In late May, we loaded up the car (Vitamix and all) and hit the road. The destination? The sunny beaches of Oak Island, North Carolina!
Growing up, my family would drive everywhere; and stopping to stay the night at a hotel was an absurd idea (a waste of both time and money). We’d forge on through the night, driving 20+ hours straight. Despite some very passionate and persuasive efforts on my part to do the same on this trip, Erik remained unmoved. Erik made it up to me, however, when he mentioned that Nashville is the approximate mid-point between our home and the beach.
You see, Nashville is one of three cities on my list of places that I would be willing to move, should we ever have to leave Kansas City (I’ve mentioned before that Seattle tops this list; the other city, if you’re interested, is Portland). Until last month I’d never been to any of the three cities on my list…but in my mind they are grand places.
Though a 30-minute in-car tour through downtown Nashville was hardly enough to experience the city, I liked what I saw. I loved seeing the number of people bustling about and hearing the music and other sounds pouring out into the streets (and on a weekday morning, no less!).
Before getting back on the road to North Carolina, we made a stop at The Wild Cow Vegetarian Cafe, a casual restaurant in East Nashville. Everything on the menu is vegan (although dairy-based cheese is available by request). I’ve heard great things about the restaurant before, and you could tell it was a popular spot — the place was hoppin’! (My apologies in advance for the hazy photos.)
We started with the spinach and artichoke dip, featuring fresh spinach and soft and seasoned crostini. We couldn’t taste the spinach — making it more of a savory artichoke dip — but it was nonetheless very flavorful and we enjoyed every bite of it.
After much deliberation — they have a tempting selection of items on their menu — Erik settled on The Philly (seitan, peppers, onions and their house queso on a wheat hoagie), served with a side of garlicky kale. The good? The garlicky kale was outstanding — we both agreed that we’d have been fine with a monster bowl of it as our meal! The seitan was terrific, too. It was seasoned well and perfectly tender, which was a nice change of pace, as I am used to seitan being on the firm side. I hate to say this, but the good ended there. The queso was watery and the flavor so off-putting that it ruined the sandwich for Erik. I don’t know if it was an off-day or if it just wasn’t for us, but I felt bad, watching as he picked the pieces of seitan off the sandwich and left the rest. Especially while I was giddy with excitement over my meal (which I shared).
If you like buffalo anything, their Buffalo Beans and Greens will definitely please. The bowl — containing their awesome garlicky kale, pinto pinto beans and grilled tofu tossed in a spicy buffalo sauce and then topped with carrots and a cool, house-made ranch — delivered big on flavor and satisfaction! And it was light enough that I didn’t feel weighed down when we got back on the road. The serving was large, leaving enough for a snack that night when we arrived in the Carolinas (at which point, because the flavors had continued to meld, it was even better).
Overall we were very happy with our visit and plan to stop by the next time we are in Nashville. The Wild Cow is located at 1896 Eastland Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee.
Do you have a favorite dish from The Wild Cow?
The Wild Cow sells baked goods made by Khan’s Desserts, but when we learned that the bakery is located just around the corner, we decided to walk over. This all-vegan bakery makes sweet eats, obviously, but their menu also boasts a variety of breakfast sandwiches.
We grabbed two treats for the road. The first, a vanilla frosting-filled chocolate chip cookie sandwich, was huge! We both got two servings out of it and still had enough leftover to share a little. (I think the cookie sandwich was gluten-free as well, but I can’t remember for sure — either way, I know that they definitely sell gluten-free baked goods).
As good as the cookie was, the cheesecake swirl brownie totally took the cake. Cheesecake. swirl. brownie. I think it speaks for itself. The brownie was moist, with the thin top layer that crumbled just so, and we could get enough of the chewy cheesecake bites.
Khan’s Desserts is located at 733 Porter Road, Nashville, Tennessee.
What are your favorite things/places in Nashville?