Image by Tanner Boriack

Nashville

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Nashville was lit.  And I do mean LIT!  I assumed Nashville was some small country hicktown with a major focus on country music and cowboys. Don't get me wrong. Nashville is inundated with country music and people wearing cowboy hats. But, Nashville is way more of a big city than I could have ever imagined. The downtown is really a downtown with high rise living, tall corporate buildings and buzzing energy,  So why would I take a trip to somewhere that I thought I would be a fish out of water?  Well......

Nashville has the first National Museum of African American Music. It opened in early 2021 and it has ALL BLACK MUSIC. I had to see it for myself. This museum is probably the best museum I've ever been to. If not the best, it's in the top five. I'm gonna shock you. I loved it more than the National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC. This museum is colorful, light hearted and filled with music. It's fun and interactive. And if you love music, it's a dream come true. It showcases the history of music from slavery until present day. You can do karaoke. You can do dance routines. You can join a virtual gospel choir. You can even create a playlist based on the music you listen to while there. Also, there are intermissions of performances on huge panoramic screens, like Prince and James Brown.

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The museum engulfs you in this music. I'm a music lover. So a self-guided tour that was supposed to last 90 minutes took me three hours. And I could have stayed longer. They do their best to practice COVID safety. Masks are required. There are disposable covers available for the headphones and mics. There is no specific path that you have to follow after you view the introduction video in The Roots Theater. Just go wherever the music leads your heart and your feet. 

The museum is $25 to enter and most likely you will have to pay about $20 for parking. The museum is downtown on Broadway and 4th Avenue. So, it's right in the middle of all the action. And by action, I mean that Broadway was crawling with people. It's bright with flashing signs and littered with bars and restaurants.  It reminded me of Bourbon Street in New Orleans minus the Hurricanes and Grenades. There were party buses, motorcycle groups, and live bands singing their covers of songs like No Diggity by Blackstreet transformed into a country music version.  We thought that there must be some special event going on. But, nope. Asked a local and he said it was a slow weekend. Slow??? 

I can't imagine when Nashville really turns up. 

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Downtown Nashville has pretty much everything. So, we actually didn't venture out except to try what Nashville is known for. Hot Chicken. Prince's Hot Chicken is black owned and has been in existence since 1945. The place is cute and spacious with adequate seating. I ordered the hot chicken with the spice level of hot, potato salad, coleslaw and pound cake. The chicken was still very crispy even though it was dipped in their signature flavor concoction. But, it tasted like old bay seasoning with a hint of ghost pepper. I didn't mind the level of heat. I just thought it was salty and not savory. I was looking for a flavor explosion. But, there were no fireworks. 

 

The potato salad and coleslaw were good. But, the pound cake was made by Auntie. I can't put the Grandma or Big Mama title on it because it had icing on it. And the pound cakes I know don't have icing but rather a drizzled glaze topping. Auntie remixed Big Mama's recipe and it was all the way on point. I also went to Jack's BBQ downtown. It was close to the hotel, the reviews were good and basically all the BBQ restaurants have the same menu.  I ordered the sliced turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes and chess pie. The sliced turkey was heavenly. I equate it to eating a honey baked ham.  Really flavorful and moist. The green beans were good. The mashed potatoes needed a sprinkle of every spice. And I really wanted to enjoy the chess pie. I really did. 

 

Legend has it that the chess pie came about on a plantation in the South. It was called "Just Pie". But because of the southern accent, it was translated into "Chess Pie". It's very simply made with eggs, sugar, flour, butter and a dash of lemon or vanilla. Somebody forgot the dash of lemon or vanilla. It definitely had the custard consistency but tasted like nothing and something at the same time. Kind of waxy.  Plain gelatin, maybe?  It's hard to explain. It wasn't even a hint of flavor. Just a super bland custard. I gave it the two taste rule and couldn't keep going. I'm not sure if it was just that location or how chess pie is really supposed to taste. If so, bless their hearts for eating flavorless pie. I had a sample of the beef brisket and ribs.  The beef brisket was smoky, moist and a bit fatty. The rib was smoky and moist too, but it had a dry rub that was a bit too briny for me. Nashville doesn't shy away from the sodium. I would stick with the turkey. 

I attempted to go to Legendary Milkshake Bar, which has decadent artsy milkshakes. Some topped with whole doughnuts and cupcakes. Gluttony at its finest! Saturday night, the line had to be at least 100 people long down the sidewalk. I decided to go back on Easter Sunday and it was closed. I wanted to cry. There were other places I wanted to try as well. Bourbon Steak for their lobster pot pie. Olive & Sinclair for their chocolate. And Edley's for their pulled chicken with white BBQ sauce. They are certainly on my list for next time. 

 

Nashville claims their native drink is the Bushwacker. However, the Bushwacker was created in Barbados and I wouldn't give Nashville the satisfaction of even trying it for a comparison. So, there is no drink report from me.  

 

Nashville is a drinking city with a music problem (funny anecdote I heard from a native). Although, I didn't have one libation the whole time, I don't feel I missed out.  I had an exceptional time and I can't wait to go back. Especially for that milkshake.