Blog: Mental Health & The Mental Tolls of Being a Struggling Artist

Incase you didn’t know June is Mental Health Awareness Month.

I wanted to start this blog by saying a few things that I often have to reaffirm in my own life; you are worthy of your dreams, you are talented, you are worthy of love, you are worthy of people’s time, you are important. I know that can be a little hippie-dippie at times but these are the mantras we must keep. Recite them until you believe them in your soul. Make those words imprint upon your brain. You are worthy.

I also want to say that if you are struggling with your mental health & feel like you’re out here drowning on your own, that it’s okay to reach out for help. It’s okay to tell people how you feel. It is not weakness to want to get better. Fighting these fights has made you stronger than you know! If you do need help though there are a lot of great resources out there, I’ll attach a few to the bottom of the blog.

Now, onto my thoughts…

Some of you may have read the precious blog I did on mental health for Suicide Prevention Day, if not feel free to go back & give it a read, although I’ll probably end up touching on a lot of those points in it here as well. I wanted to take the time to write this blog but I didn’t want to do it at a time where I felt right as rain. I’ve been fairly candid in the past about my struggles with depression, a mental illness I struggled with for years. I remember being in high school & having sudden uncontrollable waves of depression hit me & not knowing how to deal with them, often resulting in me breaking down. And that’s how depression goes, like a flash flood. Some days it just consumes you out of nowhere & the fear, doubt, & shame take over. Well, full disclosure, that’s me today. Most of the time my waves of depression come from never feeling like I’m enough, not feeling like I’m good enough, talented enough, that I work hard enough, or that I’m doing enough. That’s the beauty of the music industry I suppose, every day you try your damnedest just to inch your way a little higher on the ladder & feel like all this work you’re doing matters. You work & you work & you get so excited just to be thrown by the wayside by the world & this industry. The projects you poured your heart into don’t connect, the email or phone call you’ve been praying will come never does, the people who claim to support you turn their backs on you. It's tough.

I’m not trying to discredit my fans at all or anyone out there working on my behalf or who believes in me, I am beyond grateful for you all. I wouldn’t be here without you. All I’m saying is this job is taxing & if you don’t take the time to stop & check yourself & your mental health along the way it’ll eat you alive. That being said I want this blog to be as raw & open as I can be.

I’m a bit too much of an envious person at times if I’m being honest. Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly proud of all that my friends are accomplishing in the music industry, with all my heart I am so beyond proud of you all. But comparison is often the thief of my joy & I so long to join you on your pedestal.

I compare myself to the privileged. To those who have relatives in the industry or come from money. Those that can throw the appropriate marketing dollars are a project to have is launch where they want it to be. I envy them. I envy those whose bank account isn’t constantly on their mind, who don’t live day to day trying to make enough money to even buy the gas required to get to the gig they aren’t getting paid for much less fund their next single. Again comparison always seems to be the thief of my joy.

I look around & I don’t know what I’m doing wrong or even really what I’m doing right. I feel like I’m wondering in the dark praying something connects, that someone will reach out a hand & help pull me through it. I wake up & my brain says do something & I immediately panic because I have no idea what to do. I feel the things I have been doing haven’t been working so I’m forced to rethink it & try a different path.

I know I probably sound like I’m bitching or whining but I truly wanted to share this because I know so many artists that have these days but we never show it. We never break face or break character out of fear of freaking people out but that right there is the problem with our stigma of mental health as a society. Fear & shame. We’re afraid the people we care about won’t accept us or what we’re going through. We’re afraid that we’ll just get another person telling us to “shake it off” or tell us “it gets better.” Your emotions are valid, your feelings are valid, just as you are valid.

SAMHSA- Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration:

1-800-662-4357

National Association of Mental Illness:

www.nami.org

Mental Health Resources, Inc.

www.mhresources.org

National Suicide Prevention Hotline:

1-800-273-8255

Blog: Pride Month, Straight Pride, & Being an LGBTQ+ Ally

First off…

HAPPY PRIDE!!!!!

Whether you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, transexual, asexual, omnisexual, demisexual, pansexual, queer, non-binary, gender fluid, questioning, a straight ally, or any other identity under the LGBTQ+ mantle; Happy Pride!!!

For those of you that don’t know, June is Pride Month, a month of the year where we shift the lens to focus on those members of our society & our history that are/were LGBTQ+. Pride month exists to draw attention to the marginalized, not to boast one sexuality being greater than another. Pride month exists as a time for celebrating what makes us different, what makes us human, what binds us all; love, or rather love in all of its forms. It also exists as a tool for helping to educate the ignorant & normalize other types of sexualities & genders other than straight or cis. The goal of pride is to show that we don’t live in a world that’s black & white, we live in a world that is a rainbow of millions of different lifestyles & ways to love. Pride month not only is meant as a way to celebrate our differences but is also a way to celebrate the love that we all are capable of sharing & the acceptance we all desire to have.

