My granddaughter Natalie was back after graduating college and I recently heard she had been getting serious about a young fella named Nick. She wanted me to meet him and asked if he could go with us on our next jaunt. I had a feeling she had something to tell me, so I agreed and we met at a place she liked for Sunday brunch. It is called TerraMae Appalachian Bistro and is located at 122 E 10th St.
This place had to be good for two reasons… one, Natalie likes that designer food and two… it had part of my name in it.
Natalie and Nick were waiting on me inside. I tried to greet my granddaughter properly, but I couldn’t help sizing up the murdering, con-artist, jewel thief standing next to her (at least that is how we Grandmas perceive any man dating our grandchild).
Natalie looked beautiful as usual and had the biggest smile on her face. I was afraid of what was coming next.
We were seated in the dining area and, with the name ‘Appalachian,’ I expected this place to have a more country atmosphere, but it was quite sophisticated.
The sweet waitress came up and took our beverage order and, just as I suspected, Natalie said she had some news for me. She was talking so fast I couldn’t even read her lips! She covered the whole last year of events she had not told me about and finally ripped the Band-Aid off … she’s getting married.
There is nothing to make a person feel older than Methuselah than when their grandchild gets married.
After bringing our water, the waitress asked if we were ready to order. She must have seen the intense look on my face as she quickly said, “I’ll give you a minute and come back.”
I had enough to digest already. The boy looked a bit nervous as he waited for my approval and, I swonny, all I could do was give him my best “Well, bless your heart.”
Being a grandparent has its advantages of getting to spoil the baby and sending it home… but the disadvantage is when the baby is no longer a baby and they have secrets that get sprung in an instant, but I didn’t say another word … I just minded my own business.
In an attempt to pay attention to my hobby, I looked around the place. I noticed nice silver, cloth napkins and heavy silverware. The lighting above had candle bulbs and were covered in a sphere globe. It was busy, but the seating was open enough to not feel crowded. It was an impressive place - even the antlers on the wall were dressed up!
As my grandson-to-be seemed a little more comfortable, he and Natalie playfully argued back and forth sounding as though they were already married.
Nick talked with his hands a lot and, when the waitress came back to get our order, he nearly whacked her a good one.
While the youngsters made google-eyes at each other, I placed my order. I chose the “Alaskan Halibut Benedict” for $16. It had fried green tomatoes, farm fresh poached eggs, grilled Halibut, and country ham with basil-lemon Hollandaise sauce. It was something I would never think to combine myself and I was intrigued.
Nick was a gentleman and let Natalie order next. She chose the “Stuffed French Toast” for $11. It had honey-soaked raspberries, cream cheese and maple-hazelnut syrup. Nick ordered the “Sweet Tea Fried Chicken and Waffles” dish for $13. He seemed as curious as I was to try a breakfast food with meat you normally would have for supper.
I wasn’t sure if I would like fish for breakfast and had no idea how the country ham would taste with it, but I ordered it just for the halibut.
When our meals arrived, Natalie’s stuffed French toast looked like fried chicken before she turned it around. There was some sort of coating on the toast and the inside was stuffed with a creamy treat. Nick’s waffles and chicken looked good too, but I thought my dish was the most beautiful!
Oh, it was pretty! The two poached eggs were perfectly round like a ball and lay on golden fried green tomatoes on both sides of the fish. I didn’t see any ham, but I noticed the fresh sprig of dill on top of the Hollandaise sauce. I knew I was going to like this!
When I started eating it was as if my taste buds had gone to heaven! The combination of the eggs, fried green tomatoes and the fish with the sauce were absolutely wonderful! Then I got a surprise when I dug in further and found the country ham very thin-shaved and so tender. It was worth its price! I didn’t know if Nick would understand, but I let out a quiet, yet long-winded “whee-ee-ee-ee-ee-doggie!”
My granddaughter must have told him about my ‘thumbs up’ word and he told me, “We just say, ‘get in my belly’." From what I could see his food was going everywhere but in his belly, but I guess young men eat quite fierce. He was an odd duck, but he seemed to adore my granddaughter.
Then Nick said, “I need more syrup…” as if he expected me to get up and get it for him. I suggested he use the rest of his hot sauce he had for his chicken.
I don’t know if he was just trying to appease me or if he were really that offbeat. When he cut into his chicken some of the debris flew all over Natalie. He was embarrassed and said, “I’m sorry, I was trying to…” and my wiseacre granddaughter guessed, “… trying to feed me?”
He said he didn’t want to use his fingers, but in his case I think there would have been less of a mess.
When the fireworks were over, Natalie rubbed her tummy and cooed, “Mmm… this makes my inner fat kid happy,” (the dear used to be a little chubby like her father).
When Nick finished his chicken he made up for his ruthless eating by placing all of his chicken bones neatly in his empty syrup dish. I guess he wasn’t so bad after all and the poor boy was starting to grow on me.
When we learned the owners of TerraMae have a farm in Nashville and will use local farm-raised/grown food sources in the region, it made our visit all the better.
I couldn’t praise this place enough (…as well as give credit to my granddaughter for choosing a restaurant that she knew I would love while she sprung her news on me).
This place not only had my thumbs pointing up, but my finger and toes too! Willie Mae really liked TerraMae!
Mon - Thur 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Fri. - Sat. 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Sunday Brunch: 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.