Last weekend my friend and I spent a ridiculously enjoyable weekend in Nashville. I scoured the boards to find recommendations to guide our choices, though I never posted a query. Here are my thoughts on the places we visited--I hope this is helpful to future visitors.
A friend of mine who lived in Nashville recommended we pick up our coffee in the East Nashville location, and I'm glad he did. The coffee was excellent and we loved the neighborhood, which was low-key, artsy and way more enjoyable than the tourist-y places recommended by people at our hotel. We ended up spending most of our time here, checking out bakelite jewelry in antique shops during the day and enjoying Yazoo beer at (too many) watering holes at night.
Sick, sick, sick. We stopped at Las Paletas for popsicles and I wanted to wrap up the whole shop and move it back to San Francisco with me. We tried honeydew, avocado, creamy lime and cucumber/hot pepper. The flavors were clean and distinct. The cucumber was my favorite; my friend loved the honeydew.
This was our first stop into town. We had lunch at the Germantown location, a huge old Victorian, and enjoyed the communal dining experience with about 10 strangers at our shared table. On the menu that day was fried chicken, fried catfish, about five or six vegetable preparations, corn bread, biscuits and strawberry shortcake. All the food was great: I especially loved the chicken, corn pudding and biscuits.
To be fair, I was over the moon about every other place we ate (with one exception) and this was also the day we were stuffed from Monell's, so while I will honestly say I was not bowled over by the food, it ws still pretty good. We shared crab cakes and "low country" shrimp over creamy grits. Our server told us a couple times that they specialized in local cuisine, but the menu included hawaiian fish, crab cakes "probably from the east coast," etc. The shrimp was quite good and the crab cakes were OK; in the end, though, I think living in San Francisco may have spoiled me with its local, seasonal dining. I wish we had substituted another restaurant (probably Prince's Fried Chicken) for this choice.
Martin's Barbeque (in Nolensville)
OH. MY. GOD. Admittedly, I am not a barbeque expert, but I do specialize in deliciousness, and this was ridiculous. We shared ribs, pulled pork, brisket, cole slaw and something else I can't remember because all I can recall is the succulent, amazingly delicious ribs and pork. I am a bit chatty, but for the first ten minutes our table was silent as we picked apart the ribs and chewed. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Eat at Martin's right now.
Miss Mary Bobo's (in Lynchburg)
If I hadn't gone to Monell's, I'd probably give Miss Mary Bobo's a B+, but in comparison it falls to a C. The menu was pretty much the same as Monell's, and the set-up was similar (communal table), though the conversation was led by an official hostess. Before our visit, I would have expected the hostess would make the conversation flow more easily, but that wasn't the case. My friend and I felt rushed through the meal (which ended in about 40 minutes; no one had seconds), and the hostess had a strong hand in guiding conversation, so we didn't get to explore any tangents or make interesting connections as we had with our fellow diners at Monell's. The food was just OK: I didn't like the breading on the chicken, which was served luke-warm, probably because the seatings are timed so they are making a huge batch of everything all at once. There was a definite buffet feeling to the lukewarm, underseasoned food. I don't think anyone finished the dessert, a pineapple cake that tasted as if an entire can of coconut syrup had been poured over top.