I'm making it my personal mission to single-handedly eat my way across the nation, one delicious animal at a time. Fire up the pit, here I come!!!!!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

One & Only BBQ (Memphis, TN)

It's nearly impossible for me to drive through Memphis without stopping for some tasty 'que. My wife, who had just come off of an all-night shift, was sleeping soundly in the backseat as we made our way to Little Rock for the weekend. That gave me free reign to pick any lunch spot that my heart desired. Jackpot. There are still a few of the well-known players to check off of my Memphis barbecue list, but today I set my sights on One & Only BBQ, in part because they would have some non-barbecue options for my wife should she waken from her slumber.

Ironically, One & Only is really "two and only," with dual locations in east Memphis' Audubon Park and River Oaks neighborhoods. I'm pretty sure that River Oaks is the original spot, but I opted for Audubon Park since it's just a little ways off of Sam Cooper and involved the shortest detour. Practicality doesn't always yield the most delicious results, but we had a lot of miles left to cover.

The wifey was still half asleep when I stopped for lunch, so we just ran in and snagged some quick carry out. Much like Liam Neeson in Taken, I have a very particular set of skills that I've acquired over a long career, except that while he's quite adept at murdering kidnappers, I'm just good at eating while driving. A sandwich probably would have been the appropriate to-go choice for the road, but I much prefer my barbecue in plate form.

Their combo options were limited to two- and four-meat platters, as opposed to my customary three-meater. The two-meat barbecue plate is pretty expensive at $16.99, so four meats would likely break the bank. I had briefly considered a two-meat combo that included ribs, but the $22.99 price tag quickly cured me of that notion. I settled for a 2 Meat Platter of sliced brisket and pulled pork, with deviled eggs and sweet potato fries as my side dishes.

Potato salad is one of my standard side dish choices, but today I decided to live dangerously. Fries would also be easier to eat while I drove. These weren't overly crisp, and I actually don't think that sweet potato fries should be. They were cooked well and tasted homemade, although I can't be certain of that. Deviled eggs, which somehow eluded my picture-taking process, were another strategic driving choice. The eggs were creamy and mustardy, with just the right amount of salt and paprika and whatever other deliciousness they had sprinkled on top. There was also a slight sweetness that I really enjoyed. I doubt very many people besides me have driven around the Memphis ghetto while eating deviled eggs, at least I sincerely hope they haven't.

One & Only's pulled pork gets smoked over hickory for fifteen hours straight. That much time in the smoker was sure to produce fantastic results, which it did. Most of the meat had only a moderate, yet unmistakably-hickory smokiness. My plate contained only a few pieces of bark, but they were awesome and packed at least double the smoke level I had found initially. The meat itself was tender and very juicy, as well it should have been. No sauce needed here.

Rather than just being seasoning and smoked like most barbecue, their brisket gets marinated, smoked, sliced thin, and then finished on the grill with some extra seasoning. Honestly, I was a bit weary of the advertised thin-sliced beef, which can often be a devious way to counteract a pitmaster's dry meat. To my delight, the brisket was spectacular! It tasted like thin, smoky strips of steak, especially with the added steak marinade. I also loved the rub, which brought out even more flavor. The best way that I can describe it is that it's kind of like a barbecue/steak/shawarma fusion. Their thin slices also allowed me to wrap the brisket around my fork like spaghetti noodles, which was perfect for driving. This was clearly not a Texas brisket, but it was awesome nonetheless.

My wife, who ordered a pulled chicken sandwich despite my efforts to accommodate her barbecue apathy, said that it was probably the best she's ever had. That's certainly high praise coming from her, and I share her sentiment. I managed to eat my entire plate without making a mess of my clothes, except for the piece of pulled pork that I found later in my shirt pocket. Totally worth it.


One & Only BBQ
567 Perkins Extended
Memphis, TN 38117
(901) 249-4227

One and Only BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Curley's Carryout (Nashville, TN)

A few weeks ago, I discovered a new purveyor of pulled pork near my house called Curley's Carryout. To be honest, I didn't exactly have high hopes for this carryout restaurant, but I decided to give them a shot anyway. Besides, investigating barbecue in all of its forms is why I began writing this blog in the first place.

