Chattanooga Food

Whenever we go to Chattanooga, Tenn., it’s difficult to leave the eclectic exuberance of Northshore food (doughnuts, hot dogs, beer, coffee, wine, biscuits, pancakes, cupcakes) for the more uptown feel of downtown eateries.  But recently Younger Daughter recommended 212 Market Restaurant, which is at … 212 Market St., near the Tennessee River. And she was correct. From the strangely comforting 1980s-style decor to the exemplary service and fresh-tasting food — much of it from local farmers and ranchers — 212 Market is a winner. We ordered as we like to do — mainly from the salad, sides and appetizer sections of a menu — and ended up with yummy vegetables and well-dressed salads that blended contrasting tastes and textures together deliciously. Warm homemade bread and glasses of reisling were the perfect touches. And of course we have to check out the dessert menu, too. After all, woman cannot live on lettuce and carrots — albeit satisfying and tasty lettuce and carrots — alone.  And who can resist a dessert sampler of creme brulee, cheesecake and chocolate truffle cake? I think we all know the answer to that.  212 Market also is known for its wine selection and offers a solar deck out back where dogs and bicycles are welcome. You’ve gotta love a place where dogs, bikes, wine and creme brulee mingle comfortably.

Five Senses — Yum! (Sung to the Music from the Red Robin Ad)

Oh my goodness! Husband and I recently had a wonderful meal at Five Senses restaurant in Murfreesboro, Tennessee quick overnight trip, and after a late and satisfying lunch on the way at Miss Annie’s Rustic Park Restaurant and Beer Garden in St. Joseph, Tennessee, it was later in the evening before we started thinking about eating again. (Oh, who am I kidding? When we’re on the road, I always think about eating.) The ‘Boro has some great choices, and since we still mourn the loss of downtown pizza place “Tomato, Tomato,” we picked its upscale sibling Five Senses. Or, rather, JP picked it and I agreed. It was either Five Senses or Red Robin, and while I always enjoy working my way down a tower of fried onion rings,  we made the correct decision here. We went with small plates instead of entrees and so started with three appetizers: fried oysters, Readyville Mill grits and a crabcake, all flavorful and with lovely sauces and little salads.  Then Husband JP had a wedge salad, which he was delighted to see came in deconstructed form so he could play with his food, and I had a salad with fresh local lettuce. And then, dessert. Oh my oh my.  Usually creme brulee is my go-to, but JP talked me out of it with a suggestion to try something new. Thank you, dear sweetie, because this trio of sorbets — pomegranate, mango and pink grapefruit on crispy lace cookies “glued” to the plate with homemade whipped cream — was absolutely divine. Every bite was cool, creamy, tart or sweet. And, honestly, to tell the truth, as much as I adore creme brulee and would eat it every day except that it’s like 10,000 calories per bite, the best part is the contrast of the crunchy sugar top with the smooth richness underneath. When that’s gone, it’s still good but bordering possibly on sameness. However, every bite of this sorbet — every single bite  — was an adventure. As it always is when I go out with my husband.