so i know you may be sick of hearing about nashville but i only have two more posts. i swear.
and technically this ice cream gem i am about to share with you was founded in columbus, ohio. so we’re good?
jeni’s splendid ice cream is just that. it is splendid. the flavors are unparalleled and i love the consistency. we went here on a whim in east nashville because the shop itself looked so darling. then they said there was no limit on tasting so i tried almost every single flavor. and let me tell you, it was so hard to decide on just two in my cone! there were so many fun holiday flavors like sweet potato with torched marshmallows, buttercup pumpkin, and middle west whisky egg nog. then there were their signature flavors like salty carmel, savannah buttermint, sweet cream biscuits with peach jam and goat cheese with red cherries. yes i tried all these flavors and more. and yes i loved every singly one of them. jeni’s is that delicious.
and now to the good part, jeni’s splendid ice cream has shops available in charleston, atlanta, nashville, new york city, chicago and columbus. but wait it gets better, many whole foods and specialty markets sell jenny’s ice cream by the pint. i just went to their website and found out that about 10 grocery shops fairly close to me sell jeni’s. it is a miracle! i plan on picking up a pint tomorrow night & will let you know how the selection is.
oh & since i was there for forever sampling, i got to talking to the sales associate and she mentioned that a jeni’s shop will be coming to la! hope the next stop on their list is silicon valley. i am crossing my fingers.
although 36 hours is nowhere near long enough to spend in music city, i have put together a city guide of the best things to do, eat and see while exploring nashville.
nashville’s southern hospitality, acclaimed country music, green hills and shrimp & grits stole a piece of my heart. i advise all those in love with southern states to take a trip there.
4pm: drinks + bowling at pinewood social (downtown) – after a long flight to the capital of the volunteer state, there is no better way to get your blood pumping and your body energized then heading over to pinewood social for bowling and drinks (great mocktail options since i do not drink alcohol). pinewood social has six reclaimed wood lanes from an old bowl o’ rama in indiana. bowling ain’t your thing? well not to worry. pinewood social also offers billiards and karaoke! this adult style playground is not to be missed. b and i love to bowl and play pool so this was the perfect activity for us to do while it was pouring outside. if i lived in nashville, i think it would be a dream to rent the space and host a party. pinewood social has such a great atmosphere.
7pm: dinner at husk (downtown) – husk’s first location was in charleston and they have since opened a second location in nashville. i love love love charleston. it is one of my all time favorite cities in the states so hearing that this restaurant was associated to charleston, i had to try it. husk is located in a home on a hill away from the hubbub of broadway street. their motto is “a celebration of southern ingredients” and it was a celebration indeed! husk has a farm to table ever changing menu and offers slight twists on good old fashioned southern dishes. b and i really enjoyed the shrimp and grits. husk topped the dish with an egg yolk which i especially loved. their whole menu sounded amazing. i just wish i had a spare stomach and bank account to try it all!
9pm: live music & line dancing at wild horse saloon (downtown) – you cannot go to music city and not listen to live music on broadway street! and you especially cannot not go to the wild horse saloon. wild horse is located in the heart of downtown and one block down from broadway street (broadway street is the reason they call the city nashvegas i think. there are musicians lining the sidewalks and you feel a little like cattle walking by. and i am sure it never truly sleeps). wild horse saloon is a great place to take in the city and its’ musicians. they offer live performances most nights and the crowd is always enthusiastic. this place is huge and offers entertainment for people of all ages. b and i enjoyed line dancing the night away to the live music (wild horse offers line dance lessons on fridays every hour or so). i just wish i had some cowboy boots now…
do note, wild horse saloon has a $6 cover charge.
