Sunday, October 3, 2010

Celebration of Cultures

   Yesterday, my best friend, Sarina, and I went to Nashville's 15th annual Celebration of Cultures held by the Scarritt-Bennett Center at Centennial Park.  I can't believe I had never been to this festival before.  It is so beautiful and sends such an important and powerful message to the Nashville community.  Being in the heart of the South and home to country music, Nashville catches a lot of crap about racism, segregation, and being very, very white.  This is very far from the truth (excluding recent mosque troubles in Murfreesboro, which is the due to the presence of a few simple bigots.)  Nashville is an open and loving city.  Even in the recent economic crisis, Nashville is blossoming into a wonderful--dare I say it?--melting pot of ethnic diversity.  The premier hospitals and corporate US headquarters of foreign companies have attracted people from all over the world to Nashville and the surrounding areas.  And with new people comes new food.

   After the parking ordeal at noon (probably the worst time to arrive.)  The first thing we did after finding each other was head straight to Las Paletas' booth.  My favorite treat spot in Nashville.  I'll go more into detail on them later.  I had the raspberry-lime, Sarina had the coconut, Sarah has the hibiscus (my absolute favorite!), and her friend, Barb, had the strawberry-banana.  No matter the flavor or color of their ice-pop, everyone holding a Las Paletas paleta looked to be in frozen heaven.

   As we licked and munched our way through our desserts, we roamed around pondering what to eat for lunch.  I first got in line for Abay, an Ethiopian restaurant I have wanted to try for awhile.  Then I saw the stall next to it, Flava Catering, had goat curry.  But then Sarina came up, stared at me and said two words, "Taco Trucks".

   There were two taco trucks parked.  We went to both.  At the Murfreesboro based Mexiven, we tried the fish tacos, chicken tacos, and chicken tamale.  Everything was delicious, but there were some things that could be improved.  While the masa was soft, moist and wonderful, there was just too much of it compared to the meat.  The fish was crisp, golden and salty, but the slaw was way too sweet for the taco.  Also, after looking them up, I can't be sure if the truck is a normal part of their establishment, or something for special occasions.  But like I said, the food is good; they are worth a try!
 My half eaten chicken tamale from Mexiven
Mexiven's Fish Taco

   We also ate at the simply named "Tex Mex Tequeria".  Located on Charlotte Pike in Nashville, there is a regular restaurant and full-time truck with these guys.  I really wanted to try the lengua (tongue) taco, but at 12:45 pm they were sold out.  I assume this mean that they know how to do their tongue right and underestimated the number of people who would be buying it.  It also means that there is a going to be trip involved to their regular local.  Instead we tried the chicken and chorizo tacos.  Unbelievable.  That's all I have to say.  Fresh, smokey, spicy, well-balanced, perfect tacos. If I have one complaint, it's that I only ordered one.
Our dug-into tacos

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