Last week was Chattanooga Restaurant Week, which was a celebration of the wonderful local food scene in the Scenic City. It was a week of really good eating, getting to know some of the city’s best chefs and treating myself to some delicious (and sometimes unusual) cuisine.
As a self-proclaimed foodie and food blogger, I got super excited about Chattanooga Restaurant Week. It seemed like a prime opportunity for me to do what I do best: eat, blog, and tell all y’all about it.
Restaurant Week wasn’t just a week of really good eating; it was also a time for trying new things, pushing myself, experimenting, testing and learning.
I’ve been telling myself that it’s time to step out of my blogging comfort zones and add a new dimension to my work, specifically video. I was never comfortable on video–that’s why I didn’t go into broadcast–but I knew how important it was and how much fun it could be. So for Restaurant Week, I teamed up with my friend William to explore this whole video thing (pair your strengths, right?) and we had a ton of fun sharing our Restaurant Week experiences with our audiences across social media, in the form of a pop-up variety show.
More than 30 restaurants participated in Chattanooga Restaurant Week. We obviously couldn’t visit all of them, so we picked a handful we knew would be great spots to film episodes of our show.
We started the week with Sunday brunch at the Bitter Alibi. Although it wasn’t a participating restaurant, the Bitter Alibi is an absolute staple in Chattanooga’s food scene and deserved to be featured. In fact, Bitter was recently featured on Buzzfeed as the best brunch spot in Tennessee, based on a Yelp survey. Next time you’re itching for a good brunch, give the Bitter Alibi a try. I highly recommend the “Cumberbatch,” which is chorizo gravy over a cheddar biscuit, topped with eggs. I also hear their burrito is phenomenal.
If you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time, you already know that the FEED Co. Table & Tavern is one of my favorite spots in town. Their special menu for Restaurant Week featured crepinettes, grilled trout from a local farm and a bacon-wrapped steak. I opted for the crepinettes, partially out of curiosity because I had zero idea what a crepinette was. For the record, it’s a flattened piece of sausage wrapped in thin, lacy fat instead of casing, and usually cooked with an outer coating of bread. It’s delicious. The bacon and farm-egg vinaigrette on top was pretty perfect, too.
Also worth mentioning from FEED Co. is their FEED-Back cocktail. It’s whiskey, peaches and rosemary. What’s not to like about that?
Asian food isn’t usually my go-to cuisine, but when I’m in the mood for it, I want good Asian food. Two Ten Jack is far and away one of the best places in Chattanooga to get your Asian food fix. This was one of the first places I ate at when I moved to Chattanooga, and I generally only eat here for work dinners. But I loved the change of pace and opportunity to check it out again. Chef George MacEwan did not disappoint with his Restaurant Week specials, including salmon yakitori with a sorghum soy sauce, spicy crab cake with rice and cole slaw and never-before-made tan tan ramen with sausage and kale. Let me tell y’all, that crab cake was on a whole other level of delicious.
Aside from those two delicious plates, I opted for pork gyoza, which are pork dumplings and my usual choice when I eat at Two Ten Jack. They’re simple and delicious. I also recommend some steamed edamame before your meal.
I don’t pick favorites easily, but Easy Bistro & Bar definitely ranks pretty high in our Restaurant Week rotation. Coming here was a real treat, as it’s one of the nicer restaurants in town and I’ve only been here for special occasions. Chattanooga Restaurant Week totally counts as a special occasion, right? Easy Bistro really prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients, and that was apparent in its Restaurant Week menu. Their featured menu items included a summer squash and eggplant dish, English pea falafel and a tomato pie, gnocchi and two steak options. We enjoyed a plate of fried squash blossoms (who knew you could fry those, let alone eat them?) and pimiento cheese. Y’all, Easy Bistro does everything right, straight down to presentation. Look how beautiful those plates are!
I’ve had beignets on my mind since I went to New Orleans back in May. Fortunately for my taste buds, Easy had beignets on their Restaurant Week menu, with blackberries and sweet corn ice cream. They were everything I’d wanted since leaving the Big Easy.
And lastly, we paid a Restaurant Week visit to Frothy Monkey, one of the newest additions to Chattanooga’s food scene. For Restaurant Week, Frothy offered some of their menu items for only $5. Their sausage burger is nothing to be messed with; if burgers are your thing, I definitely recommend this one. As for drinks, Frothy Monkey featured their Lavender Mint Lemonade (made with gin) and Lemon Rosemary Sour (made with Chattanooga Whiskey). Both are really refreshing and perfect summertime sips.
We also made a quick lunch stop at Community Pie during the week. Again, not a participating restaurant, but we had to give it some love because it’s one of our favorite places in town. If you’re pining for good pizza, Community Pie is where you need to be.
It may sound silly, but Restaurant Week was one of the busiest weeks I’ve had in a while, but I loved every minute of it. I won’t leave y’all completely hanging; I’ll put together a little video recap of our Restaurant Week show and share it! So stay tuned to my Facebook page and Twitter for updates on when that is coming.
Special shoutout to William for putting up with me for the week and making all the videos happen, and to his wonderful wife Ana for being our official tech support and awesome company.
If you checked out any of the restaurants during Chattanooga Restaurant Week, where did you go and what did you eat? Tell me about it!