Where We Ate: Nashville Edition!

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Nashville for work, so Matt flew in a couple of days later for a mini vacation. I got a few incredulous reactions to this—and to be fair, I guess it’s not the most conventional vacay spot for 2 Asians—but why not explore a new city? And like all good trips, wherever Our Happy Jar goes, good food follows…

Where We Ate

Etch

Our experience at Etch was great. Impeccable service and really delicious food! The restaurant is also right across from the Country Music Hall of Fame 🙂

What We Ate: 

  • Butter tasting (prosciutto truffle, smoked parmesan black pepper, ginger cashew, and malt vinegar butter): It’s really just bread and butter, but the butter is amazing! Mixing them together was even more awesome!
  • Tempura catfish with watermelon and blueberries: Yummy, but the least memorable.
  • Roasted cauliflower with truffled pea pesto, almonds, and feta crema: Delish!
  • Pork chop with gnocchi, trio of mushrooms, asparagus, basil, frisee, smoked ham jus potato, and chorizo: The pork was really tender… to die for!
  • Orange creamsicle (white chocolate vanilla bean ganache, orange sorbet, white chocolate crumble, mango orange sauce, lemon macarons): This was really light and so yummy, which was a perfect way to end the meal!

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Etch on Urbanspoon

The Pharmacy Burger Parlour and Beer Garden

The Pharmacy was really out of the way for us and hard to get to without a car, but it was definitely worth the trip. I know burgers are a dime a dozen, but the burgers at this place are out of this world (the photo below doesn’t do them justice)! I would go back again just for those burgers… the large selection of beers doesn’t hurt either! It was also like eating in someone’s large backyard—plants, picnic tables, strings of lights—which I absolutely loved. What We Ate

  • Farm burger: Tennessee beef, country ham, applewood-smoked bacon, egg, and maple mustard
  • Stroganoff burger: Tennessee beef, mushroom stroganoff bechamel, sour cream, caramelized onion, and swiss cheese
  • Black bean and corn salad and hand-cut sweet potato fries

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The Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden on Urbanspoon

Husk

Husk was also a little out of the way, but not too far of a walk from downtown. It was a really cute restaurant set up in a house, with a herb and veggie garden out front. What We Ate

  • Deviled eggs with pickled ramps
  • Ember “grilled” pimento cheese sandwich
  • Shrimp and grits with mushrooms, ham, and egg: This was one of the best parts of the meal!
  • Buttermilk chess pie with Georgia peaches and cream: SO good… it reminded me of the basque cake from Bar Isabel!

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Husk on Urbanspoon

Rolf and Daughters

Another restaurant that was pretty out of the way for us (are you seeing a theme here?) Also, Rolf and Daughters has been written up extensively, so it was understandably busy. We were told that it’d be an hour wait, but fortunately, it was much shorter, and we got to hang out with drinks outside for a bit. The restaurant is located in an old warehouse, which was cool. What We Ate

  • Chicken liver pate with green tomato marmalade and cacao: YUM.
  • Dry-aged beef tartare with salsa verde and toast
  • Polenta with charred and pickled eggplant and bonito
  • Squid ink trofie,with shrimp, squid, pancetta, and lemon: Really, really good, but wasn’t quite like Joso’s squid ink pasta.
  • Mixed roast of pork with corn, squash, okra, and bay laurel: This was pretty awesome too.

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Rolf and Daughters on Urbanspoon

The Southern

Live music, oysters, and blood orange mimosas for brunch? Hell yeah! Matt’s fried chicken and waffles was pretty darn good too.

What We Ate

  • Oysters!
  • The Highway (fried chicken breast on a waffle with maple syrup): Crunchy, just the right amount of heat, and perfect with the syrup!
  • Steak & Biscuit Benedict (grilled beef tenderloin, poached eggs, and hollandaise on a blue cheese biscuit): Meh.

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The Southern Steak & Oyster on Urbanspoon

Mason Bar

Mason Bar was located in our hotel, the Loews Vanderbilt. We decided to go for happy hour (4 to 6 pm), which was awesome: $3 for all draught beers and half-priced appetizers! The bar is also really cool… all decked out in mason jars! The theme of the bar is especially cute to me because 1) so many happy jars! and 2) if Matt and I ever have a son, we want to name him Mason 🙂

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What We Ate

  • Crab corn dogs: These were surprisingly good. We expected mini corn dogs, but they were generous portions and stuffed full of crab meat! Definitely worth getting, especially at half the price.
  • Truffle fries

Mason's on Urbanspoon

Merchants

The restaurant is located in a beautiful building (which has a long history), and it’s right in the middle of Broadway, nestled among all the surrounding honky-tonks. Unfortunately, we were really full, so we only had a bunch of apps.

What We Ate

  • Duck fat tater tots with chipotle mayo, bearnaise, ketchup: So bad for you, but they are made perfectly crispy!
  • Fried green tomatoes with spicy pepper jam and house pimento cheese: This was only okay.
  • Shrimp corn chowder: Nothing special.

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Merchants Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

This is a good bang-for-your-buck place (their fried chicken plates range from $8.50 to $11.50 and are served with 2 sides), but I didn’t think the chicken was overly amazing. We waited in a long line though, so it’s obviously very popular!

