Friday, February 28, 2014

Dining Along the Interstate – Long Horn Steakhouse

When Laurie and I recently made the return trip from St. Louis Missouri to East Tennessee, we put off stopping for a late lunch/early dinner as long as possible.  Finally, we pulled off of I-40 at Cookeville Tennessee to check out our dining options…

I can’t remember ever eating at a LongHorn Steakhouse but it appeared to be the most appealing restaurant near the Interstate… Since a new LongHorn restaurant had recently opened in Knoxville’s Turkey Creek Shopping Area, this also gave an opportunity to check this chain’s viability as a future dining option.

LongHorn Steakhouse was founded in 1981 in Atlanta Georgia.  The restaurant began with one man’s passion for perfect steak but business was slow at first.  Given the recent winter weather experience in Atlanta, it was interesting to learn that when a freak snowstorm hit Atlanta in 1982, stranded motorists were drawn to one of the only places available, a restaurant then called LongHorn Steaks Restaurant and Saloon.  The word got around about the terrific grilled steaks and business took off.  Of course it didn’t hurt any that the owner of the restaurant offered stranded motorists $1.00 cocktails!

The interior of LongHorn Steakhouse was bright, clean and, as might be expected, it was decorated in a western theme.  Note the chandeliers and check out the ‘cattle drive’ divider between the booths at the left of the photo.

By 1990, the restaurant had spread throughout the East, Midwest and Southwest United States as well as Puerto Rico.  In 2007, the restaurant, now called LongHorn Steakhouse, was purchased by Darden Restaurants, Inc.  The company is based in Orlando Florida.  As of February of 2013, there were over 370 LongHorn Steakhouse locations in 35 states.

Darden Restaurants also operates Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Bahama Breeze and The Capital Grille restaurants as well as a few other smaller outlets.  The company has over 2,100 locations with annual sales of over $8,000,000,000!

Now on to our food… Justin, our waiter started us out with this loaf of warm bread and soft butter.
We decided not to have an appetizer… Still, we were tempted!  A couple of our favorites were on the menu.  First there was the Parmesan Crusted Asparagus…fresh asparagus spears, hand-battered and served crisp with shaved parmesan and red chili ranch sauce. ($6.99)  Our other temptation was the Longhorn Shrimp and Lobster Dip…shrimp and lobster baked with creamy mozzarella, parmesan and asiago cheese sauce and then served with warm tortilla chips. ($8.99)

I ordered the Parmesan Crusted Chicken Dinner. ($10.79) It comes with a salad and a side.  I skipped the salad and ordered 2 sides…rice pilaf and steamed mixed vegetables.  The vegetables were nicely done…not over cooked…and I really liked the chicken!  The rice pilaf had pimentos in it…and I skipped it as I don’t care for pimentos.

When we visit the Turkey Creek LongHorn location, I’ll try the 18 oz. Outlaw Ribeye ($23.49); the 8 oz. Rancher's Sirloin that is topped with bacon, a sunny side up egg and bordelaise sauce ($15.49) or perhaps; the Cowboy Pork Chops, 2 8 oz. grilled center-cut bone-in pork chops. ($15.49)

Laurie chose a Primetime Burger with Garlic Parmesan French Fries for her meal. ($13.99) Her 8 oz. hamburger was topped with shaved prime rib, sautéed onions, mushrooms and Swiss cheese…with au jus and horseradish sauce.   Laurie really thought that this was a great burger…and it was cooked medium rare as ordered.

Another interesting burger option is the Rancher’s Burger…an 8 oz. hamburger topped with applewood smoked bacon, a sunny side up egg and bordelaise sauce.   ($12.49) Another interesting sandwich on the menu is the Grilled Chicken and Avocado Sandwich…grilled folded flatbread stuffed with tomatoes, red chili ranch dressing, avocado spread and Colby jack cheese. ($11.29)

Laurie took this close up photo of the bar at LongHorn Steakhouse.  The stone backdrop, the cowboy painting and the longhorn steer mounted in the center of this vignette work together to project the western ‘look’ for this restaurant. 

All in all, our experience at the Cookeville Tennessee LongHorn Steakhouse was a positive one!  Service was fine and the food was much better than I might have expected.  The true test will come when we visit our Turkey Creek LongHorn restaurant and try their steaks… After all, steak is their primary business!

The Cookeville Tennessee LongHorn Steakhouse is located at 1000 Jefferson Avenue South.  Phone: 931-520-8620.  The LongHorn Steakhouse website can be accessed at
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Our Wine Tasting Group – A Change of Pace

Our friends, Holly and Joel, had suggested that for a change of pace our wine group should meet at a local restaurant for drinks and appetizers.  The group enthusiastically seized upon the idea!

