Biscuit Love (The Gulch)

Their are a few things in this world that I would wait in an hour line for. My wife, son, and tickets to Bruno Mars.

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biscuit love

but can you do the wait?

If you are looking for an example of exemplary marketing, look no further than Biscuit Love. They have somehow convinced all tourists visiting Nashville that this is the place to eat when you come here. Luckily, I went where I had to wait about 10 minutes in a line.

 a little look inside

a little look inside

Like I said before, wait times should never dictate a negative review. Unless that wait is a tourist trap. Then be furious that your friends took you there. Thankfully, Biscuit Love is actually pretty dang tasty!

 people love their signage

people love their signage

I am a sucker for a good chicken biscuit combination. I could have fried or breaded chicken for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Unfortunately, I do not go to the gym enough for this eating habit. Needless to say, I really enjoyed my experience there. Being a tourist trap, I was expecting
to be let down. I ended up spending $13 for a dish that took care of business. Well cooked chicken thigh (dark meat is superior), soft biscuit with a crunch and a gravy that was out of this world. I went with a little secret item recommended by the cashier lady. I was deciding between the Princess or the Nasty. She pulled a fast one on me and recommend I get the Nasty Princess. I went for it.

 the nasty princess

the nasty princess

So good guys. I mean like really good. Not an hour wait good, but like a solid 30 minute wait good. The service was prime, the food was prompt and the flavors were just so artistically crafted. My brother-in-law has a gleam in his eyes the moment the dishes came out. I have not seen that look since his wedding day.

I am grateful he loves my sister as much that Chicken Biscuit. Passionate man. To my surprise, the cashier did me a solid and threw in another option I was battling on choosing. The Wash Park.  2 Beef Burger patties and the amazing bacon jam. I swear you can put bacon jam on anything and it immediately makes it better. Fact. 

 The Wash Park

The Wash Park

Instead of chicken, it's beef. Throw some jam on their and the flavors literally explode. You taste the heavy meat flavor first, then followed by a subtle touch of sweetness from the spread. That is one thing that I have realized that Nashville does well. They understand jams and spreads. They spare no expense in getting it down to a science.

One side note about this place - you will most likely have time to kill. Talk to some people in line. See where they are from. If you are a local, give them some suggestions on where to visit. Share with them this page so they can discover some more Nashville Gems. I met a lady that was here for just a day and had no idea where to go or what to do. Ended up at Biscuit Love because a friend recommended it to her.

 East Nasty

East Nasty

I have no downsides to my experience. It was just a smooth process from start to finish. Would I wait an hour for this place? I don't think so. I loved it, I just know their so many other options, especially in the Gulch, that could give me an amazing experience without the hour wait. Check out the other articles I have
written on other location in the Gulch. - Oh and for the love of all that is good, don't stand in that ridiculous line to take a picture with the wings. 90% of the day it has horrific lighting, and the line is not worth it. #SaveYourTime

 the brother-in-law

the brother-in-law

Location: 316 11th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

Tin Cup Coffee (Downtown)

I do not drink coffee. Yet for some odd reason I always appreciate a good coffee shop.

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tin cup coffee

felt like family

You know that service is going to be fantastic when the moment you walk in, you are greeted, asked how they can help, actually care about your day and then proceed to do all that with a smile on their face. Not just one employee, not just two, but all three I interacted with loved being there. That is an amazing example of creating a workplace that prides itself in service. Seldom is service not a determining factor in the outcome of the overall feel of the restaurant. The food needs to be downright fantastic and life-changing for me to be good with bad service. 

 interior

interior

I was expecting a much smaller space. The space is large and holds such a huge potential. This coffee shop has the ability to do some amazing things. I found that the pride that each of the employees instill in their work was unique. They each wanted to do their own tasks just a bit better. What holds this place back is the lack of a liquor license. It has a stage. It has the equipment. It just fails to bring in the people because it lacks the booze. I'm going to put this out there, hoping you pick it up (yeah you Tin Cup)... live music for brunch with some spot-on coffee and sparkling OJ. It could be a great way to bring a crowd looking for a little fun without the Mimosas. 

 interior decor

interior decor

The decor is simple. It screams coffee shop. No doubt that you won't be transported to someplace else with this experience. It is made to help you feel comfortable. This is a location where you can plant yourself and just get to the work that you need to do (we all procrastinate, I know). Don't be expecting to take your instagram pictures here. 

 coffee

coffee

Don't expect pretty art on top. Don't expect something that is worth sharing photo wise. I mean, it's a coffee place that seems to focus on serving you in every way. They are there when you need them, and know when to keep their distance. I really liked the vibe there. It was so much more calm. It did not have that loud hustle and bustle of people going in and out. Since the space is large, you can tuck yourself away in a corner. Now here is where this review gets slightly different.

