Almost everywhere else in the world, bread in some form is the centerpiece of the meal. You can get pitas in Greece, tortillas in Mexico, naan in India, focaccia in Italy, baguettes in France and pretzels in Germany. But here in America it seems not always easy to find something else than toast bread or hamburger buns.
You can imagine how my heart was making a jump when walking into Dozen Bakery, a hidden place in the blossoming Wedgewood-Houston district next to the Zeitgeist art galleries. Originally started as a cookie pop-up, Dozen is now offering a rotating selection of delicious crusty breads, pastries and other baked goods. Their freshly baked baguettes are so good that we normally need to buy two of them because the first one will be already half-eaten before we get home!
It is definitely not difficult to find a piece of meat in the Southern US. But it is harder than I thought to find high quality meat, especially if you are not willed to buy a super extra large size pack that can feed all your relatives. That's why I like to go to Porter Road, a butcher shop based in East Nashville that sells meat from select local farms who do not use antibiotics or hormones on their animals. They processes all meat in their own facility in Kentucky and hand-cut every piece at their Nashville shop.
Another plus is their in-house cheese counter that, amongst others, also carries a great selection of cheeses offered by The Bloomy Rind. I even managed to find a Swiss cheese there, lol. This butcher shop has not only become a cult favorite for people who live nearby, but inhabitants from all different kinds of neighborhood (like me) come by to get advice from the friendly and knowledgeable team.
Coming from Switzerland, cheese (obviously) makes an essential part of my diet. However, I hope that I'm not offending anyone by saying that American cheese is probably not amongst the greatest culinary gift this country has to offer. So finding a cheese store that offers a range of cut to order cheese was a bigger thing to undertake here in Nashville.
Luckily I made a strike when I found a cute little cheese shop called Follow me Cheese. Owned by two sisters originally from New York, the shop stocks a hand-curated selection of American-made cheeses with a particular leaning toward local and regional creations.
This cute little white house with its turquoise windows is located only a 10 minutes walk from where we live. It is though not surprising that every now and then my kids and I head over there to treat ourselves with one of their 100 layer doughnuts.
Five Daughters Bakery is a family business, owned and operated by Isaac and Stephanie Meek along with their five (!) daughters. They currently have three locations around Nashville, where lines of customers are often seen waiting to get their hands on Five Daughters' popular 100-layer donuts.
When my daughter made very clear that she wants to invite all her classmates to her birthday party, I seriously panicked. First of all I am the worst baker ever and second of all our stove is far too small to make a birthday cake for so many people. That's when I stumbled upon a Instagram post of The painted Cupcake.
Not only do they bake and sell very delicious cupcakes which they freshly produce on site every day. Their friendly staff also helps you to accommodate all your wishes no mater what kind of taste or decor in order to create your own custom cupcakes.
Personally, I think that there is no better place to buy fresh, local produce than a farmers market and Nashville has plenty of options for stocking a healthy fridge and pantry. Living next to Sevier Park we are very lucky to have the 12 South Farmers Market just around the corner. This market offers everything you could ever need: all types of seasonal grown fruit and veggies, freshly baked loaves, meat, local cheese, fresh-cut blooms and a continuously changing choice of delicious other food.
Not only you get to choose from very high quality food but also support local farmers with a price they deserve for the quality they produce. Check out my blog post about 12 South Farmers Market in order to find out about my favorite vendors on site.
This certified organic farm is located just minutes from downtown Nashville. In their on-farm market they sell a wide variety of direct-from-the-field produce such as fruits, flowers, vegetables and herbs. Additionally they have a broad range of co-operatively sourced products from the area’s local producers, including grass fed meats, smoked tomato jam, shea butter soap, fresh horseradish, farm-raised eggs and cheeses from all over the region… all definitely gourmet!
You can also sign up to their service called Local Farm Box. They'll put you together a box full of produce that you can pick up every Saturday and Sunday on site. According to them this is a great option because it features an easy pick-up schedule, personalized attention from the farmer and numerous produce selections.
You should definitely plan enough time when you go there, because this place includes a wonderful outdoor playground and a chicken compound your kids will love.
Located in a small unassuming building in the Germantown neighborhood, this market is the definition of a hidden gem. The staff in this shop - mostly family members - are clearly passionate about what they sell. Their fresh selection has a wide range of great fish including: mullet, lane snapper, salmon, trout, and catfish.
Moving on to their freezer case, the selection is even more extensive. They sell a few other seafood related dry goods and some fresh shellfish. The selection at Little’s is exciting, especially considering that Nashville is an inland city that is generally much more interested in meat than seafood.
#9 Las Paletas
A visit to Las Paletas, which is located just across the park, has become part of our routine. At least once a week we stroll over to refresh ourselves with one of their super yummy gourmet popsicles which literally give you like an explosion of incredible rich taste in your mouth.
The place doesn’t look like much, a minimalist space with just a freezer and a chalkboard. But that freezer holds magic. Not like other popsicles that usually feature corn syrup, cane juice and loads of artificial coloring, these icy treats focus on pure, streamlined recipes that highlight natural fruit flavors depending on the availability and seasonality of the fruit. Choose from hibiscus, lime, tamarind, watermelon, strawberry or the distinctive chilli-pineapple. And the best thing about it, it gives me even a good conscience feeding them to my kids, lol.
#10 Jeni's Ice Cream
You know why our kids love our neighborhood? Because besides Las Paletas, there is also Jeni's Ice Cream only a 10 minute walk from our home (yes, of course our kids eat a lot of fruits and veggies, too...). The meanwhile nationwide chain sells heavenly delicious ice creams with a very smooth texture and buttercream body (they don’t use synthetic flavorings, dyes or off-the-shelf mixes).
So many unusual flavors makes Jeni's a must try if you love ice cream. They are not afraid to take some pretty daring risks with flavors, like goat cheese and cherries (which tastes like cherry cheesecake) or lavender. There are even dairy-free and vegan options too, that taste just as yummy as the regular stuff. The line can get pretty long on a Saturday night!