As we drove from Louisville to Nashville, our Airbnb host was our hero and messaged us to call for directions around some heavy construction. He saved us an hour of being stuck in traffic. We had encountered some construction traffic on our way to Louisville and in Louisville itself and we really appreciated the kind gesture.
We arrived in Nashville and the rain had finally stopped. We settled into our Airbnb home in the Vandy-Belmont area near Vanderbilt University and not far from the 12 South neighborhood. The home was charming and full of our host’s artwork. We met up with him and he offered some suggestion for food. He told us about a new restaurant called 5th and Taylor that had been open only a few weeks. He said that soon it would be impossible to get a table, but now would be a good time to try it.
We unpacked and relaxed a bit on that comfy green couch before using Uber to take us over to 5th and Taylor. Our Nashville Uber driver was a friendly guy that works as a graphic artist by day and drives for Uber at night.
We arrived a few minutes before the restaurant opened at 5 pm, so we waited on the steps. When the doors opened, we were the first ones in and the hostess asked if we had reservations. We didn’t, but she quickly said it was ok and offered us our choice of seating at the bar, a casual seating area near the hostess station or outside on the patio. We went for the patio because it was a beautiful night. The rain was threatening to come, but a good portion of the patio was covered.
We asked our server what his favorite items were and he suggested the red oak salad, the bacon-wrapped quail and the beef tartare. We responded with, “Ok!” Each dish was truly delicious and more delicious than any description or photo can relay. The red oak salad was grilled and mixed with fresh apple, Cumberland cheese and jowl lardons.
The bacon-wrapped quail was drizzled with sorghum for a sweet and smoky treat. Really excellent. The beef tartare had a generous layer of herbs and capers on top with a mustard sauce and a runny egg. We’ve become pretty big beef tartare fans, so we order it when we can.
And how could anyone refuse a strawberry pie made for two? This barely-sweet strawberry pie had a lovely pastry crust with coarse sugar on top. It was served with anise ice cream and we couldn’t believe how fantastic the combination was together. Anise isn’t one of my favorite flavors, but I loved that ice cream.
We used Uber to get back to our Airbnb and took a walk in the charming neighborhood. I loved the neighborhood and the houses so much. It was a perfect first day in Nashville.
On Sunday morning I spent some time on the porch swing, enjoying the breeze while Marc got ready for the day. The humidity was making my hair a little fuzzy, so I put it up in milkmaid braids.
We first stopped at Frothy Monkey in the 12 South neighborhood for coffee. Everyone that worked there was super friendly. We took a seat to casually enjoy our lattes and Marc and I couldn’t help but overhear the couple next to us discussing The Beatles. More specifically, she was explaining The Beatles music to him and it sounded like he’d never heard of them before.
We fondly remember eating at Burger Up with Lindsay + Taylor the last time we were in Nashville and it’s conveniently located in 12th South. Immediate seating was available for communal tables, which we didn’t mind. The table wasn’t full, so it felt like we had a small table to ourselves. We did chat a little with our friendly table-neighbors just before they left.
I was eyeing the salads and really should have ordered one, but who orders a salad at Burger Up? Ok, I ordered the beet salad the last time we were here. But, I went full burger and fries this time!
We started with fried pickles and our energetic waiter fully supported that decision. He sang along with the great tunes that were playing as he stopped by each of his tables. We both decided that fried pickle chips are the way to go with fried pickles. The fried spears stay hot for SO LONG and sometimes the pickle will slide out of the crispy coating. These pickle chips were tangy and easy to eat without burning your moth.
Marc ordered a chili cheese burger and opted for onion rings on the side while I ordered the special burger of the day with pimento cheese and jalapeños. Both were so good! Marc was astounded that his burger stayed together and never became a mess despite its messy ingredients. They have a great bun and unique toppings that make burgers a bit more exciting.
