Tuesday, June 8, 2010

FiddleCakes and Friendship on Friday

You know that FiddleCakes, located on 8th Avenue South, is one of my favorite gluten-free spots in Nashville.  Okay, it's not ONE of my favorites.  It IS my favorite.  Not only can I order any sandwich off their menu on delicious gluten-free bread, but I can enjoy gluten-free treats like cookies, muffins, and cupcakes.  I can even special order specialty items like cakes for special occasions or even ordinary days that call out for a little celebration.

Sadly, FiddleCakes isn't located in my neck of the woods, so I'm resigned to visiting on weekends and vacation days.  But thankfully, the summertime is top heavy on the vacation days thanks to the school teacher's calendar!  So I get to visit my little slice of Heaven in Nashville a little more frequently.  On Friday, my sweet friend, Andrea, and I had a Girl Day -- lunch, pedicures, and shopping.  What better way to start Girl Day than at FiddleCakes?

Owners, Tasha and Lindsay, have done a fantastic job of turning this quaint little house into a European-style cafe or bakery complete with welcoming nooks where you can sit and enjoy their delicacies.   When I see the rocking chairs on the front porch, it takes me back to my grandmother's porch with the wide, squeaky floorboards and the porch swing.  Images of molasses cookies and homemade baked bread flood my memory.  Suddenly, FiddleCakes' front porch is my new happy place where I can sip coffee and enjoy a gluten-free cranberry muffin in my sentimental reverie.

They've added some new picnic tables out front, but I haven't yet dined alfresco.  It was a pretty hot summer afternoon, so Andrea and I opted for indoor seating.

You might too if you found seating that looked like this.

FiddleCakes isn't just a memory jogger, it's becoming a memory maker for me.  I remember the exact table where I was sitting my very first time at FiddleCakes.  I was bouncing and smiling ridiculously as I anticipated the arrival of a completely safe, gluten-free lunch.  It wouldn't be an iceburg lettuce salad with plain boiled chicken and olive oil.  It wouldn't be a regular menu item with all of the good stuff stripped off to make it gluten-free.  This would be a sandwich, a bowl of soup, and a dessert ordered AS IS like any other normal person.  Gluten-intolerant folks rarely experience such a normal pleasure!

I can remember sitting at this bar after completing a 10-mile training run in the pouring down rain with Andrea.  FiddleCakes makes great, healthy recovery food for the meat eaters and vegans alike.  After running 10 miles, calories just don't count.  Sure, I'll have the Triple Chocolate Threat Cookie.  (You HAVE to try them.)

I remember the time I sat in this corner with old friends from out of town.  We picked up right where we left off, laughed about our early married years together, cried about hard times we went through including the death of a young husband and close friend.  We shared our dreams for the future.  And this was all over food.  Delicious food that weds the heart and the senses to an experience that I'll never forget.

Friendship is sweet.  But just like adding a sprinkle of sugar and a splash of cream to a cup of hot coffee, good food enriches the friendship experience.

I wasn't the only one making memories on Friday.  Unknown to me at the time, Friday was also the 80th birthday of my friend, Gail's mother.  Gail's mom is also gluten-intolerant, and I've raved about FiddleCakes to anyone who will listen, but especially to those that I know would truly appreciate their extensive gluten-free offerings.  Gail had her first FiddleCakes experience earlier in the day, just hours before I arrived.  And when I got home later that afternoon, I received the following message from her.

"My mom's 80th birthday party is today, and I went to FiddleCakes to get her a birthday cake, a few loaves of gluten-free bread, and lunch.  She had the gluten-free ham sandwich with brie and the quinoa salad.  I also had the quinoa salad, and it was DELICIOUS!  The gluten-free red velvet cake was awesome, and she was so thrilled to be able to eat cake and bread!  Thank you for recommending them.  The women at FiddleCakes were so excited to be a part of her 80th birthday celebration.  They were so helpful.  Then when I got to Mom's she showed me today's paper, and there was a big article about FiddleCakes!  I haven't had time to read it yet, but Mom was so excited to find out that there was a place that really catered to people who require gluten-free food.  What a special treat for someone whose health greatly depends on eating gluten-free.  I'm sure you understand."

Yes, I understand.  I understand completely.  That's what makes FiddleCakes such a special place.

On Friday's perfect Girl Day I had the Standard on gluten-free bread.  There's nothing "standard" about this sandwich.  Grilled chicken, provolone, spinach, roasted red peppers, and veganaise.  Who would ever know that it was gluten-free?  Because their grill is used for non-gluten-free food, they were willing to toast the sandwich on top of aluminum foil to avoid cross-contamination.

Just look at this happy girl with a mouthful of yum.

If you ever visit FiddleCakes without choosing a dessert, you have far more willpower than I do.

You know about my love affair with bakery display cases.

And while nothing in this case is gluten-free, it gets my senses ready.  What I've really come for is in the back, well-protected from stray, gluteny crumbs.  I've never actually been in the back, but I envision a special case lined with gold and sparkling jewels with a sign that says, "Precious Gluten-Free Treats".  And I believe music plays when they slide open the glass doors to retrieve my selection.

You have to look at the menu board to choose your gluten-free treats.  Have you ever seen this many gluten-free options at a bakery?  It's so hard to choose just one!  (Always order something for the road as well.)

Friday was definitely a cookie day.  This is an Are-You-Serious-That-This-Is-Gluten-Free Chocolate Pecan Cookie.  I still have no idea how they get their cookies to rise and stay so plump.  They're beautiful as well as delicious.

It was the perfect ending to a great lunch and a perfect start to Girl Day with Andrea.  The next time you need a special place for a special day, or if your ordinary day needs a twist of happiness or a splash of pleasure, where are you going for lunch?


  1. Wow...so you've completely sold me on FiddleCakes! Can't wait to try it!! --Lana

  2. Of course, I'd be more than willing to meet you there!