Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Catbird Seat: Review!

 
This weekend was pretty incredible because after years of reading about it I finally got to experience dining at The Catbird Seat! It definitely lived up to my extremely high expectations and I can't wait to tell you all about it. 

The Catbird Seat opened in 2011 in Nashville- and since then it has been well known as one of the hardest reservations to get in the country. This is because the restaurant only seats 28 people and you can only make reservations 30 days in advance

They are only open at nights from Wednesday - Saturday- so your best shot of getting a reservation is to stay up until midnight and make reservations 30 days exactly from the date you're looking for. For instance, my birthday is April 22, so I would need to make my birthday reservation at midnight on March 22- and even then it may take a couple tries loading on the computer. Complicated? Yes... but worth the effort? YES!!! People travel from all over the country just to eat here!

I was so excited that my sister actually got reservations on a weekend night! It was a 9:00 p.m. reservation so it was perfect for a Saturday night. Their reservation times start at 5:45 p.m. and the last one is at 9:15 p.m. 

Before I tell you about the food, here are some things to know about The Catbird Seat:

- Don't be late! The restaurant has all reservations perfectly plotted out into 15 minute increments.
Every 15 minutes, someone will be seated and began to be served. Get there at least ten minutes early so you won't mess up their seating strategy. 

- All people in the restaurant are seated at a giant U-shaped table where the cooks prepare the food in the center while you can watch. Everyone is served the same menu of 14-16 courses. Don't worry, this isn't set up like a hibachi table- you have enough space from the strangers sitting next to you that you don't feel like you're dining with people you don't know. You also aren't watching some big dining performance- you can have conversations with the people you came with without being interrupted.

- There is not a typical drink menu. You can choose from a bottle of wine, half bottle of wine, or the $50.00 drink pairings. There is a non-alcoholic drink pairings option as well. The alcohol drink pairings option is totally worth it though because you will get a LOT and its pretty intriguing.. I'll explain more later. 

- If you plan on drinking, take a cab there if you plan on ordering the drink pairings. It also can be hard to find parking around midtown/music row.

- This will be more expensive than you expected. Their multi-course tasting menu costs $115 a person. The drink pairings is $50.00. But this doesn't include tax AND the 20% service charge AND tip. So this ends up costing an arm and a leg, but it's not just food, it's an experience, just like an expensive concert ticket or weekend getaway.. so it's worth it to me! :) 

- Your dining experience at Catbird Seat will last 3 hours- so plan accordingly! It flies by though. 

- PACE YOURSELF! I learned that the hard way. You are going to be served A LOT of food and A LOT of drinks so don't get too full and/or drunk! Don't feel like you have to eat/drink it all!



Our Experience:


You walk into this inconspicuous door: 


 Catbird Seat secret door (photo credit)


You are then greeted by a hostess with champagne! You then are handed a glass of champs and go up the elevator to the dining room on the third floor. 


 (Catbird Painting in the elevator!)


You then are seated at the table and your adventure begins! 

 The table! (image credit)



I am really adventurous eater and will try almost any kind of food. Our courses were split into four course categories: vegetable, flower, meat and desert. My favorite courses were veggie and dessert. I ordered the drink options and I'm so glad I did- it consisted of one beer, three glasses of red or white wines and a dessert wine. This doesn't include the glass of champs that you are handed before arriving. 

I started off trying to finish each glass but there's no way I could have finished all of these without being completely full/hammered. So beware, there's tons of drinks! The drinks also may taste strange on their own but taste perfect with the courses! 

The concept of The Catbird Seat is to challenge food concepts and to teach you about flavor. So many of the courses were totally surprising and I really loved them all. Come in with an open mind! I don't think its even possible to finish all 14-16 courses (I got extremely full by the meat courses but I was still able to continue throughout dessert!)

You will be eating flowers, leaves and will even have some desert courses wrapped in lettuce and it's all surprisingly delicious! You will also be eating almost every course with your hands so it will get a little messy (I ended up dropping caviar down my dress twice.. hilarious!)

Several chefs prepare your meal and they will come over and explain each course to you and where the ingredients are from! Many of the ingredients are local! It is so neat to talk to each chef and to get to meet them! I had no idea I was talking to the famous main chef Trevor Moran at times - he is so nice and down to earth! The music is also pretty fun and the 3-hour night flies by!


