Eating Nashville in a Day (Part One)
The mission was simple. Eat my way across Nashville in a day. I know… tough day at the office.
How the mission was born.
You see, it all started with an innocent enough text message from my good friend, Taylor Sledge, owner of Sledge & Company.
“You need a ride to Nashville for any reason Tuesday? I’m flying and you can hitch a ride.”
I got the idea this was more than a free commercial ticket offer, and I was right. For my lowly upbringing, the offer of a morning commute via a private King Air charter was just the start of tasty things to come. (Taylor’s usual plane wasn’t available, so the free upgrade was a win for all of us.)
Around 6:30 a.m., I met Taylor and his cohort (also named Taylor) for our commute from Hawkins Field in Jackson, MS to Nashville, TN. I’d had my eye on a place called Biscuit Love Brunch for a while, new to its location and born of food truck roots, and while I knew that was a must-first-stop, my schedule was tight and short on car service. Thankfully, a local fiddle player extraordinaire Anna Grace Shiedeler agreed to serve as tour guide and driver for the day with her very adorable celebrity assistant, the first born Nashville baby of 2015, EJ.
When AG and EJ picked me up in Nashville, I quickly explained the mission on our way to Biscuit Love Brunch: “It’s a mission to try some great food and to get a little taste of Nashville in the few hours I have here today.” As it turns out, my guides were able to the task.
First Stop: Brunch
Three weeks ago a dream became reality for Chef Karl Worley. His popular Airstream “food truck” concept was put to bed, and a chic sleek haven for biscuit lovers opened in its place in The Gulch, a hip emerging neighborhood in Nashville.
On Saturdays, lines run out the door with folks in search the perfect biscuit. As it turns out, that’s why we came, too.
I’ve cooked hundreds of batches of biscuits, and I’m constantly looking to make the perfect biscuit. For me good baking powder, buttermilk, and locally milled flour are moving me closer to perfection, but I can’t replicate the results consistently. At Biscuit Love Brunch, I tried three different biscuits, and I have to say that if the perfect biscuit can be achieved, it’s possible that Worley has attained it – or three – as the case may be. Each having its own place in biscuit history.
The Traditional Biscuit
Chef Worley tells me that his traditional biscuit recipe contains B grade butter, baking powder, “fantastic” locally sourced buttermilk as well as locally sourced flour. The result is the standard bearer for buttermilk biscuits. Furthermore, the process that keeps these biscuits consistently coming out hot and fresh all day has been honed successfully by Worley and his team.
The Traditional “Sandwich” Biscuit
The Traditional “Sandwich” Biscuit is of equal importance in the Biscuit Love Brunch ecosystem. But this biscuit must match its purpose. Designed for as a great accessory for their fresh sausage gravy, the Sandwich Biscuit uses yeast instead of baking powder as the primary leavening agent. It’s not as flaky and crumbly as the first biscuit, but it accomplishes the mission of holding together for the pick up and bite style use. It’s also the base of the Southern Benny, a house specialty that, from the plate up, is a stack featuring the biscuit, sausage gravy, shaved country ham and a fried egg (however you like it).
The Hard Tack
Chef Worley told me that this biscuit originated during the Civil War when soldiers would mash together flour, lard and cream to create a cracker type biscuit that resembles a communion wafer of sorts. Slightly smaller than a Ritz cracker, the Hard Tack begs for a dab of jelly before flying down the hatch. It’s a bite of history worth taking.
Biscuits & Beyond
I knew you’d want to know, so I asked a few more questions before moving on to my next stop in my whirlwind Nashville eating tour.
What’s the perfect temp for baking biscuits?
425 degrees. Fast rise and set.
Cast iron or sheet pan? Why or why not?
Cast iron… because that’s the way God and momma intended it… and it gives you a better crust.
What’s one thing readers should know about opening a restaurant in Nashville?
Nashville is a great town! The people will support you in this town better than any other town on the planet!
For me, the next stop… Lunch.
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>> Stay tuned for the next story in our Mission: Nashville series.