16 April 2014

Birthday Weekend in the 'Shville

Y'all, I am back from my wonderful birthday weekend in Nashville ('Shville as we have begun to lovingly call it), and I am still scrolling through the photos on my phone with a big dumb grin on my face about how dare-I-say-perfect the entire trip was. We got plenty of rest in Lexie and Kathryn's wood-paneled bungalow, soaked in time on Lexie's beautiful bright yellow couch, ate one too many delicious foods, all whilst drinking in how carefree and lovely it was to be in one anothers company. We drove back to Chicago Sunday evening and it wasn't long before I was swept away in the whirl of planning a perfect Passover meal and catching up on Mad Men. The next few days will surely involve unpacking, salad eating, blog-catching-up-ing, and planning the Rook Nook's forthcoming birthday bash.

Untitled
This is Lexie's beautiful woody bedroom. She has such a knack for sleek simplicity, that even she can make wood paneling work. Waking up to this affirmation every morning was such a pleasure, I sort of want to get it tattooed to my eyelids, lest I ever forget.

Untitled
I tried to take Andrew to the Pancake Pantry for my birthday breakfast, but he took one look at the line and gave me a definitive No. I didn't sweat it, because we wound up walking a mile along the Vanderbilt campus to try Hattie B's for Nashville hot chicken. Hot chicken is basically brined and fried chicken that is then tossed in a mild-to-spicy sauce with a drier heat than that of hot wings. It's definitely different than Parson's, though you might have been fooled by the photo! We ate ours with potato salad (my new favorite thing - must have potato salad), and mac 'n cheese. He washed his down with Jackalope beer, I opted for sweet tea, but pinch me because we ate my first meal as a 26-year-old out on a patio with a new friend named Sedric. Amen.

Untitled
Just a handsome dude and some purty flowering trees, nothing to see here.

Untitled
After hot chicken we hit up some record stores. Our first stop was Third Man Records, which naturally I knew nothing about, but Andrew and I both loved. Plenty of weird kitsch, a really small but tightly selected record selection, and plenty of stuff to touch and look at. I wound up getting a live-session recording by King Tuff on vinyl, because it reminded me of how Andrew left our first date to go see King Tuff without me! No hard feelings, I forgave him.

In addition to Third Man, we visited Grimey's and Grimey's Too where more dusty record browsing occurred before heading to Jackalope for beer-tasting, followed by drinks and rock-star pommes frites at Holland House.

Untitled
For dinner, Andrew, Lexie, Kathryn, and I went to Rolf and Daughters. Many a drinks were had while we waited on the patio playing "Would You Rather," we all wore Kate Miss necklaces, Lexie and I gushed over running into our lady-crush, author Emma Straub, and I ate delicious squid ink pasta. Also, we ate a bread-and-butter course that was a hunk of bread, a slather of butter, and a little pile of salt. It sounds dumb, but it was basically the best ever. And it was the perfect fuel for a night filled with karaoke, cider, beer, and Miley Cyrus at Santa's Pub.

Untitled
Here's Lexie doing a solo-stint of Taylor Swift's You Belong With Me, because Nashville. Duh. We did the bulk of our belting at Santa's, which is a few trailers pushed together with cheap beer, bad microphones, and Christmas decor year round. You can smoke indoors, you can be as rowdy as you like, but please, no beer or cussin' on the stage. Also, let it be known that the first time Lexie ever did karaoke was at my birthday party last year! Dreams do come true. Two years in a row means this is officially a tradition, girl.

Untitled
Photo cred Andrew
We were all tuckered out post-karaoke, but after a good night's sleep we headed over to Barista Parlor for what might have been the hippest cup of cold brew I have ever had. The space I presume was an old garage, gutted and turned into a hipster coffee metropolis. The coffee bar was in the center of the large open space, made of what I'm assuming was re-purposed wood (oh me and my crunchy yuppie assumptions).

UntitledConfession, I know nothing about coffee. I am just as satisfied with a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee as I am with Intelligentsia (not sorry), so places like this really intimidate me. I stuck with a cold brew, because I understand what it is (basic) and there aren't rules or accouterments with it. It's just a cup of joe that sits in the fridge, brewing. No muss, no fuss. It was refreshing and delicious, and served in a mason jar. The real winner for me was the sausage biscuit served with marmalade. The sausage was made/sold next door at PRB, which I kept wanting to call PBR. Normal, ya know. But oh my goodness was this biscuit divine. Buttery and dense, with sweet tangy marmalade, and warm greasy local sausage. The perfect semi-hungover snack before hitting up another record store and Mas Tacos Por Favor.

Mas Tacos Por Favor
Sigh. Mas Tacos Por Favor, what is there to say? First off, this place has a line, a line well worth waiting in. It was the Nashville equivalent to our beloved Big Star, but the menu seems to change more, and there aren't any lethal margaritas to worry about. Rather, there are daily agua frescas, and as far as booze goes, the joint is BYOB. Andrew went to a liquor store a block away to grab himself a beer, I stuck to pineapple and cilantro agua fresca, because damn. Just damn. We waited in line, ordered off of the chalkboard, then basked in the 80 degree heat while our food was prepared. I had my FIRST breakfast taco, as well as the carne asada taco. The tacos were wonderfully seasoned, and a little bit bigger than their Big Star cousins, I could only eat one and a half before pushing my plate away! The ingredients were fresh and flavorful, everything was to my liking. If you are in 'Shville and don't mind a short wait, I highly suggest coming here. 

Untitled
Just casually waiting for our food at Mas Tacos, looking fly against the gorgeous hot pink wall. 

Untitled
All the tacos and sunshine left me completely tuckered. We wound up heading to Lexie's to take a cat nap, before heading to Las Paletas for not one, but two popsicles in the park. Above I'm chomping on paleta number dos, a refreshing little cantaloupe popsicle.

Untitled
Saturday night, we ate BBQ at Edley's but I wound up ordering a salad (blasphemy, I know) because I was completely full to the brim of heavy deliciousness. And afterwards... Lexie and I stayed in. Catching up a bit, before settling into couches facing one another with books and magazines. Reading across from each other in one another's company was so pleasant and calming. I forget what it's like to luxuriate in the company of a close friend, even if you aren't talking. It was a complete Dear Sugar moment.

And then, after a good night's sleep, we enjoyed one last meal together at Bagel Face. I had an everything bagel with lox, capers, tomatoes, red onion, and schmear, because why not bagel-binge before Passover? It was the most wonderful end to a perfect trip, and the right fuel for an eight-hour-drive back to the Windy City.

Untitled
Naturally, we had to make a pit stop at Dinosaur World.

Untitled

4 comments :

  1. This made me smile so big!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so glad we finally got our Nashville weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too! It was so great seeing the place you live with you living in it. Also, the night we stayed in and read was one of my favorite moments of the trip.

      Delete
  2. Happy birthday! It sounds like you had an amazing time. I feel stuffed just reading about it.

    -Claire

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!!! It was seriously too much fun, though I am still in unpacking / eating healthy mode to cleanse from such a fun-filled weekend. Quinoa and laundry for days.

      Delete

m