Nashville Guide: Food Paradise Part 2

And now for the second part of my Nashville food guide. Seriously, there are so many good eats in that city and I have barely scratched the surface.

Mas Tacos Por Favor

Right across the street from The Pharmacy Burger is Mas Tacos. Is there really any reason to ever leave East Nashville? On our first visit we saw someone we recognized as we walked to the door. Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods. I was so excited to see a celebrity filming a TV show where I was eating! The novelty soon wore off and chaos ensued as the crew rushed around filming. I decided I would rather eat in peace and quiet than worry about the possibility if being filmed eating elote with corn all up in my grill and cheese all over my lips. Mas Tacos handled all the excitement with grace and the food was still wonderful. My favorite item is the chicken tortilla soup.

Mas Tacos Seating

Pork Taco

Taco Soup


Camera Crew Mas Tacos

Menu Mas Tacos

Andrew Zimmern Mas Tacos

Las Paletas

We picked up some Las Paletas popsicles and Korean shaved ice at Hot and Cold in the 12th Ave South neighborhood (a cute shopping area near Vanderbilt University with a variety of restaurants and coffee shops). Sadly, that shop is now closed, but you can still find these delicious popsicles at other locations.

Las Paletas

Korean Shaved Ice

Desano’s Pizza Bakery

Great pizza. I loved the peppadews on the San Gennaro pizza. You can even buy them at the cash register and take some home for your own pizza making adventure.

Desano's Pizza Bakery

Pizzas at Desano's

Hattie B’s

There isn’t anything more comforting than hot fried chicken on a rainy November day. So simple and so satisfying.

Hattie B's Door

Hattie B's Interior

Hattie B's Chicken Plate

There are some other good places that I should feature. They were fun to try, but nothing that would motivate us to make the 3 hour drive up to Nashville. These honorable mentions include:

Pied Piper Creamery

This place was super cute. They had children’s toys, which kept the little one happy, but the ice cream wasn’t anything  out of this world. Let’s be honest though, have you ever had BAD ice cream??? Probably not.

Pied Piper Creamery

Baja Burritos

For me this was your basic casual dining Mexican place similar to Chipotle or Cafe Rio (for you westerners). My fish burrito was really good, even if it didn’t totally knock my socks off.

Baja Burrito Fish Burrito

Baja Burrito Tot

Marche Artisan Foods

I had heard so many good things about this place, but between the really long wait, another long wait at the table with a unhappy, hungry toddler, and the fact that my food (a savory pork crepe) was served cold, I was not super impressed. For that price point I think they could make an effort to make it look a little more appetizing too. I saw a lot of food around me that looked incredible, so maybe I went on a bad day or just ordered the wrong thing….I would be willing to give them another chance.

Marche Restaurant Interior

Marche Pork Crepes

Pleeeeeeaaaaaaase bring me some foooooood! Little ones experience hunger much more intensely than we adults do. I never used to worry about slow service (as long as the food made up for it), but as a parent the terror is real! I have since learned to stock my bag with snacks for while we are waiting so that we aren’t those obnoxious customers. But seriously…look at that face.

Marche Unhappy Customer

Nashville Guide: Food Paradise

Every time we go to Nashville the top thing on our to do list is to eat…and eat and eat and eat and eat. I look back at the pictures and wonder if we did anything BUT stuff our faces. Let me explain…We live in a food wasteland here in Mississippi. Now before anyone takes exception to that comment, I know there is A LOT of good food here. There are a lot of places close by that have some great southern cooking. I’m talking greasy, buttery, gut busting comfort food like no one else can do it. Fried catfish, fried green tomatoes, hush puppies, fried chicken, BBQ, pecan pie, banana pudding…all that good stuff. When it comes to variety you have to travel around a bit. We live in a small, small town, so even to get to some of that good southern cooking we have to drive an hour or more.  If you want good Thai, Indian, Mediterranean, modern concoctions? Forget about it! That’s why it’s so refreshing to go to Nashville and be able to get whatever you want all within one wonderful, food-abundant city. I will start with some of our favorites…

Biscuit Love

As mouth watering as these pictures look, they don’t do the food any justice. Everything we tried was SO good. The chicken was perfectly JUICY, seasoned and spicy and the biscuits are the best I have ever had. My favorite was an item not on the menu, the nasty princess, which is a combo of the east nasty and the princess. Hot chicken smothered in gravy on a biscuit. I want to reach into my computer monitor right now, pull it out and devour it. The bonuts (biscuit donuts with berry sauce and lemon mascarpone) are also worth a try, if you have the appetite!




