Exploring Nashville: Mi Colombia
Do you ever feel like you are on auto-pilot? Simply coasting through the day with a predictable routine and making decisions with little to no thought because they have become so automatic?
I know I am guilty of it. I get in the habit of wearing the same things, going to the same restaurants, repeating the same workouts and hanging out with the same people. No judgment, but it can make for an awfully mundane existence.
Rather than sleepwalking through life, sometimes you have to turn off auto-pilot and seek out the unfamiliar which is exactly what I did this past week.
Mi Colombia Restaurante
1568 Bell Road
Nashville, Tennessee 37211
Mi Colombia is not a restaurant I would seek out on my own. Hell, I probably would have driven past it six times before I realized that it was inside a gas station. There’s no website, no Instagram ( sorry fellow food bloggers) and no menu. Well not yet, at least.
So you might be asking yourself, “ How did you even find out about this place?”
No, it wasn’t on an Eater Nashville map and it certainly wasn’t from the ‘gram. One of my dear friends raved endlessly about this amazing Colombian restaurant and even went as far as to share her Pandebono with me (basically the equivalent of giving someone water in the desert).
Let’s just say I was hooked.
If those little cheesy bread creations were that good, I couldn’t wait to dine at Mi Colombia.
As we were driving to the restaurant, I couldn’t tell if she was more excited to share Colombian food with me or the fact that she had pulled me out of my restaurant bubble and straight into a gas station off of Old Hickory Boulevard. To be completely honest, I was equally excited about both. I had no idea what to expect as I couldn’t engage in my typical “restaurant reconnaissance” and that made the experience all the better.
Warning: Limited signage for Mi Colombia. There’s one modest sign in front of the gas station that I would have totally blown past if I were driving, so keep your eyes peeled. We walked into the gas station. To the right, your classic convenience store comforts and to the left a vibrant exhibition of Colombian heritage.
There was a small sign near the register that listed a few specials in Spanish, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. Let’s be honest, I don’t know more than five words of Spanish and none of those appeared on that board.
We were seated and my friend began conversing with the server. After all, they were well acquainted given her numerous visits to the restaurant. Many minutes with rapid-fire Spanish passed and I turned to my friend and asked if we could get a menu. She smiled and said that’s what she and the server were talking about. There was no menu. Without thinking twice, I simply asked for her to order her favorite dishes and what she thought I couldn’t miss. I knew this was going to be an adventure.
First, we started with the Pandebono and the Empanadas Con Ají. Since I had tried the Pandebono previously, I started with the empanadas. The chef sent out their version of “hot sauce” which reminded me of spicy salsa. I took a bite and then drizzled the sauce on top allowing it to spread throughout the empanada filling. I’m pretty sure I may have moaned once or twice while devouring this little bit of Colombia, but pretty sure no one noticed.
If you haven’t had Pandebono before, you are missing out. This classic Colombian cheese bread is commonly served with hot chocolate, which I can’t wrap my head around, but is fantastic to enjoy solo.
Lunch isn’t the same without a Colombian soda or Limonada Fresca. Given my penchant for citrus drinks, there really wasn’t a decision to be made. This beverage is freshly squeezed ( we literally watched him carry an armful of lemons into the kitchen) and did I mention how amazing it would be with a shot of tequila and a side of sandy white beaches? Now if we can only get Mi Colombia to sell this deliciousness by the gallon.
While we were waiting for our entrees to arrive, I had a chance to meet one half of the father/son duo behind Mi Colombia, Andres. Even though Nashville has only enjoyed Mi Colombia for a little over a year, the chef has more than 30 years of experience preparing these classic Colombian dishes. I gave Andres a hard time and told him that he REALLY need to get an Instagram and get the word out and he just laughed and said he was working on it. First things first, let’s get some menus. ( Note- there is a menu available for Uber Eats orders)
Before I knew it our food was making its way from the kitchen straight to our table. I was warned that these dishes were rather large in size, but I had no idea that it would feed a football team! OMG. Thank goodness I came with an appetite and someone who is more than willing to share so I could experience both.
Below you will find the Churrasco con Chimichurri (Top) and Chicken Pollo Con Champinones (Bottom). Both dishes brought unique flavors and tasted delicious but the Churrasco con Chimichurri stole my heart. That chimichurri sauce is unlike anything I’ve had before and if I weren’t sharing the dish that sauce would have been gone in a matter of minutes. But manners, right? Paired with the churrasco is an unassuming side salad filled with bright citrus flavors like mango. It was a perfect compliment for that particular dish.
I also enjoyed the Chicken Pollo Con Champinones as well but felt that the churrasco had more depth of flavor and was overall a more interesting dish, one that I would certainly order again with an extra side of chimichurri!
Mi Colombia is definitely one of Nashville’s hidden gems. If you find yourself craving some Colombian cuisine or are just in the mood to explore the city, head on over to Old Hickory Boulevard and check it out. Keep your eyes peeled for the gas station with the Colombian painted school bus in front, you can’t miss it!
Until Next Time!
Tariff: Appetizers range from $2.00-$7.00 with traditional plates priced between $12.00-28.00.
Can’t Miss: Where do I begin? Pandebono, Empanadas ( make sure you get their hot sauce) and the Churrasco con Chimichurri. Looking forward to adding more dishes to this list in the future!
Potential Pass: If I was going for my first time, I’d likely pass on the Chicken Pollo Con Champinones for a dish that is more “authentic” and has a little more flavor. However, if you have a fondness for chicken and mushrooms, this is YOUR dish!