Monday, July 16, 2018

A Busy Day with Our New Neighbors!

When our new/future neighbors asked us if we’d like to join them for a concert in Loudon Tennessee called “Groovin’ on Grove Street” we didn’t hesitate.  We were planning to go to the Mennonite Farmer’s Market in Delano Tennessee earlier on the Saturday in question, so we invited Sherry and Mike to join us on that local shopping experience.  They agreed, we grabbed our coolers and off we went!

We love visiting the Old Order Mennonite Farm and produce market at 146 Needle Eye Lane in Delano Tennessee.  The produce is fresh and organic too.  The men that operate the market dress in the plain style dictated by their beliefs.  The adult males all have beards.  On this occasion, I saw my first woman from the settlement.  She was restocking the section loaded with yummy baked goods.  Wagon drawn horses being used to transport produce and other products were tied up behind the market.  
We bought heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, cinnamon rolls, peach jam, cookies and homemade granola.  Mike and Sherry loaded up on fresh vegetables and they picked up a nice melon too!  Beets, beans, radishes, cucumbers, corn, cabbage, lettuce, bread, etc., etc. filled the shelves.  The place was packed!
FYI…Women are expected to dress modestly when visiting the market (covered shoulders and midriff.  Photos of the Mennonites are not permitted.

These fields are so productive!  Consider the fact that the market is open 6 days a week from late spring through late fall…and the produce and other products just keep coming!  To view more photos and to get a ‘feel’ for the place, go to and/or

Well…we had everything in coolers that needed to be protected from the heat.  We’d worked up an appetite so what to do next?!  We cut across on some local roads and made our way to the town of Tellico Plains in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.  Destination…Tellico Grains Bakery!

This family run enterprise has been in business here since 2003 and they are definitely successful!   In addition to their breads and a wide selection of sweet rolls, cookies, etc. Tellico Grains Bakery makes top notch sandwiches and what Laurie and I believe to be the best thin crust pizza in East Tennessee!  Laurie and I shared this beauty…loaded with pepperoni and Benton’s sausage.  FYI, Tellico Grains bake their Pizza’s in a wood fired brick oven.

Mike and Sherry shared a sandwich…but Mike took his experience one step further.  He ordered a dessert too!  As he stated at the time (and since), he’d make the 35 minute drive from home just to buy and revel in another slice of this peaches and cream cheesecake...made with fresh peaches!

Tellico Grains Bakery is located at 105 Depot Street in Tellico Plains Tennessee.  Phone: 423-253-6911.  You can find their website complete with photos and a video at  The good news is that the Travel Channel video is little out of date.  As per the video, the bakery only makes pizzas on Saturdays… They now make pizzas Tuesdays through Saturdays.  They are open from 8 AM until 4 PM from February through late fall…

Finally…on to Groovin’ on Grove Street at 320 Grove Street in downtown Loudon Tennessee.  The action is focused around the Lyric Theatre.  First constructed ca. 1911, the Theatre was an important part of the community featuring not only movies but also local events.  Then it burned down in 1935 and reopening in 1935.  It may look really old, but the theater has been plagued with fire.  It burned down again in 1941 and was reopened in the mid-1950s.  The final movie was shown here in 1961. 

This is what the inside of the Lyric Theatre looks like now.  It was donated to the City of Loudon in the 1980's.  The Loudon Merchants and Property Owners Association is working to restore it… Bathrooms and a sprinkler system have been installed and the plan is to create a music and event venue that can seat up to about 160 patrons.

The action related to the Groovin’ on Grove Street musical series took place in the courtyard between the Lyric Theatre and the building next door.  I was told that the courtyard was set up for an audience of 210 but it could be expanded to about 240 seats. 

The natural amphitheater created by the brick walls on either side and the covered stage at the front provided great acoustics although it was a bit warm in the sun on this late June day.  I was told that future events (every Saturday during the summer) would start at 7 PM.  The walls on the right side of the photo have been covered with some colorful quality murals depicting some of the old classic movies and movie stars.

