Today we celebrate the United States’ 242nd birthday! As we celebrate with burgers and fireworks (Red meat and explosions? How American!) I reflect on the foundations this country was built on: personal liberties and justice for everyone here. I hope that as a nation we can find a way to agree on what this means for us in 2018. Have a wonderful holiday, everyone!
Knoxville, TN is one of my personal favorite destinations. It’s a bit of a hidden gem in the south: people tend to focus on Atlanta, New Orleans, Nashville, or beach towns like Myrtle Beach, Miami, and Charleston when planning visits to the southeast, but Knoxville has a lot to offer. If you’re interested in a general guide to Knoxville, including entertainment, museums, bars, restaurants and general tips, check out my Destination: Knoxville post here.
If you’re interested in out-of-the-way, unique, international eateries and markets, Knoxville has you covered, and so do I. See below my recommendations for cool places to eat and shop.
Quality Turkish Market
The folks are Quality Turkish Market are very kind and helpful, especially to a noob like myself who had never tried Turkish food before. The setup is order at the counter and pay in advance, but the food is, as the name suggests, quality. It’s delicious and filling, even the 100% vegetarian dish I enjoyed. They also have a small market area where you can buy imported sodas, candies, and other non-perishable treats.
Have you ever tried Ethiopian food? You should, and you should start at Gosh. They have lots of options and simple explanations of the unfamiliar food. Get ready to eat with your hands!
Sitar Indian Cuisine
Sitar serves up traditional Punjabi dishes, just what most Americans expect when they sit down at an Indian restaurant. I would recommend starting with Samosas, which are crispy turnovers stuffed with potatoes and veggies. Our table devoured ours in record time. For main courses they have a variety of curry dishes, many vegetarian, but plenty of meat-lovers’ options: lamb, chicken, shrimp, etc.
The Indian Grocery on Kingston Pike is quite large; this is no corner store. They offer many fresh, non-perishable dry goods, and frozen ready-to-eat meals. The selection is impressive, and there are plenty of options for the novice cook!
Holy Land Market
This middle Eastern/Mediterranean market features a grocery section and a small deli. You can pick from an impressive array of olives, teas, and Turkish Delight, as well as many other grocery items.
What are your favorite international restaurants and markets in Knoxville? What about your hometown? Share with me in the comments below! Share this post via Facebook or Twitter and, as always, follow me here on WordPress for more GREAT content like this!
A big thank you to Maria Grissino for allowing me to use her photo of the Tennessee Theatre as my featured photo on this post!
Original Destination: Knox: https://theglobetrottingscientist.wordpress.com/2017/09/10/destination-knoxville-tn-usa/
World’s Fair Flags Photo: http://www.knoxvilletennessee.com/downtown/worlds-fair-park.html
Sitar Indian Image: https://smokymountains.com/restaurants/sitar-indian-cuisine/
Currently, I live in the city, and I have for most of my adult life. However, I spent my childhood in the middle of nowhere. It was fun to take a trip down memory lane and put together some things that are unique about living in the country. Enjoy!
- The nearest grocery store was 20+minutes away
- Waiting for 2-3 cars at an intersection was considered “traffic”
- You couldn’t see your house from the road
- You couldn’t see your neighbor’s house from your house
- You laugh when your friends describe their suburb as “the country”
- There was nothing in walking distance of your house
- You can recognize different types of crops
- You know the difference between cow-poop smell and horse-poop smell and pig-poop smell
- Your friends couldn’t find your house because the GPS won’t navigate to it properly
- Cable companies don’t offer services where you lived
- Hearing gunshots was not a cause for concern; you just assumed it was someone hunting
- Your neighbor’s cows or horses or goats have gotten loose and wandered into your yard
- You’ve had to stop in the road to figure out whose cows are blocking the cars
- You’ve been in a traffic jam caused by cows
- You know someone who claims that they got hit by a deer, not the other way around
- Folks near you drive pickup trucks for practical purposes like hauling horse trailers or carrying farm equipment
- You didn’t grow up with “neighborhood kids” because there was no neighborhood (and sometimes no kids)
- You could see the stars pretty much every night, so “star-gazing” wasn’t really a thing
- You could be loud and the neighbors wouldn’t complain because they couldn’t hear you
- The internet was really slow. Really, really slow.
