I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It’s not big, but it’s not small, either. I guess you could call it medium-sized. It’s a city that is definitely on the up-and-up. I’m beginning to see it on “Top 10 Cities” to visit, to live, etc…There is also a lot more traffic around than when I grew up. It’s no Atlanta or New York, but the situation is still annoying, nonetheless.
Chattanooga is an outdoors-y city. Hiking, rock climbing, camping. You name an outdoor activity and the people who live here probably love it. It’s turning very “green”, as well. Everything is constantly changing. Other than the traffic, most of the changes are good.
What I’ve noticed the most is that the city is getting better food and better wine. But better in no way means excellent. Let’s just say we’re getting there. We’re on our way. One morning, I’ll wake up and realize that Chattanooga restaurants are on par with Atlanta, Charleston, or Nashville. At least I hope so. I really, really hope so. Because I miss good food. I miss good wine. I’m tired of being let down. I’m tired of always wanting more from the dishes, the chefs, the restaurants as a whole. Potential. That’s what Chattanooga has…Potential…
If you ask my sister (perhaps my entire family), I’m a snob. Food snob, wine snob, maybe even a life snob. Who knows. I never understood why, though. Why does wanting better food, better wine, better restaurant experiences make me a snob? I went to Culinary School. I worked at Five and Ten. I’ve eaten at some of the best restaurants in Athens, Charlotte, and Charleston. I’m trained. I know what good food is and I’m not ashamed to say when it’s not. What kind of chef and food-lover would I be if I accepted that undercooked snapper or oily calamari is as good as it gets? Because it’s not.
Food is no longer just nourishment. It is no longer something to shove down your throat to keep you going throughout the day. It’s an art. It’s something that should be appreciated and enjoyed. It has an uncanny ability to make everything better.
As I’ve said in previous posts, I love nothing more than going out to dinner with family and friends. The experience of dining out…the food, the wine, the atmosphere, the conversation…you just can’t beat it. It’s my absolute favorite thing to do. I love to be so absorbed in the experience and the stories that we stay until closing. The better the food and the better the wine that is served is what creates these moments. Who wants to stay and order coffee or a digestif after their entree completely bummed them out? No one. They want to go home. They regret the $150 they spent on the evening because it just wasn’t worth it.
Yup. You guessed it. I have no problem spending $200 on an evening out if my standards are met. It’s money well spent, in my opinion because it wasn’t just dinner. It wasn’t just food. It was a moment. A memory. I still remember eating at Good Food in Charlotte, NC with some friends from Culinary School. A wonderful memory was created that night, one that I can recall just as well as that lunch I had at Husk in Charleston, SC. A bottle of wine has the same domino effect, too. At Boccaccia, an Italian restaurant here in town, I remember the bottle of Sangiovese I ordered for my 23rd birthday, which allows me to remember who was there, what table I sat at, and the dish I ordered. You see, when I travel, I don’t remember the stores that I visited or the carriage tours I took. I remember everything based off of the food I ate, the wine I drank, and memories that I’ll never forget. It’s how I personally function. I won’t change. In fact, I don’t want to change.
So, call me a snob if you want. A food snob. A wine sob. A life snob. I’ll just have to take it as a compliment, I guess.