It’s been a busy summer, but earlier this June, Alexis, Kathy, and I made a surprise trip to visit Sam in San Francisco. She had literally no idea we were coming, which made the trip all the better.
Chillin in the Tenderloin.
Driving is crazy scary in San Francisco. Honestly how do people have small cars here?
Brunch at Brenda’s Soul Food Kitchen in the Tenderloin. Fried catfish benedict was the truth.
Pork belly cheesy grits… oh boy.
Biscuits and chicken gravy.
Walking on the water, wearing all back as usual.
Lychees from an open air market.
Gorgeous day and a picnic in Mission Dolores Park.
Golden Gate Bridge, duh.
Beautiful views at Chrissy Field.
Some authentic Korean in Koreatown.
Wolfpack, just chillin.
This is the last post from mine and Henah’s southern road trip. We decided to make the drive from Nashville to New Jersey in one day, a total of 14 hours. We planned a few stops along the way, because 14 hours of straight driving is enough to make anyone insane.
Our first stop off was Hodgenville, Kentucky, the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. The thing about Kentucky is that it’s really quite beautiful, but it’s literally just farm after farm after farm.
The log cabin that Abe Lincoln was *born* in, a tiny one room structure. It was preserved in this beautiful marble structure. Unfortunately, we couldn’t enter the cabin or touch it.
I wonder why they changed the sign from “Please refrain from touching the cabin” to “Please do not touch the cabin.” I guess a sterner warning was necessary.
Our second stop was in the tiny town of Loretto, Kentucky…
…the amazing and wonderful Maker’s Mark Distillery aka the adult Willy Wonka Factory.
The whiskey is aged in these charred oak barrels.
The bottles are all hand-dipped in wax.
The best part: a tasting of four different types of Maker’s Mark.
Glass ceiling by Dale Chihuly.
Our third stop: Lexington, Kentucky for lunch.
And that lunch was an incredible Kentucky staple: the “hot brown.” It’s an open faced sandwich, with turkey and ham, covered in some sort of gravy sauce, smothered with cheese, baked in the oven, and topped with a fried green tomato. It’s only fitting that this was my last meal in the South.
And a beautiful West Virginia sunset to end one of the greatest road trips.
We started our second day in Nashville touring the Parthenon. No really, it’s a full scale replica of the Athens Parthenon, except it’s in the middle of Tennessee.
Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway locomotive at Centennial Park.
Donut heaven at Peace, Love, & Little Donuts in downtown Nashville.
I got chocolate chip cookie dough, samoa, and maple bacon mini donuts. Mini donuts mean I can eat 20 and feel ok about it.
The famous Loveless Cafe. The wait was TWO AND A HALF HOURS, so we just stopped, took a picture, then bounced.
A wall of famous celebrities and country music stars who have visited the Loveless.
Dessert that night from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, a place known for its innovative flavors and insanely creamy ice cream.
I got “Bangkok Peanut,” which was an elevated peanut flavor with thai spices and basil, and “World’s Milkiest Chocolate,” which tasted as decadent as it sounded. These two little scoops cost $5 but the ice cream was so rich, it was the perfect size.
Breakfast the next morning at Pancake Pantry, arguably Nashville’s most famous breakfast spot. This was the line at 7am.
At least they provide coffee for the patrons.
Henah’s nutella crepe. It was delicious, but nothing we couldn’t find at any creperie in NYC.
My sweet potato pancakes, however, were something really unique. They come with cinnamon cream syrup, a sugary milky housemade concoction. The pancakes had an interesting sweet & savory flavor, and mixed with the cinnamon cream syrup, they were extraordinary. Also, we shared a plate of the homefries, which were insanely good. This place is delicious but really only worth it if you get there early and beat the line!
Next stop, Nashville! The first spot we visited here was Parnassus Books, an independent bookstore that’s considered one of the best in the world.
Amazing glazed donut from Donut Den, right around the corner from Parnassus Books.
Broadway, aka “Music City,” is the most lively/touristy spot of Nashville.
Rocket Fizz Candy Shop in downtown Nashville.
Brunch the next day at Marche Artisan Foods.
Croissant french toast. Mhmmm.
Next city on the road trip, Memphis. It’s a city known for its legendary music history and insanely tasty ribs. Our first stop was the National Civil Rights Museum, an extremely informative and moving experience.
It’s built at the Lorraine Motel, the site where Martin Luther King Jr was shot.
Room 306, the last place MLK Jr. stayed.
Right across the street from the museum was Central BBQ, arguably the best ribs in all of Memphis.
Airbnbs are so much better when they include cats.
At this point, I had spent a week in the south but I’ve yet to eat a really good burger. After some googling, I found Off the Hoof burgers in Arlington, Tennessee, about a 40 minute drive east of Memphis.
This is the Pat LaFrieda Chopped Steak burger, topped with habanero jack cheese and served on an 81-layer croissant bun. This perfectly cooked medium-rare burger was, hands down, the best I have ever tasted.
Sweet potato waffle fries. Yes.
The last installment of our stay in New Orleans.
I can’t get over how beautiful the architecture was in the French Quarter.
This is an actual concern.
Hex Voodoo Shop is one of the coolest stops in all of NOLA. Even if you don’t believe in voodoo, the shop is well worth a browse. Be sure to talk with the interesting and knowledgeable staff who can recommend a potion or remedy for any sort of issue you may have.
We had our cards read by a Salem witch and asked some questions to the Spikeomancy board.
Our last meal in New Orleans was at Commander’s Palace, possibly the most famous restaurant in all of NOLA. This place is old school upscale, like stark white napkins and table cloths and a waiter each for bread and water.
Soup trio: turtle, gumbo, and chicken black bean (their daily special). Commander’s Palace is known for its turtle soup, but personally I couldn’t get enough of their chicken black bean special. It was so much more flavorful than the turtle, which felt a little overpowered by the sherry.
Roasted, chicory coffee lacquered, stuffed quail. I honestly don’t remember what the quail was stuffed with that day (some sort of grain-y yet tasty stuffing). The quail was perfectly roasted, still juicy and not dry. The real star of the dish, however, was the charred bits of pancetta the quail was served on.
The famous bread pudding souffle. To be honest, I wasn’t that impressed. It was a bit too egg-y and the bourbon sauce a bit too strong.
The peach and blueberry cobbler, however, was unbelievable.
Before we left New Orleans, we had to make a stop at Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, an above ground cemetery. The reason the graves are above ground is because of the low sea level of New Orleans. It makes for an eerie setting, perfect for walking around on a misty gray morning.