Spring is my favorite season in Atlanta. Just when you start to forget what leaves look like and you’re about to lose all hope, the dogwoods begin to bloom. You can put on chapstick and rest assured that after walking three feet, your lips will be yellow and gritty with pollen. The best part about spring, however, is that on April 1 the PTO days at work reset.
After a whirlwind trip home to Florida for a wedding and setting a new personal binge drinking record, I came back to ATL for the week only to head to Knoxville the next weekend. When I think “vacation” the state of Tennessee doesn’t usually pop into my head, but a good friend of mine who’s a UT alum wanted to show us around her old stomping grounds. I’d never been, so I figured what the hell?
After working all day and then driving three and a half hours through torrential downpour and multiple tornado warnings, we arrived in Knoxville. Our destination for the night was Cumberland Ave, “The Strip” of college bars located within walking distance of student housing. After stopping into Half Barrel for a Mickey’s and a shot, we walked over to the oasis of Docksiders, filth and regret known as Tin Roof.
Tin Roof reeks of bad decisions past and the excitement of mistakes yet to come. The very first thing I saw when entering the bar was a girl with bleach-blond, flat-ironed hair and layers of pancake makeup who was wearing camouflage overalls with one strap undone, a wifebeater and a rebel flag bandanna tied around her head. She was surrounded by a flock of fellow blonds in backward hats and get-ups resembling Larry the Cable Guy. What the fuck? When my friend saw my disgust and answered, “Sorostitutes,” all the pieces fell into place. Shudder. I didn’t even want to try to guess tonight’s theme.
My friend located the group we were meeting which fortunately consisted mostly of international students who were happily chatting in German and French and paying no mind to the horror show happening around them. After taking a swig of my Pabst I look over and see a couple arguing. The guy is wearing an argyle sweater with the sleeves cut off and the girl is wearing a black miniskirt, five inch heels with long blond hair and a white visor. No Chadwick, I look more like an asshole.
While we were there the DJ played Nelly’s “Hot In Here” three times which was annoying enough, but when he started playing “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It,” I walked off the dance floor. That song was for all the regulars, according to the DJ. Really, that song was for 1998 and we’ve been trying to forget it ever since.
The night was saved when out found out that our group was getting late night food at Cook-Out. I’d heard tell of the majesty of Cook-Out from my roommate whose appetite rivals a drunk fat man at all times. I had to really see it to believe it though.
If you’re not familiar, Cook-Out is the only fast food joint in the South where you can order a double cheeseburger with a side of a corndog and chicken nuggets. Don’t believe me? Take a gander at the menu:
After being awake for 23 hours, I decided that five hours of sleep on a pullout couch was more than enough. It was a gorgeous day outside, so my friends and I sat out on the porch making friendship bracelets while we watched two men get pulled over, searched, and arrested by nine officers who arrived in five cruisers. The juxtaposition was beautiful.
That afternoon we drove over to the Bearden Beer Market which is basically an outdoor playground for drunk adults. It was amazing. There was cornhole, ping pong, wall ball, and 2×4 Jenga. I got a delicious daytime beer buzz and played ping pong for an hour.
Afterward we planned to go to Soccer Taco in Downtown on Market Square, but since the Dogwood Festival was going on, the wait was an hour and a half. After drinking four high gravity beers on an empty stomach, I was ravenous and drunk so we ate next door at Trio. There I ordered a patty melt that was covered in unholy amount of cheese, onions and Thousand Island dressing. Delicious.
That night we went to a bonfire at the girls’ house where we were staying. I met a lot of cool people, laughed so hard I peed a little, and also learned about bone luging.
Animal rights activists and vegans may want to skip this section.
Simply put, a bone luge is a shot of booze, funneled down an emptied out shank bone.
According to this Gizmodo article, the excess fat that is left on the shank bone is supposed to enrich the flavor of the alcohol and invoke the savory taste sensation called umami. It really grosses me out to think about, but bone luging is one of those things that I would probably try just to say that I did it. It was also interesting that several of the Knoxvillians already knew what that was. We also burned a Christmas tree.
The next day we finally got to visit Soccer Taco. My friend had been dying to go all weekend and after the meal, I could see why. We ordered the Texas Ranger Fajitas to split between the three of us which came with steak, chicken and shrimp. I wasn’t sure if it would be enough, but my fears were allayed when the serving tray of fajitas came out followed by a serving tray of rice, beans and toppings. The funny thing is, they only give you three small tortillas to go with all that food. It was nice to eat an entire meal at a restaurant like that including extra tortillas and queso dip for $8 including tip.
Until next time, Knoxville.