On our previous trip to Tennessee, we stopped for supper at Mojo Burrito in Red Bank and enjoyed the visit a lot. This small chain has three stores, and one of them, conveniently, is not far from I-75, absolutely perfect for people traveling between Knoxville and Atlanta who don’t have lots of time to detour into Chattanooga properly. That described our situation just perfectly.
After filling up on ice cream and milkshakes in Knoxville, we went to that city’s branch of McKay to await the return of our girlchild. As I feared, her cousins loaded her down with clothes and small gifts. I certainly don’t object to my little girl getting hand-me-downs and treasures from her family, but I do wish that kid had the presence of mind to mention that our tiny little car was loaded to the ceiling already and acting as though we were transporting twelve, and not four passengers. Just as well nobody, and I mean nobody, can pack a car as well as I can. Somehow, I fit everything in, but my daughter met us with a broken heart: a porcelain doll that had belonged to her grandmother had fallen from her bag and shattered when she got out from her aunt’s van.
I-75 between Knoxville and Chattanooga is among my favorite interstates to drive really fast, but, sadly, as much as I adore my little Mazda, it’s just not a particularly good car for high speed, particularly when laden with a week’s luggage and groceries from Jungle Jim’s. Nevertheless, we made reasonably good time and made our way into the East Brainerd neighborhood for our last meal of the trip.
In Knoxville, Marie had, for perhaps the first time ever, eaten more than me, and so she passed on anything more in Chattanooga. The girlchild, who was too busy gossiping and debating the cuteness of boys with her cousins to eat, was famished, and so she and I settled in for a big spicy chicken burrito and a “key lime” chicken quesadilla. I really am hugely impressed with Mojo Burrito’s quality. When we were in Ohio, I had noticed a small chain called Hot Head Burritos, and while we didn’t have the chance to stop at one, curiosity about them kept me craving the good stuff in Tennessee. With their commitment to locally-sourced ingredients and flavorful, juicy meats, fantastic, upbeat and friendly attitudes among the staff, and a funky, million-things-to-look-at design, this is simply a fun place to be.
I don’t enjoy this place quite as much as I do Bell Street here in Atlanta, but I still enjoy it a heck of a lot. It is easily among my favorite restaurants in Chattanooga, and a place that I hope to visit again many times. After all, I’ve had the same thing twice, and there is a much deeper menu just full of tempting treats. Hopefully we will return to Chattanooga in March or April.
It will be around that time that Mojo Burrito will expand into Atlanta. Tomorrow’s News Today reports that they’re planning a spring launch for their first area store, in Dunwoody. We’re looking forward to that!
I took the next leg of the drive while Marie caffeinated herself back to life. Isn’t it weird how some stretches of road invigorate you and others just sap all your energy? As long as I can remember, returning to Atlanta on I-75, once I get past the Ringold area, is just deadening. I can come home from any other highway and not feel so wasted. We swapped the driving at the Adairsville exit, where that QuikTrip can be relied upon for the cheapest gas in the region, and finally returned home, 14 hours after we left Liberty Township. Two hours at Jungle Jim’s, three hours letting the girl visit her family, and heaven knows how long stuck in Wildcats basketball traffic will do that. But it was a terrific trip, and one of our favorites.
The sixteen chapters that the Ohio visit generated have been the most, by far, of any road trip since we started the blog. It’s taken so long to write and post them, in fact, that, as our Twitter followers know, we have already been and gone on another vacation to south Georgia and to Jacksonville. We will get to that story in February; the next two weeks we’ll fill with more tales from Atlanta and north Georgia, Buford Highway and barbecue. Road trips are terrific, but there are always stories to share from home!
Did you know? We have a fantastic Facebook page, where you’ll be able to follow along with much more than just links to chapters here, but additional information, local media PR, links when our friends-in-blogging review our favorite places, and other follow-up news about the places we’ve been. Give us a like !