Easy Bistro and Bar, Chattanooga, TN

Easy Bistro and Bar is one of our favorite haunts in Chattanooga. Our favorite Saturday afternoons are spent having a lazy brunch (they truly have the BEST Eggs Benedict in town!), followed by a few glasses, or bottle(s), of wine on the sofas at the bar. In the past I’ve struggled to find many things on the dinner menu that would satisfy a complete meal, lately, however, I haven’t had any trouble at all. In fact, the last few meals I’ve had at Easy Bistro have been absolutely incredible. The menu does change regularly so the options below are just a sampling. Of course, if you love oysters and mussels this is your place anytime. My husband would eat the oysters or moules frites any day – I’ll share his fries 🙂

If you ever have the opportunity to enjoy a wine event at Easy Bistro be sure not to miss it – you won’t be disappointed!

Vegetarian Options (Dinner)

  • Grilled Radicchio and Freekah Salad – Smoked and Confited Local Egg Yolk, 2 year “Red Cow” Parmesan, Roasted Garlic Purée, Lemon (I LOVE this salad!!!)
  • Easy Salad – Bibb Lettuce, Asparagus, Fine Herbs, Champagne-Citrus Vinaigrette
  • Black Truffle Winter Risotto – Wild Mushrooms, Local Chestnut, Chive, Parmesan, Black Garlic
  • Crispy Brussel Sprout Petals – Mint-Walnut Pesto, Capers, Lemon
  • Selection of Vegetable Side Dishes

Vegetarian Options (Brunch)

  • “Atlanta Fresh” Vanilla Yogurt & Seasonal Citrus – Candied Pecans, Local Honey
  • Egg White & Asparagus Omelette – with Oven-Dried Tomatoes, Fresh Herbs, & Frisee
  • Eggs Benedict (just ask for no meat on which ever option you choose)
  • Bakery and Pastry Assortments

Pescatarian Options (Dinner)

  • Wild Alaskan Sablefish Tartare – Local Horseradish Creme Fraiche, Cucumber, Sorghum Popcorn, Benne Seed Cracker
  • Crawfish and Artichoke Dip – with Toasted Flatbread
  • Sautéed PEI Mussels – Mussels, Grilled Crostini
  • Pan Seared Rainbow Trout – Salisfy, Baby Turnip, Salsa Verde, Winter Root Vegetable Puree, Beurre Blanc
  • PEI Mussels and Fried (Moules Frites) – Lemon Aioli
  • Grilled Gulf Shrimp
  • Oyster Raw Bar

Pescatarian Options (Brunch)

  • Eggs Norwegian (One of my favorite dishes ever!) – English Muffin, Smoked Salmon, Poached Eggs, Hollandaise
  • Fish Tacos – Flour Tortillas, Salted Cabbage, Pico De Gallo, Guacamole



Quiessence at The Farm

When we have the opportunity, we try to find at least one “splurge” restaurant that really represents the local food culture. Quiessence at The Farm was definitely that place for our recent trip to Phoenix. Located near South Mountain on a property that is often rented for weddings and other large parties, Quiessence is settled at the end of a long, tree-lined drive with lights adorning the trees, crossing the path, and surrounding the structures. Needless to say, driving to dinner is the beginning of this special experience.

With a focus on fresh, local food, some of which is grown in their own gardens, Quiessence is a easy stop for pescatarians and vegetarians alike. We loved listening to the stories our server would tell of most of the ingredients, where they came from, who produces them, why they chose this farmer, etc. Yes, it felt a bit “Portlandian,” but it demonstrated the pride they felt in the ingredients they chose instead of seeming at all pretentious. The presentation of the food was incredibly beautiful – we had to pause at the beginning of each course just to admire the creativity, time, and care they took into plating our meal.

We also enjoyed trying the Arizona wines on the menu. Our server paired each course with a different Arizona wine and explained each wine as it arrived. Arizona is not well known as a wine region, and much of the wine coming from Arizona is not really our style, however, the wines Quiessence paired with our meal were very impressive.

