Tracy Rice has a lot of words for her gourmet cupcakes: whimsical, elegant, rustic, high-end. She isn't wrong, but these one-of-a-kind treats fall under the umbrella of Cowgirl's most defining aspect: its creativity. It hasn't gone unnoticed, either.
Cowgirl's creations have wowed audiences of CMT and Food Network, and are regularly consumed by celebrities such as Miranda Lambert and Bret Michaels. Small batches emerge from ovens every day, with 27 unique flavors donning top hats of frosting made of rich vanilla-bean buttercream, vanilla-bourbon custard, and chocolate-espresso ganache.
Some treats crown themselves in signature garnishes, such as golden Buddhas on cupcakes, colorful flags that billow above moon pies, and cloaks of chocolate that cover Oreos. Cowgirl's confectionary artists can also create custom sugar work to celebrate occasions such as birthdays, weddings, and a baby's first thumbs-up.
SOL's creative menu of fresh Mexican cuisine is inspired by traditional recipes, world travels, and culinary daydreams. Enjoy a classic combination of Haas avocados, serrano chili, lime, and cilantro in SOL's Gaucamole Casero, which is prepared before your very peepers in a tableside display of vegetable domination ($9.95), or start your feast with an order of spiced-tuna nachos topped with avocado, pico de gallo, and ancho aioli ($10). Gourmet plates are piled high with savory options such as chicken molé over cilantro rice and dressed with pico de gallo ($17), enchiladas de mariscos (tortillas rolled around crab, shrimp, scallops, and spinach, and topped with salsa-verde cream, $18), and the vegetarian wild-mushroom sauté (mushrooms sautéed and happily coated in ancho cream and served over a sweet-corn masa cake with crumbled goat cheese, $16).
Though Dublin may be an ocean away, a perfect three-pour pint of Guinness can be found right in Franklin, Tennessee. A talented bartender at McCreary's Irish Pub & Eatery will even slide you a frosty imperial pint with a Celtic symbol drawn into the foam so you can marvel at a four-leaf clover or a full Yeats verse before taking a sip. The Irish lore doesn't stop at the beer—a complete menu of shepherd's pie, corned beef and cabbage, and signature fish ‘n’ chips fits right in with the rustic decor of Irish maps and vintage posters. On weekends, live bands play bouncy Irish music as diners chat at communal tables and feast on housemade soda bread or plates of whiskey-glazed salmon. Traditional Irish breakfasts, another weekend treat, rouse sleepy stomachs with steel-cut oats kissed with brown sugar or gargantuan ulster fry plates packed with bangers, bacon, corned beef, eggs, potatoes, and black-and-tan bread.
Before Franklin Mercantile Deli moved into 100 Fourth Avenue North, an antique store occupied the space. Graeme and Corrie Asch and Annie and Darryl McCreary bought the property in 1999, removing dusty knick-knacks and Lincoln's prenuptial agreement to make way for homey wooden tables and wingback chairs. The opening year, Southern Living magazine profiled the owners and their early successes; it lauded the deli's "comfortable shabby-chic atmosphere" in measure with its "even more appealing" menu, which teeters on the brink of gourmet. Although sandwiches have familiar titles, many have an unexpected twist: the BLT gains an evocative flavor from a slather of sun-dried-tomato cream cheese, and the flank steak balances beefy notes with a bright basil dressing.
The restaurant dabbles in live music and is fully committed to showcasing the works of local artists. Photographs and paintings decorate the dining room, along with a few handicrafts from the founding partners—Annie slipcovered a sofa, and Graeme and Darryl built the counter and shelves.
Since its first restaurant—literally a small, converted shack—opened in 1980, Uncle Bud's has filled its menu of Southern-style eats with golden-brown morsels of fried catfish, chicken, and shrimp. Succulent strips of chicken are breaded by hand before plunging into the deep fryer, and everything from catfish fillets and frog legs to wild-gator tails pile onto dishes such as the Bayou platter. The scent of fried po’ boys fills the dining area, which is decorated with license plates and vintage camping supplies, where patrons can happily slake their hunger or pack up carryout containers with family-size helpings large enough to feed an entire terracotta army.