Monday, June 22, 2009

Food or Dare?

Knowing that I'm a food junkie to the core .... one of my best buddies (and fellow Van Halen tribute band member) asked me to give him my personal favorite "food tour" of Nashvegas; basically the 10 - 15 places my lady and I would go if money were no object. Like me, he is equally comfy in the greasiest of dives as well as in more spiffed up foodie-oriented establishments.

So ... if I had "dough"-ray-me enough to hit all my favorite haunts in one weekend, here's where I'd jet.

Friday Night

The Mrs. and I have a favorite chef in town, Tandy Wilson. Not only are his dishes fantastic, but he is super cool to boot. City House is in a former art studio—with exposed brick walls, limestone and wood accents and its authentic Italian influenced dishes include simple ingredients, such as house-cured meats, fresh pastas, and local produce.

Recommendations - Olives with Tarall (a freakishly good donut looking bread with tasty herbs), followed by Pizza with House Made Belly Ham, Mozzarella, Grana Padano, Oregano, Chilies and topped with an egg (sunny-side up).

Close 2nds - House Made Zampina Sausage, Local Greens and Lemon or Bread Gnocchi (made with their amazing pizza dough), Tomato Ragu, and Grana Padano.

Drinks and Treats -- too many to pick a favorite, but the wine list is long and the desserts are all spot-on.

Late Friday Night

Prince's Hot Chicken

This is h-o-t chicken - a Nashville must: mild packs a punch; hot is eye watering and lip tingling, and trying extra-hot is only for those who's middle name is "danger". These are not your hooters wings, these are quarters which are dry rubbed and seasoned to the core with a heat-laced tasty red-orange spice. Heat is good. The best part - it's open til 2 (or 4) a.m. - but don't expect fast service - it's about the hot food here, not the 'tude.

Princes is just one of many hot-to-trot hot chicken and fish type places. The good news is that you can give them all a try at the July 4th 2009 Music City Hot Chicken Festival.

Saturday Morning

Located at the end of the famous Natchez Trace Parkway, this former motor court motel serves up award-winning country ham and red eye gravy, eggs and pulled pork (oh gosh!), and Nashville's favorite scratch biscuits with homemade preserves cooked right in the kitchen. It's a must see, and a must eat.

Or ... if you're willing to drive up the Natchez Trace a bit, a solid alternative is one of my favorite scoot jaunts, Puckett's Grocery in historic Leiper's Fork. This old general store styled grocery mart has some of the best food I've eaten in town. Great breakfasts all-around, be they fancy (mmm, eggs Benedict and french toast) or simple (eggs, biscuits and gravy and country ham). Eat inside or out on the old wooden picnic tables and watch the passers-by as they mosey into amazing antique dealers or just hang in the community courtyard. This is a must visit, and you'd better eat.

Whichever you chose, Loveless or Puckett's, spend some time driving the curves and fascinating bridge on the famous Natchez Trace Parkway.

Saturday Lunch

Almost every Saturday, the Mrs. and I visit our favorite lunch spot Hot Diggity Dogs. From the logo, checkerboard floors, and turquoise and red decor, this tiny eatery is brimming with charm. Gayle greets you with the her signature spunk, draped in the sweetest southern accent. We love when she yells our order to the kitchen staff standing about 5 inches away. Mel's favorite is a veggie dog, on the grill, fixed like a "nashville". I like my dog loaded with a bit of everything which Gayle informs me is a "build your own". We top off the meal with a home-cooked bag of fries and a coke! Thanks to pinkcupcakevintage for the review.

Or ... Puckett's Grocery (again?). )k, so I know I already gave Puckett's the breakfast nod, but if you couldn't make it because you were biscuit-ing it up at the Loveless, and if you're craving a burger or a dawg, head to Puckett's for the best cheeseburger and onion rings on the Trace, with a grape soda to wash it all down.


La Chaquita

This Mexican market / taco diner was rumored to be the best, unknown taqueria in the neighborhood by my buddy Chris. And trust me, he knows tacos! My buddy Rob and I headed there last week and .... holy cow ... we are regulars (or irregulars, eh-hem) now!

Papusas filled with Mexican sausage and cheese, "al pastor" style tacos, an avocado-cream dip that it outstanding, and a 500 ml bottle of Mexican coke (each) to cool the heat from the fresh salsa.

Did I mention that the sell cowboy boots in the back?

Saturday Night Dessert

Bobbie's Dairy Dip

This is the best joint in town for authentic, creamy milkshakes, dipped cones and hot fudge whatever you wants! Like stepping back in time, and it's open 'til 9. Kitschy and retro, cool through and through. Check out what others have to say here.

Sunday Morning

Brunch is our favorite choice of the day at Casa de Adams. There are so many great places in town to get a good mid-morning meal and coffee. Depending on how much scratch I've laid down for other meals over the weekend may be the decision maker for where we head for Sunday brunch.

If I'm low on the dough by now, we head to an Adams staple, Noshville. It's a New York delicatessen that serves unbelievable eggs, bagels, griddle cakes with powdered sugar & syrup (not your ordinary pancake) and gritty-good coffee. The Mrs. and I split the "I Bet You Can't" breakfast - - it's huge, and perfect for two. If you've slept in - they have amazing 6 inch tall deli sandwiches and of course, kosher pickles by the bowl full. Lots of salty meats and famous people to watch here.

If I've managed to hold on to a few extra bucks, we head to Marche', a European-style cafe and marketplace
. Not only is the food uniquely created and fresh, but the service is top-notch, and the "pretty people" are always there making it very vibey. I cannot even begin to describe the amazing food, so check out the menu here. I highly recommend the bread basket with peanut butter, honey, preserves, gnutella and other goodies. The homemade parfait is amazing (and vegan) and the croissant french toast is all things to all people. I couldn't find a picture of the food that did this place justice, so here is the Sunday Brunch Menu ... mmmmm.

Coffee & Snacks Along the Way

By now you're full, but hopefully you've also paced yourself enough to stop by and enjoy some of our other mainstay coffee joints and sweet treat centers.


Crema Coffee is our new favorite coffee shop. Not only is one of the drinks named after a friend of ours in town, but the coffee is dynamite (try the Che-Mex version). Plus, there is dedicated scooter parking with "Scooter Parking Only" signs! Need I say more??

Las Paletas is the local favorite for Mexican Popsicles - all made fresh, by hand, and flavors are divided into fruit (real fruit) and cream-based styles. There's no sign on the door, just look for the line here.

Cupcake Connection

Why mess with the best? Here is an excerpt a blog review by pickcupcakevintage about this amazing little cupcakery (In case you haven't noticed, pinkcupcakevintage is my wife Melodie's blog!). "The sweet family of 6 converted there living room into a bakery and did it all by themselves. Mignon and husband Francois greet you with a smile and hello the minute you walk in, and little Xavier rings you up at the register. The cupcakes are delicious and only cost you $1.50 in a $3.00 cupcake world. My favorites are wedding cake and sweet lemonade, but Matty insists on the chocolate and marble swirl. They are open every day but Saturday, that's family time." Believe you me, this cupcakes are amazing tasting, affordable (hey, I've eaten some that are more than a good burger) and the family that runs the place is so friendly.

That's a lot of food for one weekend .... but Jason, you asked. Ha!

Rock on and scoot out.

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