Tag Archives: Nashville

Travel: Crawdaddy’s Restaurant in Cookeville, TN

Last week, I shared our lunch date at Sammy B’s in Lebanon, TN, on our way home from Nashville. The type A personalities will be annoyed to know that we also had lunch on the way to Nashville – but I wrote the posts out of order, so you’re just now seeing it. *Grin*

The drive from Knoxville to Nashville doesn’t have a whole lot of large towns with food choices that aren’t chain restaurants, but so far, we’ve managed. On the drive out, we stopped in Cookeville with the intention of eating at The Cooke House. We’d tried to make it there on a previous trip, but the restaurant was closed for a private event. Wouldn’t you know – it was closed this trip too.

Cookeville is roughly halfway between Knoxville and Nashville, and it’s probably the biggest city you’ll pass on the drive. It’s home to Tennessee Technological University, and has an adorable downtown area. Since the Cooke House was closed, we turned to Crawdaddy’s.

Crawdaddy’s West Side Grill

Crawdaddy’s is a Creole-American restaurant in Downtown Cookeville. It’s housed in a 100-year-old building with a spacious patio.

Crawdaddy's Entrance Cookeville

Entrance to Crawdaddy’s in Cookeville, TN

Crawdaddy's Patio Cookeville

Patio at Crawdaddy’s in Cookeville, TN

In the 1930s and 40s, that patio was home to the Fox Cafe. A fire destroyed the building in the 1960s, and the space stayed vacant until Crawdaddy’s incorporated it into their restaurant.

History Crawdaddy's

History of Crawdaddy’s Patio

Crawdaddy’s prides themselves on being a friendly, welcoming establishment. Our service was adequate, though I wouldn’t go so far as to call it exceptional. Staff were courteous, and our food was delivered quickly.

The Food

I wanted everything with goat cheese, but eventually settled on the Mango Mahi Wrap with seasoned fries. Jimmie had the Citrus Glazed Salmon, which came with mashed potatoes and fried green beans.

Mango Mahi Wrap with seasoned fries at Crawdaddy’s

The wrap was stuffed full of grilled mahi mahi. So much so, in fact, that I couldn’t finish it. The mango added a nice flavor. The wrap was your standard wrap, though it ended up getting a little soggy. I’m not sure how that could be avoided unless they grilled it. The fries were good, and reminded me of Arby’s curly fries.

I forgot to get a picture of Jimmie’s salmon. The portion was a little on the small size – 4 ounces, which is great for lunch. Not sure if it’d be enough for dinner. The citrus glaze was reminiscent of an Asian marinade, but the goat cheese threw it off a little. Here’s where I have to admit that goat cheese does not, in fact, go with everything. His mashed potatoes were cold, and the fried green beans were actually roasted. Despite all this, he enjoyed it quite immensely.

Tree at Crawdaddy’s

My favorite thing about Crawdaddy’s was the atmosphere. I loved the patio’s New Orleans vibe. The downside was the number of flies relentlessly attacking our food, but I suppose that happens when you dine al fresco.

I’d like to go back and try more of the menu, but there are a couple other Cookeville restaurants I might try first. But, if you’re a fan of Creole or Cajun food, definitely add Crawdaddy’s to the list of restaurants to consider when making the drive between Knoxville and Nashville!

Travel: Sammy B’s Restaurant in Lebanon, TN

We recently spent the night in Nashville as part of a quick trip to see a concert. The next morning we woke up a little early, but neither of us felt like exploring the city. (We missed our pups!) Rather than waiting around until restaurants in the Nashville area started serving lunch, we decided to hit the road. When we saw the sign for the Lebanon outlet mall, we figured it’d be a good place to stop and grab some lunch. And some shopping, obviously.

Lebanon is about half an hour East of Nashville. I’ve been there once, and that was to pick up the shark puppy last year. I’m pretty sure we ate McDonald’s for dinner that time.

