Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Dash to Nashville

This past weekend, Frank and I made a quick dash to Nashville, TN (actually Franklin, TN) to visit our friends, Brian and Sarah. We were joined by John and Carol from Mount Dora, FL. First, I must thank Brian and Sarah for a wonderful weekend. They are gracious hosts, who provided superior accommodations in their lovely home. Traditional Home magazine needs to feature the home in a future issue, and Wine Spectator should review their wine collection. We enjoyed some fantastic wines out of Brian and Sarah's cellar. We dined at good restaurants:
  • Restaurant Zola: good food, unfortunately not so good service. I had a very nice paella filled with shrimp, scallops and fish, however it was blamed for the slow service, with no apologies offered.
  • Margot Cafe and Bar: Sunday brunch. This was a wonderful brunch, and made up for the service issues we had the night before at Zola. The Bellini's were great, and my poached eggs with sausage gravy over Tuscan bread was perfect. The eggs were gooey, and the gravy was not heavy and did not overpower the dish.
  • Bistro Sarah: (Home cooking on Sunday evening): Sarah and Carol prepared a very nice, healthy, and tasty dinner on Sunday evening. We enjoyed, a lot of wine (more on that later), cheeses and crackers, olives, etc; scallops with a tomato and onion relish (delish!) and a side of roasted asparagus. Everything was superb :-)
  • Boxwood Bistro: With Sarah and Brian off to work on Monday, Carol, John, Frank, and I ventured out for a little sightseeing followed by lunch at Boxwood Bistro in Franklin. The restaurant is located adjacent to The Factory at Franklin, the prior home of the Franklin Stove factory. I consumed a full portion of shrimp and grits, which was very good, albeit a bit too salty for my taste. Frank enjoyed Pulled Pork Sliders, served with Tennessee style barbecue sauce. Very good, said he.
With a limited amount of time available to us for sightseeing, we did manage to hit some key sights.
  • We visited downtown Franklin, a charming old and vibrant downtown, with cute shops and restaurants.
  • Pantheon, a replica of the one in Athens, Greece, although in much better shape. (Pictures to follow). This building sits in the middle of a nice park near Vanderbilt University
  • Cheekwood Arts and Gardens: This was a lovely old mansion in the middle of 100 lush rolling acres of gardens, ponds, and meandering paths. The mansion houses the art museum, and gardens include a small Japanese garden as well as a sculpture trail. For fans of Dale Chihuly, I noticed on the Cheekwood website, that there will be a Chihuly exhibit in the museum and gardens next year, (May 25 - October 31, 2010). This may require a return visit.
  • On Monday, we visited Carter House, the site of the Battle of Franklin in 1864. To quote the website: "The Battle of Franklin has been called "the bloodiest five hours of the American Civil War."". The pre-tour movie provided a good history of the events leading up to and including the battle. The tour of the grounds, and the home added to our understanding of the significance of the battle. I am not a Civil War buff, but this was a very interesting experience lead by a excellent docent.
Wine: Knowing that we like our wine, Brian and Sarah opened their 450+/- bottle collection for our choosing. I wish I could remember everything we enjoyed, but made note of the following three superior wines from our Sunday evening at home.
  • Marquis Phillips S2 Cabernet - only one word to describe this wine... WOW!
  • Mollydooker Enchanted Path. ... and another Wow, so close to the S2 but not quite.
  • Peter Michael Ma Belle-Fille Chardonnay - an excellent dry white, very nice.
This was a very quick, but very enjoyable weekend getaway.

That's my story, and I am sticking too it.

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