 Bahn Mi Tacos

Bahn Mi Tacos

This Bahn Mi is good, but it ain't special. It's nothing that is going to change your life. As a matter of fact, it just sort of does the job without complementing anything else. The ingredients used are simple, yet the pork inside carried just enough of its juice to hold it's own. Recently their was a change in back of house staff and from what I hear, things are in the up and up. I want to talk about the in's and out's of the restaurant industry for a moment. 

I constantly see new endeavors open up. We in a way, glamorize the restaurant industry. To some, it is a way to express creativity, and to others it is a way to make a bit of money. You have a range of people who all have different goals. The majority are looking for a way to make money, but it is when you find those special few that are honestly invested in creating something more. That is the way I felt about the creative chef here at Tin Cup Coffee. He took the time to come out, express his ideas and even mentioned that he is just getting the hang of things. He took notes and asked inquired on what I thought could change. Within him, I saw someone that actually cared. He wanted to source better ingredients (order the bacon so you can see) so that everything can be a bit more local. What he lacked in experience, he made up with the dream of becoming better. 

Overall the food just missed the mark but I feel like it is getting better. It reminded me of what it was like at the root of all creativity. It starts with something simple where you can expand out of. For now, I would stick with the breakfast options. I had two bacon strips and it nearly brought me to tears. Freshly hickory smoked that morning by Giffords bacon and finished on the flat top to create a thin caramelization. 

You will be able to find me from time to time - sitting in a booth, drinking some water, working on my laptop and enjoying some bacon. Feel free to say hi.

 coffee menu

coffee menu

Location: 138 Rosa L Parks Blvd, Nashville, TN 37203

Milk & Honey (The Gulch)

Is this the "Land of Milk & Honey"? Ehh, kind of. Let's jump into this. 

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milk & honey

an american affair

Quite possibly one of the most hyped places when it comes to brunch out here in Nashville. I know because I have been here 3 weeks and I have had at least a dozen people tell me to check it out. Well on this Sunday afternoon, I decided to take my church outfit out to brunch (I was looking good so I couldn't pass up the chance). I don't want to keep you waiting so I'll say this. It's good - but it won't make ya hear church bells. 

 Hodgepodge Hash and my sunglasses

Hodgepodge Hash and my sunglasses

It's filling. You will not leave this place hungry. That's something you need to know. Some brunch places are all about the boojie aspect of a brunch and they skimp you on the filling things. Not this place. Perhaps, not this dish. So needless to say, I'm down for the bigger portion. Egg was made alright (for me at least), which is a huge tell on whether a restaurant has got the consistency down. The yolk was runny on the top but had that slight cook on the bottom part of it. Close-call on that one.

Here is what I liked:

- Hash - yeah. they stole the show. Some solid hash was consumed that morning. 

- Sausage - good ole sausage. Did not taste fatty like others so I enjoyed it. Cooked real well and gave it that smoky flavor that I actually enjoyed. 

- Homemade Hot Sauce - I mean, it's just some hot sauce but I think that is what made me like it more than I should have. 

- Chipotle Crema - Loved it, but I wish I had more of it. Next time, I'll ask (yeah I'm going back)

- All Vegetables - Yes. All of them. All the vegetables on this dish were fantastic. Even the sweet potatoes were cut well. That is a hard task to do but they accomplished it!

What I did NOT like:

- Pastrami - I typically love pastrami. I like to think of myself as a faux italian. Yet this one just did not hit the mark. I felt like the cook was just off and the flavor profile fought a little with the sausage. The texture was welcomed. 

- Berries - You could get a side of hash, but no way I was doing that. Obviously not in season, so it's just a hard side item to have off-season.

That's it. It actually was a solid piece of a dish. I can see why it is the most popular of all. But here is where my path diverges (suspense). 

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It did not blow me away. That's what it came down to. I was a party of one and it took me 30 minutes to get a seat at the bar, which is a little less time than the wait. I then had to wait another 22 minutes to get my food. That is almost a complete hour of waiting for something that doesn't give the satisfaction I wanted. Price is fine. Ambiance is okay. Food was actually good. So... in summary:

 shout out to the guys at the bar, who let me photograph his biscuit.

shout out to the guys at the bar, who let me photograph his biscuit.