Here are some photos of our courses (I was shamelessly snapping pics the whole time!):


Oysters






A bite of pasta (blurry, sorry!!)






Sushi fish bite



Potato tea (amazing!)





Caviar on greens





Interesting colored wine from my pairings that I had to photograph.. did I mention I love wine?






Snail eggs with flowers.. so beautiful!





 Beer yeast over potatoes





 Their twist on a southern tomato sandwich!






Some of my beer and wine pairings (struggling to finish my drinks at this point)





 One of the beef courses (skin and potatoes.. I was very tipsy and full by now)






Green apple juice and salt to cleanse the pallet before dessert!






Key lime pie wrapped in lettuce (to die for!)






Dessert wine (my favorite drink I had)






Blueberry cake with milk for saturating the cake






Close up of the blueberry cake (work of art!)



They also send you home with a brown bag with a surprise inside... 




...which turns out to be a pastry that looks like a potato in dirt (above)!!! They say you can have it the next morning for breakfast, which I did! It was so good.. Adam and I were a little nervous to eat it because it really looked like a potato in dirt! It was awesome!!


They also send you home with a hand written menu describing all the courses (and drinks!) that you had that night:
 


 Our menu above-- What a personal keep sake! 


All in all, my sister and I were totally amazed and are already dying to go back! What an experience- it really lives up to all the hype. If you are willing to invest money and time it is totally worth it.

Almost everyone we were seated with was celebrating a special occasion- anniversaries, birthdays, and one couple had just gotten engaged that night! It was epic.. thanks for the friendly service and a night of dining that I will never forget, Catbird Seat!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Women for Freeman


As you may know, my cousin Bill Freeman is running for mayor of Nashville. I had a great time yesterday as a host for a Women for Freeman event! Women for Freeman is a grassroots movement to meet and greet other women throughout Nashville. It consists of women from all different backgrounds with one common goal- to build a following to elect Bill Freeman as Nashville's next mayor. Anyone can join and the events are really fun- learn more about it here!

Bill Freeman grew up in a household with five sisters, so he understands issues that women face personally and professionally. As mayor, he wants to eliminate wage gaps between men and women and he strongly believes for equal pay for equal work. 


 My aunt, grandmother, mother and I at the event


The Women for Freeman event was held yesterday at Bill Freeman's mother's home and many of my family members were hosts! It had live music and tasty food. Bill Freeman made a wonderful speech about his plans for Nashville's future- shown below: 


Bill Freeman's speech at the Women for Freeman event 


He has been doing a fantastic job in all of the mayoral candidate debates so far and has won all of the debate polls held by the Tennessean! I am really excited about his ideas for public transportation, changing the attitude about our school system and expanding affordable housing. Learn more about his campaign here and vote Freeman for Mayor of Nashville this fall! 

More pictures below are of my aunt, mother, grandmother, sister and myself who were hosts at the event.







Vote Freeman in the fall,

Friday, June 26, 2015

Confessional Friday Linkup

 

Good morning and TGIF, readers! I am linking up again with Blonde Ambition Blog and other bloggers for Confessional Friday! So here here we go- my confessions are:

1. I've been Facebook free for about 8 months and I don't miss it at all! Occasionally my curiosity will get the best of me and I will reactivate for about 10 minutes and snoop around... but then I am reminded of why I deactivated in the first place and revert back to my Facebook free life! 


2. In high school during spirit week we had Favorite Person Day (where you dress as your favorite person).. and I confess that....I went as..... Eminem. Yes, Eminem! See below:

 
I guess I was trying to be funny! I kind of miss that Abercrombie beanie, especially since they are apparently back in style now. Monica was dressed as her favorite teacher suck up ;) and Jean was dressed as a guy in our grade, Milton (which was super random). Eminem has really disappeared since this was taken in 2002, and that's probably a good thing!



3. I am loving this new season of Real Housewives: Orange County:


One of my best friends told me that the new girl, Megan Edmonds, was a year ahead of me when I was an undergrad at Ole Miss! I didn't know her then but I heard she was a Kappa- hopefully she will bring some fellow Ole Miss alumni on this show! I actually really like her personality and I think this season has been much better- less annoying fights than last season!



