I didn't start the day planning to try something new to eat. I actually wasn't planning to eat out today at all, because I've been intending to make a pasta bake for dinner this weekend all week, to use up some extra cheese in the refrigerator that I'm worrying is about to turn bad. That was part of my plan for the day, after meeting up with my friends Sara and Suzy to hike one of the quarry trails at the nature center, which I haven't done since 2011. That would be right around the time that walking long distances started to make me tired, so I haven't gone back since then.
Now that I can walk for hours, though, hiking is once again possible. I need to take more advantage of it.
On our way to hiking (I picked Sara up because she's buying a new car tomorrow, and doesn't have one right now) Sara and I were shocked by how many places in Knoxville were actually open today. I'm not sure if it's a Southern thing, a Bible Belt thing, a Knoxville thing, or what, but there is a strong possibility that things in our city are closed on a Sunday, and throwing Easter in on top of that led us to assume that there was a strong chance that we wouldn't see any other traffic. We were wrong, though, and downtown seemed to be hopping when we cruised through, so after hiking Sara and I decided to head to Market Square to eat a late lunch/early dinner.
I let Sara pick, because my only preferences are "no Cocoa Moon" (my friend Kristin and I ate there once and my food was so terrible that I've never gone back) and no seafood. I don't really eat seafood, other than tuna salad, and I'm dubious of seafood restaurants in landlocked states. Sara shared my concern, explaining that the half-price sushi specials at the local restaurant are twice a week because they are the nights before they get their fish deliveries. They have to clear out the old fish before it goes bad. With that in mind, Sara picked Stock & Barrel, a new-ish burger place that I've heard about but not eaten at. I'm not usually a burger eater, but I decided to go with it because I said she could pick and hadn't counted it out, and I have been curious to try them since I keep hearing how good they are.
It turns out that they are good. I'm not sure they're worth $12 a burger, but as a once in a while meal, it doesn't feel like I overpaid, especially since I tried something completely different on random impulse, and it turned out to be delicious.
I ate The Elvis.
According to the menu, The Elvis featured "organic peanut butter, fried bananas, Benton's bacon," a locally made bacon that a lot of the restaurants around here that locally source ingredients use. I've never had peanut butter on a hamburger before, but I like everything on The Elvis, and I like everything on it without the burger part, so I figured, "Why not try it?" It was also one of the only burgers on the menu where I liked everything and wouldn't have to ask them to leave anything off. I know it's my right as a customer to ask for it the way I want, but sometimes I feel like I'm being a real pain in the ass and just want to order off the menu without worrying about onions or nuts or whatever.
I was also intrigued, and figured that I might as well try something new.
And it was good.
The bacon is both smoky and salty, and the peanut butter is salty and a little savory. The fried bananas add some sweetness, to cut all of the salt, and really my only issue with the whole thing is that you'll want to cut it to eat, since the whole thing is kind of drippy and should not be picked up with your hands unless you want peanut butter on them. It could easily have turned out the other way, and been as gross as it may sound to some people, but maybe some of those people will rethink it.
Try some peanut butter on your burger.