Thursday, July 31, 2008

Trailer Park Cooking Show

Finally a celebrity chef I can relate to. Jolene Sugarbaker describes her style as "White trash with class." She is the purveyor of a cuisine that is much more attainable than that snooty Barefoot Contessa and her luncheons in the Hamptons. I like Jolene's personal sense of style and her quiet, understated use of cosmetics. I like that she pronounces tortilla correctly (tor-TILL-ya) and to heck with what anyone from Mexico or that has a Webster's dictionary might say.

Note to the Food Network: Enough with the painfully dull cooking shows and rigged Next Food Network Star "reality show". Y'all need to hire Jolene! That's a show I would watch.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Maryville Tennessee

(The lunch special with cashew chicken, soup, salad, and sushi)

Lemongrass is basically the only Thai restaurant in Maryville Tennessee, and with only about three or four in nearby Knoxville, you start to get the picture that this is pretty much a Thai deprived area. So, any Thai restaurant is a welcome sight. The curries and the noodle dishes are good, but I thought the sushi was especially good. The soup flavor was gingery with a very light fish sauce flavor that did not overpower the soup as can be the case at some Asian restaurants. I thought the chicken was a bit overcooked. I read a scathing review on another site giving this restaurant one star for serving raw chicken. Perhaps they are overcompensating. I also thought the ginger salad dressing was a little watery. The cashew chicken could have more flavor, although I wonder if they might have reduced the heat level and spice level on many of their dishes in order to appeal to a broader audience. Still, I would recommend Lemongrass for those that happen to be visiting Maryville.

(A covert photo of the sushi chef in action; and a photo of his finished product)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Blogger's Day Off

We here at Dine-o-meter are taking the day off to go to the pool (Only upper management. The Complaint Department will still be working). Please enjoy the Muzak (Girl from Ipanema) in our absence.

A friendly neighborhood kitty who often greets visitors at the pool. He is not shy about sitting on anyone's lap, whether he knows you or not.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Turkish Delight

From Turkey (hence the name), this is a gel type of candy, covered with powdered sugar to prevent the pieces from sticking. This particular one comes in lemon, mint, and rose flavors, with rose being my favorite. I purchased this from the Euro Foods grocery store in Chattanooga. The candy is good but I'm not crazy about the added powdered sugar.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wally's Hot Dogs

Wally's Hot Dogs
Lenoir City Tennessee

If you happen to be driving along highway 321 just outside of Lenoir City Tennessee, stop and say hello to Wally. He told his wife that he wanted to spend his retirement selling hot dogs and opened his stand on a remote section of highway with literally no other businesses around. He's from New York so maybe after all those years in the big city he decided to get away from it all. I gave him my blog address and he promised to stop by so he could see himself on the net. Hi Wally!

The dining room.

Hot dogs go for $1.75. Even less if you buy several at once. But ya need some chips Wally. Can't have a hot dog without some chips. Pepsi is only 75 cents a can. He has other flavors too. Besides hotdogs, he also sells kielbasa. I'll have to try that next time. I heard him say something about chili also, so I guess you could get a chili dog.

Wally does have his health department certificate in case you nay sayers were wondering.

I love the entrepreneurial spirit!
Dineometer Rating: 100%!

Monday, July 21, 2008

There was a contest?

Of the 17,000 No Reservations commercials the Travel Channel broadcasts daily, why didn't I notice they were having a contest to select a location? I would have entered Chattanooga for sure. Saudi Arabia was chosen because Tony (the host of the show) has "misconceptions." 15 of the 19 hijackers were from there he says. Although none of the hijackers were from Chattanooga, we do have a criminal element. Our Sheriff was arrested for money laundering, accepting bribes, and purchasing a gun from an FBI agent. The almost too ridiculous to believe FBI document detailing the crimes reads like a Coen Brothers movie script. If you Google "worst mayor ever" our very own Chattanooga Mayor tops the list and has inspired a website dedicated to his idiocy.

And people think we all dress like this lady, who greeted visitors last Saturday, coming to have their crap appraised on the Antique Roadshow. (A shout out to my friend who found out that the painting her family likes to use as a target for hitting golf balls, is actually worth as much as something you would hit golf balls at. Bummer. Welcome back to poverty land my friend.)

