Milton’s Cuisine Alpharetta: Experience more than a Restaurant

Have you ever heard of Milton’s Cuisine (Alpharetta, GA)?

Even though I spent four years earning my Undergraduate Degree at Emory University in Atlanta, I have to admit I didn’t venture outside of the Perimeter very much.

After checking in to the Residence Inn Alpharetta for our #GirlMom weekend, I asked Jade, the manager, what restaurants we should check out while we’re here. Without hesitating, he said Milton’s Cuisine.

After a phone call to Nate, Milton’s General Manager, It was settled. Following our American Girl Boutique & Bistro experience on Saturday, we’d make the trip out to Milton’s.

miltons cuisine menu Miltons Cuisine Alpharetta: Experience more than a Restaurant

Milton’s Restaurant takes residence in a 150 year old farmhouse in Crabapple’s historic district. According to the Milton’s website, the restaurant features “contemporary New Southern Cuisine that utilizes fresh, local ingredients to create regionally inspired comfort food with bold flavors that are artistically presented in a relaxed and friendly environment”. Many of the ingredients come from their own on site garden, the “Milton’s Acre.”

miltons cuisine acre Miltons Cuisine Alpharetta: Experience more than a Restaurant

In fact, the executive chef created a warm bruschetta appetizer with the first-fruits from their garden, including these beautiful yellow roma tomatoes.
miltons cuisine garden bruschetta Miltons Cuisine Alpharetta: Experience more than a Restaurant

I was also intrigued by the unique cocktail selections. But not being much of a drinker, I asked if they could make me one of their Georgia Peach Basil Mojitos without alcohol. Naturally, they obliged (being the good Southern folks that they are). They were so good, I had two…
miltons cuisine virgin mojito Miltons Cuisine Alpharetta: Experience more than a Restaurant

Of course, we couldn’t only settle for fruity drinks and fresh baked bread. Though that couldn’t have made us quite happy by itself, time came when we had to decide on our dinner.

If I could have, I would have tried everything off the left “Nibble” side of the menu. I kept seeing Fried Green Tomatoes and P.E.I. Mussels fly out of the kitchen. But I wanted to find something both a city-girl and her 8 year old daughter could come together to try. So we opted for the Asiago, Sweet Corn & Smoked Bacon Grit Fritters with green tomato-jalapeno jam
miltons cuisine grit fritters Miltons Cuisine Alpharetta: Experience more than a Restaurant

and the Chef’s Signature Pimiento Cheese “Dip” with cajun crackers & crisp celery
miltons cuisine pimento cheese Miltons Cuisine Alpharetta: Experience more than a Restaurant

I also couldn’t resist a bowl of the Charleston Crab Bisque with sherry drizzle & chives. My picture didn’t do it justice, so you’ll just have to take my word that it was the most exquisite blend of lump crab meat and cream…neither of which I’m much of a fan of on their own, but Milton’s somehow managed to combine them with perfection.

To be honest, I had a harder time finding something from the Entree Plates (aka “Feed”). Selections included such southern favorites as Shrimp & Grits, Espresso Rubbed Apple Brined Pork Loin and a customer favorite, Sesame Crusted Mountain Trout. Not being a fan of pork or fish, I found less that appealed to me. But our magnificent server Brian assured me the Grilled Petite Filet Mignon with lobster & spring onion risotto, roasted garlic spinach, and a creole pan sauce was equally exquisite.
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He wasn’t lying.

Even though the filet appeared to be cooked a bit past my ideal cooking temperature upon first cut, it was so buttery and tender, I could almost cut it with my fork.

But you know me – I couldn’t leave order something as it was off the menu. I had to be difficult and mix and match my side items a little bit. But really, who can say no to blue cheese mac? Obviously I couldn’t

miltons cuisine mac cheese blue Miltons Cuisine Alpharetta: Experience more than a Restaurant

And instead of hearing from me on the kids’ meals, why not hear it straight from my 8 year old daughter:
“If I was a judge on chopped, even though I’m not an ‘expertise’ or anything, I would say the shrimp is a little too crunchy and falls apart easily, otherwise I would say everything is good. When I finish this Mac & cheese, I’m going to ask for another to-go so that I can have it for lunch tomorrow…It’s some of the best Mac & Cheese I ever had!”
miltons cuisine kids meal Miltons Cuisine Alpharetta: Experience more than a Restaurant

(In Milton’s defense, it was some of the freshest fried shrimp I’ve ever tried. I think my daughter’s taste buds may have become too accustomed to typical restaurant fried shrimp!)

