The Best Booze And Bites of Music City Food And Wine Festival 2019
Major road closures, football matchups, and multi-stage music festivals did not hinder locals and tourists alike from attending the seventh annual Music City Food and Wine Festival. After all, If there’s one thing Nashvillians love, it’s good food and booze.
Without question, this is one of my favorite Nashville events as it showcases local chefs who have shaped Nashville’s culinary scene alongside acclaimed national chefs. From book signings, cooking demonstrations, and tasting sessions, this weekend was a celebration of all things that make Nashville “Music City.”
Here are some of my favorite highlights from the weekend.
A few years ago, I developed a fondness for tequila. Honestly, aside from whiskey, tequila is one of my favorite spirits to sip on. I had heard rumblings throughout the festival about this “epic” drink at the Tequila Ocho booth and I knew I had to check it out. Not only was this Tequila Ocho's inaugural Music City Food and Wine Festival, but they had one helluva spread. Guests had the opportunity to sample the entire tequila collection in addition to my favorite cocktail of the festival, Entre Amigos. If I had one of these delicious concoctions, I had ten. I was smitten. To be honest, I am pretty sure the reps working the booth grew tired of seeing my smiling face and empty can. Entre Amigos was a perfect blend of citrus, sweet and spirit. The absolute perfect cure for the sweltering heat.
Ladybird Taco (Instagram)
Also new to the scene was Ladybird Taco, a Texas-inspired breakfast taco restaurant coming soon to the 12th South neighborhood. You may have read here that they will take over the former BOX Bongo + Bakery space in early 2020 and this girl could not be more excited. Granted, tortillas and queso may not excite many people but you will be hardpressed to find better queso in town when they open. Secretly counting down the days Ladybird. Between your queso and assorted dipping sauces, I may be your number one fan.
Chef Deb Paquette is one of the few culinary masterminds who can use a myriad of ingredients only to create one perfect bite. You don’t believe me? Check out the menu at Etch or etc.restaurant and you will see exactly what I mean. Dishes are far from simple. This year, Chef Deb Paquette knocked it out of the park with her Yuzu Compressed Watermelon. Not only was it a refreshing, but my amazement grew bite by bite. The combination of the finger lime pearls with the pickled melon rind and the honey whip was out of this world. Can I lobby for this to be a permanent item on the menu? Please??
As Music City has evolved into an “It-City,” keeping up with all of the restaurant and bar openings has become ever so difficult, especially when you still want to visit some of your old favorites. I hate to admit it but Vui’s Kitchen is one place that has been on my list but I have never made it. (insert shaming here). It’s easy to spot the crowd favorites at At Music City Food and Wine Festival because the line is usually out of the tent. Vui’s was one of those booths this year where people were anxiously awaiting her Chicken and Edamame Dumplings, which I might add aren’t on the menu. I had the chicken first and before I could even finish it, I turned around and Vui already had an edamame dumpling ready and waiting for me. Oh. My. Gawd. I’m usually not a fan of hot food when it’s blistering hot, but I was ready to go stand in line again for round two before I even finished. Literally, to die for.
What a day! I spent time catching up with some of my favorite people while wandering in and out of the tents in search of the best booze and bites of the festival. Inevitably, some festival-goers fall victim to overindulgence and hot temperatures while others stick around for the impromptu Saturday afternoon dance party. Not only is a perfect way to burn off some of those excess calories, but the people watching is of epic proportion.
Trying to channel my most inner responsible adult, I called it and headed home to shower and change before heading downtown to the Walk of Fame Park for Harvest Night.
When I tell you it’s a marathon and not a sprint, you know why.
Music City Food and Wine rolled out the red carpet for food enthusiasts and tastemakers during Saturday evening’s Harvest Night celebration. The Walk of Fame Park was filled with an abundance of culinary talent and bite-size morsels that were absolutely swoon-worthy.
Matt Hyland, Emmy Squared
Within a matter of minutes of entering the gate, I spotted my first casualty, Matt Hyland. Known for his Detroit-style square pizza and his killer burgers, I knew this would be a great start to the evening and he did not disappoint.
Hyland served up his Chopped Cheeseburger, which features chopped Bear Creek Farm grass-fed beef, American cheese, red onion, bell pepper, on a pretzel bun with ketchup and pickles.
Here for it!
I grabbed my burger and retreated towards the tables while people lined up for this deliciousness. Luckily, this is a current menu item so if you missed it at MCFW, you can check it out at Emmy Squared.
Aaron Sanchez, Johnny Sanchez Restaurant
Aaron Sanchez is an original member of the Music City Food and Wine cast. Year after year he continues to entertain guests in the demonstration tents and satiate the appetites of hungry festival-goers. His Crispy Shrimp Taco had a line that would not quit.
What a weekend. I’m confident that it will require more recovery time than minor surgery, but I’m not mad about it.
Music City Food and Wine, you are by far one of my favorite weekends in Nashville. My clothes may be a little tighter, my feet a little sore and my liver beyond repair, but you throw one heck of a party. One I will never miss!
If you are interested in attending THE festival of the year, stay tuned to the Music City Food and Wine website (click here) as they will be announcing the dates for the 2020 festival soon!
Until Next Time!