Moving Day Biscuits (er… scones?) – Sweet Sixteenth

Sweet Sixteenth Breakfast Sandwich | Persnickety Biscuit

It is important to plan a little treat for yourself occasionally. Especially in times of great stress. Moving Day qualifies. This would be my last stop on the farewell tour of East Nashville.

Sweet Sixteenth | Persnickety Biscuit

I planned it out far in advance. Sweet Sixteenth has these amazingly delicious breakfast sandwiches. They used to make them only on the weekends, but must have received many requests to offer them the rest of the week, because they are now available on weekdays, too.

They call them scones, but I think they are basically biscuits. I’m really not sure what differentiates the two and will have to explore that in more detail some day. For now, though, I’m just going to call this a biscuit sandwich. It is made with a cheddar cheese scone/biscuit that is heavenly on its own. I should know. I’ve eaten many of them over the years. Slightly sweet, fluffy, with a nice crisp outer layer and rich cheese. For the sandwich, they add a layer of egg casserole with bits of peppers in it – just enough to add flavor but not be hot.

Sweet Sixteenth Breakfast Sandwich | Persnickety Biscuit

When you order one, they literally call out “one to go” or “one for here” to the kitchen. Because that is the only item that comes from the kitchen. Everything else is in the cases out front. This is a tiny place where the counter is always manned by the couple that own it. When they want to go on vacation, they close up shop. Just like that. It is really quite charming. Thank goodness they were not on vacation on my Moving Day!

Sweet Sixteenth | Persnickety Biscuit

The breakfast sandwich was all I hoped it would be, everything I knew it could be. It came out of the kitchen quickly, wrapped carefully in paper and in a brown bag. I took it home for the last meal in my kitchen. I savored the flavors, the warmth, the large cup of coffee I got to go with it. Then I was ready to move to my new home.

Sweet Sixteenth Breakfast Sandwich | Persnickety Biscuit

Advertisements

Sky Blue – Worth the Wait

Em's Bowl at Sky Blue Cafe | Persnickety Biscuit

I have to admit, when we went to Charlie Bob’s, we were originally headed to Sky Blue Cafe. They have one of my favorite biscuit dishes. Then we saw the line and thought that Charlie Bob’s would be faster. It was not. At all. So this time I was prepared for a wait.

Sky Blue Cafe | Persnickety Biscuit

It was a lovely day, if a bit chilly. As long as you were in the sun, it felt great. Sky Blue is fairly small. There is no space to wait inside, so we joined the group standing outside at the side of the building. I noticed there were even people waiting in the lot across the street, letting the children run around.

Sky Blue Cafe | Persnickety Biscuit

We had not waited too long before a table opened up outside. Rather than wait longer, we snapped it up. M. grabbed a couple of sweatshirts out of the car and we bundled up at our little table, appreciating the warmth of the fresh coffee. We knew exactly what to order. Em’s Bowl comes with hash browns, a biscuit, egg, gravy and cheese. It is something to behold. M. got his with jalapenos.

Em's Bowl at Sky Blue Cafe | Persnickety Biscuit

The biscuit was great, as were all of the toppings. Yum. Yum. Yum. Such a great combination. This is the dish that inspired my own layered biscuit concoction in St. Petersburg. It is the kind of meal that either prepares you for the day or makes you want to go home and take a nap. In our case, there was packing to do, so back to work we went!

Em's Bowl at Sky Blue Cafe | Persnickety Biscuit

Charlie Bob’s Biscuits and Gravy

Charlie Bob's | Persnickety Biscuit

There are some places you just really want to like, whether it actually makes sense or not. Charlie Bob’s is like that for me. And I do like it. I’m just not sure how much of that is deserved and how much is folklore.

Charlie Bob's | Persnickety Biscuit

Let me explain. First, I found out about this place from the East Nashville “listserve”. Restaurants in the ‘hood often get a lot of discussion on the listserve and it is fun to be in on what people are talking about.

East Nashville Mural

East Nashville is all about the dogs – even on the murals.

