Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Cranberry Thistle

Jonesborough, Tennessee. The innkeeper at our B&B recommended a hip coffee shop/cafe for dinner last night called the Cranberry Thistle. It did not disappoint. We settled in to a table for two nestled up against the dessert bar. The hum of the espresso machine and the sizzle of the grease fryer provided the perfect backdrop for the musician tuning his guitar.

I trusted the waitress to piece my order together. She got me started with a hazlenut chai tea. Intoxicating.
She followed it up with a steaming bowl of soup beans and a hearty slab of pan fried corn bread. Now, regional culture dictates that you top soup beans with chow chow. I did try one bite, which was one bit too many. No matter. Those beans were perfection all on their own. Turns out, the owner and her sisters were sitting at the table next to us, and within no time, we were bosom buddies with the entire Cranberry Thistle family. I had to buddy up to the owner so she would teach me the secret to those beans. She said it was all in the slow cooking, and that they were cooked simply with only sticks of butter.

Yes, that word was plural.

Oh Blessings, she aint kiddin around when it comes to the bean pot.

We truly felt like part of the family by the time Lightning Charlie took the stage to mesmerize us with a tantalizing mix of southern gospel and bluegrass. First he quoted Hank Williams like poetry. Then he hammered out some serious Simon and Garfunkle on the piano. The buttery beans, the chai, the blues............I was in a happy haze.

Then the waitress brought us steaming mugs of spiced spider and a plate of homemade cookies as Charlie announced he would do the "Southern Baptist National Anthem". Amazing Grace.

Oh. My. Tennessee. Stars.

By the time we left, we had exchanged names and phone numbers, we had eaten some of the best food I've ever tasted, and I had cried my way through a patriotic musical tribute that I will never forget.

Every vacation has a highlight, and ours was the Cranberry Thistle in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

Shoo-be-Doo-wop and Amen.


Sandy said...

How was that spiced spider? Pretty good?
I'm glad you are having such a wonderful time together.
We miss you!


Kate said...

Wow Brooke! I thought I was right there with you, smelling everything and experiencing it right along with you! I'm so glad you and Hannah are doing this trip together!