Tag: Nashville

HUSK : You need to eat here.

on June 17, 2013 in Dude Stuff, Nash-livin', That's delish. with 3 comments by


So as I told you last week when I listed my favorite Nashville fancy dinner places, HUSK just opened and has already leapt to the top five dinners I’ve had in this town.

Me and these two jokers, Keenan and Connor, used this dinner as an opportunity to celebrate their graduation from Vanderbilt, though we really need no good excuse to eat a meal together or try a new restaurant.


How great do they look in those jeans? I’ve worked long and hard to get the boys to wear dark wash jeans, so it feels like a real triumph to have them both in them at the same time. [Also, I said, “for your graduation dinner, please wear your dark jeans.” So, that may have played into their outfit decision.]

The three of us are foodies at heart, even if not always in budget. So when we hear of a cool restaurant to try or a new place we need to scope out, well. We do it. And HUSK, while just opening weeks ago, already had perked our ears so we made reservations the week it opened and had to wait three weeks just to get in! But boy was it worth it.

You can read all about the restaurant here, but I’ll summarize by saying they specialize in local foods cooked in creative Southern ways.

We made the decision to try a lot of things. Don’t judge us.

Here are the appetizers. From left to right:

  • Asparagus with an egg and pork broth — we all could have eaten a whole plate of this stuff. Amazing.
  • BBQ pork tails — so tender and awesome, we just had to be mature and forget the fact that it was a pig’s tail.
  • Fried chicken skins with homemade hot sauce — well, you can imagine the joy of that.


My main dish was chicken and dumplings with kale and lemon balm. Melt in your mouth for realz. Just stare at it a minute and let it get into your heart. Yes, it was as good as it looks and probably actually better.


Keenan had catfish with tomato-cornmeal gravy [have mercy, world] but we didn’t get a good picture of it before it was just a memory.

Connor took one pic of his meal, a delicious steak with cauliflower puree. I mean, how BEAUTIFUL are those plates!?!


I hope you appreciate that we are all three are photographing our meals in this particular photograph. So, like I said, foodies.

We didn’t dare pass up dessert because seriously, why would you.

Buttermilk pie. Whoa mama. For a girl who hasn’t had dairy since January, this was a good reason to ingest just a bit.


And yes, of course I made them do this for instagram and yes they still love me and are used to my sentimental ways.

Overall, you could not have found three happier humans that night. The ambience is classic and warm and trendy, the way the place is set up- lots of rooms with lots of tables spread throughout the historic home- makes for really comfy feel. And the servers, as expected in a fine dining restaurant, are really educated and knowledgable and nice.

So. Three thumbs up from us. Or six actually. Yes, six. Two thumbs up from all three of us.


TOP 5 FRIDAY: Dine fine in Nashville.

on June 14, 2013 in Nash-livin', That's delish., TOP 5 FRIDAY with 7 comments by

TOP 5 FRIDAY is when we each list five of our favorite things, depending on the topic. Feel free to join in via the comments or by posting on your own blog and linking back here. Play along. It’s Friday.

. . . . .

Two posts that continue to be super popular here are my recommendations for brunch in Nashville and lunch in Nashville. [Which, I went to update them and realized that actually, that’s still exactly where I’d tell you to go eat.]

But lately, our finer dining options have expanded greatly and whoa are we grateful.

Now, when I say “fine dining,” I mean, “a little nicer than the chicken nachos at Edley’s.” Today I’m listing some of my favorite celebratory dinner spots – I’m talking birthdays, graduations, parents in town, or a great date.

Okay? Okay. If you want your normal buddies-heading-to-dinner spot, any of these lunch places would be perfect.

So if you are headed to Nash anytime soon, or if you live here and are looking for a nicer place to eat this weekend, take my word for it: any of these meals will bless you.

In no particular order, here are my current five favorite fancy dinner restaurants.

. . . . .


What type of food? : Rustic Italian

Level of love : Really high. Like, every birthday for the last three years high.

Why? : There is not a thing on the menu that tastes less than incredible. The menu changes often, based on the season, but it is all amazing.

Reservations : Make them at least the week of.

Dress : Nice jeans or somewhere around that. No need for a dress unless you wanna, but don’t show up in tennis shoes.

