Monthly Archives: April 2012

ARETHA FRANKENSTEIN’S – Chatanooga, Tennessee



518 Tremont Street

Chattanooga, TN

423-625-SOUL  (too cool – had to include this)

Over the river and through winding streets we drove looking for Aretha Frankensteins. Yes, Aretha Frankensteins – no apostrophe, thank you. This little spot lies at the corner of Tremont and Orr in the Normal Park subdivision of Chattanooga. Built in the 1920’s,  this neighborhood holds on to most of  its original charm with a slight urban twist. The same can be said of the restaurant itself.

Aretha’s was once a single family home. Open from 7 am until midnight, this place functions as a breakfast/lunch spot during the day and a bar at night. The converted space features wooden floors, wrap around porch, and a beautiful fieldstone fence.  The super funky interior is filled with artifacts of all kinds. Most notable are the Frankenstein memorabilia scattered throughout. Although there is seating inside, the outside seating is always a treat for me. The front lawn is now a patio area with tables scattered throughout. In addition, there are tall stools at the counter that runs around the perimeter of the front porch.

Be prepared for a long, long – did I say long?- wait. This is a wildly popular local eatery – and for good reason. The menu at Aretha’s  is full of traditional Southern fare: eggs, biscuits, shrimp and grits, pancakes. If you are able to stop by for  lunch you can enjoy their quesadillas, burritos, salads, and sandwiches as well.

We were finally seated at three of the bar stools on the porch. Rachel ordered biscuits and gravy with fried potatoes. (No eggs for Rachel. They come from chickens and that is verboten.) I had an omelette with ham, cheese, and tomatoes. Ron had the Waffle of Insane Greatness! (real name). The food was hot and plenty. My omelette did not disappoint. Rachel gave the biscuit a thumbs up. That’s a high compliment coming from the Queen of the Angel Biscuits. Ron’s waffle was beautiful. Thick, fluffy and toasted to a golden brown. It was almost like a big piece of cake. Delicious!

All in all it was a beautiful, peaceful morning. We left full, content and happy. What more could you ask for?

Definitely worth stopping by.


CASBAH – Savannah, Georgia


118 East Broughton Street
Historic Downtown Savannah, Georgia 31401

I’m not sure why I have been thinking about this restaurant so much. As you enter, you are surrounded by a swirl of deep rich colors and soft, plush decor. It is, in a word, decadent. The ceiling has disappeared under a drape of gold and maroon fabric that cascades down the walls. The seating is low to the floor — soft couches and upholstered Moroccan stools.
We were intrigued by all aspects of this place. My mother-in-law, Rachel, ordered something with rice or potatoes. Ron ordered something exotic . I ordered Chicken and Caramelized Apricots (surprise!). The food was fantastic. The vegetables were fresh, the lamb and chicken tender, and everything was seasoned with some of my favorite spices — saffron, cumin, and paprika. However, my favorite menu item was the ‘Festival of Moroccan Salads’. A festival!!

Now, for the entertainment portion of the evening. We were graced by the presence of a palm reader. I remember her long, flowing skirt and large jewelry, but most of all, her dark, dark eyes. Every inch a ’gypsy’. She sat at our little table and told us tales of the future. I don’t remember too many of our soothsayers predictions, but she did say that Rachel would meet a love interest that lived very close by in the near future. I think we all agreed that was not going to happen. Lots of fun. I must say that the belly dancers were the highlight of the evening. Beautiful women moving rhythmically to the sound of drums, flutes, and tambourines. Such lovely bedlah costumes — sculpted beadwork and intricate overlays, diaphanous chiffon skirts and veils, fringed hip scarves covered with paillettes. There were flashes of sequins everywhere – on their hands, in their hair, at their necks, on their feet. A beautiful and surprisingly athletic form of self-expression. We had a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.

Definitely worth stopping by . . .