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>>> R estaurant review | c indy huggins

COCO'S IN NASHVILLE // LIFE-CHANGING BITE Planet Weekly has been producing local restaurant reviews for many years. So in a way, this is a history-setting precedent because it's the first restaurant review outside of Tuscaloosa County in 14 years. It has nothing to do with running out of Tuscaloosa and Northport restaurants to write about, but everything to do with the reviewer taking an impromptu trip to Nashville, Tennessee. Many Tuscaloosians have shared with me their love story of Nashville’s music, art, scenery, and cuisine. In the heart of singer songwriter central sits a culinary abundance of five star restaurants. My very good friend, Whitney, took me to the far side town, avoiding the tourist traps, to indulge where the locals go. On Charlotte and 51st sits a family owned and operated authentic Italian market and restaurant, CoCo’s. An open patio looks out over an artificial green turf where customers can par take in a game of Bocce. An Italian ball sport, Bocce resembles America’s version of bowling. The front of house is occupied by a small Italian market. To the left is the hostess stand guarding the crowded dining room. Our names were taken with a promise of a short wait time of 45 minutes. We did as everyone else did and joined the line to the bar. A silent giggle came to me as I listened to two employees bicker in Italian. With glasses full of intoxicating white wine, we peered through the boxes and jars of imported groceries. Sitting at the bottom of one shelf was a jar of Nutella; correction, an 11 pound jar of Nutella. I’m still not sure how a hazelnut spread relates to Italy or Italian cuisine, but this is what pulled my attention. Mostly, the dietitian in me wanted to calculate the total number of delicious calories. By the time I finished converting kilograms to pounds and pounds to grams, it was time to be seated. If you are curious this particular 11 pound jar of hazelnut spread had around 27,000 calories. The dining area was dimly lit and

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OCTOBER 2 + OCTOBER 16

>>> RESTAURANTS |

W here t o E a t i n T u s c a l o o s a ( c o n t . )

Featured Cocktails and $20 Bottles of Wine.

6521 Alabama 69 | 752.5444

Red Lobster 2620 McFarland Blvd // 553.8810 McFarland Plaza Shopping Center

Tut’s Place 1306 University Blvd | The Strip // 759.1004

Tin Top Restaurant & Oyster Bar 4851 Rice Mine Rd NE #460 // 462.3399 McFarland Plaza Shopping Center & Temerson Square Tuscaloosa Burger & Seafood Company 1014 7th Ave. | Tuscaloosa // 764.1976 Over 160 craft beers. Tue. - Thu 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Fri - Sat 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sun 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Large selection of decadent desserts. Wintzell’s Oyster House 1 Bridge Ave | Northport // 247.7772 Casual riverfront dining Sun–Thurs 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. | Fri–Sat 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.

CHINESE Buffet City 1747 Skyland Blvd E // 553.3308 All you can eat buffet. Open 7 days a week.

filled with families, business men, young couples, and friends. The atmosphere is what I would expect at dinner time in an Italian family. There was an intoxicating happiness among the customers, or was that my wine? None the less, it was obvious everyone was having an enjoyable evening. Our small table sat only two to three feet away from the next. An older couple welcomed us as my friend complimented their food choices and I attempted not to knock one of them in the head with my purse. Snug at the table, I gazed the menu. It was only natural that us two Americans stick with what we know, bruschetta, pizza, and lasagna. The Bruschetta was plated beautifully. Triangle sliced ciabatta held layers of cheese, tomatoes, onion and basil. A balsamic glaze was delicately drizzled across the plate. The immediately bite was life changing. The crisp bread gave way to the juicy tomatoes and bold sweet balsamic. All attempts to eat like a lady failed. I placed my knife and fork aside and went all hands in. The main entrees where delivered before we finished the appetizer. I immediately handed my empty plate to Whitney for my serving of lasagna. The Lasagna was an endless dish of warm, gooey goodness. Yes, that is a technical term used by the most respected food critics. It was so soft, as if the noodles had been melted along with the cheese. The layers had fused together giving ever bite perfect balance. The margherita pizza was dressed on a thin white crust with a single layer of red tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese and basil leaves. Judging solely by the sheer simplicity of this pizza, I could tell it was going to be a “party on my palate,” as Whitney would say. The sweet basil complimented the salty mozzarella cheese and sauce so well. Both dishes were so delicious it was hard to pick which bite to take next. So, I compromised with dipping my pizza in the lasagna. This is when the food coma set in. Perhaps this is my “happy place?” No, my “happy place” is found in Tuscaloosa. Though an enjoyable evening with good food and even better company, nothing tastes as good as coming home. Until my next bite, happy eating! CoCo’s Italian Market and Restaurant is located at 411 51st Ave N, Nashville, TN 37209 Cindy Huggins, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist and local “foodie.” Follow her on Twitter @DietitianCindy

