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Eat, Drink, Repeat: Culinary Discovery & Misadventure in Central Ohio

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Archives: BNA Gourmand, RoadFood Tour with Jane and Michael Stern

Posted by cmh gourmand on April 19, 2016

These events occurred on April 28th, 2007 mostly as recorded. 

In league with Philville Phil, president of the the Columbus Men’s Supper Gang, I journeyed to Nashville, TN to do a dining tour with Jan and Michael Stern of Roadfood.com, Gourmet Magazine and countless books. It was a treat. Along with a busload of 50 foodies, the Sterns, the Roadfood web team, and a German documentary film crew we hit four places and discussed many others.

There was also a group that hit four places in the morning (and a few of them did the afternoon tour with us as well). Below is a description of the morning tour.

“The morning tour will start at 8am at the Loveless Cafe for a classic Tennessee breakfast, including legendary biscuits and homemade preserves. We will then hop in the bus and head into the country towards Franklin and a visit to Merridees Bread Basket for delicious pastries, breads and pimiento cheese sandwiches. Next stop: Pucket’s Grocery, an old-time meat-and-three and barbecue cafe with some of the most succulent pulled pork anywhere. We then return to Nashville for lunch at the ultra-bountiful Belle Meade Cafeteria“.

The rendevous and collection point for the afternoon group was at the Loveless Cafe. This place is famous for food and country music, several up and coming stars have played here on the way to fame. We had a small snack at the country store in the parking lot since the wait time to dine was over an hour.

Documentary Crew

We were trailed by a German TV documentary film crew throughout our trip. I believe I was quoted a couple times, I hope that made it on the cutting room floor (I, like the Amish and some Native Americans do not like to be photographed).

Prince's Hot Chicken

Prince’s Hot Chicken was our first stop. We overwhelmed the small, strip mall establishment with 50 or more people. This is fried chicken dipped in hot sauce or hot, hot, hot sauce. This type of chicken is unique to a small section on Nashville. We ordered the medium – which was very hot even after dabbing with a piece of white bread. Our companions that ordered the hot – were hard pressed to eat much of the chicken due to the heat level. But with a lot of pop and dabbing with some white bread – we got the hot heat down to aid consumption. I do not know how much the employees get paid – I think they may work for free just to watch people suffer from the hot and very hot sauces. However, the hot sauce opened up more digestive “living space” for a lot more food to come.

Hot Chicken

Here is another version of the trip from the Dallas News, including a quote from the Gourmand….

“Jim Ellison, of Columbus, Ohio, tells me I should think of this tour as a marathon. Toward the end, he promises, I would get a second wind. Jim, who runs an ice cream blog, speaks from experience. I remember his advice as we walk up to Swett’s, a spotless meat-and-three, soul-food cafeteria.”

Swetts

We then hit Swett’s, a Meat and three (or two or four) buffet. This was distinctly average food in a typical strip mall with cafeteria style ambiance. The place is typical of the meat and three buffet. Multiple second and third tier celebrities plaster the wall with accolades for the place – so I think the stop was appropriate for the trip. Also – where else can you feed a busload of 50+ people?

Monell's

We saved the best for last! Monell’s is old school, family style dining in a beautiful home in the Germantown section of Nashville. Everything was great and it was amazing that we could eat at all at that point – but we did – including some wonderful desserts. I was able to sit next to Michael Stern and the Roadfood web team and talk food and food writing for the meal (so of course I plugged Columbus for an Ice Cream tour and more). We all shared nicely, passed plates and spent the evening like it was a Thanksgiving supper with family. The staff were wonderful as well. If you go – reservations are critical!

All of the above are shots from Monell’s

On the way home that night, with no agenda in sight – we decided some ice cream was in order to sooth our bloated bellies. We called Philville Phil’s wife Jean, who was kind enough to do some quick internet research and guide us to Bobbie’s Dairy Whip – voted as Nashville’s favorite ice cream shop. We got some twist cones and fries and called it a night.

On the way home the next morning, we made a side trip to Louisville so I could introduce Phil to

Lynn’s Paradise Cafe.

Here is a shot of the breakfast menu – these items were featured on The Food Network with Bobby Flay – Kentucky Farmhouse Scramble (everything but the sink) and Bourbon Ball French Toast. Phil had the Louisville Hot Brown – the signature sandwich of the town. My favorite was the Derby Pie Milkshake. The people sitting next to us at the bar had some wonderful homefries that I was eyeing the whole time. When they left – barely touching their food, Phil dared me to sample the homefries….. All I can say they were the best I have ever had and our server respected my gumption and dedication to recycling.

This is a Louisville Hot Brown – Philville Phil’s favorite new sandwich.

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