Now some people say chitlins are good to eat I’ll never eat chitlins long as a hog got feet. —Papa Charlie Jackson, “Mama, Don’t You Think I Know?” 1925

Saturday, April 15th

Santa Fe

One day in Santa Fe ……. Starts with a walk into town in search of caffeine ……. Yes, you’re getting the drift. Not too much open early but we find the plaza and there it is The Plaza Café. This is a super arty town, artists are not known for getting up early, so we must take the plunge or wander aimlessly like bloody tourists. Looks a bit spiffy, staff everywhere in starched white shirts and pressed black slacks, could be charging a premium ….. but unlike Spain, France, or Italy ……it is not the dodgy plaza café We here for the coffee but don’t turn down the option of breakfast, Bernie the breakfast burrito, me a piñon corn pancake with orange butter and cinnamon syrup. The coffee is good, and the food is very tasty – we’ve done well. Wendy and Rob are Ubering down, a delayed breakfast for them.

We’re goon’ upmarket again to a recommenced Italian restaurant, Osteria D’Assisi just outside the Plaza area. We are doing Super Tuscan …..  Bernie is keen but at a similar price point, I also offer the waitress a Rosso Di Montalchino and an aged Barbaresco option – no hesitation, she goes the SuperTuscan and we enjoy it during the meal and dessert. The meals a bit of a mixed bag, my chicken stuffed with spinach and wrapped in prosciutto in tomato sauce topped with Parmesan, worthy indeed. Wendy’s octopus and exotic lobster/fish pasta are both underwhelming. Rob’s lasagne is a trusty & safe option. We have room for dessert and they are pretty good although I am now worried about that Tiramisu weighing on the valve overnight! This is the sort of place that is within 3 standard deviations but will never be memorable.

Sunday, April 16th

Fly to Nashville

Bernie is a predawn planner- up at 4:30 am, shower & pack the mothership for its last voyage. Of course, the rental car return is a bus trip to the terminal, check-in, screening and it’s time to board – time only for a cookie and a slurp. At least we are on time to Houston, but the second leg is late by 2 hours, sufficient time for a double espresso and chicken Caesar wrap – great job BB.

We find our apartment, drop the bags and hurtle toward a hastily chosen Martin’s BBQ …… whoa, there is a line, too hard so Broadway and the Honky Tonks beckon. Wall-to-wall saloon establishments – bands virtually play next to each other,  feels like Moses has brought all the people to this spot and they are ready to play. We go to the Assembly Food Hall to improve the chance of a beer and food. As a rule, I’m not a fan of food malls and after a $50 round of drinks, I’m still there.

Monday, April 17th 

Nashville Day 1 We meet up for lunch at Rob’s choice, Princes Hot Chicken ……. We track it down – it’s In The Assembly Food Hall …I’m forlorn. It is still a swathing mass of people, but I may have been a little harsh in my jet-lagged judgment.  If you forget the booze and ignore the masses, there is a huge variety to choose from. Perhaps not at the standard of the archetypal Lisbon model, which emulates the city’s better restaurants, but this is Downtown Nashville and the alternatives are queues, noise, or $$$. Three of us opt for the hot chicken ….. not for the faint-hearted and trust me it’s as hot coming out as it went in ….. I may have to refrain from further valve action for some time.

3rd & Lindsey tonight, first music, first real tight Nashville sound – there are 4 fiddlers In the Country Hall of Fame, 2 are in the band tonight – Time Jumpers, a slick act of Western Swing from yodel to Jazz & Blues,  this is the jizz.  The food is possibly not stunning but fills the gaps ….tonight it’s about the music, Rob has a res – erectIon, and the change from deserts to music suites him just fine – perhaps the cider helps!

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