Choosing down home vs. gourmet food (and music) in Nashville

After several recent trips in major foodie towns (New Orleans, New York, Chicago, Lima, Cusco, Arequipa) where I’ve eaten my share of gourmet meals at upscale, creative restaurants, I’m thinking I’ll stick more with the more down home simple stuff in Nashville. Not that the city doesn’t have its share of upscale creative restaurants but it also seems to have some great bbq and fried chicken joints – and to be honest this simple stuff is often my favorite when we eat out here and there. Even in Peru and New Orleans, I often was just as happy – if not happier – with a cup of gumbo or some chiccarones (fried bits of pork) than I was with the more complicated fancier fare. So here are some of my preliminary picks for Nashville: – Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack – where I’m told the medium spicy fried chicken may be too hot to handle (so maybe I’ll play it safe with the mild.) And the chess pie sounds like a must.

– The Loveless Cafe (because I’m pretty sure this is where I went years ago with my dad) for fried chicken, homemade biscuits etc.

Ellison Place Soda Shop for a chocolate shake. Retro before there was retro (in biz since 1939.)

For music I’m thinking: The Family Wash for alt-everything or the 5 Spot for rockabilly, rock and country; or Ryman Auditorium; or the Bluebird Cafe; or the Wildhorse Saloon (if I can convince my husband to go line dancing…and maybe even if I can’t.) And yes, I’ve been to the newer Grand Ole Opry once – and that was probably enough (although we’re staying in the mega hotel where the theater is located.) I’m also intrigued by the Cowboy Church – which has a gospel show on Sunday mornings. One of the best places I ever heard music was at the Memphis church of Rev. Al Green (yes that Al Green).

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