Today, Friday is our first full day in Nashville. We are staying in a hotel downtown and have had to contend with jack hammering below our window until 12:30 am and were awakened by it at 7 am. Luckily the hotel can move us to the other side of the building for our next two nights.
I am determined to find cowboy boots here. I love them and every time I am overwhelmed by the selection and can’t choose, so I go home empty handed. I’m going to start a “cowboy boots go with everything” trend back in Ottawa.
Breakfast is at Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant downtown. I order the country ham with red-eye gravy, a biscuit, fried potatoes and two eggs over medium. Rob orders country-fried steak with much the same trimmings but he gets pepper gravy instead. The coffee is decent, the orange juice is watered down.
I love country ham. A big bone-in slab of salty goodness. Why cant we get ham like this back home? This is so far removed from the pressed meat we call breakfast ham. Southern country ham is salt-cured instead of smoke-cured. The red-eye gravy, made from pan drippings and a healthy shot of coffee, is not salty and is excellent. I am no judge of red-eye gravy as this is my first experience with it, but I could drink this stuff. Perfect with the ham. My potatoes are fine and the eggs are perfect over medium. The biscuit is light, moist and fluffy and no butter is needed.
Rob’s chicken fried steak is fresh made and hand dipped not frozen. It comes hot, crispy and juicy. His pepper gravy… flour, cream and pepper, is flavourful, thick and has a nice pepper edge.
Our afternoon is spent relaxing…well, me reading and Rob doing laundry. We head into Franklin, Tennessee for an evening of BBQ and good music. Mickey Roo’s, a Texas style BBQ joint is recommended to us and seems like a great option. You can smell the hickory smoke as soon as you leave the car. Mickey’s is decorated in late “junkyard” and has comfy picnic tables covered in western handkerchief printed oil cloth. Mexican horse blankets are provided for boney bums. Big Texas atmosphere and a Texas sized stage are in house. Flatties feature Nascar and NFL.
I grab a cold Yuengling beer so I can think after coming in out of the 104 degree heat. Yuengling is the oldest brewery in the US. Good beer, but any beer is good when it is 104 degrees. I swear you cannot get a buzz on in Nashville. It’s so hot the beer just leaks out of your pores. You can’t keep up.
First off we order up some Big Joe’s Diablos, smoked shrimp stuffed into a jalepeno, wrapped in bacon and covered in Monterey Jack. Glad we chose the order of two to share because they are huge. I can see as I’m sure you can, that these have to be fantastic, and they would have been had they been heated up properly. They had obviously been cooked sometime earlier and so were just merely good.
Rob and I both order the baby backs and two sides. I get potato salad and Boot Kick’n beans (hot). Rob gets Bullstrings (fried onion strings) and Lone Star Beans (not hot). The ribs are slow smoked for 8 hours over hickory smoke, so they are more tender than the usual 4-hour ribs. These are really meaty ribs. Hot and sweet BBQ sauce is provided on the side. The sweet still had a nice little mild heat but more vinegar flavour would have been nice. The potato salad is chunky with egg and mustard. It is good, standard fare.
The onion strings are crispy and delicious while they are hot, but because they are so thin they cool fast and are less so. The beans are very good. The Lone Star beans are sweet but not overly so, while the hot beans have a nice heat, larger beans, and good flavour but could have done with a bit of molasses, although a squirt of the mild BBQ sauce fixes them right up.
After dinner we head on over to the Bunganut Pig to watch Ottawa boy and friend Trevor Finlay perform. We sit outside with his fiancee Josee, and enjoy a few beers and a beautiful Nashville evening listening to Trevor and his guitar.