We couldn’t even finish our entrees, but how could I pass up dessert?

Whenever I hear something containing the words ‘cobbler’ and ‘berries’, I simply can’t refuse. Their strawberry cobbler with Nutella ice cream may have been a bit of a melty mess to look at (hence no picture), but it was a heavenly combination in my stomach.

Kariss, not normally one to like chocolate cake, ordered a sweet concoction topped with chocolate mousse and covered with chocolate ganache. I guess I took one to many bites because she eventually cried out, “Can I eat my dessert please?!”
miltons cuisine chocolate cake Miltons Cuisine Alpharetta: Experience more than a Restaurant

After sitting for 2 hours (yes, two hours FLEW by!), Nate stopped by our table to let us know lingering at Milton’s is not only not uncommon, it’s encouraged. However, he offered to let us tour Milton’s Acre out back and since the sun would be setting soon, we’d need to hurry if we wanted to get a good look.

miltons cuisine outdoor garden Miltons Cuisine Alpharetta: Experience more than a Restaurant

As we walked out through the patio, we sampled the live music and learned they even show movie’s on the lawn after it gets dark on Wednesday nights. We’re already planning a return trip in the fall for when the weather cools down just a bit. (The picture above doesn’t do the ambiance justice, but I also just loved the table in the bottom right joining hands in prayer before their meal icon wink Miltons Cuisine Alpharetta: Experience more than a Restaurant

Nate proceeded to tour us through unique vegetables like the Korean red eggplant in the top right below or the asparagus in the bottom left. Not only had I never seen asparagus growing before, we got to pick and eat it straight out of the garden! Kariss and I both couldn’t believe how sweet it was…truly a treat.

But when Nate asked Kariss if she’d like to take some cucumbers home, you would have thought he’d just told her she could pick out anything she’d wanted from the American Girl store…she was that excited. The cucumbers were so big, they barely fit in the brown paper sack carrying all our leftovers!

miltons cuisine garden collage Miltons Cuisine Alpharetta: Experience more than a Restaurant

After Kariss picked out her cucumbers, we had a sweet exchange with Richard, the valet. He told us how he’d been parking cars in Atlanta for 30 years in all that time, he’d never seen people come out of a restaurant the way they do when they come out of Milton’s. He said other places, people would come to him saying the food was good, but here at Milton’s, and I quote, “It’s like that WOW feeling”.

I couldn’t have said it any better myself, Richard.

I thought I’d be able to help spread the word about Milton’s Cuisine, but as it turns out, I guess they don’t need too much help…Open Table guests voted Milton’s as one of the top 50 American Dining Restaurants in the United States!

At Milton’s Cuisine, every ‘i’ is dotted and every ‘t’ is crossed, but in a familial way. It’s the experience you always hope for, but rarely find. It’s fine dining but without the pretense.

As we got in our car to leave, I asked Kariss what she thought about Milton’s. Kariss said, “That’s what you call a BIG treat! It’s not like eating 5 desserts in one night… actually, it’s better than that..it’s a really unique experience, nothing like I would never have at a normal restaurant.”

Yes sweet girl. We didn’t just eat at a restaurant. I think we just became part of the Milton’s family. In fact, nothing sums up our experience quite like the message we found on the sign before leaving Milton’s parking lot…

miltons cuisine please come back sign Miltons Cuisine Alpharetta: Experience more than a Restaurant

…and come back we will.

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PBG Marriott BlueFire Grille “Best Steak Ever”

During a recent stay at the Palm Beach Gardens Marriott hotel, I quickly ascertained the property more than exceeded my expectations as the perfect location for both business and pleasure. While we got to enjoy offerings from their restaurant’s lunch menu during our business meetings, one question still remained…Would dinner at the PBG Marriott BlueFire Grille be worthy of staying ‘in house’ for?

After all, the Palm Beach Gardens Marriott is located right off I-95, only a mile or so away from my favorite Gardens Mall and the trendy Downtown at the Gardens, both chocked full of fabulous dining (& shopping!) options.

