06 October 2010

Big Orange - Part 2

[If you haven't read Part 1, yet, please scroll down to the next posting and read it first.]

Sushi in Knoxville?  Well, it *is* on the Tennessee River, after all, but our server, Trey, assured us it's flown in daily from the coasts.

We had read reviews of Nama on the Internet prior to our trip, and like most consumer-posted reviews, they were all polarized -- loved it or hated it.  But there was more love than hate, so we thought we'd give it a go.  It's located just north of Market Square on Gay Street, and when we arrived, the place was hoppin'.  After a short wait, we were seated in prime seats at the corner of the sushi bar.  (I have no clout or creds here; this was purely coincidental.)  Like most restaurants, they have menus, but our server explained that what most people like to do is get what is essentially the "chef's choice".  You tell them how much you want to spend, what you like and don't like, and any special requests, and the sushi chef builds a platter based on that.  It's a great way to taste things that you otherwise wouldn't have ordered a la carte.  We ordered $40 of sashimi, no mackerel, no octopus, love salmon and tuna.  We were rewarded with two platters full of fish, veggies, and tofu that were as pleasing to the eye as they were to the palate.

As we neared the end of our fish binge, two ladies were seated at the bar beside us.  They ordered some sort of roll that was so pretty I had to ask what it was.  The lady next to me politely replied, and then asked if this was our first time at Nama.  The conversation continued, and when she learned that we live in Dallas, she said she is dating a man from Dallas.  After more conversation and wine, we discovered that the guy she's dating used to live next door to us.  No kidding.  What are the odds?  We broke into a round of "It's a Small World" (not really, but now that song is going to be stuck in your head for a while!) and then shared stories of our mutual friend.  The stories are the "RICH" part, but I won't go into detail here.  Call me if you want more.

Saturday was game day.  Mother and Daddy met us at the hotel, and we walked the half mile or so to Neyland Stadium for all the game-day activities.  The day was overcast, but the sea of orange that filled Phillip Fulmer Way was blinding.  Mother picked the perfect corner for us, as she knew the Pride of the Southland's band routine.  After a while, the band marched down the hill (not "The Hill", which is another site on campus), did a short street performance, and then marched on into the stadium.

The game was unnecessarily exciting as the UAB Blazers gave the Vols a run for their money, and the UT emotions were as those of a menopausal woman.  It ended up in two overtimes, but the Vols finally prevailed, and "Rocky Top" was tattooed into our heads.  (Ask Tom about that.)

Sunday was a soppy day; the clouds that had threatened all day Saturday cut loose on Sunday.  We had a late flight out of TYS, so we spent another day with my parents in Cades Cove.  The place is stunningly beautiful, and during a break in the rain, we did the 9-mile scenic loop drive.  With all the foggy mist hugging the hills, we were reminded why it's called "The Great Smoky Mountains".