Well, here we are about 30+ car hours later, and we’re still alive! Thanks to the first two Hunger Games books on tape, several bags of coconut oil sweet potato chips, and countless carrot sticks, our drive to NJ, back to VA, down to TN and back was a smash success.
The weather was hot. We basically wore the same outfits day after day (after washings, of course), so I’m surprised we don’t look less stylish in the photos. I guess I caught us on the days we changed clothes!
We did a handful of touristy things while we drove around in traffic. One of the many highlights of Nashville itself was the Nashville Zoo (see flamingos). We also caught a show at Zanie’s comedy club, which had some funny moments but overall convinced me I’m not much for secular culture anymore.
And then of course I had to drive across town to spend $1 on a duck fat caramel from Olive & Sinclaire. (It was awesome).
The final result… Nashville gets our approval hands-down! It has the friendliest people I’ve ever met (outshining everywhere else we stopped in TN and even our hometown in VA!), the food was great, and the vibe was relaxed.
Food-wise, we did rather well! I went off the wagon AIP for a milkshake (Homemade with gelatin! Come on!) and a few other chocolates and coffees. JHubbs was an absolute champ and stayed AIP compliant the whole trip! He’s currently staying compliant through August 15th when he’ll reintroduce some foods. Now that’s staying power!
We did a tour of 100% meat burgers in Nashville. Here were the highlights:
- ML Rose saw us twice for their burgers. There was some confusion about the sweet potato fries, so we got glutened the first time (sad face).
- Gabby’s gave us one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. Again with the possible gluten, though, because they grill their bread on the same grill as the burgers. Such a shame! This is also where I got the shake. (Note: We know when we’ve been glutened because we’ll get really, really cranky about 3 hours after eating and I’ll have some very clear digestive signs. Both those things happened after the first visit to ML Rose when we ate the fries (not the second) and our visit to Gabby’s).
- Fido’s won hands down with the best burger I’ve ever had. They had AIP compliant roasted sweet potatoes (with a mystery topping that was like sweet figs… sooo good), so it was nice to get a side we could eat. I also indulged in the coffee there ;-)
- We very successfully ate at Five Guys on the way home (the bacon is NOT gluten free!).
- The Jam Coffee Shop had an ACV drink and a paleo donut! We didn’t get to try either, but it was so awesome to see our familiar ingredients/food values out in the world! (The coffee was out of this world and they had local cream, which won me over).
Otherwise we ate at home, working through my order from Paleo to Go and eating assembled sandwiches from Whole Foods on the drive there and back (Paleo wraps, cucumber, avocado, turkey, ham, cheese on mine). I was very pleased with the quality of sleep we got and the quality of the food we ate, which turned into a pretty decent vacation overall!
Vacations are always a tough balance for me: have fun by indulging in cheese, chocolate, and coffee, OR have fun by eating clean and feeling awesome/happy/not cranky the whole time. It’s a balance I walk with JHubb’s help, and unfortunately he gets the downside when I hulk out about this or that because I’m coming down off of some chocolate. It’s just so hard when the best meals and food we eat are homemade — it means either I have to cook every meal while we’re out (ideal for health, not for relaxation) or we have to go off-roading a bit and pray it works out. Regardless, I am happy to be back in my kitchen where I can whip up AIP salad dressings, meats, and sides that I don’t have to eat with fear.