Nick Cave: Feat. at the Frist

Unfortunately the Nick Cave: Feat. exhibit at the Frist is now over (I completely flaked on DFK earlier this year), but I got some great pics of it while it was up.

Loved seeing the soundsuits on what amounted to a walkway in a room studded with buttons. And just the whole thing was really well put together.

From the synopsis:

…A deeper look reveals that they speak to issues surrounding identity and social justice, specifically race, gun violence, and civic responsibility. His trademark human-shaped sculptures—called soundsuits because of the noise made when they move—began as a response to the beating of Rodney King by policemen in Los Angeles more than twenty-five years ago. As an African American man, Cave felt particularly vulnerable after the incident so he formed a type of armor that protected him from profiling by concealing race, gender, and class.

Along with broadcasting an increasingly urgent call for equity, Cave wants his art to spark viewers’ imaginations and aspirations. This exhibition’s title, Feat., refers to the exceedingly hard work that goes into attaining success (it takes, for example, roughly seven hours to hand-sew just one square foot of a button soundsuit). It also plays on how talent is often listed in promotional materials—an appropriate nod to Music City and its creative community. Through this immersive installation, Cave hopes to provide a transformative place where your narrative can be featured and your dreams can soar.

This was the 2011 ‘Architectural Forest’ made up of bamboo, wire, plastic beads, and acrylic paint. It seemed to change design as one walked around it.

Here, a multi-paneled wall relief

And my favorite piece, the ceramic dog on a chaise

Feat. opens September 14 at the Orlando Museum of Art.

Also: several Nick Cave beaded blankets are on exhibit through February 2019 in Concourse A of the Nashville airport.

Looking forward to the Do Ho Suh: Specimens exhibit at the Frist from October 12 – January 6, 2019 and the Diana Al-Hadid exhibit May 24, 2019 – September 2, 2019.

Chocolate Cake For Days

That wasn’t our first trip to the Gaylord Opryland this year. Back in May, we stayed there (an atrium balcony suite in the Garden Conservatory upgrade thanks to Marriott Platinum status) and visited the Nick Cave Feat. exhibit at the Frist.  First, though, here’s the room:

The living area was by the balcony, and the bedroom was just as one enter’s the hotel room.

Our view:

Supper one night was at the Old Hickory Steakhouse which, from reviews (people on OpenTable where I made my res like it better than people on Yelp), looks a little hit or miss, but we had a great experience.

Our table was outside under the atrium, so we got to view the rest of the area while we were dining

We started with the seafood platter, which had lobster, crab claws, shrimp, and oysters

I was boring and only wanted a Caesar salad for my entree. It was as expected suitably boring.

…though I did have a good amount of the creamed spinach and kale with gruyere and a poached egg atop which was delicious

…annnnnd a bite of this steak which was beyond:

…and and annnnnd ohmystars this crazy chocolate cake which completely rocked and no we didn’t even finish a third of it

Lunch that following day was at Arnold’s, which is always good — not mind-blowing, but solid yummy meat-and-three

Oh! And on the way home, we stopped at Stan’s in Columbia, Tennessee for anytime breakfast and cracklin cornbread:

Let’s get back to that exhibit though. Tomorrow. Pics of *amazing* Nick Cave works. Promise.




Tasting Menu at The Chef & I, Garth, And Pls Don’t Paint Buildings Like That

The tasting menu at The Chef & I in Nashville (close to Arnold’s) was incredible and just so much fun, owing to the chefs, staff, and owner Chris being super friendly and putting on such a great time.

There were cocktails — this was the Freddie Mercury, with Xicaru mezcal, Frida Kahlo tequila, jalapeno agave, and house sangria float…

I made reservations on OpenTable, and we were able to sit right at the counter — the chef/owner, Chris explained how much he was in love with this quartz and how it was one of the largest expenditures. He spent a while talking with one of my friends about the restaurant business and the operations there.

