Fearless Foodie: Sign of the Times, No Russian Vodka

My new idea is to occasionally run a self-explanatory photo from the Knoxville area. Like this one, from Bob’s Package Store in Bearden  (220 North Winston Rd . )
bob's package store 7-23-2014
bob’s package store 7-23-2014

And while I’m thinking of it, here are the nice things I had to say about Bob and Co. in the 2013 Metro Pulse Best of Knoxville write-ups: Bob’s Package Store Best of Knoxville 2013


Bob’s Package Store
So, it turns out a package store is not just a package store, not when it’s Bob’s. It’s plainly pleasant, and educational, to stroll through the wide aisles and well-lit displays tended by friendly sales staff who can make a suggestion or nod and leave you to browse, that’s up to you.

They’ve got lots of liquor and just as much wine, organized within an inch of its life, right down to the lavishly stocked shelves of mini-bottles. Who else has a whole section of organic or kosher wine, or at least a dozen vermouths all cuddled together? “Bob’s Weekly Specials” pepper the store, and they are very special prices, on things you really want, like Cuervo Gold and Cook’s champagne, and things you didn’t realize you wanted, like flavored vodkas and nifty whiskeys.

There is a Bob, and he works there, and also Bob W., the wine manager, who slings some specials of his own, along with notes from Wine Spectator and multitudinous other rankings, and hand-lettered signs like, “If you think you don’t like Cabernet, don’t give up till you’ve tried  this one.” The same thought could be applied to Bob’s—it’s actually fun to shop there, even if you leave empty-handed, or only take a couple of empty bottle boxes home. (R.K.)

DAILY PULSE: Vols for Pet Adoptions TODAY 11-1

Vols and Free Food at PetSmart 11-1 TODAY!

Can your dog signal “Touchdown….”? Professional trainers will be on hand today to teach pups the “touchdown” trick, along with lots of other freebies at PetSmarts “Vols For Pet Adoptions” event today, Saturday July 19th, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at PetSmart (214 Morrell Rd.) dog photoFood, since this is a food column, will be compliments of McAllisters Deli, Pelancho’s, Chick-Fil-A, and Texas Roadhouse. Plenty of pets will be up for adoption, and it’s raining, so what the heck, head over there!

Here is more about the event from one of the accredited PetSmart dog trainer, April Roberts (questions from yours truly, Rose Kennedy, intrepid Metro Pulse contributor):

How did the idea for the event come about? I am friends with former Vol Football Players Daniel Hood and Chris Walker, and I had noticed their passion and love for pets. I wanted to come up with an idea to increase the adoption of homeless pets and so I began to put the two together and thought up Vols For Pet Adoptions.

How well do animals need to behave to attend with their owners? Leashed and vaccinated pets are welcome–any pet in need of training is welcome to come and see our accredited trainers.

Will there be any Vol celebs there? Lots of Big Orange stuff? Any sign of Smokey?

Yes, Daniel Hood will be in attendance as well as some other former players. We will have lots of Big Orange stuff, in fact we have a special gift to the first seven adoptions of the day compliments of Hounddogs. We will also have a photo booth with a UT backdrop for you to take pictures of your pets. As far as Smokey, no known sightings yet.

Who is the most unusual canine you’re expecting?

I would love to answer this question, but PetSmart and the adoption agencies do so many adoptions, that it is really hard to know which pets will be there. It all depends on which pets are up for adoption at that time Is the adoptiion need and help with rescue groups particulalrly needed this time of year? Yes,. While this is kitten season, PetSmart recognizes there is always a need to find good pets good homes.

Tell me about this touchdown trick…

We wanted to make this event fun for everyone. If you have a pet, it’s an event for you. If you are looking to adopt, it’s an event for you. If you just want to support adoptions and want free food, then it’s for you. With that, we wanted to give the opportunity for people to bring their dogs into the training center and learn a couple of fun tricks. The tricks will be based on the skill set of the dogs, but one of the tricks we will be teaching is Touchdown. This is basically where the dog raises up on his back legs and puts the front legs up in the air to make the universal touchdown sign.

Is it free?

Yes, the event is free and all are welcome. We always accept donations at the pen pad at the registers that will go to PetSmart Charities nationwide.

Knox Mason Catfish Catches On–With Me

knox mason catfish


Knox Mason chef Matt Gallaher got some love from our readers as this year’s Metro Pulse Best of Knoxville Best Chef, and the intrepid Dennis Perkins has also written about him recently:  Restaurant Report Knox Mason

But restaurant and chef are going to be getting some more publicity and admiration in an upcoming version of YUMMM!!!, the MP’s unparalleled restaurant  guide, and it was while doing research for that project (hey, someone’s got to take the hit for the team) that I fell for Knox Mason’s catfish. “Oh my,” I said, and I am not one for either idle compliments or a fondness for restaurant catfish. More likely, in my experience, a place employs catfish  in place of a firmer white fish, say cod, in the deep fryer, where it does not fare well. Or the “bites” or fillets are frozen, or the fish used for them was once frozen.

But this morsel of manna, oh my. Wait, I already said that, but I was mesmerized. It was light, moist, seasoned perfectly, and pan fried in canola oil with a non-intrusive coating of a local cornmeal.  It didn’t hurt at all that the fish was coddled in a sort of ratatouille with the freshest eggplant and some crookneck squash, and hemmed in by a puddle of heirloom tomato reduction on the other.  As you might remember, when I get a food crush, I tend to go all the way. This will be top crush candidate for some time to come.

It was also super fun to visit with Chef Matt. His quirky quotes and easy knowledge of cooking with summer produce and  a light touch will grace the  upcoming summer YUMMM!!! issue.  But I didn’t want you to have to wait that long to learn about this catfish–and I’m not waiting long for my next serving, either.



Rose Kennedy covers the Knoxville foodie scene with small discoveries, new openings, rumors, and tastings.