Thursday, May 6, 2010

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Tuesday was a friend's birthday, and she was ever so clever and decided to have a theme party. She and Audrey Hepburn share a birthday, so she chose a "Breakfast at Tiffany's" theme.

Amy hosted the event at her apartment and rented the movie for us. She also requested that we all bring one breakfast item and dress up in either pajamas or Holly's famous black dress and pearl combo.

When I arrived, Amy was cooking up some turkey bacon and eggs. I'd made z
ucchini bread and set it out on one of the plates Amy's roommate had set up for the occasion. In honor of our theme, she decorated the table with black and pink cloth.

Our group has always produced some delicious potlucks, and I was again impressed by the food. Fresh fruit, cheesy grits, lemon-poppyseed pancakes with strawberries, french toast casserole with blueberries and cream cheese, eggs, hash browns and bacon rounded out our meal.

To drink, we had an assortment of juices, and one of the girls brought champagne to make mimosas.

Now, about "Breakfast at Tiffany's" -- I'd never seen the movie before, and it was nothing like I expected it would be! I thought it was alternately bizarre and hilarious. I do think my perspective was biased because I keep expecting older movies from that era of film to be much more reserved, and as a result, I found the movie to be much more shocking than I thought I would.

In all, I had a lot of fun, and I commend Amy for choosing such a good theme. I even had some zucchini bread left for breakfast the next morning.

Nashville Weekend Part II

We started Saturday with a delicious breakfast at....our Holiday Inn Express. I kid you not -- fresh biscuits, non-greasy tasty sausage, eggs, fruit and fresh coffee. Two thumbs up, HIE.

A small group of us walked down to the Country Music Museum and Hall of Fame, and the area was already soaked from the rain. I thought that the museum was well organized, and they provided a lot of early history about country music that I had little knowledge of.

After lunch we walked over to Hatch Show Print shop to look at the posters. This is the one place I really wanted to check of my list, and I think what they do is pretty cool.

They are a non-profit (owned by the Museum and Hall of Fame) and they do original posters for all sorts of events using old school printing techniques. When you walk into the store, you can see the shelves where all of the wood blocks are stored. We found posters for races, concerts and fairs in the boxes. I bought a cute Music City poster to hang up in my apartment.

Claire wanted to go back to the boot shop and convince two more of us to buy a pair so we could take advantage of the buy one get two free deal. Amy got a really nice pair right away, but I took a while to look around and agonize over the boots. I didn't find the pair I eventually bought until the last minute. They're super comfortable, which surprised me, and I love the chocolate leather.

At this point, there were sheets of water flowing down the road towards the river, and several tornado sirens went off. And yet, for some reason, I really wasn't that concerned. Nevertheless, we didn't dawdle on the walk back to the hotel.

We crashed in our room (and by crash, I mean pass out and take an awesome nap) until the Derby was about to start. I think Amber woke me up -- she wanted to take bets on the race!

It had stopped raining by the time we went to dinner, which was a nice reprieve. I wish it had stopped raining all together.

We went back to Hillsboro to eat at a restaurant called Cabana. No, it wasn't cheesy beach themed, and the food wasn't tropical either, which I found odd until we got there. Set into one of the outer walls are multiple cabana-style tables, and we were fortunate enough to snag one.

I chose a couple of small plates again for my meal, and three of us shared a plate of fried green tomatoes. My dinner consisted of a mini (about a third of a lunch box sandwich) Brie grilled cheese, tomato soup and a speciality salad with spinach, strawberries, smoked gouda, almonds, red radish, and a citrus dressing.

As small as it was, the Brie grilled cheese was delicious. It was browned, but not burnt, and the Brie was much more satisfying that traditional cheddar or Jack cheese. It was awesome dipped in the soup, which was out of this world, and perfect for the crappy day! It had just a teeny bit of texture from the tomato and just a hint of herbs. The salad was good, but I liked my "Beats and Heat" from the first night better. I could make the Cabana salad at home without much trouble.

The rest of the group headed back to the hotel to rest before going out, while Claire and I killed some time before going to the Bluebird Cafe. Dessert was calling, so we drove back towards downtown and stopped at a diner called Noshville.

They had actually "closed" when we arrived in order to send their employees home. After talking with a couple of the people there, it finally hit me how badly the rain had affected Nashville already. Some areas of the city were already underwater.

After eating our dessert, we made our way to the Bluebird Cafe, and all I have to say to y'all is: if you are in Nashville, you must go see a show here! You can probably just show up and snag a seat, but I recommend reserving space online beforehand.

If you're not familiar with Bluebird, it's a small club that showcases songwriters. They sit in a circle in the middle of the club and there are tables set out around them for the audience. Our show lasted about two hours, and the performers didn't take a break once -- and they were all very good singers, and all of the songs were great.

One of the songwriters, Jaime Kyle, wrote Faith Hill's first hit, "Wild One," and it was amazing to hear her perform a familiar song.

We called it quits after the show since it started raining -- a...gain. The next morning, after another delicious breakfast, I came back to our room to find the girls clued to the news. Central Tennessee was covered in yellow and red.

We talked for about five minutes before deciding to leave as soon as possible, and it was a good choice. When I left the hotel to pack the car, sheets of water were pouring down the side street next to the hotel and we were unable to get onto the highway from downtown.

Claire led our caravan as we wove in and out of neighborhood streets, trying to find a way to the highway that wasn't blocked by a fallen tree or flooded. We finally made it to the highway and hightailed it back to Birmingham.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Nashville Weekend Part I

Yes, I was in Nashville during the Great Flood. But it didn't start out that way!

We (five other SPC fellows and I) went to celebrate Lisa and Amy's birthdays, and we stayed right downtown on Broadway, just off the highway.

Claire and I met Lisa and three of her good friends early on Friday. When we arrived, they were taking advantage of the last bit of sun by the pool.

View of the Columbus River from the end of Broadway. Now, completely flooded.

The five of us walked down Broadway towards the river to check out the bars and shopping. We stopped in a boot store to see what kind of stock they had -- Claire's friend at Vandy informed her that many stores had buy one pair of boots, get two free deals, so we had to check it out.

She found her pair right away, but I didn't immediately see anything that caught me. After, the six of us ate dinner at Sunset Grill in the Hillsboro neighborhood. I'd read about Hillsboro in Southern Living and was really curious to see how it lived up to the mag's description.

It's located right down the street from Vandy, less than ten minutes from downtown. The main drag that we visited is filled with businesses that have a trendy, uber-local vibe. It's the kind of neighborhood that you can find in any city and definitely a place I want to go back to!

I shared the seafood platter (crawfish hush puppies, shrimp and grits, one crab cake) with Claire and had a small salad, which was more than enough food. The salad really stood out for me. Sunset called "Chris's version of Beets and Heat" it included baby arugula, goat cheese, candied pecans, blood orange, fennel and golden beets. To balance the sweetness, Sunset serves the salad with a Tabasco-honey vinaigrette. It was tasty enough that I forgot to take a picture before eating it all.

Our server surprised Lisa with a delicious creme brulee!

After the rest of our group arrived after dinner, we headed out to the bars for a while (my favorite was Robert's Western World) but Claire and I called it an early night since we knew Saturday would be such a busy day.