Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Living in Mayberry

Am I living in Mayberry? Not that Mayberry, NC appeared to be a bad place in which to reside back in the day if you were looking for that small town, rural vibe. If I recall correctly, Mayberry only had one choice in which to dine-the diner. One huge downfall I find to small towns is the lack of culinary delights and find it downright frustrating.

My tiny town in Middle Tennessee has not explored culinary flavors any further than the Chinese and Mexican fare that seems to be the staple here judging by how many have come and gone over the past ten years. Sure, we have some of the big chain restaurants, your basic buffets, and a small scattering of authentic Italian and Greek joints.

One of my favorite places to tout is a little bistro run by a French chef who seems to have an impressive culinary resume. However, even that bistro wasn't up to par on my last visit for lunch a month ago. By the way, I don't recommend the berry bread pudding concoction. I cringed when my husband ordered it and politely spit it out when I took a bite of his. The absolute worst dessert I have tried. Sorry if this seems harsh, but I believe in honest critiquing and know my fellow local food snobs (you know who you are) appreciate the heads up next time they dine at the bistro.

I have learned to ignore the accolades from locals giving their critiques on a particular restaurant or even just on an individual home cook. I have had entire meals ruined with the first bite from the disappoint I have felt after fantasizing that the meal might just be "the one" I've been biding my time for. My husband has come to expect that I will probably send my meal back because I will find something less than palatable about it.

I must acknowledge and praise , though, the few who have satisfied this self-proclaimed food snob. Hats off to Fast Jack's for the best prime rib I have had in this area as well as their unexpectedly good blue cheese dressing with it's huge chunks of identifiable blue cheese. Their pizza is also the best in the area (best when eaten fresh from their oven). Who knew this bar/restaurant would hold such surprises!

Praises also go to Pearl's Cafe in Sewanee, TN, worth the short drive up to the mountain. Upscale dining ,yet with an unpretentious air, everything we have dined on has been wonderful. Having a huge sweet tooth, I have to let everyone know that Pearl's has some of the best bread pudding ever to have passed my lips! The huge portion is easily enough for two, however, I do not share my bread pudding. I have been known to have my husband make the trip or pull off when passing just to run in and get a take home box of the dessert. Word has it that their creme brulee is also excellent.

As you can see, I am living in Mayberry as far as dining choices. Could someone at least point me in the direction of Aunt Bee's house so I can enjoy some good comfort food?

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