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people + places | eats + things
For this week and next, we’re going a few miles north of the Classic City for Meatetarian Eats: Nashville edition.
At the end of March, for my 30th birthday, I was given the gift of a trip to Nashville, Tennessee!
Upon finding out where I were going, my mother inundated me with a list of places to go and eat and do. We made it to most of them, actually, but there were a few that will require a return visit. Which I am totally OK with.
Being the planner that I am, I took my mom’s list of must-eats to map out our itinerary. Like for real. We had this on a color-coded, numbered Google map.
After a failed attempt at visiting Loveless Café, which is so dang popular there was more than an hour’s wait, and Burger King for supper at the Opry Mills mall, I was determined not to miss out on any more food souvenirs! We were GOING to make it to the rest on my list.
people down the street next to it. This was no hidden gem. It was a very well-known sparkling topaz gem and every non-Nashvillian in Nashville was on that sidewalk. My stomach was growling, but I was not giving in. We were waiting this out.
Standing in a line like that made me wonder what I was in for. What did the place look like inside?! How tall are these stacks of pancakes?! What is cinnamon cream sauce and why do I want a bottle of it?? Can I get a latte?
The anticipation was insane! I, truth be told, still do not know what it is about Pancake Pantry that has it as a must-eat place! Is this what it is like to be a sheeple?? To blindly go stand in a line for a restaurant that your mother said was good, without doing any further research about the restaurant, its history or barely glance at the menu before plugging the address into the GPS??
Forty-seven minutes after our arrival, we were finally swept inside. I’ve heard my mother talk this place up since I was a kid, and I was … a little let down. It’s kind of plain. It’s kind of homey. It’s a big open room with tables and (thank goodness) booths with cream-colored tabletops and wood accents. I would hazard a guess that nothing much changed since it opened in 1961. Our waitress did not seem to care that it was our first time. In case y’all can’t tell by the usual length of these posts, I can chatter a. lot. She was not having it, and I felt a little judged for asking if they had iced coffee drinks: “It’s coffee and it has ice in it.”
When my stack arrived, it was bittersweet. I’m not talking about how my tastebuds reacted to the Santa Fe pancakes, but rather, how my eyes reacted. Call me a snob, but I got it in my head that all of these ingredients (the green chiles, bacon, cheese) would be chopped up and blended into the batter, then tossed on the griddle. Not so: it looked more as though the cornmeal batter was put on the griddle, flipped once, then big strips of bacon, some cheese and a few chiles were sprinkled on top.
cream. I normally don’t like sour cream, but WOW! With these, sour cream made the cornmeal cakes melt in my mouth and it became a very smooth bite.
Our waitress did recommend adding, believe it or not, the cinnamon cream and syrup to these pancakes. Y’all know I am all about mixing sweet and savory anyway, so I dove right in. When your pancakes arrive, the syrup arrives in a hot bottle and the cinnamon cream chilled. That one is less viscous than syrup and neither are as sweet as say, a Crackerbarrel maple syrup. They work together to minimize the kick from the chiles.
Blame it on my dancing at the Opry the night before, but I was so hungry I ate all three of these. And they are not small pancakes!
Pancake Pantry is one I’ll wait in line again for. And also possibly show up at 5 a.m. for. I say this entirely because I want to try the buckwheat pancakes. Or maybe the Georgia peach pancakes. There's also a stack called Chocolate Sin ...
Anyone up for joining me on my return trip? :D They let you take bottles of cinnamon cream home.