Turns out there are actually quite a few non-chain restaurants in Lebanon. Jimmie wasn’t feeling Mexican or sandwiches, so we ended up at Sammy B’s.

Sammy B’s

SammyB's

Sammy B’s is a casual upscale American restaurant located right next to City Hall in the Castle Heights area of Lebanon. It’s in the former home of the Castle Heights Military Academy’s President. The place has both a patio and an atrium, as well as plenty of room for private events. The food is classic with a twist, and everything is homemade. They even cut their own meat.

sammyb'sentrance

The attention to customer service and detail shows in both the service and the food. While we had a dedicated server, each staff member came by to check on us as they walked by. If they saw we needed a drink refilled, they refilled it. When a server brewed a fresh pot of coffee for another table, she topped mine off. The staff were courteous and friendly, and though it may sound cliche, the place oozed Southern hospitality.

The Food

Both of us had a hard time choosing because the menu is enormous. Our server recommended the Fish and Chips, Lobster Roll, and the Rajin’ Cajun sandwich. I had my eye on the Reuben, and when she said she’d already put in two orders for it that morning, I knew it had to be good. Jimmie chose the Trifecta and Chips, which was fish, shrimp, and chicken (and fries). I chose sweet potato fries for my side; he wanted to sub out the coleslaw on his platter, but that wasn’t an option.

SammyB'sReuben

I’m a sucker for a good Reuben, and this one didn’t disappoint. My biggest complaint with Reubens is usually that there’s too much dressing and not enough sauerkraut. Sammy B’s has the perfect ratio, and their sauerkraut is nice and tangy with a hint of sweetness. The marbled rye was toasted perfectly, the cheese melted just enough, and the corned beef (thankfully) wasn’t too salty. The only thing they could have done differently was slice the corned beef a little thinner. I had to do a lot of chewing, but then again, it just meant I ate more slowly. Not a bad thing.

SammyB'sTrifecta

The Trifecta had the fattest fried shrimp I’ve ever seen, and the strangest looking chicken tenders. Both tasted delicious, with slightly peppered breading. The fish was a little on the thin side, resulting in more batter than fillet, but was still packed with flavor. I stole Jimmie’s coleslaw, and appreciated the subtlety of the dressing – again, not too overpowering, with just the right amount of tang. Clearly, the chef knows how to balance flavors.

After lunch I snapped a couple photos of the Castle Heights Military Academy (now City Hall) because look at that gorgeous building.

Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, TN

Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, TN

Next time you’re in the Lebanon or Nashville areas, make sure to stop at Sammy B’s!

Jackalope Brewery

I know, I know. I promised this post….oh, a while ago.

There’s a good reason it’s so late in coming, I swear.

See, I was that girl going through the brewery tour with her cell phone out, taking notes. And then, I got fed up with said phone, because it was slow and stupid. So what did I do? I copied all my pictures, and wiped the phone. Annnnnd apparently forgot to backup the notes I’d taken.

Sigh.

So we’re going off memory alone. I’m so sorry, Jackalope. I’ll do my best.

Way back in October, when we were in Nashville, we skipped most of Blocktoberfest in favor of touring local breweries. We started with Yazoo, then walked two blocks down to Jackalope.

Jackalope BreweryJackalope Brewery is a woman-owned craft brewery in Nashville. They started in 2011, and have a staff of 4 making the beer. It’s pretty incredible when you think about it. They don’t bottle – they do can one of their beers, but mostly the way to get Jackalope beer is to drink it on tap somewhere. And they’re pretty limited in distribution. Outside Nashville, only Chattanooga has their beer. (So come see me in Tennessee!!!)

Jackalope Brewery (2)Their brewing operation is one large room. They’ve got 4 flagship beers, then they do seasonals. I think they said they had 6 beers going at any one time.