Don’t miss : the kale salad, the gnoche, belly ham pizza

. . . . .


What type of food? : Southern farm to table

Level of love : Growing every time I visit.

Why? : I’ve been here for dinner and for brunch multiple times and I haven’t had a meal misfire yet. They have bragging rights to not even having a can opener in the kitchen, everything is that fresh and handmade. You can’t go wrong with any of their chicken dishes, but if you are braver, go for one of their original and interesting dishes, like fried rabbit, grouper, or hanger steak.

Reservations : I mean, if there is more than four of y’all, yes. But on Friday and Saturday nights without a reservation, you might get turned away.

Dress : Anything is fine really, the staff wears plaid shirts and jeans. But probably not a tshirt and shorts.

Don’t miss : the deviled eggs [three different flavors that change every day]

. . . . .


What type of food? : Sushi / Japanese

Level of love : I mean, if I’m wanting fancy sushi, this is IT.

Why? : Fun ambiance, delicious and fresh fish for sushi, and tons of yummy options for non-sushi eaters. Also, if the weather is nice, sit outside upstairs- it has a beautiful view of Nashville.

Reservations : Not always, but I would recommend it. Can’t hurt. And if you want sushi, you’ll be sad not to be eating here.

Dress : This place can get kinda trendy, so dress how you want [nice jeans, etc] and just make the choice not to feel insecure that you aren’t in a tight black dress with ridiculous heels. You’re happier, I promise.

Don’t miss : The Bomb, Crispy Rice / Spicy Tuna… it has watermelon pop rocks. Seriously.

. . . . .


What type of food? : Super fancy Southern

Level of love : I have only been once, it just opened in May, but it was pretty amazing.

Why? : The historic home is beautiful, and the food was BEYOND. I mean, it was one of those meals that is absolutely unforgettable. We tried a few appetizers and main courses and everything, from the asparagus to the steak to the fried chicken skins to pig tails [no joke] to salmon, was so delicious I felt emotional.

[I’m actually going to tell you all about it next week… so hang on for pics of our meal.]

Reservations : Absolutely and weeks in advance.

Dress : Just nicer than average. Don’t show up after a workout or in a tank top.

Don’t miss : dessert. We had the buttermilk pie and it was a moment. Phew.

. . . . .


What type of food? : Steakhouse

Level of love : Well, it’s serious. Serious love.

Why? : Maybe the best steak in town, certainly the best sides in town. Owned by the same group that also has Virago, you can expect similar ambiance, stellar service, and incredible food.

Reservations : Yes.

Dress : Again, like Virago, people get trendy and club-like here sometimes, it’s weird. But you just wear your pretties and let them do whatever they want to do with their lives.

Don’t miss : macaroni and cheese, the view from the bar, A STEAK.

. . . . .

A few friends are insisting I also give you some honorable mentions…. so you could also check out Watermark, Miel, or Rolf and Daughters. I haven’t eaten at these places enough to Top 5 them, but I’m sure they are great. Because my friends say so.

. . . . .


Have any great recommendations for dinner in Nashville? Or have thoughts on these places? Share, friends!

Ready to run.

on August 14, 2012 in (in)courage with 10 comments by

Not “Ready To Run” like the Dixie Chicks.

More like the kind of running we’ll be doing here in Nashville in October for the Color Run!

I’ll tell you something that I’ve never done. Run a full 5K. I’ve finished a bunch of them, but I certainly haven’t RUN the entire 3.1 miles ever in my 32 years of existence on this planet.

So I’ve got my Couch to 5K app ready to go and I’m gonna attempt to actually run [read: jog] the Color Run in October. Here’s what I think I have going in my favor: Laughter. I think the fact that I will be getting painted multi-colors, and everyone around me will be experiencing the same thing, I think that will make me laugh.

I’ve never laughed throughout a race. Maybe I will succeed at both things in October. Couch to 5K starts tomorrow.

I’ve finished a lot of races. I finished a half-marathon once, remember?

I wrote about that race over at (in)courage, and how God has shown me His love, especially in my singleness, through the end of that half-marathon.

And I wrote about my sweet friend, Katie. I’m grateful for her.

