I’m back from a fantastic few days in Nashville with my friend, Liz.
We drank, listened to music and ate, ALOT.
I knew Nashville was a good-eating city; and have passed through a couple of times over the years; but I’ve never spent any real time there exploring the food scene.
So glad I corrected that.
I ended up with a Fried Green Tomato BLT that I think changed my life.
The tomatoes were lightly fried, still crisp and not mushy. The bacon, cheese and arugula stuffed in there added to each savory bite. Their homemade macaroni and cheese came in an adorable little crock. Creamy, cheesy little shells of love. Let’s play a game….how many macaroni and cheeses will we see in Nashville (hint: its more than 1).
Properly fortified; we headed to the Grand Ole Opry for some down home music! Not being familiar with Opryland; I wasn’t expecting it to be in the center of….an outlet mall. But there it was, across from Bed, Bath and Beyond and Old Navy. The theatre itself was beautiful and there was such passion in the performers and from the audience, that we couldn’t help feeling part of the magic.
And why yes, those WOULD be the Opryland Square dancers!
The show was broken down in to 4 sets; half-hour each. Between each set, there were announcements and audio commercials. Felt like the golden age of radio.
I scored a Opry ornament with Santa playing the guitar, so it was a winning night all around.
We finished our night in the hotel bar, where local songwriters were trying out some new music. Loved that there is live music literally on every corner.
The next morning dawned cool and cloudy. Lousy walking weather, but perfect biscuit weather! We grabbed another friend who drove down from Louisville and headed to the Loveless Cafe for some real-deal biscuits. On the drive down to the Loveless, we were driving by some country pastures, and I, ever the naturalist; yelled “Look horses! Pretty!” to which my friend Liz, seeing one of the herd (poor buddy), laying completely on his flank said “That horse is dead!” Needless to say we were slightly traumatized by the sight; but nothing seeing this sign couldn’t cure….
The Loveless is a not a huge space; and we were told (along with the other 60 or so people milling about) that it would be almost a two-hour wait. No problem. We wandered around the little property, headed over to the country store “Hams and Jams” and played cornhole for a while with new Loveless friends (we lost, badly).
Lunch ended up being an assortment of sides for me. They all sounded so good; and the table wanted to try a few different ones also so…. you’ve heard of a
“Meat and Three?” I ordered “An Egg and Four.” One egg over-easy and four sides. I’m trying to make it a regular menu item (or so I told the server?) Ask for the “Anne from Cincinnati” when you go to the Loveless; I’m sure this trend is already catching on.
What you see up there is:
-Famous Lovelesss Hashbrown Casserole
-Cheesy homemade Green bean Casserole
-Fried Green Tomatoes (obsessed)
-Macaroni and Cheese
-Unpictured over-easy egg
Seriously good comfort food. The Hashbrown casserole was shredded potato and cheesy goodness. The green bean casserole was all butter and bread crumbs (which is a good thing). The macaroni and cheese was all comfort, just smooth cheese and soft pasta. Finally, the fried green tomatoes were crunchy and crisp; perfect.
My tablemates ordered a Fried Green Tomato BLT (theme of the weekend) with fried okra bites; and the “Biscuit Sampler”; which was Chicken Biscuit, Pulled Pork Biscuit, Steak Biscuit and Ham Biscuit. Um, we like biscuits?
After putting a seriously dent in all of this, it was time to go….get pie. Of course. Fun fact about me, if there is Coconut Cream Pie on a menu, I’m ordering it. Even if I have already consumed basically an entire Thanksgiving dinner. I just want you to know that about me. We waddled our way out of the Loveless; but not before one more memory……
To work off at least one biscuit, we took a stroll around the Gulch area of Nashville. This section of downtown is billed as “an urban mixed-use neighborhood in downtown Nashville encompassing over 60 acres.” The girls and I wandered in and out of the little shops; and oogled the gorgeous boots at Lucchese’s. That there is about $8,000 worth of boot. Yeehaw.
After waving our friend good-bye as she headed home to her family in Louisville, Liz and I rested up for another busy (full of food) Nashville night.
In search of BBQ, we heard Judge Bean’s was not to be missed. We bellied up to the joint; and dug in.
I went with two brisket tacos, a catfish taco, sides of chips/guac and coleslaw. Liz had the chopped pork and macaroni and cheese and I had MAJOR dinner envy. My brisket taco was delicious; and I loved the Judge’s salsa, which was slightly spicy and really smokey. The catfish taco was just ok and I ended up leaving most of it. Liz’s chopped pork was positively fantastic. Perfect smoke and super tender. Her macaroni and cheese had excellent flavor and texture; a frontrunner in the Macaroni and Cheese games for sure.
My friend PJ had recently been to Nashville and raved about the drinks at The Patterson House. Billed as a modern-day speakeasy; there’s no marking on the door. Truthfully, Liz and I went around the block a couple of times before parking and just following a random, hip-looking couple into a building. What if they were going to a house party and not a bar? We were going to pull the old college trick of “My roommate’s friend John invited us…you know John right??” Thankfully, that high level of deception (and embarrassment) wasn’t needed; we were in the right place! Because it’s a bit dark and atmospheric in here; my pictures are not good, but my oh my the drinks were.
The drinks menu is divided by spirit; and then by all the fabulous differernt ways they use them. I tried The Blinker: Bulleit rye, grapefruit, raspberries, peychauds bitters. Liz enjoyed the Asta Collins: Prairie vodka, grapefruit, Campari, soda water.
I love love love our locally-made Bulleit bourbon but I had never had the Rye, I was pleasantly delighted. This drink was layers of fresh flavor with a slightly herby undertone. Loved every sip.
There is more food and fun to come in Nashville, stay tuned!