For college students, when parents come to visit us, as much as we may miss them, I think what we look forward to the most is getting off campus for some free, high quality meals. This weekend was not only my sorority parents weekend, but also my 21st birthday so that meant double celebrating and extra splurging! I am so happy I got to share a few of my favorite Nashville spots as well as explore a couple new places with my best friends and our moms. Below are the highlights – enjoy!
To start off the birthday celebration right, one of my closest friends, Stacey (check out her blog – shameless plug!) took me to Frothy Monkey where I got my first legal drink – their delicious mimosa made with their homemade fruit tea. For my meal, I got the California which consisted of 2 perfectly cooked eggs, avocado, sprouts, and salsa on top of toast. The salsa was so outrageously good that I wanted to get a jar of it to take home! Honestly, you couldn’t go wrong with anything there – I had such a hard time choosing what to order. It’s also a perfect place to grab a cup of coffee and do some work or read a book on the patio, so I am definitely looking forward to my next visit.
Patterson House is a speakeasy style bar in Nashville right near the Catbird Seat in Midtown. I’ve been hearing about this place since freshman year from my upperclassmen friends, so I couldn’t wait to check it out for myself. It most definitely lived up to the expectations! They have an extensive menu with really exotic drinks (so exotic that I had to google a majority of the ingredients!). On the recommendation of a good friend, I ended up ordering the Vodka Cobbler, which was a mix of different fruity liquors and vodka. (side note: it’s not on the menu anymore because they update it frequently but I highly recommend it. plus I felt super cool ordering something that wasn’t on the menu). My roommate got a bacon infused whiskey drink with maple syrup, and we split massive olives as an appetizer (not pictured). Our waiter also brought us a free order of their donuts (pictured above) after he found out it was my birthday!
For my mom’s first night in Nashville, I had to take her to Margot in East Nashville because it is by far my favorite restaurant. They change the menu daily and use local ingredients to create a unique spread of French and Italian fusion dishes. Pictured above is my entrée: grilled amberjack with puréed fennel and roasted carrots topped with gremolata (a mixture of lemon zest, parsley, and garlic). Amberjack is a fish that has a texture and taste very similar to swordfish, and the accouterments were a perfect compliment. Overall, as usual, Margot did not disappoint.
Jeni’s Ice Cream
No Nashville food tour would be complete without a visit to Jeni’s Ice Cream. They have dozens of unique flavors such as Bangkok Peanut, Wildberry Lavender, Brambleberry Crisp, Goat Cheese with Red Cherries, and Whiskey & Pecans, just to name a few. Pictured above from left to right are the Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet (one of my favorites!) and Savannah Buttermint (a new one I tried that has white chocolate, coconut, and mint). My favorite thing about Jeni’s is how friendly the staff is. They are great with helping you decide which flavors to pair together and encourage you to taste them all!
On Saturday a few of my friends and our parents headed to Franklin for the day. We started off at 55 South for a delicious brunch! It was a prime location – right in the heart of downtown Franklin. Everyone enjoyed their meals, and it was a great way to start the day off right. I ate the Eggs St. Louis which had poached eggs, sautéed crabmeat, and asparagus on top of a toasted english muffin!
The highlight of my weekend was definitely Arrington Vineyards. After touring a few wineries in Charlottesville, VA this past October, I knew that is how I wanted to celebrate my 21st birthday. I immediately started googling vineyards near Nashville when I got home from my Charlottesville trip and started aggressively planning my birthday celebration (if you know me, the fact that I started planning my birthday 5 months in advance should not come as a shock to you). Anyway, my birthday rolled around and fell during our sorority parent’s weekend, so we got our moms together to visit Arrington Vineyards with us. When we arrived at the vineyard, much to our dismay there was an almost 4 hour wait for the wine tasting. So I suggested that we just buy a few bottles of wine and create our own tasting on the patio since luckily we got a beautiful day! All the moms chipped in and bought us wine to share – they even got me a set of wine glasses to keep as a gift! Our DIY tasting consisted of their 2012 Chardonnay, 2012 Riesling, 2012 Pinot Noir, 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, and their Raspberry dessert wine. It actually turned out for the best because it was so much more fun and relaxing creating our own tasting.
Later that evening we went to Caffe Nonna for the best Italian food I’ve had in Nashville by far! Pictured above was my dinner – Lasagna Nonna. This was definitely not your typical lasagna! It was filled with butternut squash, spinach, swiss chard, tons of fresh basil, topped with crunchy zucchini strips, and smothered in their tasty homemade marinara sauce. It was well worth the high caloric splurge. Also, not pictured above, was our appetizer (Seafood Caprese Bruschetta) and our dessert (Honey-Roasted Pistachio Bread Pudding and Almond Gelato) We devoured those too quickly to snap a pic!
Hope y’all get a chance to try out these places soon – let me know which ones were your favorites and what you ordered there!