0061THURSDAY

Jk.

Our first lunch destination was closed down (fun fact: you can call places beforehand to make sure they’re open.  We really didn’t do that enough) so we found our way to Prince’s Hot Chicken (as recommended by Bret).   It was in a sad strip  mall, but was crowded.  During our hunt for these specific meals we definitely saw a lot more of the cities than tourism offices would suggest.  The cashier tried to talk us down from spices, but I ordered medium and Rich ordered hot chicken.  Gah.  So hot.  It was bright red and served with pickles on top on a giant slice of white bread, with the best baked beans so far.  It was really good but I couldn’t handle the spiciness and didn’t finish.

In Memphis we beat the bloated, drunken crowd on Beale St. and went to Dyer’s for burgers.  They had the kind of burger that I like, nice and simple (and deep fried).  I will dream about you, cheeseburger.  With fries and onion rings.

FRIDAY

Lunch at A&R BBQ in Memphis.  Best.  Barbecue.  Ever.  Smokey and tender, with terrible amounts of cole slaw on top.

For dinner our first few choices were closed, so we ended up at the Cupboard.  They were about to close, and the food was okay (fried chicken, mac and cheese, green beans, turnip greens, fried green tomatoes) but I was underwhelmed.  Richard ate apple cobbler.  They were out of banana pudding.

Fun fact: Memphis (the non-Graceland/Beale Street sections) is great.  It was such a good time.  A nice-looking city, lots of interesting history, and everyone was super friendly.   And the Stax Museum is the best.   Also I ran into an old acquaintance from the shopping center where I used to work, and he got us into Sun Studios for free!  Yay!

SATURDAY

Lunch at the Arcade.  I had that fried peanut butter and banana sandwich that everyone insisted I get.  It had chunky peanut butter.  I was into it.  My husband had a ham/brie/pear sandwich.  We both had salads.  I would definitely visit Memphis again.

Mississippi is just down the street from Memphis.  We took a suggestion from the kid at Square Books in Oxford and ate at Ajax.  It was hard to pick something because the selection was so good.  I had the tamale pie, with black eyed peas, and salad.  Rich had red beans and rice with sausage.  Apple pie a la mode for dessert, and I had chocolate chess pie.  Fun fact about Oxford: I thought I would be murdered at our hotel, but I wasn’t.

SUNDAY

The other suggestion for a meal was the Bottletree Bakery, which was a good tip.  We had homemade granola, fruit, sausage and biscuit, and took a brioche and muffins (banana chocolate chip and blueberry) to go.  This was about the time where I admitted to never having read Faulkner, which I refuse to feel bad about.  Richard had never heard of “Funky Winkerbean” before I mentioned it, and that comic strip has been the single greatest literary influence on me.

In Chattanooga we happened upon Bea’s for dinner (through a Google search on where to eat).  This was tucked away in a working class neighborhood, and the set up was so charming and practical that when I retire I will suggest that someone else open up a family-style restaurant for me to go to.  We sat at a table with another couple and took our dinner from a buffet on a lazy susan that was constantly being refilled.  I ate fried chicken, a little BBQ, potatoes, biscuits, beans, and Richard had that and some ham.  The fried chicken was the best.  I wish I had a cleaner stomach to have enjoyed it better.

MONDAY

The original plan led us to Kingsport, TN (a good pal’s hometown) to go to Pratt’s Hams.  Tim and LA’s description of this ham finally gave Richard something to look forward to.  I had to talk him out of picking one up on the way to Knoxville and picking another one up on the way home.  I was able to talk him down to one visit.  Though when we got to the parking lot, le Sigh, it was closed (seriously, what is wrong with us that we didn’t check this sort of thing?).  However, across the street was Pal’s, which had also been described for us before.  It’s a drive-thru with a giant hamburger and hot dog out front.  SOLD.  I ate another cheeseburger (a good, mayonnaisey mess) and my associate ate two hot dogs.  And they were served with Frenchie Fries.  I could say that all day.  Richard told the cashier we hadn’t been there before and she told her coworkers “make sure it’s good!”  It was.

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This was all supplemented by complimentary hotel breakfasts (Holiday Inn Express has good biscuits), snacks, and bananas.  And Cool Ranch Doritos.

My only regret is that I didn’t eat more banana pudding.

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