Greetings From Nashville, Tennessee

Greetings From Nashville, Tennessee

I arrived in Nashville in the early a.m.  One, because of entering the Central Time zone and two, more so, because I left Sweetwater, TN at the crack of dawn. I just didn’t know what to expect as far as traffic. But it was smooth sailing and I arrived with time to explore downtown Nashville before breakfast. I love me some neon signs and Nashville’s tourist strip on Broadway had plenty.

Though there was some early activity, most of the city was still sleeping. When I returned later in the day, the streets were inundated with tourists. So I was glad I had some 1:1 time beforehand. There would be no way to crop out all those tourists!IMG_2537

Here’s the bad news. Downtown Nashville, which I dreamed of being as cool as the old country music I was blasting all the way west (Kitty Wells, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams Jr. type old), was pretty cheesy and touristy.  Kind of like the French Quarter in Louisiana. But I guess if I wandered into Times Square in Manhattan without knowing much else, I’d have a very sour impression of New York City too. I regret that wouldn’t have enough time to explore Nashville more deeply.  But I did partake in some touristy sights.

Like thinking about going to the Johnny Cash Museum and the Patsy Cline Museum. But there was a really big line.  Tourist traffic is most certainly increased because of the Eclipse, much like the fees for parking.  Plus, the tongue-in-cheek baby onesies on display in the window (I Crawl the Line) were a bit off-putting. Johnny Cash was pretty bad ass and would not be happy with that kind of B.S.  I also didn’t like that Patsy didn’t have a more prominent sign. Perhaps it’s in the works?  Ok, I’ll stop complaining. But I really love these two musicians.

The Nashville skyline.

I got my fortune told by Elvis. That was a fun way to spend $1. He said something about my troubles being returned to sender. This Zoltar-style machine was in the Legends Gift Shop, which was insanely packed.  I moved onward to hunting down vegan cowboy boots in the many cowboy boot outfitters on the strip. But I am going to post about that separately.

I also went to the gorgeous Union Station, a posh hotel that was once a train terminal opened in 1900. Climbing the stairs is kind of a “thing” to do. And I needed to kill some time before checking into my hotel. Though I don’t regret hitting the road early, it left me taking opportunities I might not have sought out otherwise–shopping, walking up 9 flights of stairs, walking around with tons of tourists, etc.

Oh wait, breakfast. I skipped over describing the amazing meal I had at Graze, an all-vegan gem in Nashville. I door-busted, because afternoon brunch is usually hectic and annoying. This is what introverts do to remain in their comfort zone; they go early so they are less afflicted by throngs of people.  Of course I am also preemptively loading up on peace and comfort to counter Eclipse Day, which will be crazy.  But a crowd of people super-excited about an Eclipse? That’s the kind of communal gathering I can draw from in a positive way.  We’re all shades of grey. 

The amazing food, finally. I got the Cauliflower Sausage Biscuit: house-made biscuit and veggie sausage, tempeh bacon, arugula, avocado, red onion and hollandaise. It was fresh, flavorful and just the perfect portion.  A meal like this is a godsend during a roadtrip. Not to mention being surrounded by a mug of really good black coffee, a tall glass of ice water, and a pint of fresh-squeezed juice (I got the Spice of Life: pineapple, jalapeño, carrot, apple & ginger). Perfection.

The reason why brunch was the perfect portion was because I knew I was heading to Vegan Vee, an all-vegan, all-gluten-free bakery, right after.  There was a line, but like the Eclipse, another communal gathering I can enjoy. I loved watching everyone staring at the window case as others ahead of them ordered, taking mental inventory. And offerings were disappearing quickly!

Thinking about sitting all day waiting for the Eclipse tomorrow, I bought treats that will sweeten that sit and wait time. I got a lemon blueberry donut, a vanilla chocolate chip cupcake and a chocolate-glazed vanilla chocolate chip bundt cake.

But I ate this one in the car. It was great texture for a gluten-free cupcake, though it didn’t leave the wrapper cleanly… which means scraping the remnants with my teeth afterwards. What a fiend I am.IMG_3249

So I’ll jump to lunch now. But this meal was well after a good amount of time passed. I headed to the Eclipse site to check things out there, did more Nashville tourist stuff, etc. Then I ate again. I headed to The Southern V, which I knew was another Nashville vegan must. It’s a house that has a take-out window and a menu that changes daily. You walk into the backyard, place your order through the door and wait for your food. It was neat to go to a unique eatery like this, especially since I would be checking into my motel immediately after.

The window opens and closes as payment is being processed. And there are a few picnic tables set-up if you do want to stay and eat communal style. IMG_2559

So like the name implies, this is all-vegan soul food. I got the Fried Chik’n… which was seitan that was breaded to the nines with a great spicy seasoning.  It was real-deal.  I got a side of buttery veggies and their Mac n’ cheese, which the chef explained was Daiya-based but enhanced on the flavor front. I can get behind that. It was creamy and delicious and only subtly had Daiya flavor, thank goodness.IMG_3264

Did I mention how amazing this country-fried seitan was?  I wished I had some gravy for it. Hey wait, maybe I can get breakfast here again to try it with their waffles. Oh boy, that’d be heavenly. Considering my itinerary ends at The Eclipse, the world is my oyster…IMG_3267

And with that, I’m heading to bed early. I’m going to wake up at the crack of dawn tomorrow too. Goodnight, Nashville!