CHEEKWOOD BOTANICAL GARDENS.

Being so far away from friends and family means we get visitors. Which means I’ve done more touristy things in the last 7 weeks here than most people have done in their whole natural Nashville lives.

Cheekwood is one of the places I insist people visit because it is truly the most magical place I’ve ever been. There is an exhibit right now with Spanish artist Jaume Plensa that cannot be missed. There is no point in describing it because it’s indescribable. So I’m just going to leave these pictures right here…. Enjoy.

MAS TACOS POR FAVOR.

I’m from California.. we take Mexican food seriously. And while the good people over at Chipotle are well intentioned, they have no idea how to make a proper taco. So you can imagine how excited John and I were to try Mas Tacos in East Nashville. We have been hearing about since we got here (seriously, even our electrician said we needed to go) and we finally made it over to the east part of town.

Upon approach, the giant DELIcious signage leads me to believe the owners are putting all their hard earned money into the amazing corn tortilla’s and not paying a dime to paint over the former tenants roof. Once you get inside, your mouth starts watering because nothing has ever smelled so good. Then the food. Holy guacamole. Just kidding, they are too hip for guacamole, but the TACOS are everything. Each taco is $3 which includes “onions, cilantro, and tax.” Usually, I only enjoy 1 out of 3 of those, but I’m sure glad I made an exception. I opted for 1 cast iron chicken taco with salsa verde and 1 spicy carne molida taco. And the Mexican street corn because obviously. It was all delicious, and if the line hadn’t been out the door and down the street, I would have ordered seconds.

PS: Guy in green shorts below for the win.

DATE NIGHT: ROLF & DAUGHTERS AND THE ROLLING STONES.

For mother’s day, John got us tickets to see The Rolling Stones and have dinner at Rolf & Daughters. At the time, we still lived in Los Angeles so this was going to be our first night out in Nashville. Just us, no kids = just the way night outs should be. To be honest, I would have been thrilled to go ANYWHERE without children, but it so happens that I was dying to try Rolf & Daughters. It’s one of the restaurants that everyone talks about so I had high hopes.

The restaurant is in Germantown which is a cool, but small, area of town comprised of about 5 square blocks. Walking up to Rolf & Daughters (which may or may not have the intentional acronym R.A.D) is like being transported back to Brooklyn. And I think the entire serving staff might actually BE from Brooklyn. Anyway, the fact that they gave me a giant loaf of sourdough bread, seaweed butter, and a pile of salt, makes them A-okay in my book. The rest of our meal was delicious too (the carbonara was beyond), but we didn’t have time for dessert since we needed to get to the show!


 John and I actually consider The Rolling Stones show we saw in 2005 to be the starting point of our relationship, so we make a point to see them whenever they roll through town. I swear I didn’t even mean for that pun to happen but I’m leaving it. We had floor seats and cold beer, but I’m sorry – we are old and tired and it was hot out. Real hot. 97 degrees and humid hot. So we left after an hour.. Kind of just wish I had gotten dessert.


TOUR GUIDE.

You know what would be hilarious? Move to a new city where you know nothing, and then have friends come visit you 3 weeks later and pretend to be knowledgable and informed. Meanwhile, I need navigation to get to the nearest grocery store. But sure, I’m game! Let’s do it!

The Marlos, consisting of Mary Michael, Dave, Claire, and Grant arrived on Thursday afternoon and were leaving on Saturday – so my itinerary had to be pretty compact. It also had to be pretty GOOD since I’m campaigning for them to move to Nashville. I think for 2 and a half days, I did a pretty decent job. Please note: If any of y’all come visit me for 2 days, you will likely get the same tour so don’t be surprised.

THURSDAY:

  • Lunch at Burger Up in 12 South. SOOOOO GOOD. Need to go back since it deserves it’s own post.
  • Walked around and looked at all the cute shops.
  • Ice cream popsicles at Las Paletas. Again, this needs it’s own post because I can’t. I CAN’T!!! I’m obsessed and if I lived near this place I would be 400 pounds because it’s all I would eat.
  • Dinner at Puckett’s in Downtown Franklin. I don’t care if you’re visiting for 2 days or 2 weeks, this is somewhere I will take you. I love the food, the atmosphere, the live music at night, even their bottles of BBQ sauce. And it’s in the historic part of Franklin so you get some charm served with your chicken.
  • Ice cream (this is becoming a theme) at Kilwin’s Candy Store. And some fudge samples but seriously stop judging me.
White's Mercantile
White’s Mercantile
Kilwin's Candy Shop
Kilwin’s Candy Shop
Downtown Franklin
Downtown Franklin
Puckett's
Puckett’s

FRIDAY:

Those Marlo kids get up early. I woke up at 7:30 and they had been up for 2 hours. So breakfast turned into the quickest thing we could get to..

