Welcome to JohnMichaels Pub's Blog

Welcome. I moved to Nashville in 2001, and have be blessed to make some wonderful friends. After moving from a house in Florida, to an apartment in Nashville, I missed being able to entertain groups of friends simply due to lack of space. When I finally decided to make Nashville my home and buy a house here, I wanted a space that friends to gather and socialize in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The basement in my new house, which opens into the back yard made the perfect space, so JohnMichael's Pub was born. I have made a couple of trips to Ireland since moving to Nashville and loved the atmosphere of the pubs there. So I made my pub to resemble an Irish style pub to give the atmosphere of a local community pubs in Ireland, but of course it is not a true "Pub" (Public house) since it private place for my friends to gather. I plan to use this blog to post thoughts, ideas, recipes and a variety of other things related to my pub and the parties held there. If you see anything here that interests you, feel free to email me. I have a great group of friends that is very diverse, but I am always open to making new friends.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Greek Islands - Best Greek in town : A Restaurant Review

I have listed recipes, drink mixes and even an event on here. Now it is time to try my hand at a restaurant review. For my first, I will start with one of my favorite local spots, Greek Islands.

When you walk in to Greek Islands, the atmosphere is charming with quaint stucco walls scattered with murals, tapestries and Greek and Turkish decorations. The belly dancer costume they recently hung on the wall is really interesting, although it seems a little out of place. I usually go for lunch, but I am sure it would be an excellent spot for a romantic dinner. They are open until about 10pm most evenings except Sunday. They are open Sunday's until about 2:30 for lunch.

The menu includes such basic Greek lunch fare as gyro sandwiches, kabobs, Greek and Turkish salads, and various Turkish stews. They also have such traditional dishes as moussaka and pastitsio as well as various lamb and chicken dishes. Also available are an assortment of house-made desserts such as baklava. I have tried several of their dishes and liked everything I have eaten there, but my favorite is the Turkish Lamb stew served with rice, pita bread and Cac─▒k Sauce (yogurt-cucumber sauce very similar to Greek Tzadziki).

The service is always excellent there. Toni, my regular wait person, is one of the nicest, most personable, yet professional wait person I have met in Nashville. She always greets me with a smile when I come in and is prompt in her service. If you are a regular, she quickly learns your likes and dislikes and makes appropriate dinning suggestions. She has never steered me wrong.

Greek Islands is located at the east end of the strip of bars and restaurants near the Demonbreun St roundabout (near the Musica statue, I often refer to as “Naked People Dancing). The address and phone number are shown below. Try them. You will not be disappointed.

Greek Islands
1516A Demonbreun St
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 259-7772

Friday, February 23, 2007

Ireland meets Kentucky

This is my first mixology post. On one of my trips to Ireland, I discovered a liqueur I really liked called Irish Mist. The combination of Irish Whisky and honey was a flavor I truly enjoyed. This mix has some similar elements of this with a bit of American flair.
The drink is very simple:

1 part Irish Whisky ( I prefer Red Breast by the makers of Jameson, but Jameson will do)
1 part Wild Turkey Liqueur with Honey

This can be served chilled neat or on the rocks. The Liqueur mentioned above is bottled by Austin Nichols distilling company of Lawrenceburg KY, the makers of Wild Turkey Kentucky Bourbon. I hope you enjoy it. If you try it, let me know what you think.

Crawfish Gravy for Biscuits (or Crawfish Dip)

12 to 16 oz package of frozen crawfish tails. (You can use fresh boiled if you want)
1 – 8 oz pack of Cream cheese
1 green onion or a few chives
¼ teaspoon of paprika and ¼-teaspoon red pepper or a dash of hot sauce (to taste)

I use a small crock-pot. A medium fondue pot also works or a regular crock-pot and you can double the recipe.

