Monday, March 16, 2015

Down South Photo Diary: Knoxville

 {distant view of the Tennessee Theater}
      I am currently in denial about the fact that my Spring Break has ended. I usually spend my breaks at home, avoiding all responsibility in favor of Netflix, cookies, and bed, but this year I joined my friend Saher at her home in Knoxville, Tennessee. We spent the week traveling all around Knoxville, and even fit in two road trips: one to Roswell, a town near Atlanta, and the other to Nashville, which I liked even more than I expected to. Here are a couple highlights from my time in Knox-Vegas.
 {Saher and our food at the Tupelo Honey Cafe}
      Saher and I love, love, LOVE food, so much of our trip was centered around fitting in the best meals in the fewest days. We started with brunch and shopping in Market Square, where we had a great meal at the Tupelo Honey Cafe. They have the softest biscuits and sweetest jam, which went great with my sweet potato pancake (with peach butter and spiced pecans!) and orange juice.
 {my amazing meal}
 {Market Square during Mardi Growl}
      After our meal, we explored downtown for a bit, window-shopping and walking off our meal. I love traveling, and one of my favorite things about going to a new city is being able to see what locals appreciate about the places they call home.
      Saher took me to a old-style general store and to a couple shops in Market Square. There were a ton of dogs all around us, which completely made my day but still confused me. After a few minutes of walking in a sea of puppies we saw a Mardi Growl sign, which explained all the dogs and booths selling dog toys and treats.
{Mardi Growl in Market Square} 
 {street art outside a cafĂ©}
 {alley graffiti}
{can't decide if this is meant to represent moonshine or a jar of popcorn kernels}
{view of downtown Tennessee from the car}
      The next day, we caught up on the latest SNL episode and hung around the house before going out to dinner. Saher, her sister, and I went to Taste of Thaiwhere I had the best Thai iced tea and Massaman curry of my life. This is not a statement I make lightly; Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines and Thai iced tea is one of my favorite things in the world, so needless to say, my day was made.
{Massaman curry and Thai iced tea at Taste of Thai}
      I also had my first Chick-fil-A experience during this trip. As a vegetarian and perpetually-aspiring vegan, I was hesitant at first and skeptical of there being options for me, but the iced tea is among the best I've had and the waffle fries are great, too. Saher tells me the iced tea isn't quite the same in their D.C. locations, so I made sure to drink my fill before we left. Seriously, if you are ever going to be in the South, do yourself a favor and get some of this tea. I'm already sad I won't get to have any here.
      But don't worry, not everything in our trip was centered around food. For one, I now officially like country music. I've lived in New Jersey for most of my life, so this is certainly very new (and, to a lot of my friends, very strange), but I'm starting to love how passionate and catchy country music often is. I'm currently listening to Blake Shelton's "Lonely Tonight" and "Colder Weather" by the Zac Brown Band (both of whom were on SNL recently!), among a couple others. I'd love to hear recommendations if you have any! Also, while our trip to Nashville did include some amazing food, we did much more shopping and sight-seeing there as well. I'll be sure to put up a post about it all soon! Above all else though, I think a major reason this Spring Break was the best I've had yet was because of the company. Saher and her family were so kind, welcoming, and hospitable and made sure I was comfortable and enjoying myself throughout the week. We didn't have the traditional Cancun Spring Break, but I honestly wouldn't have it any other way.
      Did I miss anything big on my trip to Tennessee? Let me know in the comments below!
~ V

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