You'll find Curley's in a small strip mall, sandwiched between a dry cleaner and some sort of urgent care thing. Despite the "Carryout" name, there are in fact four small tables inside. There weren't many customers when I came in though, but Curley (the man himself) was extremely friendly and upbeat nonetheless. He also seemed to take pride in his food and the mom-and-pop nature of his business, which I always appreciate.

The menu I had seen on Yelp was mostly focused on burgers, hotdogs, and wings, with no plain barbecue as an option. I did see a "Pulled Pork Burger" and a "Pulled Pork Dog" that sounded interesting, but they were nowhere to be found on the in-restaurant menu. In fact, there were no longer any hotdogs on the menu at all. Luckily, I did find a decent combo: a pulled pork sandwich, 8 wings, and fries. Curley wasn't making smoked wings until Tuesday, and he was also out of the smaller wingettes, so I received 4 large honey barbecue wings. Not perfect, but it would have to be good enough. I upgraded my fries to their Garlic-Parm variety, which I was sure would be worth the small upcharge.

During my thirty-minute wait for food (it seems to be just a two-person operation), I was asked for my preferences on barbecue sauce. Normally I wouldn't even bother, but since I saw no evidence of an actual smoker anywhere, I feared that I might need the sauce today. I picked mild over spicy and Carolina-style over honey barbecue. Curley was nice enough to put the sauce on the side at least.

The handcut Garlic-Parm fries were fantastic! As their name suggests, this "Super Side" comes loaded with garlic and parmesan. They were crisp, flavorful, and infinitely better than the standard frozen crinkle fries. I should have ordered more of them.

Smoked wings would have been more my style, but I still looked forward to trying their honey barbecue version. These were coated in a thick layer of sauce, which was sadly a little bland aside from its pleasant sweetness. The wings themselves were cooked well and had a crispy skin. Maybe a sauce like lemon-pepper would work better, so I'll have to remember that for next time.

I tried to keep an open mind about the "pulled pork." The bun tasted homemade (well, homemade by someone), but the pork inside definitely had more of a crock-pot quality to it. There was a decent amount of flavor from their seasonings, though no smoke whatsoever. As expected, sauce was necessary here. It ended up being a runny vinegar-based sauce rather than the Carolina Gold I had hoped for. I liked it ok, but I'm just not a sauce guy no matter how hard I try to be.

Some of the toughest reviews to write are those which require me to balance the friendliness of small business owners with subpar barbecue. I will say that the burgers I saw coming out of Curley's kitchen looked as phenomenal as my fries had been, so perhaps that's really their forte. Curley's also has a great selection of homemade milkshakes, including salted caramel and a red velvet "cake shake" made with actual chunks of cake. I'll definitely be back to try those, but I probably won't be back for more barbecue.


Curley's Carryout
2275 Murfreesboro Pike
Suite 108
Nashville, TN 37217
(615) 730-6913

Saturday, August 22, 2015

B & C Melrose BBQ (Nashville, TN)

Some friends of ours came to town for the weekend, along with their beautiful eighteen-month-old daughter. The adult lady-folk were otherwise engaged, so we had a "Two Men and a Baby" thing going on for lunch. I couldn't think of a better pick than B & C (Bacon & Caviar). Although they have neither bacon nor caviar on the menu, the food is still incredible. We didn't want the hassle of, or the drive involved with, the farmer's market, so we headed for their Melrose location in search of some phenomenal 'que.

Wood-paneled walls and modern/rustic decor give B & C a rather inviting atmosphere. The dining area isn't the largest I've encountered, but I'm sure it serves its purpose just fine. They weren't very busy when we arrived at 11:00am, though that was precisely why we chose to go at opening time. They actually had highchairs, which made the little one happy, or at least it made her less mobile. Having the dining room mostly to ourselves was also perfect for those few high-pitched squeals from time to time.

