Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Big night at the Bijou Bistro

Found a new (to me) restaurant last night. I'll definitely be back, I can promise you.

Fountain City guy and renowned historian Dr. Jim Tumblin met me downtown after work last night. We were headed to the history center to hear a lecture by Charles Shields, author of the first biography on "To Kill A Mockingbird" author Harper Lee. The night was part of the month-long Big Read, sponsored by the Knox County Public Library and the YWCA.

Jim suggested we meet at the Bijou Bistro, a charming little spot beside Knoxville's famous old theater on Gay Street. I had seen the place before on my way to a KSO Chamber Orchestra concert last spring. But I had no idea what a treat I was in for.

It took us awhile to get served -- the hard-workin' server was covering a lot of territory -- but it was well worth the wait. The salads are out of this world. I don't know what they make the crutons out of, but I've been craving them for half a day now, trying to think of an excuse to go back for more.

When the server came back, I said between bites, "This is the best salad I've ever had in my life."

Laughing, she said, "Well, I'm glad you're enjoying it."

Couldn't reply. Too busy eating.

Jim ordered the mahi-mahi. I had pork cooked in dijonnaise mustard with rice and veggies. Delicious just isn't the word.

I washed my dinner down with water and a Sierra Nevada. Jim did the same, only his beer (I didn't catch the name) came in a goblet.

No time for dessert; we had to hoof it down to the history center in time for the lecture, which was a treat, by the way. Shields held our attention for more than an hour. We learned that, yes, Nelle Harper Lee (she dropped the first name because people began mispronouncing it) did in fact write "To Kill A Mockingbird," and, no, her famous friend Truman Capote did not help.

(But he did apparently steal phrases from Nelle Harper's notes when writing his 1965 masterpiece "In Cold Blood." Nelle, who served as a research assistant, apparently had more to do with Truman's successful "nonfiction novel" than was previously known.)

I slipped into the Knoxville night with a full belly and literary nuggets dancing in my head. As usual, I hated to see the sun set on the big night.

Next time you find yourself downtown at lunch or supper (or Sunday brunch), duck into the Bijou Bistro. Ten bucks and a copy of "To Kill A Mockingbird" says you won't be disappointed.

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Blogger Brian Hornback said...

I am sorry that I have failed as a friend of the Mabester to have never treated you to the Bistro at the Bijou. It is mighty fine.

We will go together one day and chat with Martha (the owner) if pressed she will give you her opinion of the day. She is one of the hardest working entrepreneur's in the county.

BTW, I bet your supervisor and the one co-worker at your work is impressed that I can spell entrepreneur.

7:49 PM  

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