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Monday, May 13, 2013 @ 07:05 AM

WE’RE BACK!!! Is anybody out there? After a long hiatus to allow us to do some food “research” and build up spots to talk about and work on raising our small family, Pop Culture Cuisine is back on the menu. We’re so excited! I’ll be the first to admit that I sort of let the blog start to die a slow death after the birth of Kherington, largely due in part to not wanting to be creative when I had any moment of down time, but I began to realize that the thought of giving it up completely was kind of sad. PCC is something we’ve always enjoyed…, a little scrapbook of our life and adventures, and while our travels have maybe become less frequent, that doesn’t mean we still don’t like to make trying out new restaurants we have heard about a priority when we are able to travel. Plus, now we have the ability to do PCC as a family and I’m looking forward to how Kheri enjoys these experiences. So here we go…

Given that warmer weather is FINALLY now upon us, my pregnant self (yes… #2 will be here in October) has been craving fruity things like you would not believe. Produce, lemonade, popsicles…, you name it, we have it currently on hand for whenever the mood strikes, which lately is all day every day! So what better spot to highlight and kick off the summer than this next fun dessert/sweet treat shop in Nashville, TN.

Restaurant: Las Paletas (Nashville, TN)



Featured on Food Network’s “Kid in a Candy Store” and “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” (where they beat Bobby) Las Paletas is a Mexican Ice Pop Shop with yummy flavors of popsicles both traditional and many others you have likely never seen or even thought of. They range in flavor from every type of fruit imaginable to even some more savory and even spicy options. It’s a great mid-day or after dinner treat and you will be hard pressed to want to only try one.



Signature Dish:

Popsicles or Ice Pops as they refer to them here IS the menu at this little shop. I really can’t remember if there is anything else…which wouldn’t matter, because pretty much everyone goes there for the ice pops. They’ve imagined all sorts of delicious and refreshing flavors and have no shortage of things to try. Even if popsicles aren’t your thing, I would still encourage you to give it a whirl. It’s just a light and refreshing treat and I can almost promise you they will have at least one flavor that sparks your interest.




I was extremely impressed with the flavor of each popsicle we tried; and while I stuck with the more standard fruity strawberry, I was blown away by every flavor I got a lick of, which I think was like 7 or 8 with all the people we had with us! J The pops are made with all natural ingredients and I was blown away by how rich the flavor was without needing a ton of syrups or fakey stuff. I even tried a friend’s pop that was a chocolate pop with some pepper flavor infused, and while it wasn’t my cup of tea, I was for sure impressed with its complexity and uniqueness.




Located on a not overly busy street in one of Nashville’s trendy urban neighborhoods, Las Paletas has found themselves a nice little location next to one of the city’s more popular high-end burger joints (which we will feature in the future). While there aren’t really places to sit down per se, it is fun to kind of mingle of the street outside the shop and just enjoy your treats in the warm air. Inside the shop, there isn’t much glitz and glam, but the large blackboard menu and simple set up add to the non-fussy vibe of what they are really all about…just yummy popsicles!




There were two young kids, probably in high school, who were working the evening we went last summer; and while all you really do is wait, order your flavor, pay, and go outside and enjoy…they were very patient as we read through all of the flavors and even went so far as to giving us more information on any that we asked about. It seemed like a genuinely fun and whimsical place to work.




At $2.50 a popsicle, you might argue they are overpriced. But, I don’t think so. Yes…they are seemingly more expensive than buying a whole box of bomb pops or whatever your fancy might be at the grocery store, they are 10 times more flavorful and filled with completely all natural ingredients. Couple that with the WIDE range of flavors they offer and I think they are worth every penny they charge, so much so it didn’t stop us each for getting 2 each Smile.

Overall we had a wonderful time heading to Las Paletas with friends enjoying some good fun and conversation while enjoying some equally yummy sweet treats. And given my current pregnant state I wish I lived nearby, because Momma has a cravin’! Ya…I’d probably be stopping in every day, but in the meantime I will just wait to enjoy those frozen delights the next time we are in Nashville!