Now, this year, like most years, there’s a huge push for a “straight pride month” or a “straight pride parade” which I find absolutely ridiculous. For starters, no one is stopping you from attending pride. No where on any LGBTQ+ organization will you find “straights not allowed” (the same can’t be said for the inverse) because again, pride is all about inclusion. The LGBTQ+ community actually encourages straight allies; people within the societal normal that affirm members of the LGBTQ+ community that they are not alone, that they have value to society, that they are deserving of love & acceptance. The main reason that straight pride is insanity is the fact that being straight does not come with the fear of persecution, it does not come with the fear of being beaten on the street for holding your partner’s hand, it does not come with the fear of losing your job when your boss finds out your sexual orientation, it does not come with the fear of being ostracized by your friends & family, it does not come with the fear of “I love you, but,” it does not come with the fear of being kicked out or shut out because you’re different. Being straight is, and has been for thousands of years, the societal norm. That’s changing, slowly, but straight is still, as they say, “the default.” Straight pride is unnecessary, illogical, & if I’m being honest a downright pathetic attempt to reclaim what is believed to be lost ground. Love wins y’all. Love always wins.

To The Allies:

I want to shift my attention back to being an ally for a second because I know there are quite a lot of people out there that identify themselves as straight LGBTQ+ allies but wear that label with conditions, accepting LGBTQ+ friends & family members, but only to a certain extent. Claiming acceptance & showing acceptance & the unconditional love that comes with it are two very different things. You cannot be accepting of someone you love & ask them to hide who they are or deny themselves in public in fear it would reflect badly upon you. You cannot be accepting of someone you love & not use their chosen name or pronouns. You cannot be accepting of someone you love & claim their sexuality is just a phase or that they’re too young to know. You cannot be accepting of someone you love & wish that down the road they would revert to the person you trained yourself to believe they were. You cannot be accepting of someone you love & not stand in solidarity with them when hate comes knocking at their door. You cannot be accepting of someone you love & then actively vote for those that would harm or put into place legislation that would undermine their rights to love whomever they chose or be whoever they want to be. Just because you don’t cut the people off you claim to love does not mean you accept them, it does not mean you are an ally. Just because you don’t kick out your kid or stop talking to your friend or spew hate back at them doesn’t mean you’re accepting of them. Not hating someone or isolating them should not be the standard for acceptance. Acceptance is embracing what makes them different, it’s taking the time to educate yourself on topics you may be completely oblivious to but you do so because you love that person. Acceptance is taking people at their word & trusting that they’re living their true self. Acceptance is asking people about their relationships in an open & interested way, it’s taking an interest in the person they love & putting in effort to form a bond. Acceptance is driving them to their doctors visits, being a pillar of encouragement & strength through their transition, & loving their new identity whole heartedly. It is your job as an LGBTQ+ ally to be a beacon of love in a world that so often hates them not to tell them to act straighter or conform to the societal norm.

To The LGBTQ+ Community:

To those who pray to God every night begging to have your identity taken away, I stand in solidarity with you.

To those that feel like their family’s “dirty little secret,” like your identity or who you love gets swept under the rug, I stand in solidarity with you.

To those living on the street because the people that claimed to love you wouldn’t accept you, I stand in solidarity with you.

To those that feel like they’ll never be able to live their true self, I stand in solidarity with you.

To those who are fighting with feeling like they have to choose their family & friends or themselves, I stand in solidarity with you.

To those who are picked on, bullied, rejected, fired, assaulted, or abused just because you’re different, I stand in solidarity with you.

To those trying desperately to shift self loathing into love, I stand in solidarity with you.

To those hesitant to drape the pride flag around their shoulders in fear of physical or emotional violence, I stand in solidarity with you.

To those that feel the world has turned its back on them, I stand in solidarity with you.

To those that never feel like they’ve been represented properly in media, I stand in solidarity with you.

To those desperately searching for love & acceptance, I stand in solidarity with you.

To the millions of marginalized humans around the globe, I stand in solidarity with you.

To the millions that would rather die than be who they are, I stand in solidarity with you.

To the outcasts, the unwanted, the rebels, the dreamer.

To the different, the beautiful, the unique, the defiant.

To the marchers, the activists, the lovers, the fighters.

I stand in solidarity with you.

Love is love. Love will always win. Keep pushing on, keep being strong, & keep fighting for a better tomorrow.

Recommendation Blog: Los Angeles

Much like my precious recommendation blogs I’ve included only Restaurants, Bars, & Theaters that I’ve been to. I can’t very well recommend something in good conscious that I, myself, haven’t tried.

Also, if you want to skip the area specific sections my “Quick Picks” are at the bottom!

LA PROPER: (Restaurants With Multiple Locations Around LA)

  • In-N-Out Burger: The west coast chain everybody raves about! I recommend going in with some knowledge of the secret menu! Double Double served Animal & Protein Style is my go to! Animal Style Fries are also a solid choice!

  • Lemonade: One of my favorite west coast chains, Lemonade is the healthy version of cafeteria style dining. Pick any number of options you like, but don’t skip on a Lemonade & a Giant Macaron! They have pretty solid Spicy Tuna Poke as well!

  • Salt & Straw: Started in Portland, OR then overtook California! Salt & Straw features its normal handful of Ice Cream but also does a series of “prompt” flavors that change every month!

  • Sugarfish: An LA sushi chain, it’s worth a bit of a splurge. Grab the Chef’s “I Trust You” & enjoy the Sushi journey!

  • Urth Cafe: Incredible Food, Incredible Coffee! This Persian inspired Coffee Shop is a great place to hang or have a mid day meal! There is one in the Southwest Terminal of LAX as well!