Being a tasting menu and changing so often, the servings weren’t listed on a menu. But I can say that every.single.thing was just crazy delicious, from the egg dish to the blackberry waffle to the shrimp with avocado, and our desserts — chocolate espresso creme brulee

and the heirloom carrot cake were so fab.

One of the most amazing things for me was that the kitchen staff seemed unhurried. They did everything efficiently and quickly, and everyone got their food in a reasonable amount of time, but they weren’t crazy stressed or running around like I imagine (and I guess I get that from too much reality-ish tv). In fact, when there wasn’t a server available and a dish was ready, the chefs would just bring it around themselves. Nobody stood on ceremony. It was just super chill.

After lunch, we didn’t even think about supper. It was off to the Grand Ole Opry to see Garth Brooks! He was last of course but played four or five songs and the crowd was SO into it. Of all the concerts I’ve been to, this short set with Garth was maybe my favorite. He is that much fun.

Afterward, we joined the rest of Nashville on Broadway at Tootsie’s and Robert’s Western Wear (there were two other big concerts going on that night) and got price-gouged by Uber going back to the hotel. Still, who cares!? It was crazy fun.

BTW, quick mention about lunch the next day: it’s been a forever since we went to Monell’s downtown, that we had to do it again — but this time at their location by the airport — Monell’s at the Manor. Y’all. I’m not sure their air conditioner was working and everyone was just burning up. And while usually one’s table mates are friendly, only one couple was really interested in chatting (the other was busy with their baby, and a group at the end of the table was busy talking about a supposedly worthless member of their family so whatevvvvs). The food wasn’t especially hot or flavorful, and the waiter took the fried chicken platter and never came back with it as he had promised another member at the table. Just meh. Soooo I don’t have to do Monell’s again for a while. And hoo. Why is the building they’re in painted like this?

And of course, our next adventure, going to Cheekwood for the Cracking Art exhibit, was divine. Crazy great weekend.

Cracking Art at Cheekwood

We got to see the Cracking Art exhibit at Cheekwood in Nashville and it was really fun! The show is closing September 2, so now’s definitely the time to go.

If you’re familiar with Cracking from the penguins at the 21C hotels, or you’ve just seen news about their other exhibits, Cheekwood made for a terrific setting because the sculptures were on view on the grounds of the garden setting, as well as in the mansion.

From Cheekwood’s site:
Cracking Art is a Milan, Italy-based artist collective born out of the intention to radically change the history of art by investigating the relationship between natural and artificial reality. By using 100% recyclable plastic materials, Cracking Art creates site-specific installations using large-scale, natural animal forms made of synthetic materials, playfully arranging meerkats, bears, crocodiles, birds, and other animals in surprising invasions of familiar landscapes.

We interacted with the giant bird and her eggs, and even rode the croc!

September 22 – October 21 is Cheekwood Harvest where, among other sights, is their famous 400+ gourd pumpkin house.

Annnd We’re Back. And We’re Eating Good.

Saba is Alon Shaya’s new restaurant on Magazine. Blissfully (for many) Besh-free since there was allll that drama (and like that whole thing in HBO’s Treme when a chef loses the right to their own name on their own (well formerly own) restaurant), Alon isn’t at Shaya, he’s at Saba.

Just as a complete aside, for the times I or someone in my family was in John Besh’s company, he was always super crazy nice. Friendly and wonderful and humble. You just never know how people :::really::: are sometimes. I had a really unfortunate experience with someone who runs an influential food organization, but the rest of the world thinks he’s fab and they name hamburgers in his honor. It’s a thing. As far as I know, John Besh has stayed quiet. Maybe he’s gotten counseling or just decided to lay low. America is a forgiving place (insert basically endless list of ill-behaved celebs & politicians here) and there’s this weird part of us collectively, I think, that finds the act of crashing and burning and then being all apologetic and going away for a while and then making some kind of amazing return intriguing and affirming.