Second, it has this blend of old diner style and new kitsch. Old sign, checkered tablecloths, old photos on the walls. But there is also a bar in the back and a tiny stage area for songwriter nights. All of the ingredients of a hidden gem.

Charlie Bob's | Persnickety Biscuit

Third, it is on Dickerson Pike. When I was growing up here, Dickerson Pike was known as one of the seediest parts of Nashville. Drugs. Prostitution. Violence. But as East Nashville has gotten cleaned up, so has Dickerson Pike. At least to some extent. M. and I recently did a photo safari down Dickerson Pike, attempting to capture some of the character, before it all disappears.

Dickerson Pike

So we have been to Charlie Bob’s twice now, for breakfast. The first time we were practically the only ones there and could wander around, looking at the interesting stuff on the walls. This last time they were busy so we stayed put in our booth. Our breakfast was good, but I told M. I would have liked it a LOT better if it had arrived about 20 minutes earlier. The service was incredibly slow on this visit. I was really hungry and got pretty grumpy, especially when the people at the neighboring table (who arrived 15 minutes after us) got their food first.

Charlie Bob's | Persnickety Biscuit

So how were the biscuits?
Pretty good. They did not have the crisp “just baked” exterior that I like to find. I expect they were pulled from a warming drawer or something.

But the sausage gravy was really good! I think I hit on the distinction between good and better sausage gravy while at the Nashville Biscuit House. The better gravy is cooked with the sausage so that the flavors meld. I believe that was the case here.

The rest of the meal was good, too. Solid breakfast standards like super crispy bacon. It did not last long, though. We were too hungry. At one point, M. asked me a question about something and I did not even bother to answer. I just kept on eating. . . .

Charlie Bob's | Persnickety Biscuit

Nashville Biscuit House

Nashville Biscuit House

M. and I have begun what we are calling the Farewell Tour of East Nashville. I’m only moving across the city, but I know we won’t make it back to this part of town as much. So we are revisiting the places we have loved in our two and a half years of dating.

I’ve missed you, I thought as we drove into the parking lot of the Nashville Biscuit House. It is a comfortable place, diner-ish, familiar like an old friend.

Nashville Biscuit House

It was rainy and a little cold out so some comfort food was in order. We waited a few minutes for a table, standing just inside the door, watching the bustle of the place. There is no discernible pause. Someone is always sitting down, getting food, refilling coffee, lining up at the register to pay.

Nashville Biscuit House

The waitresses all wear these t-shirts, which are also for sale. Every time we go I have this internal dialogue. “I would LOVE a Nashville Biscuit House t-shirt. But the shirts have muffins on them, not biscuits. You don’t want a muffin shirt. Who designed these things anyway? Don’t they know the difference between a biscuit and a muffin?” I have not bought one yet, but am still torn.

Uneeda Biscuit at Nashville Biscuit House

This tin was on a shelf. Probably not the same kind of biscuit, but pretty cool anyway!

The menu consists of all of your standard breakfast foods – bacon, sausage, eggs, pancakes, etc. – combined in different ways and amounts so that everyone gets just what they want. Prices are very reasonable, the food is hot and fresh, the waitresses are friendly, and the coffee is passable.

I’ve eaten – and watched the eating of – a wide variety of breakfast configurations and no one leaves this place hungry. Regardless of what else I order, I always get a biscuit, and have even been known to order an extra one after my meal is finished. Just ’cause.

Nashville Biscuit House

On this day, I kept it simple. I ordered a biscuit sandwich with egg and turkey sausage. All the breakfast goodness I could want on a fresh-from-the-oven buttermilk biscuit. I persuaded M. to get a side of gravy that we could share. In the process of ordering that we learned the difference between their Country Gravy, which is a plain white vegetarian sauce, and their Sausage Gravy, which is just their Country Gravy with sausage crumbled into it.

Nashville Biscuit House

That explains it, I think. I have wondered why I prefer some sausage gravies to others. I’ve not tried making it myself (yet!), but think I like when the sausage is more incorporated – using the sausage drippings in the gravy as it is being made. That’s something I will have to try myself.