Our group agreed to meet at the Calhoun’s Restaurant, which is located at the marina on Fort Loudon Lake in Lenoir City Tennessee.  There are 9 Calhoun’s locations in East and Middle Tennessee.  Calhoun’s claim to fame is their BBQ pork ribs although I must admit that Laurie and I have never been impressed with them… Perhaps we’ve had too many great ribs in too many parts of the USA.  On the other hand, BBQ is a matter of personal taste and preference… 

This is an interior view of the Lenoir City Calhoun’s.  We were appropriately seated in the bar area.  Joel and Holly had arrived early to ensure that we had a table big enough for our gathering…

Calhoun’s is part of the Copper Cellar Restaurant Family of Restaurants.  Other Copper Cellar Restaurants in Eastern Tennessee include the original Copper Cellar, Chesapeake’s, Cherokee Grill and Steakhouse and 4 Smoky Mountain Brewery locations.  To learn more about these restaurants, you can go to

This is a winter view of the marina from our table at Calhoun’s.  It’s been a cold winter and we’ve even had a bit of measurable snow.  However those of you from the upper Midwest and Northeastern parts of the country may note the lack of ice!  By comparison with our former home in the Chicago metro area, this winter in East Tennessee has been a cakewalk!

We just took a few food photos… These are Joel and Holly’s Rocky Top Potato Skins with hickory-smoked bar-b-que pork, cheese and bacon. ($8.50) They’ve ordered them before and they really like them.

Did I forget to mention that Wednesday’s are special at the bar in Calhoun’s?  All appetizers are only $5.00, domestic beer is $2.50 and mixed drinks are $3.00!  What a deal!  Needless to say, the bar was busy when we arrived and it was packed before long…

Laurie and I ordered the Beer Cheese Dip With tortilla chips. (Normally $7.75) The price was right at $5.00 but the cheese dip was too bland for us.

Other appetizers on the menu include: White Chicken Chili Soup, (cup $3.75 or bowl $5.75); Spinach Artichoke Dip ($8.00); Southern Fried Green Tomatoes ($7.00); Char-Grilled Shrimp ($8.50); Fried Mozzarella ($6.75); Fresh Baked Soft Pretzels With warm pretzel mustard ($5.95), or with warm Beer Cheese Dip ($8.95); Fried Pickles ($7.00); Chicken Quesadillas Anaheim, jalapeño and roasted red peppers ($8.00) or; Hand Breaded Chicken Tenders ($8.75)

Our second appetizer was a double order of Naked Wings that are simply seasoned, fried crisp and served with a sauce for dipping.  We added a second sauce…Hot and Spicy!  A single order would normally cost $8.95 and a double order is $15.95.  Our double order was only $10.00! 

The wings were very good and we would order them again.  We’ll also be tempted to try the fried green tomatoes; the fried pickles and the spinach artichoke dip… On the regular menu, I really like the sound of the “Ale” Steak Sirloin which is marinated in olive oil, mustard, garlic and their Cherokee Red Ale and then it’s topped with Worcestershire butter. (7 oz. $13.75 and 10 oz. $17.75) Pork chops are prepared in the same way… (1 chop $10.50 or 2 chops $15.50)

This is Chris… He was our very patient and helpful waiter!  Serving a group like ours can be a challenge that is complicated by separate checks and different orders for each couple.  We did learn that Calhoun’s and many other restaurants have dropped the automatic 18% gratuity for large groups as it impacts the new government health care formula for businesses…

Chris also took the best photo of our group.  I tried to take a good picture and failed after 3 attempts.  Part of the problem was one unnamed member of the group who kept covering his face… In any case, this is the group.  Only Larry and Bev are missing.  From the left we have Charlie and his wife Karen, Holly and her husband Joel, Laurie and me, Irv and his wife Martha, Susan and her husband Dick and then Fred with his wife Jenny.

We had a great time!  This was a fun change of pace from our usual wine tasting.  Calhoun’s was a great venue.  We’ll be back for another round of appetizer and we plan to give the restaurant another try as well.  Calhoun’s at Fort Loudon Lake in Lenoir City is at 4550 City Park Drive.  Phone: 865-988-9838.  Calhoun’s Website and menu can be found at

Just click on any of the photos in order to enlarge them...

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Winter Drive in the Smoky Mountains/Cade’s Cove

Since Laurie connected with Carol and her horses, we decided to drive on over to Pigeon Forge, have lunch and go shopping at Stages West… After all, what self-respecting cowgirl doesn’t need a decent pair of boots?  Stages West has a huge selection and I thought that their prices were very reasonable.  Check this store out at

After Stages West, we were off to the Tanger outlet mall in Sevierville where we picked up a couple of pair of jeans for her at the Levi Outlet Store.  Lunch and shopping completed, we decided it was time for a drive through part of the Smoky Mountains National Park… 

This is a view of Gatlinburg Tennessee from a roadside viewpoint on the National Park bypass around the town.  We’d never taken the bypass before.  Not only does one avoid the Gatlinburg tourist traffic by taking this route, the scenery is great too!