9am: breakfast at fido (west side) – you know your favorite coffee shop that serves great breakfast too? that’s fido in nashville. fido offers a variety of different breakfast sandwiches, french toast, pancakes and scrambles. it has all the basics and then some. i am not usually a lover of wheat pancakes but was told by one of the employees that i had to try them. i was sure happy i did. they were some of the best pancakes i have ever had. fido offers bananas and blueberries to be baked into your pancakes which i am sure is delicious but i had to stick to the original for my first time. the bagles were soft, the portions were generous and the prices were moderate. fido is one of those places where you hope to be a regular because you could get used to eating their assortment of breakfast items every day. their hot chocolate was also a winner! oh fido, i need to come back for you and try the sweet potato french toast. yummmmm
11am: tour the grand ole opry (east side) – you have to take a tour of the grand ole opry while in music city. that’s like going to la and not seeing the chinese theater. so much history! this is where many country music super stars have performed and countless tv shows and movies have been shot. it is where legends and contemporary chart-toppers performing country, bluegrass, folk and gospel come together. it is a place where country musicians hope to be welcomed as a member someday.
the tour is about a hour long and blake shelton narrates about half of it (on a video screen, don’t get your hopes up). i really enjoyed seeing all the different dressing rooms (including the one where juliette and rayna met for the first time on nashville) and standing on the stage where so many i admire have preformed. i hope to see a show in the grand ole opry next time around but for now learning the history of the famous venue will do.
1pm: lunch at the farm house (downtown) – it may be a little daunting finding parking in this neck of the woods but once you sit down at the farm house all your worries will subside and your mouth will be watering. the farm house offers all the classic southern dishes. we enjoyed a pork bbq sandwich, white cheddar mac + cheese, brussel sprouts with bacon and apple cake. my mouth is watering just thinking about it all. i am sometimes weary of having bacon in my dishes because it is usually not cooked enough. i did request the bacon to be extra crispy and farm house delivered. literally best brussel sprouts of my life. are they still considered healthy if they are smothered in bacon?
every dish was extremely flavorful. i think i may have even liked the apple cake more than apple pie! i need their recipe asap. my compliments to the chef at farm house.
2:30pm: take a walk around bicentennial capitol mall state park & the parthenon (downtown) – the bicentennial capitol mall state park offers many monuments to gaze at and history to read. it also offers a beautiful view of the capitol building. b and i loved walking around and learning more about the roots of this great state. we then had to check out the parthenon. i mean who knew there was a replica of the ancient greek parthenon in the great state of nashville? i sure didn’t. i have not been to greece yet so not sure how it compares but i will say it is huge! it was a little hard to decide what angle to take pictures from because it was so large. i enjoyed walking along the side of the parthenon and gazing at it from a distance by the lake. nashville is beautiful!
7pm: dinner at etch (downtown) – now circle back to where you parked for the farm house and this time eat at its’ neighbor restaurant, etch. etch was my favorite meal of the whole trip. boy was it a treat. i loved reading over the menu and envisioning how each entree would taste. the waiter said it best when he said, ” the chef at etch does not do traditional well. she always has to give each dish a little flare.” and i guess i prefer the flare! we enjoyed the octopus & shrimp bruschetta (b does not love octopus and was completely scarfing down this appetizer), cobia, lamb and a chocolate pretzel bar. my taste buds were dancing with every bite in my mouth. i wish i could go back today and experience this meal all over again. obviously i love everything in this guide but if you were to pick just one place to eat, please make it be etch.
9pm: live music at the bluebird cafe (west side) – if etch was my favorite eatery, blue bird was my absolute favorite thing to do. okay so let me give you a little background on the bluebird cafe for those of you who don’t watch nashville. the bluebird is a small cafe located in a busy strip mall. but don’t let that fool you because this is where garth brooks and t swift (to name two, there are many more) were discovered! can you believe that? the bluebird is supposed to be like a recording studio were talking and videos are not permitted.
there are 20 tables and 10 bar seats available to be reserved. so you can see this place is tiny. i woke up early two days in a row a week prior to our trip in hopes to reserve seats. but to my dismay, tickets sold out in 15 minutes! maybe it was a fluke but i couldn’t believe it. i couldn’t let that stop me though. the bluebird offers 14 church pew seats on a first come first serve basis. we got to the cafe around 7:30pm for the 9pm show and there was already quite a line for the standby seats. i was getting a little worried but knew we had to try (note it was rainy outside where we were waiting ah). we waited in line for 1.5 hours and had amazing luck. we were able to snag seats at a table because people who had reserved the seats had ended up not showing up. thank the heavens.
we listened to james slatter, jimmy robbins and jon nite perform for almost two hours. it may have been my favorite concert to date (to be fair, i have been to less than 10 ha). these three went around in a circle introducing their songs and what inspired them. there were grammy nominated songs played and songs cut by garth brooks and blake shelton. it was incredible to hear the story behind the song and get a glimpse of the talent behind the big name stars. it really made me fall in love with country music. i always liked it but now i love it. my heart was so full hearing these musicians sing.
