La Cabaña Cuban Flavor
723 North Campbell Station Rd., 865-446-0646
There are many good things to eat at this Cuban restaurant just off Interstate 40 at the Campbell Station Road exit, but these little ham croquettes haunt my dreams. The crispy golden capsules open to a decadent filling of salty ham and rich béchamel. They’re served with a nicely potent garlic sauce, but I barely touch it; the crunchy bites are chock full of flavor. They’re $1 apiece, and I always want several.
The Real Mexican Team
6701 Kingston Pike, 865-588-2020
9 Market Square, 865-544-4471
Even if you fail to understand the strange delights of buche, cachete, lengua, or other bits of offal that are on this menu section of authentic Mexican treats, don’t pass up the opportunity to try some really fine tacos, huaraches, or sopes with easier to swallow options. Try a taco with chorizo, carnitas, and/or the particularly nice pastor de verdad. Sprinkle them liberally with the chopped onion and cilantro and add a squeeze of lime. Just be sure to take a tiny taste of the hot sauces that come with these options before adding them to your food—they can be intense.
3325 N. Broadway, 865-688-0306
This is the fun version of huevos rancheros. It’s called divorciados because it comes with two kinds of salsa that are separated on the plate (divorced, get it?). A fried egg sits happily on top of each pool of salsa—one green, one red. It’s a simple dish that’s flavorful and pretty.
Also: See Dennis Perkins’ review of Leños and Carbón.
Dennis Perkins' Home Palate is a tasty exploration of local options for eating out and eating well by way of restaurant reviews, features on fun or unusual foodstuffs, and interviews with local food purveyors and tastemakers. It’s a candid and personal look at what’s right (and sometimes what’s wrong) with eating in Knoxville and its environs. He is also the artistic director of the Knoxville Children’s Theatre, has directed and performed at the Actor’s Co-op and Black Box Theatre, and is a foodie par excellence.
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