So Las Paletas gets us off to a good start this season with a very worthy 4 ½ ‘Little Piggies’…or ‘Cerdito Pequenos’ as I should maybe say.


Monday, July 9, 2012 @ 05:07 PM

026Wow…it’s hot! It’s pretty safe to say summer is will upon us and although I could definitely use a break from this heat right now, it has given us an opportunity to take advantage of the more “outdoor foods.” What am I talking about? Well, if you have read any number of PCC’s posts on the topic, you know that I love good barbecue; and if you if you missed two of our stand out favorites you can read them here and here.

Since moving away from Texas and the wonderful availability of BBQ there, I think I have become a little less picky, since I don’t have the accessibility to options as I once did. That being said, I’m still picky enough to know what I deem good and even over the top! We have been happy to find a local place that meets our standards for the “best bbq we can get right now,” but we know that it will likely never surpass some of the better spots. Still, this doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying all the other Que meccas out there. I mean… I have to give them all a chance don’t I? Winking smile

Well, if you have read my other posts on barbecue, you know that I am a total ribs girl at heart. But, what actually drew us into this next place wasn’t any of your typical bbq dishes at all, rather it was their wings in an ‘Alabama’ bbq sauce that intrigued us, mostly because it was something we were used to seeing, namely….IT’S WHITE! I mean who’s ever heard of white barbecue sauce? Well, not us until we saw Guy Fieri from The Food Network’s “Diner’s, Drive-In’s and Dives,” and we figured if he was a fan…we had to give them a shot…



Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint is a fun and funky little urban smokehouse located in Noblesville, TN, a suburb of Nashville. We are lucky enough that my little brother lives there with his wife, so when we get the chance to visit, we like to try and hit up as many PCC worthy places as their town has to offer, and let me tell you there are A LOT! So when we decided at the last minute to take a little vacation down to Nashville for Memorial Day weekend and spend time with Chris, Amy, and our nephew Jack, Adam knew that Martin’s was for sure at the top of our PCC list!


Although it was almost 100 degrees that Saturday at lunch time, people seemed to be out and about, and we were lucky we hopped in line at Martin’s right when we did (because by the time we left the line was out the door!). It’s a really cool sight to see when you’re standing in line getting ready for some bbq and you’re mouth begins to water cause you can see the smoker and smell that smokey flavor. Needless to say, the atmosphere only heightened our hunger and anticipation and by the time we got to the counter, we wanted to order about ¾ of the menu! 😀 Well, we opted to share a large sampler platter so we could get a taste of their staple items (pulled pork, brisket, and ribs both wet and dry rub) and also added an order of those yummy looking wings. Our meal came with a couple of side options, so we went with the cornbread, coleslaw, beans, and potato salad.



Our food was out to us quickly, we hadn’t even got our drinks! That’s fast, and when you are craving the que, that is good. So we dug right in. I was pleasantly surprised to see that their cornbread looked like a huge pancake, which I was happy about cause it was totally right up Betta’s alley. She may be small, but she devoured all the bites I would give her. But, enough about the bread, cause what we really wanted was the meat, more specifically the ribs and wings. We both first tried one of the wings and I was floored… it was SO GOOD! Not only was the wing a decent size and meaty, but that white sauce is delicious. Although kinda indescribable, it’s close to the best BBQ sauce I’ve ever had. It isn’t really creamy but it isn’t really runny either. Also, it’s not like a vinegary Carolina sauce, but it does have a really nice tang to it. Regardless, we all went around trying to decide what all we thought was in in, but whatever it was I am now a fan!






Our meal pretty much turned into a huge free for all with all of us grabbing bites of this and that, but we still managed to go home with 2 huge boxes of leftovers. While this wasn’t my first barbecue rodeo, nor will it be my last I’m sure, I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and having now been introduced to the rare and illusive white bbq sauce, I will continue to be on the lookout for where I can try it again.


SIGNATURE DISH: While I would say they are really known for all of their smoked meats, what really stood out to us as new and different were their wings with the Alabama White Sauce. They were not only delicious, but a unique item we hadn’t really encountered before, so I was glad to discover them!

