La Costa- Knoxville, TN

September 15, 2009

Last weekend, I took my boyfriend to TN to see where I grew up and to spend time with my family. I love coming home to Knoxville. Not only it is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family, but I enjoy the slower pace of life and the coziness of being nestled in the mountains. The Smokey Mountains offer a spectacular panoramic and the people are some of the friendliest I’ve ever known.
On a lazy Sunday, we decided to get brunch in Knoxville’s newly renovated Market Square. When I was growing up, this part of town was completely run down, but in the last 10 years it has made a total turnaround. It boasts some of the newest and most popular restaurants in town. We decided on La Costa- an inviting little resto offering a unique blend of southern and latin american cuisine.
We started with coffee and a bloody mary…yum. The bloody mary was spicy, just the way I like it!
For brunch we shared the sweet potato pancakes dripping with brandy-pecan syrup and smothered with cinnamon butter. We also had the chimmichuri eggs with tomatoes and cheddar jack grits. Both dishes were delicious and very filling. I was happy to have one sweet dish and one savory dish because I always have a hard time deciding which one I want for brunch.
While the food was excellent and reasonably priced and the atmosphere was enjoyable, the service was unimpressive. As you know by now, I am a stickler for good service no matter how low budget the restaurant. My philosophy is, if you are working for a tip, you need to actually do the work. That means, you need to greet customers within 2 minutes of being seated, you need to check back after food is delivered, and for goodness sake, clear plates and bring the check within 5 min of customers finishing the meal. I hate sitting with dirty dishes in front of my face and then having to desparately flag down the server to get the check so I can pay and leave. These are server basics that are seriously lacking in restaurants today and sadly, La Costa, was no exception. My advice to restauranteurs- train your wait staff. Don’t assume they know how to wait tables. Remember, for patrons, dining out is about more than the food and bad service can ruin a perfectly good meal.

Aside from dining at La Costa in Market Square, we also tasted some delicious treats at my aunt’s cook out! Look at all these sweets!

old fashioned banana pudding

old fashioned banana pudding

lemon petals

lemon petals

chocolate chip bread pudding

chocolate chip bread pudding

And who could forget about the UT Football game? Go Vols!

Sea of Orange

Sea of Orange

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Kristen September 21, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Love it! I’ve lived in Knoxville for the last 4 years and it is really growing on me! :-) Sad that you had bad service at La Costa, their food is so good! Hope you had fun at the game!

Beth @ DiningAndDishing September 16, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Those pancakes look so good!! I totally agree with you that if you’re working for a tip you need to actually work. No matter how good the food is somewhere bad service can put you off a place so much!

Becky September 15, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Um, description and recipe for the fam’s Lemon Petals…please!

darnold23 September 15, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Those sweet-potato pancakes look awesome. I may have to come for a visit:) Woo Pig Sooie! Go Razorbacks! Great post and photos. Thanks for sharing. I’d love to invite you to join me at for Crock Pot Wednesday.

brandi September 15, 2009 at 2:22 pm

yeah for football! :)

sounds like you had a good trip!

Pam September 15, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Sweet! We love Gatlinburg….so much fun!

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