I've been reading about Nashville. There is a copy of Garden and Gun that sits in the upstairs bathroom that I like to pick up and look at every now and then. It has made me curious. It promised me in one of its articles that Nashville, TN, wasn't just a redneck, hall of fame, bootscootin' place to visit. Yes I had judged. And yes, this was my worst nightmare. As I read more I was promised that 'a ways from the punishing lights and honkey tonks of Broadway', I would find a forward thinking and contemporary cultural scene, flourishing culinary options and a creative hub for Tennesseans and, for the south. So as the infatuation and curiousness grew, I quickly realised that a free weekend and a nine hour drive was all that was needed to take me there.
I quickly convinced two friends to join me and soon enough we had an itinerary - food, a pennyweight pop up event, 12 south and more food. So we set off from Jacksonville, Florida and we drove -- To Nashville.
We made our first pit stop at Octane Coffee, Atlanta.
We arrived in Nashville and were mesmerized by the beautiful home of the equally beautiful Elise Joseph, and left with goodies from her pennyweight pop up event.
We explored 12 south where we giggled over wooden spoons, spent far too long but no where long enough at Imogene + Willie, lined up for ice cream, searched through vintage stores filled with leather and bones and met an Australian Shepherd named Lardy.
We arrived at our ultimate destination - Rolf and Daughters. We sat at the communal table where we surrounded ourselves with sour dough and seaweed butter, brussel sprout salad, squid ink canestri, bucatini fra diavolo, pork ragu and all of the desserts. We washed it all down with eggwhite cocktails, beer and prosecco. Quite possibly the best meal of our lives...
We had breakfast at Barista Parlor. We discovered marmalade paired with egg on a savory biscuit (scone for those non southerners), bought artisan chocolate and had a polaroid taken by some new friends that we had met at the pop up event the day before.
After rummaging through one last beautifully sourced second hand goods store, we said goodbye to Nashville and began our drive home.
We stopped for dinner at The Optimist in Atlanta. We sat at the bar and ate oysters, mussels, she crab soup, fish and chips and snapper. Quite possibly the second best meal of our lives...
We couldn't possibly leave without dessert. We shared a pint of salted caramel vanilla 'pretzel' nut at Vintage Frozen Custard.
We drove through the Atlanta fog and the rainy night and eventually made it back home.
Garden and Gun, thank you for setting the record straight and for suggesting that I visit Nashville.
Nashville, thank you for sharing your charm with us. You truly are a southern gem. We liked you. A lot.