Have you been to Milk & Honey in Chattanooga? If not, I’d say you should hop in the car and head to Chattanooga, TN. immediately. But guess what? They are coming to Nashville!
Milk & Honey is a sweet shop created by the restaurateurs, Mike and Taylor Monen (owners of Taco Mamacita). Known for “where pure gelato, craft coffee and fresh fruit popsicles are made from scratch daily”. Aka, where one goes to find heavenly dessert bliss. If sugar and caffeine are not your thing (crazy talk, I know), they also have a divine breakfast and lunch menu that will make your taste-buds swoon. Locals, and myself included, rave about the Farmhouse Biscuit – M&H breakfast sausage, Benton’s bacon, tomato jam, egg, arugula, white cheddar, caramelized onions and shallots on a homemade buttermilk biscuit.
And don’t get me started on the handmade, locally grown gelato. The Counter Culture coffee is so good, it’s sinful. Everything at M&H is made in-house, using as many local ingredients as possible, and the menu rotates seasonally.
One of my favorite things about this little shop, besides their incredible desserts, is the décor. A warm mixture of classic and modern styles, with a dash of humor. Upon entry, you are met with “Order here, honey!” in vintage typography. The cheery space is lined with retro bar stools, high-back booths and penny tile, reminiscent of an old-fashioned soda shop but with a twist.
I won’t forget the first time I stepped into M&H. I was immediately welcomed by the southern charm and delightful energy. I grinned from ear to ear as I glanced around – sleek furnishings, an indoor/outdoor bar, vivid high-contrast colors and not a single piece of barn-wood in sight. Yes, I said it. You know it’s true, the rustic-industrial epidemic needs to end. It’s for this very reason, I crushed on M&H so quickly. They were quite clever in how they introduced farm-to-table in their design while retaining a space that is both contemporary and chic. It’s a refreshing aesthetic, and I can’t wait to have one in Nashville.
So when and where is the big question, right? Milk & Honey Nashville will open in Summer of 2016 in the Gulch. Originally slated for spring of this year on Church street, the Monen’s decided to move to the Gulch for a larger space and open at a later time. The Nashville location will be three times larger than the one in Chattanooga, as it will serve as a restaurant and gelato shop. The Monen’s finalized a deal to open their Milk & Honey concept in a roughly 5,000-square-foot space at 214 11th Ave. S. in MarketStreet Enterprises’ new Gulch Crossing building.
For those of you who cannot wait a year, make that trip to Chattanooga. The drive is so worth it!
Today I had a lovely lunch with my mom at AMOT Eatery in East Nashville. My mom is one of the unlucky ones who cannot eat gluten. It can be frustrating at times because I am such a foodie (who eats gluten) and I want to share with her my favorite places to eat. But rarely can she eat at those places. Or if she can, the dishes are completely stripped down or she is stuck with a sad salad. Plus! She’s always worried that the kitchen will get it wrong or there is some sort of cross-contamination. It’s terribly nerve-wracking for her, which makes eating out really difficult. To be able to go to a restaurant where everything is gluten-free is kind of awesome. And when the gluten-free food is delicious (even to us gluten-lovers), you know you’ve got a winner.
The decor in AMOT is a charming modern feminine style. Crisp white walls & furnishings, lots of natural light, old black and white movies playing over the bar, and darling lights strewn throughout the space. The moment we entered into the restaurant, I knew I wanted to be there all afternoon. The space puts you at ease, almost pushes you to take a load off.
Instead of rushing to order, we ordered coffee and just took the space in for awhile. It was nice to just relax and chat with my mom, as if we didn’t have a care in the world. Eventually we ordered an appetizer – the sweet potato fries with arugula and parmesan. I am not a big sweet potato fan, but these fries were excellent. A perfectly balanced savory-sweet that had us licking the plate clean. We then ordered sandwiches on house-made bread. And let me tell you, that bread was heavenly! Gluten-free bread that was light, fluffy and even doughy. It was real bread! Not that cardboard crap that pretends to be bread. We were very impressed, to say the least. We ended our meal with a gorgeous bread pudding. (You’re probably catching on by now that we had a theme – try everything that had bread in it). It was so good! Nothing about this dessert, or anything we ate today, tasted “gluten-free”. Everything tasted like normal, delicious, wonderful food. Exactly what I was hoping to give my mom today.
Thank you AMOT Eatery for a wonderful day. We will most definitely be back!
Recently, I was given a tour of the newly renovated rooms of Loews Vanderbilt for a 12th & Broad post. And let me tell you, they are fantastic! The rooms are a moody modern design with a nod to the music scene. A style mixture of fashion, old school rock n’ roll, and country music with the comforts of a modern boutique hotel. The touches are subtle, and yet the story is strong.
The design concept behind the room renovations was Traveling Artists. Designers from Simeone Deary Design Group started with a picture of Elvis Costello – inspired by the idea of quieter moments of songwriting and jamming with the band in a hotel room. The lifestyle of a musician on tour is not easy – long hours, months on the road, and the comforts of home lost on generic hotel rooms. More often than not, artists bring items with them to cozy up their hotel stay and give the place a vibe that is uniquely their own. From scarves over lampshades and blankets on the walls to travel memorabilia and décor pieces that bring inspiration. The idea is to forget that one is temporarily living in a box and instead, enjoying the luxury of an intimate space inspired by home and the romance of music. The new rooms at Loews Vanderbilt have captured this concept well. A creative home-away-from-home apartment.
“The design is characterized by details from an artist’s clothing, typically a personal declaration of independence, grit from their worn guitar case, and distressed leather from their cowboy boots. There is a rawness, casualness and coziness to the design reminiscent of their intimate spaces where they strum their guitars and create new song lyrics. Comfortable, lounge seating, textured upholstery, and a stripped down dark interior make up the vibe of the guest rooms.” – Simeone Deary
What I loved most about the rooms is the unexpected details. Instead of going with a loud “theme” and skimping on the décor (a common practice of hotel trickery), Loews Vanderbilt chose a different direction. Quite the opposite actually. Mix & match pillows (inspired by blankets and ponchos), high-style lighting, custom furnishings, nail head studded draperies, one of a kind guitar straps on headboards, luxurious flooring, modern wallpaper, blackout shades, and found-object artwork. The attention to detail is refreshing, and the overall concept is a lot of fun. Not overly styled, just enough personality to make the space feel unique. The hotel understands that today’s tastemakers want more than a room. They want a luxurious location where they can hang out with friends and enjoy the cool amenities.
With the beautiful renovations of the lobby, the wonderful addition of Mason’s restaurant/bar, and now the newly styled rooms, Loews Vanderbilt is definitely making a name for itself.
Photos – NASHVILLE, TN – FEBRUARY 25, 2015: Loews Vanderbilt Hotel Nashville.
Credit: Photographs by Bruce Buck