Sadly, there are no multi-meat combos on the B & C menu, although I did my best to create one of my own. I ordered a 1/4 Rack St. Louis Style Ribs Plate, as well as a half-pound of Brisket and a half-pound of Pulled Pork. My plate came with two sides, for which I selected their Mac N Cheese and the Grit of the Day, which happened to be Buffalo Chicken Grits. It was clearly more food than I (or anyone else for that matter) needed, but this way I'd have some barbecue leftovers to take to work on Monday. Win-win. Knowing my intentions, I had the good sense to request my a la carte meats in to-go containers.

As advertised, the Buffalo Chicken Grits had a distinct buffalo sauce flavor. They were decently spicy and really, really tasty. The grits themselves were just slightly al dente, which I loved. Far from basic grits, these had pulled chicken mixed right in. It was very tender and added a great texture. The gooey, melty Mac N Cheese was equally spectacular. I'm not sure what combination of cheeses were used, but they worked great together. Their choice of spices also gave this comfort dish an excellent zestiness. Shells were clearly a better choice than elbow macaroni, mostly because they trapped big gobs of cheesy goodness inside.

The brisket wasn't exactly chopped, but it had gotten broken up slightly in order to fit inside the cylindrical styrofoam to-go container. My luck with brisket has been somewhat hit-or-miss since moving from Texas to Tennessee, so I was extremely pleased to find some glorious black bark on these slices. The bark was packed with seasoning and a smokiness that matched the red hue beneath. The fattier pieces were beyond compare and just melted in my mouth. I could have eaten this brisket all day long, which made it exceedingly difficult to leave any for leftovers.

Pulled pork is slowly growing on me, especially when I eat some as good as this. There was a great saltiness which made each bite a pleasure. I found plenty of smoke-kissed bits of meat scattered throughout and a decent smoky flavor. The pork was also amazingly tender and juicy, yet still had a substantive meaty texture. There was absolutely no reason to adulterate this meat by adding sauce. I was really glad that I had gotten extra for work lunches.

The big, meaty spare ribs were cooked perfectly. They cut easily enough with my plastic knife, but it still took a slight tug to remove meat from bone, as well it should have. Each bite of the ribs was very tender and very juicy. There was a nice smoke level here as well, but not so much as to mask the natural pork flavors. A hefty dusting of black pepper gave the pork a great spiciness and a great taste. The ribs had more of a glaze than a sauce coating. It was a mild semisweet tomato-based kind, which actually added to the other flavors rather than overpowering them.

Our tiny lunch companion loved her pulled chicken too. I think she ended up dropping a half-dozen plastic spoons on the floor in the process, but at least she had fun doing it. We had a great time giggling both with and at her, and having delicious food made things even better. Thanks, B & C!


B & C Melrose BBQ
2617 Franklin Pike
Unit #112
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 457-3473

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Smokehouse BBQ (Nashville, TN)

We got a pair of free Nashville Sounds tickets through my wife's job, which is pretty awesome in and of itself. Due to a rain-out the night before, we fortuitously found ourselves treated to a double-header against the Albuquerque Isotopes. Sweet! I wasn't expecting to find barbecue at First Tennessee Park, but when I saw Smokehouse BBQ amongst the concessions, I knew that it would inevitably be the source of my dinner.

There had been a slight front blow through recently, so the weather was a beautiful eighty-two degrees this evening. First Tennessee Park is fairly new, and it is pretty snazzy for AAA ball. The game itself was really fun and was something that has been on my Nashville bucket list for the past year. The seats were half-full at best, which was a real shame. I know it's not MLB, but it's hard to beat a night out at the ballpark no matter who's playing.

My wife is a bit of a baseball traditionalist, so she snagged a hotdog and some Cracker Jacks for dinner. I, however, couldn't resist an order of Ribs and Fries.

I didn't anticipate anything other than pre-frozen fries, and that's exactly what I received. At least they were hot and freshly cooked. Some of the fries were dusted with a little barbecue seasoned salt, which really jazzed things up.

