I’m currently sitting on a flight, having just left Knoxville, Tennessee, eating some mini pretzels that I’m wishing were Knoxville cuisine. The food guys, oh my gosh, the food!
I’d say we went for a wedding but stayed for the food! Typical.
There was lots of foods, lots of wine, and lots of fun. Oh, and puppies! Puppies everywhere.
I feel obligated to share that there was also a pig, and I fell in love with him. I am forever and always begging my husband for a pet pig but that’s a story for another time.
It may or may not be true that on this same day I stalked an english mastiff in the heart of downtown Knoxville. Anyone who knows my obsession for our bullmastiff and all mastiffs alike will understand. Judge me not.
Here’s the thing. The “blogger” side of me was screaming “bring your camera! Take all the pictures.” Then there was my wife side — the side that gets to take a one-on-one vacation with my soulmate maybe once a year — that side was telling me to leave it behind and enjoy each moment
That’s where I present this blog post to you.
I left the good ol’ DSLR behind in the hotel room. Let’s call this post an “iPhone Camera Compilation” or something a bit more catchy. Ideas?
Can we also talk about my obsession with contrast lately? Think super glam meets masculine. I pretty much stuck to that look the entire trip. Fan? Not a fan?
We could have traveled an hour any which way and explored waterfalls and caves and other majestic, breathtaking views. Instead we chose to delve into what Knoxville is known for –> the food!
One little tip for you; when traveling to a new place, do some research. Think less like a tourist, and more like a native. How do the natives dress? What do they eat? Are there certain activities they engage in?
This isn’t for the sake of conformity, I promise. Thinking like a native means you’re more likely to take advantage of what the location has to offer. Rather than Yelp’ing a restaurant, ask the locals. They give the best recommendations, swear it!
First thing first. We flew into Knoxville on a Thursday evening and ate a pretty basic meal at a chain restaurant in the area. It was called Puleo’s Grille and it was pretty good. I honestly can’t remember what I ate but if you are looking for a quick eat with good (but not great) food, I’d recommend it.
We woke up the next morning and went to grab a bite at a restaurant called Stock & Barrel. It was highly recommended by an old friend. Turns out it’s one of the most popular restaurants in the area and has rave reviews on Yelp. For good reason. Dude, the food was some of my favorite of the trip! They had incredibly beefy meals for my meat loving husband and deliciously satisfying meals that fit my vegan diet.
Funny story, my husband was going to order the “classic burger” before I smacked him in the back of the head and made him realize they are known for their outlandish burgers.
Moving on. Later that night we went to different restaurant that a friend recommended based on my diet choices. The Tomato Head.
Being that the majority of the menu was vegan/vegetarian friendly, I was afraid my husband wouldn’t enjoy himself. Huge shocker to me, he announced to our waiter that the calzones and pizza were the best food he ate in Knoxville. I have to agree. The Black Bean and Siracha Hummus appetizer was to die for! So simple but so good.
We placed our order for the “build your own calzone” and I kid you not, the waiter and kitchen staff were in shock. They couldn’t stop talking about how they had never seen someone come in and build such a large calzone. Apparently people come in and build a basic one, think five cheese and pepperoni. We actually enjoyed our meal so much that we returned the following day. We started our order and the bartender says, “I recognize you guys from last night. You’re celebrities here. We’ve never been so impressed with a custom calzone.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. It was a prime example of how my husband and I eat. We don’t discriminate with our food. We eat good and we eat a LOT!
The Tomato Head really was the highlight of our trip. If you are ever near downtown Knoxville you must stop in and order the calzone!
Oh! My husband was so impressed that he ended up ordering one of their pizzas as well. I didn’t eat it (because . . . cheese) but he said it was amazing.
P.s. I’m not really into beer, but the beer choices in Knoxville are divine. There are new breweries opening up almost daily so the choices are endless.
One of our last big sit down meals was at Koi Fusion on Market Square in Downtown Knoxville. To put it simply, after being impressed with both Stock & Barrel and The Tomato Head, the food here was just “eh.” Good, but not great. Would I eat it again? Sure. Would I recommend it to someone visiting Knoxville for the first time? No. Stick with the other two recommendations and you’ll be thrilled.
The night before our flight we were pretty burnt out. We wanted to grab something quick and head back to the hotel to lay in bed for the remainder of the evening. As we were walking downtown I spotted a sign that said “Gyros.” My husband loves him some gyros so we walked on in to a place called Mirage Skybox. I was a bit worried because there was only one other couple in the restaurant. The bartender assured us it was because the football crowd had just cleared out after a big game.
My husband order a gyro and enjoyed it. I couldn’t begin to try and tell you what I ordered because I haven’t a clue what it was, but it was delicious, and interesting at the same time.
I’m boring myself now so I’ll wrap this up with one final activity of the trip, but if I had to recommend some must have restaurants, it would be Stock and Barrel and The Tomato Head.
We basically ate for five days straight but we did do one activity that had us up and moving. Neither of us had ever been zip lining so we decided to go to a place called Navitat that I discovered via Yelp.
Navitat is a tree-based zipline adventure park that has more than 60 adventure elements includng ziplines, elevated tunnels, swings, and more. If you’re looking for a fun way to stay active during your stay in Knoxville, I’d recommend it. We spent a little under two hours on the courses. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable so that’s always a plus. It’s something I had never done so I enjoyed myself.
That’s basically it. I told you, lots and lots of food. And I loved every second of it!
I’m massively obsessed with travel and exploring new places. Do you have a place on your list that you think is a must see? Share share!