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A couple of weeks ago I used this space to answer a question that nobody was asking: What would you order for your last meal if you could only choose made-in-Chattanooga restaurant dishes?

It was really just an excuse to make a list of my favorite local restaurant foods. I listed dishes such as fried catfish from Southern Star on Broad Street and onion rings from Ankar's Hoagies on Brainerd Road.

If you sense a fried food pattern here — ding, ding, ding — winner, winner, chicken dinner! Frankly, I believe the Fry Daddy will go down as the No. 1 invention of the 20th century, edging out antibiotics (2) and the internet (3).

Well, my column brought a flurry of responses. (Not a groundswell, but a flurry.) Some of the readers who sent me a list of their "last meal" choices were so enlightened that I've decided to share them.

My friend Betsy Alderman, a retired UTC professor, is a self-described "foodie" who has the cooking chops to prove it.

As a prelude to her "last meal menu," she wrote: "I am now writing a cookbook based in part on my life and my life of cooking. But back in the 1980s, I competed in two National Chicken Cooking Contests, one National Beef Cooking Contest and I won the National Egg Cooking Contest."

I always knew Betsy was a good egg.

Here's her made-in-Chattanooga last meal menu.

Drink: Salted caramel milkshake from Milk and Honey (Market Street). Delicious.

Appetizer: Fried pickles and pimento cheese with sourdough from Public House (Market Street). A close second would be the Nachos Mama from Taco Mamacita (Market Street).

Soup: Miso from Ichiban Japanese Steak House in Hixson.

Salad: Grilled chicken salad with their homemade Greek dressing from Ankar's on Broad Street.

Bread: Anything from Bluff View.

Brunch: Biscuits and gravy from 1885 (St. Elmo Avenue). (You can take the girl out of West Virginia, but you can't take the West Virginia out of the girl!)

Entree: This is difficult, but THE BEST lasagna I have ever had is from the Olive Branch Mediterranean in East Ridge. In fact, most everything from there is delicious. A close second would be pot roast from Southern Star (Broad Street).

Side 1: Onion rings from the Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Bar (Riverside Drive). They taste like my mother's, which were killer.

Dessert: This one is not even close. I would DIE without the peanut butter pie from Southern Star. I NEED this pie.

My old friend Lena Calhoun, a Hamilton County schoolteacher, is a contemporary of mine. We share tastes in food and music. Here is her "last meal" list. "I'd eat any of these at any time on any day," she says.

* Drink: Creamsicle milkshake from Urban Stack (West 13th Street)

* Appetizer: Smoked brisket nachos with extra tomatillo sauce from the Boathouse.

* Soup: Tomato artichoke from Rembrandt's Coffee House (High Street) please, and yes, I eat the sourdough rolls they serve with it!

* Bread: Biba's Italian (Hixson Pike) garlic rolls. Oh my!

* Entree: Reuben sandwich from Pickle Barrel (Market Street). Yummy!

* Side dish 1: Truffle fries from Slick's Burgers (East Main Street).

* Side dish 2: Ankar's onion rings.

* Dessert: ANY dessert from Southern Star; I've had 'em all!

Charlene and Wayne Cook wrote: "Your article reminded us just how many wonderful restaurants we have in Chattanooga.

They submitted the following menu:

* Drink: Terminal Brew House (Market Street) or Chattanooga Brewing Co. (Chestnut Street).

* Soup: Veggie soup from Town and Country (if it weren't closed).

* Bread: Garlic bread at Tony's Pasta Shop (High Street).

* Entrée: Catfish at Champy's (MLK Boulevard) OR schnitzel at Brewhaus (Frazier Avenue) OR ribs at Steve's Landing Waterfront Grille (Soddy-Daisy).

* Side dish 1: Onion rings from Nikki's Drive Inn (Cherokee Boulevard).

* Side dish 2: Fries from Sofa King Juicy Burger (Dayton Boulevard).

* Side dish 3: Brewhaus' red cabbage.

* Dessert: Big River's Chocolate Ecstasy.

* After-dinner mint: Hot Chocolatier truffles.

* Ice cream: Clumpies' raspberry mint ice cream.

some text Mark Kennedy

If anyone else would like to play along, submit your "Chattanooga Last Meal" menu in the comments section in the link on the Times Free Press Facebook page or send to Mark Kennedy at mkennedy@timesfreepress.com.

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