Beverly Hills:

  • Catch: Upscale Seafood, overlooks the divid between West Hollywood & Beverly Hills. Get a reservation, walk ins are few & far between.

  • Gracias Madre: Vegan Mexican that doesn’t suffer from a lack of meat & cheese. Get the Cauliflower Nachos for sure as well as the Jackfruit Tacos!

  • Zinque: Very trendy, the Tuna Tartine is incredible! Great drinks & atmosphere though!

Burbank:

  • Bob’s Big Boy: You know it from the GIANT MAN ON THEIR ROOF. A Diner that boasts a pretty solid Burger & the like! The Antique Cars in the lot are a nice touch too!

  • Mama Hong’s: My favorite Pho place in America! Just really solid all around & inexpensive! I get the Filet Mignon Pho with Sliced Steak & Brisket added!

  • Priscilla’s Coffee: Get the House Specialty Latte. It’s incredible!

Chinatown:

  • Chego!: Korean Rice Bowls. Inexpensive but still amazing! Usually enough food to last two meals! I like the Pork Belly & the Fries!

Downtown:

  • Pitchoun: Cute little French Bakery tucked right in downtown LA. Their Pastries & Desserts are where they shine but their Sandwiches & Tartines are not to be ignored either!

The Grove:

  • Dominique Ansel Bakery: The inventor of the Cronut, Dom Ansel offers a variety of incredible Desserts & a Cronut of the Month! In addition to sugary confections they also have a restaurant!

  • Nonna’s Empanadas: Amazing Empanadas of all varieties! Sweet, Savory, you name it! The Guava/Cream Cheese is mind-blowingly good!

Hollywood:

  • Beauty & Essex: Contemporary American a little higher up on the price scale. Famous for their Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Bites as well as their Croque Madame Mac & Cheese & their Dessert Ferris Wheel. Bring friends & share plates!

  • Black Rabbit Rose: A Magic Themed Cocktail Bar with Live Music! Grammy Winning Pianist plays with his band there every Tuesday evening & Thursdays are Jazz nights!

  • Dirty Laundry: A dark, dingy bar that’s strangely still upscale! Alcoholic Frozen Drinks abound! Occasionally have Live Music.

  • Fat Sal’s: Exactly how it sounds. Massive amounts of food for cheap. Bomb Sandwiches & Milkshakes, just don’t go on a diet.

  • Frog Frozen Yogurt Bar: My favorite Frozen Yogurt in LA, always have fun flavors & are open late. They deliver as well!

  • Good Times at Davey Wayne’s: One of my favorite bars in LA. Davey Wayne’s is a fun 70s Themed Bar with a lot of charm. Their “Backyard” offers Yard Games, Hammocks, Fresh Grilled Tacos, & Alcoholic Snow Cones!

  • Hotel Cafe: Amazing, historic venue. You never know who will pop in here! Often have two shows going at once, so check online before you go!

  • Javista: A subsidiary of Urth Cafe. The same high quality Coffee & Food, but I think a little cheaper!

  • Jones: An LA staple. Jones is a late night Italian Restaurant that has been around forever. A good place for Celebrity sightings as well.

  • Lost Property: Inconspicuous as they come. A little bar tucked under a skyscraper. A great hang spot!

  • Mama’s Shelter: Part Boutique Hotel, Part Bar, Part Restaurant! The Shelter is a cool retro Hollywood styled Hang! There’s always something fun going down there! Amazing view of Hollywood from their Rooftop Bar!

  • No Vacancy: Another one of my favorite Bars in LA. No Vacancy is a Prohibition Style Speakeasy. Entering the bar is a little like being at Disneyland. I won’t spoil the fun but inside are Prohibition Era Drinks, A Live Jazz Band, & A Burlesque Show!

  • Roscoe’s: The O.G. LA Chicken & Waffles place! Open late & they you can also get it delivered!

  • Rubies + Diamonds: Salted Coconut Cold Brew, Medium Sweet. That’s all you need to know. You’re Welcome.

  • The Rusty Mullet: Beer Pong. Darts. Drinks served in a Sand Pail. What’s not to love? Rednecked Themed, but this bar is a total blast!

  • Stout Burger: So Cal Burger Chain. Go during Happy Hour, their burgers are half priced! Stout also boasts an extensive Draft List that’s always rotating!

  • The Study: Used to be “Hemingway’s,” The Study’s drinks are all literature themed! Often have Live Music there as well!

  • Velvet Margarita: Late Night Mexican Food! Make them bring back the Weekend Fish Stew, it was life changing.

Inglewood

  • Kanpai: THE. BEST. SUSHI. Hands down. End of story. Owner goes & picks out fresh fish every morning!

La Brea:

  • Bluestone Lane: Aussie Coffee shop! Get you a Milo Mocha & a Square of Poundcake (Frozen) & sit back & enjoy the chill atmosphere!

  • Three Borders Brunch: A must stop & I cannot stress that enough. Venezuelan meets Mexican meets American food! It’s INCREDIBLE. So good it made me cry & the owner is always there cooking up a storm!

Larchmont Village:

  • Cafe Gratitude: A very pleasant Vegan Cafe! Sandwiches, Pasta, Etc, all bangin!

