12 South.

12 South is probably my favorite of Nashville's up-and-coming neighborhoods.  When I visited it for the first time, it was like taking a deep breath of fresh air — the boutiques, the coffee shops, restaurants, music stores — almost everything is local and I was amazed at how they all seemed so innovative and anti-cookie-cutter.  

What's also really cool about this place is the Nashville B-Cycle station, a bike-sharing system that allows you to rent a bicycle for up to 24-hours and ride it anywhere in the city.  I decided to stay in the area with my bike and meet my husband for lunch at The Flipside

One of 12 South's newest restaurants, the interior has a modern 1950s diner flair, with powder blue banquette seating and vintage fire engine red Big Chill refrigerators.  The walls are combination of white tiling and transparent garage doors that allow natural light to shine through, giving this place a soft and airy feel. The bar is stocked with an abundance of options and they also have quite a few local draft beers on tap. 

The menu is centered around chicken breasts coated with seasoned bread crumbs, pan sautéed in olive oil and topped with various unique combinations that you can order as a a sandwich or standalone.  I enjoyed the Popeye sandwich, which includes spinach, tomato, mozzarella cheese and a balsamic drizzle. 

There was an inevitable sweet tooth that followed soon after, so we headed to Las Paletas, a gourmet ice pop shop also located in 12 South.

They are made with fresh ingredients with no preservatives or artificial flavors, which gives them a subtly sweet taste that's just right and not overwhelming.   And although the shop serves many traditional flavors, such as peach, strawberry, and vanilla chocolate chip (shown above), they also have more exotic ones, like pineapple chili, honeydew and Chai tea, which makes this experience more fun.  I just haven't built up the courage to try the fun ones yet!