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On our vacation, Cara and I hit considerably more restaurants than we typically do. On average, we're lucky to eat out a couple of times in a month. I don't really miss it as much as I enjoy my wife's cooking, but it is nice to be able to leave the work related to food prep and cleanup to someone else.

Of the places we ate at, there were a few standouts:
The Bullfish Grill is an independent restaurant in Pigeon Forge specializing in (as you might guess) beef and seafood. When we got there, the manager seated us and talked with us for quite some time. Our waiter had a Greek name and looked for all the world like he was just visiting from Athens, but sounded just like a boy born-and-bred in Tennessee ought to. When I asked for a recommendation, he admitted sheepishly that while he works at a place called Bullfish he didn't care much for either beef or fish. Must have been more of a lamb guy. Cara got the Black Angus cheeseburger and I had Parmesan crusted, fried grouper. Take that Arturo.

Fantastic fare, and great service. Oh yeah, and a very cool statue out front:



The other place we really dug was Mellow Mushroom Pizza. We'd been to Bazbeaux's Pizza downtown and enjoyed the wide variety of gourmet toppings and thought the pizza was quite good.

Mellow Mushroom may have fewer exotic ingredients, but I honestly cannot remember tasting better pizzeria offering in my life. Cara got a calzone with fresh mozzarella, black olives and green peppers. I got a small pizza with a pesto base, mozzarella, blue cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. Absolutely killer. What really put it over the edge was the crust. Perfectly crunchy and golden brown outside, soft and delicious inside with the perfect chew and flavor ... absolutely frickin' awesome. The dough really made it superb. It was good enough that I didn't even care about all the hippy crap.

Imagine my delight in learning that there is a Mellow Mushroom location in Carmel. Yeah, that seems like a long way to drive for a slice, but I'm definitely going to try it soon, if only to find out if they've got the same quality here as they did there.

I can only say that Bazbeux's slogan of "Indy's Best Pizza since 1986" can only be true if they won on a technicality of geography.
  2010-07-31
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