Charles Dickens, in a Preface to The Christmas Carol

“I have endeavored in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly.......” Charles Dickens, in a Preface to A Christmas Carol

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Eating My Way Through Tennessee-With Images from Dept. 56 Christmas in the City

Dept. 56, Christmas in the City,
"East Harbor Fish Co.," #58946

I just returned from a first-time visit to Memphis, Chattanooga, and Nashville.  Given that I am on Jenny Craig, it should come as no surprise that some of my fondest memories of our trip include fried chicken, fried catfish, fried eggplant, fried corn, fried sweet potatoes, and that newly-discovered delicacy, fried pickles.  You must admit, though, that southern chefs hold back when they merely grill the romaine, instead of frying it.

Dept. 56, Christmas in the City,
"American Diner" 799939

The most finger-lickin' moment, however, was dipping into my first-ever rubbed rib at Rendezvous in Memphis.  Now, I am as near to being vegetarian, without being vegetarian, as you can get, and those ribs made me forget.  There was a sticky squeeze bottle of bar-b-q sauce on the table, and we added just a tiny line of it along the rib.  Then, daintily, with nary a dribble on my blouse, I nibbled the meat off the bone.  Why have I never done this before?  For the same reason, I shall probably never do it again, though the memory of the taste will linger in my mind far longer than it lingered on my tongue.

Dept. 56, Christmas in the City,
"Johnson's Grocery and Deli," #58886

Of course, there were other temptations:  ...the chocolate chess pie at Puckett's Grocery in Nashville.

Dept. 56, Christmas in the City,
"Molly O'Brien's Irish Pub," #58952

...three different kinds of pretzels at the Flying Saucer in Memphis, including the one drizzled in honey.

Dept. 56, Christmas in the City,
"The Prescott Hotel," #805536

...the biscuits in our hotel in Nashville, without the gravy that I could have slathered on, which proves I am still on a diet.

Dept. 56, Christmas in the City,
"Wintergarten Cafe," #58948

...and, oh, that fried corn and coconut cream pie at Sylvan Park Cafe!

Dept. 56, Christmas in the City,
"Jambalaya Cafe," #59265

Now, just to prove that I have not gone overboard, I state unequivocally that I did not like the luke-warm gumbo in Memphis, though I hold out the possibility that it may have been this particular preparation, though they advertised it as the "Best Gumbo in Memphis." The patio music somewhat made up for the food.

Dept. 56, Christmas in the City,
"DeFazio's Pizzeria," #58949

And I did not like the frozen pizza in our hotel bar in Chattanooga, though the bartender was funny and nice and opened our own bottle(s) of Pinot with great verve and no corkage fee.

Dept. 56, Christmas in the City,
"Hank's Market," #59706

Beyond salads, green items are not allowed on menus in Tennessee.  If a green vegetable has the audacity to present itself to the kitchen, the chef gently adds a brown fried veneer, or, as in the case of my turnip greens, transforms the bright Kelly green leaves into a soggy army fatigue green glob that is turned bitter by the experience.

Dept. 56, Christmas in the City,
"Ferrar Bakery and Cafe," #59272

My next blog will be about the music scene in Memphis.  Actually this blog was supposed to be about the music scene in Memphis, but I have not yet had my delicious Jenny Craig Sunshine Sandwich this morning, so my thoughts naturally turned elsewhere.

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