  • Go Get Em Tiger: Hella cool Coffee Shop! Awesome Lattes with an awesome crew!

Las Feliz:

  • Alcove Cafe & Bakery: A bit pretentious but I’ve never had anything bad there! Very broad menu ranging from Eggs Benedict to Salads to Sandwiches!

  • Ample Hills Creamery: This NYC Based Creamery is incredible. Their flavors are inventive while still being within the realm of classic taste!

Malibu:

  • Malibu Seafood: Fresh Seafood! Don't know what to get? Get the sampler! The Sandwiches are also pretty great!

  • Nobu: Probably one of the most famous LA restaurants, Nobu is High End, & I mean High End Sushi!

Melrose:

  • Blu Jam Cafe: One of my go-to stops in LA. Blu Jam is famous for their Crispy French Toast! It’s bangin’! I recommend getting the Tropical Variant of the French Toast with the Vanilla Creme Sauce! The Churro French Toast is incredible too as is their Breakfast Quesadilla!

  • Market Provisions: The best Yogurt & Granola I’ve ever had! May seem like a little thing but it’s incredible as is their Dungeness Crab Croque Madame!

  • Taste on Melrose: Get the White Truffle Lobster Mac & Cheese. End of story!

  • Wolf: An interesting place to Brunch, the Golden Eggs are one of their specialties as are their Crispy Potatoes!

North Hollywood:

  • Aroma Cafe: Very large menu with a lot of variety to it. Never had anything bad there! Huge pastry selection as well. Quant & Cute. A fun morning meeting place!

  • El Tajano: Tuesday night Two-For-One Margaritas & Tacos! Go with friends & play some Yard Games!

Silverlake:

  • DeSano Pizza: The Nashville Pizza Gods go west! Get the Diavola & the San Genarro!

  • Las Globos Theater: Awesome Hip Hop Club! Go discover the next big thing in Hip-Hop!

  • Silverlake Ramen: A must stop. My favorite Ramen in the States! Get the Blaze (Spicy Tankatsu) with Pork Belly, Extra Egg, & Black Garlic Oil. You’ll thank me later!

  • Sqirl: A Fun little Healthy Breakfast/Lunch spot! The Sorrell Bowls are great as is the fresh Brioche with Ricotta Rainbow Style!

  • The Thirsty Crow: If Silverlake Ramen has a line, wait it out here! The cocktails are all amazing!

Studio City:

  • La Loggia: Upscale Italian. Amazing fresh baked bread & pasta. Get a bottle of Baby Blue while you’re there as well!

  • Voodoo Doughnuts: The Portland Doughnut Giant goes south! This one is located at Universal CityWalk & unlike its siblings, isn't open 24/7. They are also lacking the more “risqué” doughnuts i.e. The Cock & Balls & the Blunt. Still worth it for a Portland Cream, Memphis Mafia, & Maple Bacon Bar!

West Hollywood:

  • Barnie’s Beanery: A good Celebrity spotting location! Been at the same location forever. I recommend their chili sampler!

  • Flaming Saddles: A gay bar with the best dance floor in town, no matter what your sexuality is, they cater to it!

  • Motherlode: Cheap, STROOOONG Drinks! Start your night out here to save some cash & get the bang for your buck!

  • Night & Market: My favorite Thai spot in LA since Pok Pok pulled out. Very similar to Pok Pok in design & taste! Go potluck with some friends & try a few things!

  • Pump: Vanderpump’s WeHo Bar. Drinks are a little pricy but they’re very tasty & very strong!

Quick Picks:

  • Bakery: Dominique Ansel

  • Breakfast: Blu Jam Cafe

  • Brunch: Blu Jam Cafe (Traditional) Wolf (Upscale) Market Provisions OR Sqirl (Interesting)

  • Burger: Stout (Specialty) In-N-Out (Normal)

  • Coffee: Diamond + Rubies

  • Contemporary American: Beauty & Essex

  • Donuts: Voodoo Doughnuts

  • Empanadas: Nonna’s Empanadas

  • Frozen Yogurt: Frog

  • Healthy: Lemonade

  • Ice Cream: Salt + Straw OR Ample Hills

  • Italian Jones (Normal) La Loggia (Upscale)

  • Korean: Chego!

  • Late Night: Jones

  • Mexican: Three Borders Brunch

  • Pho: Mama Hong’s

  • Pizza: DeSano

  • Ramen: Silverlake Ramen

  • Special Occasion: Beauty & Essex

  • Sushi: Kanpai

  • Thai: Night & Market

  • Vegan/Vegetarian: Gracias Madre

Blog: Game of Thrones & Toxic Stan Culture

As I’m sure many of you have seen Game of Thrones has been the topic on everyone’s mind this week. With the final episode EVER delivering decidedly mixed reviews across the board I thought I’d take this opportunity to use GoT as a vehicle to convey something I’ve seen all over the place lately; toxic stan culture. For those of you out there that may not be “with it” & don’t know what “stanning” is here’s your urban dictionary definition.

Stan
A crazed and or obsessed fan. The term comes from the song ‘Stan’ by eminem. The term Stan is used to describe a fan who goes to great lengths to obsess over a celebrity.

Person 1: Dude these kids have been waiting outside the concert since 8 A:M even though no one was lined up...