This Saudi Arabia episode will be interesting because not only is it rarely ever featured as a travel destination, it is a county without alcohol. Lets see how long it takes before Tony starts to sweat and have hand tremors. If he wanted to go to a place where alcohol is illegal, we could have taken him to a few dry counties right here in Tennessee, like the county where Jack Daniels is produced. It's always been an interesting little factoid that although they make Jack Daniels in Lynchburg, you can't buy it or any other alcohol there.

Hey! Maybe Samantha Brown could do a Great Weekends, Middle East series. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Turkmenistan. Now that would be fascinating.

UPDATE: The Saudi Arabia episode was excellent and gives a completely different perspective on life in that country than what is typically perceived. The view of cooked camel hump was nauseating, the enclosed fast food booths in which to eat your chicken nuggets in private, interesting. But what was most intriguing to me was the contest winner Danya Alhamrani. She was born in Bismark North Dakota and divided her time between Saudi Arabia and North Dakota. She is a film maker. I want to know more about her and her life and you would think others would too, but as of this morning only three people have posted questions for her on her message board. My question is: When are you going to write a book about your life?

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I thought I would update a few of the previous posts:

Live Restaurant Webcam

The Spot restaurant in Galveston moved its webcam. If you like to watch people eat al fresco, next to the ocean, click here. And last time I wrote that the camera was turned off when the partying bar action started but I think they might leave it on past restaurant closing, so you CAN watch drunken Galvestonian merrymakers! I prefer watching the surf cam which is below the restaurant webcam, although it makes me long to be at the beach.

International Candy

Here are the results of the international candy taste test:

Japanese Hi-Chew: The texture is one of my favorite things about these candies. Extra chewy but not like taffy, more like an extra firm gummy bear. Slightly sour, not too sweet (although someone in the comment section suggested otherwise).

Glorias from Mexico: (in the red wrapper) These extra soft and gooey caramel candies are from the Monterrey area of Mexico. The taste is very similar to typical types of caramels, but the texture is not as firm and they stick to the paper. These are made with goat's milk and often are sprinkled with pecans. They can be found at some airport stores in Mexico dedicated exclusively to "leche quemada" which are various types of goat's milk caramels. Although I don't recall how much I paid exactly, I do know the price can be steep compared to similar quantities of other types of candy.

Middle Eastern Candy: (white and brown candy in front) The ingredients are primarily pistachios, sugar, and starch. It looks like it would taste similar to a caramel but actually was more like a hard gel with pistachios. Although the pistachios are the dominant flavor, they also have a slightly fragrant flavor that I can't identify.

Japanese Candy in a tin: I put my fellow knitters on this one. Per Amber, "Mmmm! These are good!" I would describe the flavor as slightly more mature (less sour, less sweet, more authentically fruity) than something like Brachs hard candies. This might be an incorrect perception and based solely on the fact that the container is similar to a flask. It's entirely possible that it's the exact same recipe used by Brachs.

Dineometer Complaint Department

In the last edition of As the Blog World Turns we mentioned the addition of the Dineometer Complaint Department. Well, now, knitwithcats is whining about how overworked she is so like any good future Fortune 100 executive I promoted her to Senior Vice President in charge of complaints and promised to give her some help. So, if you would like to be added to the Dineometer Complaint Department, mentioned in the next edition of As the Blog World Turns, you must:

A) Get that this is just a joke
B) Indicate your interest in the comment section. We would prefer that you have previous Dineometer experience as a commenter or frequent Entrecard dropper. Spammers leaving gratuitous links to their websites will have their comments deleted and several large pins will be added to the groin area of the Spammer Voodoo Doll.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Chattanooga's Salvadoran Cuisine

I have written about this particular restaurant once before, but I wanted to add an update. I found this video of Chattanooga's Taco Rico which shows pupusa preparation and has some good shots of the food served there. The narrator is the son of the owner, and he is much cuter in person.

I also thought I would add more info on the type of foods served there.

Plaintain chips with red, green, and chimichurri sauces. Chimichurri is a sauce made with spices and olive oil. According to Wikipedia, it originated in Argentina but is used as far north as Central America.

This is an empanada. This one is filled with meat but you can also get dessert fillings. I tried one filled with sweetened yucca although I didn't particularly like that one.

The Plate of Day, a beef stew with rice and beans. It's served with tortillas on the side and is a good value at only $6. I would definetely recommend this restaurant if you want to go out to eat but are short on cash.

