Friday, August 28, 2015

The Tomato Head (Knoxville)

The Tomato Head
12 Market Square
Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 637-4067


Tons of people suggested we eat at The Tomato Head, and I was in the mood for something healthy, so I strong armed the monkeys into having lunch there before we hit the road.

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It was also on Market Square. I loved the decor.

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We arrived just as they opened and got a booth inside. It quickly filled up, so I was glad we got there when we did.

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The menu lists all sorts of delicious sandwiches and pizzas, but I ordered a boring salad. Well, it wasn't boring, but I kinda wish I would have just gotten something decadent. My chef salad was great though, definitely exciting as far as salads go.

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It was huge! And cost $10.95. Yikes!

Jiro ordered pepperoni rolls off of the appetizer menu. I was jealous.

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Satchel ordered plain pasta off of the kids menu. WTF.

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I think the menu was too full of vegetables and healthy sounding things for the kids. I'd definitely like a do over. Actually, I'd like to walk around and see what everyone else had and try bites of everything!

The best part of the meal was having the kids draw pictures of me while we waited for the food.

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I've never felt so pretty. HA!

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Satchel was a little kinder. Though I was a tad hurt by the fact that he couldn't spell my name!

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The only other things I'd like to note are that Wiseacre Ananda is on the drink menu and one of the waiters was wearing a Wiseacre t-shirt. Yay, Memphis!

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Soccer Taco (Knoxville)

Soccer Taco
9 Market Square
Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 544-4471


We stopped in Knoxville for the night and got a hotel downtown near Market Square. I had a couple of recommendations for dinner places from friends, but once the monkeys saw Soccer Taco it was game on. I mean, how could we not eat there?

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The inside had tons of soccer jerseys and other soccer decor, and of course, lots of soccer on TV.

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It was a really nice evening and there was lots of activity out on the Square, so I insisted on sitting on the patio. The monkeys obliged and we tackled the menu.

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It was quite clever and the names definitely affected what the monkeys ordered. Jiro absolutely had to have the Combinacion Real Madrid, because that is his favorite team! Luckily it was pretty basic--one burrito and one enchilada stuffed with carnitas, topped with cheese sauce and green tomatillo sauce. Served with rice & beans. He politely requested the tomatillo sauce on the side.

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Satchel was tempted by the GOALLLLLLLLLLLL! Burrito, but ordered the Camarones al Mojo de Ajo and a tamale on the side.

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He was much happier than he was at lunch! And no, he didn't come anywhere close to finishing all of that food.

I ordered the Super Bowl Nachos with ground beef, which was dumb. They were a total gut bomb.

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Despite my food not being that great, I enjoyed sitting outside and listening to the monkeys talk about soccer non-stop. It was awesome.

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They begged me to take them back for lunch the next morning, but I insisted on a different restaurant. I would like to go back on another visit though. Soccer taco was voted Best Mexican, Best Nachos & Best Margaritas in Knoxville! Our waiter was a little brusk, but the service was good. Our dinner was in the $30 range.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Pharmacy (Nashville)

The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden
731 McFerrin Ave.
Nashville, TN 37206
(615) 712-9517


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On our road trip last month, we stopped by Nashville's Pharmacy for lunch. I thought to myself, "How could the monkeys not like a burger parlor?" Well, we arrived right at the lunch rush, and Satchel (13), who must have been super hungry, got a little cranky about having to wait. They said it would be about 45 minutes, but honestly we only waited about 5-10. I really wanted to sit outside in the beer garden, but we asked for first available which landed us inside by the bar.

This picture does not do justice to the vast amount of outdoor seating at the Pharmacy. I definitely must go back and have a beer (or ten) in the beer garden someday.

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The Pharmacy makes their own sodas, which was a major selling point for Jiro (11). He ordered a creamsicle.

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Satchel wanted nothing to drink. He ordered water. He was being a poop.

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As far as the food went, Jiro was happy to get a burger "the way he likes it" and I quickly decided on the daily fish grinder with lettuce instead of a bun. (It's a thing.) Satchel, who loves burgers, decided to order chicken tenders off of the kids' menu. Whatever, kid!

The service was good, and our waiter was a typical Nashville hipster type. I think he had a tail, actually. Like an Anakin tail. Satchel complained that I always took him to "hippie" restaurants, but he must have meant hipster. Anyway, I think he's cute even when he acts like a puke.

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Jiro's burger was a nice size and he dug right in.

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He typically leaves a bite or two at the end, so I finished it off for him. Definitely an above average burger and the fries were very good too.

My salmon burger was quite tasty and I was happy. The sweet potato fries were right on.

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Satchel's kids' meal was thankfully quite hearty, and he was happy.

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I'm just remembering that he also ordered tater tots! Ha!

By the time we left, the place had cleared out. They definitely run a tight ship. I want to go back. I also want to try Mas Taco across the street.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mac's Burgers

Mac's Burgers
4698 Spottswood
901-512-4604


I would just like to preface this review by saying that dining with one tween and a teen is not always fun. Ha!

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Last night the monkeys (Satchel, 13, and Jiro, 11) and I met my mom at Mac's Burgers over by the "old" Target/Williams Sonoma outlet. It's in the bulk of what used to Dan McGuinness. (Dan McGuinness is still open, but in a much smaller space.) We arrived at 6:00pm and the front of the restaurant was pretty full. They seated us at a tall table by the bar. Satchel looked over and saw that there was a huge screen showing the US National Men's soccer team, and was immediately smitten. "It's already better than Skybox," he said, meaning he didn't have to request a channel change.

