Monday, July 5, 2010

Hot Chicken and July 4th Weekend

Nashville Restaurants and Food
Hot Chicken and July 4th Weekend

Sunny, about 88 degrees and the smell of Hot Chicken wafting through the park: must be July 4th! Of course that was 11:45am- when we arrived at the Music City Hot Chicken Festival. We were surprised to see virtually no one in the vendor lines. They switched it up this year opting for one gigantic free Hot Chicken line, freeing up the vendors for paying customers. That’s fine with us. I love the concept but standing in line for a free piece of Hot Chicken has never made much sense to me. That line did seem to be moving much quicker. They had volunteers doling out the Hot Chicken samples from the various vendors and it appeared to be a good system.

We look for the new stuff and were pleased to find a couple of new vendors trying out Hot Chicken concepts. It seems to me that this is the only way the festival is going to expand- other Nashville businesses incorporating the Hot Chicken thing into a specialty item. B and C Market hit a home run with their Hot Chicken grits. They’re tangy, with a buffalo style sauce and a dark, smoky finish. We spied an Amerigos tent and nearly dropped our beers. Then we remembered that they’ve been serving Hot Chicken pasta. Seemed like a bit much for such a hot day…I went for it though. It’s basically Hot Chicken served over pasta with a sticky cream sauce. They’ve got some work to do in the Hot Chicken department…it’s the seasoning folks, combined with the heat, that makes it great. Anyway, kudos to them for getting out there. It would be great to see more Nashville restaurants do Hot Chickeny things next year.

As usual the Yazoo beer tent provided a nice break from the sun. A hoppy Yazoo summer ale went down well with the spicy chicken. We didn’t have time to stay for the amateur Hot Chicken contest; we think they may have started a bit later this year because the hand-outs were in the same tent as the contest. By the time we left around 1pm it was getting a little nutty in the parking lots.

On Saturday we enjoyed Peaceful Pastures burgers, topped with the first tomato out of our garden and four year-old cheddar from Wisconsin. A couple of Moscow Mules cooled us down. We picked up provisions that morning at the West Nashville Farmers Market, which was crazy busy and yet still fun.

Veggie Eater: OK, so some of you may have already read my gushing “I met Emmylou Harris at the West Nashville Farmers’ Market” story. Really, could you ask for a better way to kick off a holiday weekend? We went home that night and listened to the Opry as we had a bonfire and got to listen to Emmylou host and sing. A perfect day. Today is the happy tradition of the Hot Wing Fest which has typically been a Veggie Eater’s nightmare. I am happy to report, things are looking up. Pied Piper is there, as well as folks serving fancy veggie dogs (The Dog of Nashville?). And now that other vendors are getting involved how about the Wild Cow doing some Hot Chicken tempeh creation? Yazoo at noon on the 4th always kicks it off well. We finished the day with pool, friends, and fabulous food. We brought the elotes: roasted corn, rolled in crema, dusted with queso fresco, and sprinkled with Peruvian aji hot chile pepper powder.

1 comments:

Lannae said...

Sorry we missed this. Really, I just could not take the crowds. If they have retail again with no lines, I may go again because I LOVE HOT CHICKEN! 400 Degrees YUM! But we did fine, we went for a nice brunch at a very uncrowded Copper Kettle. Now I know, Copper Kettle 4th of July Sunday, and I nearly have the whole carving station to myself :)