Jackalope BreweingI didn’t get a very good picture of the taproom, but they had a lot of neat stuff in there. We were given these super awesome glasses for our tour. It cost us $7 each, and we got pretty sizeable samples of the four flagship beers.

Jackalope Beer GlassSomething fun – all the beers at Jackalope are named after creatures that don’t exist. I’m not sure why, but I like it.

Thunder Ann American Pale Ale: This was Jimmie’s favorite, and the only beer they can. It’s fairly hoppy for a pale ale. Delicious – somewhat light, somewhat bitter.

Rompo Red Rye Ale: I’m not sure how to describe this one. I didn’t think it had a whole lot of flavor. It wasn’t bad, but it was pretty mild. It was our least favorite of the four because of that.

Bearwalker Maple Brown Ale: I don’t like browns, so I didn’t care for this. Jimmie enjoyed it, but was hoping to have tasted more of the maple syrup. It had more of a chocolate flavor. He’d buy it again.

Leghorn Rye IPA: IPAs are all me. Jimmie hated it, but don’t let that fool you. I’d never had a Rye IPA, and OMG it was delicious. The perfect combination of hops and malt, it was a full flavor that wasn’t super heavy. I’d drive to Nashville just for this beer, I think.

The tour itself was great – there were about 8 of us, so it wasn’t super formal. Sally, one of the brewers and our guide, was hilarious. And we got nearly full glasses of each beer, so well worth the $14.

C&J at JackalopeAfter our tour, we stopped in the taproom to try a sampler. I’d been really excited about the Spruce IPA, but it was way too dark for me. Direwolf was my favorite of the sampler, but now I can’t remember what it tasted like. Fail.

Jackalope SamplerWe had a great time at Jackalope. We were really impressed with their beer. Truthfully, we enjoyed it more than Yazoo, but it’s hard to compare them. They are such different breweries. Yazoo is a commercial operation. Jackalope is a much smaller operation. More laid back, which is probably why we enjoyed it more. And, they had really awesome t-shirts.

We found out that there are a whole bunch of craft breweries in Nashville, so we’re already talking about a trip back.

Check out Jackalope Brewery online here!

Yazoo Brewery Tour

Back in October, Yazoo Brewery turned 11. It just so happened that we were in Nashville to see Walk the Moon, when lo and behold, what did I see when I looked out our hotel window? Yazoo Brewery. Take a tour? Why yes, we will.

Yazoo BreweryYazoo is Tennessee’s first craft brewery, and it opened in 2003. They primarily distribute throughout Tennessee and Mississippi, though have recently expanded to northern Alabama. This is their second building, and has a pretty awesome taproom too.

Yazoo InsideThe brewery tour was $8, and we got a 5 ounce glass to take home. It looks like a brandy snifter, which is a little odd, but it was nice that we got to keep it. I wish I could remember our tour guide’s name, because he was fantastic….sadly, I didn’t catch it.

Yazoo Tour GuideThe tour was really interesting, because we got to see the entire operation. It’s a whole lot smaller than I thought it would be, especially for how much they do each day. An average day is 10-12 hours, and they’ll bottle about 500 cases. CASES. Not individual beers, cases. Oh, and they have 24 staff, 10 of whom do tours and run the taproom and things like that. Crazy.

Yazoo Vats

Yazoo's Bottling Line

Yazoo’s Bottling Line

 

I know this is hard to see, but I thought it was pretty neat. This is their Wall of Fame – it’s bottles from other craft breweries they’ve found and enjoyed. Wish I knew what they were, but it was about 20 feet off the ground.

Yazoo Wall of Fame

 

Another thing that’s super cool about Yazoo? They give their spent grain to local farmers. Turns out, the cows love it. You can even buy “Yazoo grain-fed beef” in a few local restaurants. (Apparently a lot of breweries do this, but I wasn’t aware of it.)

