Palates

What I Ate: J. Alexander’s

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Dear restaurants,

Please make your tables bigger so that I have clear space for my photos.

Sincerely,

An aesthetically obsessed foodie

 

A few months back we went to J. Alexander’s on a Sunday afternoon. It’s one of my grandparents’ favorite restaurants, so it’s fitting that we at there on my grandfather’s birthday. I ordered the ahi tuna burger which is amazing. The tuna is seared to perfection, the peppery-ness of the arugula balances the  acidity of the lemon aioli, and of course the shoe string fries perfectly compliment the burger. Dang, I get so excited talking about food.

Anyway that’s it, I know this post is kind of short but it’s because I’m working on a huge blog series for Feburary so look forward to that.

Stay fly,

~Akilah

 

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Palates

Lunch at Plaza Mariachi

I absolutely adore places that are dedicated to celebrating culture and Plaza Mariachi is one of those places. It’s a collection of restaurants and specialty stores that showcase Latin culture. They have live music, an array of cuisines, and even a grocery store where you can buy authentic ingredients.

A few months ago, we went there for lunch and had some bomb food. First, we stopped at place to get drinks. I ordered the Avocado Lime Agua Fresca. It was so creamy and refreshing, if you’re wondering how avocado works in a sweet drink, it works wonderfully and adds a satisfying mouth feel.

Next, we went to Tres Gauchos for food. I’m a huge fan of chorizo, so when I saw a chorizo sandwich on the menu I was intrigued. It also had chimicurri and pico de gallo on it, which added a freshness and moisture. The roll was toasted perfectly and soft in the middle. Plus, the fries that came on the side were thick-cut, crispy and warm. They also had this amazing spicy aioli to dip the fries in that was to die for. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

If you’re in the Nashville area definitely go to Plaza Mariachi, you won’t be disappointed!

Stay fly,

~Akilah

 

 

 

 

 

Palates

Milk & Honey

I have another restaurant review and surprise it’s a breakfast place! It’s really no secret that I love breakfast and especially brunch, so it was definitely in order for me to try Milk & Honey.

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My first impression was how cute the sign is! It’s big and the white script is very clean and modern. The décor on the inside lives up to the aesthetic set by the sign. It’s modern in a black and white color scheme with gleaming wood floors. In place of booths and clunky tables, little round café style tables adorn the space. There’s also a little bakery counter with a chalkboard menu.

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I ordered a Matcha Latte to start. I’d been wanting to try matcha for a long time and while the flavor was good, it had a powdery texture that I couldn’t get used to. For my main dish I ordered off the breakfast menu although we came at a time when you could go for breakfast or lunch. I chose toast with mushroom, egg, and tomato jam with potatoes on the side. My food took a while coming but when it did come it tasted pretty good. I would’ve liked some heat to set it off because the portion that I took to-go and added some green pepper hot sauce to was magnificent. The potatoes were quite delicious: crispy on the outside and soft on the inside like potatoes should be. My mom ordered chicken and waffles which looked amazing so I took a picture of those, I’ll probably order that if we come to Milk & Honey again. While this definitely isn’t my favorite breakfast spot I’d be willing to try it again someday.

Stay fly,

~Akilah

Palates

Best Food in Nashville 2017

Recently, my dad brought home a copy of The Nashville Scene: Best of Nashville Edition. Since I’m a resident Nashville foodie, I thought it would be fun to tell whether I agree with the reader’s poll or not for a few categories.

Best Barbecue

Their Choice: Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint

My Choice: Martin’s

This place is the truth, I looove their brisket especially. Those long lines also tell you a lot about the quality of their food.

Best Burger

Their Choice: Burger Up

My Choice: M.L Rose

When I went here for my birthday with my aunt a couple of years ago, we were both doing elimination diets/detoxes so all we could really eat was the burger patty. But man was that patty good! Easily the most flavorful burger I’ve had. In terms of a normal burger with all the fixins’ I’d recommend Gabby’s. At Burger Up I’ve only had a specialty burger: their Oktoberfest burger, which was too salty but also lacking in flavor, their milkshakes however are bomb.