TASTE: Their meat was all very tender and flavorful. Adam really enjoyed the dry rub on their ribs, where as usual I preferred the sauced ribs. We thought their ‘cue was definitely some of the better we have had, but the piece de resistance were those wings… man, what a winner!

AMBIANCE: I loved the feel when you walked in…lots of corrugated metal, wood, and concrete. It’s just bare bones, urban and cool, yet still had a really open, friendly, and family type atmosphere. I didn’t feel out of place having a baby along, nor did you feel bad if she made noise or dropped food on the floor. Also, there is a huge garage door that opens up to the pit and adds to the overall down home feel of the place. It’s a really fun feature.

PRICE: I’ve come to the conclusion that BBQ is trendy right now, and for that reason, it’s expensive. While I wasn’t really paying attention to price, I think our platter meal was around $20-25 and coupled with our add ons probably brought our meal closer to $40 or $50. But given the amount of food we got and that it was a ‘left-over’ snack later for the guys, I thought that was pretty reasonable for good bbq.

SERVICE: This is an order at the counter kind of joint, but the girl who took our order was super friendly and everyone else we encountered was also really helpful and friendly. We even spoke to the owner real quick and he was very appreciative of our visit and thanked us for coming.

Although on our next trip to Nashville we will probably have list of new places to try, I may have to find a way to sneak me some of those Alabama-Wings. They’re worth the trip alone, which is why I have no problem awarding this BBQ joint a fitting 4 1/2 ‘Little Piggies’


Tuesday, January 17, 2012 @ 08:01 AM

Well another year has come and gone and Pop Culture Cuisine is officially a two years old!  This year our lives have changed dramatically in many ways, including the addition of a new family member.  We also may not have traveled as far as in the past, but Adam and I still love finding new ways to seek out culinary hot spots wherever our travels take us.  We have compiled a list of some of our favorite and not so favorite spots to share with you with links so you can read our reviews for yourself.  We STILL love food and hope to continue to share lots of great finds with you all along the way.

Signature Dish:


1. Al’s Beef’s “Italian Beef Sandwich” – Chicago, IL

2. Kim & Scott’s Café Twist’s “Twist Your Own” – Chicago, IL

3. The Varsity’s “Chili Dog” – Atlanta, GA




1. Hot Doug’s – Chicago, IL

2. Al’s Beef – Chicago, IL

3. The Depot American Diner – Chicago, IL




1. The Walnut Room – Chicago, IL

2. Slow’s Bar-BQ – Detroit, MI

3. Lynn’s Paradise Café – Louisville, KY



1. Tufano’s Vernon Park TapJoe and his staff – Chicago, IL

2. KouzzinaJohn – Orlando, FL

3. Emeril’sSpencer – Orlando, FL




1. The Varsity – Atlanta, GA

2. Al’s Beef – Chicago, IL

3. South Side Soda Shop – Goshen, IN


Overall Top 5:


1. Al’s Beef – Chicago, IL

2. Hot Doug’s – Chicago, IL (A VERY close 2nd place)

3. The Walnut Room – Chicago, IL

4. Kouzzina – Orlando, FL

5. Emeril’s – Orlando, FL

Top 5 Biggest Letdowns…Not worth the Hype:


1. The Whale’s Rib – Deerfield Beach, FL

2. Brennan’s – New Orleans, LA

3. Camp Washington – Cincinnati, OH

4. Graeter’s – Cincinnati, OH

5. The Loveless Café – Nashville, TN

Best of the Rest…Honorable Mention:


Most Fun Kim & Scott’s Café Twist – Chicago, IL


Most Memorable Kouzzina – Orlando, FL


Most Worth the Wait Hot Doug’s – Chicago, IL


Most Outrageous Dish Bub’s Burgers – Carmel, IN


Best Excursion Epcot International Food and Wine Festival – Orlando. FL


Best Sandwich (Burgers Included) The Depot American Diner – Chicago, IL


Best Sweet Treat Emeril’s – Orlando, FL