After spending the first half of spring break with family in Birmingham, we drove to Nashville for a mini-vacation. Our two-and-half-day stay included plenty of good eating, an afternoon reuniting with old friends, and a visit to one of the coolest museums ever.
We arrived late Thursday night, checked into our hotel, and promptly fell asleep. The following morning we walked to nearby Parlor Doughnuts for a breakfast of “layered doughnuts” (a.k.a Cronuts). June picked out the strawberry shortcake, The Astronomer chose the French toast, and I had a sugar-dusted “mini.”
It was a cold and rainy morning, so we kicked it in our hotel room waiting for the weather to improve. The Astronomer jammed on an electric guitar that our hotel (The Hutton) let us borrow free of charge — a wonderful amenity for those visiting Music City.
We lunched at Locust, which straight up ruled. Definitely book a table here if you’re ever in Nashville.
The rest of the afternoon was spent at the National Museum of African American Music. From start to finish, the museum’s exhibits were engaging, informative, and even interactive. Many of my favorite artists and genres were represented including Boyz II Men…
West Coast rap…
…and Salt-N-Pepa. It was an afternoon very well spent learning about the tremendous contributions of African Americans to music.
Dinner brought us to City House, which came highly recommended by the homies at Eater. The restaurant’s chef and owner Tandy Wilson is a James Beard Award winner for best chef Southeast.
Our Southern-influenced Italian feast included a sour corn cake, pizza topped with belly ham, angel hair pasta, and cornmeal crusted catfish.
I saved room for cake from pastry chef Rebekah Turshen. The evening’s slice was a multi-layered beauty of buttery cake, coffee, chocolate, and hazelnuts.
The following day we met up with some old friends for lunch at the iconic Prince’s Hot Chicken in Assembly Food Hall. The Astronomer and I shared a selection of chicken tenders spiced from mild to medium because we know our limits.
A mild-spiced sandwich was also shared between us. We were right to play it safe because the medium-spiced had us reeling.
After spending the afternoon with our friends playing Pokemon Go at the Tennessee state capitol (fyi, June participated in her first three-star raid battle), we parted ways and hit up Arnold’s Country Kitchen for dinner.
The no-frills, cafeteria-style restaurant was down-home and delicious. June and I ordered the meat-and-two. June selected the catfish with green beans and corn pancakes, while I had the meatloaf with cheddar jalapeno grits and corn pudding. The Astronomer surprised us all and ordered the pan-fried chicken tacos with Alabama white sauce. For dessert, June had the chess pie while I had the chocolate chess pie.
Our final meal in the city was at Monell’s in Germantown. The restaurant serves a family-style set menu ($23.95 for adults, $14.95 for kids) and seats a dozen or so diners together around a big table. We broke bread with folks who drove from Kentucky to eat at Monell’s.
The food was passed around the table and additional helpings could be requested from the kitchen as needed. But truth be told, the servings were so plentiful that we didn’t need to exercise that possibility.
Our brunch spread included all the hits: fried chicken, cinnamon rolls, biscuits, gravy, sauteed apples, bacon, sausage, ham, potatoes, corn pudding, grits, and more.
Following brunch, we hopped a Lyft to the airport and made our way home to LA.
A few of my favorite family vacations…