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Eating our way through Nashville

Friday, December 10th, 2010

The purpose of our weekend trip to Nashville was to see the Blackhawks take on the Predators at Bridgestone Arena.  We figured we’d spend some time in the honky tonks, too, listening to some live music.  But what we – or, I should say, I – didn’t expect was the abundance of dining options, and I definitely did not expect the food to be so good.

We stayed at the Sheraton in downtown Nashville and it proved to be the perfect location for a weekend trip sans vehicle.  It is walking distance to Broadway, which is where the honky tonks, bars, and restaurants are, and to Bridgestone Arena.  We arrived on a Saturday morning, too early to get into our hotel room, so we left our bags with the hotel valet and walked down to Broadway in search of some breakfast.  Our breakfast came in the form of live music and bloody marys at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, since no restaurants on Broadway were open, and none serve breakfast.  We waited until 10:30 when Jack’s BBQ opened up and, judging by the line, plenty of others couldn’t wait for the restaurant to open, either.  I ordered the beef brisket plate which comes with two sides; I chose macaroni & cheese and hot apples (it was all fat free, by the way).  That brisket was probably the best bbq I have ever had.  Perfectly tender, lean meat, incredible smoky flavor. From the array of self-serve bbq sauces, I went with the Kansas City, and it was a perfect match for my brisket.  The mac & cheese and apples were incredible, as well.  We visited Jack’s again two days later and did not have quite the same experience.  We all were quite disappointed with our food.  I ordered the brisket plate again (it was too good the first time; I had to), with mac & cheese and cream corn (both were delicious).  The brisket, however, was fatty and a little tough.  The employee cutting and carving the meat wasn’t the same guy from our first visit so maybe he had something to do with it.  Whatever the reason, I was seriously disappointed.  I’d still recommend Jack’s, though.  We might have just caught them on a bad day on that second visit.

Some other dining highlights from our weekend in Nashville:

[read on]

Thoughts on the Blackhawks Convention

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

I knew this year’s Blackhawks Convention would be insanely crowded since they’re total studs now for winning the Stanley Cup.  I also knew that I probably shouldn’t even think about going because those insane crowds would just annoy me and be the source of severe anxiety for me.  But when a friend of mine said she’d scored some passes and a one-night stay at the Hilton (the site of the Convention), and the price was reasonable, I just couldn’t bring myself to say no.

I should have just said no.  Actually, I take that back.  If I hadn’t gone, I would not have met Denis Savard again, and he would not have signed my jersey for my daughter.  But I promise that I will not attend another Blackhawks Convention if I can help it.  Some issues I had that need to be rectified:

1 – Crowd management and control.  This is needed especially for people waiting outside the various ballrooms to gain entrance to the scheduled panels.  Once the doors to the ballroom open, people start pushing and shoving.  I’m surprised I saw no fights break out (Lord knows I wanted to knock out a few people….).

2 – Signage indicating entrance/exit into/out of the ballrooms.  This kind of goes along with #1.  People not knowing by which doors to stand and wait caused some of the pushing and shoving.  True story:  there was a panel in progress in one ballroom and we wanted to get into the next scheduled panel in the same ballroom, so we were waiting outside the doors.  We were toward the front of the line and a pretty good line of people had formed behind us.  A few minutes before the on-going panel was to be let out, a Hilton employee told us we had to move out of the way because the doors we were standing near were the exit doors for the people in the ballroom.  That meant we had to go and stand by the other doors where another long line had formed.  It was unfair that we’d been waiting there so long, unknowingly at the wrong doors, and then we had to go to the back of the other line, thereby putting in jeopardy our admission into the ballroom.

3 – Fan questions for the panels.  I’m all about fan/player interaction, but some of the questions during the panels were so irrelevant, some even inappropriate.  This was especially true during the 2010 Olympics:  A Golden Moment panel, which was made up of Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Patrick Kane – ya know, the young studs on the team.  It was mostly girlfans asking ridiculous questions, not even about the Olympics, one even asking to present Keith with a gift from her and her sister.  If fan questions can’t be omitted entirely, then at least have someone there to first screen the questions before the fans are allowed in front of the microphone.

4- Player inaccessibility.  One of the draws of the Convention is the opportunity to see the players up close, in regular clothes, and to interact with them.  The current Convention set-up allows for no interaction at all, outside of the autograph singings for which attendees must first obtain a wristband.  Before and after the panels and autograph sessions, the players are ushered in and out by a security entourage, as if they are dignitaries or major Hollywood celebrities.  That just made the players seem even more distant and inaccessible.

I still love my Blackhawks and always will.  Since it’s near impossible to get game tickets, too, I guess I’ll just have to settle for watching the games and seeing the players on television.

Posted by Francesca

Highlight of the Blackhawks Convention

Sunday, August 1st, 2010
Cherish forever, originally uploaded by Francesca.... The 3rd Annual Blackhawks Convention just wrapped up. I attended for the second, and probably my last, time – but more on that later. The ... [Continue reading this entry]

I need to vent

Friday, May 22nd, 2009
After listening to broadcasters and commentators from two different networks (Versus and CBC [Hockey Night in Canada]), I've realized that the media and the rest of the hockey world believe that the Blackhawks have no chance against Detroit in this ... [Continue reading this entry]

Blackhawks’ “One Goal” commercial

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009
This commercial gives me the chills. If I were one of those kids, I'd have passed out from seeing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane at my hockey practice.  But it's refreshing to see the advancement of youth ... [Continue reading this entry]

Blackhawks Training Camp Festival

Thursday, September 18th, 2008
This Saturday, September 20th, is the first ever Blackhawks Training Camp Festival at the United Center. Admission is $5 and it includes entry into the United Center for a Blackhawks' public practice and all other activities at the ... [Continue reading this entry]

Blackhawks to play outdoor game at Wrigley

Saturday, May 31st, 2008
This is the best news ever!! The Blackhawks reportedly will play an outdoor, non-exhibition game (meaning it will count in the regular season standings) against the Detroit Red Wings on January 1, 2009, at Wrigley Field. How ... [Continue reading this entry]

Season ends for the Blackhawks

Sunday, April 6th, 2008
Today I took down the 2007-08 Blackhawks schedule that was hanging on the refrigerator for their season has come to an end. The Hawks ended it on a very high note, coming quite close to grabbing that last playoff ... [Continue reading this entry]

My ongoing love affair

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007
I love hockey. I have since I was about four years old. I wish I could explain what first drew me to the sport at such a young age. All I can remember is shooting a tennis ... [Continue reading this entry]

I’ve been waiting my whole life for this

Friday, November 2nd, 2007
The Blackhawks are finally going to televise their home games. I had a feeling this would happen as soon as the old man (Bill Wirtz) died. So now can we bring back Pat Foley? Posted by Francesca