Little bird embarks on a migration

Amanda Shell Jennings, right, with Becky Hancock of the Tennessee Theatre at The Underground at the Crown & Goose last week.

Amanda Shell Jennings, right, with Becky Hancock of the Tennessee Theatre at The Underground at the Crown & Goose last week.

Gosh, this week I feel like a mother bird whose little chick has all of a sudden flown out of the nest. The little chick is Amanda Shell Jennings who started working at Moxley Carmichael as an intern in 2009 when she was just a teenager.

After two internships, she came to work full time with us in 2011. We watched her mature into a beautiful, intelligent and poised young woman with more grit than a seasoned drill sergeant. We all went to her wedding in 2014  and welcomed her husband, Mark, into the Moxley Carmichael family. (He already was a friend, having dated Amanda for five years.) She mourned with us that year when a colleague of ours suddenly passed away. She went through grief counseling with us.

And we have been through scores of exciting work projects together. Continue reading

Filed under: Business, Downtown, Food, Knoxville, Public Relations | 13 Comments

What a relief! Clarence Brown Theatre announces plans for new restrooms — and a great 2017-18 season

Brooks and Karen Clark this morning at the season announcement. Brooks is chair of the Clarence Brown Theatre Advisory Board

Brooks and Karen Clark this morning at the season announcement. Brooks is chair of the Clarence Brown Theatre Advisory Board.

The crowd that gathered at The Lighthouse this morning to hear details of the eight plays the University of Tennessee’s Clarence Brown Theatre will produce next season burst into shouts and applause when they heard another announcement. UT plans to add restrooms to the 43-year-old theater building on campus.

“You’ll be relieved to know that we are going to more than double the number of restrooms,” David Byrd, managing director of the Clarence Brown Theatre, chuckled. The limited number of restrooms — particularly women’s — has long been a problem. When attendance at a play there is at or near capacity — as it often is these days — women either get in a line so long that they risk missing the beginning of the next act or they do what I do and leave the theater building to seek a restroom in another campus building. This also causes the risk of being late to the second act. And it’s particularly irritating when the weather is bad. Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Knoxville, Theater | 4 Comments

Plays, food and jazz make perfect trip: our tips

Sunset Boulevard, playing on Broadway until June 25, is a must see.

“Sunset Boulevard,” playing on Broadway until June 25, is a must see. Here’s Alan in front of a poster for it.

Thanks to Scripps Networks Interactive for the awesome long weekend in New York City. Alan and I purchased at a charity auction a while back a trip package donated by the Knoxville-based company, and we just redeemed it.

We bought it at a benefit at Historic Middlebrook called Southern Summer’s Night, a fundraiser for The Hope Center, part of Covenant Health. The Hope Center provides, at no charge, caring support and assistance to all individuals and families living with HIV.

During three days in the Big Apple, we packed in three plays, a visit to a noted jazz club and meals at new (to us) places as well as at old favorites.

The biggest takeaway is this: If at all possible, go see “Sunset Boulevard” starring Glenn Close. The musical, with a score by Andrew Lloyd Webber and a 40-piece orchestra, is stunning, and Close is mesmerizing in it. Continue reading

Filed under: Food, Theater, Travel | 6 Comments

Knoxville community welcomes new campus leader

UT-Knoxville Chancellor Beverly Davenport makes remarks at a welcoming reception hosted by business leaders.

UT-Knoxville Chancellor Beverly Davenport makes remarks at a welcoming reception hosted by business leaders.

Beverly Davenport, UT-Knoxville’s new chancellor, charmed more than 200 Knoxville business and community leaders recently with her enthusiasm and openness at a reception held in her honor at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Costs of the reception were paid for entirely by three sponsors: Pilot Flying J, First Tennessee Bank and University of Tennessee Medical Center.

In brief remarks, Davenport thanked the crowd for the “Big Orange welcome” and discussed her pleasure over finding a historic home to purchase within minutes of the UT campus.

As chancellor, Davenport is the top-ranking official in charge of the Knoxville campus. She reports to UT President Joe DiPietro who heads the entire University of Tennessee system, which includes additional campuses in Chattanooga and Martin; health sciences campus in Memphis; research institute in Tullahoma; and various extensions throughout the state. Continue reading

Filed under: Downtown, Events, Knoxville | 8 Comments

That bird didn’t fly, but wine was divine

Roasted squab at L'Amour du Vin. I just couldn't do it.

Roasted squab at L’Amour du Vin. I just couldn’t do it. A squab is a young pigeon that cannot yet fly — usually younger than four weeks old.

I might not be the most adventurous eater you’ve ever met, but I do try to sample new things from time to time. Thanks to the wonderful Trust Fall dinners (click here and here and here and here), I have forced myself to try such exotic delicacies as lamb sweetbreads, duck tongues, beef heart tartare, sea urchin, beef tongue and buffaloed rabbit wings. (Rabbit wings?)