Best Brunch

Their Choice: Marchè Artisan Foods

My Choice: Marchè

I have dreams about this place. We went here on a rainy Sunday morning after church a couple of years ago. The quaint French decor immediately drew me in and then I fell in love with the food. My andouille sausage crepes were fluffy, and the dijon mustard was a lovely addition.

Best Cupcake

Their Choice: The Cupcake Collection

My Choice: The Cupcake Collection

You already know what it is! Cupcake collection is not only the best in Nashville, it’s the best in the entire country. I’ve met the owner Mignon; she’s so sweet and so are her cupcakes. The Strawberry Lemonade one is my favorite but it’s generally sold out so the Wedding Cake is also amazing.

Best Thai

Their Choice: The Smiling Elephant

My Choice: Thai Phooket

Even though I’ve never been to The Smiling Elephant I still wanted to do this category because I love Thai food. Thai Phooket has amazing green and red curry, Pad Thai, and bubble tea. It’s perfect for those who love authentic Thai food but they also have more mainstream Chinese food for pickier eaters (not my favorite thing but that’s another post). Anyway you should definitely go here.

Do you agree with my choices?

Stay fly,

~Akilah

Palates · travel

Brunch in Three Cities

brunch noun \ˈbrənch\ : a meal usually taken late in the morning that combines a late breakfast and an early lunch…or my favorite meal ever created. What’s better than a meal where you can have meat and pancakes, salad and dessert? I’ll wait…

Over the course of the summer I’ve eaten a lot of brunch, partly because I’m sleeping later but mainly because brunch is bomb. So, today I’m excited to share with you my three different brunches from three different cities. Just call me the traveling brunch queen.

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Birmingham: Waffle Works

During a day trip with my church youth group to the Civil Rights Institute, we stopped in this chic little food court on the outskirts of downtown Birmingham. Inside where a plethora of cuisines but I knew as soon as I saw “shrimp and grits waffle” on the menu that this was my brunch destiny. I’m a sucker for shrimp and grits and chicken and waffles so the mixture was made for me. They mix grits into the waffle batter and create this spicy gravy with shrimp and andouille sausage over top. It’s perfection!

Nashville: Biscuit Love

This place is iconic and lots of tourists come here when visiting Nashville but even as a local I’d never been, so on Father’s day we decided to check them out. I’ll admit I was a little bit skeptical because it’s so popular but I was pleasantly surprised. I ordered shrimp and grits (I told you I loved them) and we shared an order of bonuts. First let me talk about the bonuts because they were a blissful little package of biscuit/donuts with lemon marscarpone and blueberry compote. They were fried to perfection and reminded me of bougie fair food, like funnel cake’s rich cousin. The lemon marscarpone kept them from being to sweet and the blueberry compote had pieces of blueberry in it. The shrimp and grits were also amazing, on the menu it was called the “Bill Neal” leave a comment if you know who that is because I don’t. Anyway, they were not your normal shrimp and grits: the mushrooms, green onions, and applewood smoked bacon definitely made sure of that, They were bursting with flavor and the lemon tabasco sauce added a subtle spicy acidity that was amazing. Also props for no lumps in the grits they were completely smooth and creamy, I’d love another bowl right now.

Indianapolis: Yolk

Amazingly enough I did not order shrimp and grits at Yolk (they weren’t on the menu in case you were wondering). But seriously, I was drawn to the “Croque Madame” a grilled ham, turkey, swiss, and Dijon sandwich made on challah french toast and topped with a sunny side up egg. It was amazing! The challah was thick and soft but didn’t overpower the other flavors. Holla for challah! And I love swiss cheese so that was a win. Not only did I have this amazing sandwich, but the staff randomly gave our table an order of cinnamon roll french toast to share. This french toast was heavenly, the cinnamon roll icing was creamy and the french toast itself was cinnamony and light. I would definitely come here again next time I’m in Indy.

