Featured,  Food & Drink,  Travel

Hollywood With A Touch of Twang

One of the best things about moving to a new city is discovering its local cuisine and the favorite hot spots of its residents.  In Nashville, this means being in the company of some chart topping artists and well-known songwriters.  Since my move to this great city, which was almost a year ago (WOW!), readers, friends and family have asked me my recommendations on my favorite spots in town.  Although a bit of a detour from the music-related posts, I put together some of my picks to add to your itinerary if you’re planning a trip to Music City anytime soon.

Start your day at one of the great coffee shops in town.  My favorite is Edgehill Cafe, which is right off of Music Row – there’s no telling who might pop in – and has a comfortable atmosphere to enjoy some of the best coffee in town.  The Rouge‘s Joshua Vaught and The CO‘s Troy Akers are some of the regulars.  Another popular place to get your caffeine fix is Fido, where Taylor Swift was first spotted with her for-the-moment love interest, Jake Gyllenhal. A drive down the historic Music Row is necessary, but unless you have someone well-versed from the city who can give you some of the backstories and point out notable buildings it may leave you unimpressed.  Downtown offers a lot of opportunities to learn more about the city’s music history, whether strolling through the Country Music Hall of Fame or hearing backstage stories at the Ryman Auditorium, home of the first Grand Ole Opry. For lunch, PM Nashville has one of the best menus in town, including a unique and fresh sushi selection as well as a take on fried pickles that could literally change your life.  If sushi isn’t your thing, Taco Mamacita has a unique variety of tacos that are easy on the wallet, delicious, and can be enjoyed on the sprawling outdoor patio that overlooks the Row.  Cap your lunch off with a sweet treat at Gigi’s Cupcakes, a home-grown shop that offers an original and mouthwatering assortment of fresh cupcakes, like the Banana Creme (a yellow cake with vanilla filling, topped with banana buttercream and vanilla wafers). And it’s there you might run into your favorite songwriter in line, like John Edwards who stopped in to meet Gina, or Gigi herself.

If you have a buck to spend and want to get some southern threads, Green Hills Mall has premiere shopping in Nashville and a stadium-style movie theater playing the latest blockbusters.  After you’ve shopped until you’ve dropped, rehydrate with the refreshing homemade limeade at Zoe’s Kitchen.  It was there that I had my first run-in with Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman.  When it’s time for some dinner, Patterson House is the place to check out.  The certified mixologists will perfect your favorite cocktail and introduce you to some incredible new concoctions.  While the food selection may be small, it packs a big punch.  You can’t go wrong with anything your feeling in the mood for, but the sliders and tater tots are like none I have had before.  And who knows, Tragic Kingdom favorite, Kelly Clarkson, and television star Melissa Peterman just might be at the table next to you celebrating one of their latest career milestones.

To finish the night, or ring in the morning, head down to Broadway where you’ll get a taste of honky tonk at its finest.  Known as NashVegas, the strip of historic venues and bars will surely provide you a good time and great music. To find the best options on the strip, be sure to contact someone in town to navigate your route of bar hopping, so you don’t get stuck in the tourist trap.  But don’t expect to see your favorite Tragic Kingdom friends down there, the honky tonks are purely a tourist experience.  Once you’ve done it, let me know and I’ll give you some tips for a real Nashville night.

Most importantly, if you’re headed to the Nashville area be sure to hit up your favorite music blogger (unless it’s not Tragic Kingdom), as I am always happy to rap and rhyme with my loyal readers.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook for more updates on Nashville hot spots and sightings.

Note: This post originally appeared on Chris Vetrano’s music blog, Tragic Kingdom, in June of 2011. Part two of this series appears on Listen! It’s Vetrano here