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.
When I was little, I hated vegetables. Hated them. Avoided them at any price. Would not eat them unless I was forced to, which generally was in the form of having to stay at the supper table until I cleaned my plate. And we all know how wonderfully delicious cold lima beans are. (Parents!) But now? As a card-carrying adult — and that’s an AARP card — I adore fresh vegetables and eat them any chance I get. Luckily, folks dear to my heart are skilled vegetable cooks so I get to enjoy the fruits of their labors. Such as Older Daughter, who replanted her vegetable and herb garden after the April 27 tornado near Huntsville, Alabama, pretty much flattened it. Today, less than three months later, it’s thriving and healthy and all she has to do is walk across her back yard to get makings for the lightest and most flavorful vegetable & pasta dish ever. I’m not a big fan of pasta — although I love the way Nigella Lawson says it: “Past-ah.” — but I asked for seconds of this. It was that good. And then my friend Evelyn made a yummy summer feast that starred a cool and refreshing watermelon salad along with lightly cooked and delicious yellow squash. Now, what’s for dessert?
I am not one to use my blogging space to shamelessly market and promote my other endeavors … I mean …. to try to convince you to read my things I actually get paid for … uh … I mean … to try to up readership of my other online articles … oh, what the heck … Here is a food story I did today for the TimesDaily on a cool and refreshing no-cook fresh-vegetable salad — http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20100728/ARTICLES/307289999 — and my latest weekly newspaper column, http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20100723/ARTICLES/307239995, which is about my 2-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable and I learning how much fun it is to drop globs of Play-Doh on the floor and squish them flat with our feet. His mommy was not amused. Okay, the commercial is over. We now return to your regularly scheduled blogging.