While most restaurants will be closed on Christmas Day, there are a handful open with Santa's elves busy preparing meals for anyone wanting to venture out and let others do the cooking.
Follow that with a movie, and your day will be carefree once the presents are opened and the wrappings thrown away.
Here's a list of open restaurants. It's short, but keep in mind that, though you may think many are eating at home, you'll be surprised at how many are eating out, so reservations are necessary at places other than IHOP and other casual eateries that are always open on Dec. 25.
• Broad Street Grille (at The Chattanoogan). Bring your appetite and get ready for a huge Mediterranean-inspired holiday feast, starting with the salad bar filled with almost everything you can imagine, including seafood, greens and cheeses. The main entrees will include roasted garlic/Dijon-crusted prime rib, smoked paprika-rubbed pork with Rioja garlic jus and Provencal baked chicken. Numerous side dishes will accompany each meat. Finish your meal with your choice of cakes, tarts, pies and a holiday milk chocolate waterfall in which you may dip brownies, strawberries, cookies and marshmallows. Adults are $34.95; children (ages 6-12) are $17.95; and children 6 and under are free. The hours are noon-5 p.m. Get reservations by calling 424-3700.
• Bluff View Art District. The Back Inn Cafe and Renaissance Commons will be decked out in holiday splendor and serving a bountiful menu filled with Christmas cheer: roast turkey with all the trimmings, Asian salad with chicken and soba noodles, Caesar salad, hazelnut French toast, assorted seafood and vegetable sushi and shrimp with bowtie pasta in a tomato-spinach cream sauce. There also are desserts to make your yuletide bright. Adults are $26.95; children 12 and under are $14.95. The hours are 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and make reservations by calling 265-5033, ext. 4.
I must hand it to these restaurants. While most of us are warm at home, they offer this gift of food. There's a lot to be said for folks who are willing to cook for us on Christmas Day.
But if you're of a mind to do the cooking yourself, here's one dish I will be adding to my brunch this year. Each year, I try to add at least one new dish because it keeps the menu from getting stuck in a routine. While there are certain dishes I'd like to stop preparing since I've been making them for years and getting rather tired of the "same old, same old," my children become rather insistent that I make them and the guilt sets in.
But this dish is so good, I'm sure it will become a mainstay for me in years to come. Because I like it so much and it's so easy to make, I may not mind, though. I found the recipe at www.tasteofhome.com. It's a nice accompaniment to any meat.
2 cans (14 ounces each) water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and quartered
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup butter, divided
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
11/2 cups milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese, divided (see note)
1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon paprika
In a small skillet, sauté the artichokes and garlic in 2 tablespoons butter until tender. Transfer to a greased 1-quart baking dish.
In a small saucepan, melt the remaining butter. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat. Stir a small amount of hot mixture into egg; return all to pan, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese until melted.
Pour over artichokes; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Combine crumbs and paprika; sprinkle over top. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Makes 4-6 servings.
Note: Just because I love an extra-cheesy taste, I added about 1/4 cup more Swiss cheese to the top with excellent results.
Here's a present for all my foodie friends. It's a well-known fact for those of us lucky enough to live near Blue Ribbon Cafe in Soddy-Daisy that owner Dianne Cosper makes the best cinnamon rolls in the city. Now all of you outside Soddy-Daisy know it, too.
Cosper makes them every Thursday and bakes them early Friday mornings, then ices them with a cream-cheese frosting or pours a deliciously thick caramel syrup over the top. Trust me, you can't go wrong with either one. They come four to a box and freeze beautifully.
That's what you'll want to do since Cosper will be making them Thursday and have them ready for you to pick up Friday. Freeze them, then bring them out to thaw to room temperature when you go to bed Christmas Eve. They'll be perfect warmed up and ready with a cup of coffee as you open presents on Christmas morning.
Call today and place your order at 332-5005. Blue Ribbon is located at 9705 Dayton Pike.
Merry Christmas to you all.