Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Chattanooga Food

Sicilian Salad

Romaine with tomato, pine nuts, artichoke heart, tri-color orzo, grilled chicken and a very tangy vinaigrette.

I noticed that my blog has been about 50 percent foods and 50 percent critters. Maybe I crave both equally... should I rename the blog??

Anyway, Chattanooga seemed to have a lot of wonderful restaurants and we ate at some of them. Here's my reviews. The salad above was from an Italian restaurant... I think it was called Tony's, in Chattanooga's art district. When I think art district, I think Chicago's extensive River North district. Well. This is not like that. It's a quiet area with a view of the river and a sculpture park featuring changing exhibits. We didn't find any galleries that were open on a Saturday evening, and really, we didn't see many galleries in general. But they did have several cafes with patios and umbrellas. Tony's (I'll have to call it that until I retrieve the real name from my faulty memory) was a very busy eatery featuring freshly made pasta and wood floors that refracted the din of voices in every direction. So much so that our server confessed at least five times that he couldn't hear what we said. In their favor: ample artisan bread, served warm with olive oil and parmesan for sopping; pretty view of gardens outside; menu with both create-you-own combinations for pizza and pasta as well as house specialties. While my Italian mom said the sauce was not as good as hers, and I found myself sprinkling sugar over my salad to cut the dressing's overt zing, Joe and my Italian dad liked their pasta dishes.

Another popular joint: Easy Seafood
Easy Seafood Company has New Orleans-style cuisine with prices and sodium a little higher than I'd like.
I will say the mussels were delicious... but tiny! And not as good as the mussels Provencale at Shaw's Crab House (a franchise I haven't seen since we moved South)
Joe enjoyed his shrimp Po' Boy. But I think the hoagies we can get at Po Boy's in Hopkinsville give better bang for our buck.
I ordered one of the specials... sea scallops with organic heirloom veggies and new potatoes. All ingredients that I really like. The waiter informed us the restaurant paid top dollar for the produce, but sadly I couldn't really distinguish the taste of the string beans from the vidalia from the baby summer squash (and we all know I've been tasting a lot of squash lately). Even the scallop's natural sweetness was completely drowned out in a heavy pool of extra-salty butter sauce.

Sniff. I was really cranky about this. I even took to blotting each fork-full with my napkin like I used to do to pizza when I was a skinny teenager who thought she was fat. Now I don't care so much about the calories ... but I felt robbed of the experience of all those delicate but distinct flavors that my meal, on the menu, seemed to promise.

Garden Walk Inn
I must end on a happier note. The most satisfying and satiating moments of our Chattanooga trip were the breakfasts. I'm kicking myself now for not taking pictures. We stayed at the Garden Walk Inn, a B&B up on Lookout Mountain. The proprietors, Ed and Erma, were out of town and their friend Pam was subbing.

As some of you know, my digestive track and dairy don't get along. But before you jump to the conclusion that I don't like milk, let me say I grew up drinking gobs of the stuff and my very first coherent word, before mama or dada, was "chee" (translation: "give me another Kraft American Single, please.")

Another thing you might know about me is that I LOVE BREAKFAST. So staying at a B&B that only serves dishes chock-full of moo juice can really ruin my mood...and the moods of everyone else around me. So my dear mom-in-life talked to Pam before we made reservations to see if she could sub soy milk in her recipes, or even just serve me cereal and soy milk. She could, she said, and so we booked our cottage.

Well, the evening we arrived, Pam suggested I could write a recipe using soy and she'd see what she could do. Pancakes were on the menu for the following morning.
So I wrote down a recipe I created and know by heart:

Banana Soy Silver Dollars
2 bananas mashed
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups silk (soy milk that actually tastes good)
1 cup flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Add wet to dry and stir till just moist, but still lumpy. Add vegetable oil to skillet on meduium heat and drop spoonfuls into pan. Flip when bubbles form and pop.

The next morning, while others were eating their big chocolate chip flapjacks from Sam's Club pancake mix... I was eating homemade banana soycakes. Mmmmm. There were extra, so I took them in a baggie and ate them in the darker parts of the Tennessee Aquarium. :-) Kudos to Pam at Garden Walk Inn!

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Em! I finally have time to get caught up on your blog and I'm loving it...the food descriptions, the recipes...I can't wait to try the Banana Soy Silver Dollars! (since I have converted to soy milk) :)

Your experience with the butter-drowned scallops reminds me of the veggie dishes in Taiwan...especially the greens that get drowned in oil. Ugh!