It's a day of rest(aurants): Ugly Mugs, Lucky Bamboo, City House and Country Pride 

Eat Days A Week: Sunday

Eat Days A Week: Sunday

I can't quite put my finger on what exactly draws me to Ugly Mugs. Is it the demonic caffe Americano, which — if my favorite barista is manning the espresso machine — has the color and consistency of Guinness Extra Stout? Is it the irresistible Bagel Face bagels they serve? That it's a pleasant 10-minute stroll from my house? That on nice days, they open up the garage-door-style windows and the whole place feels like a covered patio? Could it be the awesome kids section? (Probably not, since I don't have kids.) Most likely, it's that I drag myself out of bed, see my ugly mug in the mirror and say to myself, "Oh yeah! Ugly Mugs!" Whatever the reason, weekend mornings and Ugly Mugs just seem to go together, like apple pie and ice cream, or The Captain and Tenille, or our state legislature and crazy.

After a dose or two of the good stuff and an everything bagel, I'm wired like Charlie Sheen on a day that ends in "-day," so it's off to Radnor Lake or Percy Warner. But after a good hike, the caffeine jitters have been replaced with the empty-stomach jimjams. Well, few gustatory experiences are as instantly gratifying as dim sum, the traditional Chinese brunch wherein servers come by your table with carts filled with small plates featuring a vast array of culinary temptations — and you just point and say, "I want that and that and that!" Since Lucky Bamboo opened early last year, Nashvillians are now fortunate to have authentic and damn sum dim good, er, I mean damn good dim sum, in the strip mall on Charlotte Avenue that's home to K&S World Market. The roasted duck and Chinese broccoli are delightful, as are the banana peppers and eggplant, both stuffed with a minced shrimp mixture. But what keeps me coming back is the massive selection of pork and shrimp dumplings, in at least six or seven permutations, if memory serves.

After a lazy afternoon and the inevitable post-dim sum nap (the combination of Sunday and the aftereffects of sodium are more powerful than a handful of Ambien), it's time to think about food again! A lot of Nashville's finer restaurants take the Lord's day off, but not City House. (Actually, my Lord's day is Saturday, but I realize I'm in the minority here.) In fact, the Germantown restaurant serves a special Sunday night menu that changes every week, and is heavy on the pork snacks and pizzas — and if you've never had a City House pizza, you're missing out on one of the ultimate Nashville dining experiences. Cooked in a matter of minutes in a very hot wood-burning brick oven, the thin-crusted masterpieces feature a variety of creative toppings. Some examples from a recent Sunday: cabbage, pecorino crema, strutto (pork fat!) and chilies; cauliflower ragu, montasio, chilies; tomato and eggplant ragu with mozzarella. And the standard Margherita pie is highly recommended too — as are Rebekah Turshen's sinfully fabulous desserts.

Of course, if I feel like I need to wind down my evening in a more proletarian fashion, I might skip dessert at City House and head to the Country Pride restaurant, in the TravelCenters of America just north of the Woodland Street bridge. As I alluded to earlier, some things go together like apple pie and ice cream — and two of those things are, well, apple pie and ice cream. Wash 'em down with a never-ending cup o' joe — they set a whole pot down right on your table (which might be detrimental if you have to get up for work Monday morning, but it's nice nonetheless). And if somehow you're not bursting at the seams from the day's food orgy, everything on the menu is all-you-can-eat. Order a hamburger, and you can eat three more, as long as you snarf 'em down there. On one visit, our lovely server Talisa told us she saw a guy eat five steaks for the price of one. Not that we recommend it, but just sayin'.








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