Chang’s Chinese Restaurant 1825 McFarland Blvd N // 391.9131 China Fun 2600 University Blvd | Alberta City // 553.2435

DELICATESSEN

Honeybaked Ham Company 421 15th St. E // 345.5508 www.honeybaked.com Jason’s Deli 2300 McFarland Blvd // 752.6192 Fax: 752.6193 // www.jasonsdeli.com Located in the Meadowbrook Shopping Center. Jimmy John’s (3 locations) 1400 University Blvd | The Strip // 366.3699 1875 McFarland Blvd N | Northport // 752.7714 815 Lurleen B. Wallace S | Tuscaloosa // 722.2268 Delivery 7 days a week. www.jimmyjohns.com Manna Grocery & Deli 2300 McFarland Blvd E | Tuscaloosa // 752.9955 McAlister’s Deli (2 locations) 101 15th St | Tuscaloosa // 758.0039 3021 Tyler Dr | Northport // 330.7940 Sandwiches, salads and spuds www.mcalistersdeli.com

China Garden Hwy 69 S | Hillcrest Center // 758.0148

Momma Goldberg’s Deli 409 23rd Ave // 345.5501 www.mommagoldbergs.com

Hot Wok Express 6751 Alabama 69, Tuscaloosa // 758.0148

Newk's 205 University Blvd E | Tuscaloosa // 758.2455

Lee Palace 6521 Highway 69 S // 391.9990 Open daily 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Schlotsky’s Deli 405 15th St. E // 759.1975 schlotskys.com

Mr. Chen's Authentic Chinese Cooking & Oriental Market 514 14th St. | In the Oz Music shopping center // 343.6889 // Open Sun - Thu 11am - 9pm, Fri & Sat 11am - 9:30pm

Which Wich University Blvd.// Downtown Tuscaloosa // Mon – Sat 10:30 – 9 // Sunday 11 – 7 // Fun atmosphere,fresh ingredients, great sandwiches. 764.1673

Pearl Garden 2719 Lurleen Wallace Blvd | Northport // 339.0880

COFFEE SHOP

Peking Chinese Restaurant 1816 McFarland | Northport // 333.0361 Open 7 days a week. Super lunch and dinner buffet. Hours: Sun–Thurs 11 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. | Fri & Sat 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Barnes & Noble 1800 McFarland Blvd E | Tuscaloosa 349.6366

Swen Chinese Restaurant 1130 University Blvd | The Strip // 391.9887 Trey Yuen 4200 McFarland Blvd E // 752.0088

ASIAN CUISINE Ruan Thai 1407 University Blvd // 391.9973 | ruanthaituscaloosa.com Exotic Thai cuisine. Offers vegetarian options, outdoor dining, and a full bar. Sushi on Thursdays. Lunch: Mon–Sat 11 a.m. -2 p.m. | Dinner: Mon–Thurs 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. Fri & Sat 5 p.m. -10pm | Sun 11 a.m. -3 p.m. Surin of Thailand 1402 University Blvd // 752.7970 Authentic Thai restaurant and sushi bar. Open daily. Lunch: 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. | Dinner: 5 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. www.surinofthailand.com

