Friday, August 30, 2013

o/` its the most wonderful time of the year o/`

Seeing football on TV last night made me giddy.  Planning my table-gate for tomorrow made me happy.  I'm even looking forward to grocery shopping at 5pm on a Friday.  The reason is simple.  College football season is finally here.

The first ball was snapped last night, and ESPN's first GameDay of the season - a 4 hour special - will be broadcast from Bowman Field in Clemson on Saturday.  250,000 to 300,000 people are expected to be in Clemson.  I. Can't. Wait.  The first Saturday of college football is like Christmas for me, and I have my day planned out.  There will be fresh baked  cinnamon rolls and mimosas in the morning, and I won't change out of my orange sweatpants until at least noon.  I printed out the full schedule for the day earlier this week, and there won't be a moment during the day that football won't be on my TV, laptop, or both.  If you don't want to hear the football tweets, I suggest that you go ahead and mute me for the day, because watching football at home became exponentially more fun with the invention of twitter.

The grande finale of the day is the Clemson v. Georgia game at 8:00pm on ABC...and my stomach gets a little queesy just thinking about it.  See, the thing about being a Clemson fan is that it's hard sometimes.  We have a long history of what is known as "Clemsoning".

from urban dictionary

BUT our recent history is changing, and good things are happening.  First Dabo was promoted to Head Coach, then we got "The Chad", followed by Brett Veneables, then last year we won the games we were supposed to win, and then there was 4th & 16 and we beat LSU.  I still get nervous, but Clemson has recruited well, and the coaching staff seems to have control of this team.

Key word there: seems.  We won't know a thing until Saturday night, and everybody will be watching.  Georgia is a strong opponent, and both teams have their top 10 national rankings on the line.  The atmosphere is Clemson is already electric, and Death Valley will be rocking tomorrow night. I. Can't. Wait.

It's a national broadcast, on plain, over the air digital TV, and since I can't make the trip to Clemson, I'll be watching & tweeting, I hope you watch too!!


Friday, August 2, 2013

(Re)Discover Chattanooga - Brix Nouveau

I love wine.  I love cheese.  I love music.  I was very happy on the Brix Nouveau patio this past weekend.

He who takes better pictures than me.

The concept behind Brix Nouveau is giving people a chance to learn about wine.  People who know wine can order by the bottle or by the glass, but if you don't know wine, the staff is very helpful, and you can order tasting groups called fights.  The flights are groups of wines designed to give you a chance to develop your own tastes, and try things you might not have experimented with on your own.  I believe the idea is that the flight offerings are constantly evolving, so that you can really explore the wine list.  (Twist my arm.) This weekend the options included a sparkling wine flight, which made me really excited.

Where there is wine, there is also cheese, and I love how Brix Nouveau sets this up.  They have an amazing list of meats, cheeses, and accompaniments, and you can pick what size tray you want, and each item on the tray.  We're talking everything from dark chocolate wafers & fresh honeycomb, to dried meats & aged cheeses.

They also use oil and vinegar from Olive, an olive oil and balsamic tasting room on the north shore.  Oh my goodness, this was amazing and deserving of it's own picture.  Raspberry Balsamic ohmygoodness.

The atmosphere is elegant, but relaxed.  It's a place I felt comfortable with friends after a casual trip to the market, but would also be well suited for a nice date.

Looking at the Brix Nouveau website and Facebook page, the theme of wine education is played out in a Wednesday night 'Wine 101 Tasting.'  It's priced at $20, and the discussion is geared towards beginners who want to know more.  The wines are rotated every two weeks, and I think this is a great (and affordable) way to learn about wine.

Our server also mentioned that the North Shore Block Party is this weekend, and the First Annual Progressive Dinner is tonight!  It will start at Heaven and Ale across the street, and end at Brix Nouveau.  The cost is $50 (including tax) and "covers food at all restaurants involved – Heaven and Ale, Foodworks, Sushi Nabe, Gigi’s, Milk and Honey, and Brix Nouveau."  You can travel at your own pace, and pick up tickets today at Heaven and Ale.  All I can say is yum, and yes please.

Edit 8/19/13:  Robin Dance at has just started a "Love Where You Live" linkup, and the first topic is favorite restaurants.   Brix Nouveau is a perfect fit for this list, with Sushi Nabe, Sweet Basil, Typhoon of Tokyo, The Terminal, Alleia, and Foodworks brunch also deserving of some love!  For more of my favorite places to eat in Chattanooga click on the #CHAeats tag.

Brix Nouveau
301 Cherokee Blvd, 
Chattanooga, TN 37405
(423) 488- 2926
Tuesday-Thursday:              5:00pm-10:00pm
Friday-Saturday:                  4:00pm-11:00pm
Sunday:                                4:00pm-9:00pm *
*Sundays featuring 25% of all wine bottles and live entertainment

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Brix Nouveau, Wine & Cheese Bar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 1, 2013

travel #2013 - huntsville speedway

I didn't realize it tat the time, but my trip to Huntsville Speedway this past Saturday may have been my last hurrah for my year of travel. (map)

Funny how unexpected expenses do that to you.  Regardless of how long my travel plans will be on hold, I can't believe I'm saying this, but, I'm glad I got to go to Alabama.

Oh, Alabama.

It's not quite a 2 hour drive to Huntsville Speedway.

Alabama is a beautiful, if not sometimes comical place to visit. We took the back way to the track, and let me tell you, it's been a good year for corn in Alabama.  It was tall and thick, and ready to be picked.  This area is still pretty rural, so not much had changed in the 10 years since my last trip to Huntsville.

The track itself is in a fantastic spot.  It backs up to a mountain, and as the sun sets it's absolutely gorgeous.  It seems odd to talk about the nature setting at a race track, but trust me, when you're sitting on metal bleachers at the peak of summer waiting for the show to get started, you appreciate the view.

Huntsville Speedway itself is near the top of my 'Best Tracks to Watch a Race' list.  It's short, just a quarter mile - which for you NASCAR fans, is half the size of Bristol.  Your car has to be set up to turn.  It's an action packed little track, and it's small enough that you can see everything from the stands.  The concessions and bathrooms are well laid out, so even though there was a decent crowd, I never had to wait in much of a line.  'Beer Barns' are located on both ends of the grandstands, and there is a family friendly section of seating in the middle.  Traffic isn't too bad, so everybody leaves happy.

The fans are always a great part of the 'experience' of a night at the racetrack, and as you can imagine, the great state of Alabama does not disappoint in this arena.  Close your eyes, and think about what race track hairstyles and fashion might look like in Alabama.  I can say with 95% confidence that someone who fits that description was at the track this weekend.

No crazy hair in this picture, just a cool sunset.

Along with the fashion, it's always fun when you realize you're sitting next to a driver's mamma, or girlfriend, or drinking buddy.  And you always know, because they are vocal in their support during a race.  I'm guilty of it myself, and it makes zero logical sense, but during a race, fans go into a WWE mode and feel like they must be heard over the roar of the cars.  If payback is deserved, you will hear about it, and probably see it on the track.  It's part of what makes going to the racetrack a cultural experience.

As for the race itself, it was great.  There was a respectable number of cars present for the Rocket City 100, and they were all close in speed.  There was a lot of racing, and cars moving up through the field.  The team we went to see (my dad drove for the owner on occasion, and the last race I actually went to I spotted for this team) had a car driven by the awesome Chris Whorton, who technically led every lap of the race.  He was challenged for a while, and it definitely got 'racey' for a few laps, but the car owner has track championships at Hunstville spanning four decades, and there was little doubt that Chris would win this race.

So congratulations to Chris & Rick, it was fun to be back at the racetrack!
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