It’s No Memphis

On Sunday night, we returned to Nashville. Our mission was to accomplish in two nights what we could not finish on Friday afternoon. We found that we accomplished a lot less than we had on Friday than on Sunday, but we did get to see things at a more leisurely pace. We had two nights, after all!


We checked into our hotel at the Courtyard (thanks to my brother and his Marriott associate rate) right along Printers Alley. Our first stop was to get some dinner. With Sarah’s cousin’s recommendation, we headed to Cabana, a pretty good restaurant with an eclectic Southern, comfort-food menu. Located near Vanderbilt, we found the place packed with college students so we had to sit outside or else wait for a table. The food was pretty good, but also somewhat forgettable. Sarah pointed out that her heirloom tomato salad tasted pretty much like a tomato salad you could get anywhere. We also noticed that the water had a very strong chlorine taste. This would be a recurring theme throughout the trip, as it had more to do with Nashville’s municipal water supply than this particular restaurant.


Back downtown, we went to Whiskey Kitchen, which was a bustling bar and grill that serves more than a few whiskey dirnks. We spilt the Whiskey Sour pitcher ($20, tax included!) and went on our way. On our way back to the hotel, we stepped into the Union Station Hotel, an excellent example of adaptive reuse. The station was retired in the 1970s but reopened as a hotel in 1980s, and it is now part of the Marriott Autograph collection.


We tried to go to the Loveless Cafe, upon a recommendation from a coworker at NYU, but there was an almost two-hour wait. We were hungry so we retreated to the gift shop, bought a few trinkets, and headed elsewhere.


Sarah had gone to the Opryland Hotel many years ago, and she remembered that there was a buffet there. I was game so we drove there and found that the buffet at the Water’s Edge was closed due to flooding in 2010. (Strangely, the mobile website for the Opryland Hotel is terribly out of date. They mention places that we couldn’t find at the hotel, and it still lists the Water’s Edge as being opened.) We ate at the Cascades restaurant, and we took a quarter-mile riverboat ride on the artificial river in the Delta section of the hotel complex.


Back in Nashville, we went to the Third Man Records store, the one owned by Jack White, and spent $40 on two records. It was at this point that Sarah and I turned to each other and said, “Nashville’s cool, but it’s no Memphis.” We then headed to a vintage shop and at that point, it seemed like we crossed from the South to our earlier trips to the Pacific Northwest.


Our trip ended with a sojourn to East Nashville for a couple of pints at the Red Door Saloon. While I was there, I sat looking out the window at the rain, with a pint, and red lighted barroom, I could have sworn I was in Portland.


There were a few things we didn’t get to do on this trip.

  • Visit the Frist Museum.
  • Go to the Nashville Sounds baseball game. They were playing their archrivals, the Memphis Redbirds.
  • Go to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
  • Actually eat at the Loveless Café.
  • Eat at Prince’s Hot Chicken, although that would have been hard for Sarah and her pescatarian diet.

There’s always next time.

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