~ 12 June 2003 ~

The Praise of Food

Desiderius Erasmus wrote The Praise of Folly, but being in a nonsensical, and hungry (in that late-night sort of way) mood, I’ve decided to switch the gears of this blog a little and write about a couple of my favorite restaurants.

The first I will mention is the Italian Village in my home town of Kingsport, TN. This review provides a pretty good description, but tasting is believing. I literally grew up on this pizza. The boxes they used to use had the phrase “You’ve tried all the rest, now try the best.” I’ve traveled to more countries than I have fingers and have been to much of the USA, and I’ve never had better. An authentic Italian pizzeria in Brugges, Belgium came close–but the Italian Village still reigns.

The next favorite is Ridgewood Barbecue in Bluff City, TN. This is one of those literal “hole-in-the-wall” diners that just can’t be topped. This restaurant ranks number one on my BBQ list (although my wife swears by Moonlite BBQ in Owensboro, KY). Ridgewood’s beans are incomparable. I’ve tried to emulate the recipe, but I just can’t seem to get it perfect. Rumor has it that only the late owner Grace Proffitt and her son knew the recipe for the sauce. It was not even written down. This recipe claims to have copied it, but I have yet to try it (would it be a sacrelige to copy it?).

Back when Grace ran things at Ridgewood, she would often lock people outside when the restaurant was full. I sometimes imagine I’m waiting outside–though here in Louisville it’s hard to imagine that wonderful smell…

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