Sunday, September 28, 2014

Vegan in Nashville!

Over Labor Day weekend, I met my best friend Emily down in Nashville for a girl's weekend away. We were roommates all through college and have remained close, yet she is living down in Austin now so the time we get to spend face-to-face is limited. After our weekend away this year, we both decided each year we need to pick a new destination to meet to catch up for all the missed time

We both had never been to Nashville before, so it was fun to explore a new city together. We met late on Thursday evening at the airport both flying in and then took a cab downtown to our hotel. It was around midnight when we finally got to the hotel, but that didn't stop us from enjoying our first night on the town! It was great to scope out where we wanted to venture to over the next few days.

Since moving to Austin, Emily has been vegan for a bit now while living there, so we both were on the scope for fun vegan friendly places in Nashville. Austin is a great place to go vegan, so I'm jealous of all the options she has down there!

We started our mornings at a coffee shop right around the corner from our hotel called the Frothy Monkey. On Friday morning this place was busy, but not too crazy and we were able to order and sit quickly. However - on Saturday morning it was a mad house so definitely keep that in mind if you are in a rush! Luckily, we were not..and both mornings we had delicious vegan breakfast, tea, and almond milk with iced coffee! Their tofu is perfectly grilled and great over their salad or on a sandwich.

Our first meal I snagged a picture of was a late night on the town meal. Sometimes those are the best! We had intentions of eating dinner that night late at Pub 5, however by the time we were looking for something to eat they had closed. We found a place still serving food right down the street though and it was perfect for a quick late night vegan snack plate.

We grabbed 3 appetizers from Merchants Restaurant right on Broadway downtown. This was a great location since it is near everything and our hotel was just around the corner. To order, we picked Fried Green Tomatoes, hold the pimento cheese - Guacamole with lime and sea salt tortilla chips - and a side of their sweet potato wedges. I didn't see these on their online menu, but we ordered them so they must have been available. This was a perfect late night meal for us and the restaurant was really nice inside, I would definitely go back during normal hours and try other menu options!

A trip to Nashville is not complete without going to The Wild Cow. Although we were staying in the downtown area, we knew we had to make the trek over to East Nashville to visit this all vegan restaurant. The day we went there was an on and off rain, so it was a fun 3 mile walk there in the rain...but luckily the worst of the rain was when we already got inside the restaurant. It was well worth it and we walked by some fun/cute neighborhoods!

On our walk there, we passed by the Barista Parlor. I had heard a bit about it prior to going, but after walking through it and seeing more articles about it later, it would have been fun to grab a unique coffee inside. We wandered in just to see what it was like, and their coffee options looked great. Next time I will definitely try one of their unique coffee drinks!

We finally made it to the Wild Cow. After only maybe a 15 minute wait we were seated and excited to try their food. I had looked up their menu online prior to the trip, and knew that vegan queso had to be ordered.

This was awesome. I will admit the queso dip wasn't as smooth and creamy as I had imagined - but this was still really delicious. Although we did order this to start, we didn't receive it until after we ordered our meals...regardless it was still good. 

For my meal I ordered the Buffalo Beans and Greens. When a menu item has buffalo on it, I cannot help but gravitate to that and end up ordering it. I just love hot sauce. Even as a non kale lover, this bowl was still delicious. This included garlicky kale, pinto beans, carrots, and grilled tofu tossed in buffalo sauce, topped with home made ranch. I had the option of either brown rice or quinoa - I chose quinoa but they ended up giving me brown rice anyway... Was still delicious though.

Emily ordered the French Quarter Dip. This included homemade seitan, mushrooms and onions marinated in a creole seasoning, served on a wheat hoagie with au jus dipping sauce. I tried a bite of it and the seitan was awesome. I cannot say that I have had a french dip sandwich or au jus sauce pre vegan, but I think this version was really good.

Although we both loved the food from the Wild Cow and I would be back in a heart beat, I would say the service was not as wonderful as I had expected. With issues such as the appetizer not coming out, and then we got our entrees and asking what happend to our queso, and then getting it to ordering Quinoa with my meal which is an up-charge and yet still receiving brown rice...we were not so blown away. However, hopefully it was just a fluke and usually things go a lot smoother! :)

For our last meal in Nashville we had to make it back to Pub 5 which we had heard had awesome vegan tapas. They opened at 11 and we had a flight that afternoon, so we knew we had to get in right when they opened and eat quick! Luckily we were the first guests there so we got our food quite fast.

We ordered a few dishes to split. The first was the Quinoa Tabbouleh leave off the feta. This included pepperdew peppers, cucumber, tomato, pea tendrils, and herb vinaigrette over the quinoa. We both really loved this side salad. 

For someone that doesn't usually like kale, this was a kale-filled weekend for me! This kale was delicious, and made me rethink all things I have doubted before. This was just a side dish of their Garlic Kale, but it was cooked perfectly and the garlic gave it a great kick. 

We also split the small plate of the Seitan Corndogs. Not sure what we would expect, these did not disappoint! The sauce on top really made it come together and the seitan was perfectly seasoned. This was a perfect last meal together to end our Nashville trip!

Of course, we had to do the NashTrash tour, which I would highly recommend to any tourists looking for a fun and informative tour! We had a blast and I cannot wait to start planning next year's trip! :)