Thanks, Tennessee

September 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.” -Emerson

I gave a small wood plaque with this quote painted on it to my friend Alison who-knows-how-long-ago, and it brought a big smile to my face to see it hanging in her guest room last weekend. I’m sure it was there the last time I came, but I didn’t notice it in the same way. Alison and I weren’t particularly stupid together on this most-recent visit, but we’ve had plenty of adventures and silliness and spontaneity in our friendship. I pray for plenty more in the future. Watching her with her new son Hunter, I’m so excited for him and all the hilarity that awaits him in his childhood. Good food, too, once he graduates beyond oatmeal dust.

Speaking of which, in just 2 days time, Alison and I either whipped up or pursued some mighty tasty meals. French toast made from her homemade bread topped with fresh berries kicked off our Saturday, which ended with Alison handling her grill like she was born to do it. In between breakfast and dinner, the four of us had lunch at Cafe Rakka near their home. They’ve taken me here before, and every dish was fresh and spicy and plentiful. This time, I tried the Tandoori Chicken sandwich on what tasted like housemade pita, almost naan-like. IMG_5688We entertained the baby in between our delicious meals (or, is it more accurate to say he entertained us?).

IMG_5696After the munchkin went to bed, the grill got fired up and flank steak was grilled and fantastic pineapple salsa consumed. I brought a new cookbook from work for us to pour over and we watched a documentary about French pastry chefs. Clearly, we have a preferred pastime. Sunday it was quiche for breakfast followed by a performance of the musical “Once” at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. I’d forgotten how much those songs resonate from when I saw the movie several years ago. Translating the story to stage had its awkward moments, but the music kept me mesmerized. IMG_5711

Afterwards we had to eat again so off to the 12 South neighborhood we hopped to try Epice, a Lebanese bistro Alison kept mentioning which very subtly clued me in that she really wanted to go there. My salmon dish, named Samak, introduced me to tarator, a sauce the waitress said was close to tzatziki which is now close to my heart. Cilantro roasted potatoes and the peasant salad I could’ve eaten two helpings of. I especially love eating out, and at new-to-me places, because not only do I get to experience new dishes, it also gives me ideas for techniques or spices to try later when I’m at home.  IMG_5712We polished this meal off with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, because I always want to eat their ice cream. The Sweet Cream Biscuits and Peach jam flavor was as delightful as I’d hoped it would be. A simple weekend to visit a friend, but it filled me up in so many ways. The not-too-long drive afforded me beautiful scenery and a showy sunset, being face to face and heart to heart with an old friend gave me strength, and I left renewed. Thankful for constants even in the midst of life’s changes and the different stages we move into. Thankful for perseverance in friendship though the miles separate us.

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