It’s no secret, hands down, my favorite restaurant in Nashville is Mas Tacos Por Favor. I would choose it over all the current critically acclaimed Nashville restaurant names: Husk, Etch, even Rolf & Daughters (the latter two being my other favorites when money isn’t too tight)! Mas Tacos is located in a “currently-it’s-going-through-a-regentrification” neighborhood across the river in East Nashville. This means every fourth house on the street is a renovated gem of a bungalow, and all the others are in desperate need of love. The area is a tad bit sketchy and I’m pretty sure The Hubs would have declared the location somewhere to avoid if only the food wasn’t so dang tasty! Mas Tacos is a food truck turned brick and mortar with tattered, mismatched, junky seats and tables from various decades. The menu is colorfully written in chalk on a board above the ordering window. The tiny building is NOT air conditioned and you’d better bring some paper money because it’s cash only, baby (an ATM is located in the back in case you forget). A line of hungry customers almost always weaves through the place and out of the front door. No other place in this city (planet?) exists where I’d wait in line outdoors in Tennessee’s 95% humidity only to dine off of paper plates on second-hand furniture with no a/c in sight. This is that one and only place; the food is that good.
Not that it matters, but, Mas Tacos has been featured on more than a few different Food Network shows. Thanks Food Network, but I don’t need Guy Fieri screaming at me about what most of Nashville already knows.
Selling upscale tacos with fancy cabbage slaw for $3 a pop, homemade spicy chicken tortilla soup topped with fresh avocado and cherry tomatoes ($5), and watermelon agua fresco ($2 and OMG to die for) it is the best Mexican restaurant in Nashville that also won’t break the bank. One of the items they do best is elote (ee-low-teh), which translates into “corn on the cob”. I’ve read elote is a type of Mexican street food, but the one and only time I was in Mexico I never saw any so I guess I’ll have to take the internet’s word for it. Basically you grill corn (or bake or cook in a pan on the stove), then slather it with mayonnaise, roll it in shredded cojita cheese, sprinkle it with cayenne pepper, and squeeze fresh lime juice on top. For an entire year of eating elote at Mas Tacos, I had no idea the glue that made the cheese stick was mayo! You really can’t taste it. If you have an aversion to mayo, you can use butter, Mexican crema, or sour cream. Let’s get it started!
Peel the corn as cleanly as you can, but leave the end nubs. The nubs later become convenient eating handles! Preheat your grill to medium high heat (or grill pan or an oven) and place corn onto grill. You do not need any nonstick spray, oil or butter, just place the naked ear of corn over the hot flames. Rotate until all sides are charred. The cooking process should take about 10 minutes total. If you hear popping, you probably closed your grill lid and the heat is too high (oopsie)! Simply lower the heat a little and leave the lid open to prevent any further kernel explosions.
Next, let the corn cool just a little bit. Using a basting brush, paint the corn ears with mayo and roll it in shredded cojita cheese. (I used a kitchen rasp to get my cheese to a super fine texture.) Lastly, sprinkle with cayenne pepper and serve with a lime wedge for garnish. If cayenne is too much heat for you, try chili powder or ancho chile powder. It’s that simple!!!
Elote (Mexican Street Corn)
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 2 ears of corn on the cob (or as many ears as needed!)
- 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise (1 tbsp per ear and low-fat works just great!)
- 1/2 cup of finely shredded cojita cheese (use a kitchen rasp)
- 1 large pinch of ground cayenne pepper to sprinkle
- lime wedge for garnish
- Preheat grill to medium high heat.
- Peel husks and silks from corn. Leave end nub as handle for ease when eating.
- Grill naked ears of corn over direct heat for 10-12 minutes, continually turning until well-charred on all sides.
- Remove charred corn from grill and slather with mayonnaise.
- Roll corn in shredded cojita cheese.
- Sprinkle all sides with cayenne pepper.
- Garnish with a lime wedge.
- Collect accolades!