Still, the BlueFire Grille’s Edamame, Mahi-Mahi Fish Tacos & Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas delighted us enough at lunch to make us want to stay and try the BlueFire dinner options.

At first glance, the menu admittedly seemed a bit limiting and pricy. With just 8 entree options (even though you could still order from the lunch menu at dinner) and the steaks ranging in price from $28-30, one of my dining companions commented that at those prices, this would not be the place they would typically come for a $30 steak.

Still, we each ordered either a filet or rib-eye, wanted to fulfill our steak cravings after a long day in the boardroom. (Later, we also overheard the Linguini Carbonara was excellent too…).

Before our main course arrived, we unanimously agreed on trying the Classic Onion Dip, made with Caramelized Onions and served with Homemade Potato Chips (they are my cryptonite – I simply can’t say no whenever I see homemade potato chips anywhere in my travels!).

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They did not disappoint.

Not only were the chips perfectly crisp, but they were still warm – cooked fresh to order. (Oh, and the dip was good too icon wink PBG Marriott BlueFire Grille Best Steak Ever

But then the steaks came…

From the minute the manager AND the server simultaneously carried our plates to the table, we were drooling. My guests literally ate their words.

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This is the best steak I ever had…” emerged sheepishly between bites. All of us were in agreement.

Not only were they perfectly cooked and seasoned, but they were so tender. I found myself quickly running out of the mushrooms and glaze that accompanied it because of sopping them up with the roasted fingerling potatoes I ordered as a side accompaniment.

I want you to take special notice of the background behind the bite of steak, mushrooms & onions I’m about to devour in the picture below…

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Do you notice the Smashed Potatoes & Green Beans on my friend’s plate? Those are the side dishes that typically come with the 8 oz Filet Mignon, but since she ordered the meal as it appeared on the menu, I thought I’d diverge with the Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and a Side Salad.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my choices, but her side dishes were amazing. I find mashed potatoes and green beans to be typically very average in hotel dining – these were very much to the contrary: smooth, velvety mashed potatoes and  flavorful crisp green beans. I managed to steal a bite from her plate, but that was about it before they disappeared.

Needless to say, we barely left a morsel on our dinner plates. So when the offer came for dessert, we thought, “Well, maybe we’ll just try a bite…”

While I will still say the main course was the star of this show, we each enjoyed the sweet ending to our meal: the Tower of Carrot Cake, Chocolate Cake & Key Lime Pie.

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Someone may have uttered at one point that the BlueFire Grill was their new favorite restaurant…

They only downfall we encountered was that amidst our dining experience, there was a larger group close to us boisterously hanging out in the lounge area, so it seemed a bit incongruous with our fine dining experience.  But that idiosyncrasy still couldn’t eclipse the enjoyment of our meal.

What thrilled me most about discovering the Palm Beach Gardens Marriott’s BlueFire Grille was the fact that now I’ve not only discovered a good hotel restaurant, but I’ve discovered a new great restaurant. Period. And because I come back to South Florida so frequently, I’ll be able to come back regularly to the BlueFire Grill, even if my travels don’t include an overnight stay at the hotel itself.

If you live in Palm Beach County, you nave NO excuse not to check out this hidden gem, because I have a feeling it won’t be hidden much longer…

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Why I’ll Be Eating at Captain D’s with my Kids: #DsNewLook

Screen Shot 2013 04 05 at 1.12.58 PM Why Ill Be Eating at Captain Ds with my Kids: #DsNewLook
I wanted to share with you, my friends, why you’ll soon be seeing me and some of my favorite Nashville bloggers on social media eating at Captain D’s with our kids.

We pride ourselves on being a family on the go and I know that to be true of so many of you as well. I also know one of the reasons you frequent SamiCone.com is to learn how to save money so you and your family can go off on more fabulous adventures together without breaking your budget.

One of the biggest budget-busters when traveling (or any day for that matter) is eating out. As much as we may try to eat the majority of our meals hand-prepared at home, the truth is that many of us find ourselves needing something quick and easy at one time or another during our week. And if I said we only ate local, organic food and never walked through the doors of a fast food restaurant, I would be lying…

So when I learned that Captain D’s wanted to invite a group of bloggers to experience the revitalization of their brand, including a new look In their restaurants to make families feel like they were escaping to their favorite beachside destinations, I was intrigued. Not only that, they’re making every effort to put the emphasis back on the dining ‘experience’ and welcoming atmosphere by creating new seating options so that more families, teams and friends can gather around the same table!