Melt Cream cheese on low add crawfish tails (defrosted), onions or chives and paprika / pepper. Cook to all ingredients blend and it bubbles a little then keep it on warm/ low for serving. You can use this as a dip or serve it over bread or biscuits. I really like it best served over biscuits like you would sausage gravy. If it is too thick for you, a large heaping spoon of sour cream can be added to the mix.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Jill Conner Browne - Head Sweet Potato Queen in Nashville


I just returned from a book signing by Jill Connor Browne for her most current book “The Sweet Potato Queens’ 1st Big-Ass Novel: (Stuff we didn’t actually do, but could have, and may yet.).” Nashville was her 40th and last stop on the “Big Ass Book Tour” before her return home to Jackson Mississippi.

For those of you that do not know, Jill is the author of five prior Sweet Potato Queens’ book, but this is the first work of fiction. The Sweet Potato queens originated out of the St. Patrick’s day parade in Jackson Mississippi, when Jill and a group of friends (Sweet Potato Queen’s) in the early 80’s rode in the parade in all their queenly bling tossing sweet potatoes to onlookers. At that time, the parade was a small local event. The parade has become a huge annual event in Jackson, Mississippi the third weekend in March, boasting 10’s of thousands of participants. To find out more you have to read the “Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love,” but one more note- Jill calls it a “peoples parade,” one you can show up and be in, not just watch.
Jill’s books mix hilariously funny humor with stories of life, love, men and encouragement. Jill, addressing the audience, gave such inspiring advice, as “it is infinitely better to live your dreams than to dream them.” Her life is a first hand example of such advice. Again, you have to read her books to find out more.

Jill also offers other more humorous practical advice, such as “Never wear panties to a party.” In her address to nearly 100 fans gathered at the book signing, Jill relayed a story of an elderly woman who came up to her at another book signing years before and said that the advice makes a lot of sense that “you wouldn’t wear a mask if you wanted to be kissed.”

On top of being an inspiring author, who appeals to women everywhere (and quite a few men), Jill, and her husband and business manager, Kyle, whom she refers to as the cutest boy in the world, seem to be genuinely sincere, compassionate, and just “down right” sweet people. After 40 cities and meeting God only knows how many people, Jill took time to converse with, sign books for and pose for photos with every single person there. She knows many of her fans by sight and even name from events over the years and treats each as old friends. Several of the fans brought gifts such as deviled eggs (one of Jill’s favorites) and a King cake (tonight was Madi Gras). One fan there tonight traveled from as far as Pendleton Oregon to be there (fur piece from Nashville).

If you have not read her books, read them. If you ever get the chance to go to a book signing or other event with Jill, don’t miss it. It is an experience you will not forget or regret.

Other books by Jill Conner Browne include:
Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love
Sweet Potato Queens' Big Ass Cookbook (and Financial Planner)
God Save the Sweet Potato Queens
Sweet Potato Queens' Field Guide to Men : Every Man I Love Is Either Married, Gay, or Dead.
Sweet Potato Queens' Book Wedding Planner /Divorce Guide.

Her next planned piece of non-fiction is
“Sweet Potato Queens Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit.”

More info is available at :
http://sweetpotatoqueens.com/


Monday, February 19, 2007

GUINNESS Irish (Lamb) Stew

I thought for my first post, I would share my Irish stew receipe, featuring one of my favorite drinks, Guinness. So here goes:

Ingredients:
2+ pounds lamb (I get bonless leg of lame and cut it into 1" cubes)
4 large potatoes (unpealed and chunked)
3 large onions (quartered)
4 large carrots (cut into thick slices)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or butter (I use Kerry Irish Gold)
2 cups vegatable broth
1 1/2 cups Guinness (1 bottle will do)
1 larg sprigs of fresh tyme
salt and pepper to tast
1 to 2 tablespoons Browning sauce ( such as Kitchen Bouquet)
3 tablespoons flower or cornstarch

Cube the leg of lamb, removing all fat. Sear/ brown meat in pan with oil and add browning sauce.
Remove meat from pan and brown onions. Put meat and onions in a pot. Use some of the vegitable broth in the pan with the remaining sauce in the browning pan and pore this into the pot. Add carrots, the rest of the broth and the Guinness to the pot. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add potatos and tyme and simmer for another hour and a half. Use about 1/4 cup of the broth from the mixture to disolve the flower or cornstarch. Pour the liquid into the stew to thicken it. Ejoy as it is or serve laddled over mashed potatoes.