Person 2: What a bunch of Stans.
— Urban Dictionary

People can “stan” a number of things, not just celebrities, Game of Thrones is an excellent example of that. Now I’m not saying stanning is a bad thing, hell, as an artist we strive for stans! Stans buy tickets. Stans buy merch. Stans share your songs with the masses & get other people to listen hopefully creating more stans! But there’s been this emergence within different stan cultures that is toxic. They degrade others for liking different things than them, they bash creatives for not doing exactly what they want them to do, they end up hurting the art & the artist way more than they ever helped. Tying this back to Game of Thrones I am of course referring to the petition. For those that don’t know there’s a petition going around with over 1.25M signatures on it to have HBO redo Season 8 of Game of Thrones with “competent writers.” The petition went up after certain fans became enraged over Daenerys Targaryen’s “seemingly out of nowhere” heel turn. I’ll get back to the “seemingly out of nowhere” part later. Now. I will be one of the first to admit that this season, this FINAL season of Game of Thrones did feel a bit rushed & had some lackluster, if not pretty weak writing at times. However, that shouldn’t be used to discredit the thousands of hours of labor the cast & crew put into this season FOR. YOU! Sure, they do it for the money & the love of the screen craft but they also do it FOR YOU THE FANS! I’m with Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) on this when I say it’s absolutely disrespectful to those who gave up a year & some change of their lives to create this show for you, especially to those who work behind the scenes & may not get the glory shared by the actors.

The thing that’s really melting my Iron Throne about all this has to be the people saying the show “wasted eight years of their lives.” How? How can something you love, fairly consistently, over that span of time be a waste of time? You still loved it in the moment did you not? If HBO had been shut down before they could do season 7 or 8 you still would have loved the show even without getting “a proper ending.” So how is this different? How does getting the canonical ending you disagree with negate all those years of love?

(SPOILERS)

I mostly see this amongst stans of Dany who seeming saw her turn to the figurative “dark side” as out of the blue. While I agree, in the moment, I would have liked a little more external reasoning for the turn, some flashbacks maybe or narrative moments outspoken in her head. YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING A MILE AWAY! The clues of Dany’s “inner dragon” are all over the previous seasons & in the books. All. Over. Them. She has always cared less about ruling or “liberation” than she has about conquering. She loves the rush of power & always has, the signs are all there. Look to Tyrion’s talk with Jon while he’s a captive during the final episode, he goes back through every season & gives specific examples of all she did in the name of “breaking the wheel” that are questionable at best. Again, I agree the scene could have been written better, I also think a lot of the established plot threads were left hanging due to lack of oversight or the show runners just really wanting to be done with the show. Bare in mind that they were only given a basic outline of how George R.R. Martin planned to end his saga, they didn’t have the books to fall back on to fill in the gaps, they made that up themselves and filling in a story that only has the bullet points can be difficult.

Regarding Bran, I agree with the decision to make him king however I also don’t agree with the delivery. Bran spent the entire season basically as a set dressing. His role in the Battle of Winterfell was basically to be bait & nothing else. He used his Worging to do exactly nothing to help & the implications for all of this are frightening. He let thousands of people die just so he could sit on the no longer existent Iron Throne. He knew all that would happen & allowed it to happen anyway to achieve his ultimate goal, winning the Game of Thrones. Not all who we perceive as good are so as these two characters demonstrate.

(SPOILERS OVER)

Overall I’ll admit that I’m “just okay” with the ending we got from Game of Thrones. I also understand that ultimately, as a fan, I don’t get a say in how it should end. It’s not my story I’m telling, just as much as it isn’t yours. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t impact our lives & make us feel something. The same can be said for stans who get angry over a new direction for an artist or something they do & claim it as a misfire or non-canonical or pure fiction. At the end of the day it isn’t your art or your life, it’s the person/project in question’s. That being said it also doesn’t mean that criticisms aren’t important for the creation of great art but there are definitely healthy ways of criticizing art or media that for the most part have not been exhibited lately not just with GoT.

I’ve witnessed quite a lot of toxic stanship flowing over from one stanhood onto another where people of one stanhood go after those who like something different. Usually this type of rift pops up when two objects of stanship, be them human or media, are in conflict with one another. It’s even gotten to the point where the subject of a stan will “sick” their stans upon another celebrity or form of media because they feel mistreated or simply just want to be validated. This feeds into a lot of the persisting problems we have as a culture specifically when it comes to communication on the internet. Behind keyboards we can be bold, vicious people because to some degree the internet dehumanizes not only us but also the subjects of our ire. They become images on a screen, just another product to be exploited, instead of human beings. In a world rapidly approaching 8B people we are all struggling to find ways to feel validation on a global scale, that’s where the internet comes in. We all want to have the best commentary on the relevant. We all want to be that trending tweet or that instagram post that gets shared around the globe but we often step on everyone else’s toes trying to do so, not thinking how the things we say effect those who dedicate their lives to their craft.

Again criticism is valid & as an artist it SHOULD be welcomed. It makes us better. However, I’m specifically talking healthy criticism. Criticisms that aren’t just out of spite or disappointment but have an understanding of the art at work. At the end of the day I think we need to come back to the realization that the people on the other end of the web are just that. People. Creators trying to make something they think will make people happy or will tell a story they desperately hope someone out in this wide world will relate to. So next time you decide to react to something with overwhelming negativity maybe digest it a little, understand the motive behind it, & try & experience living as the human behind the product.