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But most importantly, I found out they have teamed up with the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell program, a nationwide initiative that provides parents and children with healthful menu options when dining out. This means their new kids meals and 3D Kid’s Program now come with a choice of entree with two sides…and with 4 entrées and 10 sides for kids to choose from, that equals 400 potential kid’s meal combinations (including grilled options for both adults AND kids)!

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That spoke to me as a mom.

To me, if I am going to eat fast food, I want it to be somewhere that will provide my family with a quality, consistent experience, while also providing a variety of options for all of us.

So while I’ll be walking in with no pre-conceived notions about what my family will find once we get there next week, I am always open to an adventure where I have the opportunity to express my honest opinion to a brand that cares enough to listen.

My family and I are looking forward to our Captain D’s experience on April 8 and you can follow along with our adventure by joining the conversations on Twitter and following @CaptainDs and #DsNewLook.

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UPDATE: You will never believe what my kids’ thought of their 3D Kids Meal at Captain Ds…

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Weeknight Family Dinner…Carrabba’s Style!

Carrabbas family meal sami cone Weeknight Family Dinner...Carrabbas Style!Family meal times are important. It’s a time or you can come and gather together and no matter what has happened throughout your day, leave it all behind and reconnect with the one that you love the most.

It’s a nice idea, isn’t it?

The only problem is that with all of our busy schedules these days, family meal time sometimes gets forsaken.

I know for myself, I remember more to-go containers eaten in a backseat than I do of ever gathering around a table.

And though I said I would never get overscheduled with my kids, I somehow have found myself in that position at a pretty early age with them. They have activities at least three of the five school nights during the week and so if I don’t plan ahead carefully, that means dinner doesn’t get on the table in a timely fashion.

But even good planning and the best intentions can’t help me on some nights.

Take Monday for instance. My daughter has ballet and where it happens to be gets very congested when she gets out at 5:30. So if we don’t eat out, we get stuck in traffic for over an hour getting home.

Then there are night like we just had recently where I will be coming with the kids from gymnastics, my husband will be coming from work, and we have to meet up to swap cars (& kids!) before going on to other various activities.

It’s nights like these I’m thankful that we can come together to a place that is conducive for our entire family to gather around the table and share a meal.

Eating out on a budget can be hard because you want to feed your family good food, but you don’t want to blow your budget doing so. And since I’ve gone gluten and dairy free, that challenge is even greater when eating out.

So I was thrilled to discover that Carrabba’s not only welcomes families but actually had a separate gluten-free menu for me to choose from.

IMG 7342 300x300 Weeknight Family Dinner...Carrabbas Style!To be honest, I’ve been getting a little discouraged lately because I haven’t figured out how to transition my whole family to a paleo lifestyle because I haven’t really couldn’t anything that I thought they would all love to eat. But after eating at Carrabba’s, I’ve been re-energized in knowing that it is possible to cook delicious food that is gluten and dairy free.

Just look at the Johnny’s special I ordered:

IMG 7352 300x225 Weeknight Family Dinner...Carrabbas Style! It was honestly the most flavorful meal I’ve had since going Paleo and more importantly, I felt great after eating it! The chicken was moist and delicious, the steak was cooked perfectly, and the special broccoli with garlic and olive oil I asked them to prepare as a side was even better than I could have imagined.

But what I loved more than the food was the family time we shared. Not only did the kids have fun with the extensive kids’ menu/activity book..

IMG 7347 300x225 Weeknight Family Dinner...Carrabbas Style!IMG 7344 225x300 Weeknight Family Dinner...Carrabbas Style!…but we had fun with them! Not to mention all the conversation starters that came about as a result icon smile Weeknight Family Dinner...Carrabbas Style!

We get ourselves into some sticky scheduling situations as a family, but it’s comforting knowing that I can get good food fast for our whole family without resorting to fast food on those nights we simply can’t make it home.

Dinner with my family is one of the most important parts of our day. Whether you are dinning in or ordering online to-go, Carrabba’s helps bring your family together during the week. Thanks, Carrabba’s for letting us sit around your family’s table…we can’t wait to do it again!