But last Saturday, I was introduced to a plate I just could not force myself to approach. It was roasted squab with liver mousse, carrots and puff pastry, the third course at the otherwise elegant and fun L’Amour du Vin, a major fundraiser for the Knoxville Museum of Art. That’s it at the beginning of this post. Alan Carmichael, my husband, called it “the Harry Potter course” because it reminded him of something that might appear in those stories. My friend Jerry Kruse, whose company, The Pour Guys, was helping with service Saturday night, offered to remove the head from my plate for me. But there still was that claw. I just decided to pass entirely and rely on the wine for sustenance. Continue reading

Filed under: Art, Downtown, Events, Food, Knoxville | 4 Comments

Bramble makes Blackberry event even better

Jim Haslam, left, and Bill Arant at An Evening with the Knoxville Symphony at Blackberry Farm. Jim and Natalie Haslam were honorary co-chairs of the alluring event.

Jim Haslam, left, and Bill Arant at An Evening with the Knoxville Symphony at Blackberry Farm. Jim and Natalie Haslam were honorary co-chairs of the alluring event.

The Knoxville Symphony‘s annual fundraiser at Blackberry Farm was even more fantastic this year because it was held in Bramble Hall, Blackberry’s brand new events center.

Bramble Hall was modeled after the huge timber-framed barns that used to dot East Tennessee’s rural countryside. These barns were used for all manner of local celebrations, from community barn dances to weddings and harvest parties. It sounds rustic, I know. But, if you’ve ever been to Blackberry Farm, you know that they do “rustic” in the most elegant way imaginable! Bramble Hall is no exception.

Bramble Hall, equipped with state of the art sound and lighting to accommodate the many musical evenings at Blackberry, is beautifully appointed with huge beams and stone fireplaces set off by comfortable, understated furnishings. An outdoor amphitheater provides an under-the-stars option for entertainment during fair weather. Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Food, Knoxville, Music | 5 Comments

UT prez’s secret sauce could be secret weapon

University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro serving guests the best spaghetti this side of Italy.

University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro serving guests the best spaghetti this side of Italy.

The University of Tennessee has a secret weapon for making friends and influencing folks. I think it even would work on members of the Tennessee General Assembly.

What is it? UT President Joe DiPietro’s famous spaghetti with a tantalizing sauce made from a long-held family recipe. I’m serious. This stuff is magical.

At an auction last year benefiting the UT Gardens, Alan and I purchased a spaghetti dinner for six at the home of Dr. Joe and Deb DiPietro. We redeemed it last weekend with four friends.

The relaxed evening at their comfortable Old Kent Drive home was a delight. And that sauce! It’s hard to describe, but it was tomato based and very smooth with a little something-something that was hard to put your finger on.

Dr. Joe said the “secret” had something to do with cloves. But it sure was subtle. And delicious. Even the following morning, I could taste a hint of the enchanting elixir. Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Food, Knoxville | 16 Comments

Take this trip: shop, sightsee and stuff yourself!

From left, Marty Begalla, Dawn Ford and Mickey Mallonee enjoying homemade donuts from Jo's, which sells them from a trailer in the parking lot of Yoder's Country Market in Bulls Gap, TN.

From left, Marty Begalla, Dawn Ford and Mickey Mallonee enjoying made-to-order donuts from Jo’s, which sells them from a trailer in the parking lot of Yoder’s Country Market in Bulls Gap, Tennessee.

It all started with our friend Dawn Ford telling us during a dinner party about some great knives she had found at Yoder’s Country Market in Bulls Gap, Tennessee. She also raved about other items at the (ostensibly) Amish store. “We want to go there!” said Mickey Mallonee, Marty Begalla and I.

So, this past Saturday, off we went on a “field trip” to upper East Tennessee. Since we were so close, we planned also to have lunch at the fabled General Morgan Inn in nearby Greeneville. What a fun trip it was. Just sharing this along with a recommendation that you, too, plan a visit to these interesting, historic and entertaining places. Continue reading

Filed under: Food, Historic preservation, Travel | 17 Comments

Downtown parking makes me peevish

See this sign? They're serious.

See this sign? They’re serious.

Often, folks ask Alan and me what is the best thing about living and working downtown. We tell them, basically, “everything!” We love the fact that downtown is walkable, you see so many folks you know everywhere you go, there’s always something fun going on, and the restaurants are great and getting better.

They also ask what are the worst things about downtown living. That’s easy to answer, too: panhandlers and parking. I will discuss panhandlers later. Let’s talk about parking now.

We are happy to pay to park. We pay $70 per month for a designated parking space in the bottom of the State Street Parking Garage and we love it. That section of the garage is gated, well-lit and feels very safe. Continue reading

Filed under: Business, Downtown, Knoxville | 42 Comments

‘If it comes from a can, it’s not a biscuit!’

Chris Kahn, biscuit maker extraordinaire!

Chris Kahn, biscuit maker extraordinaire!

So says Chris Kahn, who knows a thing or two about the subject. She worked in the White Lily test kitchen for more than a decade and is the chair of the biscuit baking contest during the phenomenally successful International Biscuit Festival here in Knoxville.

Chris spent lunchtime recently teaching how to make the perfect biscuit as part of the Knoxville Symphony League’s Elegant Dining series. The class (including a biscuit lunch) was held in the home of Pat and Alan Rutenberg in the heart of Sequoyah Hills.

I signed up for the event as soon as tickets went on sale. As my guest, I took John McCulley, our senior web developer at Moxley Carmichael. John is going through a divorce and is committed to learning to cook. As you will see, he was an enthusiastic student. Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Food, Knoxville | 20 Comments