I’ve always wanted to visit Nashville, because I love music and southern food. Over Labor Day weekend, I spent 4 days there with my friends, Deanne & Chuck, and their daughter, Lauren, who attends Belmont University in the city. We started our adventure with a dinner at Catbird Seat, which is a 17 course meal, prepared by Chef Trevor Moran. The term “catbird seat” refers to the most enviable seat at the table. The restaurant only serves 20 people, and reservations must be made 30 days in advance. I’m not a very adventurous eater, so when the first course arrived and it was a piece of toast, covered in bone marrow and FAT, I was quite worried. A raw oyster, a raw razor clam, and beef tartar with snail eggs and begonia flower petals followed next….still worried. Some of the courses, however, did taste delightful. The winners were mushrooms, black berries, and oak chips in a buckwheat doshi broth, and a dessert of sorrel leaves stuffed with lemon verbena ice cream, bourbon pecan nuts, graham cracker, and pecan butter. Interestingly, they offered a nonalcoholic juice/tea pairing with each course, as well as a wine pairing.
After recuperating from our multi-course meal, we decided to hit Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee for a tour and tasting the following day. Before our tour, we stopped at Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House for lunch. Built in 1887, and on the National Register of Historic Places, we arrived for a 1:00 pm reservation and were seated in a former bedroom of the house, at a communal table with about 10 other people. The food was already on the table in large platters. We passed around the platters to serve ourselves fried catfish, fried okra, beans, potatoes salad, collard greens, mac & cheese, corn bread muffins and BBQ ribs. While eating, our docent explained to us the history of the boarding house. Dessert of pecan pie ended a truly southern meal.
At Jack Daniels distillery, we saw the operations, storage, and bottling processes for their whiskey. We sampled Gentleman Jack, Old Number 7 (my favorite), and Silver Select Single Barrel. I was most impressed by the fresh water spring that runs through the property; it was serene, cool, and a necessary ingredient to their whiskey. I learned that Jack Daniels died because he kicked his metal safe in anger after being unable to open it, got an infection in his toe, then leg, and even after amputation, he eventually died of gangrene.
On the second day, we drove out to Belle Meade Plantation built in 1820 in the Georgian Revival style. The plantation became famous for it’s thoroughbred horses, specifically Iroquoise, Enquirer and Bonnie Scotland, whose bloodlines continue today. The docents here wear clothing of the period, and the tour includes wine tasting, boce ball, and an antique car display.
The rest of the trip included some shopping, dining, and a Kelly Clarkson concert. We toured the Country Music Hall of Fame, and saw numerous guitars and clothing items worn by country artists.