Monday, June 26, 2006

Musings on Marriage, Road Trips and, yes, More Thoughts on Food (a post in three parts...)

Part One: Marriage

First of all, before I say anything else, I must take a moment to hold a belated "Gratitude Friday".

I am so thankful for my wonderful husband, Bubba, who still puts up with all my crap - even after 16 years of marriage. And, as those of you who know me in "real life" know, I can be astoundingly high-maintenance. Not full-time, mind you - but I do have my moments....

And I was having one of those moments this weekend. Schecky was out of town, and I was missing him like nuts. And truth be told, I was a little fed up with myself that I was missing him so much - I mean, I was free, right? I could go to the movies, I could go shopping without having to drag an understandably reluctant 8 year old into the dressing room, the world was my oyster. Except that I didn't want to do any of that stuff. I realized that I just wanted to be hanging out at the house, doing nothing with my boy.
Of course, I suspect that this was a big old dose of just wantin' what I couldn't have... Not only was Scheck in Tennessee, but I had a house full of contractors who were in the process of removing the back wall of the house*, so a peaceful afternoon at home was out of the question...

So this is just a long, drawn-out way of saying that I was in a mood. I was suffering from some serious ennui. A big old funk. Something needed to be done to get me out of it. Stat!

And this is the mood in which the poor, long-suffering Bubba came home Friday evening to find me in.

"A road trip!' I pronounced, "That's the ticket!" And at the point where any rational man would have taken a good long look at my ennui-wallowing self and thought "Get in the car with that for any length of time? I don't think so..." Bubba-the-Champ merely said "I'm game, where to?"

Part Two: Road Trips

Luckily, I had an answer at the ready. "I want to go to Nashville. Just to eat lunch."
For those of you not up on your Southern Roadways - Atlanta to Nashville is a good four-hour drive.

Really, Amazingly Big Ole Tires
What in the world do they go on, I wonder???

So once again, the rational man would now run screaming for the hills. But once again, Bubba said "OK. Where?"

How can you not love that?

So Saturday Morning, after many false starts, contractor mishaps, and an extended search for two escapee cats - we finally depart. On what turns out to be the Worst. Road. Trip. Ever.

Ugh - traffic was horrific, courtesy of the asshattery of the Tennessee DOT. Ugh Ugh and More Ugh.

However, even though the drive itself was miserable, the company was excellent, and that made me forget how unfun the driving part was. It was nice to get to spend five+ hours just chatting and visiting with Bubba. We really don't get to do that very often at all, and it was nice to reconnect. Also, he let me be in charge of iPod, and didn't kill me when I kept hitting the shuffle button until I heard a song that made me say "Oh, I love this song" - and then after about 30 seconds, I'd start hitting the shuffle button again**.

Part Three: Food, Glorious Food

Finally, we arrive at our destination - Mothership BBQ in Berry Hill.

I had stumbled across the existence of Mothership via, what else, a blog: Ryan, whose blog the Emerson Street Tavern is always beautifully written, had glowingly described his visit to the Mothership. I followed several more links, and read more about it, and began to get interested.

Confession time here - I love BBQ. I love BBQ with a love that borders on the pathological.
Long time readers of BadFortuneCookie will remember that my first job was as a BBQ counter girl...
The downside to this obsession is that I am incredibly picky about BBQ. I often hear promising news about a 'cue place - then try it only to be disappointed. There's lots of bad BBQ out there, there's almost an equal amount of mediocre BBQ out there as well. Really good BBQ is a rarity....

So often places get it almost right - but don't get it all the way there. I've been to a lot of places that start out with good pork***, but they mess it up- they chop or slice it instead of pull it (the way God intended). Or they have substandard sauce. Other places have fantastic sauce, but they need to - because the pork's not done right. Technically, if the pork is slow cooked (read: smoked) correctly, it won't need any sauce at all.

But Mothership sounded promising - lots of glowing reviews (in addition to Ryan's you can see some here and here and here and here) - and reading some of the proprietor's blog posts leading up to the opening made him seem like someone who'd be fun to meet. So the bee got planted in my little bonnet, and nothing else would do. And now we were there...

