Always Aubrey

Friday, May 26, 2017

Out & About: More Places to Eat in Nashville

I have this standing folder of food photos that I've been saving for one of these "where I've been eating" posts, so I'm back with another roundup!  (Click here for more posts about where to eat in Nashville, and where to eat in Franklin.)

My last "Out & About" post was Williamson County-focused, so this time I'm taking you up into the city... Nashvegas Nashville!

Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint - Downtown
I've been to what I believe was the first Martin's in Nolensville, but recently I found myself at the location downtown for a work function.  The downtown location often has a line out the door, but there is a TON of space... just head upstairs!  I was happy to see plenty of local craft beers on tap.

We ordered a ton of appetizers, so I didn't want to get TOO much food as my entree.  One of my favorite meals (I know, it's not traditional BBQ, whatever, it's on the menu everywhere) is a baked potato with BBQ on top of it!  Yum.  The one thing that makes Martin's a little different is that their sauce is on the runny side.  More vinegar than molasses, perhaps!  It's definitely one of the best BBQ spots in Nashville, along with Edley's and Peg Leg Porker.  Nashville isn't a BBQ destination (Memphis is more so) but you can find some good stuff here.

The Southern - Downtown
I've dined at The Southern a few times, I think always for work!  It used to be the only place downtown that I really recommended that people eat, because for a while that area was lacking.  Now, there's plenty of upscale and foodie spots there too!  Once again, I ate a bunch of appetizers...  I love their friend green tomatoes, steak biscuits, and crab cakes.  For supper, I enjoyed a small steak, though I was so stuffed that I could barely finish it!

For large groups, they'll work out a pre-set menu.  So that means dessert is included!  The bread pudding was so heavy, but tasty.  You should definitely split dessert with someone, as the portions throughout are huge.  It's a nice, busy place near downtown with guaranteed good eats.

Tavern - Midtown
I heard that Tavern is where the cool kids hang.  It was the only M Street restaurant concept that I hadn't visited, minus their Rosewall venue and their private Citizen club.  My friend B and I went to brunch at Tavern before we went to the ballet.  The wait was like two hours, naturally, because everywhere the young people want to eat is like that.  But we knew that you can sidle up to a bar seat first-come, first-served, so that's what we did.  The lower bar was crowded, but we found seats easily at the upper bar area, which serves a full menu.  I had the pain perdu, which was basically as if French toast and s'mores had a baby.  I'm not sure if I'd go back, given the hipster tax (long wait plus pricey food) but it was yummy!

Rosééééééééééééé all day!

Umami - Lenox Village
Lenox Village is a bit off the Nashville path, but it's a popular little area with a lot of nice shops and restaurants.  Umami is just around the corner from Burger Republic, and I went there with my friend P for lunch on a weekend.  My friend J had recommended it, especially because they have Korean food!

I had some tamago sushi, which I typically love.  This one wasn't the best I've tasted, but not bad.  It's hard to find good tamago in the middle of the U.S. in general.  I think I like a bit more mirin and soy sauce.

The Korean beef tacos were DELICIOUS.  I really need to get back to try some of their Korean fried chicken and other dishes.  It's possibly a little easier for me to get to Lenox than Antioch for Korean food, and it definitely had a nice Korean vibe to the whole place. (K-pop videos on TV, Korean families gathering, always good signs!)  I'll definitely be back to Umami.

Where have you been eating (or drinking) lately?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Out & About: More Local Eats

I have this standing folder of food photos that I've been saving for one of these "where I've been eating" posts, so I'm back with another roundup!  (Click here for more posts about where to eat in Nashville, and where to eat in Franklin.)

Today's roundup is all Williamson County!  Brentwood, Cool Springs, and Franklin are where I spend most of my time.  While chain restaurants are prolific, there's a ton of delicious bites throughout.   You're in for a treat, I've got a lot to share in this post!

Holler & Dash - Brentwood
Hello, biscuit sandwiches!  I really want to get back to this spot in Brentwood to try some of their tater tots.  The whole area around the restaurant is just booming, and it didn't even exist when I moved here.  Check out my full recap of my visit to Holler & Dash.

Del Frisco's Grille - Brentwood
Del Frisco's Grille is right across the way from Holler & Dash.  Their menu isn't cheap, but the food is good!  I went with a friend for lunch, and we found the best thing to do was to share a few things.  We had the wild mushroom flatbread, spicy guacamole, and ahi tacos.  I think the flatbread was my favorite.  Del Frisco's seems like a great place for a girls' night or happy hour.

