Ri’chard’s Louisiana Café features Original Live Music, Authentic Cajun & Creole Cuisine and the Best Roast Beef Po Boy I Have Ever Tasted!

Just a few miles down the road from the city of Nashville in White’s Creek,New Orleans native and owner of Ri’chard’s Louisiana Café, Richard Trest, created a South Louisiana-style oasis with a venue for live music and the best damn Cajun and Creole food around! (For those who are not from Louisiana, Ri’chard’s is pronounced “REE-CHARD’S)


Although Richard has been making music since the age of 16, his career path led him to settle into a corporate job in Baton Rouge. As his song writing passion grew with increasing notoriety, the rich music culture of Nashville drew him and his family to Tennessee.



In 2005, a historic renovated building became Ri’chard’s Louisiana Café. This café is about as authentic as it gets. As you might know, I am a Louisiana transplant and I immediately felt a connection with Richard and his Louisiana Cajun food, the food that we were raised on in Louisiana.

Since Louisiana culture will always be running through my veins, I am always a little bit nostalgic (aka homesick) for my glorious Louisiana-inspired life that made me who I am today. Ri’chard’s is a place where I can get my “Louisiana fix!”  If you have ever been lucky enough hang out with a bunch of Cajun’s in their homes, you know how welcoming and generous they are. Their home is your home as you eat, drink and laugh until all hours of the night.

Ri’chard’s Cajun Hospitality will embrace you and then know exactly what makes being from South Louisiana feels like!

The atmosphere is warm and inviting and the music is authentic and original only! Ri’chard’s has made a success out of inviting songwriters and performers for an opportunity to showcase their original music: jazz, Country, Americana, Bluegrass, Alternative rock, Folk. Check out the website for shows!


Richard puts his own authentic spin on classic Cajun and Creole Dishes. That’s what I love about food from South Louisiana. Creating a true New Orleans culinary experience is something that you really have to live and experience it first hand to be understand how it should taste. This is something you just can’t teach. These are skills and recipes that have been handed down in families for generations.

One bite of the Roast Beef Po Boy aka The Katrina, and it transcends you the unique culinary culture of the world~ New Orleans. It’s not just Roast Beef. His recipe is filled with layers and layers upon flavors that all come together in a low and slow oven to produce the best Po Boy I have pretty much ever had!

(Oh, don’t tell Richard that I have the recipe below!)

You must experience first-hand the delicious juicy and mind-blowing flavors yourself, then TRY to recreate it, I dare you!



Our mouths were watering! The aromas of the rich juices and spices were almost overwhelming! Yes! I loved it!


Enjoying a cup of Community Coffee and being treated to music and a Po Boy is about as good as it gets! There will always be Louisiana in my soul with a touch of Texas for flare and it made me just feel great to be surrounded by what I am familiar with and talk to someone who knows what its all about!



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04 2014

The Ultimate Comfort Food: Fennel-Scented Veal & Pork Ricotta Meatballs Over Braised Rainbow Chard and Paired with Monte Bernardi Retromarcia Chianti 2011

This is home cooked food…..food to nourish family and friends of the most primal nature.



 What is your comfort food memory?

As the tomato sauce and meatballs gently simmer on the stove top, the whole house is wrapped in a warm blanket of mouth-watering aromas with the anticipation of  satisfying, comforting flavors to follow. It doesn’t matter what season it is, comfort food is welcomed anytime.

Vivid recollections of family and close friends sat around our kitchen table sharing stories about life, love and the people who preserved these memories and passed them along. Everyone was always welcomed at our table of comfort food at our house. 

This rustic meatball dish is served with garlicky braised Rainbow Swiss Chard with the addition of golden raisins, an Italian culinary traditional. Pass warm and crusty Italian bread to soak up the rich tomato sauce and juices instead of pasta.


I must admit I immediately fell in love with this wine!