The Pharmacy

My favorite burger of all time is the farm burger with tots. On a nice day the outdoor seating is lovely, like between September and May. Stay inside during those other months! There is nothing like soul crushing humidity and heat to kill a perfectly healthy appetite.

The Pharmacy Sign

The Farm Burger

Outdoor Seating

Five Daughters Bakery

When we walked in and saw the price, we asked ourselves if any donut is really worth $4.50.  I wouldn’t be getting these every Saturday, but the answer is yes. Yes, once in a while, a donut is worth that much. The fillings and glazes are high quality, with unique flavor combinations.  My favorite was the Maple Cardamom.

Five Daughters Bakery Donuts


Jeni’s Ice cream

Similar to the donuts, this ice cream is a bit of a splurge, but the flavors are unique and it is not your average ice cream, with flavors like “sweet corn and black raspberries” and “goat cheese and red cherries”.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Cone

Stay tuned next week for part two!

Chattanooga: Surf and Turf

We spent an entire day in Chattanooga at the aquarium and the BBQ festival.  I guess it isn’t surf and turf in the traditional sense because you don’t actually EAT the fish at the aquarium, but you get the idea…The aquarium has two sections, freshwater and saltwater.  We started out our day on the freshwater side.

Chattanooga Aquarium 1Chattanooga Aquarium 2Chattanooga Aquarium 3Chattanooga Aquarium 4

Couldn’t pass up this photo of Brandon reading up on the Volga River (he lived there!)

The aquarium is pretty large, so we decided to take a break and headed to the BBQ festival.  We hoofed it across town and noshed on some mighty fine foods.  It was awesome.  They sell sample tickets for a dollar each and you get to try EVERYTHING.  Allow me to repeat myself…It was awesome.

Beast Feast Beast Feast 2Beast Feast 3Beast Feast 4

This is my “I have a huge amount of pulled pork in my teeth” smile.

untitled-1926After eating enormous quantities of food we decided to take a taxi back to the Aquarium (rather than drag our full bellies over the sidewalk for a over a mile in the southern humidity).

Chattanooga Aquarium 5Chattanooga Aquarium 6

I love that Brandon and Eric are totally committed to their pose, while my father in law is like “Pssh, it takes a lot more than a shark to scare me”.

Chattanooga Aquarium 7

Chattanooga Aquarium 8

Chattanooga Aquarium 9

Chattanooga: Rock City

For memorial day weekend we decided to head to Chattanooga, Tennessee.  It was on my top three list of southern cities that I wanted to visit this summer (along with New Orleans and Savannah, Georgia).  It is one of the most picturesque big(ish) cities I have ever visited.  Imagine a lush, green city, the perfect mix of modern and southern charm, set on a bend in the Tennessee river, surrounded by mountains (or tall hills to someone from Utah).


Upon arriving we drove strait up to Rock City. We didn’t even make a pit stop at our hotel.  We just headed strait up Lookout mountain. How could we not after passing “See Rock City” billboards for hundreds of miles.  It was obvious to us that this place was kind of a big deal. There were so many advertisements we turned it into a road trip game.  Every time we saw a sign we would punch each other in the arm.  It got kind of violent.  I might suggest turning it into a less contentious game by…say…eating a piece of candy, or a carrot stick if you’re a health nut. Still, we prefer punching.

Rock City

Rock City is an attraction on top of Lookout Mountain (close to downtown Chattanooga).  There is a path that winds through large rock formations and gardens leading to a Lover’s Leap, a viewpoint that looks out over seven states.

Rock City 2Rock City 3Rock City 4

My In-laws are pretty photogenic!

Rock City 5

As with most tourist attractions, Rock City is a bit overpriced for a stroll through the woods.  On the other hand…it’s just something you have to do while you are on vacation.  The experience is totally unique and the view from the top is amazing!