I’d love for you to pop over to (in)courage and check it out and share your thoughts.

. . . . .

Are you new around these parts? Well welcome!

Hi. I’m Annie. I write books for my job.

I have a website to prove it.

You can read more about me here.

You can follow me on twitter here.

You can like me on facebook here.

You can follow me on pinterest here.

. . . . .

On a completely unrelated note, I’ve been listening to Dixie Chicks for hours now thanks to this blog post title.

Do you have a favorite Dixie Chicks song?

TOP 5 FRIDAY : A Nashville Brunch.

on April 20, 2012 in Nash-livin', TOP 5 FRIDAY with 36 comments by

TOP 5 FRIDAY is when we each list five of our favorite things, depending on the topic. Feel free to join in via the comments or by posting on your own blog and linking back here. Play along. It’s Friday.

. . . . .

I have some friends coming in town today [squeeeeal!] and I think I’m going to make them eat brunch three times in two days. I know that math doesn’t exactly work out, but I have faith in our ability to eat the right meals at the wrong times.

Because brunch in Nashville is pure joy.

Here are my Top 5 favorite brunch spots around Nashville….


1. Pancake Pantry

Similar to, but better than: International House of Pancakes

What I order: Cornmeal pancakes with honey

Don’t miss: Pancakes. Duh. Or the celebrity spotting – they love this place.

Etc.: There is almost always a line. Like a WHOA line, especially on Saturday mornings. If you can, go on a weekday or go at weird hours- it is open, serving breakfast, from 6am – 3pm [I KNOW TOO MUCH].

. . . . .

2. Sky Blue

Similar to, but better than: Waffle House [though you KNOW I love the Waffle House… this has similar types of food, just MUCH better quality]

What I order: Em’s bowl… eggs, potato, biscuit, cheese, gravy. [Do not judge me, people.] And their chai is amazing.

Don’t miss: Stuffed French Toast Pancakes. Holy sweet deliciousness.

Etc.: Sky Blue is so good but has limited seating, so go there with a back-up plan in case it is full of East Nashville peeps drinking their coffee black and talking about the music biz and their love for dogs. [I heart East Nasty. Seriously.]

. . . . .

3. Frothy Monkey

Similar to, but better than: Starbucks

What I order: Oatmeal with bananas, blueberries, and walnuts.

Don’t miss: The coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker, but for those who are, this place holds a special spot in their caffeinated hearts.

Etc.: Frothy Monkey is my jam. I love that place. So if you come to brunch there, let me know and there is a good chance we will run into each other. It’s happily happened before and will hopefully happen again.

. . . . .

4. Germantown Cafe

Similar to, but better than: your local fancy breakfast joint

What I order: shrimp and grits and I make no apologies about that.

Don’t miss: They have these yeast rolls that are rolled in cinnamon sugar. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Etc.: There are two locations now. You can either go to the original one in, not surprisingly, Germantown, or the new location in East Nashville. Germantown is really cute, but can get crowded. East Nashville isn’t as cute, but always has seating.

. . . . .

5. Marche

Similar to, but better than: La Madeleine

What I order: The menu at Marche changes seasonally [which I LOVE], so there is just no consistent order. But I will say this- I have never had a meal at Marche that wasn’t BEYOND. I’m sure you know what I’m trying to say there.

Don’t miss: The pastries. They are awesome.

Etc.: I fell in love with Nashville over a Marche brunch. And I fall back in love every time I go.

. . . . .

A few of these restaurants are open for more meals than just breakfast/brunch, so just tuck that info into your back pocket.



If you live in Nashville, share your favorite brunch spot!

If you live outside of Nashville, why not tell us the best brunch place in your town?

[If you are headed to town soon, you might also want to check out my Top 5 favorite Nashville lunch spots and my Top 5 favorite Nashville fine dining dinner restaurants. But I’m not the boss of you. Eat wherever you want. 🙂]

Have a great weekend, y’all!


on June 16, 2010 in Sounds good to me., Ze Bloggy Goodness with 9 comments by

When I was in New York, I walked. A lot.

And I absolutely slaughtered the battery on my iPhone, whom you know goes by the name Anita. [She’s cute. I like her a lot.]