The ribs were hickory smoked, or so they claimed at least. While ordering, I was asked if I wanted my ribs wet or dry, and naturally I opted to eat my ribs sauceless. Surprisingly, the minimal seasoning was actually rather good. It was decently spicy, with a slight sweetness every now and then as well. The meat came off with only a moderate tug, but was fairly dry and unpleasantly chewy. Although I tasted an ever-so-slight smokiness in a few bites, it faded really quickly. I assume the ribs had been sitting in a warming tray for quite some time before they ended up on my plate, and I suppose that I should have known better.

Sub-par ribs aside, we had a great time at the ballpark. The best part of the night was a conversation that the mom sitting next to us was having with her three-year-old. They had already been in their seats for several innings before I heard, "Henry, what are you chewing on? Oh my g...you've had that piece of broccoli in your mouth since we left the house! No, forty-five minutes is long enough to chew. Swallow it now!" After about five minutes, several counts to ten, and four mouth inspections, Henry finally swallowed his food. It took every ounce of restraint I had not to fall out of my seat laughing multiple times.

Despite their valiant efforts, the Sounds lost the first game 6-0, but they rallied in round two to win 3-2. Well done, boys.


Smokehouse BBQ
First Tennessee Park
401 Jackson St
Nashville, TN 37219

Monday, August 17, 2015

Round 3: Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant (Nashville, TN)

This would make my third visit to Puckett's in the past six months. What can I say, it's a fantastic place to bring out-of-town guests who want the Nashville experience without being overly touristy. Plus the food is always delicious!

This time I only made our reservations two days ahead of time, and I was surprised to find so many available. The vacant dinner slots must not have lasted long though, because I overheard the hostess forecasting an hour-long wait time to the couple in line ahead of us. In order to properly entertain our guest, I had requested a table somewhat near the music stage, and Puckett's was happy to accommodate.

Tonight we were treated to the musical talents of The Mann Sisters. Both of these ladies had beautiful voices and made our time at Puckett's quite enjoyable. We especially liked their Fleetwood Mac covers. Hopefully I'll get the chance to see them perform somewhere again.

I had considered an order of the Cherry Smoked Hot Wings for an appetizer, but our visiting dinner companion apparently isn't a fan of the bone-in variety. Fair enough. We got some Fried Green Beans instead, which honestly sounded just as good.

The beans came out nice and al dente, with just enough batter to crisp them up. The batter was also nice and light, allowing the beans to still stand out. I liked the accompanying chipotle bacon ranch dip a lot. It could have perhaps been a little spicier, but the flavors were superb.

The only barbecue item on Puckett's menu that I hadn't yet sampled was the pork rib entree, and I intended on rectifying that tonight. I ordered a half-rack of their Cherry Smoked Baby Back Ribs. These dry-rubbed, "Memphis-style" baby backs come with baked beans and potato salad, which probably would have been my side dish picks even if they hadn't been mandatory.

Potato salad is my favorite barbecue side, and this one did not disappoint. The big pieces of skin-on potato were bound together by just enough mayo to do the job without overpowering the natural potato flavors. I really liked the abundant pickles and onions as well. It was served room temperature, which was a nice change of pace from the ice-cold potato salads I often find. The beans, much like our green bean appetizer, were correctly cooked to an al dente. They were pleasantly sweet, with a somewhat spicy kick on the back end.

Although hickory is probably a more common choice for smoking pork, fruit woods like cherry do a great job, too. As a result of the mild wood, the ribs were only moderately smoky. There was also a slight sweetness, which stood out all the better without an overpowering smokiness. The meat itself was cooked perfectly. It took only a light tug to separate meat from bone, and each bite was extremely tender. For true Memphis-style, they probably need a heftier dose of dry rub, but otherwise the ribs were great.

Now at three for three, Puckett's has yet to let me down.


Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant
500 Church St
Nashville, TN 37219
(615) 770-2772

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

St. Patrick's Irish Picnic 2015 (McEwen, TN)

I've been jonesing for a good church picnic ever since my wife and I moved from Texas to Tennessee last year. We've attended some fun festivals and events here and there, but it's just not the same. Luckily for us, St. Patrick's Church in McEwen, Tennessee holds an annual picnic which was once heralded by The Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest outdoor barbecue. How could I possibly resist?