Nashville Biscuit House Menu

Nonetheless, the biscuit sandwich was delicious. I like to play with my food, so I ate some “as is,” some with jelly, and saved some biscuit to eat with the gravy. The biscuits here are so fluffy and tasty that I could eat them plain, but where’s the fun in that?

As we left, we saw that the line to get in was out the door, literally, and some people were even waiting in the rain. I felt a little guilty about lingering over my coffee. But I knew that soon enough these folks would be ushered into the warmth and served a good hot breakfast. They would just be glad to be there because sometimes good things are worth waiting for, you know?

Billy Bragg, Biscuits, and BBQ (aka Why I Love Nashville)

As Winnie the Pooh would say, it was a rather biscuity day. Well, Pooh was actually talking about a blustery day, but close enough. In almost Pooh fashion, we began the day with biscuits and honey butter and not much of a plan. It had rained heavily the night before, knocking out the spider webs and ushering in some much welcomed cooler weather. Shortly after we got up, the skies began to clear and we could tell it would be a beautiful early fall day.

We gathered the rest of the batch of biscuits to deliver to the father of a friend – visiting from Scotland. He said he had never had biscuits before – not American “biscuits” anyway – and that was a situation that had to be rectified.

After the delivery across town, we did a little window shopping and ran into some friends we had not seen much of lately. It was a lovely little impromptu visit.

“What now?” said M.

“Hmmm,” I said, as I opened up the Nashville food truck app on my phone, “it looks like Smoke et Al is at Grimey’s. Some kind of special event for the Americana festival.”

Smoke Et Al

“Smoke Et Al?” he asked.

“Yes, they have biscuits,” and I clicked through to the description….  “Fiddler’s Biscuits – Shredded, smoked chicken, green onions, Bourbon Peach BBQ, on a Sour Cream Basil biscuit.”

Smoke Et Al

“What are we waiting for?” he said, and we were off!

Grimey’s New and Preloved Music is a local record shop (yes, those do still exist), known for carrying vinyl and second-hand CDs and getting some of the best bands that come through Nashville to play in their store. They expanded recently and this was the first time we had been to an event since then. Behind the shop, there was an open lot where the food truck was parked. There were also many tables full of bargain-basement priced records. Across the alley, a live performance was in progress. A band we later learned is called Daughter. Beautiful stuff.

Grimey's Americana

The crowd enjoying the music.

We made a beeline for the truck and got our biscuits. What a nice surprise they were. There were large scoops of smoky sweet spicy barbeque chicken piled up on a couple of biscuits, with a smattering of green onions and a side of potato salad overflowing it’s cup. Just looking at it was satisfying.

Biscuits and BBQ

The biscuit was peppery, with flaky layers and a density that held up well against the BBQ chicken. It really was not something you could eat with your hands. We had to use a fork to pile BBQ onto a corner of biscuit, then repeat. This meal disappeared quickly.

Biscuits and BBQ

We made our way over to the live music and checked out the afternoon’s lineup. Billy Bragg was due to play shortly. M. was, I think I can say, beside himself about this. While we waited for that set to start, we wandered through the sunshine to the bins of albums spread out on the tables, looking for nothing in particular and finding treasures galore. You know, if I had looked for this album, I’m sure I never would have found it. A 12″ HotBiscuit. We looked at it and laughed. A friend and fellow music lover glanced over and said, “Oh, that’s a really good album!” “Really?” we said. “Yeah.” So we got it. I think it cost $1.

Hot Biscuit Album

Before long, Billy Bragg came out on stage and gave an epic performance. He performed his whole first album (from 30 years ago) to an appreciative crowd.

Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg

To summarize: biscuits, friends, BBQ, biscuits, sunshine, a biscuit record album, and a happy crowd listening to fantastic music. This is what I love about Nashville.

New Find! Professor Bailey’s Spicy Pimento Cheese BISCUITS

Nashvillians take note. There is a new pimento cheese in town – Professor Bailey’s Spicy Pimento Cheese, to be specific.

