Nashville Impressions

I’ve already been in Nashville for just over three weeks, and this is the first post I’m making from here.  That’s not because nothing’s going on.  I think it’s more of an indicator that my time here has been very relaxing so far.

The apartment that I’m staying at is right on the Cumberland River.  (You may not have been fully aware that Nashville’s built on a river, but it is.)  I haven’t lived so close to a big body of water as an adult, and I hadn’t really appreciated how calming just looking out your back door to watch the boats going up and down was.  It’s kind of funny, really.  A Dutch friend of mine was explaining how important living relatively near the water was to her mental health, and I nodded along, but now I get it.  Water is great.

The river is so relaxing

That, plus the fact that I’m located between downtown Nashville and Germantown, has meant that things have been very chill so far.

I’ve been doing stuff, though, so I might as well share.

First off, though, a complaint.  The neighborhood that I’m staying in is clearly reclaimed industrial space.  There are these huge awkwardly shaped apartment complexes all over that seem like they just plopped into the footprint of whatever industrial site went defunct in that spot.  In the case of the complex that I’m in, I suspect either a linear factory or a huge warehousing space.  The offshoot is that the building is a good 1000 feet from end to end.  And one of those ends is where the dumpsters are while the other end has the laundry room.  So there is a lot of walking within the complex just to do normal chores.

The view from near my apartment.  The laundry room is at the end of this walk.

While the roads around here aren’t great, and there does seem to be a lot of active construction around them, they’re definitely in the best shape of the three cities I’ve been in so far this year.  I’m still glad to be riding a more rugged bike, but I could imagine riding something closer to a street bike around here.  The bike has also been a pretty great enabler.  Given that this is a newer residential area, things like restaurants are just a little farther away.  Not that a ten or fifteen minute walk is a big deal, but a five minute bike ride is better.  It’s also enabled me to go further afield for food and groceries, with that last being especially useful given how far the nearest grocery store is.

As far as nearby food goes, I’d rate it as quite good, but limited in variety.  Lots of sports bars and pubs near where I am, giving the area a college student/young professional vibe.  There’s also a great chicken place and an Italian place that feels like it would make it in NYC.  A decent bao place, too (which serves soup dumplings, but not ones I thought were good; I didn’t realize you could make mediocre soup dumplings).

Chicken tenders cucumber and tomato salad, and fried pickles from Waldo’s
Rigatoni in bolognese from Little Hats

I also had a really great meal at Monell’s.  They bill themselves as a “family style” restaurant, and while I’m sure the model isn’t unique, I haven’t run into it before.  Basically, you show up and tell them how many people are in your party.  They have these big 12-seat tables which they seat all at once.  When a table clears, they work through the list of people waiting until they have enough to fill it.

Once everyone’s seated, they begin bringing out plates with whatever’s on the fixed nightly menu.  Then everyone passes the food around, taking what they want, and if any plate runs out, the wait staff will bring a new one.  At the end of the night you just lay for your seat at the table as you leave.

The menu is classic southern food.  Fried chicken, meatloaf, catfish, green beans, mac’n’cheese, mashed potatoes, biscuits and fresh peach preserves.  So much food, and it was so good.  It was also surprisingly fun just chatting with and listening to the other parties I was seated at.  We didn’t all become best friends, but it was a good time.

My plate as I got ready to dig in at Monell’s

I’ve got some other stuff to write about, so expect a couple more posts during my last two weeks in the city, but my early judgment is that I like it quite a bit.






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