Travels: A food and music-filled trip to Nashville, 2017

(Attention: If you are only interested in the “food” section of this post, please scroll down to the bottom.)

This is the fourth year that Drew and I have attended CMA Fest in Nashville, TN, and I believe this one was the best yet! (minus a new complaint I’ll explain soon.)

We arrived Thursday morning around 9:30. After finally finding a parking spot and walking to the entrance of the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage (the biggest free stage, where Old Dominion was beginning the show), and waiting in line for about 45 minutes to get security checked, we finally made it to see the last two songs of Old Dominion. =(

Throughout the four day festival, we spent a lot of time at the Riverfront Stage, but also ventured out to the new Budweiser Dome, the new Crackerbarrel Stage,  and the usual Park Stage and Hard Rock Cafe Stage.  Here are some pics of just a few of the great acts we saw:

Chevrolet Riverfront Stage:

Bretty Young

Budweiser Dome Stage:

Maddie & Tae
Deana Carter
Lauren Alaina

Crackerbarrel Stage:

Danielle Peck

Park Stage:

Clare Dunn

Music City Center Stage:

Post Monroe

We also enjoyed a bit of time each day inside of FanFairX, where my complaint comes in. Years before, you can get in line to meet artists at their “meet and greets”. If you were there early, you could probably make the cut. However, this year, you now have to win a technology-based doorprize to be able to get in line to see these stars. So, I won nothing and got ZERO pics or autographs this year. Not cool, CMA Fest, not cool.
The best I could do was stand on the side and take embarrassing pictures of stars.

Kellie Pickler

However, there are a few stages in FanFairX as well, and we got to see a few great artists here as well, in the lovely air conditioning.

Hunter Hayes

One of my favorite things about CMA Fest is always enjoying the many “freebies” we come across. Here’s a blog post specifically showing all that we got this year:



In a very particular order, least favorite to favorite, here are the full blog posts of all four dinners we had while in Nashville. And yes, this was the best food weekend here yet!

Fresh to Order:

The Wild Cow:

Thai Esane:


The only other restaurant I have drastically enjoyed in Nashville is Mas Tacos, which we visited last year.
If you have any other suggestions for places I MUST try during our next Nashville trip, please let me know in the comments!



Food Review: Fantastic Thai at Thai Esane in Nashville

I am 99% sure this is the best Thai restaurant I have ever eaten at. Located in the Gulch in downtown Nashville, it is modern and full of options for both drinks and food. Here’s the breakdown:


While the outside of this restaurant looks like nothing fancy, especially for the Gulch area, the inside is very nice, modern, and clean. (As were the bathrooms, which is important to me.)




The drink menu had many unique cocktails, reasonably priced, as well as craft beers and wines.

We decided on the Long Island Thai Tea (Freshly brewed Thai iced tea, Vodka, Rum, Gin, Tequila, Tripe Sec, sweet & sour mix, topped with Sprite.  It was delicious! The Thai iced tea had more of a chai taste than iced tea I am used to. It didn’t taste overly alcoholic, even with all that was included. I would definitely get this drink again.
We also got the Thai Tonic (Gin, Thai basil, cucumber, lime juice, and tonic water.)  This was a kicked up Gin & Tonic, with so many more flavors. You can really taste the Thai basil and cucumber. It was refreshing and delicious.


You can see the full menu here: menu.

While there are so many options to choose from, from 16 appetizers, to rice entrees, to pan fried dishes, to noodle soups, to house specials, my favorite part of the menu was each item had a picture! I love that.



Papaya Salad (Esane Style) $6.95
Description: Carrots, papaya, tomatoes, lime juice, fish sauce, shrimp paste, tamarind sauce.

For those of you who read this blog, you know I have been bound and determined to try a papaya salad that I like. However, the two I have tried before were sooo spicy, they were inedible.
FINALLY! This papaya salad was not spicy and it was pretty good! I loved the crunch of the fresh veggies. The sauce they used was not overbearing, but had enough flavor that the salad was enjoyable.
My only complaint was there was too much fish sauce. A few bites in, that flavor (which I can only describe as foot funk) became overwhelming and I had to put down the fork.
Drew finished it off and enjoyed it tremendously, however.

Paneang Curry, $10.95
Description: Broccoli and carrots in thick creamy curry sauce.
With choice of chicken, beef, pork, or tofu. Seafood is an extra cost.

Oh Lawd! This was so good. This was the perfect paneang sauce, so creamy and peanut-y. I couldn’t get enough of this. I got it with chicken, which was perfectly tender. I loved the broccoli in it as well, which I don’t see very often. This dish was PERFECT.

Masaman Curry, $10.95
Description: Potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, and onions.
Comes with choice of chicken, beef, pork, or tofu. Seafood costs more.

Another home run! This masaman was very delicious, being the quintessential masaman curry I love. The potatoes and carrots both soaked up the creamy sauce so well that they were a softer texture, but full of flavor. I really enjoyed that!
We got tofu in this one was it was cooked perfectly. I hate just a boiled tofu. I prefer a seared one with some outside texture. They seared our tofu bites just how I like them!


Well, I’m going to have to come here whenever I visit Nashville, even though there are so many other great restaurants I have on my list. But when that Thai food craving hits, this place more than hit the spot. It was absolutely delicious and certainly not expensive for all we got.
I will continue to get the paneang curry, as it was the best I’d ever had, but may try something new besides the masaman and the papaya salad, because I’m sure I’m missing out on plenty of other delicious items.