We got to sample three of Yazoo’s beers:

Dos Perros is their flagship beer, and one I’d had before. It’s kind of similar to Dos Equis, but with much better flavor. (Yazoo, I apologize for comparing you to Dos Equis.) It’s that sort of dark Mexican beer style. This was Jimmie’s favorite of the three.

Pale Ale: I like my beers hoppy, and this one definitely fit the bill. It’s a little darker and heavier than a lot of pale ales I’ve tried. Very, very delicious. If you’re a beer snob and pay attention to IBUs, the Yazoo Pale Ale is a respectable 47. It’s also got a higher alcohol content than the other two.

Hefeweizen: This one is a Bavarian-style Hefeweizen. It’s made from wheat, and has a banana undertone. I could smell the banana, but not taste it. To me, the beer tasted like Juicy Fruit gum. Not unpleasant, and I could definitely see drinking this in the summer. Jimmie wasn’t a fan.

Yazoo Brew ArtIf you’re local, or if you visit the Nashville area, definitely take a tour of the Yazoo Brewery. It takes less than an hour, lets you try some yummy beers, and is super informative. It made for a fun date, and we both agreed we’d love to go back and sample more of their beers! Jimmie was pretty disappointed they didn’t have Sue, the smoked porter, when we were there. We’d just missed it, apparently.

I learned a lot about the beer making process, and got to smell hops. I didn’t take very good notes, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. This sparked my interest in brewery tours, though….so after Yazoo, we walked down the street to another Nashville brewery, Jackalope. The two were totally different, so stay tuned for that one!

 

Travel: Walk the Moon at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works

I’m kind of in love with Nashville.

HOW DID I NOT KNOW THERE WAS SUCH A COOL PLACE 2 HOURS FROM ME??

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve been living under a rock for most of my life. No doubt, this is not news to some of you.

Sigh.

A couple weekends ago we ventured out to Nashville to see Walk the Moon play (yes, different from Walk Off the Earth, but also very very good – I know, confusing) at Marathon Music Works’ Blocktoberfest Block Party. I had a free Marriott night so we snagged a hotel room and made a date weekend out of it.

We had a blast. We ate, we drank, we walked, we shopped, and we talked. We saw live music. We toured breweries. We slept in. It was glorious.

Out hotel was the Fairfield Inn and Suites – Downtown/The Gulch. It was brand new – it opened the Tuesday before we arrived. I thought I got a picture of the outside, but apparently I did not, so here’s Marriott’s photo. It pretty much looks like this.

Fairfield Inn & Suites Nashville Downtown/The Gulch (from Marriott)

Our room was fine – a little small, but since we were only there one night it was more than adequate.

Fairfield Nashville Gulch

The bathroom was pretty good sized, and I loved the shower (can you see it in the mirror?).

Fairfield Nashville Gulch 2

Fairfield Nashville Gulch 3Service was excellent throughout our entire stay. I have to highly commend the breakfast ladies….there was a “bacon thief” who literally took the entire dish of bacon as soon as the ladies brought it out. Crazy person. So the nice ladies brought me my own bacon. And checked on me during breakfast. (This was quite impressive, since I’m not known for being a morning person.)

What made this hotel even more exciting was that when I looked out the window, staring back at me was the Yazoo Brewery. Uh…….

Blocktoberfest was scheduled to start at 3:00pm. There were 7 bands playing…. Tristen, *repeat repeat, Scars on 45, Vinyl Thief, Boom Forest, Self, and finally, Walk the Moon.

Lightning 100's Marathon Village Blocktoberfest Fall Block PartySo when we got to Nashville that afternoon, we were early enough that we could have gone over to Marathon Music Works for the opener. But there was the brewery. We made the call to wait for Walk the Moon. That left us plenty of time to explore, have dinner, and relax a little before the show (I even took a nap).

