June 27, 2011

Stefano's Pizza

This past weekend I went on my annual family trip. My entire family on my mom's side, all 17 of us, go to Gatlinburg and rent a cabin. We all stay together and hang out, play cards, and eat lots of food. After three gluttonous days in the Smoky Mountains with my family, my mom and I decided one more day of overindulgence couldn't hurt. We stopped in Knoxville on the way home to grab some pizzas from our favorite place in the world, Stefano's. Stefano's has been in Knoxville for awhile. In fact, my mom and dad used live in Knoxville and go on dates there before they were married.
Stefano's is a Chicago style pizza, though not the super deep dish kind you might be thinking of. The best part about their pizza is the crust! They were the first pizza joint I had ever heard of to have whole wheat crust, and let me tell you, its the best; thick and crunchy but with a fluffy bread-like texture inside. It is also the best pizza sauce I've ever had. It's extra thick and dark red in color with lots of flavor, unlike most pizza sauces that are thin and runny and taste watered down. We always order our pizzas with extra sauce! 
Large veggie on whole wheat with extra sauce. YUM!
Stefano's has all the regular toppings and combinations, and I'm sure they are all good but I have never, and will never, stray from the regular veggie pizza. Even my boyfriend Jaren, who is an avid pepperoni and sausage pizza eater, likes their veggie pizza better! They load the pizza up with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and green and black olives. It's simply the best. 
My slices. Always topped with a heavy dose of crushed red pepper!
If you get a chance, stop by Stefano's when you're in or even near Knoxville. It's well worth a short (or long) drive. And a little tip, if you decide to dine in, don't forget to get a fountain drink. They not only have the best pizza I've ever had, but the best ice too! Now if we can only get one in Nashville...
1937 Cumberland Ave.
Knoxville, TN
(865) 522-4151

June 13, 2011


The weather this past weekend was perfect for grilling out. It was little hot, but when you grow up in Nashville, you're used to hot summers. On both Saturday and Sunday, my boyfriend Jaren and I took advantage of the weather and did some serious grilling. After a late night out on Friday, all we wanted to do on Saturday was relax at home and eat some good food, so that's just what we did. Following our long and expensive trip to Whole Foods on Saturday, we were ready to get the grill going. I bought lots of veggies to throw on and Jaren got a grass-fed sirloin for himself. I have to say the highlight of the meal was my grilled green cabbage, inspired by chef Guerry's cabbage I had at The Yellow Porch last weekend. It is so simple and so yummy.
Guerry's Grilled Green Cabbage
Half and then quarter one head of green cabbage (I used half of the head for the two of us)
Cut the quarters into two wedges
Rub butter on all sides of the cabbage wedges, then season with salt and cracked black pepper
Wrap the cabbage in aluminum foil and throw on the grill! (The wedges should become slightly mushy to the touch and begin to look transparent in color, about 15 minutes)
Saturday's meal: Grilled cabbage, corn, homemade sweet potato fries, and our first tomato of the summer!
On Sunday our friend Glenn invited us over to his house to grill out again. He had already prepared some chicken and fish so we brought squash and zucchini to grill and I made a potato salad which was quite good if I do say so! I always change up my potato salad recipes depending on the season so yesterday I opted for a lighter more pared down version.
Summer Potato Salad
What you'll need: Baby red potatoes, mayonnaise or veginase, dijon mustard, 4-5 stalks celery (chopped), 1/2 red onion (chopped), large bunch chopped dill, juice of 1/2 lemon, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper
Directions: Boil potatoes for about 7 minutes or until soft (but not mushy)
Drain the potatoes and let cool (place in fridge if you are in a rush)
After potatoes are cool, mix in mayonnaise/veginase, dijon, celery, onion, dill, lemon and spices
Refrigerate and enjoy!
Dill (from my mom's herb garden), celery, red onion for potato salad
Summer potato salad!
When we got to Glenn's he was grilling up a storm and as usual, there was too much food. Not a bad problem to have! He grilled some of his famous chicken, this time in a Mexican inspired marinade, as well as some Haddock spiced with smoked paprika, parsley, and dill. There was also a delicious fruit salad, caprese stacks, and our grilled veggies. We had a serious summer feast!
Glenn's grilled Haddock
Fruit salad: Mango, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, and fresh basil. How gorgeous?
Glenn's plate. See, too much food!
Hope all of you enjoyed your weekend and ate as much food as I did!

Happy Eating,

June 9, 2011

The Yellow Porch

For my first entry I wanted to write about one of my favorite restaurants in Nashville, The Yellow Porch. Last weekend, my parents and I were lucky enough to snag a table at this quaint little spot. As long as The Yellow Porch has been open, they have never advertised and it is always packed! "The Porch," as regulars like me call it, has an intimate and cozy dining room decorated with beautiful local art, as well as the best patio in town. The ambiance alone is enough to bring you back. Add to that the to-die-for food (lots of which comes from the small garden out front), amazing waitstaff, and expansive wine list, and you have a spot that can not be missed.

On any given night, The Porch is filled with a variety of people; a young rock band stopping in for dinner after a recording session at the famous Blackbird Studios down the street, a group of girls out on the town, suited-up businessmen, or a couple celebrating an anniversary. The night we decided to dine was as eclectic and busy as ever. 

We had to forego the awesome patio due to the heat and humidity so we sat inside. We started, as usual, with the best appetizer in Nashville: the "Sweetwater Tennessee Cheddar Fritters." If the words warm, cheesy, gooey, crispy, and spicy appeal to you, then you need these now. They are served with a spicy aioli and a delicious locally made chow chow. I can't go to The Porch without these and once you have them you won't be able to either.
Cheese Fritters with spicy aioli and chow chow
Every night, The Porch has at least 2 specials, usually fresh fish, in addition to the regular menu. Chef Guerry McComas creates some of the most inventive and delicious fish dishes I've ever had. I especially love all of the veggies and sides he pairs with the fish. That night, I chose the Corvina special. It was served over a local hash made with potatoes, beets, zucchini, and other seasonal veggies all tossed in an herbed brown butter sauce. I paired it with a glass of rosé and it was delicious! 
The Corvina special from The Yellow Porch
My mom chose the Alaskan Halibut special which was served over local smashed potatoes, grilled green cabbage, and a smoked yellow tomato sauce. Also absolutely incredible! I think I ended up eating as much of hers as I did my own dish. My dad, as always, got the filet. I personally do not eat red meat, but according to my dad, who is a filet aficionado, The Yellow Porch has the best filet he has ever had. If the potato and mushroom gratin that it is served with it is any indication of how good the filet itself is, then I know he is right.
Filet over potato-mushroom gratin and asparagus
After some amazing food and a great bottle of rosé, we were too stuffed to get their famous flourless chocolate torte or the bananas foster bread pudding. Next time, which won't be too long from now, I'll dive into dessert and tell you all about it.

As soon as possible, go visit chef Guerry and the incredible staff at this hip little neighborhood joint. You won't be sorry!

Happy Eating,