My friends and I planned to have a little last ditch senior trip out in Nashville, expecting it to be a relatively cheap and very fun excursion. What we received was an incredibly stressful airbnb situation, an hour of cringe worthy stand-up, and lot of restaurants that wanted to bring things back to “a simpler time.” Despite it all, I still had an amazing Nashville experience. So grab your pencil and your notebook and get ready to learn a thing or two about all the spots that were truly good to me (and the ones that weren’t). Here is my guide for an amazing Nashville adventure.
Thursday evening we drove into Nashville, went up to our airbnb, and discovered that an entire family was already living there and completely unaware that we had paid hundreds of dollars to stay in their home (expect a post on this story later!). Confused and on a very long hold with customer service, we drove over to The Flipside, a restaurant that specializes in selling very flat chicken that low-key needs a lot of sauce to make up for it’s weak seasoning game (sorry, not sorry). It was all around a stressful time, made even more stressful by the trivia night that they were hosting. Not only did we flop on booking a quality airbnb, but we also flopped at trivia!
By Friday, we had sorted out our housing issues and were ready to paint the town red! We started off with brunch at Sun Diner. It was super crowded and reminded me of all the reasons why I’m too weak to handle an environment where you seat yourself. After standing around for half an hour, we were finally able to order. I got a Pulled Pork Quesadilla that was so delicious that I wanted to cry when the waitress took it away.
Next, we hit up a spot I’d visited many times in my youth: The Adventure Science Center! All of my middle school field trips happened at this location, but it was odd to see it with my adult eyes. I don’t think I noticed as many crying children back then. Also, the museum had changed since I’d been there last. They had a “Math Moves” and a “Math Inspires Art” exhibit where I made my own stop-motion film and looked at a glow in the dark boot-ay! They also had a VR room, which was amazing!
Then, we traveled out to a shopping mall called Plaza Mariachi that was recommended to us by a friend who lives in Nashville. I tried my first churro and revamped my Thumbs Up playlist on GooglePlay to include Carlos Vives. After eating, we went to the international market next door where I bought a 6 pack of Yeo’s Chrysanthemum Tea.
Lastly, we went to Burger Up, which was my favorite eat of the entire trip! I was a little skeptical at first, because it looked way too classy inside to be a burger joint, but then I saw a drunk girl vommiting through the window, and I knew it was the spot for me. While we waited for a table to open up, we walked around the neighborhood and discovered a Sprinkles Cupcake ATM. Let me tell you, that Salted Caramel Cupcake had all other cupcakes quaking in fear.
While I was in the middle of my desert, we got the message saying that a table had opened up and it was time for dinner! I ordered the double up burger, which was hands down the best meal I had during this trip. Unfortunately, we had to abandon our plates early to go down to a comedy show where some white comedians shared their best (read: worst) jokes about race with their crowd of fellow white people, plus me and my 3 black friends, leaving us thinking, “Really, where are the black people in this city?”
Saturday’s adventure began downtown at Puckett’s, which was amazing. It was the first time we weren’t the only black people at a restaurant (there was another table of black people nestled in a corner) and the food was great! I got a pulled pork sandwich, which was actually seasoned and flavorful before I added the sauce. Then the sauce brought it to the next level! They also sell something there called a Deep Fried Brownie Sundae, which I was too full to try at the time, but would love to go back and take for a spin!
Next up, we walked down the street to the Tennessee State Museum. One of my travel buddies and I made the excursion more exciting by working on a scavenger hunt meant for 6-12th graders, that felt a bit too advanced for us. This being said, it did help us focus on the “real facts” in the museum, such as the way the US “fought for Texas’s independence from Mexico” and how slaves typically didn’t experience “harsh punishment” on the plantation. This my friends, is the museum of the great state I reside in.
After that, we went to the mall, where I got to do the one thing I really came to Nashville to do: go to Cinnabon. Yes, there are Cinnabons everywhere, but I just feel like the one in the Opry Mills Mall is the best. I got mine with pecans and caramel sauce and I cry every time I think of it, because it was so beautiful.
Then we headed out near Vanderbilt for our last meal. One of my adventure friends wanted wings so we went to Sportsman’s Grille, which was both irritating and hilarious. It was irritating because my water was served in a dirty cup, my food was pretty bland, and the service was slow despite the restaurant being nearly empty. It was hilarious because our waiter seemed like something out of an SNL skit and his response to every question or dilemma was, “Alright!” or “Okay!”
Lastly, we walked down the street to Jeni’s Ice Creams, where the lines are long, but the cones are good. It was worth the wait. I’m usually suspicious of places that dish out wild flavors, like Goat Cheese with Red Cherries, because I think the test of true greatness is whether you can accomplish something basic, but Jeni’s Ice Creams is legit. I went with a scoop of Coffee with Cream & Sugar. Usually I’m a waffle cone hater, but I saw them making the cones when I came in, so I decided to give it a chance. As the world’s harshest cone critic, I can assure you, the cone was worth it!
This was mainly a travel day, but we planned to go out with a bang! We first stopped by Portland Brew for some coffee, or hot apple cider in my case, because I don’t drink coffee. When we stepped inside, it was like we walked into an alternate universe and that universe was Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s Portlandia. I was terrified. Thankfully, the cider was actually really good.
Then we went out on a search for cronuts from Five Daughters Bakery, only to find out that it was closed for Easter. Had I ever had the pleasure of eating a cronut before, I probably would have been super bummed out, but I was pretty pleased with our second option. Like I said, my test of a good eat is whether or not a spot can do the basics. The Donut Den did not serve the best glazed donut I’ve ever had (that special place in my heart belongs to Krispy Kreme), but I definitely thought it was better than the Memphis classic, Gibson’s.
Where should I go next?
Thanks for reading!
Until next time, have an awesome rest of your day and an amazing rest of your week!