Happy New Year!
New Year's in Nashville........yee haw!
You heard right. This here LA-by-way-of-Tokyo-by-way-of-LA girl spent her New Year's vacation in Nashville. Why, you ask? Well, first of all, our best friends (husband/wife) moved there about a year ago due to a job transfer and we miss them terribly. Second, we thought it'd be nice to get away from LA during a hectic time.
Of course I don't want to stereotype- I know that Nashville isn't just cowboys and BBQ. Our friends live in East Nashville, and it's fast becoming the liberal/hipster part of the city. People are refurbishing beautiful old Victorians, there are a couple cafes that look straight out of Seattle and we even managed to get fabulous last-minute massages on New Year's Eve!
Now for the eating part. Although I did bring my camera everywhere I went, I almost ALWAYS forget to actually take a photo of the food before I started consuming it. I'm sure a lot of food bloggers have this problem. Take a photo of the outside, go in and sit, take a few photos of the nice interior, start talking with your friends, you see the waiter approach with plates of piping hot food, you get excited, waiter sets down food and you dive in. After about 20 bites, you realize you didn't take a photo of the actual FOOD! So maybe I should start a "restaurant photos" blog to have a place for all of my pics of dining tables, restaurant signs and bread baskets. HA.
We went to the famous Loveless Cafe for some brunch. As soon as we sat down we were given a plate of fluffy biscuits, butter and several types of jam. Delicious. Those are the first things that never made it to my Cybershot. I ordered the pulled pork and eggs which almost didn't make the blog but I caught myself after eating one egg so it is on here. The pork was very good, eggs were pretty runny for my taste (I asked for over-medium but even the whites were sort of runny....ew). They came with a sidedish called Hashbrown Casserole - basically shredded potatoes cooked with meat juices and lots of cheese to bind it all together. Yes, although it probably took about 2 years off my life, it was damn good. My dining companions had pancakes which were good but the syrup was the cheap & sugary type. Read: not so great. As my friend said, Loveless Cafe is more for the experience of going, not the food.
We went to a restaurant called Cabana for New Year's Eve, and boy- was I disappointed. I won't go into too many details since again- taking photos just slipped my mind (Note to self: 5 glasses of champagne might do that). After doing TONS of research in the 2 months leading up to our trip, I settled on Cabana since it sounded like a good mix of young crowd, gourmet comfort food and most importantly, NASHVILLE type food. I didn't want to go all the way over there to eat Californian Cuisine. The place was very brightly lit and just reeked of frat/sorority party as the people in the bar area spilled over into the dining area. Flat screen TVs were everywhere, and they brought out the 6 small plates we ordered so fast that we were done in less than one hour. To top it all off, the food was "eh"....not bad but definitely nothing to write home about.
We basically spent the weekend lounging in the house, cooking some meals and had one more brunch out at the Red Wagon Cafe. Not bad- but again, nothing to write home (or blog much) about. I ordered the "scrambled eggs with tortilla strips and homemade salsa" thinking it'd be like chilaquiles. Nope. The "tortilla strips" were actually strips of SOFT flour tortillas mixed in the eggs. Strange. It tasted fine but everything was just a half step off- you know when that happens? The biscuits tasted good but were too heavy, like scones. The grits' consistency was perfect but lacked in flavor. And so on.
The last evening we were there, we decided to go shopping and made our own dinner. We found big bags of large clams at $3.99/bag- what a bargain!- bought some red snapper fillets and some stew meat. By the time we sat down, my friend had whipped up some awesome garlic clams, we made some foil-baked snapper and I stewed up a pot of boeuf zinfandel (a play on the classic bourginon) and sliced enough crusty/tender french bread to feed a small country. Now THAT was a good meal. Sometimes, nothing beats homemade, especially when it's a collaboration with great friends.