We went to Nashville! And now I'm going to tell you about it. How's that for a topic sentence?
That's Beck's response to most of my writing. And to Nashville, where that picture was taken.
On July 4th weekend Jay/Beck/I went to Nashville with my sister Julianne, who is doing a summer internship in Memphis. Nashville is kind of the only cool place at a midway point and we missed her, so we went for it! Jay had been to Nashville years ago and I've been approximately 9,837 times for work, but my work trips have been REALLY to work, stay in big hotels and not leave, that kind of thing. So, we found ourselves never having actually done much of anything in the city, so it was great to experience it all together.
We stayed on the Vanderbilt side of town, which I picked because 1. you could still walk downtown but 2. it was a little quieter and 3. cheaper. Since it was July 4th weekend things were pretty expensive and we knew they'd be busy, so a Homewood Suites in a slightly quieter neighborhood fit the bill great, thanks to a kitchenette for Beck's endless food needs and a pullout couch so that Julianne could bunk with us. It was kind of fabulous having a sister in the hotel with us, there was an extra set of hands to hold Beck while we got ready and took showers, take pictures of us playing on beds, AND she has a great taste in music, so my old ears got a taste of what the kids are listening to these days. IT'S ALL GARBAGE. No it isn't, I just wanted to say that.
We got there on Saturday, and before bothering with a pesky hotel check-in went to Fat Bottom Brewery, which was recommended to us by the internet AND actual humans, so you know it had to be good. It was! The beers were great and reasonably priced and the food was fab; we shared the hot chicken sliders because duh Nashville. Jay pretty much ordered hot chicken everywhere we went, and why not, you know? If fried spicy chicken is THE thing then clearly you must order it every single place you try in a city. It's just science.
After we had our snack + beer + met Julianne at Fat Bottom, we did some very serious Googling to pick our dinner restaurant, as one does. We went to The Row because, wait for it, it was near our hotel. We liked it so much that we went back a second time by the end of our trip so....recommended. The food is kind of upscale southern with lots of meats + veggies + fun twists that make everything really delicious. We sat in the bar area, which is a quasi-outdoor space with tons of light and a stage for live music because duh Nashville. We ordered house-made pickles, southern-style sides, hot chicken, and THESE. Poppers. They were jalapeno pimento cheese wrapped in bacon with some seriously sexy sauce happening, and FRIED. Yum yum yum. What I liked about these is there wasn't an actual jalapeno, just minced peppers in the cheese mixture, which I liked a lot better than some poppers with a big hunk of pepper - it can get too spicy for me. These were perfect, though. Everything we tried was wonderful, hence our decision to return before we left! We finished the night at Soulshine, a pizza restaurant/bar in the Vanderbilt area that had great live music, we went THERE both nights were were there too because they had cheap-ish drinks, great music, and didn't seem too startled by our baby in a bar.
On Sunday we did perhaps our favorite thing, spent HOURS at the Nashville Farmer's Market.
It's right across from the capital and memorial park, so we walked through that part of the city before we started our eat-fest for the day, as we tend to do. This area of downtown was gorgeous, really well-maintained and quiet since it was Sunday morning, with that sleepy not-yet-awake city feel that I'm a huge fan of. We also walked by the Country Music Hall of Fame but couldn't get it because it was closed on Sunday. It's probably also important to note that I pretty much pretended like we were on the (sadly, cancelled) show Nashville for this entire trip.
In Greenville our markets are primarily vendors of produce/meat/cheese; you walk in, buy, walk out, 15 minutes, done. This market, though, had all that and an area with restaurants/bars IN AIR CONDITIONING that basically felt like a massive food court, so once we walked through the produce areas we set up shop inside the taproom for a few hours and hung out, ate, drank, and took a gazillion pictures of Beck. We alternated between beers and sharing small plates from the different restaurants, which was an absolute blast. We shared a French Onion grilled cheese from Grilled Cheeserie, which was delicious, as advertised. We also had Greek from Chicago Gyro and Jamaican food from Jamaicaway, and everything was fantastic. Of everything we tried the goat curry from the Jamaican place was my favorite, so get on that if you've ever in Nashville! The atmosphere was so cool and the food + drinks were affordable and delicious so what's not to like?
After the Farmer's Market we walked many moons (about 30 minutes, but it was 100 degrees so we felt like it was a massive trek) to Nashville Brew Works, also recommended to us. The beers here were kind of meh to us, but there was air conditioning and water so...worth the hike anyway. The building was super cool, and it was fun to see even though we weren't massive fans like we were of Fat Bottom. Finally we made it back to the hotel after more walking (and we caved and took the hotel shuttle the last mile back to the Hotel) to set our schedule for the night. Dinner was tapas at The Americano, and holy poop. Love love love. This place is kind of Spanish Tapas, so we tried a ton of stuff. We also went there because they had a Sunday happy hour that showed up on lots of best-deals lists, so we all got frozen flavored margs, which we rarely do, but they were made with fresh fruit and it was one million degrees, so we said YES to frozen alcoholic beverages.
For dinner we tried tons of tapas and honestly loved all of them. Gambas ajillo (garlic shrimp), seared duck, crispy brussels sprouts, octopus a la plancha, and the hot chicken taco (duh) were some of our favorites, and I think the octopus won the flavor competition for all of us. It was charred with this sexy salsa verde and but super tender at the same time. I'd have eaten it as an entree if it were an option but then I couldn't have tried the other gazillion dishes we ordered so....decisions.
After dinner Sunday night we repeated our tour de bars, had wine at The Tavern per a recommendation from a server at dinner, then went back to Soulshine for more music, drinks, and sister time before the weekend was over. Monday was July 4th and we intended to go to a HOT CHICKEN FESTIVAL, which sounded epic in theory but then we read online that there is never enough food and the lines are crazy so we went back to The Row for a last meal that included AC.
And Beck! Beck was a champion the entire weekend. We try to have a good combination of walking in the stroller (for naps) and sitting at restaurants or parks for her to eat, nurse, stretch her legs, and play. She's at a great age where she does still sleep a lot during the day, and if we walk everywhere (and we almost always do in cities) she gets a good amount of rest and still is ok just staring at stuff and exploring with us while she's awake. There will come a time when we start scouting cool parks in cities for play breaks sooner than we think, I'm sure.
So. Nashville. It was hot. The chicken was hot. The beer was not, thankfully. We had a blast. The end!