Dine & Dish #4: Rachel Ray for a Day.
It's Dine & Dish time with guest host Becks & Posh, and today I get to show you how to eat tasty, and not-too expensive, food in Knoxville, TN!
Because for one day, I am Rachel Ray...
Knoxville is a college town, home to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. And the great thing about college towns? Cheap eats!
A popular place to hang out in Knoxville, and a Southern institution, is Waffle House. Waffle Houses are housed in small, diner-esque buildings; instantly recognizable for their yellow-blocked signs. And while there are Waffle Houses throughout the country, they are predominantly found in the South.
Waffle House is a great place to fill up while not spending a lot of cash. Their menu is made up of mostly of breakfast items...and because they're open 24/7, they do a pretty good business, serving both bored and/or hung-over students, as well travelers and truckers.
As I mentioned, the Waffle House menu is packed with breakfast items, so that's where I began my day. Eggs, waffles, combo plates, and of course...their famous hash browns! Hash browns at Waffle House come 'six ways', including 'smothered' (onions), and 'topped' (chili).
And the service is what you'd expect from a greasy spoon in the South: a waitress who calls you 'honey', 'sugah', and 'darlin'. She was friendly and attentive.
I placed my order of Cheese & Egg Sandwich, Hash Browns, and a large Orange Juice.
Egg and Cheese Sandwich, Hash Browns, and Large OJ
My drink was brought to the booth almost immediately, with my food coming mere minutes later.
The breakfast sandwich, also available with meats, was nicely toasted. The cheese was perfectly melted, and the egg fried exactly the way I like them. The hash browns, which are good enough to eat plain, were crispy on the outside and tender in.
A quick, but filling meal; and all I spent, with tax, was $6.35.
Next, I tried a new (to me) restaurant: Tomato Head, a nicer-than-it-sounds pizza and sandwich place, located at Market Square.
What a fantastic place! Although the skies were threatening (making me feel sorry for that night's performance of Shakespeare on the Market), we (Matt was along for the meal) choose a table on the patio in front of the restaurant. Large, metal grill, tables, a view of the market, and a cute string of party lights around the window...through which we could watch the chef tossing the pizza dough!
I ordered a sweet tea (very Southern), and an appetizer of Black Bean Nachos, while I waited for my No sauce, Gorgonzola, Roma tomato, Walnut & Ricotta cheese Pizza.
Black Bean Nachos
The nachos were amazing...gorgeous black nacho chips, surrounding melted cheddar cheese, corn, red onion, black beans, crema, and either banana or jalapeno slices (we've been unable to come to an agreement on this one!). Crunchy, full of flavor, and just the right size. I was afraid it would be so filling I wouldn't have room for the pizza, but the nachos were the perfect proportion. I liked them so much, I'm attempting to replicate the recipe at home!
Then, the pizza arrived...
Gorgonzola, Walnut, Ricotta and Tomato Pizza
A nine-inch pizza, with one of the best crusts we've ever tasted; melted gorgonzola and ricotta. Tomatoes which were exactly as they should be...not over-cooked, not mushy. And the walnuts? Not a typical pizza topping, but they go so well with gorgonzola. Absolutely wonderful pizza.
Our waitress was a little flustered, but very friendly, very helpful. Tomato Head is a place we plan to visit again.
For a drink, appetizer and pizza (price split as I shared half with Matt), plus tip: just $13.00.
(weather and improper camera setting lead to over-exposed pictures)
And finally, for dinner: Kashmir Indian Restaurant.
For this trip, we brought the whole family. Which meant lots and lots of fabulous foods...
Kashmir is actually one of our favorite restaurants in Knoxville. One of the reasons I like this place so much, their menu has more than a dozen vegetarian options, not to mention the great vegetarian appetizers!
Don't expect the staff to bend over backwards for you; they seem to keep customer interaction to a minimum. But their food tends to make up for it.
I started my meal with a Mango Lassi
Alex and Mango Lassi
and the Vegetarian Platter.
Soup and Vegetarian Appetizer Plate.
The lassi? Just slightly sweet, and fruity. As you can see, Alex liked his quite a bit.
The appetizer platter consisted of a samosa, an aloo tikki, a cheese pakora, and several vegetable pakoras, served with a tamarind chutney. Spicy, and delicious.
And for my dinner: Vegetarian Thali, the Indian version of a full course meal. A cup of lentil soup, and small servings of matter paneer, channa masala, dal makhni, and raita, served with rice and a poori.
I order my dishes 'mild', because while I don't mind spice and a little heat, their food tends to run a bit hotter than I like!
The matter paneer and dal makhni are my favorites; creamy and packed with flavor. And I love, love, love their pooris.
I ate lots of food, took some home with me, and shared a good meal with my family.
And the cost? $18.29, including tax.
Total cost for three meals: just $37.64! That's a lot of hearty food for the price.
There's definitely some good, cheap eats in Knoxville!