Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Fave Restaurant Meme

It's a most intriguing question, presented to me by the lovable Tits McGee -- name your five favorite places for dining out. It must be noted that her food blog makes me delirious with hunger. I'll happily offer my faves and then ask some other bloggers to play along with this list-madness is they wish. Or if you, dear reader, can suggest your faves, I'll be equally happy to receive your input.

There are many challenges in answering her meme about my favorite places to dine out, as the selection of restaurants in Morristown is truly bleak. If you love fast food or the omnipresent buffet/trough menus (sheltered dining via a sneeze-guard), you're in heaven in Mo'town. (Which Hardee's location do yo like best? The one on the East end of town or on the West end?)

Otherwise, there just isn't much to recommend. There are some non-chain/franchise choices, but sadly, none that ever made me want to say "I love to eat there!"

Some years back while working in Prison Forge -- I mean Pigeon Forge, sorry -- we would often go to a local cafeteria, whose name I have erased from my memory. It only had two good points - it was very close to where I worked and it had the funniest staff. Every time we ate there, some scowling woman would yell at us "Havin' a meat???" I just loved that. The food wasn't very good, but for some reason "Havin' a meat???" always made me feel great.

So I go most often into Knoxville, where there are also many fast food or chain options, but also many unique places too. Some of my favorites are no longer in operation, I fear, like La Paz, where the food portions were huge and the pitchers of Margaritas were endless. Anyway, in no particular order, here are my choices:

1. Nama Sushi Bar - great sushi and Japanese food, which The Editor took me to on my last birthday. I was in swooning from the food and the plating there was a notch above most places (hell, they actually have plating). In fact, I plan to go there in the next few days and experience it again.

2. Tomato Head - if there is a food I never get tired of, it's pizza. Tomato Head makes the best in East Tennessee. Period. The End.

3. Ridgewood Barbecue - this place is legendary and worth every legend. It's a small place to dine, in a small building on the Elizabethton Highway near Bluff City, but they have the best barbecue in the state in my opinion. You must order a side of their beans. Better than words can say.

4. Italian Market and Grill - another long drive out to west Knox for this place, but every time I go inside the place, my eyes water from the aroma of garlic. That's a fine thing. I could almost fill up on their fresh bread, which you must dip into some olive oil and black pepper.

Obviously, I am going to have to go sample some new places, as I cannot list 5 places, only 4.

And I'm really hungry now, writing about food. The one other place I always like to eat is my kitchen. Whether it's a burnt-weenie sandwich or something off the grill the food here is always fine. Cooking meat outside is always a pleasure.

For five folks to tag to add to this meme -- here ya go:

The Editor needs to jump in on this one.
So does her sister in California, Valley Grrrl.
The Vol Abroad gets a tag too. I wanna know where she goes in London.
And Alice at 10,000 Monkeys And A Camera gets tagged.
And Mack gets a tag at Coyote Chronicles.

Remember, I need suggestions too. so add yours in the comments!


  1. Well done well done! Nama sushi bar sounds good..and tomato head sounds like such a cute name for a place!

    I'm pretty sure Vol Abroad has done the tag before...I've got her on my updated list

    Ps thanks for doing the tag. If you know of anyone else doing it please feel free to send me a message and I’ll update them too on the updated list of tag doers

  2. Anonymous12:30 AM

    Nama Sushi Bar sounds like some top notch Jap food place. Wooo... You make me crave for some now.

    haha.. Tomato Head is a cute name :) Now that you mention it makes the best... hemmm.. it's on my TO VISIT place if I drop by.

    Thanks for doing the tag and sharing great food with me.

  3. Anonymous2:18 AM

    I'll play your game. Start with Aubrys,east or west.They do a mouth watering steak ona stick.,filet mignon marinaed and cooked right (medium) and their chili is oh-so-good.Next,Bravo's,it's a chain but they have the best bread and sun dried tomato olive oiland their chicken dishes are wonderful.Joe,I agree about Italian Market and Grill,absolutely great. I have to chastise you about our local fare.Have you tried Cafe Mozart in downtown.It's a bit of Euro-Germanic flair.Also Dales Diner across from Big-Lots on the east end,a good honest burger and hot dog(get your dog deep fried).And last but not least Linderhoffs,way out knox west.Asmall german restaurant that is better than words can say.If you go be prepared to wait,it is all fresh cooked and not in a hurry,but to be presented with a plate of polnicze wurst,great saurkraut and german mashed potatoes with a very tall glass of Warseinner beer.It don;t get better.Just heaven

  4. Joe,

    You forgot the Hardees on Buffalo Trail?

    I agree with James that you haven't quite represented the local, albeit limited, selection. I haven't tried Cafe Mozart, but James is only the most recent recommendation I've heard. Almost across the street is Java Garden. They have wonderful salads, wraps, paninis, and desserts. Not to mention the best coffee in town, whether you just want a "cup of joe" or something fancy-schmancy. OK, that's two, hmmm. . . Oh, I tried Mama Mia's pizza recently. They have another location in Jeff City. Not bad, at all, and the portions are HUGE! Mexico Lindo is great. Real Mexican food, the way you get it in Mexico-delicious.

    Well, I can only come up with four. Wait! There are two locations of Mexico Lindo, so that's five. Come on, Joe. Morristown is no bustling metropolis, but you don't HAVE to go to Knoxville to get a good meal.


  5. Nicole -- thanks for stopping by to read and nice going on starting this meme. i loves foods!! and what a fine blog you got there!

    Velverse - thanks for the visit and another fine blog too. it makes me laugh to know that the name Tomato Head made you and Nicole giggle :)

    James and Snikta -- good reminders on the coffee in Mo'town, but i still like my homeade version best. I also loved to go to the Java Garden under it's original owners.
    Mozart Cafe? I'll check it out!
    And yes, Mexico Lindo almost made my list, but I decided to keep some of my pleasures secret!

  6. Anonymous9:40 AM

    Oh, how I miss Tomato Head. I could use a Cheddar Head just about now. And, um, the West end Hardees has better biscuits and gravy. :) For in-town pizza, don't forget Pizza Cottage. For Knox pizza, I'm partial to Barley's.

  7. Anonymous9:41 AM

    Joe, is the Smokehouse Grill still open? It seems like every place I end up liking in Morristown is closed by the time I go back.

  8. Rachel -- Yes, the Smokehous Cafe is still going and they do have some great soul food on the menu. My only complaint is that the atmosphere/building is just kinda weird.
    Call me picky :)

  9. I remember eating out in Morristown once. They didn't charge for coffee or food and everyone loved to sing hymnals. It was so nice. What was the name of that place? It was right down the street from this coffee shop...

  10. Anonymous1:09 AM

    Fun fun FUN. Good luck with The Editor, though. Apparently she's allergic to blogging.

  11. psst! LAB!! that was the Daily Bread, the community kitchen (aka Food for Recovering Addicts and the Struggling Poor). I heard you're picture is posted there now with the warning: Do Not Serve This Man!! heh heh

    Kelvis - the Editor is so lax. i think it's cause she's in loooooooooooove.

  12. Anonymous4:22 PM

    i remember enjoying my visit to the dan'l boone truckstop. i think it's on i-40

  13. You know I heart you for doing this, right?

    Also, I'll be in Memphis June 15 - 17. Any chance of a lunch date on the 16th?