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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:

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It’s the holiday season

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

We hope everyone had a happy and enjoyable Christmas. I meant to write before the holiday about our Christmas Eve extravaganza but time got away from me. This year, Chef Mark decided to have a formal multi-course meal, rather than our usual buffet-style feeding frenzy. I was against the idea at first because I knew it meant that Mark would be in the kitchen the entire time, preparing the series of courses, instead of sitting down and eating with the rest of us. His reply was, “You know me. As long as everything tastes good, I don’t care.” How can I argue with that? We had the usual appetizers; Mom made her famous shrimp dip, cheese ball, and fried shrimp. Mark also made crab cakes and baked clams. Everything was so delicious and we all ate so much that I was afraid we would not have any room left for the big meal. The first course was fish salad (made by Mom – so good!), followed by shrimp bisque. Mark made the bisque from scratch and he started the whole process two days prior. Next course was linguine with clam sauce, one of my all-time favorites. The main course was hazelnut-crusted trout served over asparagus spears. Everything was cooked to perfection and beautifully presented. Chef Mark truly outdid himself, as did Mom. It wasn’t just about the food, though. We all received really awesome gifts from our Secret Santas, too, but the best part of any holiday is spending it with our families. That time spent is way more valuable than any gift we could ever get.

Posted by Francesca

Quick tip: Dining out in Italy

Friday, October 20th, 2006
One of the first questions people ask when inquiring about my trip to Italy is, “So how was the food?” While my dining experiences in Italy were varied, I had an interesting experience the night we had dinner at ... [Continue reading this entry]