**do note, it is $12/person entrance fee + each person person must order one item off the menu. i indulged in a slice of lemon cake and b opted for chips & salsa.
9am: breakfast at marche(east side) – this european style cafe serves up some great breakfast dishes and freshly made pastries. i loved the croissant french toast. the flakiness of the bread combined with the sweet maple syrup was the perfect match. and when i said marche offers freshly made pastries i mean they have an onsite pastry chef who bakes all the delicious croissants, scones, muffins and cookies you see in the back of the store. take one of these heavenly items to go because their entree portions are so large you will not have room to eat it at the table!
11am: walk around gaylord resort(east side) – this resort is huge! there are many conferences hosted there because it is almost like a mini city. it reminded me of vegas style resorts but without the heavy smoke and with more natural lighting and greenery (which i prefer). i loved the architecture on the inside of the resort. it felt like you could have been at a plantation or in down town charleston all at the same time. i also loved all the little shops. it was a sight to see.
**you can of course stay on site so you get to experience this lovely place every time you head to your room but it fills up rather quickly and the prices vary.
before i dive into best things to do, eat and see in music city, i wanted to take a step back and let you know why i fell in love with this city over a mere 4 days. like if it were an option with our jobs right now, b and i really may be on the next flight to nashville and here is why.
1. the people. i have never had so many people come up and talk to me out of the blue. sure it was a little small talk but it just felt right. i felt so welcomed. some locals would give us tips and others would make little jokes to us as they walked by. nashville has that community feel and southern hospitality trait down pat. it makes me want to do better and get to know those around me (whether it be in the grocery store or the park or at a coffee shop). the locals were also proud of where they were from and their southern roots.
2. the culture. i love the boots, the lingo (ya’ll), the church on every corner (beautiful churches), the food, the energy and the die hard country music. i read a quote somewhere in downtown nashville that said something like country music is not solely about the artist or the melody but it is about the way you feel. i love that. some people are logical and have profound thoughts. i feel every thing. country music makes me feel alive, happy and grateful. country music is the soul of nashville.
3. the weather. four seasons but fairly mild four seasons. i love the fall leaves and the rain while we were there. then the sun came out the last day and it was glorious. it is not california but i really enjoyed the variety.
4. the faith. these are god loving people and i love how proud they are of this knowledge. i feel sometimes like it is looked down upon to talk about religion in california but in tennessee it is always talked about! most all little boutiques we went into had quotes about faith or god or heaven. there is also a beautiful stone church on every block. nashvillians wear their faith on their sleeve and i love that about them (no matter if they belong to my church or another church).
5. the greenery. b and i read that it is estimated to rain about 50% of every day in nashville, which equates to beautiful lush landscape. driving on any free way we saw rolling green hills. coming from a california drought, it was a nice change of pace.
i loved most everything about the capital of tennessee. and maybe i fall in love too quickly but nashville showed me a different way of living. a simpler way of living.
today, b and i are headed for an impromptu getaway to nashville. we literally just decided last week to take some much needed time off and head to music city. nashville has been on my wanderlust list for some time and my curiosity has increasingly grown while watching nashville the show. we are excited to have some good southern bbq, line dance the night away and rock out to country music. i have been monitoring the weather report and it may rain during our time there so all i can think about is grabbing a cute umbrella to stay dry. here are my favorites!
this weekend b headed home to the salty city to attend a friend’s wedding. i was left for a solo weekend at home. it was fairly uneventful but sometimes those are the kind of weekends you need every once in a while. a weekend where you eat cold cereal for dinner. a weekend where you adjust the air conditioner to your desired temperature. a weekend to remember how much i love spending my weekends with b.