 
Thanks, Carrabba’s, for letting us sit around your family’s table. We can’t wait to do it again!
 
Thanks, Carrabba’s, for letting us sit around your family’s table. We can’t wait to do it again!

Tell me why you think family dinner is a priority and one of my readers will win a $25 gift card to enjoy at Carrabba’s!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Carrabbas. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Sweepstakes Rules

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Top Walt Disney Dining Character Restaurants

IMG 6896 300x224 Top Walt Disney Dining Character Restaurants
We often get asked our top Walt Disney Dining Character restaurants – so I thought I’d share them in one spot for you!

It doesn’t seem to matter how many times we eat at these Disney restaurants, they remain family favorites for their characters, service and food.

Keep in mind that my children are elementary age, but even when we go with three generations, we all have a great time.

Here are our top Walt Disney Character Dining Experiences:

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1. Chef Mickey’s

Chef Mickey’s is a classic. Located in the original Disney World hotel, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Chef Mickey’s features the “Fab 5″: Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy & Donald. Not only does the monorail run right through the Contemporary Resort, but you’ll see many pieces of classic Disney memorabilia while there, including a beautiful mural located just outside the elevator bay.  You also don’t need a park ticket for this restaurant, so it’s great for days your starting or ending your vacation, or if you want to do the Disney experience without paying to go in a park!

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2. Princess Storybook Dining at Askershus Royal Banquet Hall

Our favorite way to see the princesses by far! Princess Storybook Dining is located in Epcot’s World Showcase in Norway. Typically, you will be escorted in to see Belle right away for a picture (which you get to keep as part of your dining package) and then you sit down for your meal. We like to go for breakfast where you start with a continental buffet featuring some European favorites such as sliced meats and cheeses as well as fresh berries and bakery treats. Then a hot plate is served family style at your table with bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs and a delicious potato casserole (everything is all you can eat). After your food is served, you typically get to meet five princesses, depending on the day. Though Cinderella is never promised, she has made an appearance her along with her friends. Some lesser-known ladies (though of no-lesser importance) like Pocohontas, Mulan and Mary Poppins have also been know to make an appearance. If you’re looking to see the princesses on a budget, this is a much more economical choice than the castle as well.

3. 1900 Park Fare – Supercalifragalistic Breakfast

Our original favorite, it’s hard to beat the breakfast at 1900 Park Fare. Located inside the Grand Floridian Resort, we’d go back time and time again just for the ambiance. The fact that this dining experience also happened to have our children’s favorite characters and great food didn’t hurt either icon wink Top Walt Disney Dining Character Restaurants With my mom being from England and my son named after her homeland (Britton), our kids grew up loving Pooh, Tigger and Mary Poppins especially – all who make an appearance here, along with Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter. The food doesn’t get much better than this at Disney World and you absolutely MUST try the Strawberry Soup!

4. 1900 Park Fare – Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner

It was hard to decide how to rank my third and fourth choices, which, as you can see happen to be at the same restaurant (just different meals!). If you return to 1900 Park Fare in the evening, you’ll be attending Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner, featuring none other than Cinderella herself, along with Prince Charming, her step-mother (Lady Tremaine) and her awkward (yet hysterical) step-sisters, Anastasia and Drizella. This isn’t your typical meet and greet. The step-sisters are very loud, boisterous and interactive. While we originally thought it might be too much for our then three year old son to handle, he eventually told us at the end of our first trip to this experience that it was his favorite meal of the entire vacation! I’ve already told you the food at Grand Floridian is fabulous and again, this is a much cheaper way to see Cinderella than the castle (and also doesn’t require a park ticket!)

Other favorites include The Garden Grill (at the Land Pavillion in Epcot) with its spinning restaurant and Mickey and friends dressed as farmers as well as a new favorite, Ohana (Polynesian Resort) where you can meet Lilo & Stitch and enjoy one of the most delicious juices we’ve ever tried!

You may be surprised that I didn’t mention Cinderella’s Royal Table…then again maybe you’re not if you’ve been following my logic! I believe everyone should eat at the castle once; it truly is magical. However the cost prohibits this frugal mom from venturing there more. When you can see the same characters at equally charming locations for a lot less money (and without having to buy a park ticket), I’d opt not to spend my money just on the castle…but that’s just me!