Unfortunately where we were sitting it was FREEZING. I mean, uncomfortably so. I am not a wimp about A/C, but it really was too much. They couldn't adjust it so they moved us back up front by the window with the general population. By this point the teenager was 1. mortified by his mother being too cold to sit at the table he liked; 2. mortified by his mother complaining about the cold; and 3. annoyed that even though 3 out of the 4 of us wanted to move we did not bend to his wishes. There were TVs everywhere so he could still see the game if he wanted, but he opted to sit where he could not just so I knew how miserable I had made him.

Good times.

Next, we consulted the menu. I had already decided in advance on a salad. Jiro quickly informed me that he wanted the Mac and Cheeseburger which comes with macaroni. This was quite adventurous for him. Then he said, I don't know what a double is, but I want that too. When I explained it was two meat patties, he was thrilled. (Someone was hungry!) My mom asked the waiter a few questions about the mac and cheese options (you can pick three), further mortifying Satchel. By the time it was his time to order, he said he felt pressured to get the mac and cheese with grilled shrimp instead of the Boom Boom Chicken that he originally wanted.

He just could not even.

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Anyways! I commented that I couldn't believe no one got one of the fancy frozen lemonades that the populous has been raving about. Eventually we agreed to split a mango lemonade.

The food came out crazy fast and all at once. Sweet!

Jiro's burger was beautiful.

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He said it was hard to eat, but he was up to the challenge.

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Satchel is usually good about asking that offensive menu items are removed from his meal prior to ordering, but not this time. He quickly ate the shrimp and picked at the macaroni that wasn't touching the peppers.

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My mom was very happy with her mac n cheese trio (grilled chicken, grilled shrimp and cheesesteak).



My salad was clearly less exciting, but very tasty. (Are you seeing a grilled pepper theme?)

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The mango lemonade was very delicious and very sweet. I would definitely recommend adding a little alcohol--especially if dining with a teenager.

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Because I am sweet and I love my cranky teenager, I asked if he wanted to order the Boom Boom Chicken. It was clear he was still hungry. He grumpily agreed to eat it if I ordered it.

Look! A real smile.

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Do you need a closer look at his food?

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Uh, yum, right? I am a sucker for Boom Boom sauce. I had one fry and then another and so on. Clearly getting a salad was dumb. Just as he was finishing, a runner brought over a separate bowl with more chicken in it. We were all confused until the waiter came over and said that the chef didn't think he put enough chicken on the first time. Uh, ok, we'll take it! My mom and Jiro had a taste and then Satchel asked that I take the waiter up on his offer to go box the rest of them.

Just when I thought everyone was happy, Jiro started in with the "can we leave yets." I had visions of strolling through Williams Sonoma or making a quick run through Target, but it wasn't happening.

I paid the bill ($69) and we hit the road.

We'll be back (with hoodies) and hopefully the boys will be less moody. If not, there's always spiked lemonade!

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Blue Nile Ethiopian Kitchen

Blue Nile
1788 Madison Avenue
(901) 474-7214


On Saturday, the monkeys (Satchel, 13, and Jiro, 11) and I decided to try out the new Ethiopian restaurant on Madison, Blue Nile. I'd been trying to get there for a few weeks and was surprised by what an easy sell it was to the monkeys. Satchel loves njera and when he reminded Jiro of what it is ("that yummy spongy bread"), he quickly got on board. When I mentioned that the owner was the same as the Stick 'em food truck, well, we couldn't get there fast enough.

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Jiro was super sleepy from a "sleep"over the night before and was begging for a Coke, so it was kind of funny when we saw the temporary (?) sign out front.

Inside, it was cool and dark, with fans blowing. I loved the curtains over the windows. It felt a little like we were in a restaurant in Ethiopia. (Not that I've ever been in one, but it felt authentic.)

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The kids insisted on sitting so they could see the beautiful mural. They played a game where they tried to find differences between the two lions.

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Ok, so what about the food? The menu is awesome. It's very clear and has a lot of variety, without being overwhelming.

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Our waitress mentioned that they had recently added a burger and that it was awesome. I thought Jiro might go for that, but he really wanted kabobs. Satchel ordered doro wat with chicken. I asked super nicely if they'd let me have the snapper, which is apparently only on the dinner menu. Our waitress said Ermyias, the owner, was in the kitchen, so she confirmed with him and I was good to go. Yay! I asked to look at the dinner menu while we waited and it looked pretty similar to lunch, but with the addition of the snapper, a beef jerky appetizer and a couple of desserts. After looking it over, I added a beet salad to our order. I love beets.

The food came out really quickly and looked delicious. This is Satchel's kind of meal!

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Jiro was very pleased with his kabobs too. They were very similar to what is sold on the food truck, but look even prettier on a plate with rice.

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And I was thrilled with the snapper. It was perfect.

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And the beet salad did not disappoint. There were a few peppers hiding in there so it had a nice kick.

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The food, the atmosphere, the service--everything was great. None of us could come up with a single complaint! Our lunch was $49 plus tip, but we ordered big. We will definitely be back! Y'all go try it.

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