#nashville #cashville #nashvegas #batmanbuilding
bar no. 308
It is a hard hard thing to say good-bye to my parents at the Nashville airport. I’m starting to have fantasies about living in their finished basement and using their brand new oven, (which my mom is sure to point out was on super sale). My car insurance would be less than three million dollars a year, and I wouldn’t have to worry about street cleaning. It might even be possible for me to have a boyfriend.
I’ll refrain from turning this into a spoiled young person’s rant about getting to pursue your dreams and finding it exhausting so you want to move home; I’ll just say that in a world where you don’t get to choose your family, I’m so glad I got mine.
I popped into Nashville this last weekend for one of my oldest friend’s beautiful wedding, an excellent excuse to try out cakebarring in my hometown and very favorite city. The problem is that I haven’t lived in Nashville for so long that I actually don’t know any bars there, (and don’t know how to get to any bars there). Thankfully, some of my Cashville friends were down to join me and provided lots of suggestions, leading us to No. 308 in East Nashville. It was kind of like being in LA if everyone in LA was super super friendly.
happy 30th birthday to the guy on the left
Bar 308, (which I believe the locals just call “three o eight”), felt vaguely LA-ish with its pretty lights strung up and picnic tables outside, (which I’m realizing won’t be a valid seating option for too much longer– Nashville gets cold!) The cocktails are named after writers, and the DJ was playing 90’s only music. While hearing Aqua was nostalgically exhilarating, it was so loud that my friends and I had no choice but to move outside for cake proffering, and feeling brave, I asked the semi-full picnic table group if we could join them. Everyone in Nashville is SO nice! Absolutely we could!
For the rest of the evening, we doled out cake to friendly locals and visitors alike while I caught up with my sweet friends. There were our picnic table friends who had mostly moved to Nashville to do good with their lives (physical therapy, computer programming, school). There was the guy celebrating his 30th birthday with friends visiting from all over the country. “Are you single AND Jewish?” they asked. And then there was the guy who kept hugging me around the waist while hunched over the table, devouring the cake. By 1AM, I was ready to call it a night. I walked inside the bar to say good-bye to my friend Mary Claire, and noticed four (straight) guys dancing together with total, reckless abandon. In that moment, I fell in love with all of them.
“Sorry to interrupt y’all,” I said, waiting for a break between songs. “Would you guys like some of our cake?”
“YESSS!!” They cheered, and followed me back to our table. Here is what followed:
“Why are you giving us this cake?” “‘Cause she’s the nicest person ever.” “This tastes like a gingerbread man crawled into my mouth.” “It’s a long story, but I can’t eat any regular food.” “This looks scrumptiolescent.” “It’s okay if this is roofied. Roofies are fun as long as you know about them.” “Jam cake frosting, that’s my holy trinity.” “This cake is homemade? You don’t buy dreams, you make them.” “Are you on cake boss?” “Cheers to the best cake I’ve ever [voice cracking] had.”
These are the people I bake for, because they are exactly the kind of boys I’m hoping to find: friendly, silly, appreciative sugar consumers who would dance with their guy friends at bars. I wrote my name down for them on a receipt with lipstick. I would happily marry any of them. They were all from Nashville.
I have to give a special thanks to all my friends who came cakebarring with me– Rita, Dean, Christine, Anna, Ziona, Hunter Claire, Adam, Mary Claire, and Mallory– and to Hunter Claire for writing down everything the boys said knowing I would need it. Amazing !
This Tennessee Jam Cake from The Cake Mix Doctor was turned vegan by substituting applesauce for eggs and Earth Balance spread for regular butter. (This meant the cake crumbled in my hands when trying to assemble it, so I transferred everything into a lasagna pan and poured frosting over the top to mask the mess.) It was still delicious, and no one even noticed it was vegan. My kind and generous parents washed all my cake dishes for me after I made a gigantic mess in the kitchen that day AND the next baking cakes for Iliza’s wedding… such luxury!
cakebarring champs ziona, adam, hunter claire & anna
christine, dean, and rita looking like an indie band
my mary claire and mallory with another mary claire and brother