We entered, to be greeted warmly by both Dr. Funkenswine and his friend, Nashville blogger Sarcastro. Bubba and I quickly scanned the menu and decide upon a Pulled Pork Sammich for me, a combo plate with Ribs and Pulled Pork for him. Dr. Funkenswine (also known in blogging circles as "Nashville Knucklehead") quickly got our food together and brought it out to us.

The moment of truth.....


Pure BBQ Nirvana, I tell you.

Pulled Pork Sammich - spot on perfection. The Ribs - they were so good, I'd slap my momma if she got between me and the slab. The cole slaw was tart and tangy and not over-dressed (a pet peeve of mine, since I like to put slaw on top of my sandwich. I know it's weird, but once again - don't knock it till you've tried it!) I even enjoyed the peppery tang of Bubba's pinto beans, and I am not a fan of the pinto bean at all.

Funkenswine and Sarcastro kept us company as we ate - which was just lovely. Both gentlemen were as genuinely clever, entertaining and generous as anyone I have met in a long time.

Needless to say, I was a charter member of the "clean plate club" that day, which got me a Dum Dum sucker for dessert (in pink lemonade flavor! Who knew such a thing existed???) The worst car ride ever? Completely forgotten. I would easily drive twice as far to eat this meal again!

I waddled out to the car, my tum full, a go-bag filled with goodies for the road - the happiest pup in all the land! If you live anywhere near Nashville, you need to go to the Mothership. Now. Shoo!

I'm already plotting our next trip there....

A very small photo essay of our visit can be viewed at flickr.

*Don't ask. Nothing fun. Water damage. Lots and lots of water damage. Thousands of flippin' dollars worth of water damage. Grrrrr....

**There really is a little bit of method to this madness - Sure, I love this song, but maybe I'll love the next one even more...

***Like grits, and like étouffée, there are very strong regional and personal preferences that surround BBQ. Some people consider cow to be acceptable. Some even include mutton or goat. These people are heretics, in my view. BBQ is pig. Period.


autum said...

I love me some BBQ too! And you're right, it has to be pig.

capello said...

Mmmmmm... pork butt. ::drooling::

And I'm from Kansas City. We bbq everything here (and yes, pig is the best).

Ryan said...

I am absolutely thrilled that you were able to make the trip and that you enjoyed it so much. Sounds like at some point we were on the same stretch of road. I spent the week in Augusta. Headed back to Nashville Saturday around 3p. What a glorious 2 hours the Boy and I spent in standstill traffic in Chattanooga as every lane in the city converged into ONE! But it could've been worse.

Be sure to let me know if you take another roadtrip here. Would be delighted to meet you both.


jen said...

man you and my boyfriend are BBQ nazi's. ( i mean that in the most loving way of course) he is a stickler on BBQ (especially pulled pork his fav) and pizza. He is from the east coast (where eveyrthing is better) (according to him) (i secretly agree with him but don't tell him that!)

now chicago has 63278562873462874628736423 pizza places. we can only eat at ONE for 3 years, now after nearly 4 years there is one more we can eat at. and you get frowned upon if you don't fold your giant triangle and eat it like a taco. i always use the i'm from the midwest as a disclaimer but it never works. He lived in atlanta for 4 years of college and said he found the best bbq place and chinese food and pizza place 6 months before he left. poor boy.

manda said...

It's just not fair to write about food that I CAN'T GET over here! Not fair! Our idea of BBQ is, well, actually we don't really have an idea of BBQ - it's nothing, nothing, nothing like what you've just described. I can not even imagine what a pulled pork (do you have any idea how rude that sounds???) sandwich (I'm guessing that's what sammich means?)taste like!
It all sounds gorgeous though! Just one question, can chicken not be BBQ'd?

bekka said...

i've never been there. must go. would i know the place where you worked at BBQ counter girl? guess my favorite bbq place in the tri-cities is ridgewood in bluff city, i'm sure you're familiar with that?