Loveless Hootenanny

Loveless Biscuits | Persnickety Biscuit

I’m not sure if there is a common use of the word “hootenanny.” Here in Nashville, it probably is mostly used to describe some kind of music event. Like a picking party, but with more alcohol? Or singing? Or both?

Loveless Biscuits with all the Fixin's| Persnickety Biscuit

A few years ago, my team at work started having quarterly meetings, where everyone who works remotely comes into the office for a few hours. We talk about strategy and process and eat a meal or two together. There is no music, or singing, or alcohol, but we call it our Quarterly Hootenanny anyway. This most recent quarter, a request was made for biscuits made by yours truly. I begged off, claiming the hassles of packing and moving and no space in my kitchen to make anything right now.

One of my coworkers graciously offered to bring in Loveless biscuits, as he lives out that way. When he came into the office that morning, he was glowing. There was a large tin wrapped in a beach towel sitting on his desk. “Get one while they are hot, ” he said, since our meeting did not actually start for a couple of hours. He said that when he picked them up, they brought the container to the car with potholders. They were truly fresh from the oven.

Loveless Biscuits | Persnickety Biscuit

Never one to do things halfway, he had gotten all the fixings. Butter. Three kinds of jam. Even Red-Eye Gravy. What is Red-Eye Gravy, you ask? First, it is really thin, more like an au jus than a gravy. Second, it is made with pork drippings and coffee. Yes, coffee. I had never had it before. Not exactly my favorite, I have to admit. But now I know. Here is a link to a recipe, in case you ever want to make it, because I don’t think I will.

Loveless Biscuits with Red Eye Gravy | Persnickety Biscuit

Regardless, the biscuits were warm and soft and fragrant and I had one before the meeting and one during. The jams that came with them – strawberry, blackberry, and peach – were homemade and amazing – perhaps even more noteworthy than the biscuits. My mouth is literally watering as I write this. Is that too much information? Too bad.

Loveless Biscuits | Persnickety Biscuit

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Biscuit Ice Cream? Yes!

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You know how you can get focused on something, thinking you are the only one who cares about it, and then you start to notice that the thing you are focused on appears to be everywhere all of a sudden?

M. calls it the “plate of shrimp” thing from the movie Repo Man. All I know is that biscuits are everywhere these days – even in ice cream!

I read about it almost a week ago. Jeni’s ice cream has teamed up with the Loveless Cafe to make ice cream with biscuits and jam. They wrote a nice blog post about it, too.

All week I have been thinking about that ice cream. Finally, M. and I went out for a nice dinner, since it is Restaurant Week here in Nashville. The restaurant had an impressive dessert menu. “Ya know,” I said, as if I had not been thinking it all along, “we could go to Jeni’s for the biscuit ice cream instead?”

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That was all I had to say. We got the check, finished our wine, and headed back to East Nashville.

I first went to Jeni’s a couple of years ago, soon after they opened. I remember thinking how different the place was from the rest of East Nashville. The gleaming white tile and bright interior seemed incongruous. Perhaps East Nashville has changed, or Jeni’s, or me… but it now seems to fit in perfectly.

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This night, the line was literally out the door. I had this fear that they might not have the biscuit ice cream or it might run out. But they did and it didn’t, and the line moved quickly.

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So how was the ice cream?

Fabulous. Truly fabulous. The flavor was called “Loveless Biscuits & Peach Jam.” It went far beyond your ordinary peach ice cream, which usually has chunks of peach in a sweet base. This had ribbons of sweet peach jam that were the perfect counterpoint to an almost tart buttermilk base ice cream. There were little chunks and crumbs of biscuit throughout that made the texture even more satisfying.

So now I can’t help wondering … Where else will there be biscuits? What other surprises are in store?

Loveless

“Meet me at the Loveless,” he said, and I agreed.

The idea was to meet on his side of town, have brunch, and go on a motorcycle ride. I had only been on a motorcycle once before so it was kind of a big deal.

The Loveless, in case you don’t know, is a Nashville icon. It is actually in a tiny town called Pasquo south of Nashville, but we still claim it as our own. It used to be the Loveless Motel – now it is the Loveless Cafe. They are known for fried chicken and ham and other country cooking, including their famous biscuits. I couldn’t wait.

We met at about 11:30. It was a Sunday. A beautiful fall day. Seemed like a great plan until we realized how packed the Loveless was and that we would never get a table. I stifled my disappointment as we made a quick run to the gas station next door to get BBQ as a substitute. Yes, that is what I said. We went to the gas station to get a BBQ lunch. Gotta love Tennessee.

The ride along the Natchez Trace and surrounding small roads was lovely. He knew I was a little nervous so would pat my hand every now and then while we rode. It was very sweet. We had a little picnic along the way and the BBQ was good. As we were headed home, we stopped at an overlook and marveled at the view. It was a romantic moment, sitting next to each other in the sunshine, warmed by our time together. As he leaned in for a kiss, I pulled back and said, “You owe me a biscuit.”

We both cracked up. It is over a year later and I still have not had a biscuit from the Loveless. He now says we won’t go to eat there until I move to his side of town. I have to admit – it IS an incentive. He did bend the rules slightly and buy me a bag of their mix so that I could make my own biscuits. The mix is pretty good, but I’m holding out for the real thing. He still owes me a biscuit.

Nice, but not the same as a biscuit.

Nice, but not the same as a biscuit.