The second day I decided to stay in the city and wander around. There were some cool spots that I’ve heard about and they were all scattered in the East side, over Cumberland River, so it was easy for a restless walker like me to go from place to place.
First, I got dropped at Barista Parlor. The same guy who recommended Rolf and Daughters said that this is the nicest coffee shop in Nashville and I considered him to be trustworthy so I went.
And I am so glad I did. Barista Parlor is probably the most hip café in the entire city and it reminded me a lot of Blue Bottle Coffee or Toby’s Estate Coffee in Williamsburg, only it was even cooler.
Both the interior and the people inside were effortlessly charming and that was the main difference from the coffee shops in NYC. People didn’t pretend to be someone they were not and you could’ve noticed that right away.
A huge garage, high ceilings, a few tables, the espresso bar in the middle; the art on the walls – minimalist. The baristas were bearded men wearing checked shirts and knowledgeable about the coffee they were making.
I got a sausage biscuit with orange marmalade and a black coffee. The setup was soothing. I recall writing in my diary: “What a beautiful day! And it is only 10:30 am!”
I hardly left Barista Parlor around noon and started walking towards “Mas Tacos” (another recommendation) even though I wasn’t hungry. Nashville is pretty spread out though (no wonder you don’t see anyone walking and you can easily notice obesity) so it took me a good 20 minute walk.
I don’t think this was a hangout for tourists and I felt like the people I saw there where the same (or if not, the same kind) that I saw earlier in the morning at the coffee shop.
I got Marinated Pork and Ground Beef tacos and man, they were so delicious! I thought they were even better than “La Esquina” in New York. And that’s a serious affirmation. I am not precisely good at describing food, but the tacos were juicy enough and the proportion (between the tortillas, the meat, the vegetables and the spices) was perfect. I sat and ate alone and oh, how I’ve enjoyed it!
The next thing on my map was about 30 minutes away by walk. As I said before, no one else was walking in that area so I felt like a hitchhiker going down the road, with all those cars passing by, and I got the same feeling I had a day before: the enthusiasm of the man looking for adventure… a very primary excitement for the unknown.
I stopped from time to time to take photos, in my attempt to capture what Tennessee was all about.
And I finally made it to… Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. It was rated no 1 restaurant in Nashville on TripAdvisor so I thought I should give it a try (right?!). It is so hard to say, but I think it was the best ice-cream I’ve ever had. The standard cone came with two flavors and because they were out of pistachio (which is my absolute favorite) I got a scoop of Banana French Toast and one of Salty Caramel. It was rich in flavor and the combination was divine. This is how it looked like:
There were only a few customers so I ate my dessert quietly at a table before getting back to Lower Broadway where I was meeting some friends. This time I took the bus.
Looking back at this trip, I can’t help but wonder how I’ve done so much in so little time and how my stomach endured the caloric battle I’ve put him through.