Thursday, April 26, 2012

(Re)Discover Chattanooga - Easy Bistro Brunch

Easy Bistro is one of those Chattanooga restaurants I don't get to very often. It has a great reputation, outdoor seating, and great specialty drinks, but with so many fine dining options in town, it never seems to be at the top of the list....except for brunch.

I love brunch.

Easy Bistro was recommended to me as the best best brunch in Chattanooga, so last Sunday a friend and I stopped by before we headed to opening day of the Chattanooga Market. I started off disappointed. The menu for the day did not match what was listed on their website, and they were not able to satisfy my craving for sweet brioche french toast. But, I went for something that was a cheaper option, and something I liked entirely too much.

My substitute for the sweet brioche french toast with South Carolina peaches & maple syrup was a traditional southern style cream cheese cinnamon roll ($3) and a side of potato hash ($4). The cinnamon roll was really good, but the videllia onion & bacon potato hash was out of this world. Eat every bite & scrape the bowl clean good.

So I forgive them for not having the sweet brioche french toast.

Easy Bistro & Bar
203 Broad Street Chattanooga, TN 37402
(423) 266-1121
Dinner Hours:
Monday thru Saturday5 pm until 10 pm
Sunday5 pm until 9 pm
Saturday and Sunday11 am until 4 pm

Website | Facebook
Easy Bistro & Bar on Urbanspoon

Editors Note 5/13/13: Due to a high number of spam comments, comments for this post have been turned off. If you would like to leave a comment, please send me a tweet or an e-mail. I would love to hear from you!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

(Re)Discover Chattanooga - Chattanooga Whiskey

If you've read my blog for a while (or at least since I moved back to Chattanooga last year) you know that I am a fan of most everything Chattanooga.  If you follow me on twitter, then you know I have been known to enjoy an adult beverage or two.  And if you know me 'in real life', you know that I do not discriminate between bourbon and whiskey as my drink of choice on gamedays.

So I was pretty excited when Chattanooga Whiskey Company announced that they were planning on launching a 'pre-prohibition' style whiskey as an homage to the days when Chattanooga was apparently known for it's 40+ distilleries, and a time when was still legal to distill liquor in Hamilton County.  They wanted to emphasize the history of Chattanooga & its whiskey, and their first release, the 1816 bottle, is a reference to the year that John Ross landed on the banks of the Tennessee River.

The guys at Chattanooga Whiskey did lots of 'research' to create their 1816 Reserve, and although they can't distill it here (yet, as they like to say) the blend was personally selected, and it is proofed & bottled in Chattanooga.*

Side note: I would have loved to have been a part of the whiskey research.  I'm sure there was a lot of tasting involved to make sure they got it juuuust right.

Friday night was the official Launch Party for Chattanooga Whiskey at Lindsay Street Hall, and being the whiskey lover that I am, I picked up 4 tickets as soon as they went on sale.  The party was a sellout, even after they raised the capacity to 450 people.  There was great cross section of Chattanooga whiskey lovers, all anxious to try a Chattanooga inspired blend.  I'm not much of a mixer and mingler, but the party was done well, and lets face it, I was there for the whiskey not the people.

As soon as you walked in, you were given your first taste of Chattanooga Whiskey served neat.  I was pleasantly surprised.  My biggest fear is that they would have done a fantastic job promoting Chattanooga Whiskey, only to have it, for lack of a better word, suck.

Chattanooga Whiskey has a slightly sweet flavor and a bite to balance it out.  I'm not going to make comparisons to other whiskeys, but it had a nice, strong taste that was entirely drinkable neat or on the rocks.  There were also bars setup within the party, and I a saw lots of women with whiskey mixed drinks enjoying themselves.  So I worried for nothing.  Chattanooga Whiskey is good enough that it will find a permanent home in my liquor cabinet...probably sooner than later.

Chattanooga Whiskey went on sale to the public Monday through local distributor Athens Distributing.  A friend of mine from Jax Liquor (Downtown on Market, near the Aquarium) posted this picture yesterday. .  They have both the 1816 Reserve and Cask (113 proof) bottles, selling for $24.99 & $39.99 respectively.  I really like the price point (the Reserve is a steal) and wish Chattanooga Whiskey company best of luck bringing whiskey back to Chattanooga!

