Affectionately known as the Country Music Capital of the World, Nashville is a hidden gem in the food and beverage industry. Whether you want avant-garde cuisine or some down-home cooking, you can find it all with a side of southern hospitality.
The Wild Cow – I started my palate pleasing adventure at The Wild Cow, a vegetarian establishment in the South. Is that even possible? There is one thing I never get tired of when traveling in the south, the hospitality. At some point, every person in this joint waited on me. I was torn between the Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos but settled for the Chipotle Seitan Tacos that were so fresh and yummy. There was the perfect amount of smokiness. I would have loved to try more items off of their menu. Maybe next time.
Crema – One of a few local roasters, this “brewtique” just on the outskirts of downtown Nashville also offers coffee courses to its patrons. After perusing the menu, I settled on the Cafe Tom Kai, a cold blend of espresso coconut milk kaffir lime, and cardamom. It was so nuanced that I returned three times during this visit. I also devoured the Cremarito. Sweet potatoes, pepper jack, peppers, onions, fresh herbs, potatoes, rosemary and red pepper flakes wrapped in a warm tortilla with just the perfect balance of savory and heat.
Barista Parlor – Pegged as the place where you might find your favorite barista getting their caffeine fix, BPs decor alone is enough to lure you to East Nashville. Featuring beans roasted by Counter Culture, quality is never questioned. I sipped on a Salt TN Whiskey Caramel Latte and a PRB sausage egg on a homemade buttermilk biscuit. The biscuit was heavenly. It was so airy and moist. The spiciness from the sausage patty was balanced by the sweet peach jam. The espresso was smooth and the subtle notes of whiskey and salted caramel added a nice touch.
The Patterson House – I was in town for an exam and celebrated months of studying with some of America’s finest cocktail couture. I sat down for a few hours and decided to let the belle behind the bar with the wicked haircut run the show. Riley crafted my tasting menu which consisted of the Bacon Old Fashioned, her favorite, the Vieux Carre, and her take on my favorite drink, Riley’s Ward. The Bacon Old Fashioned was every bit of smoky, nutty, sweet heaven. The Vieux Carre and Riley’s Ward were so well-balanced on the palate that I almost forgot to eat. I’ve been to quite a few speakeasies and this one is definitely on the Top 10 list.
No. 308 – It’s like a speakeasy for those who enjoy the loud bar scence. I love the story of how this bar was named after the room number where Ben proposed to Alexis (the owners). Their menu was the stuff I dream of. But it was so busy that I left after having two drinks, the Bottle Rocket and Holden Caulfield. Sophisticated cocktails for what seemed like the college crowd. Next time I’m in town, I’ll be back during off-peak hours.
Bolton’s Spicy Chicken – I was told I couldn’t leave Nashville without tasting some hot chicken. Essentially, their staple food is chicken smothered in cayenne-based paste then pan-fried. My nose starting running after the first bite. Good stuff.