Here are just a few reasons we love character dining:
*You get to sit and eat (in air conditioning) while the characters come to you…as opposed to standing in line for hours on end in the Florida heat!
*You can see multiple (related) characters in one shot, instead of waiting in a lot of separate lines for individual characters
*Kids have longer to interact with the characters, instead of just a quick picture and autograph.

Granted, the best way to take advantage of Character Dining is when Disney is offering their Dining Plan for free! But if you aren’t lucky enough to visit Disney during one of those times, our other piece of advice is to schedule a late breakfast. It’s not only the cheapest meal of the day, but when you schedule one of the last sittings, you’ll stay full through lunch (think brunch) and also get more character interaction time because they’re not rushing off to visit anyone else!


 Top Walt Disney Dining Character Restaurants

What are some of your favorite character dining experiences?

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Starbucks Espresso Drinks Half Off March 8-14, 2012

Sbux banner 300x153 Starbucks Espresso Drinks Half Off March 8 14, 2012Starbucks Espresso Drinks are half off March 8-14, 2012 when you buy one in the morning and bring your receipt back in the afternoon for a second drink!

It looks like these can be hot or iced – perfect for this weather that can’t seem to make up its mind either icon smile Starbucks Espresso Drinks Half Off March 8 14, 2012

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Must Do Nashville Things to Do, See & Eat

Wondering what the “Must Do Nashville” things are that top my list? Then you’ve come to the right place!

nashville flood tee Must Do Nashville Things to Do, See & EatConsider me your Nashville trip advisor if you want to do what to do in that extra day you’re spending here after Blissdom (or anytime you find yourself wondering what to do in Music City and only have a day to run around. Here’s my list of must do Nashville things to do, see & eat in Nashville:

Must Do Nashville Tourist Attractions

If you haven’t stopped by Broadway before you go home, you haven’t seen Nashville in my opinion! Drive down to Broadway & 4th Street, and you’ll find yourself in the midst of some of the most famous Nashville icons. On one side of the street, you can check out live music at Honky Tonks such as Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge or grab something to eat at the famous Jack’s BBQ. Of course, you’ll want to go down just a few blocks to tour the “mother church of country music”, the Ryman Auditorium (and don’t forget to stop back by Hatch Show Print on Broadway to pick up an iconic poster to remember your trip!)

Cross over Broadway and you’ll find the Convention & Visitors Bureau sitting at the front glass enclosure of Bridgetstone Arena. Even if you don’t stop in, walk behind the arena to Hall of Fame Park (think Hollywood’s “Walk of Fame” complete with stars in the sidewalk, but for country fans). After you walk the park, you’ll find yourself looking directly at the Country Music Hall of Fame, a great stop even if country music isn’t your favorite music genre.

You’ll notice they’re building our new convention center next to the Hall of Fame, but if you head to the east side of the park, you’ll enter into the Schermerhorn Hall, home to the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.

If you go closer to Vanderbilt University, you’ll find two must-see areas:
-Centennial Park: complete with a full replica of the Parthenon (Athens, Greece is our sister city!)
-Hillsboro Village: a unique street filled with shops & restaurants – think college town meet artist’s village. Don’t forget to stop by Boookman/Bookwoman and eat at Pancake Pantry (just be prepared to stand in line!). If you have kids, make sure to stop by Fannie Mae Dees park (known to locals as the “Dragon Park”) with a lot of space to run, plan and connect with friends.

Must Do Nashville Restaurants

You may be in the South, but Nashville boasts more than just fried chicken and biscuits (though if you want great biscuits, head to my side of town to The Loveless Cafe, home of the late Carole Fay who battled Bobby Flay in a biscuit ‘Throwdown‘ on Food Network).

If you want a unique dining experience that will let you try a lot of different southern favorites, make sure to hit up Monell’s in Germantown. You’ll sit in an old home at a table with 12 other people and literally pass the plate as you feast on everything from pot roast and greens to cornbread and cole slaw! You’ll also be close to the state capital, Bicentennial Park and the Farmer’s Market, especially fun on a warm spring or summer day.

If you’re looking for the frugal food tour, check out one of my favorite posts, my Top 6 Nashville Food Finds under $6.