Chattanooga Whiskey Company                      Jax Liquors
Website | Facebook | twitter                                                     Facebook

Special thanks to Chattanooga Whiskey Company & Jax Liquors for letting me use their amazing me, no one wanted to see my iPhone pictures

*Edit 4/11/13 - This was may understanding at the time this article was originally published.  I'm not 100% sure that it has been proofed & bottled in Chattanooga to this point.  Hopefully this will be a mute point soon.

** Edit 4/29/13 - Due to an excessive amount of spam, comments have been turned off on this post.  Feel free to send me a tweet if you'd like to leave a comment.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

emily vs ivy - update

The side-yard is almost cleared! This is the largest section of ivy I planned on attacking this year. What I thought would take 2 weekends has taken much longer, but it's almost finished - there's just one section in the corner left.  YAY! 

My original plan was to pull all of the ivy by hand, so I could be sure that I got the roots. Unfortunately, pulling the ivy around the rock wall by hand has caused some of the rocks to become dislodged ....and they are too heavy for me to put back on my own. The last of the ivy in the side-yard is pretty dense around the rock wall, so Plan B is Vinegar, and Plan C is Round-Up. I hate to use the chemicals, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

During my battle with the ivy, I have discovered a ton of moss, and my goal is to let it grow and spread into a glorious evergreen, never needs to be mowed, splendor. A moss yard is on my dream home wish list, so in addition to pulling ivy out, I have cleared the small clumps of grass from the side-yard, and am working on the patio garden as well.  I've left the vinca, and a little bit of the grass, because I like the flowers in the spring, and don't want the soil to wash away as my fantastic moss takes over.

Look, no ivy!
Prepping this bed for fall planting

I've raked a mixture of grass and pine needles up to the rock wall with the plan of keeping the ivy out and prepping the soil to plant bulbs this fall. This is an area that I have found gets 'early spring sun' but only afternoon sun after the trees fill in.  I'm thinking a nice mix of hyacinths, daffodils, tulips and day lilies would be much nicer than the ivy.


If you're keeping score, here is my record with the ivy:
  • Rock Garden: Emily
  • Back Boxwoods: Emily
  • Patio Bird Garden: draw...I just can't get motivated to finish this project
  • Sideyard: Emily

What's next as the battle continues:
  • Front beds: These need to be cleared and mulched
  • Kitchen Garden: Not a ton of ivy, so it shouldn't be as bad as the front beds.
  • Garage Woodlands: I wasn't planning on tackling this space this year, but my grandmother has other plans and lets face it, she gets what she wants.
This is going to be a long fight, but I think I'm winning.

-PS if you missed my Garden Bloggers Bloom Day Post yesterday, and want to see what is blooming in my yard you can click here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

April Bloom Day 2012

I'm a day late with Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, but I've been working in the yard, so that should count for something. (more on that tomorrow).

First up are the 'undesirables' that I happen to enjoy.   I've started clearing my raised bed of the mustard greens left behind by the last resident of my new house, but I decided to leave a few of the yellow flowers behind for next weeks cut arrangements in the house. Then I'll pull and cover the rest of the bed to get it prepped for my veggies.  I also have patches upon patches of wild daisies, and I love them :)

Walking around my house you come to the first rhododendron bloom.  There are two plants on the side of my house, and they are both loaded with blooms.  Next up is a fragrant bush I can't remember the name of right now.  I wrote it down somewhere though!

Then come the Bridals Wreath by the porch, and Huckleberries!  These plants are where the pond gets its name, and I have TONS of Huckleberry bushes around the yard and in the woods. Who knows, there may be jam in my future this summer.  If not, then the birds will at least be happy!

Last but not least are what my grandmother calls "Strawberry Bush" and my brand new Confederate Jasmine.  This is one of the few plants I plan on purchasing this year, but I left one behind in South Carolina, and it is a must have for my new yard.

