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A Thoughtful Monday: A Moment’s Re-cap of the Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium

By October 28, 2014 #sfa14, building relationships, feeding the inner self, in the South, inspired by others, practice, Southern Foodways Alliance

I spent this last weekend eating some of the best food in the South. I’ve listened to meaningful, emotional, and thought provoking presentations by a variety of passionate humans. I’ve seen my own passions for life, food, and humanity become illuminated from the authenticity-stirring theme at the 2014 Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium- “Who’s Welcome at the Welcome Table.” I’m incredibly grateful to each and every soul who was there. Now I ponder how I want to take action with the momentum of energy kindled inside of me about race, sexuality, class, homelessness, hunger, poverty, and what it means to be human. May we each dig into to our own fears, anger, prejudices, insecurities, and shame that we’ve experienced in this life. We are living in an amazing time of change. The change begins inside of each and every one of us. May we get closer to truly welcoming each other at our tables and feeling welcome at any table. I’m grateful for coming home with my cup overflowing as I prepare dinner and connect with myself in my own kitchen. Thank you to John T. Edge for leading such an important event and to all that made it possible. 

If you don’t know about the Southern Foodways Alliance, I invite you to check them out at southernfoodways.org They have a dynamic site full of stories, resources, and education.

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Lesson: I have honored my need for a day of solitude and chilling out. Stay tuned for a more in-depth recap of my symposium experience! What are you doing to honor what you need today?

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Breakfast at Barista Parlor

By April 25, 2014 beverage junkie, coffee, excellence, in the South, local flavor, Nashville, simplicity

Imagine walking into a room full of beautifully crafted wood tables, with vintage industrial light pendants hanging from the ceiling above the tables. They look handmade. People are busy chatting with colleagues, friends, or sitting with their headphones on their ears and plugged into their laptops. In the center of the room there is the center of reason – the reason that some people get out of bed in the morning – COFFEE.

Because I am nerdy and diligent about keeping up with food and drink focused businesses in various cities, I had been anxiously awaiting a visit to Barista Parlor in the East Nashville neighborhood of Nashville, TN for months. I had already carefully mapped the walking distance between where I stayed during my recent Nashville visit to this “more than a coffee shop” before my feet ever left the soils of North Carolina.

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I went into the Barista Parlor wide-eyed at all of the artisanal details. I knew that I was in a place that serves the best of what’s around. The counter was lined with beautifully wrapped chocolates. In the glass cases, which were also the order counter, you could find little macaroons in different flavors along with those old-fashioned no-bake oatmeal chocolate cookies. I knew either was a lovely pairing for coffee.

I had read a few online reviews that had deemed this little gem of a shop to be a bit pretentious and snobby about their coffee. I can appreciate a bit of coffee snobbery. What does that imply to me? It simply implies that I am going to get a really good cup of coffee. And I certainly did!

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Let’s get down to business, though. I also came here for the biscuits! This is the kind of place where you would not even fathom that the biscuits were anything other than homemade.

At the counter, I found handmade wooden menus listing the breakfast and coffee offerings. Buttermilk biscuits were offered on one side. Coffee options were offered on the other. I was very entranced in the biscuit options, so I regret that I cannot tell you what coffee options were beyond the standouts.

I chose the buttermilk biscuit with farm eggs and Kenny’s Farmhouse Jalapeno Cheddar cheese that is made in Kentucky. The biscuit was served to me on a beautifully made artisan wooden board, along with a navy blue bandana for a napkin. The biscuit was tender. The scrambled eggs were flavorful. The cheese added just the right amount of contrast between the biscuit and the egg. The flavor of the jalapeno was a bonus!

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I had an iced coffee to drink. I am not sure what kind of coffee I drank, but it was amazing. It was brewed in a Japanese method used for cold brewed coffee. Barista Parlor offers a handful of well-known coffee roasters from all over the country, such as Counter Culture from Durham, NC; Stumptown, from Portland, OR; Intelligentsia from Chicago, IL – the best of what’s around. My coffee was poured over perfectly cubed ice cubes in a handled Mason jar.  For iced coffee, Barista Parlor uses ice cubes that are mostly seen in craft cocktails these days. The benefit of such a detail is that the coffee doesn’t get watered down with quick melting ice. The coffee was so smoothly flavored and well brewed that I didn’t even need the shot of half and half that usually adorns my coffee. That was a first!

For some reason, I took a sip of the black coffee before adding my usual cream. It was perfect all on its own. Perhaps I just knew that it would be because of all the other seemingly perfect high quality products in that environment.

Did I mention how cool I thought it was to sit at that beautiful table on that handmade wooden stool enjoying my carefully crafted breakfast while listening to Kenny Rogers Greatest Hits spinning on the turntable? It was my perfect first stop on my first day returning to Nashville.

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I am a Southern Gal at heart. I grew up listening to classic country music. I grew up eating homemade buttermilk biscuits. You know, the simple things were what made people happy. The simple things still make me the happiest. I think when people take the time, they realize that that’s what makes them the happiest, too.

I figure that the reason for the surge in popularity of businesses like Barista Parlor is because people like to be connected to the good ol’ days. I find a lot of wonder in having the best of what’s around. It’s simple. It’s satisfying.

 

Lesson: My experience at Barista Parlor emphasized my love for simple things done really well. If you’re going to do something, can you give it your very best? It will certainly make a difference in how you feel about what you do every day! What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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