Sunday, August 13, 2006

Ideastorming while eating well...

One of the things I thought about while on the Mathfest trip was about restaurants -- how much fun it would be to have my own or work in one (which is something I've never done.) This idea probably falls into the realm of pipe-dreams, I'm afraid, but it gave me something new to think about and explore. On the way home from Knoxville last night, my friend Anne T. and I stopped at a tiny restaurant in Black Mountain, Cafe Bijan, which had wonderful food and eclectic, rustic decor. We split the Fish Tacos (four small handmade tortillas with tilapia, mango chutney, pineapple, etc.) and Montreat Salad (delicious fresh salad greens with herb-crusted goat cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries, and other goodies with I think a homemade raspberry viniagrette dressing) and cheesecake with caramel sauce and blueberries for dessert. All of it was scrumptious, but I especially loved the goat cheese/salad combination. The owner would love to have a partner or some real help -- she does all the cooking and waits tables besides -- so if you are looking for this sort of a work experience, or know someone who is, get in touch with Michelle. (I have her phone number if you need it -- I don't know if the one at the Cafe Bijan link above is good, but she gave me another.) Another great restaurant from the trip was Tomato Head which is located at Market Square in downtown Knoxville. It's a very busy place, with sturdy utilitarian oak tables and chairs, college student waiters with no-nonsense attitudes and white aprons tied around their jeans, and decor that seems almost an afterthought. The food was great, with so many interesting choices we regretted not being able to try more of them. We ate there twice, and sampled such things as the Kepner Melt (a vegetarian sandwich), Salad with Tuna, and Bean Quesadilla (with spinach - very tasty - check the Tomato Head link above for more descriptions, as well as some very cool graphics.) A carnivorous colleague enjoyed the Pizza Number 3, which was piled with lamb sausage, capers, black olives, and herbed tomatoes. This restaurant reminded me of one I frequented in St. Louis in my brief college stint there. I think it was called "Grandma's" and served mostly soup and bread, and had the same kind of atmosphere as Tomato Head, though a little less refined :-)

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