Vacation Eats

In Mr. Universe (which I really enjoyed, even though I fell asleep before the end of it–that’s what happens to me toward the end of a semester),  Jim Gaffigan said, “Really that’s all a vacation is–just us eating in a place we’ve never been.”

I couldn’t agree more.

In fact, as Jesse and I were planning our little Tennessee trip, we picked out the restaurants we wanted to go to first, then decided on attractions around those locations. I consulted the Bon Appetit website before any travel sites.

And, my, did we ever eat in Tennessee.

The most amazing fried chicken in Memphis at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken (yes, that’s the name). Crispy skin, juicy meat, served on top of slices of white bread. Pecan pie for dessert. Cheap food. The restaurant itself is entirely unassuming–a little sketchy, very crowded, old, run-down. Exactly the type of place where you’d find the best fried chicken you’ve ever had.

Of course, the craziest thing we ate on our trip was from here:

Arcade Restaurant, the oldest restaurant in Memphis, where (supposedly) Elvis used to eat. In his honor, we ordered fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches, which were actually pretty tasty and not nearly as heavy as you might imagine.

The healthiest thing I ate the whole trip was an almond butter bagel in Nashville at Fido –a funky coffeeshop near Vanderbilt University, in a great little shopping district. I had a phenomenal cup of coffee with caramel and chocolate, though, to balance out any health benefits of the almond butter. Vacations are not the time for health food. (Or, at least, vacations in the South aren’t.)

The meal that “takes the cake,” so to speak, though–hands down–was from Mas Tacos Por Favor in Nashville.

It’s tucked into a little residential area you’d never run across unless you meant to.

Step inside, and it’s like you’re in a different country.

And the food. The food! I had a fried avocado taco and a pineapple cilantro agua fresca. Jesse had a chicken taco, elote (corn on the cob), and Mexican Coke.


The fried avocado was perfect. A little crispy, then melt-in-your-mouth smooth. The agua fresca was refreshing. Jesse’s Coke was sweet, perfect.

Next time I’m in Tennessee, I’m ordering half a dozen.

Our vacation–a string of restaurants, peppered with sightseeing–was lovely and satisfying. And though we’re both quite a bit heavier than we were before we left, we’d do it all over again. Eating in a place we’d never been before… Tennessee, you did not disappoint.

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