We are back from our honeymoon, which was based more around food than our commitment to each other.  Our trip across Tennessee was loosely planned.  All we knew is that we wanted to eat well and eat a lot.  And see some president’s homes along the way.  We fell asleep watching the Food Network and listened to something like ten podcasts of “The Splendid Table,” which I had never heard before and now am addicted to.

We picked our meals based on a couple suggestions from real people and from the book (which was a wedding gift from a few nights before) “Roadfood” by Jane and Michael Stern.  If we hadn’t gotten that I’m not sure what we would have done.  Our plan to end the trip with a ham in the car didn’t pan out — but overall I ate so terribly and deliciously that I’m currently having fried chicken withdrawal.  It’s a thing!  It’s how President Andrew Johnson died!025

MONDAY

Breakfast sandwiches at Ukrop’s.  Every road trip begins with these.

Lunch at Zorba’s in Roanoke.  Falafel for me, and lamb gyro for the  mister.  With fries and a coke.  Fun fact: there is a version of everyone I know walking around Roanoke.  Funner fact: The Richmond You is way cuter.

Dinner at Litton’s in Knoxville.  I had read about this in the NY Times travel section (because who appreciates Southern food more than Northerners?) and it is also in the “Roadfood” book.  We had cheeseburgers, with desserts of red velvet cake and sugar cookies.  Not the best cheeseburger, but pretty good.  I’m still mad at myself for throwing out the rest of the cake in Nashville.  It was possibly still good.

TUESDAY

Lunch at the Tomato Head in Knoxville.  Southwest salad for me (chicken, corn, salsa, deliciousness) and Richard had a Tuscan chicken sandwich.  This place was recommended to us by the guy at Yee Haw Industries.  I liked it.  Fun fact: Knoxville is adorable.  I had no idea.

Loveless Cafe in Nashville for dinner.  I don’t know how this place can qualify as “Nashville.”  I”m pretty sure we passed by my high school on the drive over, that’s how far away it was from the city.  We had the same dinner because we are essentially the same person now (aww): Fried chicken, mac and cheese,  hash brown casserole, with tiny biscuits on the side.  I had banana pudding for dessert.  Richard had chess pie.

It was about this time in the trip where we got more sluggish and greasy.  Also I deleted all photos on my camera by accident the following morning.  The Loveless Cafe lived up to the hype, and was worth a visit.  And covered in chicken decor.

WEDNESDAY

Lunch in Nashville at Jack’s BBQ (also recommended by the NY Times website).  Richard teased me for getting food recommendations from there, but the article was hung up in the restaurant.  I had a beef brisket sandwich, Rich had the pork shoulder.  There were three sauces to choose from.  I preferred the tangy, spicy one.  Also with mac and cheese (eh) and baked beans.  So good.  If I had a system of rating things then this place would get a high number.

For dinner we went to the Watermark, which was super fancy (think Julep’s, also think that we would normally not eat there, but it was a delightful wedding present).  This place was awesome, and happened to be right around the corner from our hotel.  I was full from red wine and Cool Ranch Doritos, plus lunch, when we headed over.  The waitress managed to convince us to order anything she mentioned.  We had grits souffle with goat cheese and braised bacon (pork belly, specifically) with white beans.  I had roast chicken with potatoes, English peas, and asparagus in a cream sauce, and Rich had grilled cobia , andouille, and crawfish etouffee (are those things?  I had to get him to write that out for me).  On a night like tonight, as I sit by the window strumming my guitar while I listen to the rain, I think about that 1/4 of the meal I left behind because I seriously couldn’t take another bite.  I have regrets.  Maybe if I didn’t eat all those Doritos, I could have finished my meal.  I had to imagine a champion food eater dunking hot dog buns in water as inspiration just to get a second wind to make a dent on my plate.

After all of that (and drinks for us both) we managed dessert, which was a strawberry poppy seed short cake with honey marscapone mousse.  Then we died!

Above photo is the dining room in Andrew Jackson’s home, the Hermitage.  His is a complicated legacy, but what I will remember most is how much I want to have those wall colors in my house.

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