Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wedge Jamming in Dixie Y'allz

My first post is long overdue, sorry I haven't written, yadda yadda, tell me about some grub of interest or get off my screen, dude. You're right.

Arnold's on 8th Ave. in Nashville is a prime example of "insider's grub", a spot well-known to locals that rarely makes a splash as a "place to go" for tourists and the like. Basically, Arnold's is a "meat-and-three" par excellence; succulent meats and fishes surrounded by juicy sides, and if you've got room, delectable pies and cakes, best highlighted by the indigenous and mysterious "chess pie". Consumption of sweet iced tea is encouraged during the jam session; coffee is usually a necessity following such a shakedown of the system.

It's an old-style cafeteria at Arnold's, which means it's not self-serve. This is good, as it means interacting with the spectular service staff; my favorite among them is a black guy named Mike who always wears a Jason Witten jersey. The lines are usually long, as you can only enjoy the taste of Arnold's until 3pm Monday through Friday. The menu changes every day, and is featured on a chalkboard behind the counter (no photos - deal with it).

On this particular day of wedge, I went for the catfish, accompanied by collard greens, mashed potatoes with gravy (which is simply the au jus of the simmering roast beef), and fried green tomatoes.

The star and the supporting cast:

And the crew:

That's right - you saw some complimentary cornbread muffins up there in the mix.

Needless to say, I brutalized that meal, as I have brutalized all Arnold's meals before the aforementioned.

Arnold's could be best described to Chicago braahs and ladies as the sassy Southern cousin to MacArthurs. Never had a meal below above-average (that's like saying pre-post-rock), it's a wonderfully kept secret to most diners, and I, personally, find myself dreaming about it when I'm not eating it.

There's also some bodacious signed photos there - Reese Witherspoon and LenDale White? - and I'll close out with my favorite, a lurid one of Tanya Tucker:

I think she's holding a lasso.