Recommendation Blog: Nashville Food

I’ve gone through & compiled restaurants by area. If you’re looking for a more specific type of cuisine scroll to the “quick picks” at the bottom of the page!

*I’ll only be recommending places I’ve been & can personally recommend. If one of your favorites is missing it may simply be because I haven’t been there!

**This blog will be ever evolving when new things emerge or old things die. I’ll try to keep it as up to date as I can!

Food:

8th Ave:

  • Athens: Family owned Greek place open late on weekends! The Greek Sampler is best of all worlds, I’d also recommend their Lamb Specials! Avgolemono is the perfect thing for a rainy day & their fries are killer!

  • Smiling Elephant: Family owned Thai restaurant set inside an old house. Curry specials change based on the day, be sure to get Coconut Custards at the end of your meal & maybe some Mango Sticky Rice, if it’s in season.

  • Urban Juicer: Local juice chain. Liver Lover with Ginger added is one of my go to hangover cures. The Bee Green & the Cold Fighter are another few of my favorites! (Locations all over town.)

12th South:

  • Burger Up: Truffle Fries & Fried Pickles all the way! Their burgers are pretty great too. (Locations in Franklin & East Nashville as well.)

  • Five Daughters Bakery: All different kind of Cronuts. I personally prefer their Paleo Donuts & have heard good things about their Vegan Donuts. (Locations on the East side & in Franklin as well.)

  • Frothy Monkey: My favorite coffee shop/cafe in town. Incredible lattes & incredible food. Julie on an Everything Bagel add Avocado is my go to but their Specials are usually pretty great! They also have several locations around town! (12th South, Downtown, Nations, Franklin, etc.)

  • Franklin Juice: Solid Acai Bowls as well as Juice.

  • Las Paletas: Mexican Popsicles. Sounds like something to miss, I promise it’s not!

  • Urban Grub: Hard to find seeing as it doesn’t have a sign. Very good Aged Steaks & sides. Don't skip the Banana Pudding Either

Bellevue:

  • Dao: My favorite basic level Chinese place. No frills just solid take-out style Chinese.

  • Lemongrass: Sushi meets Thai. Really excel at their curries & their broad noodle dishes like Panang & Pad See Ew.

  • The Loveless Cafe: A Nashville staple. Biscuits are to die for as are most of the rest of their menu items. Ask for Apple Butter with your Biscuits, I also recommend doing the Southern Sampler with Ham, Fried Chicken, Meatloaf, Fried Okra, & Greens. Their Mac & Cheese is solid too!

Belmont:

  • PM: Voted best burger in Nashville when I was in college. It’s modernized asian fusion with a sushi bar. They also do Sushi Burritos! I honestly prefer the Veggie Burger over the normal one here! Their fries with Wasabi Mayo are amazing as well!

  • Proper Bagel: The bagel is good, not my favorite. What makes Proper stand out though are their Bagel Sandwiches & Schmeers. Everything from a Reuben Bagel to Birthday Cake Cream Cheese, it’s pretty solid. The Lavender Honey Cream Cheese with a Sunflower Bagel is my go to!

Berry Hill:

  • Merangue Cafe: Puerto Rican/Dominican/Cuban Food served cafeteria style or made to order. Their menu changes daily but it’s all incredible!

  • Phunky Griddle: Make your own food! Cuz that’s a thing we do….we go to a restaurant & pay to cook our own food on a griddle in the middle of the table.

Brentwood/Franklin:

  • Chopt: Creative salad chain out on NYC. Not many locations outside the city though. Haven’t had a bad salad yet.

  • Gray’s On Main: Multilevel contemporary Southern restaurant built in an old Pharmacy. Often have live music & really great cocktails.

  • Soy Bistro: One of my favorites in town, Soy is a mix between Korean & Japanese. The Shrimp Tacos are the best in town as is the Bimbimbop Burrito! Their Teriyaki dishes & Rices Bowls are great too! They’re always friendly & fairly inexpensive!

Charlotte Pike/Silvan Park/Nations:

  • Avo: Vegan but doesn’t suffer for it! Kimchi Spring Rolls & Raw Pad Thai! May be one of my favorite takes on Pad Thai!

  • Bobby’s Dairy Dip: Tons of different kinds of milkshakes! Dipped cones melt fast, be careful!

  • Calypso Cafe: 1/2 Chicken w/ all three sauces on the side! Callaloo, Black Beans, Muffins, & House Salad are all bangin! They have unique brewed coffee & very refreshing fruit tea! Don’t forget to get a Calypso bar at the end.

  • Chaatable: My favorite of Maneet’s restaurants. The Butter Chicken is the best I’ve ever had. I recommend their brunch, it’s unique as all get out! Get the Hash & the “French Toast”!

  • Kien Ghang: Pho all the way! I recommend the original. Cash only so be prepared but it’s hella cheap! Hope someday they’ll bring back their jackfruit smoothie…

  • S.T.A.R. Bagel: Salmon & Lox w/ Garlic Herb Cream Cheese on a Sun-dried Tomato Bagel all the way! My favorite bagel joint in Nashville!

