Nashville: hot chicken, NashVegas, and songwriter’s night 

Last week I finally took a vacation and headed down to Nashville for a few days. After being delayed at the airport for 3 unexpected hours, our first stop in Nashville was, of course, brunch. Where we made our first mistake: people in Nashville don’t really walk. At all. Not only is it blistering hot, but there are freeways, overpasses, and underpasses everywhere, i.e. so not conducive to walking. For those of us not used to this southern heat, the temperature took some getting used to – don’t think I’ve ever been that sweaty for consecutively so many days. Anyway, we brunched at Pinewood Social (who was gracious enought to let me keep pushing back our reservation as my flight got more and more delayed!), which seemed like it was in an out of the way spot, but which I came to realize was part of the whole suburban feel of the city had (lots of parking lots, etc). 

Brunch at Pinewood Social

I’m just waiting for Bon Appetit to give me a call, cuz this photo is so on point: chicken and waffles, coffee, and sunny side up chilaquiles at Pinewood Social.

The food  was pretty tasty: we started off our southern adventure with, what else? Fried chicken and waffles! And also a version of chilaquiles. So tasty. My “Cuban” coffee was nothing like the other Cuban coffees I’ve had, but hey, it’s not like I was actually in Cuba. The space is quite large, and is used for events, as well as having a bowling alley in the back! Fun.

Trout dip at Pinewood Social

Fabulous trout dip at Pinewood Social

We ended up arriving on the last day of CMAFest, which was interesting for several reasons: tons of bands playing all over the city, and as we, in tourist fashion, walked around downtown, we were able to hear great live music everywhere. Also, apparently during CMAFest it’s legal to drink on the street, so that was different. I took advantage and had a Jack and lemonade from the JD truck (I enjoy that there was a JD truck), which packed a huge punch in that heat. We browsed the Country Music Hall of Fame gift shop, which is attached to a fancy hotel, which was also attached to some other really cool shops (do you see where this is going?). One of these shops was these printers from way back in the day, where I picked up some cool posters for my brothers, and the other store had lots of goodies for me, aka food things! Local cookbooks and chocolates and jams and things. Double win. 

Jalapeno cheddar popovers

Jalapeño cheddar popovers with sorghum butter. I’m so making this (but with maple butter instead of course #canadian).

We ended up hitting NashVegas later that eve. If you’ve been to Nashville, you absolutely know what I’m talking about; if you’ve been to Las Vegas, you also know what I’m talking about. This little strip off Broadway is like a country version of the Las Vegas strip, complete with glittering signs, inebriated tourists, and bar promoters. The difference here is that live music is pouring out of all the honky tonk bars (yes that’s what they’re called; no I didn’t believe it either), and that all the music is excellent. We also had some surprisingly good ribs from Rippy’s, one of the aforementioned honky tonks. 

Day 2 saw us moseying on down to Hattie B’s for some hot chicken (although first we hustled in the am before it got too hot to get juice and coffee, the essentials).

The lineup at Hattie B’s – the shortest it’s been all day

This was basically the whole reason I came to Nashville so I was super stoked, and was prepared for the lineup that greeted us (not prepared for how long the lineup took, or that it was right next to a cupcake shop #baddecisions). I ordered my hot chicken hot (duh) and found it had good heat but wasn’t making me cry or anything – next time, bring on the damn hot! (I will say though, perhaps unnecessarily, that it’s probably not a good idea to eat spicy food like this on the reg; it may not have been too spicy when I was eating it, but my stomach did not appreciate; just a cautionary aside). 

Hattie B's famous hot chicken

The situation at Hattie B’s: waiting, photoging, eating.

We did some more walking around, found more cute shops, including my favourite The Impeccable Pig, and bought many items. Too many items! 

Our last day we headed out to find some farmers markets; we also encountered more cute shops, lots of local products and great food, including fun fruity ice pops at Las Paletas.

You have to answer a skill-testing question on your tastemaking prowess before they let you enter.

 We also had an alarming cab ride, where our driver picked us up en route to picking up his actual customers and began soliloquizing on the hotness of Canadian women. It got real uncomfortable real fast, and so we ended up stranded at the mall in the ‘burbs, but we made it back downtown in time to have a quick drink (aka we slammed them) at Patterson House, a popular “speakeasy” type joint. It was fun to go to and the drinks all sounded awesome, but overall a bit pretentious for my taste: we had to wait for 40 minutes (on a Tuesday, at 6:30) for a table, very dimly lit, etc etc. Probably I would have enjoyed more if we weren’t so rushed to make our reservation at Rolf and Daughters, which was phe.nom.enal. We were both a bit drunk upon arriving for our table (see above re slamming of the drinks), and ordered a bunch of apps right away. Our server was awesome and took it all in stride (and brought us drink menus right away too!). We finished off this perfect Nashville night out by wandering into a bar across the street from our hotel to listen to the last of the performances of songwriter’s night. It doesn’t get any better, or more Nashville, than that. 

The sign for the bar next to the bar we went to for songwriter’s night

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