Music City, USA

So I am pretty much the worst blogger ever. Blame Battlestar Galactica. It’s exactly as addictive as everyone says. Also, holy crap, Kara Thrace: Image

But between working and watching BSG, I found time for a spring break trip to Nashville, TN with some of my favorite ladies in America. We all used to work for the same political consulting firm and even though we’ve all moved on from there, we’ve kept in touch and get together at least once a year. This is the same group that I got together with in Raleigh last October, but this time it was just the ladies.

Okay, so the first thing you’re probably thinking is, “This post needs music to go along with it.” Good call. Click here, press play, come back. The second thing you might be thinking is, “What’s a gluten-free vegan about to do in Nashville?”

And that is an excellent question, especially because the answer is: have one of the best gluten-free vegan meals of my short and otherwise uneventful life. No kidding. I’ve eaten at Native Foods in LA, Millennium in San Francisco and Blossom in NYC and Nashville’s Wild Cow blows them all out of the water.

ImageWhy? Because Wild Cow gets it. Just because you don’t eat meat doesn’t mean you want to eat four sunflower sprouts and a bean and call it a day, right? We ate: vegan queso with corn tortilla chips and tomatillo salsa; buffalo tempeh with vegan ranch; and at right is sweet potato and black bean tacos with avocado and a side of bbq tofu. Important to know: the side was included in the entree price, so all this food was under $10. Oh, and every section of the menu includes the option to add avocado to anything, because vegans.

The bad news is, they don’t take reservations unless you have six or more people and they actually lost our reservation, so we had a 20-minute-ish wait. The good news is, they were really committed to making up for it. We got a free round of drinks while we waited and 25% of our entire check. My total bill for a share of the appetizers and two bottles of wine plus my entree was $13 and change. Totally nuts.

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Our first gluten-free pancake!

What else…? We booked a house near downtown via airbnb, which was kind of brilliant. We made a grocery run Thursday evening and were able to cook breakfasts together, which was lovely for waking up late and hanging out until we wanted to be out in the world. Of course, we bought waaaaay too much food, so the three of us who stayed until Monday were on a mission to consume everything in the fridge before we flew out.

ImageThis was Sunday night’s dinner: two different kinds of tofu stirfry with green pepper, zucchini and yellow squash (Katie doesn’t like onions so only one had red onion), quinoa and roasted eggplant with the last of the Gingeroo that Ellie brought from New Orleans. We made breakfast tacos the next morning with tofu scramble (tofu, more of the onion and green pepper) with corn tortillas. black beans and daiya cheese. My friends were petty awesome about working with my dietary restrictions, and even though it was really far from where we were staying, they were cool with traveling to East Nashville in pursuit of amazing vegan food.

ImageAlso to see and do: Cedars of Lebanon State Park is 30 minutes outside the city and lovely. A guided horseback ride is $20 but you can park and hike around for free. It was kind of amazing just to be outside and in the sunshine after what felt like an extra-long East Coast winter. Also, the Country Music Hall of Fame is totally worth the $22 admission. There’s a special exhibit on Patsy Cline right now which was all I wanted to see, but there was actually quite a bit of pretty cool history. After the Hall of Fame, we found our way to Restaurant Fiesta Mexicana, which was pretty well deserted at 3 pm on Saturday. We had the porch almost entirely to ourselves to enjoy several pitchers of cheap but weak margaritas, an obscene amount of chips and salsa and copious sunshine.

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instagram!

I loved Drifters BBQ in East Nashville. We were wandering back from Wild Cow and couldn’t find a cab when we saw lights and heard music and decided to stop and check it out. They have a huge patio and cheap drinks and live music, which is pretty much all I ever want in a bar. And finally, when in Music City, you probably ought to make your way to Broadway and visit a honky-tonk. Fair warning: there are no cowboys on Broadway, just lots of bros. But there’s music and dancing and it’s worth the trip, if you can stand crowds.

Okay, that’s all I can say about Nashville for the moment.

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