Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Grass Skirts, Grits & Guitars

Happy New Year!! I know, I know -- it’s been awfully quiet here at CFT. Well you’ll be relieved (hopefully) to know I was not abducted by aliens or placed in the witness protection program. I’ve been visiting my parents in Nashville for the past few weeks and was swept up in the holiday frenzy. It was great to see family friends and high school friends and tour Little Chick around Nashville. We even had a brush with country music fame when we saw Lee Ann Rimes at lunch. She was on her way out so I can’t confirm that she actually ate anything. But she should because she is itty bitty. I mean teeny!

So we have just returned to Austin, and I am thrilled to get back to my blog. But before I jump into the daily ramblings of life in Texas, I thought I would share some highlights from our time in Tennessee…

The Sugar Bowl was a big time for us. Of course everyone in Nashville pulls for the SEC so we were surrounded by Georgia fans – including Little Chick who loves those Dawgs. But my dad was rooting for Hawaii so we decided to throw a Hawaiian Luau to watch the Sugar Bowl. It was hysterical. We worked like dawgs to transform my parents’ house into an island feast.

Somewhere along the way my mother sliced her finger and landed in the emergency room with stitches so I had to come off the bench and help with the cooking. [Gulp] Typically I try to stick with creative direction – table décor, flowers, music – but cooking for a luau was actually pretty fun. Mai Tai’s, pupu platters, pork with lime mayonnaise, baked rice with pineapple, tamarind flank steak, homemade coconut cake. I also decorated a football cake, while Little Chick made sugar cookies for Hawaii and Georgia to keep things fair. I have to say it was a hoot to set up a luau on January 1st while it was snowing outside. I just wish we had a video of my parents’ friends arriving to find us in Hawaiian shirts, grass skirts and sarongs.

Another highlight from the trip was our big southern country brunch at The Loveless Café. Just on the outskirts of town, Loveless has been around for over 50 years and has legendary slap-your-mama-southern-fried chicken and old-school comfort food. My parents used to go there on dates in college, and when I was little we would go for dinner after the Vanderbilt football games. So I decided we needed to take Little Chick to the famous Loveless Café to keep the family tradition alive.

Now if less is more, then Loveless is more more more. I wasn’t feeling so svelte after Christmas so I was determined not to overeat at Loveless. (Ha!) I was determined not to order the fried chicken and three sides.(Ha! Ha!) I was convinced that the fried chicken would be my only downfall. What a silly, silly girl. I should have been praying to the Patron Saint of Lost Causes. While I did order less than usual, I somehow managed to eat more more more. I just ordered one little ole steak biscuit! But my fork traveled all around the table and I had cheese grits, hash brown casserole, biscuits, sweet corn, green beans, more biscuits, banana pudding, fudge pie, and the rest of my mother’s fried chicken. I’m here to tell you that fried chicken was sublime. I should have just started there and then stopped. We were all stuffed and miserable for hours. My dad said it best as we drove away, “I don’t know why they call this comfort food because I am not at all comfortable.”

But we had a few days to recover from Loveless and the luau before the next adventure. My mom’s friend Kaye had given me a copy of her son’s CD and tipped me off that he was playing downtown. I was missing my Austin live music scene and really wanted to check it out but there was just one problem… I had no wheels.

This presented a challenge throughout my visit. My mom kept trying to drop me off at cocktail parties. I felt like I was fifteen getting dropped off at a party with older kids who all had their drivers license. One day she deposited me at the country club for a workout and didn’t come back for me for like, EV-ER! It was humiliating sitting at the club entrance, watching people I was supposed to recognize from high school coming and going…asking if I needed a ride…wanting to know if I was okay. When some high school boys raced past me, piled in their jeep and sped away I began to feel quite pitiful.

So I had to draw the line at my mother driving me to hear a band. My ego could only handle so much. I protested wildly, but she was relentless. Finally I did a little research on the venue, 3rd & Lindsley, to discover the show was at 6 pm, they served food, and my daughter could come along that early in the evening. So I invited my mother and Little Chick to go with me. I wish I could have seen the faces of my mother’s friends when she told them she had to leave a sip-n-see tea party to go hear a band downtown.

We had a ball.

Rick Huckaby is not your average Nashville singer-songwriter. He played original music from his new CD ‘Call Me Huck’ (save one badass cover of ‘Beast of Burden’) and tore up the guitar for the 6pm dive-bar dinner crowd as if it were midnite and everyone was wasted. The place was packed with his fans and he had the whole joint jumping. Call it rockin’ country or southern rock, either way it was soulful and loud and just what the doctor ordered.

And he’s a nice guy to boot! Before the show we introduced ourselves and asked him to sign a CD for Little Chick. She was over the moon. She was mesmerized by his electric blue electric guitar and utterly convinced that he looked right at her two whole times when he was singing. Afterwards he gave her a big hug on-stage. Little Chick is now a huge Rick Huckaby fan (we all are!) and she wants to know how much it would cost to have him play at her 9th birthday party.

I suppose our trip home was not your run-of-the-mill holiday with family and friends, but then again ours rarely are. No worries, because I‘ve already learned some valuable lessons in 2008. First of all, always support your local musicians even if you’re the one on the road. And when you go to The Loveless Café just order the damn southern-fried chicken and enjoy it. And finally, if you’re wearing a really cheap grass hula skirt, don’t stand too close to a tiki torch.

~ Aloha Nashville ~


BusyDad said...

So glad you're back CF!! And I gots to get me down to Loveless Cafe. I swear my waist size went up another inch just reading your description of it.

Honeybell said...

That football cake is beyond cool!

Tot's Mom said...

Glad you are back. Seems like you had a pretty long break. I did think you were probably abducted by the aliens at some point! :D

Tara R. said...

You really made me homesick talking about Loveless Cafe... sounds like you had a great time.

canape said...

Oh my stars. We could so totally hang out in Nashville. You were at my favorite haunts for sure.

That picture of the plate of biscuits???? Thank you for that. I just drooled all over my keyboard. I always wrap biscuits up in napkins and stow them in my purse when at the Loveless.

And 3rd & Lindsley is a great place to hear a band!

Glad you had a great trip!

Don Mills Diva said...

Welcome back!

MelissaQ said...

Great Blog, sorry about the prada. Commented there too.
greetings From BIG D!

Kimmylyn said...

WELCOME BACK.. Glad to see what a great time you had.. and that food .. oh my.. yum.

Olga, the Traveling Bra said...

Happy New Year! Please stop by my blog...I have a little something for you, you crazy woman you!

PS: I haven't forgetten about the purse tag - am working on it! :)

Diva said...

Glad I clicked on your page from Olga's page. Your Nashville trip sounded like a winner indeed.

We venture over now and then just to get a quick getaway from the house and the kids =)

josey said...

YAY! so glad you're back. =D LOVE the recap of your holiday! sounded like you had a blast. i cracked up most at your dad's comment. bwahaha!! SO true. ive never been TO nashville...only drove "by" a few months back on the way to atlanta. but now i DEFINITELY know where to eat now!! woohoo.

hope you're not digging out your elastic-waisted jeans after the trip, tho. ;) hahaha!!! have an awesome weekend!

secret agent mama said...

Michael went to the Loveless before Christmas, as he was stopped there overnight, and he had a box sent home with THE. BEST. PRESERVES. EVER. Mmmm... Bagels and toast aren't the same now. Once they're gone, I'm sure we'll have to order more!

Glad you're back, toots!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an awesome time! I hate being without wheels, too. We usually are when we visit our folks in West Texas.
Nothing beats southern food and local, live music!
Man, I need to get out more...