Well, that’s the end for now of my traveling brunch adventures. Do you like brunch? Comment down below your favorite brunch foods.

Stay fly,

~Akilah

Palates

Green Hills Grille ~Review

A perfect place for upscale American fusion in a casual cafe-like setting, Green Hills Grille is quickly becoming a celebration go-to for my family. Most recently we went for my Grandma’s birthday and had a wonderful time.

I ordered the Chicken Pignoli: sautéed chicken, olive oil, basil pesto, red pepper flakes, cajun spice, artichoke hearts, pine nuts, goat cheese, parmesan cheese, tomatoes. 

Pasta is one of my favorite foods and anything pesto immediately grabs my attention so ordering this was a no-brainer. I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical because this isn’t an Italian restaurant, but this wasn’t my first time eating at GHG and I trusted the food. My trust wasn’t betrayed because the pasta was bomb! The pesto and parmesan cheese complimented each other nicely, the goat cheese added a nice creamy contrast, and the hint of cajun spice topped it off wonderfully. My only complaints are that the artichoke hearts were slightly tough and I could’ve used more chicken, but other than that it was a tasty meal. 

I also recommend the Pequeno Shrimp and Grits which is what I ordered my first time there. They’re probably the best shrimp and grits I’ve ever had, so favorful.

Definitely go visit Green Hills Grille, the food is delicious!

Stay fly,

~Akilah

Palates

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Foodie Boss

One of the most exciting things in life is trying new foods, experiencing new cuisines, and finding the new favorite food you were scared to try.

But, some people never experience these epic feelings because they don’t know how to branch out and try new foods. So, I’m here to tell you how to do just that.

Get out of the house

If you sit at home all the time you’ll not easily find new restaurants to explore. Some of my favorite restaurants we’ve found by passing them in my city. An easy way to find places is to simply keep your eyes peeled as you go about your normal traveling, train yourself to feel when a hip restaurant is nearby, it’s an invaluable skill.

Go Local

Yes, you could find something new and different at Chili’s… but you won’t. So leave chains behind and opt for cool spots in your city. Once you go local, you can’t go back.

Pinpoint a city’s signature

If you’re going out of town do some research and find out what the city you’re going to is known for, if you’re in Chicago eat Chicago style pizza, and so forth. When in Rome eat as the Romans do.

Ask your server for recommendations 

Now that you’re at a real jazzy spot you found while out and about in your city, the next step is ordering. When I don’t know what to order I always ask my server what they like. Waiters and waitresses have tryed all of the items on the menu and can give you helpful hints. Sometimes, the most popular or hyped item isn’t all that, if so your server can most likely tell you, and direct you to something better.

Order based on your tastes

Even though you want to branch out and try something adventurous don’t go crazy. If you don’t like fish, don’t eat sushi. Instead, pinpoint a flavor you like and try something new with that in it. For instance, if chicken fingers are your go to try ordering tempura shrimp, which is battered and fried like chicken tenders, but also has an elevated spice blend.

Eat other people’s food

I wouldn’t recommend going food adventure-ing alone. There’s something special about eating new foods with people… but only if you like the people. So, go with your family or friends, this is also good if you don’t like what you ordered you can just eat theirs.

Be a Food Network judge

After you finish your meal evaluate it, determine what you liked, disliked, and whether you would order it again. This helps you to know what you might order next and whether this restaurant was a winner or naw. Plus, if you pretend to be your favorite cooking show judge, it’ll be fun.

Try again

You did it, you ordered something that wasn’t chicken tenders. You took my advice and settled on something new…but it sucked. Wait! Don’t give up, it doesn’t always work out the first time, but if you take my advice from above and evaluate your meal, you can make it epic the next time around. Food, like everything else is trial and error, so don’t give up and return to the arms of your chicken tenders when you deserve better.

If you follow this guide, I assure you, you will become a foodie boss. But it won’t happen overnight, I have over ten years of foodie bossdom under my belt, it takes time. Patience grasshopper.

Eat well and Stay fly,

~Akilah