Admission to “Groovin’ on Grove Street” events is a very reasonable $10.00 per person.  This was the first day for this attraction and there were 4 different groups providing entertainment.  We just caught the last couple of songs by the Trent James Band.  They featured country, blues, Southern rock, Americana and rockabilly.  For more information on this band, go to

After a bit of a wait, as shown above, the Knoxville Transfer Band took the stage.  They featured classic hits from bands such as Chicago, the Blues Brothers, Motown, Van Morrison, etc.  Some of the vocals weren’t quite up to par but the music was all good and they were warmly greeted by the crowd.  To learn more about this band, you can go to

Considering that there were folks out on Grove Street and others taking advantage of the street side food vendors, this was a great crowd for a first time event of this type!  We left before the final 2 groups of the day made their appearance.  The sun was hot and the day had already been long… The acts we missed were By Grace, a gospel music group, and the Blair Experience, featuring jazz, blues and contemporary music.

On Saturday, June 30, Groovin’ on Grove Street featured the Bo Ashley Band.  The Trent James Band appears again on July 7.  Knoxville Transfer makes another appearance tomorrow, July 14.  On Saturday, July 21, the Blair Experience is on stage and, to round out July, gospel and bluegrass group Endless Highway will make an appearance.  We will definitely return for future performances!

We had a very nice day with Sherry and Mike our new or ‘soon to be’ neighbors.  If the weather will cooperate and we have some weather conducive for construction they may be able to move out of their rental and into their new home before Christmas!

That’s all for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, July 13, 2018

Food and Family…

The following is a mish mash of food experiences interspersed with family photos… It’s been a quiet summer so far and our focus has been on family and good food in social situations with friends.

However I thought that I’d start with one of our favorite ‘salads’.  This was Laurie’s heirloom tomato with basil, (herbs from our deck planters), sided by Mayfield Dairy small curd cottage cheese.  Laurie loves this cottage cheese, eschewing all others!

To learn more about Mayfield Dairy, which is based in Athens Tennessee, you can go to

While I like cottage cheese and a summer treat like heirloom tomatoes with basil, I always love a nice little grilled steak (medium rare).  Add a bit of crumbled blue cheese and I’m even happier.  We paired our steaks with fresh yellow string beans, aka wax beans.  Add a little butter, salt and pepper and I could eat 3 helpings of these summer time treats.

Laurie captured yet another great photo of one of our favorite visitors at our squirrel proof bird feeder.  Isn’t this female Red-bellied Woodpecker beautiful!

It had been awhile since we’d dined at Thai Bistro.  We started out with a Lucky Budda beer for Laurie and a Singha for me. ($4.50 each) Then we reverted to our usual appetizers…Crab Rangoon for Laurie and fried Pot Stickers for yours truly. ($6.00 each)
Then we strayed from our usual entrees to experiment a little.  The entrée pictured above was Laurie’s Chicken Masaman Curry. (Spice level = Hot) ($13.00) She loved her meal and said that she’d order it again!

It may be hard for some to believe, but despite the fact that we’ve dined in many Thai restaurants over the years, I’d never ordered this staple…Chicken Pad Thai (Spice Level = Thai Hot!)

Bummer… I’ve missed this satisfying and tasty dish all of these years!  Now it will be at the top of my Thai meal list!  The spice level was perfect for me as well.  My head was sweating…a sign that they got it right.

Time for a family photo.  These 3 very cute children are Laurie’s cousins from Scotland.  Moir is in the front with Maura and Della in the back.  We were able to meet them for the first time when we vacationed in Scotland and Ireland last September. This is an older photo of them but Laurie & I just love it anyway. They still look about the same but taller!

Another day…another restaurant.  We recently returned to Pero’s on the Hill in Knoxville for dinner with friends Norm and Linda.

This was Laurie’s choice for dinner.  It’s the Parmesan Tilapia over orzo pasta and sided with Greek Potato Salad. ($13.15) Laurie loved this meal!  “Fortunately” for me, since we’d snacked on Tzatziki sauce with Pita Bread, ($8.10 normally but only $4.05 for early diners), and Fried Ravioli ($7.10/$3.55), she couldn’t finish her dinner.