Retromarcia 2011 Chianti Classico  of the Monte Benardi Estate in Panzano located in the historic Chianti region of Italy, is an elegant Chianti with echoes of rustic charm in every glass. Retromarcia means “to back up” or “step back” to the past.  From the first sip to the last drop in the glass, you get the best of yesterday, today. Aromas and flavors of ripe cherries and blackberries accompanied by their natural fresh fruit acidity, a hint of fennel fronds and candied orange peels with a long-lasting finish of this terroir-driven wine is just about as good as it gets. The tender, fennel-scented veal, pork and ricotta meatballs along with the rich tomato sauce  paired well with this Chianti Classico.  Matching the key ingredients of the recipe with the unique flavors and aromas of the wine are pieces of the flavor puzzle that comes together and creates the perfect comfort meal!


Get your hands dirty! Fold in creamy ricotta, aromatic fennel seeds, and minced garlic into freshly ground veal and local pork with your hands. Form the meatballs with the help of a large ice cream scoop so each meatball will be approximately the same size. Look how utterly delicious they look on their own after roasting in the oven!

                            Your mouth should be watering by now!


Although we would spend all day gently cooking our family’s famous tomato sauce, I found this recipe to be as delicious and is ready in a fraction of the time.




Braised Rainbow Swiss Chard is very popular among Mediterranean and Italian cooks which can be traced back to Sicily. Raisins were added to help balance the bitterness of the greens and cut the acidity of the dish.






Fennel-Scented Ricotta Veal & Pork Meatballs
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 -10
Tender, succulent meatballs bathed in rich sauce over an earthy braise of Rainbow Swiss Chard
  • For the meatballs:
  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 4 T whole milk or cream
  • 1 cup whole ricotta cheese
  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 2 lbs ground veal
  • 4 T grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 t fennel seeds, slightly crushed
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 T parsley, minced
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • For the Tomato Sauce:
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 cans/boxes of Pomi crushed tomatoes or San Marziano tomatoes, whole or crushed
  • If tomatoes are whole, crush with hands or use food processor
  • 1 cup of rich chicken stock
  • ½ can tomato paste
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 t dried marjoram
  • 1 T sugar
  • S/P to taste
  • For the Rainbow Swiss Chard:
  • 2 lb Rainbow Swiss Chard, chopped
  • ½ chicken stock
  • pinch salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  1. Meatballs:
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. In small bowl, combine bread crumbs & milk or cream and soak for a few minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, combine meat,ricotta,soaked bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, parsley, fennel
  5. salt/pepper to taste
  6. Add eggs and mix with hands thoroughly
  7. Using a large ice cream scoop 18/8, form the meatballs
  8. Place meatballs on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with s/p
  9. Bake for about 30 minutes, turning once
  10. For the homemade tomato sauce:
  11. Saute onions in olive oil then add garlic to soften
  12. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken stock
  13. Add marjoram
  14. Simmer over medium heat for 45 min to 1 hr until thick and rich.
  15. Adjust seasonings for flavor
  16. For the Rainbow Swiss Chard:
  17. Saute the greens in olive oil,s/p, red pepper flakes until wilted
  18. Add golden raisins and chicken stock allowing them to braise for a few minutes
  19. Place cooked meatballs into tomato sauce and warm for about 10 to 15 min
  20. Add a scoop of sautéed Rainbow Swiss Chard to individual bowls
  21. Top with 3 or so meatballs per person
  22. Parmesano Reggiano for passing
  23. Crusty toasted Italian bread for soaking up every bite!



04 2014

My New Favorite Book and Guide About Wine! HELLO, WINE ~ The Most Essential Things You Need to Know About Wine by Melanie Wagner

Hello, Wine will quickly become your favorite guide for decoding all the mysteries of wine and empower you with useful on-going wine knowledge  from A (Albariño) to Z (Zinfandel) !


 Hello, Wine is filled with relevant information from cover to cover for those just learning and for long time wine enthusiasts, like me, who enjoy reading a refreshing view on the world of wine.

 I have an ongoing love affair with wine.

My intense love affair began in 2004 when I lived in the Texas Hill Country right outside of Austin. When we moved back to Nashville several years later, my passion for grapes and wine was intensified to a new level.  In my heart, I knew that my love affair was real, not just a passing fancy, and I wanted to learn more!