  • Breakfast at Mama Java. From the outside, I thought this was going to be kind of like a Starbucks and I was getting ready to apologize. But when we walked in, it had great communal tables made of reclaimed wood, cool vintage signs hanging, and a full breakfast menu. BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING AND PLANNED THIS. I didn’t. But the biscuits were homemade and the coffee was amazing so I’m adding it to my future lists.
  • Snack and Iced Tea (unsweet tea? I still don’t know how to say it) at Crema. I love Crema. I love everything out about it. File this under a longer post at a later time.
  • Country Music Hall of Fame. Obsessed. We were only able to see a pretty small section since it’s massive, but this place is amazing.
  • Dinner at Desano’s Pizza. The pizza was so good, but the best part of the night was that I was so focused on ordering wine that I missed Sutton take his first steps. I was up at the counter trying to concentrate on the menu and everyone was calling me to come see… But no, I REALLY was focused on the wine list. Mom of the year per usual.
Crema
Crema
Country Music Hall of Fame
Country Music Hall of Fame
Country Music Hall of Fame
Country Music Hall of Fame

SATURDAY:

Those Marlo kids wake up early every day. But this time we had our agenda planned!

  • Breakfast at The Feed Mill in Nolensville. It does not get more awesome than this place. You pay for your plate and get 3 breads, 3 meats, and eggs. The biscuits are worth the weight I will gain by eating all of them.
  • My next mission was to take them on a driving tour of the neighborhoods in and around Nashville. Not just the hip parts, but the parts they might actually want to move to. Now remember, I have basically spent zero time going anywhere but Target and Whole Foods, so I am largely unequipped for this tour. But thanks to Google Maps and Nashville Guru, I kind of pulled it off. We started in Belle Meade just to see the Beverly Hillsy area of the city, and get a quick glimpse of the plantation (um, myself included because I’ve never seen it). Then we did Hillsboro Village for lunch, Sylvan Park, Green Hills, Belmont / Hillsboro, and then back to 12 South for another ice cream popsicle because I told you I would go there every day and to stop judging me. Right across from Las Paletas is Sevier Park so we walked over and let the kids run around a bit. The humidity was magically non existent, the skies were blue, and there was a breeze. I mean, I would totally move to Nashville if I hadn’t already moved.
  • Quick detour down Music Row on the way to dinner to see all the record labels, publishing houses, etc that line the streets.
  • Dinner at Adele’s. Our local favorite and much like Puckett’s, where everyone who visits us will likely dine. And they have the best kale salad which makes people from California feel warm and fuzzy.
The Feed Mill
The Feed Mill
The Feed Mill
The Feed Mill
The Feed Mill
The Feed Mill
The Feed Mill
The Feed Mill
Hillsboro Village
Hillsboro Village
Dragon Park
Dragon Park
Sevier Park
Sevier Park

And that’s a wrap on the family-of-four-who-might-move-to-nashville guide.

YMCA, FTW.

I thought that moving to the south meant joining a country club.. Isn’t that what people do here? Sip mint juleps over looking the golf course? Maybe it IS what they do, but when I went to tour The Governor’s Club (which is about 6 minutes away), I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I mean, for starters, it’s called The Governor’s Club. It was probably going to be stuffy. And expensive. But we don’t really know anyone out here so I wanted something that would let us be social and leave the house!

Problem solved: THE YMCA.

YMCA in Brentwood

Whaaaaat?!?! This would never be an option in LA! Nashville scores major points with this one. We went today and it was nothing short of a country club. Multiple pools, tennis courts, activities for the kids, state of the art everything, I mean WTF WHY DIDN’T THIS EXIST IN LOS ANGELES.

FRANKLIN FARMER’S MARKET.

I love farmer’s markets. I even love the idea of them. I picture myself walking around with baskets of fresh flowers and buying all the produce for the week’s meals. That is literally NEVER what happens, but I still like thought. The reality is that I eat a lot of baked goods and take pictures of all the fresh flowers and produce.

The perk of this particular farmer’s market is that it’s flooded with food trucks. Even a DONUT food truck. Who on earth needs fresh fruit when you can have a fresh donut from Ellie’s? I highly recommend the Cinnamon Sugar and Big Apple.

MARTIN’S BBQ JOINT: NOT VEGAN.

Within 2 weeks of living in Tennessee, I think it’s state law that you need to consume at least 1 meal of pulled pork. And if you don’t, you might as well move back home right now. So we dutifully asked every local we could find, and settled on Martin’s BBQ Joint.

I honestly feel like whenever we show up some place authentic, we look like raging Californians. Like Troop Beverly Hills walking into the wild west. Maybe it’s because I can’t even order at the counter without stumbling on questions like, “which would I want: wet or dry ribs?” and “do you have broccoli?”

So we choked and just ordered the gigantic family platter that comes with like 37 pieces of meat on it. Like, an overwhelming amount of meat. The beans and potato salad were awesome, and the meat was too – BUT (and this isn’t going to be popular here), I don’t love vinegar based BBQ sauce. I feel like torches are going to come flying through my window now.. Using the baked beans as a sauce worked great though. Next time I’m trying the chicken and stealing my children’s hot dog. Not to be a 4 year old about it, but the hot dog was actually my favorite part of dinner.