Donelson:

  • McNamara’s: Family owned Irish pub with excellent food & quite a lot of charm. Weekend nights they have a live band that plays traditional Irish folk tunes. I recommend the Scotch Eggs, the Fish & Chips, the Black & Tan Onion Rings, the Corned Beef & Cabbage, the Chocolate Cake, & the Bread Pudding! Also one of the best Irish Coffees I’ve had!

Downtown:

  • Bakersfield Tacos: Best Margarita in town, fight me! Also their tacos & salads are all pretty bangin! Don’t skip the guac either! I know this is a Cincinnati based chain but there are only a few of them so I don’t count it! Plus it’s one of the top rated restaurants for Cinci on Zagat!

  • Etch: Though I haven’t had anything bad on their menu, I think they really excel at their salads especially the Charcuterie Salad!

  • Flying Saucer: A bit of a chain, though a small one. A rather extensive tap menu their food menu is also incredible. Bavarian Style Pretzels, German Potato Salad, etc. I recommend those two as well as the Marsellus Wallace sandwich!

  • The Hermitage Cafe: Open 10PM-Noon. Yes, you read that correctly. Late night greasy spoon that’s been there forever! They are cash only but it’s fairly cheap! I recommend scrambled eggs with their in house potatoes & corned beef hash!

  • Husk: Upscale Southern with different twists for each dish! I recommend the Tartare & their Charcuterie board!

  • Merchants: Best Fish Tacos in Nashville! Their drinks are pretty solid & each day the table is set with a new “Popcorn of the day!”

  • Pinewood Social: Excellent cocktails, ever evolving seasonal menu, coffee shop, bowling alley, pool, karaoke, lawn games, etc. Just a fun place to go hang or sit & get some work done!

  • Puckett’s: Get the Meatloaf & the Wings. Don’t ask questions, just do it! (Locations Downtown Nashville & Franklin)

  • The Southern: Best Chicken & Waffles in town! Go for brunch!

  • The Stillery: Hot Chicken Mac & Cheese or the Prosciutto Pizza

East Nashville:

  • Dino’s: Technically a dive bar but I didn’t know if I wanted to put it here or in the drink section. I ultimately decided on food because when I think of Dino’s I think of a killer greasy spoon burger & some fries!

  • Five Points Pizza: Open late, by the slice. Prosciutto/Basil Pizza is the jam! (Also a location off Charlotte Pike, not open late.)

  • Greko: Greek Street Food! Fun atmosphere & quick service that’s on the lighter side of Greek.

  • Jeni’s Ice Cream: Another Ohio chain, Jeni’s has become a staple of Nashville! Intriguing twists on traditional ice cream flavors there are a ton of locations across Nashville! (12th South, East, Hillsboro Village, Franklin, etc.)

  • Mas Tacos Por Favor: Tortilla Soup is a must!

  • Marché: Get a serving of Croissant French Toast to share in addition to your entree!

  • The Pharmacy: Skip the burger, get the Currywerst!

  • Two Ten Jack: Best Ramen in Nashville! I dig the Spicy Tankatsu with an extra Egg! Get an order of the Octopus Fritters too!

Edgehill

  • Barcelona: A small chain but a rather refreshing Tapas place & Wine Bar! Menu is constantly changing but I recommend any Carrot, Brussel Sprout, Octopus, or Chorizo & Fig Dish they do!

  • Bella Napoli: Pretty solid Napoli Style Pizza & Pasta. Not as “heavy” as DeSano.

Germantown:

  • Cosmic Creamery: Cereal infused ice cream stacked with toppings! Bring your sweet tooth!

  • Germantown Cafe: Nightly specials are always bomb as is their French Onion Soup!

  • Henrietta Red: Ever changing seasonal menu, be sure to go with a group & share! Don’t skip out on dessert.

  • Rolf & Daughters: Get the tartare, the sourdough, the seafood pasta dish, & all the desserts!

Green Hills:

  • etc.: The sister restaurant of Etch. I’ve only visited for brunch but what I had was exquisite, especially the Waffles!

  • Noshville: Used to have an additional location in Midtown. Get you a Reuben & some Matzo Ball Soup! Don’t skip on the pickles either!

  • The Perch: Crepery! Everything from savory to sweet! I love their Prosciutto Balsamic Crepe!

  • True Food Kitchen: Healthy & seasonal! The menu shifts every few months to accommodate what’s fresh! Wide variety on the menu as well as some intriguing freshly juiced cocktails!

The Gulch:

  • Arnold’s Country Kitchen: The best Soul Food/Meat & Three in Nashville hands down! They have kind of odd hours and are only open in the afternoon so look before you go! Also their line moves fairly quickly. Get the Roast Beef!

  • Bar Otaku: Late night Japanese Tavern! Awesome place to end your night!

  • Biscuit Love: First off, go to their Hillsboro Village location, there’s not a line! Second get you some Biscuit Donuts, the Nasty Princess (a secret menu item that combines the East Nasty & the Princess,) & a fresh Mimosa!

  • Burger Republic: Won Zagat’s burger competition back in 2016. Won best burger in Tennessee. Go. Now! I love The 96, a lot of people are deterred by the blue cheese in it, it’s not over powering at all! Get you some Truffle Tots, a Boozy Milkshake, & some Fried Pickles & Peppers too!

