Wherever we go, we're on the lookout for good food. Recently, members of the Nick Wallace Culinary team were in Nashville, Tennessee. When business was all taken care of, we immediately set out in search of local food fare. At the sprawling Nashville Farmers' Market, we found smoked pork jowls, fresh dairy products, and all assortments of fresh fruits and vegetables.
We love local food, and because we're from Mississippi, that's where most of our ingredients and inspiration comes from. When we travel, and our locality changes, that same instinct to forage the landscape follows us. Seeing how other people and places do food broadens our horizons. Sometimes we get new ideas for dishes, get introduced to new products, and pick up new techniques. The best thing about traveling beyond the borders of the state is that we get to bring all of our experiences back home with us to become even better at what we do in our own community.
A trip to Nashville wouldn't be complete without slipping into full tourist mode and visiting Prince's Hot Chicken, the legendary bastion of explosive poultry whose reputation flirts with the far flung fringes of the Scoville scale. We placed an order, took our number and left, returning, as prompted by the staff, "in about an hour or so." There's a certain set of rules and behaviors you follow in Prince's. There are those customers waiting in line to order chicken and those waiting in line to pick up, but there's no clear demarcation between the two. If you aren't paying attention, you'll end up standing for a half hour in a perceived queue that doesn't really exist. Folks are posted up all over the restaurant, in corners, between the wall and the Coke machine, waiting to hear the string of barked out order numbers that includes theirs. When your number is called, it's de facto permission to disregard all gentlemanly or ladylike line-waiting procedure. Just cut straight to the window with your white ticket ready and grab your grease-stained bag.
While we have no way of confirming whether the deep fried birds were free range (we'd guess not), and although we know for a fact that the white bread wasn't home-baked, their unique local culinary viewpoint is undeniable. For that, they have our respect, and I'll wager that the city will forever have a few of our taste buds, permanently burned off and vaporized in Comfort Inn room 117 a few blocks from downtown Nashville where we braved the demonic heat of Prince's to-go plates.