Maybe you’re keen to get out and enjoy a staycation away from home, but you don’t necessarily want the kind of pampering and luxury you’d get at a resort or the like. Maybe it would be nice to enjoy Nashville like a tourist? Well, let’s not go that far... But maybe enjoy an authentic Nash-trash weekend?
Well, there are plenty of options, and as you’d expect in Nashville, some of them are in strange places. For instance, I bet you didn’t expect ME of all people to open with suggesting you and your besties might want to check in to the DoubleTree Suites Nashville Airport! I know, I know, but hear me out...
Let’s say you and your friends want to get together and enjoy a night or a weekend of Nashville-hot fun... DoubleTree sports a solidly nice pool with cabanas and a patio bar (weekends only in the off season). There are also cabanas to reserve—which are complimentary and reserved to your use if you get a suite. Which brings me to the real reason I thought of the DoubleTree... Gambler’s Suites.
What’s more Nashville than that? A suite sporting a bedroom, a living room, two bathrooms, and a HUGE extra space centered on a large, competitive poker table. The room comes stocked with a sanitized poker set, chips and cards included in plastic! You and your friends can play poker (strip, anyone?), fix drinks or enjoy champagne in the provided flutes, and have an all-around good time, before crashing on the sofa, or a bed big enough for a few, depending on how you roll!
The hotel is conveniently next to Briley Parkway, near Opry Mills for shopping and the wedding chapel for … life choices. And, of course, the location offers easy access to East Nashville and Downtown. A weekend based here allows you and your guests to be apart from everyone, together, and enjoy all the fun Nashville has to offer: dealer’s choice!
I’d suggest a NashTrash tour, which is great fun even for locals, but COVID. Maybe next year. But for now restaurants are reopening, and some venues away from Music Row have some interesting options. If you want to add a taste of the sea to your Nashville gambler’s weekend, try Marsh House. And if you want a taste of Nashville’s live music and food, try a brunch experience at The Listening Room!
There are, of course, many other options, for other tastes, but these are the two we are going to take closer looks at!
Seafood is back! Well Marsh House, known for its delicious seafood, elevated Gulf coast cuisine, stellar cocktails and wine, has reopened. Marsh House was also among the countless restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s reopening demonstrates an awareness of the pandemic. They are accommodating guests at 50% capacity and are adhering to all safety protocols: social distancing between tables, masked staff, and temperature checks for customers are all on the menu. Guests can enjoy their meals indoors or on the patio.
Marsh House’s reopening brings some exciting updates, including the appointment of Executive Chef Vu Vo. Marsh House has received rave reviews and accolades since opening in 2016, and many favorites are returning to the menu, as guests can enjoy the famed seafood towers, as well as delights such as Shrimp Toast, Deviled Crab, Tuna Orecchiette, Thin Fried Catfish, and Fried Chicken (choice of half or whole).
I tried the smallest tower and for me the star were the Smoked Fish Dip and lovely Shrimp, but the Tuna Tartare and Oysters were equally impeccable. At Marsh House, the more you eat, the more you can taste the sea.
Chef Brian Landry expressed the restaurant’s philosophy: “One of the main philosophies in the Marsh House kitchen is to start with great ingredients. If we start with a great natural ingredient, then we will not need to manipulate it in order for it to taste great. Anything we do to the final dish will simply enhance the natural flavors of the product. We take that approach with all of the ingredients we source, but especially the seafood. Knowing when an oyster was harvested or when a fish was caught helps us ensure we are only receiving the freshest possible seafood. With the advances in shipping routes and sourcing, we are able to procure seafood from just about anywhere that was in the water just a day or two before. We focus on the great variety of seafood found in the Gulf of Mexico, but also venture out with oysters from both the East and West coasts, and Canada depending on the time of year and availability.”
Marsh House deserts are quite stunning. In my opinion, taken individually, some elements could seem overpowering. But they work in combination to create impeccable flavors.
“I like to craft my desserts to be experienced as a whole,” said Executive Pastry Chef Kate Siegal. “Generally, I’ll take an ingredient or flavor I’d like to work with, make a list of flavors it pairs well with, then figure out how those flavors can best be made into components that complement each other. I’m not a fan of extremely sweet desserts, so I try to dance right on that line of sweet and savory ... so that each bite takes the palate on a little adventure.”
At the time of writing, Marsh House hours were Wednesday and Thursday from 5p.m. – 9p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 5p.m. – 10p.m. For current information visit marshhouserestaurant.com.
The Listening Room
This legendary live music venue recently reopened its doors for brunch service with two ticketed Saturday brunch shows at 10:30 AM and 12:30 PM. Guests can enjoy a menu of warm biscuit sandwiches, biscuits and gravy, egg frittatas, and a wide variety of cocktails, all while listening to some of Nashville’s most talented singers and songwriters.
I recently popped in for a visit and enjoyed a delicious “hot chicken” biscuit with pimento cheese, with a basket of fried pickles. The fried chicken was great, though whether it was hot is up for debate. However, the flavor melded well with the pimento cheese. But the fried pickles were to die for: not only did they stay crunchy throughout the show, they were a unique experience for me. I’ve never had sweetish pickles fried before.
The music was a truly Nashville experience, as the performers were songwriters performing their own works, some of which have been recorded by famous entertainers. If you aren’t a country fan, this may not be the highlight of brunch, but it’s a worthy experience.
NOTE: If you are looking to be loud with your friends over mimosas, this isn’t the place for you! It’s a listening room, and no one else is there to listen to you. Sorry to tell ya!
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