Rock City 6Rock City 7Rock City 8Spoiler Alert: we didn’t jump.

After Lover’s Leap the path leads you through what Rock City calls “Fairyland Caverns”.  I call it “The Dark Hallway Strait Out of my Worst Nightmares.”  It is a cave filled with back lit figurines of gnomes and fairytale stories.  This picture explains it better than I ever could with words.

Rock City 9

And on that note, we left Rock City.

The other day I went to Amish country in Tennessee with my mother-in-law.  On our way out of town I got a punch in the arm.  Rock city will forever be a part of our road trips.


Oxford, Mississippi and Willam Faulkner

For my second installment of “Awesome Adventures with my Mother-In-Law” I will be telling you about my trip to Oxford, Mississippi.  We started out early in the morning with our fellow adventurers, Gwen and Camile, in our trusty Nissan Altima (which turned out to be not so trusty as the day progressed, but I’ll get to that later).  Oxford is home to Ole Miss, all things William Faulkner, and a ROCKY MOUNTAIN CHOCOLATE FACTORY. That’s right.  Chocolate covered apples, strawberries, and cinnamon bears are the perfect way to start a girls day out.  Take it from me. We also drove around campus, which was absolutely gorgeous.  For some reason I ended up only taking pictures of things with the Ole Miss logo plastered on, like stadiums and water towers…
Ole Miss 1Ole Miss 2

Oh well!  Next we headed to the Square for lunch and some window shopping.  We visited Square Books, which was one of the coolest book stores I have ever been to. We ate at Boure and it was delicious.

Oxford Mississippi SquareLunch at BoureSquare BooksThese people in Oxford really take their Faulkner seriously.  There is even a statue of him in the square sitting on a bench and smoking his pipe.  To find out what all the fuss was about we headed to Rowan Oak for a tour of his home, where I learned everything I never knew about the author…which was nothing before this trip.  I am a little ashamed to admit that I have never read anything by him.  I am EVEN MORE ashamed to admit that wandering around his house inspired me to start reading “As I Lay Dying” and half way through I found out that there is a movie being made…and I thought, why not wait for the movie?….

Here are some pictures of his beautiful home.

Rowan OakRowan Oak 2Rowan Oak 3Rowan Oak 4

As we left Oxford, feeling pretty good about our fun day and our peaceful stroll through Rowan Oak, something was amiss.  My mother-in-law’s poor little car was sputtering a bit.  We got on the freeway and it would not go over 20 miles per hour. So we turned back to Oxford, where the car completely gave up at the top of a hill.  I should say “close to the top”, because we ended up getting out and pushing it the rest of the way and into a parking lot.  Imagine three girls in sandals and shoes with no traction pushing a car uphill.  Yeah…we rocked it!  We ended our adventure by napping on the couches in an air conditioned hospital lobby (hey, shopping and eating all day is hard work!), while waiting for our knight in shining armor to come and rescue us.

Rowan Oak 5

Thanks Mom for sharing a great adventure and having such a good attitude about your car giving up the ghost two hours from home! 🙂

Huntsville, AL and Planting Tomatoes in the Dark

I am making the most of my time in the south.  That’s right.  I am living in Mississippi while my husband does one of his internships.  Where in Mississippi, you ask?  About an hour away from Tupelo (the birthplace of Elvis, people).  We are living with my husband’s wonderful parents, and let me tell you, it is great to be here.  We want to see as much as we can of the south before we leave (and eat as much southern cookin’ as we can possibly eat).  On her day off last week, my mother-in-law took me to Huntsville, Alabama and we walked around the botanical gardens.  The flowers were beautiful.  It was so nice to be outside. Everything was lovely.  We got some great gardening ideas (and by we, I mean my mother-in-law, because I do not have a green thumb). We also ate at the tea room at the gardens.  The desserts caught our eye so we decided to have lunch there.



Huntsville Alabama 3

And just to prove to you how absolutely beautiful the south is…

Alabama Horses

Alabama Horses 2

These images illustrate my family’s complete and total dedication to their garden.  Tomato planting in the dark.

Iuka Mississippi

Iuka Mississippi 2