Days 4 & 5 – Nashville: Music & BBQ – Nashville style

Nashville is known for southern cuisine such as barbecue, but it is better known as Music City. Its music roots began in the early 1800’s and accelerated greatly after the building that is known as the Ryman Auditorium was built.

Because of the city’s reputation, I was determined to experience some live music. I checked on my trip planning document and I was dismayed that the bluegrass jam that I intended on seeing was cancelled.

After researching the local honky-tonk bars, I settled on Layla’s on Lower Broadway, or what the locals call “Lower Broad”. Live music can be heard midday on the Lower Broad and the action only gets livelier in the evening.

Inside Layla's
Inside Layla’s

We entered Layla’s mid-afternoon and a blues band was playing. Couples were dancing to the music and having a good time. If you didn’t order a beer, your drink was served to you in a plastic dixie cup.  No need for a bar sink, I thought to myself.

I was hoping to see some bluegrass music, but the next band was focused on country rock.  We left and headed next door to Jack’s Bar-B-Que. A number of people were lined up outside getting ready to attend the evening performances.

I was surprised by the fact that they offered different regional offerings: Tennessee Pork Shoulder, Texas Beef Brisket, Smoked Texas Sausage and St. Louis Ribs. I overheard one of the staff mention that his favorite was the brisket and so I ordered a brisket plate with coleslaw and baked beans.

Brisket with coleslaw and baked beans
Brisket with coleslaw and baked beans

I combined the brisket with a generous amount of Tennessee BBQ sauce. The sauce wasn’t spicy, but it was certainly heavy on the vinegar side. Consequently, it made me slightly wince when I took in a piece with too much sauce.

My mom ordered the Pulled Pork Sandwich and after sampling the sauces, she decided she liked the Memphis BBQ sauce. I probably should have sampled the different sauces, but I was too hungry and impatient.

Five Daughters, 12 South
Five Daughters, 12 South

The next day happened to be Halloween and it was our last day in Nashville. We checked out of our hotel and headed to one of Nashville’s hottest donut shops, Five Daughter’s Bakery.

I went there primarily to get a “to-go” box to take home to the family. I picked up a box of 5 of their fall flavors: Huckleberry with light chestnut cream infusion / Pumpkin with pumpkin cheesecake infusion / Chocolate Coffee Crunch / Apple Praline / Pumpkin Spice and King Kong (Maple/Bacon).

Donuts from Five Daughters
Donuts from Five Daughters

After seeing them boxed, it was tough not diving into one of them. I was surprised at how heavy the box was. I found out that they are particular on their ingredients: grass-fed French butter, organic when possible, no chemical preservatives, no GMO, no hydrogenated oils, no soy, no artificial colors or soy. I chuckled to myself, “these are donuts you can feel good about eating!”

z_signBreakfast was at Pancake Pantry which is located in the Hillsboro / West End section of Nashville. I was ecstatic that the first 2.5 hours of parking was free as I paid huge amounts to park the car in downtown Nashville.

The Pancake Pantry is a breakfast / lunch diner. The service was prompt, friendly and efficient. I selected their seasonal special: apple with walnut pancake and my mom went healthy on me and selected buckwheat pancakes.

Apple Walnut Pancakes
Apple Walnut Pancakes
Buckwheat Pancakes
Buckwheat Pancakes

I was very happy with my selection. The medium sized pancakes were topped with apples, walnuts with an apple syrup. My mom kept commenting that her pancakes were dark and looked like chocolate pancakes and as she ate them, she was really happy with her selection.

The AT&T (A.K.A. Batman) Building
The AT&T (A.K.A. Batman) Building

After breakfast, we drove to the airport and headed back home. I really enjoyed the trip and I hope my mom did as well. While we didn’t get to do the ideal music event, I think overall, it was a good time in Music City. I’d definitely return to see an act at the Ryman Auditorium. After all, the Ryman has the second best acoustic auditorium in the US next to the Mormon Tabernacle.

 

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Day 4 – Nashville: Learning about Letterpress Printing

Sunrise over Nashville
Sunrise over Nashville

This morning, I looked out the window and noticed a beautiful sunrise. It is little things like this that I appreciate.

As much as I enjoy visiting independently owned restaurants, I also enjoy visiting independent coffee shops. The owner’s personality is usually reflected in both the establishment and the offerings. Red Bicycle in Germantown, is no different.

Red Bicycle in Germantown
Red Bicycle in Germantown

Walking inside, you immediately experienced the distressed wood look. Various different types of red bicycles are depicted on their walls. This is the type of place people feel comfortable frequenting and it invites conversation.

While Red Bicycle sells bagels, donuts and oatmeal, the real draw is their made-to-order crepes. A good assortment of both sweet and savory crepes are offered. My mom ordered the Sunrise (eggs & cheese) with her meat choice being chorizo.

Florentine Crepe
Florentine Crepe
Sunrise Crepe with chorizo
Sunrise Crepe with chorizo

I selected the Florentine crepe. This was filled with eggs, cheese, mushrooms and spinach. I like how they decorate the top of each crepe with some of the interior ingredients. This not only adds to the presentation, but also helps identify which crepe belongs to who.

Of the two crepes, I preferred my mom’s more. I remarked to her that most choirzo is so greasy, you usually don’t feel good about eating it. This one was very lean, yet still full of flavor. Mine was similar to eating a spinach and mushroom omelette. The light roast coffee and the Americano were both delicious beverages.

One of the many guitars in the Johnny Cash museum
One of the many guitars in the Johnny Cash museum

The Johnny Cash Museum is ideally located just off Lower Broadway. They offer a self guided tour through an extensive collection of Johnny Cash’s works and belongings. Most of the items were donated by longtime friend Bill Miller. The museum is quite a legacy to the fabled singer.

Both my mom and I needed souvenirs and what a better place to go than to the Goo Goo Shop. I already knew that it was across the street from the Johnny Cash museum and so we made good use of our parking.

Making the Rocky Roadkill Goo Goo Cluster
Making the Rocky Roadkill Goo Goo Cluster

The Goo Goo Shop was an unexpected surprise. It turned out to be a combination retail story, mini factory and ice cream shop. After looking over the general souvenirs and candy, I watched one of their employees making one of the premium Goo Goo clusters. Named the Rocky Roadkill Rocky Roadkill, it was comprised of peanut butter, marshmallow, pretzels, peanuts, and potato chips covered in milk chocolate.

The Hatch Show Print is a historic letterpress shop that operates within the Country Music Hall of Fame building. They designs and prints posters and also produce diverse art work. They have been in operation since 1879.

Inside Hatch Show Print
Inside Hatch Show Print

We took the guided tour. For me, it was a like a walk through printing history. This was during the time when the vocation “printers” existed and when craftsmanship actually meant something.

Hand carved in reverse
Hand carved in reverse

Type is manually set and in the case of posters, it is usually derived from blocks of wood that is individually carved. For events, it is possible that a single graphic image was carved. Because they needed to be reused, they often omitted the year.

I found the tour to be fascinating and they had us create a simple mini poster that we could take home. Fortunately, the type was already set and the ink was predetermined. All we needed to do was to place the roller on the ink well and spread it across the wood type.