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Wednesday Wine Suggestion

Posted: Wed, 4/16/14

from Tupelo Honey Cafe Beverage Trainer Tyler Alford

Understanding the characteristic nuances of the Sauvignon Blanc grape could take a seasoned wine drinker years; and boxes upon boxes of bottles, of course. Sauvignon Blanc has been called “the chameleon of the wine world,” and with good reason. With production spanning across the entire globe and back again, the grape variety is like a Jeopardy! board: somehow linking all the different questions, but not without carefully disguising itself along the way.

The name Sauvignon comes from the French word sauvage meaning “wild,” and while many regions have attempted to tame this grape, it still refuses to be mastered. Every growing region is unique from Bordeaux to New Zealand, Chile to California, but Sauvignon Blanc consistently produces a crisp, dry, refreshing white wine suitable alone or paired with an appropriate dish.

Kim Crawford’s production is no different. This Sauvignon Blanc is made with grapes grown in Marlborough at the top of the South Island of New Zealand where wines reflect the tropical notes, herbaceous aromas, and citrus flavors that the region has become world renowned for. The 2013 vintage we pour in all of our Tupelo Honey Cafes is a beautiful, bright, straw yellow with hints of pale green. The nose is full of fresh herbal notes backed with fresh key lime and pineapple. For taste, it gives all the tropical flavors of passion fruit, citrus, and guava that can be expected, plus a balance of acidic zest for a lingering finish.

This is a very food-friendly wine and pairs very well with our newest entrée dish: Southern Chicken Piccata with Jumbo Lump Shrimp and Lemon Cherry Pepper Cilantro Beurre Blanc. The fresh flavors of shrimp and chicken breast show deliciously with the tropical fruits of this wine. The beurre sauce with lemon, cherry pepper, and cilantro blend perfectly with the herbaceous nose of the wine and carry the flavors well as both the wine and the dish finish on the palate. Also keep this wine in mind for any of our dishes featuring seafood or fresh greens. Cheers!

BTW, Do You Know About Our MTW Specials?

Posted: Thu, 4/10/14

At Tupelo Honey, we're all in when it comes to serving you the best scratch-made Southern food you've ever tasted. We tend not to do things by halves, but we've made one exception: now on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays, our appetizers are half off, between 3:00 and 7:00 pm

In the warm weather we're having now, folks tend to get thirsty, so we'd like to offer you a drink, too:

  • Mondays, our Tupelo Honey Rye Ale, made with Riverbend Rye Malt and real Tupelo Honey is just $2.50 a pint
  • Tuesdays, our Tupelo-rita made with Silver Tequila and Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Whiskey is just $5
  • Wednesdays, share a bottle of select wines with good friends or that special someone for half price.

A seat on our patio, a refreshing beverage and a little appetizer to kick-start your appetite: doesn't that sound like the perfect way to start your week? 

Come to any of our Tupelo Honey Cafe locations. We'll see you Monday. Or Tuesday. Or Wednesday. Don't be shy, come all three days!

Tupelo Honey Cafe's New Cookbook: Q & A with Co-Author Elizabeth Sims

Posted: Tue, 4/8/14

 

 

Our new cookbook Tupelo Honey Cafe: New Southern Flavors from the Blue Ridge Mountains includes 125 new recipes ranging the moonshine-based Pickled Okra cocktail (no actual okra included) to a Southern version of the Quebecoise dish poutine. Co-author Elizabeth Sims tells us more about it here.

Why a second cookbook?

I’ve been really active in the Southern Foodways Alliance and through that experience learned a lot about the links between food, culture and tradition. Southern food isn’t uniform. You can go 10 miles down the road and the way something is cooked will change. Shrimp and grits in South Carolina is different from shrimp and grits in Louisiana. It’s fascinating. I think it’s time for Appalachia to be celebrated from a culinary perspective.

The first book was focused on Asheville, but this one coincides with our moving into other parts of the region. This has always been a place of subsistence and self-sufficiency. We approached the book with real reverence for home cooking traditions in the Mountain South.

How did you choose the recipes?

Brian and I talked it through and he started to experiment with recipes. We wanted to focus on ingredients that are emblematic of the region: sweet potatoes, apples, blueberries. We kept the home cook in mind as we worked. None of the ingredients are hard to find and the recipes aren’t terribly complicated.

Brian really has fun with what he creates. There’s a real sense of whimsy in his dishes. There are a lot of surprises.  Everything has to be fresh.

What’s your favorite recipe from the new book?

I love the comfort food. The chicken casserole, au gratin, root cellar casserole and au gratin potatoes.

A portion of the proceeds from the book goes to Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway. How did you connect with them?

I worked on the 75th anniversary celebration of the Parkway and took a trip from end to end, stopping at different places along the way. It’s a marvel of engineering, but the history and culture of the communities along the way is really important, too.

