Third Time’s the Charm

October 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

We braved the line of cars tapping their brakes down the two lane road. We dodged and weaved amongst the pedestrians crowding the sidewalks and crosswalks. We squeaked into the Pancake Pantry in Gatlinburg an hour before closing time.

The waitress put this in front of my face:

Wild blueberry pancakes with blueberries in them, on them, and, see that adorable little pitcher there?, from it flows blueberry syrup with yes, more blueberries. A delectable trifecta, I must say.

Our trip to the mountains afforded beautiful views of a outdoorsy variety, too. I’ll get to that.


menu poetry: Carmelo Cafe

October 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

The town of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is known outside the South mostly, if not exclusively, for a football team known as the Crimson Tide. There may be people who don’t know of the town or its team, of course, I’m just generalizing.

For me, though, football is not king, but I guess you could say food is.

Having lived in this town as a high schooler, I know it pretty well, but I’m always on the lookout to be surprised or find something new.

My mom and I did just that on Saturday before we attended the annual Kentuck Festival (which was fantastic! I took pictures. I hope they turn out so I can share).Carmelo Cafe is a relatively small place with a daily, blackboard menu. We arrived, we sat, we debated the finer points of the fish tacos versus the pimento cheese burger with bacon or the Roast Beef Po’Boy.

The first thing that caught my eye ended up being what graced my plate and pleased my palate: Walnut-crusted fried chicken with a honey habanero glaze, speckled butter beans, and Gouda grits.

And, so, a surprisingly tasty lunch was had.


To Serve and Be Served

October 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Working in a form of retail, making and selling the cupcakes as I do, has reopened my eyes to some truths.

Everyone should have a service-related job at some point in one’s life.

Though I’m in the kitchen for the majority of my shift, I have been pulled up to work the front more lately. The experiences are varied. Most people respond to me when they walk in the door, seem excited to be getting a cupcake, and will exchange pleasantries. A lesser number only attempt the bare bones of social interaction: “I want this and here’s my money and I’ll leave my hand out to wait for you to pass me my change/credit card.” Some don’t even make eye contact with me. Occasionally, it seems to be too easy for some to take out whatever inner frustrations they are feeling on people behind counters or in uniforms. Then, there’s the few who come in and have a look around and just walk out without a word.

Being on the receiving end of the full spectrum of customers has made me keenly aware of how I act when I am one.

A smile truly does go a long way. A genuine “thank you” does, too. Sure, I daily encounter the surly server or cashier or haughty sales clerk, but I feel that I make an effort to do my part and treat the person across the counter in the same way I would want to be treated.

Today, I smiled and made eye contact with the girl who took my money for my delicious steamed roast beef sandwich. Her previously monotone expression lifted into a smile, a “smize” even, as Tyra Banks would say. And, I know it made my outlook brighter as I left the restaurant. I can only hope it did the same for her, too.

Where Am I?

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