 I remember the day I called Melanie. ” I wanted to know everything about wine” I told her, as I was standing in the corner of the hospital pharmacy with my cellphone. At that time, Melanie was the wine educator and teacher here in Nashville who conducted many classes on wine and I just knew this was what I was looking for….and now…the rest is history! I am doing what I do because of my passion and Melanie’s passion, knowledge and inspiration for wine and her magical teaching skills. It has been a pleasure to know Melanie all of these years and watch her grow from afar and expand her world of wine to new heights. I just know that she is as pleased that sharing her passion for the grape inspired me to pursue the “grape” love of my life! You see, teachers DO make a difference!

Melanie has a way with words.

From the moment I opened this book, Melanie’s  personality was bubbling up from each page! What an amazing guide this is! Her descriptive wine terms create a visual picture for you and I bet you will remember the information you were looking for. For example , The “Acid Queen” aka Sauvignon Blanc from the chapter Grapes to Know p. 94 is one term I have remembered and utilized all of these years. Once you read this chapter, you will understand the differences between grape varietals for your own knowledge and appropriate wine selections for your taste.

Hello, Wine is an ongoing source for your wine IQ.

The book is a very useful guide for those new-comers to wine or for those who just want to know more about what they are drinking. It lists all the facts in very colorful and easy to understand information about how to properly order or choose wines, the differences in wines, as well as general guidelines ( p. 143)  of wine and food pairings with specific pairings such as cheeses, chocolates and hard-to-pair foods.

Twenty-Five Wines on a Dime & Twenty-Five Reliable Grocery Store Brands

I just love pages 197 & 198!

For many people the adventure of strolling through the sometimes overwhelming rows of corked bottles at a wine store or grocery store can be frustrating.  Melanie makes choosing a great wine easy and fun. Knowing about the grape and where it comes from often makes it easier to decide which pairs best with your special event whether it’s a dinner with friends or enjoying a glass for the anticipation of a relaxing evening.

Nashville residents will soon get to make these choices because The Wine in Grocery Stores Bill was signed into law the first day of Spring 2014. Hello, Wine would be perfect for those eager to purchase wines for the first time in the grocery stores and not yet quite sure which wine to buy.

Martin Códax Albariño from Rias Baixas, Spain on p.198 is on the list along with “some of the best wines you’ve heard of” for $15 or less. This is a question that I get a lot and I appreciate that she has included this list. This is as helpful to me as a guide as it will be fo a casual wine drinker. We all know how much I love Spanish wine and Martin Codáx is no exception. This is a true crowd pleaser and pairs perfectly with a variety of foods and a perfect summer wine for dinner with friends. This cool, crisp, vivacious “white wine of Spain” fills your mouth with lots of lemony acidity and exotic passion fruit with a long-lasting finish which is perfect for a casual tapas of cheese and olives or many of your chicken and seafood dishes on the grill or from the oven.

What I like most about Hello, Wine is the information in the book is from the extensive knowledge that Melanie has gained over the years of disciplined studies and used this information to express her own opinion that she has formed through years of experiences of her love and passion for wine!

You can purchase Hello, Wine at Amazon.com for $17.86 and I will guarantee that this will be the best wine purchase you’ve made all year!





03 2014

An Afternoon of Moonshine Cocktails & Southern Seared Scallops with Billy Kauffman of Short Mountain Distillery and Nashville Food Writer Chris Chamberlain

Nashville Unleashed Episode #7

When three “Southern Foodies” get together in the kitchen to cook and shake up a few cocktails, you just know it’s gonna be good!


I’m a Southern girl who loves to cook and sip on a cocktail or two…..

When I had the opportunity to hang out in the kitchen with two of  Nashville’s most influential Southern culinary, cocktail and distilled spirits superstars ….I said HECK YEAH!

One of the most popular Food Writers in the south, Chris Chamberlain,who writes for the Nashville Scene and Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, features a recipe from his new book, The Southern Foodie-100 Places to Eat in the South Before You Die & The Recipes that made them famous!  

I can’t think of a better reason to eat fabulous Southern food.  Chris did the hard work for us by discovering the jewels of the South, NOW GO EAT!

Billy Kaufman, president, owner and operator of Short Mountain Distillery joins us to give some insight and history behind his famous Moonshine, with a recipe over 100 years old. Recently, I visited Short Mountain Distillery, learned all about authentic moonshine and most importantly…drank it! Check out my post on my visit to Short Mountain!

