06 July 2008

Mile 3,044: a night in Nashville

I was feeling the urge to get back on the road after I regained consciousness at my new friends' house in Faubourg Marigny. As much as I didn't want to leave New Orleans - and I didn't - the idea of having to work the following Monday motivated me to start the last leg of my trip.

The question on my mind as I got back on I-10 was which way? The shortest route led through Atlanta and would take me through the heart of the Old South. However, I had relationship ghosts in that direction, and had also always been thinking about seeing Nashville. A moment's thought was enough to resolve that question, and I headed North.

This was another one of those no-iPod meditative drives. I was feeling a lot of power at my back after the New Orleans visit, and I was enjoying speed again after a bunch of days going no faster than my feet could carry me. I talked to M, my good friend from Baltimore, who at that moment happened to be with a friend of her sister's who was from Nashville. Of course, I made her ask him where to go for food. He pointed me in the direction of Swett's soul food cafè, and that was all that needed to be decided. Nashville by dinner!

Of course, by the time I got into my last motel and showered enough to be presentable for dinner, Swett's was closed. At 9pm on a Saturday night! I was gobsmacked... but decided I may as well just head for the tourist area and see what caught my eye. Broadway in Nashville is filled with neon and music, ordinarily right up my alley. However, I was only after food at this point - I was eating like a Stone Age hunter and I needed to bring something down - quick.

One block off Broadway, I saw this sign:

Past Perfect

Good enough.

I parked (illegally, it turned out) and went in for the kill. A half-pound bison burger looked just right. It came, reasonably quickly, and I did my best Girlie-imitation, thus:

1/2 lb bison burger

(The flash washed everything out, but you get the idea.)

The burger was a bit dry, but that was probably my own fault for ordering a half-pound of bison meat medium-well. The twice-baked potatoes were surprisingly good, with big chunks of real bacon and nice garlic-chive spicing... however, the "pasta salad" was a bit of a letdown. True, macaroni elbows are, technically, pasta - but it struck me as sort of typical of the bistro-ification of bar food that seems to be going on more and more. I mean, why not just call a mac salad a mac salad?

All in all, though the food was pretty good, especially when washed down with a Yuengling Lager - I was close enough to Pennsylvania, apparently, to enjoy this regional specialty. I had gotten a bit spoiled due to the quality of the mostly pre-screened restaurants I had patronized since Austin. Totally worth a visit when you're done - what do they call it? - honky-tonkin', I believe. Past Perfect, 122 3rd Avenue South, Nashville, Tenn. - (615) 736-7727.

Google said I was 12 hours from Baltimore. Time for another Cannonball? I had to sleep on it, as a night on a recliner in New Orleans had done nothing for my mental abilities...

the trip so far

1 comment:

bleeding espresso said...

Well you can hardly fault Nashvillians for a pasta faux pas; it's not like they're Nashvillese.

At least they got the beer right.