Elizabeth Sims and Brian Sonokus will talk about Tupelo Honey Cafe: New Southern Flavors From the Blue Ridge Mountains (and serve food from it) at Malaprops on Friday, April 25 at 7 pm. For more information, see www.malaprops.com.

Our New Book is Here!

Posted: Tue, 4/1/14

 

After years of planning, writing, recipe testing, photo shoots and of course, tasting, our new cookbook Tupelo Honey Cafe: New Southern Flavors from the Blue Ridge Mountains hits stores today! We are so excited to share these new recipes with you and look forward to hearing what you think of them. What goes into making a cookbook? We thought you'd like to see a behind the scenes look at one of our photo shoots. 

After months of research and narrowing down recipes, Brian settled on Southern Pretzels with Cheese Fondue as one of the recipes for the new book. He's hard at work cutting the dough. Then they go into the oven and come out looking like this. Yum!

Our lovely photographer Brie Williams and food stylist Debby Maugans make sure everything looks just as delicious as it really is.

The result is tasty enough to jump off the page, don't you think? 

There's a lot more that goes into planning the images, layout and recipes.

We're looking forward to sharing more about this collection of recipes with you. It's the result of much thought and love and we know you're going to love it, too!

Elizabeth and Brian Take New York!

Posted: Fri, 3/28/14

We're just FOUR days away from the release of our new cookbook: Tupelo Honey Cafe: New Southern Flavors from the Blue Ridge Mountains! We can't wait to share it with you! The recipes, the gorgeous photos: this is going to become one of your go-to cookbooks. To introduce the book to the media, co-authors Elizabeth Sims and Chef Brian Sonokus did a media tour in New York this week, with stops at Food and Wine, The Wall Street Journal, Saveur, Men's Journal and Food Arts. The book was very well received! As you can imagine, there were a few opportunities to check out  New York's culinary scene, too. 

At Mario Batali's Eataly, the dessert case alone is enough to take your breath away! This is just an idea of what you might expect to see there: 

Then it was on to another Batali venue, Casa Mono in Gramercy Park: charming and delicious.

The piece de reistence was a evening at Isola Trattoria at the Mondrian Hotel in Soho. Gorgeous ambiance and food, and guess what? Pharrell Williams was sitting at the next table!

 

New York is paradise for a chef and a food writer. But it's also great to get back to what we know best: unforgettable scratch-made Southern dishes. We've got it good right where we are. 

4 Reasons We Love Johnson City

Posted: Wed, 3/19/14

 

Each day, we make a little more progress toward our new Johnson City location. We’re still a few months away, but the more time we spend in Johnson City getting ready, the more we fall in love with the place. We thought we’d share here a few of the things we love about our new hometown.

The Trains

Johnson City wouldn’t be the town it is without the trains. As a big railroad junction with three different lines, the city once saw the daily arrival of trains with romantic-sounding names like the Pelican and the Birmingham Special. Our new home was the depot for the Clinchfield Railroad, built in 1909. We are honoring Johnson City’s railroad heritage with a 16-foot-long model of Johnson City at the peak of its railroad hey dey, installed right at our bar, thanks to Dr. Fred Alsop from East Tennessee State University and the university's George L. Carter Railroad Museum. 

We're also excited to be working with the organizers of the Tweetsie Trail, a rail-trail project. 

The Music

The Johnson City Sessions, recorded here in the 1920s, are some of the most important field recording sessions done in Appalachia. Blind Lemon Jefferson used to play the blues on the streets here. Clarence Greene's "Johnson City Blues" was a hit.  What other small town has a musical history so big? 

 

The History

 

Rum runner and revenuers? Johnson City's colorful history includes the exciting time when the town was called 'Little Chicago' during prohibition. Moonshine from the hills made its way down to town and onto the rails. There's even talk that Al Capone hung out in town. This great Little Chicago facebook page has amazing photos from the era that you could spend hours perusing. 

Downtown

Downtown Johnson City is a great place to be! We're looking forward to events like First Fridays and  Blue Plum Festival so we can get to know even more of our new neighbors. And we've got some big plans for Founder's Park that we're looking forward to sharing with you! 

Johnson City, thanks for the warm welcome: we're excited to be part of the family!

 

 

 

 

Celebrate Pi Day with P-I-E

Posted: Fri, 3/14/14

 

Today’s a day to grateful for homonyms (that is, words that sound the same, but have different meanings). Because it’s Pi Day, a day to celebrate the irrational number that is pi (otherwise known as π), it’s also a day on which you almost certainly must eat pie, and we have a pie recipe to share with you from our new cookbook (just two weeks away from release!).

Eating pie is a Pi Day tradition. Well, as traditional as something can be for a holiday that was made up in 1988 when the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco decided that 3.14 the day was a good opportunity to call attention to 3.14 the number. Since then, Pi Day has become so popular that it even has it’s own web page.

