And so, 11 girls threw on cowboy boots instead of galoshes and got ready for a good time celebrating two birthdays! I can honestly say we spent almost the entire three days eating.
Here are the highlights:
We hit up several of the bars along the Broadway strip - I was surprised at how small Nashville seemed to be, we ran into the same people everywhere! And half of them seemed to be from Chicago! It was hard not to embrace country music when there is a band on every bar's stage at 1pm on a Friday. Especially when one of the bars has cowboy boots lining the entire wall!
The made-for-tourists Tootsie's was an inevitable stop, and although the music was fun and we tried to enjoy it, the skinny bar and packed like sardines clientele made it a bit uncomfortable to be in for too long. You know when you are at a standing-room only bar and are constantly getting bumped by people walking in both directions, to the front and to the back of the bar? Yeah, its like that!
Saturday night we had a little more room to breathe at Second Fiddle, basically right next door to Tootsie's. Music was just as fun (interspersing country hits with Bryan Adams/Bon Jovi means I can see along to more songs!) and we actually had a cocktail table to call our own.
That is, until a bar patron grabbed onto to it for balance and knocked all of the beers off. . .
On to food? Yes, please.
We were recommended to this out of the way modern mexicana hangout by the hotel concierge and I think we all agreed that Lime was a great choice. The restaurant had an indoor/outdoor vibe and we took advantage of the great weather by sitting at a long table on the patio.
With a drink menu including strawberry jalepeno margaritas, how can you go wrong?
Just look at these drink descriptions:
Margarita del Diablo - Milagro Silver premium tequila, Gran Marnier, freshly muddled strawberries and green jalapeño, house sour splash, and a telicherry peppercorn rim
Caipirinha - national drink of Brazil featuring Agua Luca 12x filtered cachaça, fresh lime, and pure cane sugar
the Existentialist - Hendrick’s gin, St. Germain, sparkling soda, fresh cucumber
A couple drinks in (I had the honey mango maragarita followed by the house margarita), our food arrived: Truffle Butter Skirt Steak, Truffle Steak Quesadilla, Salmon Barbacoa and Baja Fish & Chips filled up the table. Hard to believe the prices were in the $12 - $16 range!
I would say our next stop was definitely a 180 degree turn from our modern dinner locale. A combination Cubs bar (wahoo!), goth bar and local dive, Red Door East boasted several interesting decor choices. . .
. . .and a pretty great sign on their jukebox!
PS. In what world is this a shot? All I see are tall glasses of alcohol!
In between the eating and the drinking (and the dancing), I did get to some of the shops. I had myself convinced that it was okay to walk out of Nasvhille with a pair of cowboy boots to show for it. In perusing the boot stores, the signs of "Buy 1 Pair, Get 2 Free" were extremely tempting. Some ridiculously expensive boots could dip down to $100 each if you and two friends found pairs to fall in love with. Unfortunately, it was all looking and no buying for this li'l lady.
These are the ones I would have sprung for in a minute if they would have been in my size (sadly, I don't think I can squeeze these 6's into a 5 1/2)
I also could have convinced myself to pick up a cowboy hat, but they all looked huge on me. Darn you, tiny head! Too often, I fail at being one of those girls who can pull off hats because of my tiny head. . .
We also headed into Dolly Parton's gift shop. Ogling her costumes behind glass, I think I would have to see her in person to figure out how tiny a waist she actually has!
The next day this group of gals didn't know what hit us when we headed into Monell's - a local favorite just about everyone we talked to rave about. One quote in particular caught my ear: "fried chicken comes with everything!" We were seated at an extra-large oval table with room for another party of three (again, someone in town from Chicago - what up with that??).
Family style indeed, as soon as you get seated, the brownie at your place setting is moved aside until after the meal and the bowls of southern food start flowing. Cornbread and biscuits, peas, pot roast, macaroni and cheese, green beans, cheese grits, corn pudding. . .I could keep going. Not to mention delish sweet tea and juice pitchers littering the table!
I couldn't even move after this meal. And I couldn't eat for another 8 hours. That's a sign of a successful weekend in my book!
Big thanks to Laura and Sarah for use of their photos - between all of us in the group I think we shot Nashville from every angle.
The question now is: where is the next Birthday Trip??