Wednesday, November 25, 2009

BBQ Quest: Sapphire's Barbecue Nachos

I found myself at Sapphire last night as part of a mini Tweetup happy hour with some lovely Knoxville ladies. Since I got off work late, I knew I had to fill my stomach if I was going to drink. By chance, one of my companions ordered the BBQ nachos appetizer and after trying a bit of what she left on her place (and there wasn't much by the time I got there), I knew I had to order my own.

CK mentioned trying Aubrey's barbecue nachos a while back, and I want to reiterate how wonderful it is to put pulled pork on things other than a white bun or plate. In the city of Memphis (I hear your collective groans), you can find pulled pork and many traditional fares like pizza (not to be confused with barbecue chicken pizza), nachos and salads.

Sapphire does a good job of making their barbecue nachos slightly upscale and Sapphire-like while still keeping them tasty. The restaurant gets its pork from Full Service BBQ in Maryville (which is still on my list). The nachos are also topped with your typical nacho toppings like sour cream, jalapeno peppers, a light cheese sauce but also comes with sweet, tangy, Memphis-style barbecue sauce on top too.

Delish, and a good barbecue option if you're either A. Downtown or B. Not in the mood for a full-out barbecue meal.

428 S Gay St.
Knoxville, TN 37902

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Three Cheers

Remember this post? Well looky looky:

Restoration of a dream: Architect working on house he wanted as a 10-year-old boy

I just wanted to say how happy I am for B. Pittman. We're rooting for you at the Wigshop HQ.

From the looks of things on Henley and Hill, his baby is shaping up rather nicely.

Friday, November 20, 2009

some upcoming fun for market square

If you haven't heard, tomorrow is the last Market Square Farmer's Market of the year. Head downtown tomorrow between 9 and 2 to enjoy some local goodies in one, convenient location for the last time year!

Also tomorrow, Imogen Heap will be playing a sold out show at the Square Room. While the show has been sold out for some time and I'm not sure you'll have any luck scoring last minute tickets, it's really great to see such a superb act come to Knoxville. I bet that even if you can't attend the show, the square will be busier than ever tomorrow night. I'm so pleased that the Square Room continues to work hard to bring us unique acts like Imogen Heap. And good for them...they've got several sold out shows on the books in the next few weeks!

Finally, next Friday we'll see the return of Market Square's ice skating rink! What a fun way to celebrate the holidays!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

the homeless: another downtowner's perspective

I wrote a comment on the Pol's latest dissertation, but it was so long I decided to make it a full fledged post. I want to preface this by saying I respect what The Pol is saying. I've known him for quite some time and I know he's a feather ruffler. He wants people to think, and he does a pretty dang good job at it.

I wanted to share my perspective on the issue as someone who lives near downtown and has interacted with a lot of homeless people since I've lived in Knoxville.

Call me a simpleton, but I've always thought the issue of homelessness runs a lot deeper than what government will do for the homeless. I think it's easy for downtowners to have a holier-than-thou attitude concerning the matter. The recent controversy about the County Commission's decision has made me realize that downtowners feel like we are bearing the brunt of this problem and are resentful about people who don't want to share the load. But if you are a downtowner, may I pose the question: How are you physically helping the problem aside from complaining about it or blaming others? I know I have to ask myself this a lot.

Homelessness has been a problem in Knoxville far longer than I've lived here, and I think downtowners can be just as negligent about this issue as people out West. There are probably just as many North Knoxvillians who want to transplant the homeless shelters from Broadway and Magnolia to a more desirable location- out of sight.

No matter where there is talk of building more shelters or homeless housing, nearby residents will complain. All this is to say, as downtowners we can't make a sweeping claim that we accept the homeless out of any love or care. Most downtowners accept homeless people just because we have no other choice.

I think the decision to refuse homeless housing out West reflects the opinions of most of Knoxville, not just people out West. Yes, as downtowners, we've learned to be cordial to the homeless when they panhandle us on our way to work, but that's not enough. Our cordiality isn't pulling anyone out of their hopeless state.

The homeless problem is not just where are we going to put these people. The problem is how, as citizens of Knoxville, are we going to love and care for the homeless to help give them the best life possible, whether they are grateful or not, whether they change or not. Then we change the question of "What are we going to do with them?" to "How is MY thinking and perspective wrong regarding the homeless? What can I do to help?"

