Thursday, February 25, 2016


So, the Vegas rule applies to calories consumed in Tennessee right? The "east nasty" biscuit at biscuit love, duck fat fried tots at Merchants, grilled cheese and lava cake from Goozy, and some freakin' delicious hot chicken from Uncle Lou's (ok, this one was back in Memphis on our way back to the airport). Honestly, we didn't plan anything for Nashville other than a place to stay so we pretty much just ate and listened to music. 

Here's Truman making his "east nasty" face. Can you believe they intended for only one person to eat this meal for breakfast? We split and were still crazy full. 

I've pretty much never met a tot I didn't like. 

On the first night we happened to stumble upon Morgan Frazier (from the voice) singing in the back of Tootsie's. We hung out for over an hour and it was awesome. 

There was also this rockin' lady and at Layla's.

The next day we did some work in the morning and then went out looking for food and exploring. We kind of struck out on the exploring. While this printing press was cool we weren't super impressed with the shopping or walking around in East Nashville. Maybe we just didn't go to the right spots but we ended up abandoning the exploration early and heading over the famous Bluebird Cafe for more music. 

This was the line outside the Bluebird Cafe an hour before it opened. Truman hopped in line and I made a dash for some lava cakes at Goozy (I tried to get them to spike the hot chocolate but they wouldn't go for it). The Bluebird was highly recommended on all the tourist sites so we were pretty shocked to discover that it was in a strip mall in the 'burbs. Overall it was a cool experience and some of the talent at the open mic night we went to was quite good...but it wasn't really any better than an open mic night in any other city with a lively music scene. We had fun and their wasn't a cover because it was a Monday night but if you're from a city like LA or NYC you can probably skip this one. 

Oh, and the place only holds 50 people. See those poor souls behind Truman? They didn't get in. We were the last people to make the cut. 

What Nashville does well (you know. other than fried food) is music so we headed back to Broadway for more country music. People told us to go to Robert's, which we did but weren't impressed with on night number one. We decided to give it another shot on night number two and the band was way better. Josh Hedley & the Honkey Tonk Heroes were pretty fantastic. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Visiting Memphis

Truman and I love to visit new cities. We like walking, we like eating and we like spending time together so we usually plan a couple of activities and then just wander around. Work has been pretty stressful so we decided that a little get away was in order sometime this winter and when Frontier had a sale for $80 roundtrip tickets to Memphis we decided that Tennessee sounded like a great destination. After looking at the offerings in Memphis we decided to rent a car and split our trip between Memphis and Nashville.

Memphis was, well, a little sad. The neighborhoods that we were in totally lacked transitions. We were either in a pretty empty feeling neighborhood with homes in desperate need of maintenance and shuttered store fronts or, just a block a way, we were in a historic district that had one of the most dense collection of huge turn of the century homes that I'd ever seen. There wasn't any middle ground.

We visited Graceland, the Stax Museum, and the National Civil Right Museum at the Lorraine Hotel and they were all great...but they were also all pretty sad stories of men, movements or moments who were ended in their prime. Memphis felt like the physical embodiment of that same theme. The tragedies of the civil rights movement changed Memphis (as they did the country) and, it looks to me, that white flight bankrupted the tax base and, from a tourist point of view, I'm not sure that meaningful reinvestment into the city center ever happened.

Overall, I think Memphis is worth visiting once but I'm not sure we felt like there was enough to see to justify a second trip. I will say, if you're a bit of a policy wonk Memphis is fascinating and definitely sparked some good conversation on our three hour drive to Nashville.

Saturday's itinerary was central bbq (good, not great), the Stax Museum (worth the visit!), dinner at Second Line (really good, we waited out the hour long wait at Bari next door where the fancy cheese plate was awesome), and walking around Beale Street. We quickly learned that in the South all meals should be much food!

Sunday: We spent the morning at Graceland which was fun (Elivis had the same refrigerator that we currently have and the same coffee table my grandma used to have). Graceland definitely viewed Elvis with rose colored glasses and Truman and I had an interesting conversation about whether or not it was a history museum or a tribute. As a tribute, I thought it was great. 

After Graceland we at at the delicious Rizzo's for lunch, and then went to the National Civil Rights Museum which is located at the hotel where Dr. King was killed. It was awesome but really dense, my brain was a little fried by the end. 

Next stop: a three hour drive between us and Nashville!