PIZZA AND SUBS A Taste Of Chicago 1700 Greensboro Avenue 205-342-DOGS Mon. - Thurs. 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Fri. - Sat. 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. 17th Street and Greensboro Avenue. Authentic Chicago style foods. Italian Beef Sandwiches, Chicago Rib Tips, and Chicago Style Pizza. California Underground 13552 Highway 43, Northport | 339.8660 Firehouse Subs 1130 University Blvd | Tuscaloosa // 248.0680 Hungry Howie’s (2 locations) 1105 Southview Ln | South Tuscaloosa // 345.6000 1844 McFarland Blvd | Northport // 333.2633 1211 University Blvd | Tuscaloosa | The Strip // 366.1500 4851 Rice Mine Rd | Northriver/Holt // 345.3737 Lenny’s Sub Shop 220 15th St // 752.7450 Fax: 752.7481 // www.lennys.com Little Caesars Pizza 1414 10th Ave // 366.2220 | 1www.littlecaesars.com Little Italy 1130 University Blvd. // 345.4354 Mellow Mushroom 2230 University Blvd | Downtown Tuscaloosa // 758.0112 Subs n' You 2427 University Blvd. | Tuscaloosa // 205.758.0088 Roly Poly Sandwiches 2300 4th Street | Tuscaloosa // 366.1222 The Pita Pit 1207 University Blvd | The Strip // 345.9606 Hours: Mon–Sat 10:30 a.m. - 3 a.m. | Sun 11:30 a.m. - midnight Pizza 120 50115th St. East | 561.6853 Pizza Palace Buffet

Chloe's Cup 2117 University Blvd.| Tuscaloosa // 764.0218 Crimson Cafe International Coffee House & Gourmet Deli 1301 University Blvd | The Strip // 750.0203 Mon–Fri 7 a.m. - 11 p.m. | Sat & Sun 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. thecrimsoncafe.com Five Java Coffee, fresh juices, smoothies and treats from Mary's Cakes. Open Monday - Saturday at 7am; 9am on Sundays Heritage House 18 McFarland Blvd | Northport // 758.0042 Krispy Kreme Doughnut 1400 McFarland Blvd // 758.6913 www.krispykreme.com Starbucks (2 locations) 1800 McFarland Blvd E | Midtown Village // 343.2468 1901 13th Ave East | inside Super Target // 462.1064 starbucks.com

DESSERTS Celebrations Bakery, Inc. 1832 McFarland Blvd N | Northport // 339.3221 Fax: 349.1945 Cold Stone Creamery 1130 University Blvd. | Tuscaloosa //343.1670 Specializes in customized ice cream Hours: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. | Fri & Sat 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. Sun 12 p.m. - 10 p.m. Dunkin' Donuts 2520 Stillman Blvd. |Tuscaloosa// 349.3400 McCorvey Dr. | Tuscaloosa // 348.4041 www.dunkindonuts.com Mary's Cakes & Pastries 412 22nd Avenue | behind Opus | Northport // 345.8610 www.maryscakesandpastries.com Mon–Fri 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. | Sat 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. Smoothie King (2 locations) 415 15th Street | Tuscaloosa // 349.1721 Fax: 349.1945 1403 University Blvd | Tuscaloosa // 462.3664 Sweet CeCe's Frozen yogurt Treats 2217 University Blvd. | Downtown Tuscaloosa // 561.6458 A fun and friendly make your own creation, yogurt experience! TCBY (3 Locations) 2304 Mcfarland Blbd | Meadowbrook Shopping Center // 349.4661 // 2 Mcfarland Blvd | Northport | Essex Shopping Center // 758.6855 // 1130 Univ. Blvd. | The Strip // 345.0804 Yogurt In Love Patriot Center 7402 Highway 69 South Phone Number: 764.9173 Fax Number: 764.9228 Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., Friday & Saturday 11 a.m.-10 pm. Yogurt Lab 920 Paul W. Bryant Dr Ste 200 | Tuscaloosa // 347.9522 Yogurt Mountain 1800 McFarland Blvd E | Midtown Village // 342.1484

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