Friday, January 20, 2023

A Welcome Visit, and of course, Food!

It had been more than a year since Dawn Marie came to visit us here in East Tennessee.  A career change and working for a start-up financial company will definitely negatively impact one’s time to travel for fun or relaxation… Now that her new position with a new “fintech” company has leveled out a bit, she took the opportunity to take a few days to spend a bit of time in a truly laid back setting…out home. 

FYI, “fintech” is an invented term or a portmanteau of “financial technology”.  It refers to firms using new technology to compete with traditional financial methods in the delivery of financial services.  Fintech companies use ‘blockchain’, cloud computing and ‘big data’ as the basis of the financial services that they offer.  I don’t understand it either…

Even getting here from Miami was a challenge… Dawn’s original flights to Chattanooga via Charlotte were canceled so at the last minute she had to reroute via Dallas…spending hours on the ground at Dallas between flights.  We picked her up just a little before midnight on the day she arrived.

Most of the time during her visit, we just talked, catching up on happenings at both ends and watching TV.  It was ‘chill time’.  Of course we did have to take pictures to commemorate the visit…first Laurie and Dawn and then Dawn and yours truly.

Laurie took the photo of Dawn Marie in Laurie’s ‘plant room’ and I took the photo of Dawn in the foyer ‘The Chop House’ in Knoxville Tennessee.  Dawn had us pick a nice restaurant so she could take us out for an upscale dinner during her visit…and this was our choice.

FYI…these photos of part of the dining area and of the bar at The Chop House were just about the only photos that were usable from the evening.  I think that my camera setting was off…or perhaps I should have just have had Laurie take the food photos with her up-to-date smart phone.

Laurie and I last dined at The Chop House back in 2017 and before that it was in 2010…both experiences were positive and I even wrote a positive review for the restaurant in TripAdvisor.  What we had forgotten was what happened the last time Dawn Marie told us to pick an upscale restaurant and she’d treat us to dinner… On that occasion we had chosen “Lonesome Dove – Knoxville” and it was pretty much a way overpriced abject failure.  By way of reference, Lonesome Dove is rated 4.5 ‘stars’ on TripAdvisor…but then again, so is The Chop House.

So…yes…once again there is a story to tell!  

As I mentioned, my food photos were a disaster.  However, I did capture a photo of this standard water glass, the type used at The Chop House, and so the story begins.  For our appetizers, we ordered the Colossal Homemade Onion Rings and the Crispy Calamari and Shrimp.  For entrees, Dawn went for the Horseradish-crusted Filet, Laurie had the Filet of Beef Medallions with mushrooms and I ordered the 10 oz. Ribeye Steak.  Dessert…we shared a slice of Key Lime Pie and the Chop House version of Beignets. 

For decent Chop House food photos, you can go to;aggregationId=&albumid=101&filter=7.  

We had just started sampling our appetizers when Dawn picked up her water glass and raised it to her lips for a drink.  The glass just split in two right across the top edge, which Dawn was still holding…and the bottom hit the table hard.  Laurie thought that it was a gunshot it was so loud!  Dawn was literally soaked from the neck down with a whole glass of ice water.

I will say that the staff of The Chop House, including the Manager, were very attentive, helpful, pleasant and a little unsure about how to handle the situation.  But here is the rest of the story. 

Our appetizers and bread had arrived at the table but we didn’t have any small plates or place settings.  The bland bread couldn’t be saved by the honey butter it came with.  Three times our nice but unorganized server forgot Laurie’s olives for her dirty martini.  OK, the appetizers were both very good although the onion rings got soaked.  They were replaced with a new order.  Dawn received the wrong salad with her dinner.  Our salads and soup came after our entrees arrived…despite asking about them.  We just boxed them up and took them home.  All of the beef was very nice and it was cooked properly as ordered.  The baked potatoes were ‘allegedly loaded’ but lacked enough butter or cheese to help the rather bland potatoes.  The Key Lime Pie was very nice but the beignets were doughy…not even close to the New Orleans version and we didn’t finish them.  Even the chocolate sauce that accompanied them was ‘off-putting’ taste-wise.  The caramel sauce and the cream cheese spread were much better. 

