Tuesday, December 22, 2009

still constructing sushi

I had this flier on my car this morning:

Looks like the 100 Block construction project is taking its toll. Admittedly, I had not been to Nama in quite some time since back in October, I put myself on a strict social budget. But last week, some good friends were in town and a group of us went to Nama on Thursday night. I had forgotten how good it is.

Since I live on the 100 block, it makes me sad every time I walk past Nama and Havana only to see that they're pretty much empty. A lot of times, Nama still appears to be crowded, but the crowds are nothing like they used to be back in the day. I suppose it's a double whammy - the construction project combined with the fact that a lot of people have lighter wallets these days.

Hopefully Nama's new promotion will carry them through the lighter times. I can't wait until the construction project is finished and the 100 block is bustling again with residents and visitors. In the mean time, I encourage visitors to come and dine at the two great restaurants on the block. Nama's got their half off promotion, and Havana always has dollar and two-dollar drafts.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tour Delight

For the most part, I maintain a quiet love for Knoxville, but every so often that love grows more exuberant. Last night was one of those times; I attended the "Tour de Lights" neighborhood bike ride hosted by Knoxville Regional Bicycle Program.

I'm not positive how many cyclists showed up, but it had to have been at least 200. Man, woman, child were decked out in Christmas attire, their bikes adorned in lights and tinsel.

The route started in Krutch Park, weaved through downtown to North Knoxville, and back again. Police stopped all vehicular traffic as we rode though intersections. People came out of their homes or stopped on sidewalks to wave and shout, "Merry Christmas!" which we gladly shouted back. It's probably the closest I'll ever feel to being like George Bailey running through the streets of Bedford Falls.

To top off the experience, there, waiting for us at the finish line, was hot chocolate and cookies. All of it made me quite happy to be a Knoxvillian, to be a part of what's going on downtown, and to know that there are many (crazy) people who feel the same way.

If you're interested in knowing when the next ride is, might I suggest befriending the Knoxville Regional Bicycle Program on Facebook. Otherwise, check out their website.

Monday, December 14, 2009

convenient fish bait

I saw this little gem in Fountain City the other day. It is right next to the new Super Kroger.

I have never imagined a fish bait vending machine before, but if I did it would look a lot like this one. I think the prices were around $3 for each type. Sadly the store is closed and is likely to never open again. See below. I'm sure he's just out fishin'.

Friday, December 11, 2009

nokno in the morning

In the town where I went to college, there were these old men that used to sit near the front door of the town coffee shop to read the newspaper and talk politics. My roommate and I referred to them as “the gate-keepers of the city.” They were loud and funny, and one of them wore a kilt pretty often. Practically anyone visiting or living in town stopped in at least once a week for morning coffee, mostly because there was really nowhere else to go for a bite and cup of joe. And the coffee was good. When you entered the place, it was a rule that you had to greet the gatekeepers.

I see this same small town morning culture growing in North Knoxville. (To my knowledge, the wigsphere hasn’t reviewed Rankin yet, but it will) This morning I had the second opportunity to try the new best breakfast place in town, Mrs. Goodstuffs. This week marks the 10th week of operating in their new location, just north of town between Fellini Kroger and Happy Hollow. It sits in a small strip-like building across from St. Mary’s on Woodland. It is technically on the frontier of the Old North Knoxville neighborhood.

The summer before last I lunched at their previous (and much smaller) pad in North Hills, but I must say, this location suits them much better. Its really spacious in the dining area, and you have your pick between retro laminate tables in front and booths in the back. Back in North Hills there was room for, honestly, 4 tables and it was packed.

I got there early and my friend who I planned to meet hadn’t arrived yet. I walked to the counter to order, and a polite mohawked man offered a seat to me while I waited. He brought me coffee and made sure that I had the newest Metro Pulse in hand while I waited. The menu is simple: your standard eggs, bacon and toast (with coffee for $4!), French toast, two sizes of pancakes (literally pan-sized- these could feed a small family), pretty much your standard fare. Apparently the large stack of pancakes is so big that our Mohawk fellow offered to buy them for my friend if ate them all. But he settled for the half stack.

I stuck with the basic meal, 2 eggs, 3 strips of back on two slices of toast, with coffee and added a side of hashbrowns ($1.25). For $5.25 I don’t think there is a better deal in town for sit-down, home-cooked breakfast. It’s hard to go wrong with this kind of meal, but seriously, the quality of the food (and lack of greasiness compared to other places) is definitely worthy of my support.

From others’ reviews this place has a really good lunch menu (especially their signature sandwiches). They also claim the best burger in town. Don’t look into the dessert case or else you’ll feel like you need about 4 of their desserts to take with, or maybe just all that is left of their pumpkin chess pie. Make a trip to North Knoxville in the morning sometime. With their space, they could have musicians line up for an early morning jam, or students sprung across the booths preparing for class. It’s definitely worthy of an early morning visit, with or without the "gatekeepers of North Knoxville."

Mrs. Goodstuffs Cafe
1008 E. Woodland Ave.
(865) 971-3199
(google points to their old location on Fairmont Ave.)
Hours: Tuesday - Friday 6am - 5pm
Saturday 6am-4pm
Closed Sunday and Monday

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Merry Drunkmas?

This is one of the more interesting things happening this weekend that is off most community calendars' radar.

In an effort to raise funds to put a roof on the Mary Boyce Temple House, Brian Pittman (the owner) is hosting a Hobo Cabaret at his house tomorrow night, Friday, December 11. The admission is by donation, but he wants you to come even if you can't give much.

There will be two performances, one at 8 and one at 10pm. There will be drinks and snacks and a little crassness (leave the kiddies at home) And don't forget to dress warmly. It is, after all, a hobo cabaret. 

