ODE TO MAS

Chicken + Lime + Cilantro Soup, Elote, Watermelon Agua Fresca | for the love of the south

One of the advantages of moving from place to place is getting to research and experience the best restaurants the South has to offer. Whenever I moved to Nashville, my list quickly took form with numerous local eateries. On the top of the list was Mas Tacos Por Favor, which is nestled in a residential area and honestly does not look like much from the outside. Mas Tacos is in the neighborhood of being a dive and super trendy (only in Nashville can somewhere be considered as both.) But, nonetheless, it stole my heart love at first bite and quickly became one of my favorite spots to eat in town.

Elote | for the love of the south

With cash in hand, I eagerly scan the chalkboard menu to make sure my favorites are available. Fried avocado tacos, watermelon agua fresca, elote and chicken tortilla soup, por favor. As soon as I find my table, my order is up, and there, sitting in front of me is some of the greatest Mexican food I’ve ever encountered. The elote (Mexican street corn) is roasted to perfection and slathered in a thin layer of mayo, kissed with shredded cheese and sprinkled with ground red pepper. The chicken tortilla soup is so bright and acidic it becomes slightly addictive, and you MUST wash everything down with their watermelon agua fresca.

Chicken + Cilantro + Lime Soup Prep | for the love of the south

This is a casual spot to meet up with friends, share stories, laugh, and most of all, enjoy a lovely meal. And you must eat there with a friend who is willing to tell you you have corn in your teeth from the elote because it WILL happen, and it’s completely worth it.

It began as a simple quest to find the best in Nashville, and it transformed into a love story about wanting more out of life, well more tacos to be exact.

Fresh Corn | for the love of the south

I’ve created these recipes completely inspired by my favorite dishes at Mas Tacos so you can recreate them at home just in time for Cinco de Mayo, y’all!

Chicken + Lime + Cilantro Soup, Elote, Watermelon Agua Fresca | for the love of the south

Recipe: Chicken + Lime + Cilantro Soup

Inspired by Mas Tacos Por Favor

Note: To get the most flavor out of the cilantro stalks, gently crack the stalks with the back of a knife before tossing them into the stock. I also use kitchen twine to tie the stalks together, which makes it easier to take them out later. 

1 gallon of water

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2-3 tablespoons of Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce

3 red onions, quartered

6 cloves of garlic, smashed

1 carrot, roughly chopped

1 bunch of cilantro, stalks only (reserve the leaves for garnish)

2 Serrano Peppers, halved lengthwise

1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to season

Juice from 3 limes

In a large stockpot on medium-high heat, combine all of the ingredients with the exception of the salt, pepper and lime juice and bring to a boil. Reduce to a medium simmer for 1-1 ½ hours. Take out the chicken breasts and shred with two forks. Strain the broth and return the shredded chicken to the pot. Add salt, pepper and lime juice. Adjust the seasonings to your taste. Garnish with avocado slices, halved grape tomatoes, cilantro leaves, roasted corn, queso fresco, rice, and lime wedges.

Recipe: Elote

Serves 4

4 ears of sweet, white corn, shucked

1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Kosher salt

Lime wedges

In a dry skillet over medium-high heat, roast corn until charred, turning occasionally, about 10-15 minutes. Brush with mayonnaise and sprinkle with cayenne pepper, kosher salt and lime juice.

Recipe: Watermelon Aqua Fresca

Serves 4

4 cups of cubed, seedless watermelon

Juice of 1-2 limes, depending on taste

In a blender, blend watermelon until smooth. Pass through a sieve and add lime juice to taste. Serve chilled.

TICKET GIVEAWAY FOR THE SOUTHERN C SUMMIT IN NASHVILLE

I adore spending time with fellow Southerners, sharing our passion for the South, the culture, the cuisine, and, of course, the folks who make it so darn charming. Gabbing over biscuits and sweet tea on a front porch is one my favorite places to be in the entire world. The Southern C is a virtual front porch in which I’m a proud contributor for, and I am inviting a special reader to The Southern C Summit taking place in my hometown of Nashville, TN on October 17th. I’ve also included  personal snapshots in this post of my favorite spots in the Nashville area!

All you have to do is leave a comment below, telling me your favorite aspect of Southern culture! I’ll announce the lucky winner on Tuesday, September 24th and contact them via email to get their contact information. I’m giddy as a schoolgirl about this event, and I hope to see you there!

Congrats to Nick for winning The Southern C Summit Ticket Giveaway! Thank you for everyone who participated! 

Here is a link for the schedule of the event. Below is more information about the event from the creators of The Southern C!

Cheri & Whitney’s Top Ten Reasons to Attend The Southern C Summit in Nashville

1.  It’s Nashville!  Need we say more? 

2.  Our venue is beyond cool! Ruby Nashville is located on the edge of Hillsboro Village, surrounded by Fannie Mae Dees Park (aka Dragon Park) and across the street from the Vanderbilt.  The space has been referred to as contemporary, industrial, historic and natural – almost anything other than institutional.  It is housed in what used to be a Primitive Baptist Church (constructed 1945).

3.  Our host hotel, The Loews Vanderbilt, is the only AAA Four-Diamond hotel
in Tennessee for over 28 consecutive years and they just completed its $17
million renovation in July 2013! Swank! 

4.  Can we say VIP?  Take a chartered shuttle (ie. party bus) to Fontanel
and get your Goo Goo on as you sip some Whisper Creek Tennessee SippingCream.  Third time Summit attendee and Goo Goo Cluster Marketing Director Beth Sachan is cooking up a fun plan with the Whisper Creek folks for a big time on the bus!

5.  Can we say double VIP?  Go on a private tour of the Southern Living Idea House and hear from the big man himself… Editor-In-Chief Lindsay Bierman!

6.  The Southern Living Idea House will be decorated for Christmas… squeal!

7.  Two words:  Come hungry!  From Callie’s Charleston Biscuits Breakfast to lunch from Nashville favorites (shrimp & grits from The Southern!) to delicious desserts provided by Husk Restaurant and Grey Ghost Bakery to freshly made pralines prepared by Epting Events and featuring Schermer Pecans, be ready to eat!

8.  All together now… SWAG BAG!  No more words necessary

9.  Educational sessions focusing on social media and marketing strategies with award-winning internet consultant and nationally acclaimed speaker Ryan Dorhn of Brain Swell Media, Southern Living Homes Editor Jennifer Kopf, culinary author & food stylist Libbie Summers and lifestyle blogger Cassie Kelley of Womanista–Inspiring panel discussions with Leapfrog PRGreen Olive Media and Recipe for Press author Amy Flurry with Nan Myers, event designer & owner of Firefly boutique

 10.  We have some surprises in store for you!