Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Postcard from Nashville, TN

I traveled to Nashville with a group of coworkers for a fellow co worker's wedding and we all had an absolute blast. The beautiful wedding was the cherry on top of our delicious Nashville sundae. We ate and ate and ate delicious southern food and BBQ until we simply couldn't stuff ourselves anymore. At which point, we waddled back to the airport and came home.

Our first adventure came in the form of a distillery tour (come ON...we were in Tennessee!!) at Corsair Artisan, a local distillery with small batches of gin, vodka, and of course, whiskey.  My favorite was the gin, but it was great to learn a little something while drinking a little something too.
I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning to walk over to the Nashville Farmers Market where they had all sorts of delicious local produce, jams, baked goods, meats, jerkys, and tons of other great things.  My Uncle Jim always used to say that he liked to go to a hardware store while he was on vacation because it gave him a sense of people's everyday lives.  I like to go where people buy food.  It gives me a connection to how I imagine that people live, cook, and feed their families in other parts of the world.
Around the corner from the farmer's market was the most delicious southern meal I've ever eaten.  Say what!??!  I am constantly on the lookout for great southern food.  This is two parts selfish (I mean, who doesn't love to get their fried chicken on) and one part a labor of love.  Mark lives and dies for southern food and I like to bring it into his life as often as his heart and cholesterol levels will allow.  Thankfully Bob came with us to help document the occasion with his far superior camera.
The restaurant is called Monell's and they have a unique and amazing concept.  You sit in this sweet, Victorian house at long tables with other groups.  Then they bring out platters upon platters of steaming hot homemade southern classics and you pass them all around the table while getting to know your neighbors.  You don't leave until you are full and very happy.  First, they passed around biscuits, sausage gravy, butter and homemade jam.
Then, the world's largest platter of bacon, sausage, and ham.  Pictured below AFTER everyone had already eaten their full.
Then two huge baskets of fried chicken that was tender and juicy inside and crispy perfection outside.  I wish I had two stomachs that morning.
My plate was piled high with cheesy grits, baked apples, chicken, sweet corn pudding, bacon, and breakfast potatoes.  The corn pudding was one of my favorites because the lightness and sweetness from the corn balanced out the richness from the other dishes.
Then they brought you your meal ticket to check out which I thought was hilarious.  "I've eaten and I can't get up..."  My thoughts exactly.
Here we are in all of our feasted glory.
Next door, we stopped unto The Cupcake Collection because they had numerous signs out, boasting the best cupcakes in Nashville.
We got a half dozen and they were quite delicious.  I was a particular fan of the carrot and the red velvet.  It seemed like a very nice, family run place where I would be picking up cupcakes all the time if I lived nearby.
The day after the wedding, we head over to Jack's Bar-B-Que in downtown Nashville for lunch.
I am a brisket girl at heart, but I got the combo platter of brisket, pulled pork and ribs.  My sides were creamed corn (I think I was still craving it from the day before) and slaw.  I used to be a strict mac & cheese person, but their version looked lacking.
The ribs were the best meat they offered, with the brisket being pretty dry.
Mark got smoked turkey, which was also very excellent along with the yummy beans.
Yum, yum, yum.
The rest of our motley crew, Whitney and Pete!
As a very proud East Coast girl, I never think I am going to enjoy the Midwest or the South as much as I invariably do when I visit.  All in all, Nashville gets a two thumbs up from me for the food, great company, and very happy wedding.

One Year Ago: Crockpot Chicken and Mushrooms

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