Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Visits to Tennessee for food and more food...

Music lovers know that Tennessee gave us Tennessee Ernie Ford, that Sun Records in Memphis first recorded Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, that Nashville is the home of the Grand Ol’ Opry and that Paul Simon sang about Elvis’s home, Graceland, located in Memphis, TN. 

(Where Elvis Stood at Sun Studios)

(The Grave site of Elvis Presley)

What people don’t know about is the GREAT food from Tennessee. Jeff and I have travelled several times to this great state and gone on self-guided food tours. In Belvedere we visited Fall’s Mill the producers of our grits. They use quarried granite millstones from 1900. Not only do we love their white grits but we also love their whole grain pancake mix! 

Memphis is known for ribs, and so far we have tried them at Charles Vergo’s Rendezvous and the Neely’s. We have also driven to B.S.Scott’s Bar-B-Que in Lexington, Tennessee, for Pitmaster Ricky Parker’s “whole hog barbeque”. Click on the link for Southern Foodways Alliance film maker Joe York's documentary on Ricky Parker.

(Ricky Parker's Hogs before being cooked)

Not to be missed is Casey Jones Village. We stopped by there and were treated to the best EVER cornbread/pancake fresh off the griddle along with “fried pies” that were warm and tender and flakey and GOOD! If you haven’t had enough to eat you can stop at the ice cream fountain for a custom sundae. I got vanilla ice cream, bananas, hot fudge, whipped cream and salted peanuts! YUM!

Memphis has Gus’s World Famous Hot & Spicy Chicken. They might fight for the title of “burn your mouth” spice…but they will lose. They will win “mighty fine fried chicken”.

After a long day on the Graceland Tour, we went in search of Fried Chicken and were guided to Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken.  I liked the “Sweet Spicy Love” more than the regular, but both were great! 
(That's ME with Uncle Lou!)

Memphis was a trading center for cotton and hardwood. It is now home to FedEx, AutoZone, and International Paper.  While Mempis is still an important city in Tennessee, Nashville is the crown jewel of the state with a very healthy economy.  

Healthcare is one of Nashville’s top industries. The city is known as the nation's health care center. Nashville is the largest publishing center in the Southeast and one of the top ten largest in the country. Of all of the products manufactured in the city, music is what makes Nashville most famous. The music industry in Nashville is responsible for a good chunk of the city's tourism activity.

When doing research on where to eat in Nashville, every single list will include “the Loveless CafĂ©’ just outside of town. They are famous for home-style cooking including their biscuits. A friend and her dad were traveling through town and after eating at Loveless took a dozen biscuits back to the hotel for late night snacks after visiting the downtown Honky Tonks. No names...but you know who you are! :)

Let’s not forget Prince’s Hot Fried Chicken in Nashville. Located in a non-descript strip mall several miles from downtown, this little storefront has people waiting in line from the time the doors open at 11 am until closing time. There aren’t many seats and the turnover isn’t fast because the chicken is cooked to order. They offer different heat levels. I started at mild although I love and can tolerate heat. Jeff ordered the medium. The mild was plenty hot for me and the medium was almost uncomfortable to eat. We watched  an un haired man wiping his sweating head about every 30 seconds as he ate the HOT chicken.  

Nashville also has the amazing Pancake Pantry. Located right across the street from Vanderbilt University, it’s a local’s place, but one in which everyone feels welcome!

The tradition of Family Style lives on at Monell’s in the Germantown neighborhood of Nashville. We were taken there and sat at the large community table with 8 other people. Bowls and platters of food were brought to the table and we all ate as though we would never eat again! When getting ready for the "Taste the Place" Tennessee dinner I tried to talk Jeff into fixing the salad we had there. It was strawberries, Cool Whip and pretzels. It was oddly satisfying, but I couldn't persuade him! 

No tour of Nashville would be complete without a little side trip to Franklin, TN and to Meridee’s Breadbasket. Franklin is a darling town and the favorite residence of many of the Nashville music stars. 
Morning at Meridee's

I can't remember in what town we found this little place but the food was good and the folks were nice. Isn't that what counts? 



A glimpse of the dining room...


Jeff is wondering how in the world to get this home!

1 comment:

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