Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Let's Go Mavs!

On my way to work this morning, I actually listened to Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPN radio nearly the whole way because they were talking about the Mavs, and then I caught a bit of commentary from ESPN while I was on the treadmill at lunch. I don't care if nearly every analyst I've heard is predicting the Heat in 6 or 7, I still believe. Let's go Mavs! Dirk needs a Championship!

Nash Vegas - Day 1

This past weekend, we loaded up the Honda and headed out on a 10 hour drive to Nashville, TN. Fortunately, we got a fairly early start out of Dallas and were on our way by about 3 o'clock on Thursday. We made it to Memphis, TN around 10 pm and headed straight to Beale Street for a couple of drinks. After a quick stop at Silky O'Sullivans and deciding that splitting one of their famous Diver's (a huge bucket of beer, liquor, juice and much more I'm sure) would be a very bad idea, we grabbed a beer to go and walked down the street a ways to a little jazz club where we had one more beer before calling it a night and retiring to the Crown Plaza about a mile away.

Originally, we were going to get up super early and head straight to Nashville, hopefully arriving before noon. However, the night before we left (Wednesday), Luke literally did not sleep a wink all night. So we decided to sleep in so he could attempt to catch up on sleep before the weekend. We ended up leaving Memphis around 10:30 and got to Nashville just about 3 hours later. My cousin, Ben, and his wife, Emily, live in East Nashville, and they so graciously let us stay in their home while they were out of town for the weekend. My aunt Jana and uncle Bruce live in Kingston Springs, which is about 25 miles Southwest of Nashville. On our way into town, we stopped by their place to say hi, see their new house and get the key to Ben and Em's house. I wish I had taken pictures at their house because their house is so cute. Jana's added all kinds of neat personal, antiquey touches, and they live in a beautiful area where their house backsup to a big wooded area and a pretty little creek. We spent a little while visiting with them, playing with all 4 of their dogs and even walked down to the creek for a bit. Then we continued on our journey to Nashville.

Ben and Em live in a cute, little house in East Nashville, which is an up and coming neighborhood. They're within walking distance to a neighborhood called 5 Points that has several restaurants and bars. After unloading our bags and gawking at how cute Em already has the place all decorated (they've only lived there a few months and travel ALL the time as they're musicians), we set out on foot to 5 Points. First, we stopped at Wonders on Wonderland, which is Emily's favorite antique/vintage store in town. After browsing around a bit, we went to Beyond the Edge, a little neighborhood bar & grill, for a cold one and to kill a little time before dinner. This place had awesome 2 for 1 specials on beer on 4 out of 7 days! So we enjoyed a nice beer and made a mental note to come back on Sunday for the all day 2 for 1!

Next, we walked down to Rumours, a wine bar, for dinner. We really enjoyed this place. We were pretty hungry at this point, but they had so many appetizers that sounded good, we ended up splitting 3 appetizers instead of ordering entrees. We started with the cheese plate, which included 4 types of cheese, bread, olives and this great home made orange marmelade sauce. Then we tried the Fried Green Tomatoes because I've never had them and have always wanted to try them mainly because of the movie. :) Finally, we ended with a prosciutto flat bread, which was tasty and super filling.

After dinner, we took a cab out to a place called The Woods at Fontannel, which is a music venue and restaurant situated on the old Barbara Mandrell estate. Thanks to my sis, we found out that Steve Martin is not only an actor/comedian but also a really good banjo player and had a show in Nashville on Friday night with tickets available on Groupon. We were a little bit late to the show because that's just the way we roll, and we were even a little bit later than that because of our crazy taxi driver. The driver didn't know of the place we were going because it's fairly new, but he plugged it into the GPS, and we were on our way. All was going smoothly until it was time to exit off the highway and enter another highway. The exits were like "circle" exits so if you took the exit, you needed to immediately get over a lane to the left in order to avoid having to exit again and being put back onto the same road you had just come from. Well it took our driver a little while to figure this out, and he kept taking the same exit over and over. We literally did like 4 circles, and it was all the funnier as it was being narrated by the GPS lady!It's kind of hard to explain in words, but it was hilarious and we laughed until our stomachs ached. Eventually, though, he figured it out, acted like he knew what he was doing the whole time, and we made it to our destination. What we got to see of the show was really good! Steve Martin was fantastic on the banjo, and the band that was with him was a pretty amazing bluegrass band. We also really enjoyed Steve's jokes and banter in between songs. We definitely recommend this show if you're ever in Nashville and have the opportunity to see it.

After the concert, we walked over to the restaurant on the property called The Farm House. We originally were just going to sit for a minute while we waited on our taxi. However, while we were sitting there listening to this little band playing, Luke recognized that one of the restaurant patrons was Big Kenny from the country group Big and Rich. Most people would recognize their song, "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)." Then one of the guys with Big Kenny's group got up on stage, stole the microphone, announced that he was buying the whole place a round of beers and called this guy named "Espo", who turned out to be John Esposito, the CEO/President of Warner Music Nashville, up to the stage. He performed "Glory Days" by Bruce Springsteen, and then Big Kenny got up on stage. He sang "Save a Horse" and then one of his songs we'd never heard before but Luke really enjoyed, "Live this Life." I definitely was hoping to see a celebrity or two while we were in Nashville, and while I was really crossing my fingers to run into Carrie Underwood, this turned out to be pretty cool and was one of our favorite moments from the weekend.

Day 2 to come soon!