Pi Day is the  day of the year when knowing how to calculate the number pi to greater than 10 digits really comes in handy. What can you do with pi? It’s useful for figuring out the volume of a sphere or cylinder or the calculating the torque of a wheel, if you happen to need to do those things.

Here are few things you may not know about pi:  

  • π Pi’s symbol is the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet
  • Pi has been calculated to 2 trillion digits
  • Pi Day is also the birthday of Albert Einstein

All this talk of math is making us hungry. Let’s have some pie!

 

 

Celebrate Pi Day with P-I-E

Posted: Fri, 3/14/14

 

Today’s a day to grateful for homonyms (that is, words that sound the same, but have different meanings). Because it’s Pi Day, a day to celebrate the irrational number that is pi (otherwise known as π), it’s also a day on which you almost certainly must eat pie, and we have a pie recipe to share with you from our new cookbook (just two weeks away from release!).

Eating pie is a pie day tradition. Well, as traditional as something can be for a holiday that was made up in 1988 when the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco decided that 3.14 the day was a good opportunity to call attention to 3.14 the number. Since then, Pi Day has become so popular that it even has it’s own web page.

Pi Day is one day of the year when knowing how to calculate the number pi to greater than 10 digits really comes in handy. What can you do with pi? π is a mathematical constant, the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. It’s useful for figuring out the volume of a sphere or cylinder or the calculating the torque of a wheel, if you happen to need to do those things.

Here are few things you may not know about pi:  

  • π Pi’s symbol is the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet
  • Pi has been calculated to 2 trillion digits
  • Pi Day is also the birthday of Albert Einstein

All this talk of math is making us hungry. Let’s have some pie!

 

 

Seth Avett Has A Great Palate

Posted: Thu, 3/6/14

So, I was in the downtown Asheville restaurant on Valentine’s Day on the line testing out our new seasonal special – our Southern Chicken Piccata with Jumbo Shrimp and Lemon Cherry Pepper Cilantro Beurre Blanc. Whew, what a mouth full. Literally. But it is good. Really good.

At any rate, sitting in the restaurant were Seth Avett (one of the Avett Brothers) and his girlfriend Jennifer Carpenter, who is the beautiful girl on the television show “Dexter.” Seth and his brother Scott have spent a lot of time in Asheville doing recording at Echo Mountain Studio. They just played Morning Song on The Tonight Show as a matter of fact. It’s off their new album “The Magpie and the Dandelion.” Fantastic music.

I asked their server what they were eating and it turned out to be two vegetable plates. So I got the server to ask if they were vegetarians and if they weren’t would they like to try out my recipe I was working on for a possible menu special. Turns out they were game. So, I prepared the dish and brought it over to them. They liked it!

Seth said, “This has a little Asian flavor.” Good taste buds, Seth, because the chicken is marinated in a pineapple and soy sauce marinade before it’s cooked.

Fortunately, I had also made a batch of chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate truffles for Valentine’s so as I was leaving, I brought them a plate. I hope they enjoyed Tupelo and I hope they’ll be back soon. I also hope Scott and Seth keep on making really great music in Asheville. 

Tupelo Honey Cafe Executive Chef Brian Sonoskus

MoonPies and Fireflies

Posted: Wed, 2/26/14

 

One of the great things about bringing Tupelo Honey Cafe to other Southern cities is learning about the local traditions, food and otherwise. Is there anything more Southern than a MoonPie? And did you know it was invented right in Chattanooga, home of our Tupelo Honey Café on Warehouse Row?

It was way back in 1917 when bakery salesman Earl Mitchell of the Chattanooga Bakery was doing some research on the snack habits of coal miners. He asked a group to describe their ultimate dessert treat and they dreamed up snack as big as the moon, filled with marshmallow cream and covered with chocolate. The MoonPie caught on quickly. Exactly why an RC cola was twinned with it is a mystery, but the combination came to be known as ‘the working man’s lunch,’ memorialized in Big Bill Lister’s 1951 hit “Gimme a Moonpie and an RC Cola” and NRBQ's "RC and a MoonPie." The MoonPie even has its own festival and MoonPie-eating contests take place across the South (for the record, 38 a minute is the record). And with Mardi Gras coming up next week, you’ll see them being thrown off floats along the Gulf Coast. It is a bona-fide phenomenon.

It may also interest you to know that you can make your own MoonPies at home, following the recipes on MoonPie’s site (they’ve also got some interesting stories on their blog). You may also want to try the fancy version here. You will not believe this, but Mobile's Mardi Gras is even debuting a MoonPie-flavored moonshine this year called the Yellow Moon and you can get the recipe here

Thank you, Chattanooga, for welcoming us into your culinary family. Now will someone please write a song about our shrimp and grits? It is sure to be a hit. 

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