We ended up touring Yazoo and Jackalope, both local Nashville breweries. Afterwards, we walked to dinner at The Pub, which is a British gastropub chain restaurant. I’ll admit that I was not entirely sober (ok, not even close) by this point, but OH MAN IT WAS DELICIOUS. Jimmie had fish and chips, and I had Shepherd’s Pie. I ate the entire thing and didn’t feel the slightest bit guilty. They had a really awesome beer selection – which we skipped since we’d just toured 2 breweries – that I can’t wait to go back and try. All sorts of beers I’ve never heard of. English beers, Scottish beers, Irish beers…yum.

Here is where I should probably apologize for my photos. This is what happens when “not entirely sober” Casey gets hold of things.

The Pub Nashville

The Pub Nashville interior

You can’t really tell, but all the waiters wore kilts. I kept looking for Jamie Fraser. Never found him.

Shepherd's Pie at the Pub NashvilleMarathon Music Works is this little courtyard in between all these old brick buildings. They had projections on the brick that reminded me of that scene in Batman with the spotlight. If it hadn’t been gravel, or if the ground had been sloped, or if the stage had been higher….it’d have been better. I spent most of the show not being able to see a thing. (To their credit, though, the sound was really good.)

Marathon Music Works BlocktoberfestJimmie actually turned me on to Walk the Moon. We’d be driving somewhere, and a song would come on, and without fail I’d ask who it was. It was always Walk the Moon. It kind of got to be a running joke that the only way I knew who the band was was the fact that I had no clue who it was. Does that make sense? If I had to ask, it was automatically Walk the Moon. (Eventually I learned all their songs, but it took a while.)

They were awesome. So much energy, so much fun, and I was simply amazed by how GOOD they were. I keep wondering if the singer has been professionally trained. His voice was just so on pitch, and so clear…for a while I thought he was lip singing because he was so good, but then he sang something differently than the album track. If you ever get the chance to see them, take it. (In the meantime, listen to their music!!!)

I tried to take video, I tried to take photos, but I’m too short, and I couldn’t see a thing when I was holding my phone above my head, so they’re all blurry and full of heads. You’ll have to settle for a video instead. This is Iscariot – which might be the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard.

With that, I’ll leave you to listen in peace….

 

Walk the Moon at Marathon Music Works' Blocktoberfest

I’m kind of in love with Nashville.

HOW DID I NOT KNOW THERE WAS SUCH A COOL PLACE 2 HOURS FROM ME??

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve been living under a rock for most of my life. No doubt, this is not news to some of you.

Sigh.

A couple weekends ago we ventured out to Nashville to see Walk the Moon play (yes, different from Walk Off the Earth, but also very very good – I know, confusing) at Marathon Music Works’ Blocktoberfest Block Party. I had a free Marriott night so we snagged a hotel room and made a date weekend out of it.

We had a blast. We ate, we drank, we walked, we shopped, and we talked. We saw live music. We toured breweries. We slept in. It was glorious.

Out hotel was the Fairfield Inn and Suites – Downtown/The Gulch. It was brand new – it opened the Tuesday before we arrived. I thought I got a picture of the outside, but apparently I did not, so here’s Marriott’s photo. It pretty much looks like this.

Fairfield Inn & Suites Nashville Downtown/The Gulch

Fairfield Inn & Suites Nashville Downtown/The Gulch

Our room was fine – a little small, but since we were only there one night it was more than adequate. The bathroom was pretty good sized, and I loved the shower (can you see it in the mirror?).

Fairfield Nashville Gulch

Fairfield Nashville Gulch 2

Fairfield Nashville Gulch 3Service was excellent throughout our entire stay. I have to highly commend the breakfast ladies….there was a “bacon thief” who literally took the entire dish of bacon as soon as the ladies brought it out. Crazy person. So the nice ladies brought me my own bacon. And checked on me during breakfast. (This was quite impressive, since I’m not known for being a morning person.)

What made this hotel even more exciting was that when I looked out the window, staring back at me was the Yazoo Brewery. Uh…….

