Alan Carmichael munches a tiny lamb lollipop at dusk under a stunning sculpture on Tim Young's rooftop at The Gallery condos.
Success just makes us bolder! As regular Blue Streak readers know, some of us downtowners are determined to convince all our friends to move here, too! Our strategy is to seduce them by inviting them to join us on one (or more) of our downtown progressive dinners. Since we already have successfully recruited one couple this way — Bruce and Monique Anderson — we are heady with a feeling of invincibility! There is no stopping us!
Actually, our friends are moving downtown faster than we can recruit them! Since our last downtown progressive dinner in February (click here for a report on that one), our friend Tim Young has purchased a fabulous new downtown condo (he previously was leasing downtown) and our pal Eddie Mannis has bought the penthouse in the Glencoe. (A photo of it also is included in that February blog post.)
To take advantage of the beautiful weather, our theme for last Friday’s progressive dinner was patios, porches and rooftops. Our newest targets: federal judge Tom Varlan and his sweet wife, Danni, of Children’s Hospital. “I’d move downtown in a heartbeat,” Danni said. “He’s a tough nut, though.” Well, we will see about that!
First stop on our progressive dinner was at 6 p.m. at our condo at Cherokee Lofts. Because our entire condo building shares the courtyard, we invited all our neighbors to drop by during our part of the evening. We were happy that several took us up on the invitation.
Here is our courtyard. Way at the end are Alan and our neighbor Stuart Morrison, who actually lives in the Cunningham (with the maroon door). Stuart and his wife, Lisa, planted the pretty garden.
Stuart and Lisa actually run a horse farm in Blount County and just use the downtown condo as a retreat, of sorts. They are offering it for short-term high-end rental. Click here to look at its interior. Feel free to share the link if you know anyone who might be interested in leasing it.
Our signature cocktail for our stop was a watermelon martini. They were hugely popular. We used the fruit from two whole watermelons -- and still ran out. Luckily, we had beer and wine as backups.
Waiting our guests' arrival
It was not a long wait! From left, Danni Varlan, Gay Lyons and Stuart
Tim Young, left, and Bill Lyons
Monique Anderson, left, and Mickey Mallonee
Our neighbor, Lindsay Stegall, a newlywed. (She is holding a drink for her husband, Thomas, in case you were wondering why she has a glass in each hand!)
We served creamy chicken and bacon puffs.
And my favorite, the Barefoot Contessa's caviar dip with gourmet potato chips. We nestled the dip in a bowl of ice to keep it cool, which worked out great.
Before we knew it, it was 7 p.m. and time to move to our next stop, the Andersons' place at The Glencoe. Here we are headed that way on Church Avenue.
Monique was pouring wine when we got there! Pinot grigio, thank goodness. (I hate chardonnay.)
We served ourselves in the kitchen and moved out to this lovely porch to eat. The porch overlooks First Presbyterian Church and its charming cemetery.
I sat with Gay, Tim and Bill in another inviting eating area of the porch.
Eddie Mannis caught up with us at this point. He had had to drop in at another event. Here he is with Danni.
Monique served these spicy little drumettes. Yum.
The Barefoot Contessa's guacamole
And some of the most delicious chicken quesadillas I've ever had!
Bruce and Monique's son, John, made this stunning vase when he was in high school. Don't you think these lilies are just perfect in it?
Holy cow! Eight o'clock came so quickly! We had to press on.
We took Clinch Avenue to cut over to Gay Street and Bill Snyder, the Tennessee Theatre's famous organist, popped out of the side door of the theater!
So did the Tennessee's operations manager, Tom Bugg. He and Mickey are quite friendly, as you can see!
Once we got to Gay Street, we stopped to greet friends at the Downtown Grill and Brewery. Bill is talking to Scott Barker of the News Sentinel. Scott McNutt is to the right. And photographer Gary Heatherly has his back to the camera. Come on, guys, get a move on!
OK, back on track on Gay Street.
We finally made it to the breezeway that allows access to The Gallery lofts, above Mast General Store, where Tim lives.
Wow! Look at Tim's living room!
I love this painting. So happy!
We went out on the porch, and Tim pointed out various sights.
Like the historic Cal Johnson building that is in danger of "demolition by neglect," according to Knox Heritage.
Look at this dramatic design on Tim's bedroom wall! (Don't ask me what Alan's up to!)
Tim, the CEO of Summit Medical Group, is one of the most high-powered company executives in town. So I was really touched to see that he has a romantic side.
Frenzie belongs to Tim's two daughters. Isn't she pretty?
I just posted this photo so I can promote the blog by saying, "See picture of Danni Varlan in the shower!" Ha.
Yikes! We were running behind! But, to tell the truth, we weren't overly stressed about it.
On the way to the roof where we were to dine, we passed through this room. Anybody else read "Fifty Shades of Grey?" I was a little concerned this might be a torture device!
He even reminded me of the character Christian Grey as he offered to demonstrate the equipment!
Then he proved it WAS a torture device! (Just a different kind of torture than in the book!)
We finally make it to the roof and Tim grabs the -- yay! -- pinot grigio! (Not a drop of chardonnay in sight!)
Tim also offers a signature cocktail: a John Daly. It is sweet tea vodka and lemonade -- sugar free, of course, for health reasons! Love the way he thinks!
Relaxing on the roof
Bill talks to our target, Tom Varlan.
Cardamom rubbed rack of lamb with expresso jus over almond cous-cous with poached cherries! Wow.
My favorite bite of the night: caramelized apples with gorgonzola and toasted walnuts on baguette toast points. Tim hired caterer Nancy Kendrick's company, Creative Catering, and they did a splendid job.
Mayor Madeline Rogero joined us when her Tennessee Municipal League dinner at the Knoxville Convention Center was over. We headed down Gay Street to our next stop at Kendrick Place.
With just one more stop, we were doing pretty well time-wise.
If you go to Bill and Gay Lyons' condo at Kendrick Place, you WILL climb stairs -- the place is four stories! We headed to the roof.
The balsamic strawberries were mighty tasty.
But the chocolate bacon was unbelievable! That's mascerated pink grapefruit in the center.
It was a beautiful night to be on a downtown rooftop.
We were all back in our individual downtown homes by 11. I hope we made a good impression on Danni and Tom. Will keep you posted.
Note: Click here for info about the historic Cal Johnson building that is in danger of “demolition by neglect.”