  • Chauhan: Go for Happy Hour! Chauhan is Indian meets Southern food & it’s as good as it sounds! Get the Lamb Nachos, the Chicken Tandoori Poutine, & the Hot Chicken Pakoras! Great cocktails as well, I dig the Raat Rani!

  • Mockingbird: New age Southern Cuisine; bangin’ Pot Pie, Burger, etc! Get a Punch Bag as well!

  • Tansuo: Monday nights they have a Dim Sum cart! Their take on General Tao’s may be my favorite in town! Great bar, tell them what you like, they’ll make you something special!

  • Thai Esane: One of my favorite Thai spots in Nashville, there’s truly nothing bad on the menu!

  • Virago: Maki Monday! Get you some cheaper upscale sushi! Also September & October they do “Brunch w/ a View” where they combine traditional American breakfast foods with an Asian influence!

  • Whiskey Kitchen: Their Buffalo Chicken Flatbread Pizza is killer as is the Whiskey Sour! Open Late!

Hendersonville:

  • Cafe Rakka: Worth the detour to Hendersonville for sure. Incredible Syrian food. The best Hummus I’ve ever had, Homemade Pita, Red Tea, & Baklava. Go for dinner get the Shrimp Jalfrazi, go for lunch get the Tandoori Chicken & Cheese Sandwich or the Lamb Burger!

Hillsboro Village:

  • Donut & The Dog: My favorite donut in town, still a bit of a hidden gem. Get the Reuben Dog with Truffle Fries. Donut menu changes all the time but even their twist on a simple Glazed Donut is incredible!

  • Fido: Been in the same spot forever. Coffee shop with a fairly expansive menu. The Specials are always on point but I usually end up getting the Salmon Scramble.

  • The Pancake Pantry: Go late. Don’t wait in line, it isn’t as good as the line even though it’s still solid. Go for the Georgia Peach Pancakes!

  • Pizza Perfect: Amazing basic pizza. The Antipasta salad is great too! Even their gluten free crust doesn’t leave you wanting!

Midtown:

  • The Catbird Seat: Book in advance & come baring your wallet. 12-16 course dinner all served within the kitchen with drink pairings available per course! Experimental food that is always changing, book it for a special occasion!

  • DeSano: I love the San Genaro & the Diavola! Real Napoli style pizza!

  • Gigi’s Cupcakes: If you don’t like icing/frosting steer clear, they inject their cupcakes with it! I know this is also a chain but this is the original!

  • Giovanni’s: Excellent Mid to Upscale Italian. There’s never a huge crowd there but their evening Pasta Specials are always killer! (Another location in Bellevue)

  • Hattie B’s: There’s no wrong way to do Hattie B’s other than Southern or Mild. Potato Salad, Greens, & Pimento Mac & Cheese are musts on sides. If you’re looking for more of a hand food the sandwich is incredible! (Other locations around town are equally as good as the original but seldom have a line!)

West End:

  • BrickTops: I’m a bit at a loss on how to describe this menu. Think J Alexander’s smashed into a sushi bar. I highly recommend the Ahi Burger, may be one of the best I’ve ever had!

  • Samurai Sushi: My favorite sushi joint in town! Been there since the 70s, it’s fairly inexpensive but still high quality.

Quick Picks:

  • Bagels: S.T.A.R. Bagel

  • Barbecue: Error 404: Extension Not Found

  • Breakfast: The Pancake Pantry

  • Brunch: Marché (Traditional) The Southern (Upscale) Chaatable (Interesting)

  • Burger: Burger Republic (Specialty) Patterson House (Normal)

  • Chinese: Dao Bistro (Normal) Tansuo (Upscale)

  • Coffee: Frothy Monkey (Traditional) Barista Parlour (Upscale)

  • Contemporary American: Henrietta Red

  • Donuts: Donut & The Dog

  • Greek: Athens

  • Healthy: Calypso Cafe (Normal) TrueFood Kitchen (Upscale)

  • Hot Chicken: Hattie B’s

  • Ice Cream: Mike’s (Normal) Jeni’s (Specialty)

  • Indian: Chaatable

  • Irish: McNamara’s

  • Italian: Giovanni’s (Normal) Rolf & Daughters (Upscale)

  • Japanese: Bar Otaku

  • Juice: Urban Juicer

  • Korean: Soy Bistro (Also a tad Japanese)

  • Late Night: Flying Saucer (Early) Hermitage Cafe (Real Late)

  • Middle Eastern: Cafe Rakka

  • Pho: Kien Ghang

  • Pizza: DeSano (Specialty) Pizza Perfect (Normal) 5 Points (Late)

  • Ramen: Two Ten Jack

  • Salad: Chopt (Normal) Etch (Upscale)

  • Soul/Meat & Three: Arnold’s Country Kitchen

  • Southern: The Loveless Cafe

  • Special Occasion: The Catbird Seat (Hella Special) Rolf & Daughters

  • Sushi: Samurai Sushi (Normal) Wild Ginger (Upscale)

  • Tacos: Mas Tacos Por Favor

  • Thai: Thai Esane

  • Vegan/Vegetarian: Avo