Big Ed’s is one of the historical institutions of Oak Ridge, TN. I’m not sure when exactly Big Ed’s opened it’s doors, but it’s definitely the pizza place that’s been around longest in Oak Ridge, since when I lived there I knew several people that had been swearing by Big Ed’s pizza for at least 3 generations. There are a lot of reasons to go to Big Ed’s. The pizza is one of them, being a contender for the best pizza in Oak Ridge (however, as one coworker of mine would say, that’s “damning with faint praise”, the rest of the pizza in town is pretty marginal). The other draws are the gritty ambiance (shown here, just the right amount of “dank”, and a bunch of TV, sports, and military banners that have been hanging probably at least as long as I’ve been alive). The friendly service. The catering to the little kids watching them make pizzas while hoping for a spare piece of pepperoni to get hurled to them. The very cheap beer. The decades of multilingual intercontinental graffiti in the men’s room. In other words, Big Ed’s is the epitome of a “Pizza Joint”…
Where Offbeat Eats has been:
Our last full day in Brussels was one of wandering and exploring. Sophie went off to see some old sites from when she lived there. Dan went to check out The Royal Museum for Central Africa, mostly a museum about Belgium’s sordid colonial past. And Carol and I decided to do a bit of a walking tour, checking out the botanical garden, the old 19th century homes around Square Ambiorix, and then checking out the Parc du Cinquantenaire and L’arc de Triomphe, the last of these being a rather large and impressive park originally built in 1880 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Belgium. At the Arch, we rendezvoused with Dan and Sophie, and decided to find a pleasant place to eat, eventually settling on Carpe Diem, a brasserie just east of the Arch on Avenue de Tervueren. It’s getting almost to be a running joke at this point, but like a lot of the previous reviews, Carpe Diem is your basic Belgian brasserie, with a menu focusing primarily on traditional Belgian dishes (I must make a note to myself here to try some more ethnic food the next time I’m in Brussels…). But they really do have a good selection of traditional Belgian dishes, including Lapin à la Gueuze (Rabbit in a Gueuze beer sauce), Carbonades Flamandes (Flemish stew), Chicons au Gratin (basically potatoes au gratin), Vol-au-vent, and Stoemp de Saison (basically an elaborate mashed potatoes), as well as a good selection of Belgian beers and side dishes.