I really enjoyed the soundtrack idea. Like, as I walked, the songs that played felt like my daily soundtrack. [I always wanted my life to be a television show. Sue me.] And because I’m a few shades of crazy, I have weird personal rules about how much music I keep on my phone [not a lot] and a few albums dominated my trip.


And Ben Rector was on high high rotation.

I remember standing in Grand Central Station on Friday morning. I was sad the NanoMBA was over, scared of what was next, sorry to end my time as a public transportation commuter. People buzzed around me and I just stopped. I wanted to breathe the moment- take a snapshot in my mind. And Ben sang in my ears,

This isn’t easy.

This isn’t clear.

And you don’t need Jesus til you’re here.

And I’ve thought about those lines a lot in the last few weeks. As I’ve come back from New York and embarked on some new things at Mocha Club, had some good days and some worst ever days, I’ve worried and I’ve celebrated. It’s been a wonderful and horrible month.

You’re welcome.

I walked around my neighborhood and through Hillsboro Village last week, mainly just to get in touch with Commuter Annie. I like her a lot and I wanted to know that she still lived in me- the girl who walks around, music playing, with purpose but not with worry. She was focused in New York, I feel scattered in Nashville. She was quietly confident in New York, I feel tired in Nashville. She was someone I want to be and I feel like someone I don’t like.

Ben came into my ears and I was grateful for the reminder. For that moment, on the corner of Hillsboro and Fairfax, to remember that moment at Track 36 when it didn’t feel easy or clear.

Because here, in Nashville, it still isn’t easy and it still isn’t clear.

I thought I really needed Jesus there in Grand Central.

But the truth is I need Him more today.

Give me an inch.

on March 29, 2010 in Ze Bloggy Goodness with 14 comments by

and I’ll take a week to figure out what to do with it.

Or something like that.

Sweet friends. Thanks for your patience with me this last week. I had a zillion deadlines, including one for a magazine where I HAVE JUST BECOME A MONTHLY COLUMNIST [squealing in my mind because roomie is asleep- but seriously- are you dying? because I’m dying]. I will tell you more, well, when the first one comes out. Oh, there will be a giveaway, my friends. Someone’s getting a subscription. That’s for sure.

And I also had to make some Annie The Businesswoman decisions about my writing career and I had to quiet the voices in my head so that hopefully I only heard the wisdom of God. This is a sick confession, but I almost always have a bloggy voice narrating in my mind exactly how I would write about practically every situation I live. So. She had to shut up.

I *think* I made some potentially really rad (but really hard) decisions for my career. We shall watch and see. Either way, I’ve learned that it’s fun to be brave. Scary, but fun.

I also went to the doctor about my foot and well. I broke it. More on that tomorrow.

I’m missing what became one of my favorite Spring time things the last few years- attending the Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Looking at my life today, I can totally see why this was a good year for me to take a break, but I’m missing my friends and [Snobby Annie alert] I’m missing my new tradition of Palm Sunday in California and some time with friends in the OC.

Also, while the week flew by, my dear friend Gwyneth blogged about her time in Nashville. HERE and HERE. They are both really fun reads and kinda have the whole town abuzz. I think it’s weird that she didn’t mention all the time we spent together, the laughs, the tears in our beers, the driving around with the top down just livin’ life together. Typical famous stuff. Maybe she’s just trying to protect my privacy. Thanks, Gwenny.

A few girls are headed to Gatlinburg, TN this weekend for a big birthday celebration. Tell me- have you been there? We are looking for a “nice” restaurant for the b-day dinner. [And I put “nice” in “quotes” because I realize that is “laughable” when speaking about the “top redneck vacation spot in the world.”] But if you have been there, help! Where should we go? And what should we do?

Finally [I promise], this is Holy Week. And whether you are a believer or not, there is factual truth to the historic events of this week. My Bible outlines what happened each day of this week, and I’d like to encourage you to read it. I’m going to link you each day so that you can just read it online.

Since we missed Sunday, let’s start there. I’m going to give you all the passages, even if they tell the same story since they are from different perspectives. Read one or read them all- I’m not the boss of you- do what you like.