on thursday night, before b left me, we headed to rooster t. feather’s comedy club in sunnyvale. i actually bought tickets many months ago via groupon and they were getting ready to expire so we figured it was now or never. besides the cost of tickets, which was $12 for 2 through the deal, rooster t feather also requires you to purchase two menu items per person. not to worry, we indulged in popcorn, nachos, a hot dog and cherry coke. food was like any ball park because you weren’t there for the food, you were there for the experience/ entertainment. it was a fun night and i really enjoyed 2 of the 3 comics we saw.
saturday afternoon, i headed to the movie theatre to see “meet the mormons”. it is a great film documenting the lives of 6 mormons across the world. i really really enjoyed watching the different stories and learning what being a mormon means to others. if you do not know a lot about the mormon religion, i strongly encourage you to attend this movie. it lays out the basic foundations of our religion and is available at movie theaters across the country. one of my favorite quotes from the movie was “i’m not perfect , but i’m perfect at trying.”
one of the perks of b being gone (there are very few) is i get to bring out the lipstick. b is not too fond of lipstick and prefers the nude lip. this wine colored lipstick screamed fall to me and i was glad i got a chance to rock it!
and sometimes i just like pouring through cook books for hours. i find them inspirational and thought provoking. of course this is a barefoot contessa cook book. we all know my obsession with ina…
oh and that ring is my temporary wedding ring while mine is being cleaned and rhodium plated. it is a little weird looking down and seeing a big bow but think it is the perfect temp to hold the place of my wedding ring.
reading: the vacationers. i am about 50 pages in and am not truly captivated yet. the book is about 300 pages so i would have thought i would be hooked by now. will keep you updated as the story progresses. it does make me yearn for a trip to mallorca.
i also recently finished “the one and only” by emily giffin. now that book sucked me in. but more like a gossip girl or 90210 show sucks you in. it was a little bit of a soap opera but, sometimes my mind just wants to unwind and romantic novels tend to take me to a different state of being. who is with me? have you read any life changing books? i will still attest that “me before you” was one of the best books i have read in a little while. it changed my perspective on life. the characters were so real and identifiable. i cried when it ended and still think about it often.
craving:a crisp fall day sipping apple cider. don’t get me wrong this indian summer has been nice but i think i am ready for a change of pace. here is a great recipe for homemade apple cider.
dreaming of:our new home. we signed a lease yesterday on a house. it is still in the area (only about 4 miles from where we currently reside) but we are so excited to be able to live in a home with a garage and a yard. it is a lot larger than our current apartment so all i can think about right now is how to position all our furniture and what more we will need to fill the space. we finally have space! b and i are over the moon.
have my eye on:this coat from hm. i do have a good selection of coats but what is one more to ring in the new season? and it is such a great price point. we will be traveling to colorado and utah for the holidays so that is just another reason i need this coat in my closet. or can we count that as two more reasons?
i love eating seasonally and nothing says tis the season like pumpkin bread and apple cider.
this week, emily and i decided to round up some great fall foods for your taste buds to enjoy this season in silicon valley and dc.
butternut squash soup @ bistro maxine (palo alto) – i was never much a soup fan growing up but then during college something changed. i began to love soup. maybe because it was so cold and it seemed like the only thing that would warm up my body besides hot chocolate. maybe i started to become less picky. maybe i never really gave soup in sunny southern ca a chance. whatever the reason i have come to love certain soups, butternut squash being one and french onion being another. bistro maxine makes both of these options exquisitely. the creaminess and flavor of the butternut squash soup is just divine and puts me in a cozy mood instantly. you won’t want to miss this soup when the weather starts to turn chilly!
pumpkin macaron @ chantal guillon (palo alto) – macarons are one of my favorite treats and chantal guillon provides the best assortment! i love this charming cafe that serves macarons with tea. now the pumpkin macaron is not officially out yet this season but i was assured by the shop owner that they will be providing them at their shop 10 days before halloween. mark your calendars for october 21! i know i will. i have yet try a macaron flavor that i do not like. also note that a thanksgiving pecan macaron will be coming to the shop in november. oh my!