Short Mountain Moonshine is not just for sipping, though. You may be surprised all the unique ways it can be used.


The Bootlegger’s Sidecar is a Tennessee twist on a traditional Sidecar Cocktail from the 1900′s, which is among the resurgence of today’s hand-crafted cocktail recipes from the Prohibition era. Chris takes his cocktails seriously. He  teaches classes on the art of making cocktails which have always been fun, informative and thirst-quenching!


Here’s the Recipe for the Bootlegger’s Sidecar:

 3 parts Short Mountain Moonshine

 3 parts Combier French Orange Liqueur

1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice

 demerara sugar for rimming the glasses

Add cracked ice to a cocktail shaker along with Short Mountain Moonshine, Combier and lemon juice.

Shake and serve!


Short Mountain Moonshine and Billy Kauffman are the “real deal!” The authentic moonshine is made by real moonshiners that have over 50 years experience. Billy has continued the practice distilling quality moonshine by bringing the past and quality to today’s shine in every bottle. Take a trip to Short Mountain Distillery and taste the real thing!


We should be so lucky to have Chris’ passion for seeking out the best Southern chefs and their culinary creations. The fantastic Seared Scallop recipe comes from Garrett’s Art of Fine Food in Montgomery, Alabama. You will be adding this to your collection of favorite recipes. It is perfect for a few guests or a crowd and the Mango and Black Bean Salsa is so versatile!





Short Mountain Moonshine isn’t just for sipping! The Blue Porch Restaurant makes the most amazing Moonshine Chocolate Bread Pudding and Moonshine cookies. The Lemon Ginger Hot Sauce was the perfect finish to the scallop dish.

We are all happy about the versatile moonshine!



Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops with Black Bean and Mango Salsa
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Southern Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
This genius recipe has quickly become one of my favorites. It is the perfect marriage of ingredients that will make you beg for more and the best part–the prep is so easy!
  • 32 scallops
  • Bay Seasoning, Tony Chacheries or your favorite seafood seasoning
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 t minced fresh garlic
  • 1 (12-ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 2 ripe mangoes, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • 1 t chopped fresh chives
  • 1 t chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt and pepper
  1. Clean scallops and detach side muscle if necessary.
  2. For the Salsa:
  3. In a large bowl, whisk oil,vinegar,lime juice, and garlic to make dressing.
  4. Fold in the black beans, mangoes, bell pepper, red onion,chives, cilantro, S & P
  5. For the Scallops:
  6. Spray medium skillet with non-stick cooking spray.
  7. Heat skillet over high heat until very hot.
  8. Sprinkle scallops evenly with seasoning.
  9. Cook scallops 3 to 4 minutes on one side until evenly browned.
  10. Turn off heat, flip scallops over and cover.
  11. Allow scallops to rest 3 to 4 min.
  12. Overcooking will result in tough scallops.
  13. Serve on a bed of Arugula topped with Black Bean and Mango Salsa


Two Ways to Get Your “Paella-Fix” with Lisa Mays at the Nashville Farmer’s Market April 5th and Natchez Hills Winery May 4th 2014!

You have two opportunities to learn the art of cooking Spanish Paella with Lisa of “My Paella Travels”!


Event #1 
Paella with Lisa Mays at the Nashville Farmer’s Market Saturday, April 5th at 5pm!

Join Lisa Mays in an evening of learning how to cook and enjoy paella. Paella’s origin is from Valencia where peasants working in the fields filled their paella pans with food from the Mediterranean coast as well as the fields to nourish themselves in a communal style while at work.  This class will include light tapas, paella and refreshments.

Reservations are required and space is limited.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

5:00pm to 7:00p.

$45 per person


 Event #2

Natchez Hill Vineyards Sunday, May 4th Paella Party!

Tickets are already selling for our May 4th Paella Party! Have great conversations and relax with new friends and neighbors. This perfect pairing brings out the best in food, wine and friends! Make sure and get your tickets today, seating is limited! Just go to www.natchezhills.com or you can call (931)285-2500 to purchase your tickets!





03 2014