Must Do Nashville Area Attractions

There’s so much to see & do here in Nashville that it really takes a few days to catch it all, but here are just a few other favorites you may want to look into:
West
*Cheekwood Botanical Gardens

North
*Fontanel Mansion

South
*Main Street in downtown Franklin
*Arrington Vineyards

East
*Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center
*Grand Ole Opry
*Opry Mills Mall (Outlet shopping)

Where are your favorite “Must Do Nashville” places to go?

Looking for more great family travel tips? Check out my Travel pages for everything from Staycations to Disney on a Dime!

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Starbucks $2 Sandwiches & VIA Taste Promise

Sbux banner 300x153 Starbucks $2 Sandwiches & VIA Taste PromiseYou’d think I’d get the inside scoop on these things since my husband works at Starbucks, but no, I’m left to learn them right along with you! But this is a good deal: get any Starbucks breakfast sandwich for only $2 with the purchase of any beverage. This promotion ends 10/10/11.

Couple that with Free WiFi & weekly free iTunes downloads & their new Starbucks VIA Taste Promise, and that’s some real value!

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2011 Starbucks Treat Receipt & Free WiFi

Sbux banner 300x153 2011 Starbucks Treat Receipt & Free WiFiThe 2011 Starbucks treat receipt is back!

Just purchase any Starbucks beverage in the morning before 2pm and bring the same receipt to any participating Starbucks after 2pm to get any Iced Grande Beverage for only $2 + tax. This includes Frappucinos too!

I’ve really started loving the Iced Green Tea, but also just got turned onto an iced Apple Chai – it’s not on the menu, but is a yummy, refreshing (& cool!) alternative to a hot chai, with a sweet apple twist!

If you’re looking for a good deal there, you can also get an Iced Grande Coffee for only $1.95 and you can add syrup for free. Couple that with Free WiFi for everyone and you can’t beat the value!

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Top 6 Nashville Food Finds Under $6: Talk of the Town Video July 5

nashville food finds1 Top 6 Nashville Food Finds Under $6: Talk of the Town Video July 5Watch the Talk of the Town video from the July 5th show: Top 6 Nashville Food Finds Under $6
(3rd segment on the video)

Are you joining me after seeing my segment on my Top 6 Nashville Food Finds under $6 on Talk of the Town today? 

Don’t worry if you missed any of the tips. I’ve got all the details for you right here! And while you’re here, make sure you enter my Birthday Giveaway a Day – a giveaway everyday during July until my birthday! You can win the necklace you saw me wear on tv today!

confetti birtday giveaway widget copy Top 6 Nashville Food Finds Under $6: Talk of the Town Video July 5
One of the most popular questions I get asked (other than how to save money!) is how to save on eating out…and where the best places are to get unique Nashville food on a budget! So for all of you planning a visit to Music City, or those of you Nashvillians who haven’t tasted all your backyard has to offer, this is for you!

Here they are, my Top 6 Nashville Food Finds Under $6:

1. The Cupcake Collection – Historic Germantown & Clarksville

I’ve heard about The Cupcake Collection for awhile now, but just recently made it over to Germantown to taste these delicious, and frugal, treats! Run with joy by Mignon and the entire Francois family out of their home-turned-bakery, these cupcakes are made with LOVE! I’m not a huge cupcake person, simply because they usually taste overly sweet and artificial, but these are the REAL DEAL. These cupcakes have the perfect cake/frosting ratio and are made with all natural ingredients, without any artificial colors or flavors added.

She’s even perfected a gluten-free variety…and you’d never be able to tell the difference. Her top 3 sellers are the Red Velvet, Sweet Potato (believe me, you have to try it) & Strawberry (my personal favorite!) – and at only $1.50 per cupcake, you can afford to taste them all!

2. Elliston Place Soda Shop – Nashville

This Nashville institution has been around since the 1930′s, but I didn’t get to visit it first hand until the Farm Bureau Insurance commercial I was in shot there. Though the soda shop was closed to outside customers, they asked Charlie the Farmer (his name really is Charlie!) and I during a break in filming if we wanted a milkshake….uh, YEAH!!! Honestly, it’s one of the few things I CRAVE (well that, and most of the other things on this list…which is why they’re on here!)

I went with the classic vanilla and it brought back so many childhood memories. Rich & thick, it didn’t need any add-ins…though I hear they’ve got a lot of great flavors to choose from. The milkshake is only $3.95, but you can also choose a malt for only $4.14. But don’t just settle for desert: this soda shop is also a Meat & Three, as well as making a dynamite Cheeseburger & fries!

