My bounty from Our Day on Nolensville Road
I’ve been wanting to check out the food culture on Nolensville Road in Nashville for a while. Last weekend, I finally got the chance along with my friend Marie and our sons, and it was a lot of fun…and very tasty, too. We went to four markets and enjoyed a delicious lunch.
Azadi International Food
I learned about Azadi on a recent Bizarre Foods America episode featuring Nashville spots. The primary culture in this store is Kurdish, as we learned from speaking to the woman in the bakery. I called them because I couldn’t find their hours anywhere, and they’re open 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Saturdays.
Video tour of Azadi (it repeats toward the end)
The highlight of this market was the bakery. It was a very up-close-and-personal space. It felt like we were “in the back” with the ladies (and one guy) as they kneaded and baked the bread. There was literally flour stacked to the ceiling, and a cool oven with fire up both sides. We purchased a half dozen football-shaped loaves, and they were still warm. They were incredibly delish! The woman who packaged them for us suggested toppings peanut butter and jelly, but we ate the majority of them straight up or as cinnamon toast (with coconut oil, cinnamon, and sugar).
After the bakery, we walked each aisle taking in the freezer section, the meat department, the produce section, and the interior aisles with lots of spices and interesting canned goods. I bought some tahini (sesame seed butter) to try…you can use it almost like peanut butter, and it’s a staple ingredient of hummus. This recipe caught my eye this week, too.
K & S World Market
Top: We took turns taking pics with the boys and our carts.
Bottom (L to R): Marie poses with food she’s most familiar with (Lays chips). Marie displays something we’ve never seen before: a chocolate mixer. Stacks of rice in large bags – many types to choose from.
There is no primary culture in this store. It is truly an international market…every aisle features an new type of cuisine. It was a great experience overall, however, my only negative about this store (that I hope was a fluke on the day we visited) was an unpleasant odor in the produce section, which was in the front door. My eyes wanted to look at the expanse of fresh veggies, but my nose said “get the heck out of here.” Interestingly, the bustling fish market located inside smelled better. There were huge creatures in tanks, crabs and crawfish inside boxes moving around, and several aisles of refrigerated cases full of sea life. There were some unique and beautiful fish for sale there. I got some noodles, fresh corn tortillas, a sushi mat and rice paddle, hot sauces (including sriracha), and sesame oil. There were many kinds of rice and soda to peruse. The customers were as varied as the food inside.
International Farmers Market
This was probably my favorite store. It is an international market so a lot of cultures are represented, but I observed a strong presence of Mexican and Korean influence. Not surprisingly, there was a great fresh produce selection. I got dark red beets, a package of white and purple “beets” that I believe were actually turnips, and Japanese sweet potatoes with purple skin and white flesh. E liked them! The store was clean and organized, and the cashier was nice and chatty.
Patel Brothers didn’t open until 10:30 a.m. so it was our last shopping stop. It’s hard to miss the big green signage out front. There was a nice produce section in this store. I especially enjoyed looking through the spices, dried beans/legumes, and various flours here. It was a very neat and orderly, and the white shelving reminded me of being in Ikea. I purchased some cumin, and I look forward to using is as it’s one of my favorite flavors to cook with. It was probably the smallest store, and it was easy to get in and out quickly as we were ready for lunch.
While we had the restaurant to ourselves, it was delicious lunch with good service. We were served soft pita wedges with a cilantro and feta salad. Marie and the boys had chicken kabobs with rice and cucumber and tomato salad. I found their kid’s menu items refreshing. There were a few healthy options as well as some more “American” choices for the less-adventurous eater. I had a falafel plate that was very tasty. My son really liked it as well. We ended up sharing each other’s plates. The boys played (the rules state that a friend’s toy is much better than your own), and we took selfies. It was a fun time.
Photo credit: Nana
After lunch, we capped off the day with lap around the flea market (this is where the cow balloon hat comes in). It was a great way to spend a beautiful day in Nashville.
If you would like to plan a day like ours, here are few of the resources we used. There were many other places to explore, and I’d welcome the opportunity to spend another day on “The Road.” Let me know if you go!
The Road: A User’s Guide [Eating Our Way Down Nolensville Pike]
Best of Nashville’s Ethnic Eats
Alimentum Eat and Greet Tours (scroll down to Nolensville Rd. Tour with video)
A Handy Guide to Bizarre Foods’ Nashville Stops
Thanks to our friends for sharing this adventure and their photos with us!