I’ve given up all hope of productivity this Sunday afternoon so I’m finally getting around to posting some more. I’ll be focusing more on places outside of Cincy since whenever I travel somewhere new I’m always looking for suggestions on where to eat.
That being said, over the second weekend of my spring break I went to visit my cousin Claire in Nashville. Besides spending some quality time with family, I had two goals: live music and hot chicken. My first experience of Nashvillian music was satisfied not on Broadway, but at Gerst Haus. My cousin’s boyfriend, Dan, had a craving for German food for which I was happy to oblige. Upon walking into Gerst Haus it was reminiscent of dining in my grandfather’s basement–if my grandfather was really keen on taxidermy. Though the menu was expansive and I had no hesitation in finding something to order; Dan, being a vegetarian, had a much more difficult time. The waitress had to call the manager over to explain all (four) of the meatless options.
The food was good–nothing that changed my outlook on life, but still hit the spot. I had a Brat with German potato salad. Dan was surviving off of the fried pickles and also had sides of dumplings, mac & cheese, and Spaetzle. The portions were huge. I was in a food coma the rest of the evening. They also had live music toward the end of our dinner, akin to what you would see at Hofbrauhaus in Newport. It still beat most country music.
The next day Dan and I went to Third Man Records, which is the brainchild of guitar virtuoso Jack White. As I’m a huge Jack White fan, I was jonesing to visit the store. I didn’t take any pictures inside, but the best way to describe the store is whimsical. If you’re in Nashville it’s well worth a visit.
The latter of my goals was satisfied later that evening. For those uninitiated into the glory that is hot chicken, let me give a simplistic explanation. Hot chicken is a Nashville delicacy of fried chicken + heat. Besides chicken, key components of hot chicken include cayenne and lard. This meal isn’t for weak hearts. As I’m all about trying regional dishes, hot chicken was at the top of my list. There is also much debate on who serves the best hot chicken in Nashville, with Prince’s being on the top of most people’s list. Instead of going there, I went to Pepperfire, on recommendation of Claire and Dan’s neighbor. I was given a cursory history of Pepperfire on how they evolved from shack to bigger shack with picnic tables to bigger shack with picnic tables that have an enclosure. Who knows what will be there next time I visit?
I got a twist on hot chicken, which was hot chicken and waffles. The dish had tenders instead of bone-in chicken. Instead of syrup, apple pie filling topped the chicken. You have the option of choosing your spice level, from which I chose “hot” (obviously) though you could choose spicier. There was no mistaking that “hot” meant hot. It was the nice balance of where you got some heat but wasn’t so spicy that it makes the dish utterly unenjoyable. I also got fried okra and potato salad as my sides. The potato salad acted as a nice counter to beat back the heat. To show they are veggie friendly (but not heart friendly), Pepperfire also does deep fried grilled cheese. It was a fantastic meal. However, that evening I had my first encounter with heartburn. Never having had heartburn before I was wondering what the hell was wrong with me. Shout out to WebMD for letting me know that I wasn’t going to die.
We’re always concerned in school about the takeaways of a particular case. My takeaway from Nashville is that it’s a fun city where people love their food (which often expands the waistline) as much as their music. I can’t wait to go back.