After scouring this board for thoughts on what to eat during my too-short stay in Nashville this past weekend, I ended up with a Saturday morning breakfast at Monell's, a late afternoon picnic at the Parthenon with takeout from Hog Heaven, and a Sunday morning breakfast at Noshville. We also took a spin through the Farmer's Market on Saturday.
Monell's breakfast was really a revelation (at least, for a Northeasterner who had never before been served fried chicken at 10 AM). Enjoyed it immensely and ate a preposterous amount for $10: pancakes with delicious homemade apple compote, scrambled eggs, cheese grits, biscuits and gravy, corn pudding, bacon, country ham (this was too salty and dried out for me, the only weak dish), fried chicken (!), peach preserves...oh my GOD. Adding to the experience in a very positive way was the camaraderie of sitting around a racially integrated table of 10 people, all groaning together as yet another huge platter of food was placed in front of us. This was a great experience in addition to a great meal.
When I could finally think of food again around 5 PM, we got some takeout at Hog Heaven next to Centennial Park. I got a rib platter with corn cakes, cole slaw, and white beans, and my friend got a pulled turkey sandwich with white sauce. The ribs were stupendously tender but I was looking for a little more flavor from the sauce (maybe I am not used to dry-cooked barbecue). The turkey sandwich really could have used a lot more sauce on it. The cole slaw was excellent, and the white beans, while very plain to look at, were deceptively tasty. I was disappointed with the cornbread cakes--dry and pretty flavorless. However, eating all this while sitting out on the grass next to the Parthenon was great. I bet they don't have barbecued ribs in Greece, now do they?
Sunday morning we walked from our hotel to Noshville, on Broadway and 20th. It was a madhouse in there, but miraculously, we arrived the moment before the line started forming. I had a very nice plate of French toast--excellent. (Being a good Jewish girl from the NY metropolitan area, I am unable to countenance the idea of eating bagels or smoked fish anywhere south of Philadelphia--although there used to be a great, real Jewish deli in Charlottesville, VA that I miss very much.) Noshville was good and cheap. I could have done with fewer screaming kids, though.
One other great find was the International Food Market inside the Nashville Farmers Market next to Bicentennial Park. We were almost scared right out of the parking lot by the sight of a promotional truck giving away free samples of Spam, but we gritted our teeth and went inside anyway. This food market, in the central building, was phenomenal. I don't know how anyone ever finds anything in there--they seem to have the items sorted by brand name rather than national origin or food type--but if you spend enough time, you can get something from every nation on earth, I think. There was a huge selection of products: Middle East, India, West Indies, Africa, South America, Eastern Europe, North Asia, Southeast Asia...unbelievable. I could live in there.
Thanks Nashville! I take my hat off to you for supporting a store like this AND having good barbecue, a place to get a whitefish platter, and fried chicken for breakfast all within ten minutes of each other. A very satisfying weekend.