The unfortunately non-alcoholic mango drink comes in this decorative large glass. I tried a new juice type drink, the "maranon." A different taste that the waitress described as less sour than the maracuya (passion fruit) I had on my last visit. The waitress also informed me that this particular fruit is good for digestion.

Monday, July 14, 2008

As the Blog World Turns

I think it's well past time for another edition, don't you think? Here is a summary of some recent goings on in the blogosphere:

No time to knit the guinea pig dress we showed you in the last edition? Have a guinea pig wedding coming up and nothing to wear? Or maybe you are just offended by guinea pig nudity. If so, this is your site. Cuddly Cavies Creations also sells guinea pig diapers you will be glad to know.

Need a card to express the 99% of life events that Hallmark won't touch? Maybe you need a card to congratulate your brother-in-law on his release from jail. If so then Dirky Shanks and their Jailbird Commissary store on Etsy is the place for you. There is something in this store to offend almost everyone and if you aren't offended, this will only encourage them to try harder. I even thought up a campaign slogan for them. Dirty Shanks: Cards that make you say "........."

In Shadows is a blog that focuses on Etsy's more unusual items. Highlights include corsets, jars of dirt, pasties, and the Freak Fish necklace which is a real, one-eyed fish encased in wax and displayed in a clear tube, which you can hang around your neck. It's a steal at $220 but hurry. There's only one in stock. If only I had discovered this seller before mother's day .

When will Chilly at On the Bricks learn that by advertising his wealth on the net, he only opens himself up to identify fraud, scams, and relatives begging for money? If any of you happen to stop by his site, please, please remind him to be cautious when discussing such issues.

Want a quick way to get links to your website? Just add "Hannah Montana" to a post title, as I did with this one and you will instantly be linked to numerous Hannah Montana "news" sites that apparently don't read what they put on their own websites.

And finally, congratulations go out to this happy couple. I have no idea who these people are but was captivated by this photo found here. I love the beautiful attire which I believe is a traditional Malaysian clothing called Sonket (correct me if I'm wrong). Hopefully I will one day score a Malaysian wedding invitation so I can go to one in person. Apologies to Roy and Irmy if they are offended that I posted their wedding photo on the same page as a guinea pig in a poodle skirt. That was not intentional and I mean no disrespect.

If anyone has any complaints about content here at Dine-o-meter, please contact our complaint department:
And don't forget to complement her on the Harry Potter sweater that she finally completed.

Stay tuned next time for more...(dramatic pause) As the Blog World Turns. (SuperTarget execs, your sponsorship check must have gotten lost in the mail.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ethnic Grocery Store: Russian/East European

Euro Food
Chattanooga Tennessee

Pretty tea tins.

Imported jams.

Euro food is a relatively new ethnic grocery store in Chattanooga, specializing in imported foods from Europe, with a heavy bias towards Russia and East European countries. Among the selection are a Greek caviar spread, luncheon meats, German noodles, vegetable salads in vinegar, teas, and chocolates. There are also a few magazines for sale and if you are missing your Russian crossword puzzles, this is the place to find it.

Euro Food (423) 855-3192 6940 Lee Hwy, Chattanooga, TN

Friday, July 11, 2008

Southern Cuisine

The Southern Star
Chattanooga Tennessee

Chicken pot pie, cucumber salad, and stewed tomatoes.

A very thin and lacy type of cornbread.

Pepper juice is often poured on greens in the south. They don't use the peppers, just the juice. Odd for those of us who grew up in Chicago, where we used the peppers on hotdogs, but not the juice.

The Southern Star is a restaurant that I would probably recommend to Chattanooga visitors as a good place to go for Southern food. The mashed potatoes are real, the vegetables fresh, and the decor pleasant. Recently opened in their new location (I think they have moved about three times), they are now easier to find than in their last location.
To read a full review, written by an actual, true southerner, click here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Adventure Dining: Inedible

I saw this video on Malibu is Burning and just had to "borrow" it. Very creative video. Kaleidoscope pepper anyone?

You can see other creative PES videos here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Gummi Lighthouse Conspiracy

("Mill Farm" Gummie Lighthouses)

By now you have probably seen this amusing photo that has been floating all over the blogosphere, of the unintentionally anatomical candy. But, is this a real photo? Are Mill Farm employees hopelessly naive and inattentive? Although the packaging looks familiar, like something that might be available at a discount store, there is no web reference to a Mill Farm brand. There is a company that sells gummie lighthouses, but not this particular brand. The caption of the photo on the original site links to a "sign generator website" implying that the photo is computer generated, not of a real product. But, you wouldn't get that impression from the many blogs reproducing the photo, as the original credit for the photo is not always given. There is even a mention of these on the BBC radio website, without reference to the fact that the photo is probably not real.

