Monday, September 15, 2008

Chattanooga I Choo Choo Choose You!

While in Chattanooga, aside from going to the aquarium, the Hunter, seeing a childhood idol, and walking around in (at times) oppressive heat, I did a lot of eating, and a little shopping.

I was on a mission to eat as much southern vegetarian food as possible, but didn’t realize what a challenge that would really be. There was a vegetarian restaurant, but is was closed on Saturday when I tried to go, so it was not meant to be.

The one, more Southern chain that I did go to for the first time was Cheeburger Cheeburger. They had a veggie burger, and they aren’t kidding when they say “bigger is better,” the patty was a full two inches bigger than the bun. And the whole thing was held together with a large toothpick topped with a green olive. We got some “Frings” which is an order of fries and rings. The onion rings were the best I have ever had.

By far, the most outstanding meal I had while in Chattanooga was at Terra Nostra a tapas restaurant on the North Shore. We enjoyed a variety of vegetarian tapas including, asparagus au gratin, a cheese platter, spinach phyllo, mozzarella bruschetta, and fried yummies, which were fried sweet potato wedges with chili spices and brown sugar.

We enjoyed the $12 pitcher of Sangria, and the Crème Brule, but the highlight of the meal was the fresh fig dessert with goat cheese mousse. I will probably talk about it for the rest of my life. The figs (above) were picked that day from the owner’s tree, and they were amazing. It was the first time I had eaten fresh fig. The staff was also super friendly and attentive, it was a great night. If you are ever in Chattanooga, you have to go.

In the world of retail, the North Shore was the place to go. I loved Blue Skies, the Winder Binder Gallery of Folk Art and just across the pedestrian bridge in the Bluff View Art District, World Next Door. Everyone at these shops was very friendly, talkative, informative and friendly (yes, they were friendly twice).

For the first day or so, I was confused when random people spoke to me and I would nod and shuffle on with my eyes down. But after a while my frosty New England nature thawed and I found myself striking up conversations with any stranger that came across my path. It is really a different world. Everyone was so nice! It might take me a while to readjust to being in the land of “good fences make good neighbors.”


Anonymous said...

I choo-choo-choose you, B.


paper wren said...

Thanks. Choo-choo-choose back at you.

oline said...

aw. i'm glad good ole chatty was good to ya.

paper wren said...

Your home state didn't disappoint. They even had a welcome sign at the airport for the conference attendees. "Welcome National Assemble of State Arts Agencies!" I mean really, it was so sweet it was almost heartbreaking.