Sunday, July 13, 2014

Eatin' Vegan in Nashville, Day 1

I'm back from my work trip to Nashville! I spent Thursday through Sunday morning in Music City for the annual Association of Alternative Newsweeklies conference. Each year, editors, publishers, designers, reporters, marketing folks, and ad sales staff of alt-weeklies from across the country gather for workshops and LOTS of party time. I'm an editor/reporter for the Memphis Flyer. Some years, it's far away (like last year in Miami), and other years, it's within driving distance (Nashville is just a quick 3 1/2-our road trip from Memphis).

I ate a ton while I was there, both at the conference, which was fairly vegan-friendly, and outside the event. Since I took so many pics, I'm going to break these posts up for each day I was there. My editor Bruce, our marketing guru Matt, and I car-pooled up the AAN conference on Thursday morning. We arrived at the downtown Sheraton before check-in, so we checked our bags in and headed out for lunch.

We were looking for something quick that would satisfy our varied diets, and only after walking a few blocks in downtown Nashville, we stumbled upon Pacifica Pan-Asian Cuisine. It was a casual, order-at-the-counter kind of place, perfect for a quick lunch after a car ride. I ordered Tofu Teriyaki with Steamed Rice.

This hit the spot. The tofu was fried but not like super-crazy fried. The sauce was sweet 'n' savory. And the dish was loaded with veggies.

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel. But the rooms still weren't ready! They gave us free drink tickets and free appetizer coupons to use while we waited. I saved my app coupon for later (more on that tomorrow). But I put one drink ticket to use right away with this Turtle Anarchy Portly Stout, a beer brewed in nearby Franklin, Tennessee. Nice and creamy. Love me some good stout.

We FINALLY got our rooms around 5 p.m. (two hours past check-in!). I quickly changed into a dress and met up with the rest of my staff to head to a cocktail party at the Corsair Distillery, where I sampled Nashville-made quinoa whiskey. I wish I'd remembered to take a picture of that!

After that party, we headed to the next one at Robert's Western World, a honky-tonk on touristy Broadway.

I'm not a country music fan, but when in Nashville ... (Also, this band said they were actually from Memphis, so I guess that makes it okay).

You might notice the lack of food since lunch. That's because the only snacks that were vegan at the Robert's party were chips and salsa. I had a plate of chips, but other than that, I didn't have time to eat a proper dinner. My crew stayed out til midnight-ish, and when we arrived back at the hotel, a few of us realized were quite hungry.

Luckily, there was a little 24-hour cafe — Caesar's Italian Restaurant — just a block from the hotel. The selections were mostly cheesy/meaty pizza and burgers, but they did have a Veggie Sub. It was supposed to come with cheese, but I left that off and doused the black olive, pepper, tomato, and onion sub with ketchup and mustard instead. All that bread and chips was actually kind of awesome at 1 a.m.

That's all for tonight. Thursday was more about having fun than eating, but I did eat at two AMAZING vegan restaurants later in the weekend. I'll share more about those places tomorrow.


Pam said...

Not related to this post, but...funny coincidence! I got a text from my sister a little while ago. She's in Memphis today visiting a friend. She says, "My friend lives right next door to a little vegan cafe that she's taking me to later." I was like, "It's not called Imagine by chance, is it? My bloggy buddy Bianca talks about that one a lot." haha yes, that's the one she was talking about. If you're standing in front of Imagine, the house to its left is where my sister's friend Stephanie lives. :)

Christina said...

I'm always scared to order stouts for fear they're not vegan >.< glad you were successful with that one. it looks delicious!

- christina