fall cupcakes @ frost (campbell) – this cupcake factory won cupcake wars a couple of years ago so you know it will be worth every bite. frost is always creative and comes up with some of the most out of the box flavors for every season. this fall, frost introduced apple crumble, carmel apple and pumpkin spice cupcakes. yumm. i personally love the apple crumble for the extra streusel that is sprinkled on the frosting.
pumpkin ice cream @ tin pot creamery (palo alto) – remember this #cityweekly about my favorite ice cream shops in the bay area? it is not only one of my favorites but is a finalist for the martha stewart american made contest! if martha and i are both in love with this shop it is further evidence that you better head on over to tin pot asap! this season, tin pot is offering pumpkin flavored ice cream which is delicious (but all of their flavors are perfection really). don’t forget to devour your pumpkin ice cream in a waffle cone for an extra sweet crunch.
apple pie @ palo alto creamery (palo alto) – my mom makes an apple pie every thanksgiving. it is probably my favorite of the 4 different types she makes. i love the flakey crust and sweet apples. i love when it is topped with vanilla ice cream. i love when the apples squirt out a little juice. although palo alto creamery is still not mom’s, it is a competitor and really hits the spot. it has all the great components and the diner atmosphere makes it feel that much more authentic and all american.
lately I have been obsessed with all things Ina Garten. you know barefoot contessa? i really think she can do no wrong. every recipe she shares is so flavorful yet simple. this is my favorite style of cooking. it would be a dream cooking alongside her. we would swap dinner party stories, measure everything to a tee and dance to her barefoot contessa jingle.
when b’s parents came to town I knew it was the perfect opportunity to go all out and try some more of ina’s recipes. we tried her lemon chicken,overnight waffles and roasted butternut squash salad. all were delectable if I do say so myself but the one that stood out to me was the salad. i loved it. b who is not a squash lover loved it. b’s parents couldn’t stop raving about it. it had all the right ingredients (not too many of them) and can be thrown together quite easily. it is the perfect fall salad.
1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch) diced Good olive oil 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 3 tablespoons dried cranberries 3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice 2 tablespoons cider vinegar 2 tablespoons minced shallots 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 4 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry 1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Directions Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
**i will say we substituted arugula for spinach just because we are spinach salad lovers. i am sure either work great.
another bonus is butternut squash is in season so Trader Joes has them available at a killer deal!
what do you think makes a good salad? what are you favorite recipes for fall?
this weekend we stayed local and lounged around. it was a weekend of cuddling, indian food, lds general conference, grocery shopping & motorcycle riding. it was a weekend to enjoy each other’s company and listen to latter day prophets. it was a weekend to celebrate fall .even though the weather here is still in the high 80s and not feeling at all like fall. hello indian summer / ca heat wave.
we did venture south to san martin on saturday afternoon where we navigated my very first corn maze and picked up some pumpkin decor. our apartment is now a bit more decorated for the season.
besides hitting up local parks on sundays, we also love taking a ride on b’s motorcycle. it is a fun way to get out and feel the wind through your hair. i feel at peace and a little liberated on the back seat of b’s bike. i have my best thinking sessions on the back of that bike.
cheers to the first weekend of october. you were much needed.
my mom is the most thoughtful person I have ever met. she loves to make everyone feel comfortable and appreciated. she buys all my favorite cereals and breakfast items even if I am only visiting for one day. she calls me several days ahead of my visit to see what she can make for dinner in the evening. she makes welcome baskets for guests full of late night goodies. and most importantly she welcomes everyone into her home with a big hug. she is the quintessential hostess.
i am working on this attribute because i admire it so much. when b’s parents decided to come visit us I knew this was the perfect time to put my hostess skills to the test. besides the amazing restaurants and recipes we indulged in (as you may remember I revolve all good trips around food), i thought it would be nice to surprise them with a small welcome basket full of california goodies. i had to welcome them to the bay area in style, you know?
i also felt terrible that we were not able to host them at our own apartment since it is a one bedroom and rather small and thought some goodies in their hotel room would make it feel more homey.
i grabbed ribbon and a basket from the dollar store (score!) and filled it with some tasty local treats.
And, of course you have to include a fun rhyming note. I was inspired by emi of the well traveled wife. she always creates the most darling notes for every occasion.