Explore, Eat, Repeat: A Taste of Nashvillehttps://www.chutegerdeman.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Nashville.jpg1440428Chute GerdemanChute Gerdemanhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/27b8b1d5d4480e694e1d763231b8e868?s=96&d=mm&r=g
Rising up the ranks in as one of America’s hottest destinations, Nashville’s slow-paced charm and Southern hospitality is garnering some serious attention. From the ever flourishing foundation of the music business to the retail renaissance and expanding culinary scene this Southern city is surely shining. Recently, we had a chance to explore some of Nashville’s old-school digs, tourist must-sees, and quirky outposts to eat, drink, and be merry.
Pepperfire Hot Chicken
The first stop on our Nashville food tour, we had our first Nashville Hot Chicken experience. Skeptical at first, we are now craving this constantly! The space itself is minimally designed with a large graphic design presence. Bare bulb lights festoon from the exposed black painted ceiling, while lengthy red painted wood community tables stretched the length of the space. The heat levels range from Southern Fried with no spice to XX HOT. We will tell you, we had the Light Mild and our mouths were on fire! Our tour guide shared stories of a girl who had 3 Medium Spice tenders and ended up crying she was in so much pain. Overall great food, fun little space.
3 Crow Bar
In order to cool our burning mouths down, our next stop was 3 Crow Bar, an East Nashville pub, for Bushwackers. For anyone who isn’t familiar with this drink, it’s essentially an adult Frosty — the only component that isn’t alcohol is milk. In addition to the milk, the Bushwackers we drank consisted of 3 types of rum, Irish Cream and Coffee liquor. We didn’t go inside this bar, instead drinking our Bushwackers outside on their tree-shaded porch area. They were delicious and cooled our mouths down enough for us to be able to actually taste the rest of the food on the tour.
Tequila Cowboy is the premier spot in Nashville, located on the world famous Broadway. Featured on the hit ABC show “Nashville”, Tequila Cowboy offers an exciting experience with dining and a revved up nightlife. The central bar upon entry is made focal by an old car, highlighted with LED strip lights, which also light up the walls. An additional bar along the right side of the space takes up the wall the length of the space. In the back of the space there is a stage which hosts live bands every night, upstairs they have a bull ride pit and another bar. The floor was surprisingly a black glossy painted concrete, the lights above the bar hung at only 6 feet and the back bar again was focused on displaying liquor on a counter adjacent to the pedestal holding the car up which housed TV screens. The wall behind the bar on the right and the underside of the car platform were a collection of old license plates all around having a cool, vintage, and found feel.
I Dream of Weenie
Made from a renovated Volkswagen bus, I Dream of Weenie is an iconic hot dog stand in Nashville popular for its unique toppings. This stand is actually located in the front yard of a residential property; the homeowners rent out a portion of their lot to the I Dream of Weenie owners. We each got a sampler dog with three different toppings; the relish on the far left was our personal favorite. We ate our hot dogs at some picnic tables provided by the homeowners for customer use. Seems like they have a pretty good business arrangement going!
This eclectic upscale seafood restaurant features an open kitchen setting and a bright atmosphere. Etch was designed to be everything Chef/Owner Deb Paquette has ever wanted in a restaurant, allowing her to be at her creative best. The restaurant used raw yet refined materials including concrete columns, wood slat ceilings, some food was even served on slate platters. The overall atmosphere was dimly lit and moody, but the kitchen was bright and energetic. The open kitchen became an entertainment area by way of a chef’s bar, looking into the prep area with accenting red heat lamps that raised and lowered when food was waiting for pick up.
Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint
Martin’s is one of Nashville’s more popular bar-b-que joints. They specialize in whole-hog bar-b-que — we know this first hand, as we sat in the room directly next to the giant smoker holding the meat. The interior has a very local, eclectic feel, with license plates, T-shirts and posters covering the walls. While there, we sampled long and short rib, brisket and hush puppies, as well as a variety of different dipping sauces. An overall savory, messy experience.
For dinner our last night in Nashville, we had the opportunity to go to Watermark. When you enter the restaurant you enter on the ground floor, a bar area to your left and an art gallery style waiting area leading all the way to the stairs that take you to the main dining floor. When you arrive at the top of the stairs you are greeted and taken to your table. The overall aesthetic of the restaurant was very modern. There were large art pieces that decorated the walls and almost sculptural art that denoted the men’s and women’s restrooms. The entire time however, I couldn’t help but question the large blank white wall that grounded a large banquette the length of the space. Then it hit me, as we were waiting for dessert, the subtlety was amazing; the word watermark was watermarked on the wall, tone on tone. Most probably didn’t even know it was there, but for those of us who finally did see it, it was a refreshing design detail.
We ended our food tour with Mexican popsicles from Las Paletas. This space has a clean, simple design that really reflects their product. Their popsicles are made fresh and are flavored solely from the actual ingredient, which are sourced from local community gardens. Over 20 flavors are sold daily, which range anywhere from lime to peanut butter to hibiscus. There’s popsicles here for every palette; we definitely had a hard time choosing a flavor! This light, icy treat was a great way to wrap up our food tour.