In order to raise funds for a new church bell, St. Patrick's held their first picnic in 1854, with pigs and sheep donated by local farmers. The event was such a success that church members turned it into an annual fundraiser for the church's school. Over a century and a half later, the picnic is still churning out barbecue that numerous publications have labeled as some of the best in the state. Clearly the folks at St. Patrick's know what they're doing. One thing that keeps the crowds coming back year after year is the legendary and secretive St. Patrick's barbecue sauce, the recipe for which is known only to one church member whose family brought it over from Ireland. I couldn't wait to try it.

Each year, St. Patrick's serves up some twenty thousand pounds of hickory-smoked pulled pork to hordes of hungry picnic-goers. While McEwen's normal population is in the neighborhood of seventeen hundred, it's not at all unusual to see that number rise to twenty-five thousand during picnic weekend. To satisfy the massive crowds, church members and other volunteers man the smokers for twenty-four hours straight and start selling pork by 7:00am. Wow! They also had chicken halves for Friday's lunch, but sadly I missed out on that.

The Czech/German church picnics that I frequented during my Texan youth were primarily focused on things like fried chicken, polka, bingo, and beer. I was excited to see what wonders an Irish barbecue picnic would hold. In addition to the run-of-the-mill ring toss, fish pond, and cake walk-type games, there was some really great live music. We listened to the Maple Valley Boys for a while, then the Harpeth Band. They were both really talented, with a mixture of country and bluegrass styles. It wasn't polka, but it made for a fun afternoon nonetheless.

While I had initially considered getting a pulled pork sandwich or some barbecue nachos, I couldn't resist their $8.00 dinner plate of pulled pork, green beans, potato salad, coleslaw, dessert, and sweet tea. That was quite a deal, plus they had a fried chicken option for my wife, who isn't nearly the barbecue fanatic that I am.

I was completely taken aback by the gigantic plate of food that I received for a measly eight bucks! The potato salad was really delicious, with a great crunch from all of the pickles and onions. Its base was a mustard/mayo combination, which provided a nice mustardy flavor without being completely overpowered. Unusual color aside, the coleslaw was rather excellent. According to some after-the-fact information given to me by one of my readers, the yellow color in their slaw comes from turmeric. This is also most likely the source of the spiciness that caught my attention every now and then. Mayonnaise-based coleslaws are not my favorite side dish, so this was a welcome change of pace. Although the green beans obviously came from a can, the addition of spices and pork transformed them into something homemade.

Despite being cooked in absolutely massive quantities, the pulled pork was phenomenal. It was much smokier than the majority of pulled pork that I've encountered. The meat was also very tender and juicy. The seasoning was simple, but just right. The pieces of bark, of which I found plenty, were even tastier. This was definitely some of the best pulled pork that I've had. I'm not generally a big fan of barbecue sauce, but I really liked this one. The tomato and vinegar sauce had a good kick and a nice acidity. St. Patrick's also sells this stuff by the bottle, and it's clear why.

For my dessert, I ended up picking what I thought was carrot cake, but which turned out to be a sort of gingerbread-esque spice cake. It was moist and delicious, with a great punch of cinnamon and nutmeg. The homemade buttercream frosting was sweet and perfectly whipped. I wish I knew which of their parishioners had made this amazing cake so that I could thank them in person.

My wife wanted to grab a snack before we left, and I was in complete agreement. Although her cinnamon and brown sugar funnel cake looked fabulous, I wasn't really in the mood for anything sweet. I certainly didn't need it, but I threw caution to the wind and picked up a pulled pork sandwich for my snack/early dinner.

This sandwich was absolutely packed with pulled pork in quantities that rivaled my prior lunch plate, and it was just as tasty. No sauce was needed here either, but the pickles did add some nice sour notes. I ended up with even more bark than in round one, and I loved every bite.

The only bad part to our day was having to make the hour-and-a-half drive home on an incredibly full stomach. We will definitely be attending the 2016 picnic, and next time I'll come prepared to bring back several pounds of St. Patrick's delicious pulled pork!


