I got to go to Nashville for the first time a couple of weeks ago for a friend’s wedding. What a cool place! It combines the crusty industrial feel of Pittsburgh with the artistic party-town feel of New Orleans. Like Pittsburgh, it’s wrapped around a river, the Cumberland.
While waiting for Mandi to get a manicure I went for a walk to Centennial Park. The centerpiece of the park is a replica of the Parthenon that was built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition – like the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. On Memorial Day we went back to the park to check out a music festival but only caught a couple of notes before heading off to find cold drinks and barbecue.
We happened to be in town for Memorial Day, which curtailed our ability to shop. Instead, we walked around downtown and across the Shelby Street Bridge, an old bridge converted to pedestrian use in 2003.
While we weren’t shopping or walking, we were eating. Some highlights:
Mandi knew about Fido, a great espresso shop, from previous trips to Nashville. They serve breakfast too – I don’t know what everyone’s waiting in line for down the street at Pancake Pantry – the eggs and sausage at Fido were excellent and we didn’t have to wait.
Our first night in town we had dinner at Marché, a sort of French bistro-market in the East End. My asparagus and salmon with poached egg was about as good as it gets.
I was whining about how we’d eaten everything except barbecue so Mandi found Tom’s Elite Carryout, a funky little place in the East End. The barbecue pork and a double-side of mustard greens made a perfect lunch.
We had sausage, pig knuckles, sauerkraut, and beer at Gerst Haus. I had pretty low expectations, but this place served me a plate of pig knuckles that looked more-or-less like something I last saw in Prague. I only wish I’d had the sense to order the knuckle appetizer instead – I only managed to finish 2 or 3 knuckles. To top things off, they had a live band and real stuffed deer on the walls!