Since the busy season at work is technically over, I took a celebratory vacation somewhere I had never been, for no other reason than to do something new.
I heard many great things about Nashville, especially from a DJ we had booked a while ago for a party at the Fuze Box. I did a bit of research, gotten a few recommendations from friends, put it all in a spreadsheet and got on a plane. Nashville feels to Austin as Albany feels to New York City. There was fewer things to do overall, but there was always something going on and tons to check out. The standout places to me were definitely Barista Parlor, Rolf and Daughters, Mas Tacos and No. 308.
Barista Parlor is a massive indoor/outdoor coffee shop in what I believe was at one point a car repair shop, since it has three bay garage doors in front. In the center of the huge there is four counters in a square, with the baristas gear all on the inside of it. They are a multi-roaster coffee shop which is pretty rare, and it was great to be able to get different coffees from different roasters. Most of the photos above are from inside here since it was within walking distance, and was part of the morning ritual.
Rolf and Daughters. Holy shit. We got a reservation to this place about a month in advance, and I’m glad we did because in that time I had learned they were ranked as the number three new restaurant by Bon Appetit, as well as getting on Esquire’s best new restaurant list. The food here was insane. The drinks here were insane. I am no foodie by any means but as a vegan I am generally more aware of what’s going on with what I’m eating. Even with that said, everything I ate was incredible. I had no idea what was acctually going on in my entree but it was incredible, as were the appetizers and drinks.
Mas Tacos in it’s last life was Nashville’s favorite taco truck, but they have since found permanent digs and are open a few hours a day for lunch. Or if you’re me, breakfast. Actual tacos, double wrapped in corn tortillas, with cilantro and most obviously, NO RICE. Fried avocado taco was insanely good, plantains and beans was incredible and the list goes on. They’re a busy little hole-in-the-wall spot that was packed since the moment they opened the doors. Someone in Albany needs to just completely rip this off for our own sake. A few photos above are from here.
No. 308 was a strange little spot, but awesome. It was essentially a dive bar, but with two huge pages of craft cocktails, as well as plenty of beers. They have a section of house made soda drinks that aren’t carbonated until you order it. I got a gin and ginger ale and it was all mixed together, then carbonated in front of me and put on ice. Another stand out there was their concoction of gin, Pimm’s, house-made cucumber water, serrano chili and rosewater. Again, just in a class of its own.
I can go on and on but the takeaway here is that there’s a ton to do everywhere. Just go and seek it out. Southwest flies out of Albany to basically everywhere, and runs deals all the time. I’d suggest Nashville.
Hit the jump for the gallery and the quick little synopsis of other places I visited on the trip.
Marathon Music Works: Saw Phantogram, place is awesome and huge. The distillery is around the corner.
Thai Phooket: Awesome thai food, in a weird parking lot off a bridge.
Grins Cafe: Kosher/vegan cafe on the Vanderbilt College campus, decent.
Vanderbilt College: Private college, felt like the “college scene” out of a romcom.
Frist: Awesome museum. Must visit.
Corsair Distillery: Interesting (in a good way) microdistillery doing spirits with alternative grains.
Marathon Motor Car Building: Crazy rehabbed factory building with cute shops and retailers.
Otis James: In the Marathon Building, on-premesis handmade ties and hats, really high quality.
CREMA: Experimental coffeeshop that had a really great citrus flavored coffee soda.
Hatch Show Print: A history lesson in show flyers. Must visit.
Holland House: High end resturant with a really excellent bar staff and great cocktails.
The Pharmacy: Burger spot. Home made sodas. Cool vibe.
Hattie B’s: Hot chicken. Can’t comment.
Honky Tonk Central: Tourist trap. Insane to actually see that this happens in real life.
Nashville Farmers Market: Year round, crazy huge and really excellent that this is a fixture.
The Wild Cow: Vegan cafe, hit the spot with their vegan cheese steak.