Passing through Nashville

I live in Tennessee but would not describe myself as a southerner.  To me, fried chicken, BBQ, country music, and sweet tea are all an acquired taste – of which I am beginning to slowly acquire, except for sweet tea.  My family moved to Tennessee at the beginning of my 5th grade year (so I was pretty much raised here) but Tennessee has never seemed like home.  I never planned on staying this long.  My plan was to go to college out-of-state and then move overseas.  Neither of which happened.  Here I am still, years later, living… and loving… Tennessee.

The older I become, the more I fall in love with the South.  For me, the South is all about true hospitality with laid back living, food shared with family and friends, and freedom.  When I travel, I am constantly reminded of why I am falling in love with the South.

My sister and I recently took a day trip to Nashville for some good food and shopping – emphasis being on food. Being just a day trip with a 2 1/2 hour drive each way, we tried to hit all our favorite places, plus leave enough time to discover new ones.  And discover we did!  We left Nashville so in love (and totally caffeinated).  We were just so impressed with how great a city Nashville is and the awesome community that is being built around quality crafted food and goods.

We started the day in 12 South.  Probably one of the streets I frequent the most on trips to Nashville.

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Where to Eat:

The Frothy Monkey Coffeehouse:  For a coffee-house, it is super cozy and inviting…and expansive.  They have a massive amount of seating, including an awesome outdoor patio.  Crazy busy though.  It is definitely the place to go to see and be seen when it comes to coffee houses.  A good start to the morning – plus their baked goods are a good addition to a latte.  Latte number one.

*Las Paletas:  Gourmet popsicles, for sure.  Definite recommendation – avocado.

*Sloco:  LOVE – with capital letters!  I am not a sandwich person, but I love their sandwiches.  I crave their sandwiches.  I am a huge fan because of the food and, even more so, because of the business.  The whole premise of their business is inspiring and wonderful.  They stand for local and organic, but they do not stop there.  Every aspect of their business has a very thoughtful, intentional feel, even the water cups from repurposed glass condiment jars.  You know they care.  It is not just a slogan.  It is a mission statement.  Definite recommendation – slow-roasted veggie.

Next time:  Burger Up

Where to Shop:

Imogene + Willie:  Ohhh…just walking by the store is inspiring.  Walking in the store/workshop, is definitely an experience.  We were immediately greeted with an incredible friendly and genteel staff.  Even though we stayed just a short time, the biggest impression made was by the people.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the way they have designed their workspace right in the midst of the shop, and their collection of clothing is very well designed.  But we were just really impressed with the realness of our conversations. Truly well crafted clothing straight from the source.  Imogene + Willie is an authentic lifestyle brand.

Next, we stopped by Edgehill Village for some shopping.

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Where to Shop:

KORE:  This shop has a very clean and easy feel dedicated to all things house and home.  The store has been curated excellently and carries some of my favorite brands.  I loved walking through the open door to see the owner with her dog sitting together enjoying their day.

Next time: Legato Gelato

We started to head to East Nashville but made a detour by Marathon Village.  My sister interned there years ago, so we thought we would drive by and were shocked by the development.

Where to Eat:

Bang Candy Company: for hand-made gourmet marshmallows.  We needed a little appetizer and split two marshmallows.  Recommendation – orange ginger cinnamon, super sweet though.

Where to Shop:

Otis James:  Probably the most unexpected treat of the trip.  We walked into the men’s accessories shop to find a small selection of crafted ties, hats, and handkerchiefs with obvious attention to detail and character.  We had just walked in the little showroom when out came a barefoot guy from the workroom – Otis James.  (Thinking back it seems a bit stereotypical – barefoot in Tennessee.)  But we loved how relaxed and low key his shop was.  We chatted with him about his wares, the story behind his business, and his vision for it all.  I loved his passion for doing things well and his appreciation of a simpler, old fashioned way of doing things.  We could not help buying a handkerchief and a tie for our father.  We fell in love with the whole ambience.

We ended up getting another latte, but not one I would recommend.  I don’t know if we even really drank it.

After leaving Marathon Village, we made our way over to East Nashville for lunch.

Where to Eat:

Mas Tacos Por Favor: Such a cute hole in the wall kind of restaurant.  Very eclectic and very popular.  The seats stayed full!  They offer a small selection of tacos, soup, and plantains.  We each got a taco and then split an order of plantains.  It was the perfect amount of food.  Definite recommendations:  Chicken with the verde sauce – I don’t remember what it was called.

Marche:  We headed to Marche for dessert.  I love the ambience of this little café.  Very European feeling -relaxed, cozy, and inviting.  Within walking distance from the other restaurants if you want too.  It was nice to stretch our legs before eating more.  Definite recommendations: rhubarb tart (and on a previous visit, I tasted the faro and butternut squash entre – delicious!)

Barista Parlor:  Probably one of the top coffee shops I have been to – a great latte to end on.  They did a really great job aesthetically, every detail down to the menu design.  Again, the service was fabulous.  We ended up splitting a regular iced latte and one of their signature liquor lattes.  Only relying on a map, it was a little hard to spot as it sits back of the road just a bit. Definite recommendations:  the whiskey or bourbon latte…I cannot remember which one we got.

*Holland House:  We did not eat here on this trip, but I did not feel I could leave it out.  I loved the meal (and drink) I had there previously and would go back again for sure.  Definite recommendations: mussels.

Where to Shop:

Porter Road Butcher:  We did not buy anything here, but if we were local, this would be a top place to shop.  It was fun to look all the same.

Next time:  Crema, Pharmacy, The Stone Fox

This is by no means an exhaustive tour guide of Nashville…just my favorite eats and shops!  Hope you enjoy!

love, Virginia

*We did not have time to eat every where even though we split meals and drinks at all our stops.  These are from previous trips.

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