Oh wait. Before we get started, let’s roll back for a sec to how incredible the Chanukah supper was that Alon was a big part of in Oxford, Mississippi this past December.

Oh and SPOILER ALERT: one of the great desserts of my life straight ahead.

So reservations at Saba are made not with OpenTable but with Resy. We had an early lunch so I think we could have been seated immediately anyway, but I don’t like wondering, so we were set with the app. The restaurant is in the old Kenton’s spot on Magazine (so it has that little parking lot in the back which is a huge plus) and moment of silence for that fine, fine Kenton’s hamburger they used to serve with some of the best fries in the universe.

But we’re having small plates at Saba now and that oven inside the dining room is cranking out two-zillion degree pita and I’m so very glad I looked poor or like I didn’t grasp the concept of small plates (prob) and only ordered one small plate for myself because I split a dessert and ohholymotherofallthatisrightinthisworld that was amazing and if I’d eaten any more it would have been crazy town. If you’re getting dessert, you maybe don’t need more than one small plate.

The transformation of the space goes like this — Kenton’s was bright but still had these great jewel tones:

Saba is this:

And those amber water glasses yessss

Here’s my foie, which was really good but not the best ever. And a side note: if you ever get the chance to have marcona almonds, do it but do it with this caveat: know that you’ll never be able to enjoy any other kind of almond ever because marcona almonds are gold. Also, same thing in the apple world with honeycrisp apples.

I had a bite of lamb kebab and that was pretty good:

and the potatoes were pretty nice:

…but if you’re the kind of person who wants to go somewhere just for dessert, or if you’re doing Saba because it’s yummy and cool and the place to be, you just can’t leave without ordering dessert. And dessert equals the warm chocolate babka.

I’m not even big on babka. The grocery store babka is always dry and boring. I will say that Zingerman’s sent me some treats late last year for a project I was working on at the office, and WOW their babka is good. But the babka at Saba is served with a blackberry sauce and hazelnut gelato and it is next level. You can’t not get this.


It’s great to be back at DFK. Thanks to allllll of you who emailed or messaged or whatever to check on me. Things are good, I just needed a break for a min. You know. Kids, job, travel, stuff, chocolate babka. xoxo!

Little Break, Back Soon

Hi friends! I took a little break from DFK, but will be back mid-April. I’ve missed you, and your notes wondering when I’ll be back have been just super sweet! Everything is great and I can’t wait to share with you again soon, soon, soon. See you again around the 18th of April. xoxo!

Punch Today in the Face, and Text Me at MODA

We visited the Museum of Design Atlanta first so that the boys could take an engineering class, and were thrilled to get to see the ‘Text Me: How We Live in Language’ exhibit which closes soon — February 4. Some of the exhibit is not for younger people, so while I did take the boys back to see much of it, there were parts we breezed over. It was easy to do as anything questionable is hung at a higher level.

Here, the boys are in the classroom area where they watched 3D printers work:

From the MODA website on the Text Me exhibit:

The individual component of language—text—is the prime vehicle used to express the experiences of our existence—from minor moments of daily life to the grand nature of the human condition. Our ancestors as far back as the cave man have been using symbols to document and record experiences.

Today, the visualization of our personal stories is an integral and essential part of nearly every moment of life, and we use text in all of its forms to define reality, emotions and even time itself. We are now living in a world wherein the condition of our visual communication reflects the condition of our culture. Conceived and curated by designer, podcaster, and brand strategist Debbie Millman, this exhibition is an attempt to organize, express, translate and reflect both how we live in language and how language now defines our lives.

The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna

Guns are Good for the Economy, Guns are Bad for the Economy by Brian Singer

Money is a Waste of Time by Christopher Simmons

Bottled Feelings by Adam J Kurtz

Oy / Yo by Deborah Kass

I Dismantle by Lesley Dill


Thoughts & Prayers by Christopher Simmons

…and in the giftshop area: