Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Omni Hotel, Kitchen Notes, and Barlines

Several months ago I joined the Nashville Food Bloggers. I have been keeping an eye on the events and finally found one I was able to attend. Kitchen Notes at the Nashville Omni Hotel invited the Nashville Food Bloggers and their significant others to come and enjoy a multi course meal, meet the chef and the marketing manager, and have the chance to explore the hotel. Since my hubster is a little suspicious of froufy food he said he didn't mind if I invited someone else to go. I posted in my Spam and Anchovies group and Melissa was the first to respond so she got to be my plus one for the event! After some crazy driving around town to drop my kiddos off we made it to the hotel a little bit early and handed over my car to the very helpful, friendly valet Jimmy. The Omni is an impressive hotel. From the giant wooden front doors to the crystal chandelier, to the details on the paper towels in the restroom, you know that a lot of thought has been put into making this a top notch hotel.

Melissa and I made our way over to Kitchen Notes and met the lovely Miranda of Miranda's Kitchen Adventures. I think the group was capped at 30 so Melissa and I met quite a few people at this event and I am having a hard time remembering everyone's names. We were directed to the room that had been reserved for us and were each asked to fill out a raffle form for a free night stay and breakfast (which I think was won by Laura of The Table).  After an introduction by Kelly and Tod the drink orders were taken and dishes started being served. Have you ever had a big group dinner where things did not go smoothly? This was not one of those times. Everyone was served quickly and efficiently through all of the courses. We were at the end of the table and had the pleasure of sitting across from Nita of the bRUNcher and her husband. She is vegetarian so accommodations were made for her and everything she was served looked fantastic!

Top left: jellies for the biscuits that came later
Top middle: deviled egg with pickled okra and candied bacon
Top right: toast points
Bottom left: Anson Mills Grit Cakes with Pimento Cheese
Bottom middle: House Made Pork Terrine with homemade pickles and spicy mustard
Bottom right: Organic Mixed Greens with Shaved Fennel, Tarragon, and Cornbread Crumbs
Not pictured: Fried Green tomato with homemade ranch

Out of all of the appetizers that came out my favorite was a toss up between the deviled egg and the grit cakes! I am not normally a fan of grits but the texture was smooth and the pimento cheese gave it just the right tang. The candied bacon on the deviled egg was amazing. Melissa said she wouldn't have thought to put the pickled okra and candied bacon together but that it really worked! 
You know I am not much of a drinker and I knew we were going to have a cocktail later at Barlines so I ordered Iced Tea. It was served unsweet with a tiny jar of simple syrup so I could sweeten it myself. I don't love super sweet tea either so this was perfect! I was able to put in enough simple syrup to take the bitter edge off of the tea. 
Melissa ordered a New Yorker, which they didn't have on the menu but probably will in the future. The server seemed happy to learn a new recipe and Melissa was happy with her drink. She had to describe it about 5 times to everyone sitting around us because everyone wanted to know all about it. 

I realize the Shrimp and Grits with Collards, Tomato Gravy and Country Ham is not a drink but it came in that cute jar so I had to include it! This was the one dish out of the entire repertoire that I was hesitant about. I told myself before we got there that I was going to try everything no matter what. Be proud! I tried the ginormous shrimp and remembered why I don't eat shrimp. Have you ever heard someone who is chewing squeak their teeth together? That sound gives me the willies! The texture of shrimp does the same thing to me as squeaking teeth. But I tasted it and can understand why there are people that would adore this. I, however, moved quickly on to the next dish.

Top: Pan Seared Carolina Snapper with Cast Iron Fingerling Potatoes and Green Sauce
Bottom: Smoked Tri-Tip
Not pictured: Nashville Steak Fries: Crispy Okra and Fresno Chili Aioli

I heart tri tip! It is one of my very favorite meat dishes ever. We have lived in Tennessee for 12 years and for the first 5 that we lived here you couldn't get it at the grocery store.  Way back when I was in college I went on Walkabout, a 10 day backpacking trip. At the end of the trip all campers did a really long run. I think my friend Joy and I made it 8 miles. At the end of the run we were treated to tri tip and watermelon. That may be one of my top 5 meals of my life! So, when that was presented and it wasn't on the menu it was like an extra special gift! The red snapper was actually really tasty as well and I loved the fingerling potatoes. If we weren't stuffed already we then we given biscuits (the biscuits change every day and even have their own special bar) to go with the main meal and then we were presented with dessert!
Left to right: Banana Pudding, Pecan Pie, and Bourbon Caramel Stuffed Cupcake

Love the mini size of each of these, love that they were served on a wooden plank, love that they were sweet but not too sweet! My favorite was the banana pudding. 

For me, one of the highlights of the night was getting to hear from Chef Peter. He came out and told us all about the food and walked around answering everyone's questions. My compliments to the chef! It was a lovely dinner!

Above are a few of the details from the restaurant and from the hotel. I loved the handwritten recipes on the wall in the room we were in. There was quite a discussion over one of them and what looked like a pound of melted butter. Have you made a recipe with that much butter before? Bobby thought the picture of the chandelier was a fountain. If you turn your computer upside down you will see it too! :) The details around the hotel were amazing. Tod told us that at least 50% of the artwork in the hotel was from local artists and I think 75% was from Tennessee artists. I may be a bit off on those figures but it was around there. The Omni tries to keep a local flavor at each of their hotels. The swag bags they gave us included  Olive and Sinclair chocolate, Seriously Southern Pecan Pie Caramels, and business card holders from Col. Littleton (all Tennessee crafters). They bring in local food and local art. Hatch Show Print is a 134 year old Nashville Company. They have moved into the Omni Hotel! Along with Kitchen Notes, the Omni boasts a Bongo Java, Barlines, and Bob's Steak and Chop House.
Last but not least our group headed over to Barlines for a complimentary cocktail. The drink was called the Lincoln County Maple Smash. It had maple syrup in it along with all of the other ingredients!  The adorable bartender serving the drink was filling glasses with ice and the drink. Another guy was smashing the leaves and putting them in the glasses. While we chatted for a little while longer (me with Angela of Spinach Tiger and Melissa with Dannika of Chatterbites) we also got to hear Dusty Hundley play while watching the Olympics. What more could you ask for? :)
If you are looking for a place to stay or eat with local flavor I highly suggest the Omni Nashville, Kitchen Notes, and Barlines! The food is delicious and the hotel is beautiful! Thank you again for hosting the Nashville Food Bloggers for this fun event!

Kitchen Notes on Urbanspoon

Barlines on Urbanspoon


  1. Wonderful pictures, Karen. It sounds like you had a fantastic time.

  2. Wow Karen,
    How fun.... I'm so glad you could go. Such a fun opportunity judging from your post. Maybe someday...

  3. This is Laura from the The Table, and I did win. I was so surprised and can't wait to go back and eat some more biscuits! It was a fantastic evening and your review is great. Lots of details I forgot/missed.
    Hopefully I'll get the chance to meet you at another event!

  4. Laura! I am so glad you won! :) That was a really fun event and I can't wait to get together with everyone again soon!

  5. Now I'm drooling. They serve some amazing things at Kitchen Notes! Your photos are wonderful!

  6. Sorry we didn't get to meet but next time!