Blocktoberfest was scheduled to start at 3:00pm. There were 7 bands playing…. Tristen, *repeat repeat, Scars on 45, Vinyl Thief, Boom Forest, Self, and finally, Walk the Moon.

Lightning 100's  Marathon Village Blocktoberfest Fall Block PartyUnfortunately, Marathon Music Works did a horrendous job providing information about the show. They posted the lineup the day before. We didn’t know until we arrived whether the show was indoor or outdoor. We also didn’t know if you could leave and come back. I’d tried sending them a message asking, but never got a response.

So when we got to Nashville that afternoon, we were early enough that we could have gone over to Marathon Music Works for the opener. But there was the brewery. And we still had no clue if we could come and go at Blocktoberfest. We didn’t even know what food options they’d have. We made the call to wait for Walk the Moon, since they were the one we really cared about, though I’d have kinda liked to have seen Scars on 45. That left us plenty of time to explore, have dinner, and relax a little before the show (I even took a nap).

We ended up touring Yazoo and Jackalope, both Nashville Breweries. They deserve their own posts, so hang tight for a few days! Afterwards, we walked to dinner at The Pub, which is a British gastropub. I’ll admit that I was not entirely sober (ok, not even close) by this point, but OH MAN IT WAS DELICIOUS. Jimmie had fish and chips, and I had Shepherd’s Pie. I ate the entire thing and didn’t feel the slightest bit guilty. They had a really awesome beer selection – which we skipped since we’d just toured 2 breweries – that I can’t wait to go back and try. All sorts of beers I’ve never heard of. English beers, Scottish beers, Irish beers…yum.

Here is where I should probably apologize for my photos. This is what happens when “not entirely sober” Casey gets hold of things.

The Pub Nashville

The Pub Nashville interior

You can’t really tell, but all the waiters wore kilts. I kept looking for Jamie Fraser. Never found him.

Shepherd's Pie at the Pub NashvilleSeriously, if you’re ever in Nashville, eat at the Pub. And bring me a doggie box.

I’m really, really, REALLY glad we made the call to wait on the show, because when we finally did arrive there was a giant sign saying “NO RE-ENTRY.” There’s no way on Earth we’d have made it there for 7+ hours. It was tiny, there were about 3 food trucks, and the whole thing was a giant gravel pit. I’d have died.

It was the kind of venue that wanted to be cool. It’s this little courtyard in between all these old brick buildings. They had projections on the brick that reminded me of that scene in Batman with the spotlight. If it hadn’t been gravel, or if the ground had been sloped, or if the stage had been higher….it’d have been better. I spent most of the show not being able to see a thing. (To their credit, though, the sound was really good.)

Marathon Music Works BlocktoberfestJimmie actually turned me on to Walk the Moon. We’d be driving somewhere, and a song would come on, and without fail I’d ask who it was. It was always Walk the Moon. It kind of got to be a running joke that the only way I knew who the band was was the fact that I had no clue who it was. Does that make sense? If I had to ask, it was automatically Walk the Moon. (Eventually I learned all their songs, but it took a while.)

They were awesome. So much energy, so much fun, and I was simply amazed by how GOOD they were. I keep wondering if the singer has been professionally trained. His voice was just so on pitch, and so clear…for a while I thought he was lip singing because he was so good, but then he sang something differently than the album track. They’re a fairly small band with only a couple of EPs, so it was a short show, but I’d see them again in a heartbeat. If you ever get the chance to see them, take it. (In the meantime, listen to their music!!!)

I tried to take video, I tried to take photos, but I’m too short, and I couldn’t see a thing when I was holding my phone above my head, so they’re all blurry and full of heads. You’ll have to settle for this video instead. This is Walk the Moon’s new single, Shut Up and Dance. Warning – it’s highly addictive.

I’d also recommend Anna Sun, Tightrope, I Can Life a Car, or Iscariot – which might be the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard.

With that, I’ll leave you listen in peace….