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

Sometimes, it pays to know people. This was one of those times. Tom Bailey, owner and head pimento-cheese maker for Professor Bailey’s Pimento Cheese, went to high school with my brother. When I heard about his new venture, I asked if I could get an advance sample. To my surprise, he showed up on my doorstep with a cooler full of goodies. Pimento Cheese, Pimento Cheese Gougeres, AND Pimento Cheese Biscuits. [He’ll soon be offering a pimento cheese mornay sauce, too.]

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese

The gougeres and biscuits came uncooked and frozen, so into the freezer they went. I wanted to save those for a leisurely weekend breakfast. I immediately opened up the pimento cheese container, though, and had a sample.

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese

Now, I grew up in the south – I’m actually a native Nashvillian, as is Tom. So I grew up with pimento cheese. My memory of it is as a kind of gloppy spread with something resembling cheese in it. Not the best of impressions. THIS pimento cheese, though? Professor Bailey’s Pimento Cheese? Totally different. Real cheese, clearly more than one kind, sharp, grated, just barely held together with a little mayo, and graced with enough jalapeño to give it a kick and that distinctive peppery flavor. One bite and I knew this was something different. But could I wait until the weekend for the biscuits?

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

It was hard, but I did manage to wait. When I finally took the biscuits out of the freezer and put them on the baking sheet my first thought was, “These are the cutest biscuits I’ve ever seen!” They even have these little hats on them. Precious. My second thought was, “I’m going to need more of these.” My third thought was, “They are SO cute!”

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

Ok, I’ll get off of the cute subject. But they are. Cute.

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

Anyway, I baked them up and they rose prfectly, lilting off to the side slightly, gaining even more personality. You can see how full of cheese they are. As is, they provide a perfect bite or two straight out of the oven. If you know me, though, you know I had to try a variety of accoutrements.

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

Here is the sampling I prepared. Honey butter, bacon, sausage, and extra pimento cheese. Honey butter went wonderfully with this biscuit, because, well, honey butter goes with everything! The bacon, baked with pepper and brown sugar like I learned to do when making this recipe, was perfect. There was just enough sweet, salt, and pepper to enhance, rather than overwhelm, the flavor of the biscuit.

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

The sausage, while delicious, did overwhelm the biscuit, so was my least favorite combination. Finally, adding just a little pimento cheese as filling lent a creamy texture that was delightful. Overall,  my first and second choices would be to either have this biscuit plain – straight from the oven – or with bacon.

Are you ready for some pimento cheese and biscuits now? If so, you can find Tom at the Farmer’s Market  Thursday-Sunday. Professor Bailey’s products can also be found at Lazzaroli’s pasta shop in Germantown, which is a wonderful little shop. Apparently, they make pimento cheese ravioli, too. You might just see me there, because I am fresh out of pimento cheese!

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

——————————————————————————————–

For more info, check out Professor Bailey’s Facebook page. His website is not up and running yet, but should be soon. And Chris Chamberlain did a great write-up in the Nashville Scene this week.

Coffee Lunch Biscuit

I love it when an experience exceeds my expectations. It feels like a nice little surprise, warming up the day.

Coffee Lunch is the name. It’s a little place on the corner. Just close enough to the Music City Center (Nashville’s new convention center) and Cummins Station to be convenient for locals and visitors alike.

Coffee Lunch

I stopped in to meet a friend for coffee and was very surprised to see biscuit sandwiches on the menu. I knew they served lunch but was only expecting muffins and such (which they do have) for the breakfast hours. The biscuit selection was simple: meat, egg, cheese or some combination thereof on a biscuit.

I ordered the ham, egg, and cheese so that I would get the full effect. Well, I suppose I was expecting a smallish biscuit – “fast-food sized” for lack of a better description. What I got was truly a sandwich, larger than I could fit into my mouth, with a generous piece of ham that had been grilled, bringing out the savory smokiness.

Biscuit Sandwich

The biscuit itself was clearly homemade – no generic frozen biscuits here. Crispy on the outside and infused with garlic and some herb I never could identify. The flavors were subtle but very effective in combination with the fillings. Flaky and moist and, sadly, so huge that I could not eat it all.

Regardless, I enjoyed every bite that I did eat. So if you live in Nashville or happen to come here for a convention, look up Coffee Lunch for a latte and a delicious, biscuity snack.