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

100 Block update

I saw this the other day and realized... this repair might take longer than I thought.

On the plus side though, there should be some very nice (and sturdy) sidewalks. Also I'm hoping for a few underground storefronts. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Flower power

I love flowers in a big, big way, so I love that The Flower Pot on Gay Street loves to give away free flowers to people of a certain name every day. The other day as I was walking by, they were giving away free flowers to people named Holly and Charles.

Apologies for the poor camera phone quality.

I've never been by on a day when they're giving away a free flower to anyone named The Modern Gal, but let me know if you see that they are (since I don't get to walk by every day.)

The Flower Pot is at 700 S. Gay St. on the same block as Dazzo's. It's also at 2314 N. Broadway across from the Fellini Kroger.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

this week in review

I made sure to have my camera on me this past week to catch all of the different festivities happening in downtown Knoxville recently. Here are a few highlights.

Above: Ice skating in Market Square on Monday.

   The Christmas parade on Gay Street Friday night. Above are some pretty cute VW bugs, and below, who else but Frosty the Snowman on a dump truck.

 Above: At Lox Salon on First Friday for a show themed around the highly esteemed PBR.

Above: The snow covered valley of Townsend. I had the pleasure of waking up to this Saturday morning. I don't think I've never witnessed this much snow in Tennessee before.

Hope y'all had a merry week as well!

Friday, December 04, 2009

O First Friday, O First Friday

It's that time again, kids. I hear there may be some snow in our future. Wouldn't it be awesome if it snowed in time for today's First Friday events? But just in case there isn't, there's still the annual Christmas Parade that kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Gay Street to get you into the holiday spirit.

I'm so pleased to announce that our very own B will be kicking off her own show, A jaunt through Knoxville, at La Costa tonight. She's showing many small screenprints that would make fabulous Christmas gifts (hint hint). If you stop at the bar while you're there, ask for the 'artist's special.' $2 Negra Modelos and Coronas and $4 glasses of Santa Rita 120 Sav Blanc and Snoqualmie Organic Merlot. If you can't make it to catch B's work today, you're in luck because it will be up all month.

And since you'll be out at La Costa tonight, check out these other fine First Friday offerings while you're out:

-- I'll Have What She's Having! at Lox Salon in the Old City. This is a photography show that's really a party. The artists are savvyKAT and Action Jackson and the music is by DJ Whorse (formerly DJ brothersteve). PBR and possibly spiced cider. Anyone who's ever been to Sassy Ann's knows PBR and dancing to great music is the perfect recipe for warmth.

-- Lonely House by Erin Pischke at the Birdhouse in Fourth and Gill. Erin spent two years living in Guatemala and adopting Guatemalan culture. She's created a video installation based on her time there. I love how she describes the installation ... 'The videos are Martha Rosler-esque in their simplicity, but are bilingual in their silence and cross-cultural in their imagery.'

-- Apophenia and the Great Escape by Karley Sullivan at 121 S. Gay St. Karley recalls her methods of escape while growing up in Knoxville in a series of paintings. There will be music and boxed wine too!

-- The Holiday Extravaganza at the Emporium (Friday and Saturday). Affordable crafts and handmade gifts by local artists are available for purchase. There will also be art, music and dance.

I hope your First Fridaying is merry and bright!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

A different kind of bbq quest.

Put your money where your mouth is.

Last Wednesday I saw someone do just that. The Wigshop was contacted by a gentleman to let us know of a very interesting monthly event that most people would never see or hear of. Mrs. The Pol and myself took off under the maze of overpasses between Western Ave. and Ft. Sanders in search of the Lost Sheep Ministries.

You may have heard of Lost Sheep before. They're the people who go to the homeless and needy, giving food and clothes trying to meet them where they are in their own environment.

That's where I met Joe. Joe is not a part of Lost Sheep, but piggy backs their mission. Joe is just a regular guy who saw a need, wanted to help, and stepped up.

Joe makes Barbeque, really, really good Barbeque and lots of it. He makes this Barbeque specifically for the homeless. Once a month he smokes close to 500 lbs of beautiful pork shoulders, the same he would cook for family, friends, or clients.

It was an impressive sight. Joe in his smoking trailer and cooking gear, working his heart out to serve people who would seem unlikely candidates for the first servings of great food, but that was his point. Joe told me he was convicted by the notion giving the needy the first portion, the best portion, not just the leftovers. In his mind, that is an important symbol for these people to see. That they are not just an afterthought getting whatever remain, but worthy of time and consideration and sacrifice.

There were hundreds of people there. The homeless and needy were streaming out of the woods and along the railroad tracks, there were volunteers with Lost Sheep and volunteers with Joe. They worked with the homeless to prepare the meal and set up everything, there was kindness in the chaos.

[UPDATE: For those wanting to help out, Joe says he will be continuing his barbecue with Lost Sheep the last Wednesday of every month for as long as he can.]

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

blogging and holidays

Hey guys- holidays really cause a lot of havoc for our schedule here at the Wigshop. Many of us are out of town and, you know, we have real jobs and stuff that keep us busy. So posting will be sporadic this month- but don't give up on us! Holiday time means lots of great stuff to do in Knoxville, and we'll do our best to bring it to you here.

As a heads up, this Friday is one of the best First Fridays of the year. Local artists (including one Wigshopper) will be out in full force to meet your creative shopping needs. Make sure to go out and spread some wealth in the local economy instead of corporate chains, or at least go see some good art.

The Christmas Parade is happening that night too- maybe one of the Knoxvillest things that happens in town. The floats show a cross section of our culture: basically, if you have a tractor and some tinsel, you're in the parade. So come on downtown, watch some funky floats, roast marshmallows on an open fire, and go to some galleries. It makes for a great evening! (More info will probably follow later this week).

Cheers, CK