4. I confess that I am really digging this cheesy song "I'm Worth It" that's been on the radio lately:


It's been stuck in my head so I've been playing it non stop! It is kind of 90s club sounding and I can't help but think of all the dance routines that could go with it because the beat is pretty fun :)



5. I confess that I am having a hard time resisting this clutch by Clare V:



I have been seeing it on all the blogs lately- probably because it goes with EVERY color outfit imaginable- as one of my favorite bloggers, Alyson Haley, shows from Sequins and Things:


Oh the possibilities! It costs $275 because it is made of cow hair, and I can't really justify spending $275 on an animal print bag. So for now I will be looking for a knockoff. But you can find it here if you want to order it for yourself! 



6. I confess that this is my new favorite nail polish color for the summer:


It is Geranium by Essie and it is the perfect shade of bright orangey red! I have been wearing it on repeat and this may replace my all-time favorite shade, Cajun Shrimp by OPI!



7. Final confession.. even though I recently bought an elliptical machine, I have had the hardest time working out in the mornings! I have no probs with working out after work, but even though I wake up seeing an elliptical machine (it's in my bedroom) I still can't seem to drag myself out of bed to workout in the mornings. Does anyone have any tips for this??


Now is the fun part- if you want, go ahead and linkup to your Confessional Friday blog posts below! Thanks for reading, guys!


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Marnie The Dog

 

Guys. Let me tell you about Marie the dog. As you know, I am a huge fan of rescuing animals- and to adopt and not shop! I have two rescue kitties and you can meet my furry family here! But anyways you may have already heard about Marnie because she has gotten a little bit famous in the last year (all these images found via instagram)!


Marie was found by Animal Control in August 2012 on the harsh streets of Connecticut with matted and smelly fur. The shabby looking Shih-Tzu was then placed in a shelter and named Stinky- probably due to her condition and 14 decaying teeth. 


She was then adopted by Shirley Braha as a result of a petfinder.com post. Stinky then took a train ride with her new mommy, and lived up to her name by stinking up the whole train (due to her neglected condition). 


Her adopted mother, who happens to be a producer for MTV, renamed her as Marnie, after musician Marnie Stern. She visited a vet and had 14 decaying teeth removed, and soon began to feel and smell much better! Marie's left eye was so gray and cloudy that Braha, her adopted mom, was told that Marnie was going to be permanently blind in that eye. 


Shortly after she was adopted, Marnie's condition began to improve and her personality started to shine bright! She was soon able to see out of her blind eye again! Marnie is 12 years old now and completely healthy. She seems to have an unusually long tongue that makes her show her silly side in photos. 


Braha made a Tumblr and Instagram account for her which soon went viral. Her videos and photos are absolutely precious and hilarious! Watch some of my favorites here:






Marie now has 1.5 million followers on Instagram and has gotten to meet many celebrities (shown below)! Braha was able to quit her job due to Marnie's fame and now brings Marie to festivals and events- because so many people want to meet or get a photo with the famous Marnie! 

















Note: In case you were wondering, Marnie also has an unusual head tilt which vets say is not to be concerned about. It may be a result of a short illness called Vestibular Syndrome when she was living on the streets. The 12 year old dog's favorite things are long walks, exploring, sleeping, chicken, watermelon, and parties. Her owner Braha says that the only things Marnie dislikes is being left alone because she becomes anxious. 



This should be inspiration for all to adopt senior animals! They are often the last ones to be adopted at shelters. Think about people who own pets and then pass away.. and then their animal may be left in a shelter and possibly put down because people would rather have a kitten or puppy. 


Ms. Braha told the Daily Mail, "Senior rescue dogs are known for being especially grateful and loyal to their new owners for giving them a second change on life, and Marnie lives every day exemplifying this job and gratitude."  



Whenever I'm having a bad day I look at the photos or videos of Marie and it always makes me smile (no matter how sad or mad I am)! Be sure to follow her on YouTube and Instagram: @MarnieTheDog, and follow her on her other social media accounts! You never know what a joy a shelter animal will turn out to be! Adopt and don't shop, guys! Thanks for reading, let me know what you think of Marnie's videos and story!


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