I actually have nothing against the restaurant itself. If this was brunch on a Wednesday morning where I walk in, get seated, order, and my food comes out, I would be ecstatic. I guess my main takeaway from this would be to NOT go during the weekend craze. Hey! Can't blame a restaurants popularity and write a bad review (wait times should NEVER be a reason why a place is not good...unless your food takes 30+ minutes for a salad - then be mad)

Turns out everyone wants to be in that Land of "Milk & Honey". Highly Recommend.

 5 stars for signage

5 stars for signage

 

Location: 214 11th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

Chauhan (The Gulch)

Do I think Indian food is some of the best in the world? Yes. Yes, I do. Let's jump into this!

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chauhan

indian fusion

It's barely Indian food... but it gets five stars in my book.

No way around it, this place is not your traditional Indian cuisine. Why? Because beef. Let me explain.

Go to any authentic Indian restaurant in the entire world and you will not find one ounce of beef. No beef stock. No meat. No bone. Not even the word will be found. That's because Hindu Indians believe the cow to be a symbol of prosperity and reverence (not to be confused with the misconception that they are worshiped). So what was my reaction to seeing beef on the menu? Pretty shocked. I asked the server what the idea was behind it. He answered saying that this is a restaurant that is influenced heavily with Indian Cuisine, yet it incorporates that culture with others. I kept looking at the menu and although I saw a Mango Lassi, I also saw 'nachos', 'poutine', 'corn dogs' and 'tacos'. What the???

 Mango Lassi.

Mango Lassi.

I am now a believer. Sure, you can be a purist and believe that tacos are better if they stay mexican (guilty), or you can step out of your ideas and embrace something new. Chauhan nails it. I mean it. They NAILED it. Even down to the decor I knew this was going to be something different. It just makes you feel like you need to be there.

 oh yeah that's pretty

oh yeah that's pretty

This shouldn't be a surprise to those foodies out there. Chauhan is owned by Morph Restaurant Group. This is the same group that was started by Chef Maneet Chauhan. The very same that competed in Chopped and Iron Chef. But that's just the TV stuff (we all know how I feel about that). She graduated from the top culinary school in India and then attended the nations prestigious Culinary Institute of America in New York. She has even won a James Beard award for Excellence. I have had the pleasure of working with a woman who received a James Beard Award and let me tell you, those that receive these awards are inspirational. What I love most is that she is spot on, on what a restaurant group should look like. I LOVE IT.   

So, I did the only sane thing a person would do. I ordered the burger - I'll give you a moment to wipe that drool off -

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Blended beef. Green Chile Bacon. Amal Cheese. Chaat Masala Onion Rings. Red Wine Demi. Black Sesame Bun. It really is a masterpiece. Not one bit was dry or missing flavor. The consistency of the bacon was enough to please the crunchy or the soft bacon eaters. It was all just made so well. (The salad featured is the Spiced Farro , not jaw-dropping, but still way good - other option is Masala fries).

It did not taste immediately Indian though. You focus on the meat and onion rings and you will miss it. Instead, focus on the slight kick of the chili, and then that slight acidity you feel from the Chaat Masala vinegar. It's there. That's what makes it such a perfect marriage.

If you couldn't tell by now, this place gets a Dan Rivera Award. Not as prestigious as the James Beard, but still dang good.  

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Holler and Dash

Cracker Barrel, you have done it again. I very much welcome your new idea for a fast-casual, Holler and Dash.

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You really don't get the Cracker Barrel vibe. The vibe where it feels like you entered a log cabin of home style cooking. No, this is for millennials. It's a masterpiece. I mean, really. Coming from a large chain, it has exceeded all of my expectations. 

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This is just well built all around. I read reviews from others and it seems to me they just don't understand what this place is about. It's a casual and quick way to snag an amazing chicken biscuit. Right under $10, it's the perfect price point for what you get. 

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Now I got the Kickback. You can snag it with tots or with a side of fruit. Unlike many chains, the fruit actually tasted like it wasn't sitting in the fridge for days. Great plateware, amazing service and the food was delicious. Each bite was filled with flavor. This particular biscuit has some sweet pepper jam that complements the rich flavors of the goat cheese. The chicken is truly where this shines though. Although the biscuits is great, the chicken is better. It is tender. Perfectly cooked. The breading is what makes it different. The breading itself has enough spices to let it stand on it's own. I could see where some may dislike the strong flavors it brings, but I like that extra fried feel. 

Overall, I really ended up liking this place. It was exactly what I wanted. Yeah, if you want something more basic you could go to the Chick-fil-a across the street but why settle when you can have something so much more. Well done Cracker Barrel, well done.

Location: 203 Franklin Rd #120, Brentwood, TN 37027

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