I am a firm believer that you don't have to join the Peace Corps to help people in need. You don't need to move to a leper colony to help people the way Mother Teresa did. Knoxville has its work cut out for it. I personally don't think anyone should be allowed to make decisions on the homeless until they've hung out outside of Knox Area Rescue Ministry, but what is my opinion worth... I'm not in politics.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Homeless? Not MY Problem!!

Seriously, why are West Knoxvillians being complete and total d-bags?

Ok so maybe not all of them wanted to keep the homeless, well, homeless. But enough of them did that the County Commission voted overwhelmingly to make sure that the homeless were not exposed to the horrors of suburban life. (Again why do we have dual government?)

It infuriates me to no end to know that two hundred people turned out at a meeting the other evening to talk about how the homeless didn't need to live at Lovell Rd. and Pellissippi, while these are probably the same people who donate to the Love Kitchen and KARM. Stop living your dual lives of not having to see anything unpleasant while pretending to care about the "sufferings of others"!

Heaven knows you wouldn't want you 8th grader to know that there are people who are trying to get their lives together living near them. No sir, lets build them a nice complex off Magnolia Ave. where people like THEM should live.

My favorite question from the forum the other night, "Don't we have any say where these people live?" And the response, "You don't have any say in where they live just a you don't have any say where African-Americans live."

It's time for a reality check for our suburbanite citizens. You don't get to have your cake and eat it too. You don't get to live 15 minutes from downtown, use city services and enjoy the benefits, without having to do you part in a joint effort to solve real problems (i.e. The Ten Year Plan).

No, the homeless aren't pretty, but we're not talking about putting the pan-handlers in Turkey Creek (Though they would do alot better) we're talking about housing for people who are taking steps to improve their situation in life. To no longer rely on handouts and to become "productive" citizens and maximize the abilities and talents that they have.

Time for some shame and guilt. I'm sick of hearing people I work with out west talk about how they don't like downtown because of the homeless people. Well guess what, here is an attempt to solve one of your complaints and if you would simply accept a mild amount of unpleasantness the 2 times a week you drive by some new apartments or see a KAT bus, it might not be as big a problem as it once was. I'm sure there would be some landscaping so maybe you wouldn't even have to see the buildings.

Or you can continue to be self-righteous navel gazers who think that if you build a big enough gate around your subdivision it will all be ok.

PS - Don't use the liquor store argument- it's not like alcoholics wouldn't just ride the bus to buy a drink anyways. It's just a cop out and again these people are trying to clean up their lives.


The liquor store argument was simply that there was a liquor store withing 2 minutes of the proposed location, which naturally made that site a "terrible" choice.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Wonderful Place

"Thank you!!"

The title is true, but the situation was anything but. On Saturday my dog decided that she would go on an adventure. She sprinted across Western Ave. south on 17th not to be seen for 4 hours.

To me, this would be enough for a post but the real focus is on a great organization we have here in Knoxville, Young-Williams Animal Center. After giving up my foot search I headed out to Young Williams on Sutherland.

First, on the phone, the girl who answered was very sympathetic and kind. Second upon arriving I was directed to fill out a quick form and then taken right around all of the dogs that had been brought in (Which in my state was hard enough on its own.)

They let me know upon arrival that someone had called in with a description of a dog like mine which gave me hope. After the dog tour I called a very nice college student named Quinton who had Bella way up at 14th and bridge ave. But I digress.

Young Williams serves not only as a place to get a great pet (we got ours there), but also as a hub for lost pets for their owners. Their presence is well enough known that it only takes minutes for people to get reconnected with their missing loved ones.

Two important services, helping people find another family member and then helping to keep that family together. It's great that we have an organization like them in Knoxville that is well known enough that even our transient college students know about it.

Finally, this isn't anything more than a thank you post. The people at Young-Williams were helpful, kind, and encouraging. If you need a pet or a place to volunteer some time. Head over to Young-Williams, it's worth it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Always open, even when it's closed

On my typical commute to and from downtown, I pass by good ole Mer-Mer's Bakery on the north end of Gay Street, right past 5th. First I'd like to comment on the name... but considering I don't really know what to say about a name like Mer-Mer's, I'll just bring attention to it.

