Bella Napoli

August 21, 2010

R and I decided to have lunch at Bella Napoli Pizzeria in  Edgehill village. The folks at Valentino’s on West End opened Bella Napoli this August, building on Nashville’s wave of Italian wood-fired pizza, following the likes of City House and Porta Via.  Bella Napoli is a great addition to the 12th south, Belmont, Vandy neighborhood, and to the Nashville pizza scene. The pizzeria has a large dining room and roomy outdoor seating area, with just-delivered patio furniture. I ordered the Margherita Pizza ($9). The crust was thin and crispy on the edges and the tomato sauce was tart and flavorful, not like the overly sweet sauce in American pizza. My only complaint was the sad piece of basil, wilted and brown on the corner of the pizza. I am looking forward to eating the left overs for breakfast. R had the San Gennaro panini with a healthy portion of prosciutto crudo, mozzarella, and marinated egg plant ($10). The flavors on the sandwich were great, and the eggplant was a real standout. R noted that bread was especially delicious. The side salad, mostly colorless pieces of lettuce, and the chips were a real miss. I think they should just serve the sandwich on its own. It is quite substantial.

While the place is great for lunch I think it needs to work on its atmosphere to attract dinner patrons. Also, while we were there “That’s Amore” was on repeat.

Bella Napoli on Urbanspoon


Nashville Farmers Market re-opened after flood. That means our po-boy ritual at Nooley’s returns!

See write-ups by Nashville Restaurants and the Tennessean.

Best Pho Ball Ever

August 9, 2010

We found the best pho ball–a tea ball on steroids–to put all the spices, cinnamon sticks, and anything we fancy into pho pots or any soup pots.  Big and space-shippy with industrialized pins.  Got it at the MOMA Design Store, on sale at half price off: $12.95.

Hello everyone,

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With pickled and fried love,

V&V Seafood Market
4021 Nolensville Pike
Nashville, TN 37211-4515
(615) 832-6214

Monday-Saturday: 11-9
Sunday: 12-8

SE Asian entrepreneurs have been spreading Cajun love and food in various American cities…and now in Nashville:

V&V Seafood Market occupies the old Las Chivas location on Nolensville.  It’s run by a family from Atlanta, that saw an opportunity to bring Gulf seafood to Nashville.  Needless to say, their plans were derailed due to the oil spill, and they’ve had no choice but to shift the balance of their business to the food-service aspect.  (This is not to say that they’re not selling seafood.  They offer everything from whole tilapia and shrimp to red snapper and frog legs.)  The menu is a melange of Vietnamese cuisine and Cajun seafood.

They’ve brightened the place up and given it a paint job.  The place is austere and manages to convey that it’s serious, a propos of its name, about seafood–particularly of the Cajun boil variety.  Besides the crawfish, they boil up blue crab and white shrimp–as well as snow crab leg and mussels.  All of the cajun boils are sold by the pound.  We had some of the crawfish, and it was tastefully prepared, with some of the spices coating the firetruck-red shells.  The crawdads were a good size, and the spices weren’t overpowering–subtly layered with different tastes of cayenne, pepper, onion, and garlic.  (The corn and potatoes that often goes in crawfish boils were not offered to us.)

We also had fried shrimp and tilapia po-boys.  Pickled thought the shrimp sandwich had a good balance between fried-goodness, fresh lettuce and tomoto, and sauces, while I found my tilapia sandwich a bit cumbersome.  The zigzagging lines of mayo and sauce were off-putting to me.  Nashville’s lack of bread varieties and quality has been a challenge for V&V.  After trying a number breads around town, they settled on baguettes from, believe it or not, Sam’s Club–which they claim to have the best texture.  We thought that V&V worked well with the bread–toasting and serving it at the right temperature.  But it proved a bit thick for our taste.

I had the Vietnamese iced milk coffee.  They did not use condensed milk, and the drink came out diluted and distastefully sweet.  This led to distrust in their pho, egg noodle soups, and home-made wonton soup.  We’ll be back for the seafood, and to give the soups a try.