For my entrée, I chose the Chicken Parmesan with Pero’s rich and flavorful spaghetti sauce. ($14.00) It was really good…excellent comfort food!
For more about Pero’s on the Hill, go to

As I mentioned before, I was very fortunate that Laurie couldn’t finish her Tilapia dinner at Pero’s on the Hill.  I decided that the leftovers would make a fine breakfast.  So I warmed the remaining filet and orzo in a frying pan with an extra dose of parmesan…

Once it was warmed up, I did what my breakfast mentor Big Dude at has taught me!  I topped it with a couple of over-easy eggs.  It was excellent…and Laurie was jealous because it smelled so good!

One more family photo.  This is our 17 year old grandson, David III.  He’s going to be a senior in high school this fall.  He’s about 6’5” and he’s not done growing.  Of course, he got his good looks and his intelligence from his grandpa…or at least I wish I could claim full responsibility for those traits!

That’s all for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Waffle House X 2 – East Tennessee

We will be the first to admit that Waffle House isn’t a fine dining experience, even for breakfast.  However, it’s 2,100 or so locations in 25 states are generally consistent, offering breakfast and other items at a fair price 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  

Invariably, when we’re on a road trip and using the Interstate system to make time, we almost always fit in a stop or two at the Waffle House Restaurants along the way…

However…in this case, we’ve had a couple new Waffle House locations open up along U.S. Hwy. 411 between Maryville and Madisonville Tennessee.  Over the last few weeks we managed to stop at each of them for something to eat.  This is the relatively new Maryville Waffle House at 2118 South U.S. Hwy 411 on the south side of town.  Phone: 865-233-0112.

These photos show the interior of the Maryville Waffle House.  Like most chain restaurants, they all look pretty much alike.

We tried to eat here once before but when we stopped we were informed that the grill was being cleaned and our choices would be very much limited.  On this occasion however, everything was functioning and we felt like a late morning breakfast.

We’ve been eating at Waffle House Restaurants for at least 38 years…and believe it or not, this was the first time that we’ve ever ordered a waffle! It was quite tasty…not quite as good as the version that we make at home using a malted waffle mix with Amish butter and pure maple syrup…but still very nice.

Laurie went for the basic breakfast…with 2 over-easy fried eggs (whites cooked), 3 slices of bacon, and a nice portion of crispy hash brown potatoes plus white toast and jelly.  As usual, she was very satisfied…

I had the Texas Sausage, Egg and Cheese Melt sandwich with a side of hash brown potatoes.  I opted for sausage gravy on the hash browns.  I liked the sandwich… 

However, I compared my portion of hash browns with Laurie’s and I felt slighted!  In addition, although I like Waffle House’s sausage gravy, I think that they must have been rationing it that day.  It must have been ladled on with a truly tiny ladle as it didn’t even cover my small portion of hash browns... 

About 3 weeks later we stopped for dinner at the new Madisonville Tennessee Waffle House.  When we visited, it had been open for less than 2 weeks.  Doesn’t look much different from the outside does it?

Of course, the same can be said for the almost identical interior of this new Waffle House...  The restaurant was very busy, obviously a welcome dining option in the local area.   

It appeared that that Waffle House had a couple of trainers/experienced staffers working here temporarily to bring this location’s new staff up to par with expectations.  There was a fair amount of confusion at the grill.  That rasher of bacon didn’t move during our entire visit… While most Waffle House short order grill masters work with total efficiency, this operation had a way to go to reach perfection.

Laurie ordered a Patty Melt and crispy hash brown potatoes with fried onions.  They are supposed to fry the hash browns with the onions but it didn’t work out that way…with the onions added after the potatoes were ready to serve.  She did like the Patty Melt but there is no doubt that the hash browns would have been a bit better with the onions cooked into them but all in all, she liked her meal. 

I went for the Double Cheese Burger and a large order of crispy hash brown potatoes.  I asked for the potatoes to be ‘covered’ with melted cheese and ‘topped’ with Bert’s Chili.  I’d never had added either of these items to my potatoes at any Waffle House location. 

As you can see, my large order of hash browns wasn’t exactly ‘covered’ with cheese.  Since they use “American” cheese slices, there wasn’t much flavor added either.  As for Bert’s Chili, there wasn’t much of it and it was way too bland for my taste.  The next time, I’ll stick with the crispy hash browns ‘au natural’ with Tabasco and some ketchup.  I did like my cheeseburger.