We were the first to arrive and among the last to leave. We loved the slow, relaxing atmosphere and the knowledge that was gained from the meal. If you’re looking for a special treat in that area give Quiessence a try. I do recommend reservations – the restaurant may not seem overly busy, but I think that feel is intentional. I also think they only seat each table once per evening so that everyone can enjoy their meal without feeling rushed. If you love eating outside there is a patio and one very special table off to itself near a large wood burning oven that looked like the perfect setting. We were there in the fall and the evening was very cool so we sat inside, but on another, warmer evening, we would love that table. The items listed below should be considered only as a sample. The menu changes regularly depending on the season. Check the website or call for a more current/specific menu if needed before you go. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Options

  • Artisan & Farmstand Fromage Board – Local Cheese, Brick Oven Bread, Artisan Loaves, Seasonal Pestos and Jams (This was beautiful and incredible)
  • Parsnip Soup – Crispy I’itoi, Opal Apples, Parsnip Chips (This comes with bacon that can be left off)
  • Roasted Beet Semi Salad – Smokey Blue Cheese Dressing, Goldren/Red Beets, Sunchoke Chips, Arugula, Hazelnuts
  • Quiessence Seasonal Green Salad – Preserved Meyer Lemon Dressing, Pistachio, Shaved Kolrabi, Parmesan
  • Maya’s Foraged Garden – A Daily Offering from Maya’s Garden of Seasonal Vegetables
  • Potato Gnocchi – Mascarpone, Rainbow Chard, Portabella, Tomato, Fried Sage (this often contains a meat component that can be left off in order to make a vegetarian version, however, chicken broth may be used in the sauce – it’s worth and ask before ordering)

Pescatarian Options

  • Hamachi Crudo – Citrus Salsa Verde, Citrus Caviar, Micro Cilantro, Garlic Chips
  • Wild Black Cod – Sweet Potato Fumet, Eggplant Chips, Poached Tomatoes, Chive Creme Fraiche, Braised Greens, Baby Beet Tops


Nobuo, Phoenix, AZ

This fall, after a long day at a conference in Phoenix, I treated myself to a meal at Nobuo. Often when visiting a restaurant in a city I don’t visit frequently I sample several things off the menu. This was not my original intention for this meal, but after trying the house-cured salmon I was intensely curious about their other menu options – so I ordered a couple more small plates, and another glass of sparkling Vouvray from one of our favorite producers (http://www.champalou.com). The food (and wine) was amazing. Although this is definitely a place for pescatarians, vegetarians and vegans will have no problem enjoying lunch at Nobuo. The dinner menu, while loaded with fish options, has very few vegetarian options.

Vegetarian Options

  • Mixed Greens
  • Sugar Snap Peas – sesame sauce, bonito flake
  • Teeter Tots – panko fried tofu, spicy miso sauce
  • Tofu Salad – yuan marinated, grilled tofu , udon noodles, cucumber, greens, sesame sauce

Pescatarian Options

  • Kimuchi – nappa cabbage, dried shrimp, sesame oil, red chili
  • House-Cured Salmon – soy glazed almond, basil oil, pecorino romano
  • Grapefruit & Hamachi – avocado, white truffle oil
  • Tuna Tataki – seared with roasted beet puree
  • Ebi Salad – grilled shrimp, rice n0odles, purple basil, mint , cucumber, soy glazed peanuts, nuoc cham
  • Panko-Fried Soft Shell Crab Cake – homemade focaccia, cucumber, kanzuri aioli
  • Oysters – spicy daikon, ponzu sauce or uni, tomato water, wasabi oi
  • Sashimi of the Day
  • Yellowtail Ceviche – myouga, sesame seed, fried shredded taro
  • Usuzukuri – thin sliced fluke with ponzu sauce
  • Shiromi Carpaccio – ginger, yuzu kosho, sesame oil, garlic, house-made focaccia
  • Tako and Tomato – fresh grilled octopus, house-made mozzarella
  • Fried Soft Shell Shrimp – curried green papaya slaw
  • Soft Shelled Crab Salad – panko-fried, rice noodles, shiso, cucumber, peanuts, nuoc cham
  • Seabass and Mushroom – baked in parchment, garlic-butter, sake, soy
  • Gindara Saikyo Yak – miso marinated black cod