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This is the start of an ongoing series “On the Road”. Surprisingly this means that I will be writing about my food experiences when I travel. Shock. =-)

I’ve been on the road since last Tuesday. Don’t get me wrong; I actually got home on Friday night, but the weekend was busy too. Time was spent with loads of folks and not really at home.

Rewinding.

Last Tuesday my wife and I went to Nashville, TN. It was for a mid year leadership retreat for an organization that my community is part of. We had a good but incredibly tiring time catching up with old friends and meeting and chatting up new ones.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I go out-of-town I get slightly excited and also slightly paranoid about the restaurants that I will eat at. I mean, going to a divey place that you know and love is different from the step of faith it takes to go to a divey place that you’ve never heard of and oh by the way what is that staring back at me from my water-glass??? Oh the joy.* disclaimer: this didn’t happen. this time…

The hotel we stayed in actually had an Omaha Steakhouse in it. I was surprised that the food was decent (fries were over salted, but hey…I like over salted fries even if they burn my mouth a bit) and the price point was really good. This second part is really important to me. I want to feel like I am getting my money’s worth. In this case, since my community sent us, we wanted to use that money wisely, so it was doubly important.

To top it off, the bartender we had there was awesome. How awesome? When my wife went down to get coffee she took the time to grill them about their key lime pie (if you like key lime pie then you know how good it can be and also how very bad it can be). He took time to answer all of her questions and then gave her roughly 1/3 of the pie when she ordered a piece. Sidenote: it was good. Not the best I’ve had, but better than most restaurants I’ve tried. It was good enough to order another piece that night for a late night dessert =-P

We checked out a few other places as well. Blackstone Brewery, Chuy’s and Noshville.

Blackstone was good. It was the right place for dinner and drinks on Wednesday night. They were incredibly accommodating for a party of 10 with no reservation. I typically find that the food at microbrewerys is above average and this haunt was no exception. Keep in mind I didn’t have 4 or 5 things…I had 1: the fish and chips (though I did hear compliments to other items from the rest of the table). They were fantastic. The only thing I didn’t care for was the cole slaw. Ew. Overloaded with celery and onion. Not enough liquid. A complete miss.
Set that aside, and you’ve got a place worth visiting if you are in Nashville. NIce atmosphere, good server’s and the prices are not outrageous. Plus there is good beer and that always ups the worth.

I am not a fan of tex-mex, but people wanted to go to Chuy’s and well, who am I to argue? I was glad I went. The food was good. There was nothing surprising about the food at Chuy’s, and I mean that in the best way possible. It was an enjoyable plate of food at a reasonable price. My own gripe (which applies to most latin food restaurants) is that while they bring chips and salsa to the table, those of us with allergies to chili oil can never have the salsa. That makes me sad. May be someday there will be an option.
Again, I highly recommend this place if you are looking for some solid tex-mex.
ps. Keep and eye out for the portrait of Mother Teresa smoking a joint. It gave me a chuckle.

Sigh…last and certainly least: Noshville. With the exception of the quality of the service it was a complete fail.
Noshville claims to be an “authentic New York delicatessen”. I’m gonna have to disagree with that claim. Simply having the same items as a New York delicatessen does not a delicatessen make.
In brief: dry, day old bread plus dry meat = dry sandwich. Having 5″ matzoh balls (no exaggeration here) in the matzoh ball soup did not make up for it. It only served to underscore the ridiculousness. The soup was at least tasty, but the $11.99 price point for the half sandwich and soup was not.
My wife had the unfortunate experience of ordering their chicken caesar salad. The greens tasted like dirt. Literally. The dressing? Let’s not go there.
I think the only thing we were intrigued by (and enjoyed sampling) was the reuben soup. My friends thought it was tasty, but ordering a whole bowl of it seemed a bit much.
This is a place I would avoid. At all costs.

The last meal I had in Nashville was at the airport. I was thrilled to finally be able to try Wendy’s breakfast. It cost me $4.91 and I was happy with that. The honey butter chicken biscuit and potatoes were everything good about fast food breakfast. High in calories, but I was full until dinner…which ended up being a good thing (our flights kept getting delayed thus thwarting our chances for grabbing food in the airports).

That, my friends, ends another road trip recap. There was good food, ok food and bad food. I am smarter and somehow not heavier for having eaten it.

Happy eating.

~jon

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