We’ll give the Madisonville Waffle House location a couple more months to gain experience and expertise before we return.  As proven in this instance, it’s always a gamble to visit a restaurant in the first couple weeks of operation.  This restaurant is located at 4625 U.S. Hwy. 411.  Phone: 423-404-4221.

In my opinion, our visit to these 2 Waffle House locations didn’t measure up to the company standards...especially in the second instance.  
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, July 9, 2018

Family, Friends and Food…Plus

Another miscellaneous blog posting coming your way… This time it’s almost all about family, friends, some food, plus a little scenery as well as a minor personal concession on my part.

This is Laurie’s middle sister Karole and Karole’s middle son Marc.  They live in the St. Louis area.  Karole has spent a lot of time over the past several years taking care of her grandchildren while Marc and his wife Tammy either take a break or when they’re working.  She treasures a little personal time with Marc, that’s for sure.   This was a truly special day…Mother’s Day! Marc is in the disaster recovery business…

In a previous post, I introduced readers to our new neighbors, Mike and Sherry.  On a beautiful day here in East Tennessee, Laurie and Sherry went to Bald River Falls via Tellico Plains Tennessee plus they had a nice lunch at Tellico Grains Bakery.

Here’s Sherry posing by the falls.  It’s a great setting and it’s a place where we always take first time visitors and new folks in our neighborhood.

Why not a photo of the falls themselves in all their glory!  The Bald River is a rather short river that flows through steep terrain in the Unicoi Mountains and it’s regularly refreshed by frequent mountain rains.  

Just below the falls, this tributary flows into the Tellico River, and then the Little Tennessee River before merging with the Tennessee River itself.  The Bald River and 3,721 acres of its watershed are part of the Bald River Gorge Wilderness Area as designated by the U.S. Forest Service.

A few pretty birds always brighten one’s day.  Laurie captured this photo of a Purple House Finch, a Goldfinch and a Bluebird visiting our bird feeder at the same time…

More family… Recently, Laurie’s nephew and godson Kyle joined us for dinner at Hot Rod 50’s in Alcoa Tennessee.  He’d been attending a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation seminar in Sevierville and took the opportunity to join us for dinner.

At Hot Rod 50’s, we started out with an order of Fried Pickle Chips…one of Laurie’s favorites! ($6.49) We didn’t take a photo because we’ve done it before.  But Laurie ordered a ‘small’ Club Salad ($7.99), and we’d never featured a salad here previously.  It was quite large, loaded with goodies and very fresh.  Laurie liked it a lot!

While Kyle went for a standard cheeseburger, I decided to stray a little from the norm.  I ordered the 11 oz. Reuben Burger with cottage cheese as my side. ($11.99) This large burger was topped with hot corned beef, Swiss cheese and grilled sauerkraut.  Instead of the usual Thousand Island dressing, I went with a spicy mustard.  This sandwich was much better tasting than the photo might indicate!

FYI…Hot Rod 50’s website can be found at 

Following our meal, we headed on over to The Casual Pint in Maryville Tennessee to meet up with friends Norm and Linda.  Kyle is a craft beer lover…perhaps even a gourmet…and he liked what he saw.  The photo is of one of Kyle’s favorite craft brews that he got for his Aunt Laurie to try…  Website:

Then there was my ‘concession’... Laurie loves open houses.  I don’t like dealing with real estate folks unless I have to.  Insurance sales persons would be my biggest phobia, followed by car sales people and then real estate sales people!  Laurie is always frustrated by my unwillingness to go to open houses.  But, when I saw this flyer and noted that these were builder’s open houses, I saw an opportunity to earn a few ‘brownie points’.  The homes were nicely done, my better half was happy and there wasn’t any pressure from the builders on site.  This was a winner!

That’s about it for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, July 6, 2018

The Old Capital Public House – Kingston Tennessee

Once again our friends Norm and Linda have upstaged us!  These local restaurant guru’s invited us to dinner with them over in nearby Kingston.  A new restaurant had taken over a space that had been vacated by another restaurant… We really liked Gloria Jean’s Fine Southern Provisions, the previous restaurant in this location and we were hopeful about its successor. 

