So when King Daddy, Dammit Boy and I moved to Brentwood, Tennessee, in 1993 there were only two “fine dining” restaurants in the Cool Springs area. Red Lobster and J. Alexander’s. We went to the Red Lobster and saw Barbara Mandrell there. That was pretty much the highlight of our restaurant adventures. Dial it forward to 2016. What a difference a few decades makes.

Tomorrow is the epicenter of fabulous food in Nashville: The Music City Food and Wine Festival. It started out life four years ago as Music City Eats and I still like that name better. And every year I happily throw down $300 for a two-day Disneyland ride through all of Nashville’s now cutting edge eateries.

Four years ago we put on our big boy pants. Now they fit like designer jeans. A stroll down memory lane:

Bacon Jam and Pimento Cheese

Bacon jam and pimento cheese on a saltine. A high-brow take on a Southern classic.

Short ribs, foie gras, quail egg

Short ribs, foie gras and a quail egg. Are you starting to see a pattern here? This is not Red Lobster’s all you can eat crab night.

Noodles with Sesame Chile Sauce and Cured Egg Yolk by Otaku South

Noodles with chili sauce and cured egg yolk. This came from Otaku Ramen. If you haven’t been, go. Just go right away.

Bacon and Eggs

Bacon and eggs. But so much better – a rich egg custard with a bacon dipper. Can you imagine how long it took to perfectly cut the tops of the egg shells off? French Toast with Poached Pears from Sinema

French toast with poached pears from a restaurant I have on my “to eat at” list: Sinema.

Butter Poached Lobster with Popcorn

And with all this spectacular goodness, this remains my favorite over the last three years: poached lobster with popcorn from Kayne Prime. Something about the sweet lobster and salty popcorn sitting in a pool of butter. I went back three times. It was embarrassing.

So tomorrow I have another go at it. The restaurant scene has only gotten better and better over the last few years. A huge tip of the hat to Chef Jonathan Waxman and the Kings of Leon for getting the ball rolling with this festival. You’ll easily eat more than $150 in food during the day. And, as you can tell, you’ll never forget it.

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