I hope you have enjoyed your walk around my yard!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

favorite things - dominos

I think everybody has games that were staples in their childhood.  Games the adults played with the kids, and the kids were capable of pulling off an upset.  For my family, one of those games was dominos.  Specifically, Mexican Train. Every summer we would have a family reunion at my Grandfather's lake house on the mountain, (really the perfect place for these events) and the kids would play dominos with Uncle D.  We were convinced that the D stood for dominos.

my sister took this picture this weekend

This past weekend we celebrated my grandfather's 85th birthday with a family reunion. There were about 35 people at the reunion, and it was complete with traditional family and neighbor family.  I think it really made my Grandfather's day, and I loved getting together with my cousins in particular. 

We broke out the dominos, and I think everybody loved it.  Uncle D, himself 94, played with all the kids, a few of the adults, and I think it was one of the highlights of the event.  My Aunt made the comment "there is something about that sound" of shuffling domino tiles, and she is absolutely right.

I have a feeling there is a domino set in my future.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Seed update #1

I posted a picture of some of my seeds on twitter this week and got the response: "Awwww...they are so cute at that age!" And gosh darn it they are. 

My growing system is the opposite of high tech this year. I have used egg cartons, strawberry containers, and toilet paper rolls & plastic wrap to start my seeds....and believe it or not its worked. They might be doing better if they were under grow lights, or on mats, but I'm not in any hurry, and they are doing just fine.

I started with Chives, Cilantro, Basil, Lavender, Alysumm, Yellow & Pink Brandywine Tomatoes, and a wild flower mix. Then I was temped by Love Lies Bleeding, more Lavender, & Four O'Clocks.

Everything is doing well, and here are a few pictures taken this week:
  My fancy setup & A closeup of the cilantro.

 Left: Baby Basil, Right: Baby Lavender

Left: 1/2 of my Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, Right: Baby Love-Lies-Bleeding

The tomatoes are almost to the point where I can put them in larger pots, and by pots I mean soup cans with holes drilled in the bottom.  I'm bringing thrifty back.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

favorite things - my cast iron grill pan

It really is the simple things in life.

This past weekend a friend brought over steaks for dinner (with a homemade balsamic & onion jealous, it was awesome) and I got to use the Lodge cast iron grill pan that I got this year for Christmas. It's not aged quite like my grandmother's, but it came pre-seasoned, and I'm working on giving it some flavor.

look at the pretty, pretty grill marks

If you don't know Lodge Manufacturing, they are a family owned, local/regional company that was founded by Joseph Lodge in 1896, and operates out of South Pittsburg TN - not far from where I am in Chattanooga. I own 2 other pieces of Lodge cookware: an ears of corn shaped cornbread pan that is awesome (and I use whenever I make cornbread), and a 3" mini-skillet that was a favor at the Chattanooga Junior League Cookbook Launch Party. (My sister worked on the layout of the Cookbook, and used a Lodge Skillet & seasonal herbs for the cover.) Everyone I know that has used Lodge cookware has loved it, and slowly but surely I plan on adding to my collection.

The other cool thing about Lodge is that they, along with Martha White Flour, sponsor the National Cornbread Festival & National Cornbread Cookoff in South Pittsburg each year. I've never been, but every year my dad's office gets the newsletter with the winning recipes, and I promptly oogle over it. This year the festival is April 28th & 29th, and I think I might go. It would be worth it for the taste testing alone, and come on, who can resist a cornbread festival??

Let me know if you're in the area and up for a road trip!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Has it really been a week since I posted?  I had been doing so good too...oh well.  All good things must come to an end.  I'm blaming it on the fact that I have been distracted by spring at my new house & yard.

I'm crazy lucky that without doing *any* work, I have new plants sprouting and blooming every day. I'm lucky that I have had friends willing to drive to my neck of the woods to enjoy my porch with me. (It's awesome, and deserving of its own post)  I'm slowly building a picture of what my yard is, and what it can and will become.

Here are a few pictures that I have taken the past few weeks, but haven't bothered to share yet. And because I'm feeling ever so artsy today, these are instagram filtered.

My neighbor's dog, Brady
I have dogwoods everywhere!
Creeping phlox, moss, and ivy.
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