Nashville is our final stop in the South before heading to the Midwest, so naturally, we decided to stuff our faces with as much Southern BBQ as we could eat. We fell in love with Southern food years ago, and like Mexican food, it is a style of cooking that I simply can’t live without. Sadly, it seems to be severely underrepresented in the wider world. I wasn’t going to allow us to miss this opportunity.
The first stop on my list was Biscuit Love. It is a concept we have seen scattered around the Southern states and had been wanting to try. It never failed, however, that we would happen upon one of these restaurants within moments of it closing for the day. So, when we arrived in Nashville, I was sure to map one out and check the opening hours.
We arrived just after opening, and were greeted by a line going out the door. Thankfully, there were a few seats available at the bar, which is open seating and full service. With just the two of us, we slipped past the line and grabbed seats right away. I must admit, it felt a little naughty walking past all the impatient line waiters, but they had the same opportunity we did, so I didn’t feel too bad. I ordered a cappuccino, an East Nasty, and a side of cheesy grits. The cappuccino was delicious and had fun foam art (you know, because that’s important). The East Nasty is a sandwich featuring a “buttermilk biscuit, fried boneless chicken thigh, aged cheddar, sausage gravy” for $10. And of course, when offered the chance to add an egg over easy, we said “Yes please!” It was pretty amazing. Although difficult to admit, the grits were actually the star of breakfast. The texture was perfect and the sharp cheese gave it a really nice bite.
All the Beer
We didn’t have time to do a full brewery tour in Nashville, but we still put an effort into seeing as many as we could. Upon high recommendations from our host, we visited Yazoo where we got a flight of six brews. They did an amazing job with their branding, with a large selection of merchandise and their name and logo on everything.
Smith & Lentz Brewing Company was a short walk from our house. We had four tasters there and loved each one. The bartender was very knowledgeable and the bar was comfortable and fun. After some debate, we ended up taking home the Vienna Lager to enjoy again.
Now don’t think we only drink beer. We love alcohol in all its various forms. To prove it, we visited the tasting table of one of the only wineries in Nashville, Natchez Hills. Some grapes don’t grow well here, so this winery makes wine with a mix of their grapes and grapes from other vineyards. I was a little leery at first, but we found that their flavors were very inventive and fun. My favorite was the Naughty Tea, a Southern sweet tea wine. It tasted just like sweet tea, but with a boozy kick. I could definitely see it making an appearance at a picnic with friends, especially since it was also sold in cans!
Hot Chicken is Nashville’s signature dish. It is fried chicken with either a wet or dry rub of spicy goodness. Inspired by Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” episode in Nashville, we visited Bolton’s Hot Chicken and Fish. It was a small, simple restaurant with a few picnic tables for seating, one order window, and a short menu. We both ordered some chicken tenders (mine not spicy, Josh’s medium heat), mac n’ cheese, baked beans, and sodas. The food came out quickly and it came out HOT… temperature-wise, that is. The heat from the spice was certainly present, but it wasn’t overpowering. It came on slowly and continued to build as we ate. We both really enjoyed it and loved how tender and juicy the chicken was. Up until that moment, my favorite fried chicken was my own. Now Bolton’s holds my heart for my favorite fried chicken.
On the one hand, I am really disappointed to be leaving the South so soon. On the other, I am tired of gaining weight from all of this delicious food! There’s something so comforting about Southern food, as though it were made special for me every single time. It’s a simple kind of magic that just makes you feel good, as long as you don’t pay too much attention to you pants gradually becoming too small.
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