161st St. Patrick's Irish Picnic
St. Patrick's Church
175 Saint Patrick St
McEwen, TN 37101
(931) 582-3633

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint (Nolensville, TN)

This weekend I realized that, although my wife and I had been back in Nashville for a year now, somehow I hadn't yet eaten at Martin's. My head hung low, but I turned my shame into determination and drove down to Nolensville to bask in their barbecue-filled glory.

The smell of delicious pit smoke caught my attention before I'd even set foot outside my truck. This was a good sign. Martin's parking lot was already filling up, forcing me to head toward the back of the building. Fortunately, it was here that I found their enormous "Whole Hog Rig" mobile smokehouse, which I sincerely hoped was ready for action.

In true "barbecue joint" fashion, Martin's has a really lively and fun atmosphere. I don't think they could have possibly stuck more crap on the walls, although it didn't really feel that junky. The large lunch crowd already amassed at 11:15am told me that this was clearly a favorite amongst Nolensville locals. I was tempted to make use of their great outdoor patio space, but it was far too hot and muggy for that today.

Pat Martin's barbecue philosophy is right on the menu: "No freezer, no microwaves. We cook everything fresh every day." Good, because I expect nothing less. My eyes immediately zeroed in on the Big Momma Sampler, which the menu says feeds two people. That sounded like more of a challenge than a suggestion, and I was up for it. The Big Momma comes with four ribs, a quarter-pound of pulled pork, and a quarter-pound of brisket, as well as two sides. Hushpuppies were a no brainer, and for some bizarre reason I picked broccoli salad as my second side dish...on purpose. I opted for spare ribs over baby backs (dry rub, of course) and got my other meats sans the sauce.

The broccoli salad was pleasantly sweet, with a good tartness from the cranberries. Pine nuts were a welcome addition in terms of texture. I was also glad to see that the broccoli wasn't overrun with mayonnaise. It was tasty and light, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The hushpuppies definitely looked homemade. They were crisp on the outside with an amazingly fluffy center. Each bite had the right amount of seasoning, too. The side dishes were great, but it was time for the main event.

As a native Texan, I instinctively went for the brisket first. It had a nice dark crust and a beautiful smoke ring to match. There was also plenty of smoky flavor to go around, though the bark was especially good. A simple rub was all that was needed to enhance the natural beefiness. My slices were lean, but by no means dry. To put it mildly, the brisket was delicious.

There were smoke-kissed bits scattered throughout the huge pile of pulled pork. I was also glad to see large pieces of pork rather than chopped sandwich-style meat. There was a fair amount of black pepper mixed in, with a decent smoke level to boot. The pork was very tender, but the fattier portions were definitely my favorite. I considered adding some sauce for fun, though it didn't really need it.

I generally leave my ribs for last during barbecue outings, which was difficult since these looked incredible. Few things upset me more than to find overcooked ribs mistakenly described as "fall-off-the-bone tender." Martin's ribs, however, were cooked perfectly. The third-rack cut apart with ease, but still had just the right amount of bone retention. The juicy rib meat was beautifully pink and was definitely the smokiest of the three. While the ribs were great on their own, the awesome dry rub took things to a whole other level. It added some nice heat, too. I had inhaled three of my four ribs before I could bring myself to stop and jot down a few notes. They were absolutely phenomenal.

Despite being more food than any one person should consume, I'm proud to say that I ate every bit of my Big Momma Sampler. Martin's met, nay exceeded, every expectation that I had. Although I'm sure that their Mt. Juliet and Belmont locations are great, too, I'm glad that I got to try out the original joint.


Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint
7238 Nolensville Rd
Nolensville, TN 37135
(615) 776-1856

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Red, White & Boom 2015 (Nashville, TN)

This year, Music City was pulling out all the stops in celebration of America's birthday. They had planned a fireworks display like none other, one which would supposedly be the largest in the country. As much as I wanted to see this explosive extravaganza in all of its glory, there was no way I was going to fight the downtown crowds or deal with the nightmare that would be finding a parking spot. When I heard that the Adventure Science Center would be hosting a "Red, White & Boom" fireworks viewing party from their parking lot, which overlooks downtown from up on the hillside, I immediately jumped online and bought a pair of tickets for my wife and I.

