A Nashville Day Trip

In an attempt to better observe and appreciate the greater region of which we live--the beautiful South--the day-trip has quickly become my favorite way to spend a weekend. The "tradition" kicked off in Oxford in January. We dined at Chef John Currence's City Grocery, ventured through Town Square and picked up a few novels and knick knacks along the way. Next weekend, I'll head back to Mississippi for a romantic evening at the Alluvian with Alex.

But this past Saturday, the tradition continued in Nashville. Though I had visited approximately a year ago, I treated the Tennessee capital like a blank canvas of culinary opportunity and observation. I was (happily) tasked with restaurant reservations for the twenty-hour stay--and with so many spots on my list, I quickly shifted the focus to all-things food. But are we surprised?

Lunch at Husk Nashville offered plenty o' biscuits, gorgeously presented shrimp and grits with a bright yellow egg yolk (top photo), a peanut butter french toast, and deviled eggs, among others. Their vegetable plate boasts macaroni and grits as two out of the four plates. Oh, the South. More details to come...

A stop at Bleubird's new Two Son, followed by shopping in Green Hills, pushed us into a dizzy spell of decaffeination. We ventured to the Frothy Monkey for honey lattés and a very memorable snickerdoodle cookie.

Our evening out was spent in the rediscovered neighborhood of Germantown (no, not Memphis' suburb). I couldn't decide between 5th & Taylor and Rolf & Daughters...so we decided on both. A very successful progressive dinner, if you will!

On the outdoor patio of 5th & Taylor, a sizable warehouse with striking artwork and hundreds of dripping candles, we were graced with beautiful breezy weather and cucumber vodka and beet gin gimlets. A unique fennel dip (think artichoke dip with a different green centerpiece) with toasted crostini served as our appetizer.

We walked a block to Rolf & Daughters, a cozier space with out-of-this-world flavor combinations. The dishes were described in ingredient lists, challenging our vocabularies and enlisting the help of Google and/or Wikipedia for the first few minutes of our meal. However, our waiter Pam pushed our palettes to new heights--squid ink and mushroom pastas, a broccoli with currant and anchovy, and a lamb sausage with navy beans, to name a few. All was impeccable, especially with the bottle of Italian Pinot Noir by our side.

Sunday morning, the Gulch introduced us to the nationally acclaimed Barista Parlor. The atmosphere was so fantastic -- quiet yet lively, busy yet focused. I ordered a bourbon vanilla latté with almond milk and purchased a few goods along the perimeter of the warehouse space.

Before long, it was time to eat lunch (How? I don't know). The new nearby Proper Bagel was beckoning us, even with its hour-long line. We couldn't have asked for better weather, better new friends in line, or better cream cheese samples. The nova sandwich on a spinach everything bagel did not disappoint--after all, the smoked salmon is flown in from Brooklyn. I got a few ruggelah and pumpernickel bagels to-go for Dad upon ordering at the counter. Had we had enough time, I would have ordered the avocado toast!

The surprisingly scenic drive back to Memphis posed so many ideas--so many concepts--of which I appreciated and would love to see in my own neighborhood. For now, I'll cherish the day trip. I'll be back soon, Nashville.

Want more? Check out my friend The Crazy Tourist's Top 25 Things to Do in Nashville!