Soy Teriyaki Bistro - Brentwood
While I maintain the best Korean food in Nashville is mostly in the Antioch area, Soy Teriyaki Bistro brings it much closer to home for me!  The first time I went there, years ago, there wasn't a ton of Korean food on the menu.  But now, I feel like Korean food is on trend and they're really letting their menu expand in a great way!  The fried rice is delicious, and you can even get bibimbap.

Drake's - Cool Springs
Drake's is a perennial favorite for happy hour for my coworkers.  It's always packed!  While I think the seating arrangements leave a lot to be desired (not super flexible for groups, especially the rigid booths in the back), they do have a big menu, including sushi!  Some might be wary ordering sushi at what seems to be a sports bar, but they do a really great job at it.  They also have killer tater tots.  I like that you can dine in the front bar area almost like a covered patio when the weather is nice.

Yats - Cool Springs
Yats, next to the UPS Store in Cool Springs, was on my list for ages before I actually got to try it.  My buddy and I had the jambalaya and the drunken chicken, served with their garlicky bread.  The portions were HUGE!  What we didn't know at the time is that we could have ordered two entrees half-and-half for variety.  It was packed with flavor and spices!  I'll be back when I'm looking for a meal that packs a punch.

Cool Cafe - Franklin
Cool Cafe is the best meat and three in Franklin, in my book!  Meat and three is something I'd never heard of until I moved to Tennessee.  A meat and three restaurant is one where the customer picks one meat from a daily selection of three to six choices (such as fried chicken, country ham, beef, country-fried steak, meatloaf, or pork chop) and three side dishes.  It's usually served with cornbread.  Cool Cafe is one of my husband's favorite spots in town!  I try not to eat there too often, because I feel so stuffed that I need a nap afterwards.

Cork & Cow - Franklin
Looking for a fancy steak dinner in Franklin?  Cork & Cow has delicious food and a fantastic cocktail hour.  It is a dinner-only restaurant.  When my in-laws came to town, I wanted to go someplace for a nice group supper, this is where I made a reservation.  It's from the same restaurant group as Red Pony Restaurant, where we had our wedding dinner.  I had one of their steak specials, and the spicy butter on my steak was absolutely killer.

Leiper's Fork Distillery - Franklin
Technically, Leiper's Fork is in Franklin, so I included it here.  When my sister-in-law was in town, we went to do a tour and tasting at the new Leiper's Fork Distillery.  I'm not a whiskey or bourbon drinker, but I was definitely surprised by how similar it is to making beer in some ways.  I also learned how to properly taste and smell it.  I think it's a great place to visit and tour if you're interested in learning!

Where have you been eating (or drinking) lately?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Main Street Festival

The same weekend as the National Cornbread Festival (read my post here), downtown Franklin hosted its annual Main Street Festival!  Basically, I live in Stars Hollow, because downtown gets shut down to traffic and hosts multiple festivals every year.  While Main Street Festival lacks the themed charm of Pumpkinfest and Dickens of a Christmas, I love the arts and crafts!

I went solo this year, as I could not subject Dan to two Southern festivals back-to-back in the same weekend.  The crowds are not his friend!  But I did grab him some of the mini doughnuts from our favorite Ellie's Old Fashioned Doughnuts, one of the must-stop spots during any festival.  (And the owner Danny usually gives me one for the road!)

I snagged a beautiful hostess apron at this cute booth!  I love the full apron my cousin got me from Anthropologie for cooking, but I love the hostess apron for when I'm doing things around the house and I need a pocket for my cell phone.  It doesn't have a tag, so I can't remember the vendor, but I also got this fabric sort of bowl to put under dishes in the microwave, so you don't burn your hands taking it out and carrying it.  Perfect for the office!

There are also the usual charming Franklin shops open, like Landmark Booksellers and Earlys Honey Stand, in addition to some creative crafters. I find that many of the crafters are from throughout the south.  Two of my favorites.  Sign Niche, a perennial favorite, and Five Birds Art, from which I purchased a hand painted Tolkien quote.

Sign Niche

 Downtown Franklin festivals are a bit of logistical nightmare.  My secret?  I roll in about 45-60 minutes before the festival, in the morning.  I grab breakfast at Starbucks or Frothy Monkey, then I sit and wait.  I browse when it first opens, then bounce by the time the weather and crowds heat up!  Another alternative is to find out if there's a park and ride option for that fest.  There's usually a shuttle that allows you to bypass the parking and traffic nightmares.

I love a festival!  😍

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