Saturday, October 8, 2011

Food Blogger Forum Nashville: Pre-Party

I'm sitting in downtown Nashville on an unseasonably warm October Friday evening overlooking a tranquil pool.

The pool is tranquil but nothing else is. Six floors down the sidewalks and streets are alive with boisterous folks, bustling cars, and the occasional siren.

Funny but true fact....we are staying in room #666. They changed the outdoor room # to 668 but it is right next door to room 664 and the interior sign on the door clearly shows.....

I told Alexis, quit worrying, it's not like it's room 237 at the Overlook Hotel. 

Excuse the lack of photos in this post but I left my SD card AND my back up SD cards in the hotel room.  I blame that on room 666.

So yeah, I'm at the Nashville Food Blog Forum. A bunch of my BBQ buds might laugh and picture me at a seminar about how to take the best picture of a cupcake with frills and ribbons and stuff.

I could understand why someone who focuses on grilling and BBQ like I do might seem out of place here. But I actually found a lot of smoke here on the first night. So all you smokers out there, quit knocking cupcakes, truffles, and latest food trend....because you are becoming a food trend. Smoke is the new black.

A Beer Named Sue
Local Yazoo Brewery has added a kick butt brew to their line up. Meet Sue, a dark deep bodied beer that uses malt smoked with cherry wood. Any bbqr that reads my blog knows my love for cherry wood. It brings a nice color to smoked meats while giving a light smoke flavor. The flavor of this beer delivers and I can't wait for it to arrive here in Knoxville shortly. I have several ideas in mind for using it as an ingredient.

Are You Kidding Me Smoked Chocolate?
Southern artisan chocolate magicians Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Company sampled their products including a smoked chocolate brittle that was specfreakingtacular. This company already grinds their own cocoa for their chocolates but for this one, they have Benton....YES the famous East TN bacon folks....smoke the “nibs” first. I don't like sweets and was skeptical but dayum, this stuff was off the charts good. I won't tell you how many times Alexis went back to their table.

Triple Smoked Whiskey
Corsair Artisan was on site with their micro brewed spirits and I sampled the Triple Smoked Whiskey. The mellow charcoal flavor comes through and I asked if they sold their used barrels for smoking wood. Not yet but you can buy the whole barrel (a mini costs $70). I am going to buy one to convert to be my cold smoker.

Hickory Salt
Top Chef contestant Arnold Myint gave a cooking demo for us tonight and we bought a jar of hickory smoked salt from him. Yeah, I smoke my own during the winter but I'm out right now.

Bathtub Gin TN Whiskey & Tomato Jam
This specialty jam maker makes “prohibition era jams” and this was one she incorporated into a mini tart with caramelized onion, roasted tomato, the jam, and some artisan cheese that was very good. But my immediate thought was how great this would be used in a BBQ sauce for pork. 

Tomorrow the actual forum begins and I have a lot to learn from some incredibly successful and wicked smart people.

I might leave a light on in room 666......just in case :)