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.
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.
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.
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).
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!”
Breakfast 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.
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.
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.