Sorry for the delay in posting anything about my trip or any new recipes! We got home late Monday night and I feel like I've been playing catch up ever since. Thanks for all the comments while I was away!
While I was looking forward to getting away from work and my daily routine at home and excited to spend quality time with my friends, I have to admit that I wasn't completely psyched about going to Nashville. It just wasn't on my list of places I really wanted to visit and since I don't get to travel too often, I felt I should be spending my travel dollars elsewhere. Combine that lack of enthusiasm with a serious dislike of country western music and you have a grumpy and close minded traveling companion.
Anyhow, I'm happy to say that Nashville completely surprised me and I loved it! Walking down the street at any time of day or night, music blares out of some pretty chill bars that line Broadway and 2nd Ave. Bluegrass, Cajun, Blues, Rockabilly, Classic Country and Rock and Roll. I hardly heard actual country western at all. It was a nice surprise!
Except for our night at the Grand Ole Opry, we didn't leave the immediate vicinity of our hotel and Broadway much. I thought we would be sick of such a small radius by the third day but we weren't. There was always a shop we hadn't popped into or a bar we hadn't experienced. We walked, we ate, we drank, we swam, we spent money, we listened, we danced and we laughed. And we certainly didn't sleep enough. I ate ribs, mac and cheese and cole slaw at Jacks BBQ, ordered room service and ate a late breakfast at the hotel, danced till 3am with a rockabilly band at Roberts Western World and basically just fell in love with the town and the people! I heart Nashville!
I didn't get to see the caves or visit any wineries but I don't regret keeping things a little less planned. It was nice to have no obligations or a set schedule for a few days!
Here's a sample of my pictures:
The lobby of our hotel- The Hilton Downtown Nashville. We got a great rate and it was a prime location. The staff was super helpful and the hotel was nice!
Dinner at Merchants Restaurant - I had the Southern Chicken Cordon Bleu which was a pecan crusted chicken breast stuffed with ham and swiss cheese in a creamy dijon sage sauce. It was served with sauteed spinach and Andouille sausage grit cakes. YUM!!! Our waiter was a little distracted and unfriendly but the food was great and we got to sit outside which is always nice! First time having grits and really, it tastes just like polenta!Here is Steve Martin debuting at the Grand Ole Opry on his banjo. It was kind of a cool experience. The Opry is actually a radio show (sort of like Prairie Home Companion) and each guest is only on the stage for a couple of minutes and then they introduce a new guest. Amy Grant and Vince Gill came out and did a song with Steve Martin but I didn't recognize any of the other performers. It was fun. The coolest part was that they let you go right up to the stage to take pictures. No venue ever lets you do that! It was a part of the trip I didn't think I cared about but I honestly had a good time and enjoyed it!On Sunday we grabbed lunch at Demos' Restaurant. The bouncer from Tootsie's Orchid Lounge recommended it. Here is a picture of the House Bread. They're "famous" for the bread as our waiter Shane (who was adorable and seriously bent over backwards to make a good impression) told us. Baskets of soft, buttery pillows of bread that were dusted with parmesan cheese were refilled repeatedly through the meal. We barely had room for our lunch!I had the Ribeye Sandwich which was served on homemade toasted bun with lettuce and pickles. I asked for a side of green beans as my side dish thinking it was healthier than the baked potato but obviously I had a momentary lapse of memory! I'm in the south, of course all vegetables are cooked with bacon! haha! There is no such thing as healthy food in this town! The sandwich also came with a choice of soup or salad. All of this food for less than $8 (not including tax)! Insane. It was actually a pretty good meal and a ton of food for the price. We were really shocked when we saw how low our bill was. We kept thinking Shane forgot to put something on the bill! Oh, I didn't get a picture of it (because I get shy taking food pictures in public still) but if you are ever there try Jim's Famous Spinach and ask for chips to go with it. It's a spinach dip that is mostly spinach yet somehow tastes like pure butter and cheese. Delicious.Me trying to line dance at Wildhorse. Great bar! It's enormous and everyone dances! It was so much fun we stopped by two different nights and took a line dancing lesson one of the nights (very little country music the nights were were there it was a ton of 80's like Bryan Adams and Bon Jovi! haha!). My line dancing didn't get any better with a lesson. I have two left feet.
So, Nashville, I take back my original prejudices about you! This town rocked! I have no complaints and I plan to happily go back! It's a great town to party in and listen to music!
Here are a few more pics for you.
RIGHT: The Country Music Hall of Fame (across from our Hotel)
LEFT: The view from the corner of Broadway and 5th Ave.
BELOW: our mechanical bull friend from Cadillac Ranch. Skip the ranch except for bull riding in my opinion!
BELOW: Taylor, a cute Cowboy performing at Tootsies Orchid Lounge and a pic of me and 3 of my good girlfriends (I'm the blond on the right).
All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley