not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nothin' but Fun in Nashville.

I looooove Garden&Gun magazine. Deb Gibson drops it off at our house and I always enjoy reading this publication from cover to cover. Its a magazine about the South, but it covers all of my favorites: everything from books, movies and epic recipes, restaurant reviews and cocktail concoctions- along with heartwarming stories and hunting excursions. One of the issues had a review of a Nashville bar, NO.308. It's a bit off the beaten path, a locals hangout and where all of the "industry" (other bartenders, servers, foodies, etc) go to get their drink and grub on. It's owned by a young, sexy mixologist- and in the name of supporting young, ambitious, talented women- I decided that this was a MUST for when we passed through town. We were NOT let down. Their cocktail list was so exciting!!! Bah! I felt like a kid in a candy store. I opted for the caipriniha: a cocktail that I enjoyed all over southeast Asia this past winter but haven't seen on a menu anywhere in the states. It's cachca, lime and some sugar. So refreshing, and of course brought back great memories of good times in Asia! Their food menu was awesome, and when the food came out I was even more impressed. I LOVE me some bar food, but rarely does it take center stage. Well- the fish & chips served with a mustard sauce were finger-licking good. The cods batter was crispy, the homemade chips were just right and again- I cannot stress how delightful their mustard sauce was-- way better than the typical tartar sauce that most places give you. We shared some freshly cut and fried veggie chips, which I greedily dipped into the mustard sauce for the fish! And last but certainly not least is their CARNITAS. I have lived in Costa Rica for a fair bit of time, and traveled through south and central America- where tortillas and pig are king in the kitchen. These carnitas were freaking heaven on earth. Huge chunks of succulent, perfectly seasoned pork, topped with some simple tomatillo green salsa and cilantro...laid upon corn tortillas and served with a wedge of lime. THIS is what a true taco other bells and whistles- just tortilla, salsa and meat. It was brilliant. We had an extra order after the first plate was done. No. 308 is everything that a local watering hole should be: a cozy place with reasonably priced, hand crafted cocktails, good service and some damn fine food. Why cant we make this happen in New Jersey? Is it so much to ask? Really...if there was a 308 near my house I may never leave. And this place was reason enough for me to make a return trip to this southern town. Full, buzzed and happy on my discovery- we made our way downtown to Broadway...where all the honky tonks are. We strolled the tourist filled streets, chock full of musicians singing for a spare buck- but ultimately settled in at Roberts. Roberts is one of the most famous, but it also came recommended by Svens dad, Auggie-- who spends a ton of time in Nashville, and who knows good music. Well, he was right. Though the entertainment all along the street was good, the music in Roberts was GREAT. My taste in music is all across the board- and although I won't put a country album on most days, it is my favorite music to go see live (this includes bluegrass too). And I'm not talking "country" as in Carrie underwood and Taylor swift...I'm talking REAL country. Drank several beers, slapped my knee as I enjoyed the music and then headed home and slept like a rock.

Its raining today in Nashville, but goddamnit I am doing my list of touristy things whether it's rain or shine. On the list is to see the Grand Ole Opry house as well as the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The plan is to leave around 5pm and make our way towards Maryland. Stop when we're tired, continue on the next day and ultimately arrive at my cousins house in Bowie around dinnertime. Saturday we will all head into Washington D.C for the day and then home to Jersey by Saturday night!

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