fellow What the Pho members. The décor is clean and bright and the wait staff very friendly and attentive. I'll admit when I heard about this place weeks ago and was hesitant since they own the nail salon next door. I could NOT have been more wrong! They do know their food... 

There's lots of controversy surrounding the pronunciation of pho. It's "fuh" not "foe"! Maybe it depends on what part of South East Asia you are in. But, I grew up eating pho as a teen (30 years ago), thanks to the Vietnamese "Do" family who took me in and contributed to my conversion to Catholicism. It is "fuh" to me!

fried egg bánh mì 
Love, Peace and Pho is the newest Vietnamese Restaurant in Nashville. Quite honestly, I've never seen a Vietnamese menu like it. It is vegetarian friendly (including the pho) and the bánh mì menu comes with six variations, with a vegetarian “pork” option (made with tofu). I ordered the fried egg bánh mì (pictured at left). It was absolutely delicious, the bread fresh and the egg was cooked to perfection with a slightly soft yolk - just the way I like it. The veggies on the sandwich as well as what was served with the pho were exceptionally FRESH. 
Photo courtesy of Sun Tzu Photo
by James Quach

We had a chance to chat with the owner who explained that the broth for the pho (beef & vegetarian options) is a two day process. They worked with a chef in Oregon to design the bánh mì menu. He checked in on us twice to make sure we were enjoying our meal. And yes, we were. My girlfriend ordered the lemongrass chicken bánh mì to go for her lunch the next day and approved, although bánh mì are best eaten fresh.

I recently sent my Meetup group here. I was supposed to attend but had to miss while waiting on a house call from Piedmont gas. One member just responded, "Yum, yum!" But wanted more star anise in his broth. Another member said her ribs were a little tough, but loved the veggie bánh mì. One pho "virgin" was pleased and described it as tasty and said the traditional egg rolls were the best he's ever had. The reviews were overall good with five stars overall.
Photo courtesy of Sun Tzu Photo 
by James Quach

Nashville Scene:

Location & Parking: 2112 8th Avenue South, just south of Wedgewood Avenue across from Zanies Comedy Club – next door to The Nail Place. Parking is a little challenging. Good luck finding parking in front. I parked across the street in the lot by the antique store next to Dollar General. But you can also park along the side streets. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Island Vibes: Authentic Caribbean Food!

It's been too long since I blogged about my favorite restaurants in Nashville, so here goes...

I discovered Island Vibes mid-to-late summer. I stopped in alone one day for lunch to check it out for my Meetup group and indulged in the Curry Chicken. It was heavenly and "fell off the bone". If you can make chicken fall off the bone, then I am hooked...
Curry Chicken

This place is small and can easily be missed if you close your eyes. It's located on Antioch Pike behind Sam's Club, in a small house next door to the 1310 Plaza which houses equally exceptional Korean and Ethiopian restaurants. I love that Antioch is such a melting pot of ethnic cuisine.

I quickly became friends with Loverna Semple-Burnett and her husband Mark Burnett who are owners (along with Mark's brothers). This is truly a family owned restaurant. My friend Aubrey Dasilva is the chef. They are from the same village in Georgetown, Guyana. You really don't get much more Caribbean than that...

First visit: I opted for the curry chicken (see above). I took home leftovers (which I always do) and actually ate them later that night - which I rarely do. I eat out so often that most of my leftovers go to waste. These leftovers did not go to waste.

Second visit: I brought my Meetup group. They scheduled live music for us on a Saturday night - steelpan music. I opted for oxtails which I love. It's definitely a "finger food" but worth the effort. I actually got reprimanded by a Jamaican woman for trying to eat it with a knife & fork about two years ago. Lesson learned! Think of the most deeply braised beef you could ever imagine. I'm not much of a beef eater, but if you offer me oxtail, I'm in!

Third visit: Jerk chicken, only because the jerk pork wasn't ready. It was delicious, but I am still holding out for the pork. A member said it was the best jerk chicken she ever had. Another member, with family in Jamaica, had the goat curry and devoured her plate. She said she rarely eats red meat unless it's goat - and she gave the thumbs up. Several members said it was above and beyond JamaicaWay - the only other Caribbean in Nashville until now.
Jerk Pork

Don't miss the weekend specials on the board - including saltfish & bake and bullfoot soup. "Bake" is a type of bread. I am still trying to convince Loverna to make me "shark & bake" once I can get my hands on shark meat in Nashville. Otherwise, I will have to schedule a trip to Trinidad for my most expensive "fish sandwich" ever!

Island VibesAddress: 1316 Antioch Pike, Nashville, TN 37211
Phone:(615) 454-6085
Prices: $

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