Saturday, November 18, 2017

El Mariachi
1442 North Broad Street
Tazewell, Tennessee

It may be, as other reviewers on have
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claimed, the best Mexican food for miles around. The style is Guerrereño, which is not as familiar to me as other distinct varieties of Mexican cooking. It was good, though. The salsa -- one of the most important aspects of any meal in a Mexican restaurant -- was fair, as were the tostadas; not great, but not bad. I ordered one of the lunch-menu burritos, filled with ground beef and cheese and served with beans, rice, salad and crema. The portion was large enough to satisfy without being as large as I'd have expected for the price (which was otherwise reasonable). The beans seemed unusually light, which I found gratifying; the rice was not as highly seasoned as Mexican (or "Spanish") rice generally is. I'll put that down to the culinary style of Guerrero. The service was okay; the atmosphere was reasonably pleasant and the place seemed clean. It was well after the lunch rush, about 2pm, so I suspect the servers were feeling that I'd interrupted their down-time. On the plus side, there was Mexican music playing lightly and no sound coming from the televisions (which were showing a SEC football match; my Lord, do those teams play EVERY day? It was probably a re-run.)
El Mariachi Mexican Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 
Pete's Place
2460 East 1st Street
Blue Ridge, Georgia

This place has a prosperous look to it, and a prosperous feel. I got there just about the time the after-church crowd from the early service starts to clog the parking lot, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that it took so long for my order to arrive. At least the waitress made it a point to refill my glass and bread basket during the wait, a courtesy not always extended by harried servers.

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Having had a conversation earlier with a guy who had just learned how to fly-fish for trout in a nearby stream, I decided it'd be a good idea to order trout. And so I did: grilled trout on a house salad. The fish was clearly fresh, marvelously so, and very nicely seasoned and perfectly grilled. If the kitchen had hewed to the wise maxim that nothing in a salad should be larger than a lady's mouth, the meal would have been perfect. That rul
e, even today, is good policy mostly honoured in the breach, but let's be honest: you cannot efficiently cut a thin slice of red onion (or just about anything else) served in a bowl atop many varied ingredients. You get inadequate support under the item you seek to cut, and just push it down into the mix, which moves aside to slop out of the bowl.
Pete's Place Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 
Clarence's Drive-In
on the main road, near the freeway exit
Unicoi, Tennessee

I ordered the veggie omelet and a doughnut. The omelet was uninteresting; badly needed something to bind the innards, like a little cheese. The veggies were sautéed in oil and too much of it. But the doughnut was outstanding: home-made, hot from the fryer, a little sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and the doughnut hole perched on top. I won't say it made up for the omelet, but it sure helped.
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The coffee was good, too, and the service was down-home how-ya-doin' cheerful.
Clarence's Drive-In Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato