Last Day in Nashville

It was our last day in Nashville and we had meetings scheduled for most of the day, but we did take time to drive to Cracker Barrel for breakfast rather than eat at the expensive hotel breakfast again, no pictures of that but it was delicious. Then, as long as we were so close, we HAD to visit Cooter’s Place, the Dukes of Hazzard Museum. This museum has memorabilia from the show, and most of the cars from the show, but mostly it has ALL of the merchandise the show generated. From Dukes of Hazzard Underoos to sleeping bags, video games, puzzles, and beach towels, they had it. It was fun to look at. We did not pay for the privilege of having our pictures taken sitting IN all the cars, but taking your picture in front of the cars was free.

Most favorite picture of myself in a while. No, we did not slide across the hood of the General Lee.

We went to meetings all afternoon and then decided to eat at the Italian restaurant, Ravello, at the Gaylord that night (I, of course, had scoped out the menu on the internet well beforehand.)

This is the bread with an amazing marinara dipping sauce. I think the sauce used crushed tomatoes, had a very nice texture. Mmmmmmm.

We ordered the antipasti selection for our appetizer – 3 different kinds of Italian cured meats, and 2 cheeses. They don’t specify which kinds on the menu, and I wasn’t taking notes, but one of the cheeses was a soft cheese with cow’s, goat’s, and sheep’s milk, and it was amazing. The hard cheese was also good, and the three cured meats were delicious. The side plate contains pickled vegetables, raspberry compote, and preserved figs, all of which combined well with the meat and cheese. The little triangles are pita bread.

I love soup, so of course I had to have the soup. This was carrot bisque with a citrus ricotta garnish. Again, amazing.

Going around the table, our entrees. Above: Aqua Pazza, classic spicy southern Italian seafood stew with lobster, scallops, shrimp, and mussels over pasta, lemon, and grilled ciabatta.

Angel hair shrimp scampi – tossed with San Marzano tomatoes, roasted eggplant, basil, and ricotta salata.

Gnocci in a Marsala mushroom ragu, with beef tenderloin tips and dulce gorgonzola.

I, of course, want to sample as many things as possible, so I ordered the appetizer sampler as my entree.

Hearth fired meatballs, in a house made tomato sauce with Bonnie Blue Chevre, fresh basil, and sambuca.

Charred beef carpaccio, seared tenderloin with crispy capers, shaved Grana Padano, red onion, and arugula, drizzled with Coloratura aioli. This was amazing, is essential Very Very Rare or raw beef, but it is cut so thin, and then seasoned so perfectly, it was the best thing I had all week. I know some of you are shuddering over the raw beef, but you know I will try anything once. I will definitely try this again.

Caprese – mozzarella burrata, slow roasted jewel box tomatoes, and fried basil leaves are drizzled with pesto and a balsamic reduction. I prefer my caprese with all fresh tomatoes, not roasted, but this was still good.

Polenta and asiago fonduta – creamy polenta dip with jumbo lump crab meat and grilled ciabatta. This was the blandest item of the sampler, all of the others were very tasty but this one just didn’t stand out. It was fine, just not my favorite.

The convention concluded with a trip to the Grand Old Opry with a concert set up just for our attendees. The featured entertainers were: Mike Snider (awesome mountain music/bluegrass and very funny), Sarah Darling, John Conlee (Rose Colored Glasses), Joey + Rory, and Darryl Worley. And, it pays to go over to thank the sponsors of the concert because then you might get invited backstage to meet Darryl Worley.

So all in all, a pretty good trip. I guess I can’t say my job is not interesting. And look, the biggest miracle is that I wore that white shirt all day and DIDN’T GET ANYTHING ON IT!

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