This is a photo of the only gummie lighthouses I could find on the net. They look plenty phallic but I can't tell if they are the same as in the original photo. Perhaps Joey Devilla changed the brand to avoid potentially unfortunate consequeses? At any rate, I feel that I just may have saved the reputation of the Mill Farm employees. Even though they don't exist.

Ali Kali, Albania

The Ali Kali restaurant in Albania. The owner/waitor delivers the food on horseback and then puts on a show for customers.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Anthony Bourdain V. Hannah Montana

The new season of No Reservations on the Travel Channel is starting tonight and, thanks to Catsworking and the sport she developed of spotting Anthony Bourdain's significant others hidden as extras on the show, I might actually have to watch.

Today's multiple choice quiz: Which of this season's shows would you most like to see?

A. Laos

B. Saudi Arabia

C. Columbia (say hello to Shakira for us)

D. Any episode where he drinks heavily, which is actually, any episode.

E. I'd rather watch Hannah Montana.

F. Laos and Saudi Arabia? Big deal. Last year he went to Cleveland!

G. Who the hell is Anthony Bourdain? Is he that bald guy that eats bugs on a stick?

H. I spend 22 hours a day blogging. My fingers are so numb from typing that I cannot operate the remote control, and actually I am not even sure if I have a television.

I. H above is very lazy. 22 hours a day of blogging is nothing! I blog 23 hours a day and I have 2 full time jobs. I haven't had time to eat in 2 months and am weak with hunger.

J. Is he going to Branson Missouri at all? Because I love Branson. I would watch that.

K. GO CUBS! (That's not actually a show, I just wanted to work GO CUBS! into a blog post somehow)

I'm gonna go with B. Saudi Arabia looks like one of those off the beaten path places I think I'd like travel to one day. But then I remember I'm female.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Ciao y'all

The Patio

Madisonville Tennessee

Madisonville Tennessee is actually a pretty cute little small town. It's about 20 minutes east of Interstate 75 between Knoxville and Chattanooga. The downtown area had a few interesting shops for browsing.

The Patio restaurant had good food by small town standards, and if I lived nearby, I would probably be a regular. We aren't talking Little Italy good, but you won't find much better in the area. The veal parmesan could have been a little more tender but the sauce was robust. Decadent looking homemade deserts were taunting me from a glass case but I managed to resist. The outdoor patio is a great space to sit and enjoy watching small town life while you dine.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Gypsies, Tramps, and Pizza

Leave it to Chicagoans to turn a discussion on crime and racism into a discussion on pizza. (Are Gypsies robbing the elderly in the Western Suburbs? Eh, whatever. Here's a picture of pizza!)

Page 6 of the Riverside Illinois Newsletter is titled: "The Police Department likes noisy neighbors. It's one sure way to run Gypsies right out of town!" No, it's not a joke, it is an actual newsletter and was published in 2007. In it, the police officer says that there is a traveling group of Romani people, who can be identified by their dark skin and dark hair, who will use any ruse to get into your home to steal your valuables. He goes on to compare them to cockroaches.

Now, the original poster thought this was ridiculous but many of the subsequent commenters seem to validate this point. One commenter notes that they (the Gypsies) lived behind Fairyland Park (an amusement park that closed in the 70's) and often worked there. My brother worked there as a teenager so I emailed him to ask if he was, in fact, a Gypsy. I am eagerly awaiting his response so that I will know whether or not to hide my valuables when he visits.

To me, this whole things smells of racism and is somewhat shocking that in 2007 such an article would be published by a member of the Police Department. Do people scam the elderly? Of course they do, all the time. But to claim that it is exclusively by a band of Romani Gypsies is ludicrous.


Important note: Villa Nova's really does have great pizza.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

International Candy

Japanese candy in a tin, Japanese Hi-Chew, Glorias from Mexico, and Middle Eastern sweets in front. Taste test to come.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Chattanooga Video

Finally. Someone appreciates our small city. Here is a video showing some of the rejuvenation efforts among the small business owners in Chattanooga and a look at our public spaces. Kinda creepy that this man takes covert photos of people though. I watched the video three times, concerned that there might be a shot of me somewhere, adjusting a wedgy.