Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Two British Twits on a TwiTrip: Chicago to Memphis

Posted By on Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 9:15 AM

As part of the The Guardian’s apparent continuing coverage of Middle America, a few weeks ago, a couple of Brits and their American (and Nashvillian) photographer decided to drive their way down from Chicago to Memphis in just five days and document their entire trip. Instead of relying on the advice recently published in The Guardian, writer Benji Lanyado and his mate Gary Engelbert relied on tips from Twitterers, a Twitter Road Trip or — as they named it— aTwiTrip.

As mentioned, the trio started out in Chicago (pizza, architecture, alcohol), made their way through Indiana (including what was once the sixth most architecturally important town in the U.S., Columbus, Ind.!) and Kentucky (hot browns, bourbon, Corvettes) and then to Music City.

First item on their agenda: Prince’s hot chicken — declared to be the best fried chicken ever (and, later, the best food they ate on the whole trip). Afterward, they stumbled upon an Ole Miss tailgate party for the Vanderbilt-Ole Miss game. There, they learned what Ole Miss fans think about a couple of other SEC schools.

Meanwhile, Twitter tips roll in suggesting Monell’s, Marché, and Cafe Coco among others, along with Grimey’s, Third Man Records, and the Bluebird. However, their photographer pointed them in the direction of Patterson House and then on to LoBro and Robert’s Western World.

After a night that is blessedly devoid of details of the hot chicken and honky-tonking aftermath, the guys start out day five at Noshville for breakfast (again, on the suggestion of Hollis Bennett, the Nashville-based photographer). Hollis indulges in a pickle, which makes me question just how long he’s lived here or how many times he’s visited Noshville. The trio — obviously gluttons for punishment and possessing the guts of young men — move on to Hattie B’s, where there’s already a line for lunch. Though they note this is just their second breakfast.

Fueled by those two breakfasts, they do a bit of downtown sightseeing before hitting I-40 bound for Memphis. Twitter tips lead them to stop at Loretta Lynn’s Dude Ranch, though they mistakenly end up at Loretta Lynn’s Kitchen instead. But onward; their next destination is Scott’s Bar B Que in Lexington. Luckily for these guys, it wasn’t closed for vacation (as it was last week).

Finally, the guys make it to Memphis, but spent too much time lollygagging in Nashville and along I-40, so they only made it to the Delta Fair (the descendant of the once-grand Mid-South Fair), on to The Peabody Hotel to clean up after some pig wrasslin', and then to late night on Beale Street. Comments on the Day 5 post highlight the many, many things they missed in Memphis; most importantly, a trip to The Arcade restaurant, which is a must for movie-loving Europeans. And, of course a trip to ANY of the dozens of great barbecue restaurants. And Graceland. And Sun Studios. But two days of Nashville hot chicken and no Memphis barbecue? That’s just wrong.

Speaking of wrong, what other wrong turns do you think these guys made? Here in Nashville or elsewhere. Aside from hanging out at an Ole Miss tailgate, of course. What was that about?

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