3. The Pfunky Griddle – Berry Hill

Located close to Hundred Oaks Mall in the charming Berry Hill area of Nashville, The Pfunky Griddle is more than just a restaurant, it’s an experience! Every table has a griddle at it’s center, allowing patrons to cook their own food. Famous for their pancakes and French Toast, they also offer a wide variety of breakfast and lunch dishes, including many gluten-free options.

Perhaps most popular (& the item on my top 6) is their all-you-can-eat pancakes for only $5.99. This includes one topping (anything from candy to fruit or nuts) and you can try either their traditional batter or their 5 grain. Kids 4 & up are only $3.99. I don’t even like traditional pancakes (I’m more of a crepe girl myself), but I really love these…especially when topped with peanut butter and chocolate chips icon smile Top 6 Nashville Food Finds Under $6: Talk of the Town Video July 5

4. Las Palmas – 10 Nashville locations

I honestly think Las Palmas was the reason my husband wanted to move back to Nashville from Florida (…don’t think I’m joking). This was the first place we stopped to eat as soon as we drove in to town and have been back countless times since. I’m not a fan of red sauce, but LOVE cheese sauce, so I’m always on the quest to find the perfect burrito that has one without the other at a low price…and I finally did: the Burrito Jalisco!

This burrito (that you can get with beef, chicken or ground beef – my preference) is wrapped with a flour tortilla, has cheese sauce poured over it and then is topped with shredded lettuce, pico de gailo, sour cream & radishes. I personally forego the sour cream and steal the extra pico from my daughter’s (yes, our entire family orders them). And for only $5.95 (coupled with the coupons we always get in the mail), this is a real deal…and I’m not even including the free chips and salsa they keep bringing to your table!

 

5. Sam’s Kebab Gyros – Bellevue

Being from Chicago, I consider myself a Greek food aficionado. Every time I find a Gyros place, I always try it, but am typically disappointed. Not Sam’s. We have a location right by our house in Bellevue and they pretty much know what we want from the minute we step in.

If you visit between 11a-1p, you can get their lunch special: a Gyros sandwich, fries & a drink for $5.99! And this isn’t any Gyros. They artfully create a pita pocket full of heaven, including homemade Tabouleh, feta cheese, tatziki sauce and all the fixings perfectly mixed together so you get all that goodness in each bite. And don’t even get me started on the hummus. I used to think hummus was just ok, but now I CRAVE their hummus (make sure to ask for extra olive oil on top…it’s so good too!)

6. Jim N Nick’s BBQ – West Nashville, Smyrna, Murfreesboro & Memphis

Ok, my final crave-worthy mention isn’t under $6, but it’s so delicious, I had to include it! (And it’s only $6.49, so I thought it could make the cut icon smile Top 6 Nashville Food Finds Under $6: Talk of the Town Video July 5 It’s the “Pig in the Potato Patch” from Jim N Nick’s Bar-B-Q. I’ve had bbq before, but never before coming to Nashville did I have bbq on a baked potato.

This “gracious plenty” portion features a baked potato (that’s truly big enough for 2 people to share, but why would you?) topped with your choice of their famous bbq meat (my fav is the brisket), butter, sour cream, bacon, cheese & chives. I wish I had words to describe how good this is, but believe me when I say I’m drooling on my keyboard even as I type this.

I also love their chips & queso that comes with homemade pico, but any mention of Jim ‘N Nicks would be remiss if I didn’t talk about their famous cheese biscuits. I don’t know how they’re so good, but they’ve even made it to Saveur Magazine’s top 100 list (and their close slaw was just mentioned in Bon Appetit!) – not too shabby for a scratch-made Southern Kitchen, don’t ya think?

*****

I know there are many more great food finds in Nashville under $6 – I’d love to hear your favorites! Leave me a comment below with which restaurant you’d like me to check out next!

Special thanks to Fresh Produce for my dress today (and for all my readers voting on which one I should wear!) & Robyn Rhodes for my beautiful “Amber” necklace.

Watch my other Talk of the Town segments to find some other great tips too!

 Top 6 Nashville Food Finds Under $6: Talk of the Town Video July 5

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