Spring was in the air on the morning of March 10, 1977, when the Harrods Creek Volunteer Fire Department rolled out to an alarm at the old Pine Room restaurant on Upper River Road. A fire that began in the beloved restaurant’s kitchen quickly involved the rest of the building.
Before fire fighters could contain it, the building was gutted by fire, smoke and water. The restaurant, a local landmark since the 1940s, closed forever. In its heyday it had been a popular destination, known for its friendly saloon atmosphere, comfort food, and lounge pianist named Mable who kept a candle burning atop her grand piano.
Now, 40-some years later, the Pine Room is back, or something a lot like it, anyway. Continue reading Meet the new Pine Room, something like the old Pine Room
Three years ago two interesting new locally owned fast-casual eateries came to town, and I loved them both: Con Huevos set a new standard with its delicious, chef-driven Mexican breakfast and lunch. Joella’s first introduced us to Nashville-style hot chicken, a feisty genre that might remind you of Indi’s hot fried chicken but that’s really not the same.
Both eateries have recently opened branches in the metro’s eastern suburbs. Naturally I had to check them out. Continue reading Go East to Con Huevos and Joella’s
Can a great independent restaurant remain great when it evolves into a corporate chain? This favorite topic for foodie debate plays out time and again, just about any time a favorite eatery opens a second location, and then a third. Continue reading Wild Eggs maintains its eggy goodness
Is there any culture, anywhere, that does not delight in the joys of wrapping carbohydrates around protein or vegetables and eating it out of hand? From the humble sandwich to empanada, kreplach, pita and Asian bao, among many more, I can’t think of any cuisine that doesn’t boast some kind of portable meal like this. Continue reading Las Gorditas adds a full restaurant, and we’re glad.
“How hot do you want your Pad Thai?”
This can be a leading question in any Asian eatery where some of the dishes have the capability to scorch your palate. I raised an eyebrow, seeking more information.
“Scale of one to four,” our friendly server added, neglecting to mention the “zero” possibility. More about that later. Continue reading How hot? That hot. They’ll tell you no lies at A Taste of Thai
“On the road again” … “En la carretera nuevamente …” Hmm. Willie Nelson’s classic ballad doesn’t translate very well, rhythmically speaking. You just can’t make the syllables fit the notes. But that’s not important right now. What’s important right now is Mexican food, because it’s filling and spicy and delicious.
I like Mexican food, and I like languages, and I’ve still got a lot to learn about both things. But there’s always room for more learning, both in the food department and the linguistic department. Like most Americans — er, Norteamericanos, that is — my language skills are weak.
“Eureka,” I said, an exclamation that works in English, Spanish and Greek. “Why don’t I go eat at some Mexican restaurants? I can practice my Spanish on the servers!”
Continue reading On the Mexican road again …