I spent the 4th of July holiday weekend in Nashville, Tennessee with my friend Miya and her family. To this day, I can't really tell you how we met, but I can tell you that I'm so glad Tuskegee brought us together. I'm also really glad that her boyfriend, Todd was such a good sport all weekend and even played the roll as camera guy for us! My friend Garry also came down so it was great to see my college friends.
Nashville is an awesome city. We got to see the fireworks show downtown, chilled at The Hot Chicken Festival and enjoyed Kanye's "Famous" video on the side of a building.
If you're ever in Nashville and you find yourself by Fisk University or Meharry Medical School, there's a super cool outdoor creative space. It recently opened up, and is being used as a hub for visual and performing artists. We actually pulled up just as one artist was putting the finishing touches on a piece.
When I was making plans to visit my Miya in Nashville, she told me about a hot chicken festival that we had to go too. When I hear "hot chicken".. my brain automatically thinks "chicken wings"... which I love so I was really excited. As much as she prepped me and tried to describe it to me, I really didn't know what to expect.
The actual festival was really nice. It's in its 3rd year so it's still fairly new to the scene. There was a music stage where live bands could perform, plenty of vendors, and nice open spaces to lay out. It was great, except for one thing. The weather sucked that day. But, now that I look back on it, it was just another fun day with one of my closest friends.
Picture it. You're in the middle of a park, in line waiting for some delicious chicken and all of a sudden the Heavens open up and pour you out a blessing in the form of a monsoon. We got drenched! But it was easily 95 degrees that day. So we were actually really happy to get some relief from the heat. We were hoping that the wet weather would deter some of people in line in front of us and they'd leave. We were wrong. That's just how much people in Nashville love hot chicken.
The line for the vendor of our choice was making fresh orders as people got up to the register. You could imagine how long that was taking. We noticed the line next to us was moving much faster so we hopped in that line. We were starving at this point. The only thing they had ready at the time was "hot". I planned on ordering mild but I was ready to eat so I psyched myself up to give it a try.
Y'all. I took one bite and almost punched Miya in the face because it was so spicy. My tongue, mouth and throat were on fire. That chicken felt like the 7th ring of Hell. IT WAS SO SPICY. I immediately ran over to a lemonade stand and got a huge cup of freshly squeezed lemonade. It didn't help. The chicken literally took my breath away. I thought, maybe it's an acquired taste that I have to master. I'm not from Nashville so I'm new to the hot chicken craze. I looked over at my friend Miya (who was born and raised in Nashville) and she had tears coming down her cheeks. I couldn't tell if she was laughing at me or crying because she was experiencing the same mouth fire that I was. It was the latter. We literally could not speak to each other because we were gasping for air.
"Don't rub your eyes for like another hour".
Of course, as soon as she gave me that warning I rubbed my eyes. Luckily, I keep water bottles in my car! I rinsed my eyes, Miya chugged some water and we had a great laugh. Next time I'll know for sure to stick with mild! And to eat the bread that comes with it. And to keep my hands away from my face.
I can't wait to see how the festival grows and expands. Hot chicken is just one of the things that makes Nashville such a unique city!! Have you had a taste of hot chicken before? What are your favorite places in the city to get some?