We walked to nearby Sevier Park to walk around a bit. The neighborhood has really grown since we were in Nashville last. We remember empty lots, but now there are tons of shops and restaurants. As we started our walk, the sky opened up and the rain came. We found shelter under a large tree in the park and watched as families gathered up their picnics and fled for their cars. It was a good time to take a quick pic of the Salt & Pepper Buttermilk White Chocolate Bar I picked up at Frothy Monkey.
After the rain stopped, we walked further into the park and saw a group of parked food trucks. We were way too full to eat anything, but The Peach Truck was just in business for the season and I picked up a bag to take home. They were perfectly ripe a couple of days later and eased me back into real life after vacation.
Marc bought a pair of Imogene + Willie jeans last time we were in Nashville and he wanted to get a new pair on this trip because they’re his favorite. The gal who helped us said I+W adjust their jeans often based on customer feedback. Marc did notice a couple of changes that he really appreciated, like an extra button in the fly. We hung around for a while and made new friends inside. The store is really different from the last time we were in town. Same Americana vibe, but things were moved around. There used to be a group of people at sewing machines ready to hem your jeans on the spot, but now they are sent out and shipped to you if you’re from out-of-town like us. Warby Parker also has a shop inside I+W, so we tried on a bunch of glasses.
At first, I thought Las Paletas was completely gone because they used to be right next to Burger Up. Thankfully, they had just moved down the street a little bit. The rain hadn’t scared anyone away and Las Paletas was booming. My biggest regret on our last Nashville trip was that I didn’t go for the chocolate dip. I got the avocado pop with chocolate dip this time and it was perfect. Marc was like, “I think I’ll order the hibiscus one,” which is the same flavor he ordered last time. The guy knows what he likes.
We went back to our Airbnb for some air conditioning and relaxing. At that very moment, though, a neighborhood kid parade started with bagpipes and a colorful dragon.
Marc told me several times that afternoon that he wouldn’t be eating again that day, which was fine with me. We were both full from a big lunch. Several hours later though, Marc said he could go for a little something. Our Airbnb host came through for us again and recommended Martin’s Bar-B-Que.
To be honest, I wasn’t that excited about eating barbecue. Not because it isn’t good, but because Detroit has gotten a ton of barbecue spots lately and I’ve tried all kinds and then I just got sick of it. However, when you’re in the south, you should really try some barbecue.
Martin’s is set up for ordering at the register and your food is brought out to you, so it’s a good idea to look at the menu online to get an idea of what you’d like. We split the Big Momma Sampler which has 4 ribs, pulled pork, brisket and a choice of two sides and Texas toast. I have to say, it was really excellent barbecue. We both talked about it after the fact and it’s probably the best barbecue we’ve ever had.
The next morning we had time for an early breakfast before heading home. Lindsay recommended Biscuit Love, which was a food truck the last time we were in town.
When I first walked up to the counter, they said the fryer was broken, but then the other girl corrected her and said it was fixed. Well, thank goodness because these bonuts (or biscuit donuts) were little bites of heaven. They were coated in sugar and stuffed with lemon mascarpone and set on fresh blueberry compote. I went with all of Lindsay’s recommendations because she knows what’s up.
We also ordered the Princess, which is hot chicken, pickles, mustard and honey on a biscuit. The salty sweet goodness is what I crave when going out for fancy breakfast.
It’s always a pleasure, Nashville! Thanks for all of the good eats and the surprise parade!
5th and Taylor 1411 5th Avenue Nashville, TN
Burger Up 2901 12th Avenue S. Nashville, TN
Las Paletas 2911 12th Avenue S. Nashville, TN
Frothy Monkey 2509 12th Avenue S. Nashville, TN
Martin’s Bar-B-Que 3108 Belmont Blvd. Nashville, TN
Biscuit Love 316 11th Avenue S. Nashville, TN
Imogene + Willie 2601 12th Avenue S. Nashville, TN
Sevier Park 3021 Leland Lane Nashville, TN