Friday, January 20, 2006

Good Eats

Ahh, where to begin?
Well, with Kat and I both being commuters and both working jobs which don't pay comparitively all that much, we have been forced to discover the blessing of cheap eateries. Or, as I like to call them, cheaperies (cheateries sounded like a place where liars were spawning on the floor). I hope in this continuing quest to uncover a wealth of good deals and great food, but here are a few gems I've come across so far.

Oscar's Fine Italian Restaurant

Located in the heart of Cumberland Street, otherwise known as 'The Strip', Oscar's has a laundry list of European originals twisted with modernity for the vegan, vegetarian, or cosmopolitan carnivore in you. Andy introduced me to this place recently. We had the luck to happen in on a Tuesday, which as we discovered, is half-price sandwich day. Two things I've tried so far are as follows: the Kafte Burger; Angus steak, lettuce, tomatoes, and spices, with a Greek dipping sauce that I can't remember the name of, all stuffed into a large pita pocket. And the Hudson & Hummus; a grilled chicken and hummus sandwich with spices also in a pita pocket, served with an Italian dressing on the side. I got my Kafte for $3.82 on Tuesday. That's the price of a Grande Mocha from Starbucks.


This bar, which happens to be on a quaint corner of the wonderful Market Square, always has a lunch special that goes for $3.99 on weekdays, as I recall. It's usually a homecookin' sort of sandwich or meat served with mashed potatoes and green beans. Mama's kitchen downtown. And of course, being a bar with a Scottish name, they have a great selection of fine brews.

Sutherland Deli

The lighting's a bit low for a deli, and this place is more of a bar, but that's the name. Kat and I, in a between-paychecks sort of bind, were deciding if we could afford to eat out today while we were driving down Sutherland, just uptown from Knoxville River Sports. Lo and behold, we both spot a sign that boasts two hot dogs for $1. Yep, that's right, one dollar. So, I 180-ed the car like the A-team van, and we pulled in to see the sights. It's a little hole in the wall about as wide as my bed, but we got FOUR, count 'em, FOUR fully loaded chili dogs for $2.19. That's good eatin'.

The Fresh Market

Situated just past the majestic houses of Sequoia Hills (since we have a great many Sequoias in Knoxville) on Kingston Pike is the finest grocery store this side of the tracks. The name Fresh Market ain't fooling you. Their food, from the meat down to the spices, is fresh from......wherever it comes from. I was on a sushi kick for a bit, and once I found out that this place had better prices, and better sushi, than Kroger, I was hooked. I got a seaweed salad for $3.26 or something like that. But I was going vegetarian that day. They have plenty of rainbow roll, california roll, eel, and so forth. They also have one of those places where you get deli meats and pre-fixed food like potato salad. Except they have more. Fresh Market comes highly recommended.


Now, I know what you're thinking. But before you cart me off to the sold-out farm let me tell you a couple things. The folks at their deli pile the plates HIGH. For a few bucks you get twice the chicken that you'd get from the Colonel. And it's good stuff too. Comes with side items and so on. I'm never disappointed by their potato salad, mayo or mustard flavor.

Pasta Trio

The culmination of this little culinary trip happens down in the Old City. Across from Knoxville Cigar Co., this little place gets my vote hands down for the best take-out in Knoxville. Twenty bucks bought dinner for two with salads (that come with awesome vinegarette), wonderful garlic bread, and even better pasta. Kat got the fetuccini alfredo, I got tortellini, and we dined like royalty. I've never dined in, but the take-out is quick, pretty cheap, and fantastically good.

And with that, I retreat further into the inner recesses of cheapskatedness. But I still eat like a pig.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Eulogy

Songs are kind of hard to sing today. My dog, Dandy, my friend for the past fourteen and a half years, died today. My dad cried, and I love him for it. I'm sure my mom and my brother cried as well. It's only been in these past few years that I've realized in full exactly what she meant to me, and why I like dogs in general a great deal. Our relationship wasn't really a challenging one, because she didn't ask for much, besides table scraps. But, I think, that was the thing that made her friendship so meaningful to me. She asked nothing of me. She merely enjoyed my company when I was there. Such a rare thing in a person can be learned from a dog. And today, she teaches me one last lesson. Mortality. A lesson that I learn bit by bit as folks I know and love die and walk through a door that is not mine to walk through just yet. Dandy teaches me that life is precious, and the door to True Life is even more precious. I don't particularly know about animals and heaven. She was a creation of God like me, and I know that she and I understood each other like few can. She, a patient one that was always pleased in the deepest sense to see me, and myself, a person that usually desperately feels the need to be wanted - we were a team of the most fitting kind. Either way, whether she's with Christ, the Creator, or not, I have lessons to learn here that I cannot fully fathom.

I usually feel differently about death than folks around me. I don't know whether I bottle my emotions or that I'm just less expressive of sadness than others. It makes me sometimes feel guilty that I don't weep and don't say the things that others say. I do know that I'll miss my friend, though. She struggled valiently for over half my life to be my dear and often companion, and now her fight is done, won with all the glory of the setting sun. Good dog.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Labyrinthene Malaise

So, to correct my previous statement, I recant with, "No, I didn't get fired." Strange phone call from one of my managers. I was told, while on the way to Ohio, to bring in all my aprons and any written material I might have. He had that ominous tone that said, "I don't really want to tell you this up front, so I'm going to be round about in saying what I really want to say." Anyways, long story short, I'm still a partner at Starbucks.

A fellow blogger of mine named Adam Feldman recently did a post on why he's blogging in the first place. A pox upon you Adam, for you force me to look at my own motivation, and self-analysis has always been a labyrinth that I get lost in, meeting Minotaurs of my own device. But, I think that this time, I do have a good reason to continue. You see, if I don't write, my ability to write goes to the dogs. If I don't write, I am also less able to sort out my emotions and thoughts into a legible construct. So, thus justified, I continue blogging, and I hope that you enjoy it along the way.

Life in recent times has been subject to a sort of malaise. I could think of all kinds of things to blame it on, but here are the most likely culprits:


Getting an undergraduate degree was always second to hanging out with friends and going places with people while I was in school. This is further proved by the fact that my 4-year and multi-thousand dollar degree has taken me to......Starbucks. One might say, though, that the social life of a college student in the map-spot of Jefferson City is anything but exciting. And that would be correct, except for the fact that all the small pleasures and meaningless things I did, I did with other people. Presence is the key.


This place, for the past five or six years, has been my home away from home. I could always go there and feel like I was important, and know that there were people who cared deeply about me and about the building of brotherhood in the Kingdom. I have a home, but not a hangout. I have a wife who I try to spend as much time as possible with, but not a lot of time to spend with friends when we have no common hangout or place to relax. This is as much my fault as anyone else's, but again, presence.....


In recent days, I feel like I'm always waiting for something to happen that's going to happen in the near future. I'm trying to get more gigs. These are usually the source of a great time with whoever you're playing with. I'm waiting on my cds to come in the mail (hopefully by the 18th) so I can, for the first time, have some hardcore evidence that I'm not just goofing around with this music career. At least, that's the way it feels.

Anyways, perhaps you can help. I am on the lookout for concerts to play. House concerts, cafes, auditoriums, college venues, and the like. Your prayer, of course, is always appreciated.