Palm Sunday:


1. Jesus curses the fig tree

2. Jesus clears the temple

Tomorrow we’ll talk broken foot and Tuesday of Holy Week. Quite an unlikely pair…. or is it? [insert dramatic music here]

Cheaters actually do sometimes win.

on February 19, 2010 in Get Fit with 17 comments by

Confessions of a Get Fit Challenge Star: I cheated.

A few days ago, I was at Lyndsay and Lauren’s house. Strangely enough, someone had delivered a King Cake to their place. Now, these girls are from Chicago, so they really haven’t experienced a true Southern Lent Season Kickoff [also known as Mardi Gras]. The basics, like what a King Cake is and what is inside the King Cake [small plastic baby] were things that the girls didn’t know.

Me being faithful to the Get Fit Challenge and all, I was not intending to have even a bite of the King Cake. Because hello CHEATERS NEVER WIN. And I want to win.

But then, the girls left me alone in the kitchen. With the forks. With the King Cake. A talking King Cake that says things like, “You are so pretty. Eat one bite.” and “No big deal, Annie, you exercised today.” and “Look me in the face and say you aren’t in love with me.”

What’s a girl to do, I ask you. I’m not superwoman. I can’t be expected to be stronger than a PASTRY COVERED IN ICING!

I pulled out a fork, and making a solemn vow to never mention this cheating moment, I scooped out a little cake and a LOT bit of icing.

[I’m betting you can guess what happened next….]

I put the fork in my mouth, savoring every high calorie moment, quickly and quietly so the girls don’t know. Until I bit down. On something hard.


I mean, seriously, y’all. What are the chances that I sneak ONE BITE and it is the ONE BITE containing the baby?!?

I had some options:

  1. I could rinse the baby off and return it to the cake, no harm no foul.
  2. I could throw the baby in the trash can [or maybe swallow it because shame knows no boundaries]. The girls don’t know anyways.
  3. I could confess to my friends, have to not only explain WHY there is a plastic baby in my mouth but also what that means and how I now have to purchase the 2011 King Cake.

You know me well enough to know that I would THROW UP if I tried to swallow that plastic baby with its legs and arms all flailed about. So I confessed.

And they laughed. A lot.

Then took a picture.

[My face in this picture says, “I’ll take this picture because it’s funny. But more than funny, I’m mortified. Amen.”]

Y’all have a great weekend. And please. Be strong against high pressure pastries. Or this could be you.

A public letter to Colorado.

on December 28, 2009 in Nash-livin', Ze Bloggy Goodness with 6 comments by

Dear Colorado,

Let me start by saying what I big fan I am. You really are a great state. I mean, we haven’t hung out since 1996, but it was really nice to meet you and I hope I get to see you again soon.

But here’s the thing. I’m disappointed in some of your recent behavior.

You are a thief, Colorado. And I can prove it.

See the girl on the left? That’s Annie Parsons. You stole her from me [I’m the girl on the right, Colorado. Last time you saw me, I was in 10th grade. A wee bit different]. And in case you couldn’t tell by my face, me no likey.


I know what you’re going to say. Annie’s family is there, this is a good time for her to be there with the family, yadda yadda. I hear ya, CO [can I call you CO?], I hear ya. And I love Annie’s family. But I just feel like the best way for me to express my hurt and sadness is to lash out at you.

Sue me, CO. Sue me.

Because, as you know all too well, it doesn’t end there. It’s not like you’ve just taken Annie from me. You also nabbed Betsy.


BETSY, Colorado. BETSY.

That is so not right. Sure, there isn’t any “ski” opportunities in Nashville. Sure, we don’t have “snow” or “ski slopes” or “a job at the ski lodge”, but that doesn’t mean you had to take her.

I got back to Nashville yesterday, CO, and I realized they aren’t here. I mean, I knew you had them, don’t get me wrong. But all the sudden I felt it. And I don’t like it.

So I just had to write you. Cause I’m sad. I’m not going to get all sappy and sentimental and tell you how much I love Annie and Betsy and how I’m going to miss them every day. I’m just going to say that if at any point, you find yourself frustrated with them, or you think that they are in the way, or you aren’t sure that they are making your state any better,

just know that Tennessee will take them back in a heart.beat.