Secondly, I'd like to know what, exactly, the owner is trying to suggest by constantly being open and closed at the same time. More often than not, their neon "open" sign is glowing while their closed sign is hanging on the door. It's so confusing, so baffling, and I love it.

photo by Tracy Jackson

Thursday, November 12, 2009

back in business

When I walked by the Crimson Building yesterday I heard unusual sounds emanating from it. Hammering and what sounded like a huge drill. There was new plastic covering the windows and the lights were on. Flory reported that it had been sold, and it seems the the new owners are proceeding poste haste. As much as I've grown accustomed to the neon green upper floor, I'm glad that such a prominent downtown building is finally going to be finished.

Does anyone know what the new plans are? Condo or rental? Completion date?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We've got spirit. yes we do!

Happy Veteran's Day from the Wigsphere!

The Parade is starting now. So head on down to Gay St. to celebrate with your fellow Americans.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pubby Buddy

Just wanted to say that Pres Pub is now offering the "Pubby Buddy."

Before you get your shorts in a wad, this isn't some random guy to come shoot the breeze with you during your first 1.5 beverages at your favorite local pub. The Pubby Buddy is a whiskey (or whisky) shot and a PBR for $5! Pint night look out!

Friday, November 06, 2009

The second-to-last First Friday of the year

It's First Friday for November. Can you believe how fast this year has flown by?

I heard a radio spot the other day advertising First Friday in the District in Bearden, the fancy name given to the business district over there. According to the District's website, many businesses over there will offer special deals between 5 and 8 p.m. There aren't any details, but I'm willing to bet you could find some sales at Swagger, maybe the Runners' Market, clothing boutiques and a few art galleries. One of my favorite gift spots, the Southern Market, which features many handmade goods from local artists, is also a part of the District's association.

If you're not in the mood to brave the downtown crowds, this might be worth checking out. If you do, report back here!

Now on to the downtown First Friday goings on ...

-- Abode is celebrating it's birthday, and I'm hoping there will be cake! Rita's is celebrating its birthday too, and there may not be cake, but there will be $1 small cups of Italian ice and $1 small cones of frozen custard.

-- On the second floor of the Bijou through 7 p.m. will be a reception honoring young artists from local elementary schools, and their work will be on display. Familiarize yourself with these budding artists now, since you'll probably see them back in the FF lineup a few years from now.

-- Showing at the Birdhouse are Jessie Van der Laan & Robmat Butler.

-- Downtown wine + spirits = sale. Need I say more? Get $4 off a bottle of organic chardonnay and 10 percent off regularly price wine and beer.

-- Mast General Store is hosting hubcap artist Sarah Brobst, who turns used hubcaps into art.

Here's a complete listing of participating businesses and galleries. And a map too!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

It's green but... why?

OK so The Pol is confused about a recent addition to market square.

Could someone please tell me why we need a solar powered trash can? Isn't the trash can the original green tool. All of those anti-litter (keep it green) campaigns used the old style trash can with great success.

But now we need a solar powered trash can. Why? What does it do, besides hold a little more trash, that a regular trash can doesn't do?

Anyways, I'm agin' it. Hopefully the city didn't pay anything for it.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Saw this on the way home from work today. I'm assuming the rest of it will say "Coca-C" at some point. I'm so happy they are repainting this! I was just mentioning to my girlfriend the other day that I wish they would repaint those things. Wish granted.

This is at the corner of Central and Broadway.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The List

OK so both of our readers who want to know how we (Meaning the Pol) think the election should turn out here goes.

I've got my picks for city council and they all have, generally, the same theme.

Pro-growth, downtown oriented, record of service, and least like a sheister.

So here goes

District One

Robert Marlino

District Two

Duane Grieve

District Three

Gerry Holman

District Four

Nick Della Volpe

District Six

Daniel Brown

Polls open at 8 and close at 8. you really have no excuse for not voting if you live in the city. it takes 4 minutes of your day. So don't be a lazy bum, though I'm pretty sure even the bums are voting in this one.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Quick Reminder

Remember, tomorrow is election day here in K-town.

Go HERE for your polling place and to see a copy of the ballot. Stay tuned for endorsements on the morrow.

The city council election will be particularly important for the continued growth of downtown Knoxville as we need to make sure the leadership in government matches the direction of the citizenry.