Every weekend after Baby Bounce at our local library, we go out for a family date at a local restaurant. Since I’m gluten-free and the baby is dairy and soy free, it can be hard to find new places to try. After seeing an ad for a local vegan cafe on Facebook, we decided to get out of our comfort zone and try it out.
What makes a coffee shop the “best” is pretty subjective, but Chattanooga’s Best Coffee Shops is a much more compelling title than “a bunch of coffee places I like in Chattanooga,” so you get what you get.
Baby Bounce and Brunch is my Saturday ritual, but sometimes you just don’t need a full brunch. Then what? Then, I believe, it’s time to visit a coffee shop. It’s all the fun parts of brunch: socializing and caffeine. It’s none of the difficult parts of brunch, like eating a meal before noon.
I like to stay up to date on what’s happening in the food world of Chattanooga. A while back, a kickstarter caught my eye: a local coffee roaster focusing on doing good for the community and hiring refugees. I couldn’t back the kickstarter at the time, but I kept a close eye on it as it crept closer and closer to the goal.
Which brings us to last night. Mad Priest Coffee Roasters had their grand opening party in the Southside neighborhood of Chattanooga. Snuggled up to Koch’s bakery in a tiny storefront, it’s easy to miss Mad Priest. The logo is simplistic, and there’s no flashy signage to attract passerby.
Still, the store was packed when we arrived for the grand opening party, and the beer was flowing. I think we shocked the woman working the tap when we turned down free beer, but that’s the trouble of being a Celiac foodie. You’re always missing out.
I’m on a low fat diet.
I know. It sounds miserable, doesn’t it? It is miserable. Luckily (?) I was already lactose intolerant, since dairy is the most tempting source of fat in the world to me.
But y’all. It’s eggnog season. When I saw it at the grocery store, my dad pretty much immediately vetoed it, citing my severe side pain from eating a reduced fat salad dressing only a few hours earlier. Eggnog is essentially liquid fat, and that’s what makes it delicious.
I will not be deterred from my eggnog. I looked over the options— lactose free, reduced lactose, reduced fat— when I noticed a dairy free eggnog section. What? There was hope?!
Fun fact about me: I don’t actually like coffee! No one seems to know this fact, because it appears that I drink a lot of it. Y’all. I’m not drinking coffee. I’m drinking sugar milk with a little coffee flavor to it. I’m a tea person. Justin is a coffee guy. It evens out.
The reason I bring all this up? Today is National Coffee Day!
Nestled in an unassuming storefront in Chattanooga‘s hip and bustling Southside neighborhood, Wildflower Tea Shop and Apothecary is supposedly “the most instagrammable place in Chattanooga” right now. Although I can’t verify that, I will say this: Wildflower Tea Shop is currently my favorite place in the city.
When you walk in, you’re greeted by exposed brick walls and hanging macrame art. Tables dot the establishment, and in the front corner, there’s a seating area with an antique yellow couch. If you’re like me, and love anything cute and quirky, it feels like walking into the tea cafe of your dreams.
In the back, near the register, essential oils, tinctures, sage bundles, and “healing crystals” are available for sale. This is the “apothecary” part of the shop title, although I’ll the first to acknowledge the mental and emotional healing power of the perfect cup of tea.
We’ve all been there, especially those of us who are chronically ill. It’s a long day. You want to eat, but all of the food in your house needs to be turned into a recipe. Ew.
It’s tempting to pick up take out or turn to something like frozen pizza in times like these, and those are perfectly viable options. Unfortunately, those add up fast, especially when you’re having to add in upcharges for gluten free foods. So what’s a gluten free girl to do?
Justin and I have found a few pantry staples that we keep on hand for days when neither of us feels like expending any energy. Justin is the main cook, but as I’ve found out while he works late, most of these top ten kitchen staples can be turned into foods even by a spoonless, exhausted mama with a migraine. Winning!
I love brunch. Its like the perfect combination of caffeinated beverages, breakfast foods, and lunch foods. Plus, if you like a little cocktail every now and then, drinking at brunch is considered a lot more socially acceptable than drinking with breakfast. Society is weird like that.
One of my favorite spots for brunch, The Farmer’s Daughter, closed down. It was sad. There may have been tears. (There were actually no tears.)
I heard it was being replaced by a restaurant from the creators of The Bitter Alibi, a hot spot in Chattanooga. I was cautiously optimistic, but then I forgot all about it and went on with my life. A few months later, I polled my Facebook friends for best coffee shops in Chattanooga. Someone suggested The Daily Ration. I looked it up. My official brunch friend, Alex, was coming into town the very next week, so we made plans to try it out at our next brunch in Chattanooga.
Food trucks are one of my favorite things. I have fond memories of being in St. Louis in winter with Justin, standing in line for our favorite food trucks outside Barnes Jewish. It was below freezing, and there was at least a little snow on the ground. We had to eat huddled in his Ford Probe, which was on its last legs, but still spat out enough heat to get us by. Okay, heat was pretty much the only thing it had in the end. But I digress.
One thing that always makes me sad about Chattanooga is the food truck scene. Yeah, we have some food trucks, but bad laws surrounding them has kept the scene from really getting off the ground. Plus, sorry y’all, but Chattanooga has nothing on some of the food trucks I’ve eaten at across the country. I’m sure that would-be food truck entrepreneurs are bogged down by bureaucracy. But that’s a different post. What this post about is Food-O-Rama.
Brought to you by the people who made Food-o-Rama in Atlanta a thing, this food truck festival brought food trucks from around the Southeast to Coolidge Park. There was only one local truck, Bitler Bistro, after Grilled Cheese Emergency decided not to participate.
Bowling Green, Kentucky, is home to the Corvette Museum. This is of no interest to me, as I don’t know the difference between a Corvette, a Camaro, and a Chevy.
When I recently visited Bowling Green, Kentucky, we toured Mammoth Cave. This was interesting, but there’s really only two reasons I travel: beaches and food. There were no beaches in Bowling Green, but we did visit a Farmers Market. I’ll take what I can get!
Community Farmers Market is a small indoor farmer’s market in Bowling Green. It’s open from 8 a.m. To 1 p.m. on Saturday and 2-6 p.m. on Tuesday. Community Farmers Market only allows local producers, so none of the subpar produce that sneaks in to some farmers markets will find its way here.