Since Megan is now an 8 to 5-er at her new gig, we’ve been adventuring into the late Spring evenings these days. That consists of after-dinner strolls with the pups, early evening cocktails (the house gin and tonics down the street at The Blue Plate are very tasty! They make their own tonic!) and bike rides to the bridge to watch the sun go down. (And we’re not telling you how many times we’ve walked to Rita’s for Italian ice these past two weeks.) These warm, lingering nights are getting us excited for Summer. We can’t wait to experience our first Chattanooga Summer.
What have you all been up to lately?
Mentone In The Spring
“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” -Joseph Campbell
We lie about food at times.
We say we want a waffle or popcorn or chicken nuggets so we get said food item and eat it. But we really don’t want a waffle or whatever, really we want butter and syrup. Or we want salt and butter. Or we want BBQ sauce. The food is just a conveyance for the condiment. A couple of days ago Megan wanted BBQ sauce so we fried up some tofu and baked some sweet potato fries and she downed it all with a beer and a half a bottle of BBQ sauce.
Here’s how Kaylon makes fried tofu. It’s vegan-ish.
1 pack extra firm tofu
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup cornmeal*
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil or whatever herbs you love
Oil to fry in.
*Cornmeal isn’t absolutely necessary but it makes for a beefier batter, and since tofu is super fluffy I think it helps quite a bit.
Start heating the oil. Use a Frydaddy or pan fry or try some other method - your call. We use a big cast iron dutch oven that we cook everything in.
Press off extra moisture from the Tofu and cube it into half inch cubes or there-abouts.
Mix all of the dry ingredients and the chopped herbs.
Dip tofu into the milk, then coat the milky tofu with the flour/season/herb mixture, and then place it into the oil until it’s a golden brown cube of delicious.
Finally, cover the fried tofu in BBQ sauce (we represent Austin and use Stubb’s - it’s quite tasty!) and eat!
Last week I took a little trip to Florida to see my big brother graduate. Woo hoo Scotty!
Seeing family, eating way too much, dipping my toes in the Atlantic and coming back home still with sand in my shoes… it was all so nice. So nice that it’s taken me a week to sit back down in front of this computer to blog about it…
places worth going Taco Mamacita on the North Shore
***warning: this post includes some taco snobbery***
After living in Austin, when we think tacos we wax nostalgic about those floppy, juice-running-down-your-arm, slow cooked, taco truck tacos. Oooh they are delicious. That is not what you are getting at Taco Mamacita, so just stop it! Get those messy tacos outta your head right now! Because Taco Mamacita is an entirely different kind of delicious.
They specialize in funky-fusion tacos so the more creative your thinking, the more Mamacita excels. Just embrace the fact that they put cucumber, lamb and feta cheese in your taco. Because cucumber, lamb and feta cheese are delicious.
And hey, look at that! A vegan menu for Megan!
And hey, look at that! Half price sangria on Sunday!
Also, here’s a tip… if you like spicy (which we do!) ask the server to ask the cook to whip up a super spicy salsa to add to your tacos because otherwise if you say, Can you make it spicy? they will assume you want Sriracha. And though we love Sriracha, Sriracha does not make sweat bead on our forehead quite like the good pepper-loaded salsa that comes out of their kitchen.
And since we’re talking Tex-Mex tacos, does anyone know of a place in Chattanooga that comes close to those classic taco truck tacos that we miss so much?
Saturday was a great day. After wandering the booths at the Chatty Crafty art show at Ross’s Landing and grubbing on a couple of delicious burgers (veggie and meaty) from the Southern Burger Co truck, we met up with David Ruiz of 423 Bragging Rights and one half of PPRWRK (remember? from this post?) for Tour de Noog - an art guided bike tour of Chattanooga. We took off from the river, headed over toward Honest Pint then down to Main Street toward Velo Coffee Roasters and back.
Here’s a little peak at our ride…
David was such a great tour guide giving us the stories behind his own wheat-paste murals of local musicians, how they go up and how old building surfaces can affect the paper, and also taking us around to a few tucked away corners of the city where we spotted those beautifully painted murals and that crazy mannequin art class. We also learned a lot about this new city of ours from him and the other riders like where to get the best spicy hot chocolate (The Hot Chocolatier on Main Street), where to get a crazy/awesome/delicious pastry (Niedlov’s Bakery) and where to pick rosemary that’s growing aplenty next to an abandoned building. He and his PPRWRK collaborator are planning another tour with new art going up this summer. If you’re in town, check it out!
locals worth listening to SharkWeek
We caught them first at JJ’s and then again this weekend while helping out with the Four Bridges Art Festival. They are great in a Wear-An-Indian-Headdress-While-Feet-Stomping and Swing-A-Toddler-In-The-Sunshine kind of way. How’s that for a music critique? Anyway, they’re great. Check them out.
Happy weekend! What are you all up to this weekend?
We’re going to check out the new food truck lot downtown, Center Park - we get pretty excited about food trucks. Then we’re thinking of starting a 1/2 price sangria Sunday tradition at Taco Mamacita, who’s in? And we’ll also be helping out with the Four Bridges Art Festival Saturday and Sunday.
It’s going to be a beautiful weekend!
Tunes For A Lazy Sunday Needle, Born Ruffians
As we were laying in the grass earlier this afternoon soaking up the sun, we notice a guy standing alone in the middle of the park holding up a sign. It said Rachael will you be my girlfriend? And then along came Rachael. I think she said yes. And then the whole park cheered. How sweet!
We’re plant based eaters for the most part. Megan has tried a vegan diet for the better part of the last year with a few exceptions of eating with family and friends and eating out. Kaylon has therefore been a de facto vegan for the better part of the last year because as I’m sure you’re all aware by now, he is the cook. Megan is not. (proof)
We’ve been a bit slack on the strictly vegan diet since arriving in Chattanooga because while there are plenty of vegan options, there are also A LOT! of other delicious, fresh and local options too that we didn’t want to miss out on. Case in point, these farm fresh colorful eggs (with a bit of chicken poop still on them) that we picked up at the farmer’s market this week. Along with two bags full of produce, we picked up a dozen eggs and a half wheel of soft, creamy, perfectly salty raw cow’s milk cheese from Sequatchie Cove Farm, which is about 35 miles away.
So while we’re no longer “vegan” - if we could ever really call ourselves that - we are trying to keep our dairy intake moderate and on the local side of things. From the farmers market to the delicious eateries, there is no shortage of fresh and local food to devour. And short of having our own garden and backyard chickens (which we do miss), I’d say this is second best.
this was yesterday’s walk around. when the sun is shining, we roll out of bed, hair unkempt, sneaks thrown on, camera in hand and we take off to explore. here’s what we found…
windows open everywhere.
hey look, this guy now has company.
as spring splashes color between grey buildings, this city gets prettier and prettier…
and finally, a stop at lupi’s pizza for a slice. i imagine many-a-slices being consumed here on our way to watch lookouts baseball games this summer. ooooh they were so delicious.