What We Ate

  • Small white (breast and wing)
  • Large dark (2 thighs and 2 legs)
  • French fries, mac and cheese, southern greens, and potato salad

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Hattie B's Hot Chicken on Urbanspoon

Other Eating and Drinking

Nashville Farmers’ Market and Legato Gelato

We did a lot of walking on this trip, which was probably good because we needed to burn those calories. One of those long walks was to the Nashville Farmers’ Market, which was really fun! We obviously couldn’t buy any fresh produce, but we did get to hit up the Legato Gelato stand.

The guy there was very nice—he let us sample as much as we wanted—and the gelato was so good! We opted to try the donut gelato since that was something different, and it was surprisingly light-tasting but still sufficiently donut-y. I wish we had time to go visit their storefront location!

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The Breweries: Yazoo, Jackalope, and Tennessee Brew Works

These were all within walking distance of one another, so Matt and I decided to do a little brewery-hopping before our dinner at Etch. Yazoo had the best selection and a good sampler for us to try, I liked the picnic tables at Jackalope, and Tennessee Brew Works had a big patio, nice indoor space, and live music. Hitting up these breweries was so much fun, and I had a really nice buzz by the end!

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Phew… looks like we crammed a lot of eating and drinking in during our trip to Nashville! Our next trip is to Boston in September, so we’re looking forward to more good eats (and past favourites)… stay tuned 😉

Where We Ate: Bonjour Brioche

There are plenty of great brunch places in Toronto, but most of them don’t take reservations (why can’t they all just be on OpenTable?) and seating is always limited. This means that you’re pretty much guaranteed a long wait if you A) don’t go early enough, B) don’t have everyone in your party there, and/or C) have more than a group of 4.

Bonjour Brioche is no exception, but to echo some of the reviews I’ve read, it was worth the wait. I could have done without the attitude from the lady who seemed like the manager/owner, but I had a great time with the girls, the food was delicious, and our server was really nice and attentive.

What We Ate

Latte Bowls: Clearly the best way to start a Sunday morning!

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Half Peameal Bacon and Half Avocado-Tomato Eggs Benedict: I loved that our server suggest that we do the half meat, half veggie option. The benny was served on croissant, with a side of greens and a yummy baguette. Delicious!

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Croque Madame: I would’ve gotten this in a heartbeat if I didn’t want to their famous croissant… ham, Gruyère, egg, and brioche? What’s not to love?

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Tarts: I bought two of their amazing tarts (crème brûlée and lemon curd) to take home, and they did not disappoint!

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Bonjour Brioche on Urbanspoon

All in all, a perfect way to spend Sunday. It would have been even better if the Raptors didn’t have that heartbreaking loss in Game 7, but our boys still did good this year… there’s always next year!

Favourite Spots: Emma’s Country Kitchen (Toronto)

We’ve tried quite a few brunch places in Toronto, but Emma’s Country Kitchen on St. Clair West has become one of our favourite spots for one main reason: their signature buttermilk biscuits!

Our very first visit was at the beginning of last year, and I was really excited when Matt suggested it. While the French toast and gingerbread pancakes sound amazing, it’s really hard to go there and not order Emma’s Benny or The Classic with their signature buttermilk biscuits, which are to die for! Matt describes them as big, fluffy, buttery goodness.

Emma’s Benny and The Classic, both with Emma’s signature buttermilk biscuit

On the weekends, they also serve donuts and dulce de leche-filled beignets. blogTO has Emma’s on the list for The Best Donuts in Toronto, and I saw an episode of the Food Network’s Donut Showdown where the owners of the restaurant actually won, which is pretty cool.

Beignets filled with Dulce de Leche

Beignets filled with Dulce de Leche

Brunch is served from 9 am to 3 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, but it’s best to go early. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations and the space is incredibly small, so it’s an almost guaranteed wait if you go later or if you have a larger party (really, more than 2 people). Go early to grab a spot or hang out and wait for awhile… the comfort food is worth it!

Getting cozy: the parents tucked underneath a stairwell

Emma's Country Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Where We Ate: Fresh on Spadina (Toronto)

My close friend A loves trying new restaurants as much as I do, so when she suggested Fresh, I was keen to try. We don’t go out for vegetarian much, and what’s not to love about food that’s healthy and made from fresh, natural ingredients?

Fresh on Spadina is one of 4 locations around the city, and it was understandably busy at lunchtime on a Saturday. Fortunately, the others waiting were part of larger parties, so we didn’t have to wait long! There were a bunch of items we wanted to try on the menu, but we’re suckers for brunch, so we ordered from the brunch menu.

What We Ate

Fresh

  • We shared the quinoa onion rings (not on the brunch menu), which A highly recommended. They were delish!!
  • I have been craving pancakes for the longest time—which is weird because I usually prefer savory brunch items—so I had the pancake platter, which had 2 gluten-free pancakes (I chose banana nut) with dark maple syrup, scrambled tofu, and grilled vegan sausage.
  • My friend A decided to try the tempeh florentine, which had an a whole-grain English muffin topped with tempeh bacon (tempeh is a soy-based product), grilled spinach, and vegan hollandaise, along with a side of sweet corn chowder.

As you can see, the portions were huge, so we were stuffed! Everything was really yummy. I’m not a vegetarian or vegan, but I believe that vegetarian/vegan food can be delicious, and this is another restaurant that proved it. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!

Fresh By Juice For Life on Urbanspoon