Tuesday, June 21, 2011

SOL Restaurant

 Let me start with an admission; Cole and I don't make it out to Franklin nearly as much as we would like or a good foodie should. While it is the most charming city with some of the best restaurants, it is just a difficult trip for us to make from our house or downtown. But we kept hearing from everyone how we "HAD" to try SOL in downtown Franklin and when we saw that they had $5 margaritas on Wednesday nights, we knew it was going to be worth the drive.

Walking into SOL, an authentic Mexican scene is set with the use of low lighting, vibrant colors, and eclectic decor. The first table you see once you actually enter the dining area is large enough for a group of 10-12 people that would be perfect for a dinner party or any event and even has a curtain that can be drawn for additional privacy. We also found out that if you choose to sit outside on the patio, you can order off of both SOL's menu and 55 South's menu in case you have guests that are not fans of Mexican cuisine.

  We were instantly greeted by some of the friendliest and most efficient waiters we have ever encountered and without even needing a menu, ordered two of the happy hour specials, $5 SOL Margaritas (Regular Price $8.50). These margaritas are perfection, and have my vote for best in Nashville. They use Agave Nectar instead of Sweet and Sour and even Cole who rarely appreciates a good margarita, was hooked. Unfortunately for Cole, he was the DD and while I sucked down three of these bad boys, he was limited to his one.

  We decided to kick off dinner by sharing the Farmer's Market Corn Appetizer ($5.95) that our waitress recommended. It was a medley of fresh Grilled Corn tossed with Mayo, Fresco Cheese, Hot Sauce, Lime Sauce, and Chile. The flavors were incredibly fresh and alternated between sweet and spicy without ever feeling overpowering. We were nervous about ordering this as it is so different from anything we have tried before, but it went perfect with the complimentary chips and salsa and we ate every last bite. I also have to mention that SOL also offers a cart of gorgeous ingredients that will come to your table and prepare fresh Guacamole right in front of your eyes ($10.50). While we don't eat Guacamole so obviously did not order it, we watched many tables enjoy it and it looked delicious.

   I ordered another appetizer as my meal and thank goodness I did because their portions are generous, and who doesn't fill up on chips and salsa anyways? I went with the Chipotle Chicken Tostados ($8.50) which came with Shredded Chipotle Chicken on Crispy Corn Tortillas with Puerco Beans, Queso, Pico De Gallo, and Guacamole (I ordered with no Pico or Guacamole). These were delicious and crispy, even with the Queso and Beans on the Tortillas and all in all one of the best Mexican meals I have ever had.

 Cole went down a completely different path with his choice, opting for the "Drunken Mussels" appetizer ($9.95). These Mussels were steamed in Dos XX Lager (a famous Mexican Beer) with a Garlic Lime Butter, Corn Salsa, and Green Onions, and served with two slices of Grilled Bread to soak up the juice. Cole loved the flavors of the Mussels and said it was top two or three that he had ever had, even at Seafood restaurants.

 We finished our amazing experience at SOL by ordering one of my favorite Mexican dishes of all time, Churros ($6.50). While they were delicious as expected, they weren't anything out of the ordinary as far as Churros go and are the only part of our meal I would pass on next time.

All in all, SOL did more than live up to all of the hype that had been built around it by our friends. It was not only worth the drive to Franklin, it's worth a possible move to Franklin. Alright, I may have exaggerated a bit there, but this is an amazing Mexican restaurant and my fingers are crossed that they will open one in downtown Nashville soon!

Ratings for SOL: (Scale 1-10)
Happy Hour - 9.5
Taste - 9
Ambiance - 8.5
Overall - 9
Sol Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Movies in the Park

   All of the sudden it is Summer in Nashville, which means hot weather and free events that feature great food all over the city. We took advatage of one of these free events by going to opening night of The Nashville Scene's Movies in the Park to see 500 days of Summer (different family friendly movie showing each week) and visit some Food trucks we have been dying to try.

  We arrived at Centennial Park early, even though the movie doesn't actually start until Sunset which happened to be about 8 pm that particular night, in order to secure a good spot for the movie and hit up the food trucks before the crowd arrived. There were numerous vendors to choose from, with everything from the Grilled Cheeserie to Joe's Crab Shack and everything in between so we set out with $40 cash to try as much as possible.

    We started with the Grilled Cheeserie, a food truck that has taken Nashville by storm. I know you are thinking "it's just a grilled cheese sandwich" and not exactly on the culinary forefront, but I would just tell you to go taste what they serve and then see what you think. The Grilled Cheeserie has an extensive menu with specialty grilled cheese sandwiches and build your own options. I opted for the classic American on Wheat ($4) while Cole ventured into the unknown with the "Tomato Two Times Melt" which featured a fresh Pesto Marinated Mozzarella Cheese and Italian Blend Cheese on Italian Herb Bread with Basil Kumata Tomatoes and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes ($7). We also shared an order of the Tator Tots with House Seasoning ($2) and one of their Watermelon slices marinated in Lime and Agave seasoning ($1.50). I ordered an old fashioned bottle of Crush which took my grilled cheese journey back into childhood to the next level.  Still think it's just a grilled cheese sandwich?

   Then it was time for the Sweet Stuff. We started with Chilly Pops, an all natural popsicle with a variety of fruit and vegetable flavors. Each popsicle is only 23 calories and with no additives they are a very healthy option. Peggy Bartosh, the mastermind behind Chilly Pops, even uses seeds and rinds from her ingredients to add in that extra bit of nutrients and flavor. Cole and I shared a Strawberry Kiwi Paleta ($2.50) which was incredibly refreshing on this hot afternoon and not at all sweet as we had incorrectly assumed.

   Next we headed for the Fleur De Lis Flavors a New Orleans style Snowball truck that I previously mentioned in my Farmer's Market post. Let me just say, they were well worth the wait. These were the most delicious snowballs (like Icees but a lighter texture) I have ever had and the family that owns and runs the business could not have been sweeter (their boys are pictured below). I order the Strawberry Cheesecake ($3) and they talked me in to adding the Condensed milk ($.50) which I was hesitant about but trusted the experts and did. I was so glad I added it because it provided a cream like flavor and texture that made the Strawberry Cheesecake Snowball, in my opinion, unbeatable. Cole ordered the Tiger's Blood which was Strawberry and Coconut and while I am usually not a fan of Coconut flavor, I loved it as well! Brent was with us too and went for the Dreamsicle which he said tasted like an old fashioned Dreamsicle, just better!

   Movies in the park was a lot of fun and a great date night idea but the best part was definitely the food! You can catch all of these amazing food trucks all over Nashville by following them on Twitter, Facebook, and their websites or in Fleur De Lis's case, at the Farmer's Market.

Ratings for Movies in the Park: (Scale 1-10)
Happy Hour - 0 - No Happy Hour Specials
Taste - 9
Ambiance - 6
Overall - 6

The Grilled Cheeserie on Urbanspoon

Fleur de Lis Flavors on Urbanspoon