Fireworks were clearly the main draw, but our "Red, White & Boom" tickets also included entry into the Adventure Science Center from 6:00pm to 10:00pm. We had a great time running around and playing with all of the children's science stuff. They had a few live science demonstrations which were really fun, like balloon bursts and liquid nitrogen bombs. The astronomy area was definitely our favorite part of the Center. It was especially cool learning more about the New Horizons space probe, which I've been waiting to arrive at Pluto since 2006.

After about an hour or so of science-filled fun, we were ready to grab some dinner. I was ecstatic to see a duo of food trucks parked right out front, as well as an ice cream tent. Fantastic!

Electric Sliders
(770) 241-2489

Sliders can be a little boring, but the folks at Electric Sliders have put some serious innovation into their menu. With ingredients like apple-almond-fig jam, sriracha mayo, and lemon-herb cheddar cream cheese, these mini-burgers are anything but boring. The employees themselves were also very lively and embodied a cheerfulness that mirrored their food. Everything on the menu sounded great, but I ended up ordering a Two-Slider Combo with the Piggy Stardust and the Disco Demi.

Their Piggy Stardust slider is stacked high with pulled pork, pimento cheese, fried pickled onions, and a bourbon-balsamic barbecue sauce on a brioche bun. Although the pulled pork wasn't as smoky as it could have been, it was certainly smokier than I expected it to be. It was also seasoned well, but I would have liked some bark in the mix. The fried onions added a great crunchy texture, while the pimento cheese gave it a nice creaminess. The barbecue sauce was more like a bourbon-balsamic vinaigrette, and I liked that much better. My Piggy Stardust was really tasty, especially for food truck barbecue.

Despite its all-beef patty, the Disco Demi is a far cry from the standard cheeseburger. It's got sharp cheddar, pickled onions, arugula, white truffle vinaigrette, and a rosemary demi-glace on brioche. Yum! The beef patty was delicious with an awesome sear on it, and the melty sharp cheddar was a perfect pairing. The pickled onions and arugula gave this burger a good crunch and a great flavor. The white truffle also made things super tasty, but I didn't catch any rosemary. Regardless, I liked it a lot.

I made a huge mess of myself with these sliders, and it was totally worth it.

Music City Pie Co.
(615) 918-0001

Even though we had already filled up on sliders, there's always room for pie. Music City Pie Co. had some interesting savory pies to choose from, and their pizza slices were selling like hotcakes. Under different circumstances I probably would have sampled some of these menu items, but today I had my sights set on the Banana Pudding Pie.

Like any good Southerner, I'm a sucker for 'nana pudding. Theirs had big chunks of banana mixed into a sweet, gooey pudding. The warm buttery crust was also spectacular, and the sugary whipped cream tied everything together nicely. This was basically just banana pudding served in a pie crust bowl. To be honest, I was hoping for more of a fried pie, but it was still really delicious.

Let Freedom Sing!

Science? Check. Food? Double check. Now let's blow some stuff up! Nashville's "Let Freedom Sing!" fireworks display was happening rain or shine. The forecast called for plenty of rain all night long, so we made sure to pack a few ponchos and umbrellas. At 9:45pm on the dot, the Nashville Symphony's musical accompaniment cued up and the mortar shells started flying.

Considering all of the trees and the annoyingly-large Country Club Vodka billboard, our view wasn't quite as unobstructed as was promised. The rain clouds and the obnoxious people standing right in front of us didn't help either. I really enjoyed the fireworks, and the Nashville Symphony did a great job as always. That being said, I feel like it was rather egregious not to end things with the "Star Spangled Banner," or at the very least include it somewhere in the musical score. I'm not sure that the Adventure Science Center's "Red, White & Boom" was worth the $35.00 tickets after all, but we still had a fun night. Happy Birthday, America!



Adventure Science Center
800 Fort Negley Blvd
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 862-5160