Of course, the scenery here in East Tennessee is hard to deal with.  Kingston, population ca. 5,900, is located on the shores of Watts Bar Lake, part of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s lock and dam system along the Tennessee River and its tributaries.  Watts Bar Lake is over 72 miles long and has a surface area of 39,000 acres…

This is the Old Capital Public House in Kingston.  It’s in the Town Center Shopping area which is part of the Ladd Landing’s master development which includes new homes as well as retail space.

The interior of the Old Capital Public House hasn’t changed too significantly from its predecessor.  It’s a warm open space with a slightly industrial feel and lots of light.  

Laurie took this photo of yours truly with our dining guides, Norm and Linda. 

FYI… As usual, we were eating early, hence a shortage of other patrons.

Norm and Linda ordered these Coconut Shrimp as their appetizer. ($6.50) It came with pita strips.  Unfortunately, this offering had been partially consumed by the time I remembered to take a photo.  I did have one of the shrimp and it was pretty decent.

Laurie has a ‘thing’ for fried pickles…so, we ordered these battered and Fried Dill Pickles. ($6.00) The dill pickle slices made this appetizer ‘pop’!  It was very tasty and we’d order it again.

Linda decided to try the Old Capital Public House ‘Sangria of the Week’.  It was a blend of wine with raspberries, etc...

Laurie and I did order a couple of craft beers. (No Photos) The Old Capital Public House is owned by Monkey Town Brewing Company in Dayton Tennessee. (Home of the Scopes “Monkey Trial”) Laurie’s beer was very ‘hoppy’, something she likes.  It was named H’oat’el M’oat ‘el Hopiday Inn. ($6.00) As usual my choice was on the mild side.  It was called Little Miss Thang Blonde Ale. ($5.25) Both were 13 oz. pours…

For his dinner, Norm selected the Chicken Avocado Wrap. ($10.00) Sliced chicken breast, Applewood bacon, avocado, lettuce and tomato with chipotle aioli are all wrapped in a flour tortilla.  He chose the house potato chips as his side.  Norm was quite happy with his selection…

Linda decided to go for the House-Made Meat Loaf dinner. ($13.00) She was a bit stunned by the huge portion of meat loaf!  It was enough for 2 to enjoy… As you can see it came with mashed potatoes and a sautéed vegetable medley.  She was very happy with her choice and part of that meat loaf went home for another meal…

Laurie decided to have the Club Sandwich for dinner. ($10.00) It included ham, turkey, lettuce, bacon, tomato, American cheese and mayonnaise on Sourdough bread.  The fact that the bread was grilled and ‘seasoned’ kicked this old standby up a notch.  Laurie really liked it and I was ‘forced’ to help her by eating a quarter of the sandwich.  It was very nice indeed!

For my entrée, I chose The Bone in Pork Loin Chop with a jalapeno marinade, green beans and mashed potatoes. ($13.00) An attentive observer will note that the potatoes in the photo are not mashed.  When I saw Baby Baked Potatoes tossed in a garlic parmesan mixture, I made a quick and decisive decision.  I wasn’t disappointed!  Those potatoes ruled!  The beans were fine and the pork chop was done correctly…still a little pink in middle…and consequently still a bit juicy. 

We all agreed that the Old Capital Public House was a winner!  Service was pleasant and efficient, the staff was friendly and the food was certainly above average.  We will return…introducing other ‘novices’ to the ‘new’ restaurant that ‘we found’!

Old Capital Public House is located at 1000 Ladd Landing Boulevard in Kingston Tennessee.  Phone: 865-248-1555.  To learn more and to view the menu, their Website is at

While relaxing with Norm and Linda at their home after dinner, we learned that Norm had created and painted some wooden birds but he hadn’t done anything with them.  He showed them to Laurie and when she said she liked the wren and woodpecker, he gave them to her.  One of them now inhabits the floral arrangement on our front door and the other has found a home on the cotton wreath gracing our door into our garage.  Thank you Norm!

That’s about it for now.  Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by to see what was for dinner!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave