Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Another Quality Breakfast!

It wasn’t all that long ago that Laurie and I complained about a lack of restaurants here in East Tennessee that serve a good solid basic breakfast.  At least for now, that foodie issue has been resolved.  Between Mama’s  Grits/Classico Restaurant in Tellico Village (Loudon County), Sami’s in Knoxville and Fat Stacks in Madisonville (Monroe County),we now have plenty of choices…

So why not see if we could add one more breakfast option to our list of places to start our morning out?  Don Delfi’s Pancake House and Restaurant in Farragut Tennessee hasn’t been open very long.  But I’d seen a couple of positive comments about this establishment on Nextdoor…so we decided to check it out.    

Don Delfi’s Pancake House and Restaurant is in a building that was occupied for some time by a Mexican restaurant.  The inside is bright and airy and the dining area was clean.  

As it turns out, Don Delfi’s serves breakfast from open to close each day!  We love that because we love breakfast…

Laurie asked for her eggs over easy and her hash brown potatoes crispy. ($6.75) The cook in the kitchen got it just right!  This platter of food included 2 eggs (1 was a double yoke) a bit of cantaloupe, 3 slices of bacon and the hash- brown potatoes extra crispy.  It was accompanied by toast or a biscuit…Laurie chose sourdough toast.  She liked her breakfast and the fact that 3 slices of bacon came with it.  Her only negative was that she was sure that the bacon had been ‘pre-cooked’.

A piece of cantaloupe even came with this big half order of biscuit and sausage gravy that we shared. ($4.99) The biscuit was not only good but homemade and huge as well.  This sausage gravy was about as good as we’ve had recently!  Nothing went to waste…

Service at Don Delfi’s Pancake House and Restaurant was efficient and friendly.  The menu for breakfast and lunch is huge!   FYI…the restroom was well maintained. 

I ordered something that was a bit off the menu.  For my breakfast meat, I asked if they could substitute gyro meat for my usual sausage patties.  No problem, although the 4 strips of gyro meat drove the price for my breakfast cost up to $8.25 vs. $6.75 with the sausage.

The eggs were great as were the hash brown potatoes.  I was hopeful for the gyros but I should have known better.  I’ve never had quality gyro meat that wasn’t sliced right off a loaf on a roasting split…which I’ve been told aren’t legal around here. (?) The accompanying tzatziki sauce was OK but it lacked the garlic bite that one hopes for… (Toto, we’re not in Chicago anymore!)

I was concerned about the handmade sign on the front door that told customers that only breakfast and lunch were now being served during “Winter Hours”.  Don Delfi’s is located just off Kingston Pike (US Hwy. 11) on 120 West End Avenue in Farragut Tennessee.  Phone: 865-288-3696.  I wasn’t able to find a website for this restaurant.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, January 16, 2017

China Pearl Restaurant – Farragut Tennessee

This winter has been ‘tough’ so far here in east Tennessee.  We did have a couple of inches of snow that melted away 2 and a half days after it fell.  The cold temperatures have been replaced by temperatures in the 50s at night and 60s in the daytime.  We may even reach 70 degrees at some point!  It looks like we’re going to have at least 10 days like this… Winter here sure beats what we experienced for year after year living in Chicago!

Decent temperatures and no snow combine for great winter weather to go out and eat with friends…

Note: I failed to take an exterior photo of our dinner destination, China Pearl Restaurant in Farragut Tennessee.

This is Morrie and Jodie, our friends and neighbors who joined us for dinner.  Like us, when they retired, they ‘escaped’ from the north-country and fled to East Tennessee.  In their case they came from even further north…Minnesota with its brutal winter weather!  Note the smiles!

Morrie snapped this photo of Laurie and me… It took a couple of tries in order to catch me with a smile of sorts.  I’m just not good when it comes to posing for photos!

Laurie, Jodie and I all started out with a cup of China Pearl’s Hot and Sour Soup. ($1.95) (No photo) It is one of our favorite soups and we almost always order it with our meals…

For her dinner, Laurie ordered Chicken in Szechuan Sauce. ($10.50) The sliced chicken is sautéed with fresh garlic and wine with bamboo shoots, mushrooms and other vegetables in the spicy Szechuan sauce.  Laurie really enjoyed her meal!

It’s worth noting that China Pearl has been in operation in Farragut Tennessee for over 22 years now.  There has been a recent change in ownership but I think that both the depth of the menu and the quality of the food has improved.

Jodie chose the Kung Pao Chicken for her entrée. ($10.50) The marinated sliced chicken was sautéed with red peppers, vegetables and peanuts in a spicy Kung Pao sauce.  Jodie was very happy with her meal!

FYI, service was very efficient and friendly.  Our waitress kept our water glasses filled as well as our pots of hot tea.  She checked back regularly to ensure that our food was satisfactory and/or if we needed anything else.

That big bowl of brown rice accompanied our entrees.  Between Morrie and me we ensured that no rice remained when we were done!  Those wonton crisps are a bit addictive and I should just skip them but they’re served gratis as soon as you sit down at your table.

Morrie ordered the Sweet and Sour Chicken. ($10.25) Breaded chicken breast chunks are deep fried to a golden brown and served with vegetables and a sweet and sour sauce.  He really liked his entrée and he cleaned his plate!

I strayed from my usual entrée…the Chicken with Broccoli.  Instead I opted to try spicy Malaysian Curry with Beef. ($11.25) The beef is slow cooked for 4 hours and it’s seasoned with Malaysian curry powder and spices.  The good news for me was that the bell peppers, which I don’t like, must have added at the end before serving.  I didn’t detect the pepper’s flavor at all!  I really liked this curry dish.  That spicy sauce went well with brown rice too… I would order this meal again.

By most accounts, good Chinese food is almost as rare as hens teeth here in East Tennessee. (We don’t count P.F. Chang’s or Pei Wei Asian Diner as ‘real’ Chinese restaurants) So far, China Pearl is the best we’ve found but I do have 2 others on my ‘must try’ restaurant list…

China Pearl is in the Kroger Marketplace Shopping Center near Campbell Station Road.  The address is 115 Brookhaven Street.  Phone: 865-966-6936.  Website:

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by to see what we had for dinner!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, January 13, 2017

Food, Weather and Critters

Laurie and I are more like cave dwellers than we are explorers in winter weather.  We like to dine out with friends, go to the occasional movie, take short drives when it’s sunny, etc.

This winter season lifestyle dictates what blog materials I have to work with…hence all of my recent restaurant reviews.  Fortunately, family visits broke up the steady diet of food commentary to some degree in recent weeks.

Today’s posting is a bit about food, the weather in East Tennessee and some local critters that are part of our environment…

As I’ve mentioned previously, I almost never waste leftovers!  In this case, I had a couple of leftover grilled hot Italian sausages and a generous helping of Bob Evans regular style mashed potatoes.  Laurie made up a mixture of spiced up flour for me to coat my mashed potato patties, I added pepper, a bit of onion powder and garlic and then I fried them to a golden brown.  When they were almost ready, I heated up the sausages in the same frying pan.   It made for a very satisfying lunch!

In a previous blog posting, I talked about Dawn Marie coming up from Miami to visit us for Christmas.  Her flight home was late in the day so we decided to stop at Windy City Grill for our evening meal. 

Dawn Marie opted for Steak and Queso Wrap and added the Mac n’ Cheese rather than the standard French fries or homemade potato chips. ($12.50) As you can see the mac n’ cheese was nice and creamy and the steak was fairly close to rare…which is Dawn’s preference.

Laurie ordered a Grilled Cheese Sandwich with house made potato chips. ($6.00) This triple decker sandwich is stuffed with American, Mozzarella and Queso, grilled and then topped with a tomato.  Laurie really liked it and said that she’d order it again.

I’m stuck in a rut at the Windy City Grill.  Once again I ordered the Cajun Burger with curly fries. ($9.50) This 8 oz. burger is grilled with Cajun seasonings and then topped with fresh jalapeno slices and pepperjack cheese.  I will continue to order this burger at least every other visit to this restaurant!

Windy City Grill is located at 2641 US Hwy. 411 in Maryville Tennessee.  Phone: 865-724-2508.  Their website can be found at:

On the way home from errands the other day we came upon a huge flock of wild turkeys along the road in our neighborhood.  This is just a small portion of the flock that I estimate numbered 40 – 50 birds in total.  They certainly are big birds!

On the night of January 6th we had our first snowfall here in East Tennessee.  It amounted to about 2.5 inches in total…but it was very cold as well.  We got down to 6 degrees one night, the coldest it’s been in about 2 years…

This was the early morning après snowfall view looking down the street in front of the house.  It was pretty.  The street was cleared later in the day but we had no plans to leave the house…a major advantage of retirement.  The other good news is that snow doesn’t stay on the ground long in this part of the country…We will have been in the 60’s for 3 days by the time you read this post.

To end this post, I thought that a photo of our cat J.D. (Juris Doctorate) would be appropriate.  He loves the sun and when it’s cold and cloudy all too frequently, he really values any chance to sunbathe!  The hotter the sun is on him, the happier he is…

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

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Breakfast Buffet for Dinner

It was time for dinner and we didn’t feel like cooking.  But this time of the year, it gets dark early so we didn’t want to have to drive to far for our evening meal… There were a couple of local restaurants that we hadn’t eaten at in a long time or ever, so I picked one and off we went!

As you can see, this is Donna’s Old Town Café.   It’s located in downtown Madisonville Tennessee.  This restaurant has been in business for many years and while we ate here once before…probably 6 or 7 years ago…it was time to try it again.

Note: We are not creatures of habit when it comes to restaurants.  A 'favorite' restaurant for us would be one that we dine at 4 to 6 times a year.

This photo was taken from about midway through Donna’s Old Time Café toward the front of the restaurant.  The cashier is stationed at the front right side.  There is a small gift shop by the front windows.

Laurie took this photo from the front of the restaurant.  The restaurant is long and narrow with 2 seating areas…this one in the front and a second one back by the buffet tables you can glimpse in the next room.

I was looking forward to dinner!  What I’d read somewhere and forgotten was that Thursday night’s buffet at Donna’s Old Town Café is a breakfast buffet… We like breakfast so we decided to try it vs. ordering off the menu.

This serving table provided all the salad and dessert related items…

The adjoining ‘hot’ steam table provided the meat, eggs, pancakes, potatoes, soup, gravy, biscuits, etc., etc.

Laurie decided to start out with the salad table.  She chose 3 different types of potato salad… She loved 2 of them and the 3rd one was just OK.

Salad table…hell no!  I went directly to the hot serving table where I picked up a biscuit and pepper gravy, a bit of country ham, a couple sausage patties and a potato pancake.  That yellow stuff is some kind of cheese…

I didn’t ‘understand’ the potato pancake.  It wasn’t warm and it lacked that distinctive flavor in a top notch potato pancake.  (Maybe it wasn’t a potato pancake…but standard pancakes were offered right next to these) The sausages were good…nice flavor and the biscuit was very good as was the pepper gravy.

Laurie went over to the hot table and came back with a biscuit with the pepper gravy, some scrambled eggs, cheesy potatoes with onions, country ham and bacon and cooked apples.  She liked everything she had, even commenting that the scrambled eggs were better than usual for being on a buffet line.  She also thought that the pepper gravy, not usually our favorite, was very nice.

My second trip to the buffet netted another biscuit which I covered with a scoop of thick chicken dumpling soup.  I asked the very young waitress if the vat of chicken dumpling soup was intended to be poured over the biscuit.  She’d never heard of such a thing…but Donna (the owner) was sitting nearby and she told her that it had been a common practice in the past. 

(FYI…the red dots on the food came from my personal bottle of Tabasco)

For dessert Laurie chose this piece of what she thinks was banana spice cake with a maple-sour cream icing.  She liked it just fine.

I personally would have liked it if the different non-fresh vegetable food items had been labeled as to their identity.  I’m not much into guessing about my food selections.  What were the 3 potato salads…was that a potato pancake…what were the desserts…what were my soup choices, etc.?

For my dessert, I chose this pudding.  It had chocolate, pineapple, custard and whipped cream but it was unnamed so I’m guessing a bit.

Laurie enjoyed her meal more than I did.  Both potato offerings were loaded with onions…which I’m not crazy about and I just don’t care for plain scrambled eggs from a steam table.  The biscuits were excellent as was the pepper gravy and the chicken dumpling soup was tasty enough too.

Certainly the price was right!  Our tab after taxes and before a tip came to less than $20.00… We will return to check out the normal dinner buffet which is served on Friday and Saturday nights.

This restaurant is open from 7 AM until 3 PM Sunday – Wednesday and from 7 AM until 8 PM Thursday – Saturday.  You can order from the menu if buffets aren’t your thing.  Donna’s Old Town Café is located at 100 College Street in Madisonville Tennessee.  Phone: 423-442-3304.  Website:

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for dinner!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, January 9, 2017

Dining Out with the Family…

When our son and his family came down from Omaha to visit us, we went to a movie, the space movie “Passengers” and after that we had dinner out. 
(FYI…The adults did enjoy the movie…the grandsons not so much)

Laurie and I had visited the Chili’s in Lenoir City Tennessee about 10 weeks earlier and we had enjoyed our experience.  As it turned out, our grandsons David III and Emmett Lee both like Chili’s.  Even better, it was on the way home from the movie theater…

Laurie and l love Chili’s version of fried asparagus.  Their “Crispy Asparagus” is lightly battered and quick-fried.  Then it’s topped with crumbled queso fresco, chopped cilantro and a drizzle of chimichurri sauce.  It’s served with roasted garlic aioli on the side.  Fortunately for Laurie and me, no one else particularly likes asparagus so it was all ours! 

I will say that it’s all about the roasted garlic aioli.  That dipping sauce puts the fried asparagus over the top.  The only problem is that we always have to ask for more aioli…which I like on just about everything!

David II ordered a couple of helpings of the Crispy Cheddar Bites.  These lightly battered and fried white and yellow Wisconsin cheese curds are topped with a sprinkle of Cajun spice and chopped cilantro.  They are served with house-made ancho-chile ranch for dipping.

Laurie and I have eaten a lot of Wisconsin cheese curds, fried or otherwise.  This version didn’t have much flavor and we certainly couldn’t taste any Cajun spice.  The dipping sauce helped them a little… 

For a second appetizer David II ordered the basic Chips and Salsa.  These extra-thin corn tostada chips are made daily at Chili’s and they’re served with their fresh salsa.  They were good if not particularly remarkable.

David II ordered the Smokehouse Combo for his entrée!  He had a choice of 2 meats…smoked bone-In BBQ chicken breast, jalapeño-cheddar smoked sausage, hand-battered chicken ‘crispers’ or a half rack of house-smoked baby back ribs (for an additional $2.00).

He chose the sausage and the chicken ‘crispers’.  As you can see, this combo platter was served with roasted street corn, home-style fries, chile-garlic toast and house-made garlic dill pickles.  There was plenty of food and he seemed to enjoy his dinner.

Emmett Lee blew everyone’s mind!  His 13 year old palate is currently limited to fresh fruit, hamburgers, French fries, plain buttered pasta, macaroni and cheese and hot dogs.

He faked us out, ordering the Cajun Chicken Pasta minus the normal extra topping of chopped green onions.  He had the Alfredo sauce on the side "just in case" but he ended up bathing the penne pasta with it.  The pasta was already topped with grated parmesan and diced tomatoes and its served with a piece of garlic toast.  Then he added the Cajun grilled chicken breast!

He ate about half of it…excellent for him.  It smelled so good that I wished that I’d ordered it!

Amy limited herself to a bowl of the Chicken Enchilada Soup.  This hearty soup contains marinated shredded chicken and it’s topped with crispy tortilla strips and cheese.   This wasn’t the first time she’d ordered this soup so she obviously likes it…

Laurie loves quesadillas!  So she decided to order the Beef Bacon Ranch Quesadillas.  These flour tortillas are filled with beef or chicken, (she chose chicken), as well as a 3-cheese blend, chile spices and Applewood smoked bacon.  They are served with house-made pico de gallo, sour cream and ancho-chile ranch dressing.

She enjoyed her quesadillas and she gave a couple of them to me and one to Amy as well.  I liked them too, especially after dipping them in the ancho-chile ranch dressing.

David III stuck with a basic Classic Bacon Burger and French fries.  The burger was topped with Applewood smoked bacon, melted sharp cheddar cheese, house-made garlic dill pickles, fresh leaf lettuce, tomato, sliced red onions and Chili's Signature sauce.  He loves burgers and at 16 years of age, he devoured his dinner in a hurry…

The photo of my dinner was of too poor a quality to publish and perhaps that is appropriate!  I like a good burrito so I ordered the Smothered Prime Rib Burrito.  The prime rib was mixed with citrus-chile rice wrapped in a warm flour tortilla then smothered with ancho-chile sauce, sour cream sauce and melted cheese.  It was then topped with corn and black bean salsa and chopped cilantro.
Sorry, but I didn’t like the Smothered Prime Rib Burrito creation at all!  Three of our local Mexican restaurants serve better beef burritos with a lot more flavor.  I wouldn’t recommend this entrée to anyone…

The best part about this meal was that David II paid for it!!  Yea!!  Chili’s in Lenoir City is located just off US Hwy. 321 at 320 Fort Loudon Medical Center Drive.  Phone: 865-988-4061.  Website:

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, January 6, 2017

Christmas at Home – Part II

Christmas Day came and went…and still we had a terrific Christmas family gathering to look forward to at our home here in East Tennessee!

Winters here in this part of the world are pretty mild when we look back on our many cold and snowy years in St. Louis Missouri, Attleboro Massachusetts, and of course, Chicago!  When our next guests arrived on December 28th, it was in the mid-60’s at our house…

Our first sighting of our visitors was when they pulled into our driveway.  We weren’t surprised to see our family from Omaha but we were stunned to see who was driving!  Our 16 year old grandson and my namesake, David III, was behind the wheel… Time flies faster each year!

It’s a one and a half day journey from Omaha to the Knoxville area and the family was tired!  It didn’t take much time for David III, Emmett Lee and their mom, Amy, to settle in and chill out… Welcome to paradise east!

Here’s Daddy…aka David II!  The family’s post-Christmas schedule included dental work for both boys, one on the 26th and the other on the 27th.  They then drove to Clarksville Tennessee to spend the night before the final leg to our house.  

This isn’t the greatest photo but the family, especially Emmett and David III, (shown here), had a fun and surreal time with the Samsung Virtual Reality Oculus that came with the new phone Laurie got for Christmas!  The boys were panicked at times as they rode a roller coaster, fought of scary creatures, etc.  They waved their arms around and both of them almost fell over using this new piece of technology.

Here is Emmett Lee (13) playing a video game while enjoying a bowl of ice cream.  The good news is that he isn’t always in the electronic world.  He loves track, basketball and football.  He has a great arm and he catches equally well.  Even more important, he’s a great student!

While Emmett Lee was doing his thing, David III (16) was following suite with his ice cream and a video game.  David III loves snowboarding and soccer plus he’s an exemplary student!

David II and Amy were very happy to receive another one of my mother’s abstract paintings to add to their growing collection!  We’ve been parceling them out to David II and his family for the last several years. 

I took this photo of David and Amy when we went out to eat at Chili’s.  They have been married over 19 years.  They met at a party in Chicago and the rest as the saying goes “is history”.  As you can see, they still like each other!

Of course, Laurie (Nana) and I (Papa) still like each other too, although there are times that I do push the limits of her patience!  In April, we will have been married for 38 years…

In this photo David III is paying the penalty for looking at his phone instead of focusing on the family gathering.  You can imagine that no 16 year old boy wants any public displays of affection from grandparents in a public place.  He only had to be ‘punished’ once!

What a laid back group!  Amy, David III, Emmett Lee and Nana (aka Laurie) all cozied up on the couch.  David II and I had a football game on that no one else was watching…

On the morning of their departure the males in the pride posed together.  It’s obvious that by this time next year, I’ll be on the left as the shortest and David II will switch places with David III!  At least this old lion can partially blame my height on shrinkage due to aging… As per the doctors, Emmett Lee will probably top out at 6’3”…a little shorter than his dad…and David III is projected to reach 6’7”.

The final photo from the visit had to be one of our loving Omaha clan.  (David III, Amy, Emmett Lee and David II) From our house, they were off to Indianapolis to visit Amy’s family for a couple of days before dashing back to Omaha.

But there is one more Holiday related family photo to share... Every year Amy comes up with a theme and everyone gets into appropriate costume for the family Christmas Card.  In the past they’ve been super heroes or wizardly characters.  This year Amy outdid herself!

How about these elves on the shelf!  What imagination… Amy’s 3 ‘boys’ must really love her just to put these elf costumes on!  I’m not sure which of the 4 poses is my favorite but I do like David II’s soulful look.  Great job family!

We hope that everyone had a terrific Christmas and that all of you will have a Happy and Healthy New Year!

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 and Laurie