This past weekend my husband and I took off to Nashville for our first getaway since the wedding. We're both such busy people and newlywed life has really blown by so it's important that each month we make time for just us and that at least every couple of months we get out of town.
We decided on Nashville because 1) it wasn't that far from home so we would each only need a day or two away from work and 2) we'd both never really done "The Nashville Experience." Sure, there was a concert here or there but neither of us had spent a nice, relaxing weekend just enjoying the city.
So, we set off with a Spotify playlist I created full of our favorites (plus some of mine that he suffered through lol), snacks and not a lot of solid plans.
Our first stop was to drop off our things at our Airbnb. We picked an Airbnb Plus listing in The Nations neighborhood. Our spot was SO cute and we couldn't have asked for better hosts! It was gorgeous, cozy, and in the perfect area for everything we wanted to visit.
Next - it was time to eat. Tyler picked our first stop, Parson's Chicken and Fish. Y'ALLLLLLL. This was so good! I had the Fried Chicken Sandwich which came topped with slaw, American cheese, slaw, aioli, and North Star pickles. Tyler had the Hot Chicken Sandwich, which is the same except tossed in the Parson's Hot Blend sauce. This was the perfect way to kick off our vacation. We topped these off with some Jackalope Brewing beers and left very satisfied.
Now off to Broadway! Luckily, I have a best friend from college that not only helped me navigate life in Memphis when I arrived but now lives in Nashville and serves as an on-demand guide to everything in the Music City.
We made the usual stops, taking turns picking out a bar to grab a quick drink and listen to some live music before heading to the next. Our last spot was the one I ended up enjoying the most: Merchants. We didn't eat there so I can't speak to the cuisine, but the drinks were phenomenal! Popping into a good ol' honky-tonk has its appeal but our comfort zone is always anywhere the atmosphere is more intimate, the cocktail list is long and varied, and they carry chartreuse (for my man of very specific tastes lol).
I had the Sixty-Fifteen: prairie vodka, grapefruit, elderflower, and cava. This was exactly what I was hoping for. Fresh, fruity but not too sweet, and just a touch of bubbles.
Tyler had the Save Me, Guadalupe: Maestro dobel diamond tequila, yellow chartreuse, grapefruit, peach bitters, and mezcal rinse.
After cocktails, we decided it was time for our first real dining experience in Nashville. Since we have a large group of friends that either work in the industry or love fine dining as much as we do, we came prepared with a long list of recommendations.
We grabbed a pair of Bird scooters and took off to Green Pheasant. Immediately after walking into the restaurant you get the feeling whatever you're about to be served is going to be incredible.
We started with the tuna tartare, followed by sharing the ikinari steak (served on a sizzling platter with a gorgeous smell) and the spicy crab noodle. Everything from the plate presentation to the service and timing of the dishes was flawless.
After getting VERY full and enthralled with everything we were served, we asked the bartender for an after-dinner cocktail recommendation. She steered us toward Bar Sovereign, an art-filled gastropub just a few blocks away.
I finished off the night with an appropriately obnoxious drink (because you've gotta go big before you go home for the night, right?!) and then we set off for our cozy Airbnb home away from home.
The next morning we woke to a gorgeous, sunny day perfect for walking around town! We chose to head to 12 South and find somewhere to grab breakfast. Little did we know that is the SPOT for Saturday brunching and the restaurants were super busy! We ended up at Frothy Monkey and I'm so glad we did.
Their quick counter-style service was so helpful on a busy day. Instead of waiting for a table and then waiting for service, you simply order what you'd like to stay or to go and find a seat wherever you like. We ordered some mimosas (of course) which we were served promptly, then waited for the food.
I had the California: 2 fried eggs, atop 2 slices of sourdough toast, with an avocado wedge, sprouts, and house-made salsa on the side.
Tyler had the chicken wrap: Pulled chicken breast, black bean hummus, grilled corn, red onion, red peppers, and spinach. Served cold on a honey wheat wrap.
It was definitely a good, protein-filled way to start the day for both of us. I wouldn't go as far as to say the meal was an "experience" but sometimes just getting food in your face before reaching the critical 'hangry' moment is more important. Great service, great mimosas, and a great spot for baked goods and coffee.
On to one of my favorite moments! Five Daughters Bakery! I have been a long-time follower of this bakery and I'm such a fangirl for their product and their brand as a whole.
They're 100 layer donut is INCREDIBLE and totally worth the raving reviews! The entire time we were there the door never stopped swinging - a clear sign Nashville is as in love with this place as I am.
Our morning on 12 South wrapped up with a unanimous decision to take a nap. Nothing is better than a post-brunch nap, people.
We woke up, ready to take on the local breweries before our *surprise* evening plans. We made a stop at Bearded Iris, followed by my favorite, Jackalope - this is where I found my favorite beer in all of Nashville. The Bearwalker: an ale brewed with maple syrup. This had a beautiful, dark, and rich flavor. All the flavor of maple, minus the over sweetness. I loved it so much I bought a pin to add to my denim jacket! Also, their art is just the best.
For dinner, we were lucky to get a last-minute reservation at Marsh House. This restaurant is situated inside the Thompson Hotel. Walking in, we were greeted by a friendly staff and a stunning interior.
For cocktails, I ordered the Moops: Aperol, Ilegal Mezcal, Pierre Ferrand Curacao Jack Rudy Tonic.
Tyler had an Old Fashioned, which we both agreed was made *flawlessly.*
I wish I would've taken more pictures of dinner because it was the BEST experience out of our ENTIRE weekend! We ordered not one - but two rounds of their oyster selection, followed by the ceviche for our appetizer. This place had it all! Amazing raw bar options, beautiful and well-priced cocktails, and perfect service.
After dinner, it was finally time for the surprise Tyler had planned for me ages in advance: The Nutcracker ballet!
I can't explain how incredible it is to be married to someone that loves and is SO GOOD at planning surprises <3
In the morning we decided to grab one last Nashville bite before heading to the 901. While we were both eager to try Biscuit Love, unless you're willing to stand in a loooooong line in less than forty-degree temps I wouldn't recommend it! Luckily Milk and Honey was just around the corner and we were seated within minutes.
After stuffing ourselves on the farmhouse biscuit, chicken and waffles, mimosas, and some delicious cold brew - we left stuffed and full of love for a city that can do food so, SO right.
I can't wait to go back and see what else this city has to offer!
I'm Chloe Sexton, a home baker from Memphis, TN who loves to make cakes, cookies, cupcakes and more. Contact me at email@example.com or on insta @bluffcakes if you have baking, blogging or other questions. You can order BluffCakes right here on the website!