Chalk & Cheese is an English expression suggesting two things are quite different from one another. There may be a southern expression meaning the same thing but I don’t know what it is. Downtown Nashville and East Nashville are perfectly illustrated examples of this idiom. Nashville’s Broadway is a tourist haven crammed with cowboy boot stores, gift shops and neon honky-tonk bars, whereas East Nashville is both a vessel for overpriced hipster trinkets (representing the crummier side of gentrification) and a soulful, laid back vegan-friendly oasis.
We began our sojourn on foot by way of the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. (previously called the Shelby Street Bridge or Shelby Avenue Bridge), a truss bridge spanning the Cumberland River connecting downtown Nashville to East Nashville. In April, 2014 the bridge was renamed in honor of a civil rights advocate and journalist named John Seigenthaler, who physically prevented a man from attempting suicide off the bridge in the 1950s. The bridge was declared to be in “poor” condition in 1992 and closed to vehicular traffic in 1998. That same year it was also admitted to the National Register of Historic Places, which saved it from demolition. After refurbishments including an elevator, ramps, and stairways it reopened as a pedestrian bridge in 2003 and is part of the Metro Nashville Greenway System. The center is a 15-foot-wide bicycle lane and on each side of it are elevated boardwalk-style sidewalks with four scenic pedestrian overlooks. The bridge is beautifully lit at night, see picture below!
The Wild Cow was what we were looking for, a diverse, fresh menu prepared and served by heavily tattooed and pierced non-pretentious beautiful people. The best atmosphere. We arrived at the right time because the place was almost empty but after 30 minutes it was packed and rocking. There were so many tempting choices on the menu it was difficult to pick, and that difficulty is definitely welcomed. We decided on the Buffalo Grinder (with tofu) and The Philly (seitan), both opting for the garlicky kale sides. The food was fresh and prepared with thought, you can taste it. The Grinder offered firmly grilled tofu tossed in a piquant garlicky buffalo sauce topped with crispy pickles and carrots along with tomato and ranch on a whole wheat hoagie roll. The Philly was exactly what you’d expect, executed by the numbers, dense savory seitan covered in gooey ‘cheese’ with grilled peppers and onions (also served on a whole wheat hoagie roll). The side of kale was the perfect dose of deep green fauna to balance out the hefty sandwiches, steamed to perfection and bathed in garlic, thus perpetuating the stereotype that vegans (and vegetarians) smell often of garlic. A big win is that The Wild Cow makes their own hot sauce in house, three varieties ranging in heat, Red Savina is the hottest and it was as perfect a hot-sauce as I’ve ever tasted. Fierce and smart blow-your-mouth-off range, but a great experience for the seasoned spicy pundit.
Other cool things found along the journey
include this weird fruit tree…
After some google searches we believe this to be a Cucumber tree (Magnolia acuminata) with its strange fruit. Anyone know if this is edible?
A cute little natural food store where we bought delicious organic gala apples. Apparently they also have a store in Downtown Nashville too. That would have been nice to know while we were there. But then I guess we never would have set foot in a Piggly Wiggly!
The Barista Parlor, perhaps the hippest looking coffee joint I have ever come across. So sad I didn’t get to try any of their coffee because it was too late for caffeine and honestly what’s the point in decaf (jk).
Local Honey, a vintage clothing store/ hair salon?
Fuselage, unique collectible oddities, vintage clothing, custom signs and antiques.
More bike lanes, B cycle docking and mustache bike rack.
Wild Cow T-Shirts
Vegan Places of Interest in East Nashville:
The Wild Cow
Khan’s Desserts (closing soon)
Italia Pizza & Mediterranean Cuisine (does a vegan pie option)
I Dream of Weenie (vegan hotdog option)
Other places of interest
The Turnip Truck
The Barista Parlor
Fuselage (Antiques and Vintage)
All photos taken by ecoRDN
© 2015 ecoRDN