- You enjoyed showing your friends from the city how to navigate through the woods, catch lightning bugs, and avoid poison oak, poison ivy, and briers
Did you grow up in the country? What are some other signs you grew up in the middle of nowhere? Share them with me in the comments below!
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I had a hard week at work the other week. I won’t go into details, but I was feeling very overworked and underappreciated. By Thursday I was a big ball of stress. My husband brought me dinner at work, and somehow we decided to go to the beach that weekend.
We live about 2-2.5 hours from the nearest beach, so it’s easy to do for a weekend. He wanted to go for just the day, but I didn’t think it would be worth it. So Friday evening we booked an Airbnb. Less than 24 hours in advance we booked accommodations for Saturday night. We packed in a flurry, thinking “are we really doing this?”
Now, I don’t believe in fortune-telling and I firmly believe you make your own destiny. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy fortune cookies! A couple of weeks before this spontaneous trip, I went with some coworkers to a Chinese restaurant where I got a fortune cookie. My fortune was “there are unexpected adventures in your future.” I loved it. I taped it to the mirror in my bathroom. No, it doesn’t actually predict unexpected adventures, but perhaps it inspired them?
After a flurry of packing and a good night’s sleep, we got up and headed for the coast. This was before summer, so it wasn’t peak season yet and we were going to be among the only tourists around.
We arrived at the address of the Airbnb. We called our host who helped us with parking and brought us up to his apartment. Let me pause right there and say the idea of staying with a stranger makes me uncomfortable. Our previous Airbnb stays have always been whole apartments, and this time we were just renting a room from some guy off the internet. However, our host turned out to be a really nice doctor who showed us our room and pretty much left us alone.
After dumping our stuff in the little bedroom with adjoining private bathroom, we changed into swimsuits and headed for the beach. It was a quick 10 minute drive, and getting out of the car, smelling that salt air and hearing the crashing of waves, I could already feel the stress of my crazy week fading away. While my husband braved swimming in the cold water in March, I set up my towel on the sand with a novel. After who knows how much long I woke up to my husband asking if I wanted to leave or if he should feed the parking meter. “Mmm I can stay longer” I answered sleepily. He kissed me and left to feed the meter. I tried to go back to my book, but ended up just soaking in the sun.
That evening our host was at work, so we got some food to-go and ate at the counter in the kitchen of our Airbnb. We had talked about going to some bars, but ended up having a couple of glasses of wine at “home,” relaxing, and enjoying being away from home for the night.
The next morning we went to a cute bagel shop across the street from our Airbnb. It was predictably packed, as it was Sunday morning. The bagels were to die for! That’s why you should always try the local shops and restaurants when you travel–you might find the best bagel of your life!
After our bagels, we drove about half an hour away to the aquarium. It’s a great aquarium, and we had a lot of fun looking at the fish, and feeling like kids again. Our stomachs started rumbling again, but we didn’t want to pay for overpriced food at the aquarium so we just started driving back home with the plan to stop when we saw something that looked good. A little burrito place caught our attention. We stopped and went in. It was probably 2-3pm, but we still had to wait for a table. The restaurant had kind of a Dia de los Muertos skulls theme. We were finally seated and found out we got unlimited access to their salsa bar. They had about a dozen different salsas and I think we tried most of them. Then came our meals. Oh man. To die for. The service was great, the food was great, the atmosphere was casual and cool, and the prices were low. Always. Eat. Local.
After stuffing ourselves with burritos, the last thing we wanted to do was drive back home, but alas, our spontaneous beach trip was coming to an end. We dragged our full bellies back to the car, and drove home. Would I take a spontaneous trip again? Hell yeah. But when? Who knows…. 🙂
Have you taken a spontaneous trip? Tell me about it in the comments! Did you enjoy this post? Share via Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. Follow me on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and, as always, follow me here on WordPress for more GREAT content like this!
If you follow the Airbnb link above (or this link!) and sign up you will get a $40 credit. I will also receive a small compensation.