After a cheap night of camping at a state park in Kansas, we drove for what seemed like ages until we reached Nashville, eager to get out of the car. We pulled up to our friends’ house in the Germantown neighborhood just as the sun was making its descent, painting the sky in oranges, yellows and reds. We were excited to visit, especially after hearing from another friend that it is “the best city in America!” - this coming from a guy who rarely uses superlatives. We decompressed a bit at Andrew and Emily's house and met their two cats before heading out to dinner.
By the time we sat down at our table, we’d memorized our order: bone marrow, beet salad, and the pork loin entree. So tasty! Especially the (vegetarian) beet salad.
The next morning, we went to the huge, year-round Nashville Farmer’s Market, featuring tons of local (and not-so-local) fresh fruit and vegetables, pickled and jarred products, and pretty much anything else one could want. Our attention was railroaded by the peaches everywhere, which seemed to be calling our name, so even though they hailed from Idaho, we loaded up with about two pounds and started brainstorming recipes.
Next, we hit up the historical strip downtown, intent on visiting the world-famous Hatch Show Prints shop. This group has been typesetting and printing local concert posters for decades, with a recognizable style all their own. Inside, it was dark and smelled like oil-based ink, the walls covered floor to ceiling with a mix of awesome vintage and contemporary prints. We were both instantly overwhelmed and inspired, captivated by the subdued grandiosity of the operation. Walking around in awed silence, we took it all in while our creative urges came to a rolling boil. This Nashville institution is an inspiration, to say the least.
There were also two super-happy if somewhat overweight cats lounging in the sunny windows behind some prints for sale. In fact, the cats were the centerpiece on a recent Hatch print, and boast their own hashtag: #hatchcats. Adorable and hip. We didn’t end up buying any original prints since we're technically homeless, but we did pick up a t-shirt and a postcard.
Back on the east side, we met Emily for lunch at Five Points Pizza. We each got a slice, split a salad, and splurged big-time on some garlic knots - garlicky dough twisted up into fist-sized knots - served with a tomato sauce dip. Apparently this place is fairly new but is already getting raving reviews. We agree with the praise!
Across the street, we browsed a row of cool shops, including a tiny, well-curated menswear store called Hello Boys, where Kristen bought Loren a belated birthday present: a pair of tie clips, which she’d been on the hunt for.
Before leaving the area, we popped into Bongo Java Roasting Company, a Nashville staple that takes pride in roasting coffee beans in-house and serving delicious caffeinated concoctions. The chalkboard specials, we came to find out, are invented and voted on by their own staff members. Loren got a special pumpkin-spice iced espresso, and Kristen got the regs (black iced coffee).
It was a quick yet fabulous visit to Music City, and we can’t wait to come back (and hopefully see Andrew next time too!) Thanks for the southern hospitality, Emily!