published Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Roberts: In search of culinary bliss


by Dalton Roberts

For years I have said, "The quality of a person's life is directly proportionate to the number of tricks he knows and the number of treats he possesses."

By tricks, I mean things like using a Vita Mix machine. It prepares everything from soup to ice cream. It is a single man's best friend. In case of a fire, it would be the second thing I would carry out of the house right behind Eppie, my favorite guitar.

We spend several hours of each day eating, and in Chattanooga I have found a large number of special treats to sparkle up my life. When I really want to pamper myself, I go to Mount Vernon and have a piece of amaretto pie with a cup of coffee. If I could choose my way to shuck the mortal coil, it would be eating amaretto pie. My bliss would start early!

Countryside in Ooltewah is a delight anytime, but I often go with one thought in mind: sweet potatoes. Theirs are the best I have ever had. I would choose a serving of their sweet potatoes over most desserts.

The broiled trout at Epicurean in East Ridge often starts calling out to me around dinnertime. It is actually my favorite fish dish in this area.

Bart's Lakeshore serves a half-pound of buffalo shrimp, and it literally seems to melt in your mouth. I still love the view there as well as the view from any lakeside restaurant.

I have dined with Teddy and Betty Kyriakidis ever since they ran Little Athens in East Ridge. When they opened the Acropolis at Hamilton Place, I worried that they might change the recipe on their house salad and was thrilled that they did not. It has the most delicate and satisfying flavor of any salad I have ever eaten. Many times I dine there because their salad keeps whispering to my tastebuds.

I am told that biscuits and sausage gravy is not good for us, but Redbird Clingan and I have been having sausage gravy and biscuits most Saturdays at Karl's on Hixson Pike for 15 years. My cholesterol and all those grease measurements have stayed in normal parameters, so I praise my liver and arteries and keep right on trucking to Karl's on Saturday mornings. All I can say to the anti-gravy brigade is we all have to go sooner or later, and we might as well go deliciously.

On Tuesdays, Hungry House on Highway 58 has fried chicken close to what my mother cooked all her life. It's a big chicken breast with a great crust. My sister and I seldom miss it.

There are two treats other than food that I treat myself to regularly. One is Charles & Myrtle's Coffeehouse on Saturday night at 8. Some of the best music -- all originals -- I have heard in my life has been at this wonderful listening venue at 105 McBrien Road.

Up until Labor Day, I love to treat myself to the Lake Church way up Hixson Pike on Sunday mornings at 8:30. It's next door to Aris', down next to the water. Some people bring their lawn chairs, some sit on the pews or you can just sit in your boat and enjoy the service. Worshiping in God's great outdoors makes it very special.

Email Dalton Roberts at DownhomeP@aol.com

about Dalton Roberts...

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