This is 'way too long for a single post, so here's the first part:
Flew into Nashville from LA around 5PM Saturday, 9/27. Picked up crappy little car @ airport, drove to our Saturday-Sunday hosts' house near Hillsboro Village, 2 young lawyers w/2 little kids. Women had an early Girls-Only party, while the boys and the kids went for an early-ish supper at the Gerst Haus, since both the youngsters love the Oompah music. Had not been there since they moved to accommodate the stadium, so I was flying entirely on nostalgia. Got a glass of OK cabernet (not supposed to drink beer anymore), ordered the fondly-remembered oyster roll, which was NOT up to either its reputation or my own memory. Pretty vile, if you must know. The women joined us around this time, as the lady with the accordion was getting nicely into gear. So I moved on to real food: the bratwurst plate, mit sauerkraut und smashed potatoes. A mixed blessing, this was: bland kraut, gluey potatoes, really nice brats (the sausages, not the, um, lively children). Oompah band was very nice, though; Du, du, liegst mir im Herzen and all that, and Papa took the kinder home while I had some wore wine.
Sunday AM joined the couple we would be staying with come Monday, plus her mother and sister, at Martha's out at the Belle Meade Plantation for brunch. We've been acquainted with Ms. Stamps for quite a few years and have cooked from her book, but had never eaten her restaurant food, so we were looking forward to this. Well worth the wait. I had a lovely dish of warm black bean salsa and Spanish chorizo over cheese grits, eggs on top, and a perfect Bloody Mary, while the rest had various other eggy things and flapjacks. Murmurs of delight all around. Spotted an old friend in the dining room, ran into another in the gift shop, par for Nashville...
Monday AM went to an old weekend-breakfast favorite spot, the Sylvan Park on 8th that used to be Dennison's. As much as we loved it in the old days, we agreed that the food had improved under the SP regime, with excellent grits, sausage, bacon, perfect eggs, and much improved gravy. Toast and coffee both up to the job as well. Ate too much, as we always do with this stuff, and it was dirt cheap. Good start.
That night we took our hosts for the rest of the sojourn out to dinner, and they suggested the new Miro District on South Street. Very glossy joint, sister ship to the Watermark but with more of a bistro menu. I got the beef cheeks, which came with GOOD mashed potatoes and greens, excellent upscale comfort food. The other guy and I split a bottle of pinot noir, one of the less expensive offerings (around $30), and after they'd each had a sip the women shared another bottle with us. Unusual, since Mrs. O seldom even tastes red wine, much less actually drinks it, but it was THAT good.