The Cornerstone Inn recently opened their sumptuous breakfast bar to the public and have now branched out into weekend lunch with “Emma’s Loaves & Dishes,” located in the basement of the charming little boutique hotel at the northeast corner of the intersection of Franklin Street and Old School Way in Nashville.
If you’ve never stayed at the Cornerstone, you have missed a luxurious treat. Everything there is well-appointed and presented with thoughtful care—from the antiques to the art and the incidental furnishings.
The whole place looks like it was conjured straight out of a Thomas Kincade painting. Everyone seems very friendly and eager to please.
And, there is an elevator.
It started with providing a high-end continental breakfast for overnight guests at the hotel with tasty baked goodies: sweet rolls, pastries, muffins, coffee cake, breads, bagels, as well as fresh fruit, breakfast cereals, yogurt, hot beverages, and orange juice.
Now, “Breakfast at Emma’s” is open to the public 7:30 to 10:00 a.m. daily. A team of chefs prepares three or four specialty hot breakfast entrees, which are different each day.
All of the aforementioned baked goodies, like Emma’s signature granola, are made in-house. Also, a fine selection of seasonal fresh fruit is served.
Emma’s promise is, “You won’t find breakfast like this anywhere else.”
Now Emma has decided to branch off into lunch with Emma’s Loaves & Dishes, open to the public Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
It is that time of year when Mrs. Sampler engages in a strenuous campaign of self-improvement, which is difficult for her since, like Mary Poppins, she is already practically perfect in every way.
Accordingly, she ordered a beautiful Caesar salad; fresh lettuces tossed with house dressing and croutons, topped with sautéed peppers, onions, and shaved Parmesan cheese. You can also add chicken, shrimp, or salmon.
I must confess, I was enticed by something called a chickanaberry salad: mixed greens topped with chicken, blueberries, tomato wedges, cucumber slices, red onion rings, spiced pecans, bleu cheese crumbles, and topped with a Balsamic honey vinaigrette dressing.
Sandwiches on offer include a Cornerstone Inn bacon and egg cheeseburger: an eight-ounce burger topped with thick cut applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese and, a large over-medium egg.
There’s also a Santa Fe grilled chicken sandwich with sautéed peppers and onions, and a vegetable grilled cheese with seasoned cream cheese, Portobello mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, onion, tomato, and sprouts.
Of course, I came for the entrées. The offerings were tempting, including a grilled vegetable flatbread pizza, and a nice-looking pan-seared salmon with dill cream sauce.
In the end, I opted for the Cornerstone Inn lasagna, a hefty, five-layer lasagna filled with Italian sausage, peppers, onions, mushrooms, Mozzarella, ricotta and Parmesan cheeses, and marinara and Alfredo sauces. The lasagna was melt-in-your-mouth perfect, served with little grilled garlic flat-breads. And the salad was pretty tasty, too (I had to crib a little bite from the wife).
I was prepared to barge full steam into dessert—possibly the triple chocolate layer cake, or the coconut cream cake—but somehow, during the course of our repast, the conversation turned in the direction of happiness and well-being, the role of health in happiness, and the part of healthy eating and weight maintenance in overall good health.
And, it was a pretty big slab of lasagna.
With resolution, but not a little pain and longing, I took the difficult decision to forego dessert, to exchange that moment on the lips for a little less around the hips, if possible.
Well, Uncle Earl always said that “It’s a lot easier to get your pants off than it is to get them back on,” and this rule of thumb definitely comes into play when going down below the main floor for a big, delicious meal. It isn’t getting down the stairs that presents the difficulty, it is getting back up them.
And although arthritis and being overweight have taken their toll on the old Sampler, I’ll have you know that I am still perfectly capable of getting back up those stairs.
Still, the elevator is a nice touch, a luxury.
Riding smoothly up in a car named Otis, I feel lifted to a better place than the one from which I had descended. There is something about a good meal which elevates us, raises our moods and our general prospects.
It must be the feeling of being profoundly satisfied.