this past week, Brendan and I headed down to Nashville for a daytrip. we visited once before when we first started dating and we had a blast but I’m gonna venture to say this trip was even better! we started our day at Biscuit Love which was super yummy and since it was a monday, we got a seat in about 20 minutes, which was nice compared to the two hour weekend waits I read about on yelp. I had shrimp and grits which has been a favorite breakfast dish of mine lately and it was excellent! after breakfast, we headed to the Opry Mills Outlet Mall to escape the heat and do some shopping. we got some seriously good deals so I didn’t feel too guilty we went to an ordinary mall instead of site-seeing. next, we went to Crema, which I can honestly say I’ve been looking forward to visiting since we left the last time. they have this amazing concoction called coffee soda which is basically exactly what it sounds like: carbonated coffee! Brendan got a condensed milk latte which he assures me was great (I don’t like condensed milk but I’ll trust him).
we still had some time to kill before dinner so we headed back to the opry area to check out the Grande Ole Opry theater, which was closed but we wandered around anyways. i read on a travel blog that the hotel next door, The Gaylord Opryland Resort, had an indoor garden so we thought we might as well check it out. it was free to go inside but the parking was pricy so we opted to park at the mall and walk instead. it was a little bit of a hike, especially in the burning heat but WOW was it worth it! the gardens were beautiful and massive and the air conditioning didn’t hurt either. it was truly a phenomenal hotel! finally it was time for dinner at Rolf and Daughter, which I’ve literally been waiting years to try! we didn’t have reservations so we sat outside in the 100° heat (at 10pm!!) but the ambiance was so nice outside and the food was so good, I didn’t mind it much. I had the squid ink linguine, a dish I first tried while living in Nice at a wonderful restaurant on the beach, and I am happy to say this dish was just as yummy! we didn’t order drinks or dessert, which I’m regretting now but at least we have another reason to go back now.
Rolf and Daughters
The Gaylord Opryland Resort: 10/10
while researching places to go in paris, ten belles came up again and again. everyone seemed to be raving about the adorable exterior, friendly service and most of all, the great coffee. the coffee truly was worth the hype. i still don’t think it was quite on pare with intellegensia and some of my other favorite los angeles joints but it was rich and delicious and just hit the spot after wandering around all day. the cafe is tiny inside but we were lucky enough to snag a seat upstairs to people watch and enjoy the environment. after our coffee break, we took advantage of the surrounding area and explored this hip, up and coming district. the people here were probably the most stylish i saw in all of paris! i will never forget the girl i saw wearing striped ankle socks with mens pants and tank top looking oh so stylish with a cropped parisian haircut or the guy who looked straight out of the 1900s with round glasses and a baguette under his arm. if i ever get the chance to live in paris, the tenth arrondissement is definitely where you’d find me.
i have realized that as i have gotten older, most of my old sweet vices have slowly gone away. most baked goods are off limits because of my gluten allergy, ice cream because of my dairy aversion, candy seems too sweet, chocolate too rich, etc. but i will never tire of macarons. they are light and gluten free (usually) and when done right, just the perfect amount of sweetness and richness. so since paris is the macaron capital of the world, i couldn’t go without trying as many as possible. i was fortunate to go to paris with emily, a fellow macaron lover. i have a theory that people either adore macarons or detest them and we are definitely in the first camp.
one afternoon, we decided to stop by the two macaron kings in town, ladurée and pierre hermé, to test each and see which actually was the best. after spending a pretty penny (those things aren’t cheap!) and having the hardest time finding the pierre hermé shop on the champs-élysées (it was in a high end pharmacy… who’d have thought?), we finally settled in the jardin des tuileries to test our purchases. there weren’t as many flavor overlaps as we had expected but we tried a chocolate, pistachio, lemon and rose from each store, as well as many other unique flavors. overall, the pierre hermé flavors were stronger and more unique while ladurée’s were more delicate and simple. i preferred pierre hermé while emily liked ladurée but we came to a consensus that ladurée has the best rose, pierre hermé the best lemon and the chocolate were too different to even compare. my favorite flavor of the day was vanilla bean and marie antoinette from ladurée and passion fruit and pistachio from pierre hermé but honestly, almost every flavor hit it out of the park (except for licorice and salted caramel… never again). our taste test in the tuileries is definitely one of my favorite (and yummiest) memories of the trip.