The worse part was that Dawn Marie had to eat her ‘upscale’ dinner soaked from head to foot.  She noted that the restroom lacked the usual air dryer she could have used to dry out a little bit.  Dawn’s dinner, the drinks, and our desserts were all taken off the final bill.  In fairness, no one had ever seen a glass break so cleanly without warning or without being dropped...

Conclusion… If Dawn ever suggests that we should pick an ‘upscale’ dining spot for dinner during one of her visits, we’ll defer to her and whatever her choice might be.   

The Chop House we dined at/experienced is located at 9700 Kingston Pike/U.S. Hwy 11 in Knoxville Tennessee.  Website:  

Was I risking fate by picking our restaurant for breakfast/brunch on the day that Dawn flew back to Miami? 

Before Dawn’s visit, I’d been checking around the area near Chattanooga’s  airport on the north side of town to see where we might eat either upon Dawn’s arrival or when we took her to the airport to fly back home.  I discovered the “City Café Diner” and its 3 locations, two of which are north of the airport.   

I’ve always loved diners and the fact that the menu is beyond expansive was another selling point.  The menu includes the following segments: Eggs and Omelettes, Soups and Salads, Seafood Selections, From the Griddle, Wraps and Handhelds, From the Broiler, Breakfast Wraps, Stir Fry, Greek Specialties, Side a ‘la Carte, Latin Specialties, Benedicts and Additions, Italian Specialties and Appetizers.  They also have Lunch and Dinner Specials and of course, Desserts

When we lived in Chicago, (27 years), we loved the corner restaurants or diners operated most often by Greek families.  They always had a flashy bakery counter with lots of choices and tempting goodies.  Add City Café’s bakery counter to the Greek Specialties on the menu and Laurie and I felt at home!

Dawn ordered an omelet/omelette with the exact ingredients she wanted in it (36 options) along with home fries, a biscuit and pepper gravy.  The gravy hadn’t arrived when I took the photo… No water glasses broke during this meal!

There are 4 eggs benedict options on City Café’s menu.  For my breakfast/brunch I chose the “The Southern”, two poached eggs and fried chicken breast on a biscuit covered with Hollandaise Sauce.  The eggs benedict was accompanied by a generous portion of home fried potatoes.  It was a lot of food!

Laurie opted for the brunch part of the menu vs. breakfast.  The reason was the fact that City Café has Greek food on the menu and she/we have been searching for decent gyros.  She just had to order a Gyro plate…sliced gyro meat (chicken and beef) with lettuce, tomato, onion and tzatziki sauce on pita bread and served with French fries.  She really enjoyed her brunch...but she would have liked a bit more garlic in the tzatziki sauce.

We were quite happy with our breakfast/brunch experience at City Café Diner.  Plenty of good food for the money, certainly not gourmet dining but very satisfying.  We will return, trying the Cleveland Tennessee location the next time.  This particular City Café location is found at 7641 Lee Highway/U.S. Hwy 11, attached to a Best Western Motel, in Chattanooga Tennessee.  Check out the City Café’s website at

We were very happy that Dawn Marie came to visit with us and chill just a little bit in our home.  Anytime Dawn!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. What an eventful dinner! I hope the restaurant at least gave you a discount on the meal...Gyros is our absolute favourite. We usually order Gyros Teller ...just meat. Who is Dawn Marie anyway?

  2. Wow what a terrible experience at Chop House. I haven't been there in more than 25 years and now I'm not wanting to go back. But good that you got to spend some time with Dawn. Your breakfast meals all look very good.

  3. That was quite an unforgettable dinner experience for all of you, especially Dawn😕I would not have been surprised if you all decided to leave after the water glass incident. It is good that the restaurant discounted some of the meal. Glad breakfast was a better experience.