Handle with care, Colorado. Your real estate just went up 200%.

Sincerely, Annie

Thanksgiving, Nash-style.

on November 30, 2009 in Nash-livin' with 4 comments by

Thanksgiving 2009.

There’s a lot I want to say. It was beautiful. Truly.

The downside: I didn’t get to spend Thanksgiving day with my family. Though, I did spend the entire weekend with my parents so surely, on some great scoreboard in the sky, that counts for something.

I knew I should get that out there first because otherwise the email. from the mother. would be stern.


Let me tell you what was amazing about my Thanksgiving: it was full of Nashville.

You saw video footage of my first Thanksgiving. It was with our small group from church. We sat around Marisa’s living room and we laughed. And talked. And I teared up [duh] when we all held hands and Andy prayed, “God, thanks for us.”

The second Thanksgiving dinner I attended was Cowboys Pilgrims and Indians. Which I’m embarrassed to admit to you, but I brought sweet tea. I know. I love to cook. And I usually love to show out cook for my friends. But a long train of disastrous scheduling had this little pilgrim showing up with 2 gallons of tea instead of my grandmother’s famous mashed potatoes.

I think Paula Deen just disowned me.

Here’s a photo of some of the gals- you know Betsy- the Indian on the top left [we called her by her Native American name, “Lounges on Chair”] and then Molly beside her. On my left is Laura and on my right is Marisa. And on our laps? It’s rude to draw attention to how much what a group of ladies ate for dinner. Look away, please.


My third Thanksgiving feast was on Saturday night at the family’s home where I nanny. It’s funny, I started working for them in January. I got to be friends with them over the next few months. And then, all of the sudden, they were my family.

My family. They love me well, y’all.

There were too many good things that night. So many of my dear friends were there. The night was full of conversations that I want to hang on to and a pile of other moments that I’ve tucked into some small box in my heart that I treasure.

So I’m not going to blog about those.

But a week later, I’m still bubbly with thanksgiving. I still lay in bed at night and thank God for my people. I’m reminded of how I felt a little over a year ago, when I was really sad and really new to Nashville:

It’s to be expected. I know that. I know that at some point in the future, Nashville will refresh me. Somebody (or somebodies) here will get me. They will join the vagabond group that are my people. And I will feel like me here. Right now, I don’t. I mean, hilarious stuff happens here and I’m happy, but at the core, in my knower, I’m not brave enough to be me.

The EXACT things that I worried about and prayed for God to change are the EXACT things I’m thanking Him for this year.

Tell me we don’t serve a personal God who knows our hearts.

To say I’m thankful is an understatement.

– – – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow… a full recap of my trip to NYC for the parade! [And by “full recap”, I mean “Everything except the details of my food poisoning.” Ewwww.]

My home.

on November 9, 2009 in Nash-livin', Ze Bloggy Goodness with 22 comments by

This is my home:


But really, so is this:


This was my home:



And when I sold it to move to Nashville, I thought I had lost home. In some ways, I’ll confess, it still feels that way. Mainly because that beautiful couch is in storage and I miss the warmth of that sunshine coming in on the rocking chair.

I guess I gave up that home for this home:


And it was a trade I would make again. For sure.

But this home has been there a long time:


Even when this is my home:


So what is home? I thought it was that red couch living room in 2006. But I also thought it was my parents’ living room in 1986. I also think it is this living room I’m sitting in as I type.

Maybe it’s all three.

It’s my family. It’s my friends. Home is the friends that become like family.

Home is my kitchen table. Home is my guest bedroom.

Simply, maybe home is just where your…. oh no…. it can’t be true.


Home seems to be where my heart is.

[UGH. I hate that one billion times more than you do.]

Let me restate that- Home is where I’m good at being Annie.

Like here:


I think this move to Nashville has taught me something I’m not sure I would have learned anywhere else. The truth is that I have a lot of homes, a lot of beautiful places (and people), but in the end,

Jesus is my home. The one that will not change. The one that makes me the best Annie. The one that safely holds my heart.

Where is your home?


My friend Elizabeth asked a few of us to write about home, so head to her blog to see what some other folks are saying about home.

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