Gatlinburg is the smallest of the 3 tourist related towns that stretch along US Hwy. 441 in Sevier County Tennessee. As you can see the town is also the closest to the Park itself…actually nestling up against its borders. 
The other towns along US Hwy. 441 are Pigeon Forge and Sevierville.  Sevierville is the county seat.  Sevier County is the 3rd fastest growing county in Tennessee…recording a 26.3% population growth between 2000 and 2010.  Dollywood and Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies are 2 of the premier attractions along Route 441, drawing 2.2 and 2.0 million visitors per year!

We stopped to take a photo of these turkeys foraging beside the bypass… It wasn’t that many years ago that it was rare to see wild turkeys but now they seem to be everywhere.  The range and numbers of the wild turkey had decreased at the beginning of the 20th century due to hunting and loss of habitat.  Game managers estimate that the entire population of wild turkeys in the United States was as low as 30,000 in the early 20th century.

Then Wildlife Officials initiated efforts to protect and encourage the breeding of the surviving wild population.  Trapped birds were relocated to new areas and, as wild turkey numbers rebounded, hunting was legalized in 49 U.S. states (excluding Alaska).  Current estimates place the wild turkey population at 7 million individuals…which is approaching 2 turkeys per square mile in the USA!

This photo was taken along Little River Road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  There were some slippery spots along the road in the foothills of the Smokies as we started our drive.  Recent snow and cold weather gave us a different perspective than we would normally have.  With less foliage, many details of the terrain and forest were noted that we hadn’t seen previously… 
Little River drains a 380-square-mile area containing some of the most spectacular scenery in the southeastern United States.  The first 18 miles of the river are all located within the borders of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The remaining 33 miles (53 km) flow out of the mountains at Townsend Tennessee and through Blount County to join the Tennessee River.  Trout fishing and tubing are very popular on the river.  To learn more, go to

All along our route there were seeps…water seeping from the limestone rocks…that had frozen in spectacular style!

After leaving Little River Road, we took the Laurel Creek Road up into the mountains toward Cades Cove, one of the most famous sections of the park.

More about the park itself… Great Smoky Mountains National Park is both a National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It sits astride the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are in turn a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. The border between Tennessee and North Carolina runs northeast to southwest through the centerline of the park.  On its route from Maine to Georgia, the Appalachian Trail passes through the center of the park. The park was chartered by the United States Congress in 1934 and it was officially dedicated in 1940.  The park encompasses 522,419 acres or a little over 816 square miles.
Incidentally, there are 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites either shared or totally within the boundaries of the United States.  How many have you visited?  I’ve been to 11 of them and Laurie has been to 12… We’ve been to 2 others in Canada, 3 in Australia, 2 in Great Britain and 1 in New Zealand.  To learn more about America’s World Heritage Sites, you can go to

Herds of Whitetail Deer were feeding in the meadows throughout Cades Cove. 
Given all of the deer we see, it’s hard to believe that by the early 20th century, commercial exploitation, wide-open hunting and poor land-use practices such as deforestation had severely depressed deer populations in much of their range.  For example, by about 1930, the entire U.S. deer population was thought to number about 300,000!  

After an outcry by hunters and other conservationists, commercial exploitation of deer became illegal and conservation programs with regulated hunting were introduced.  In 2005, estimates put the deer population in the United States at around 30 million!  Conservation practices have proved so successful that, in parts of their range, the white-tailed deer populations currently far exceed their carrying capacity and many people consider them to be a nuisance. (Not us!  Yesterday, much to our delight, 6 of them bounded through our backyard…)

As we drove along the loop road in Cades Cove, this handsome young buck was prepared to cross the road in front of us. 

The Whitetail Deer is the state animal of Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.  It’s also the wildlife symbol of Wisconsin and the game animal of Oklahoma. The profile of a white-tailed deer buck caps the coat of arms of Vermont, can be seen in the flag of Vermont as well as in stained glass at the Vermont State House. 

Cades Cove is an isolated valley located in the Tennessee section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA.  It is the single most popular destination for visitors to the park.  More than 2 million visitors a year are attracted to the valley because of its well preserved homesteads, scenic mountain views, and an abundant display of wildlife.  The Cades Cove Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This is a view along the loop road in Cades Cove.  The road is a one-way, 11 mile paved loop.  It draws thousands of visitors daily during the tourist season.  The cove draws attention for numerous black bear sightings. In season, the drive may take more than 4 hours to complete and view the various sites.  Many visitors just stop in the middle of the road to take photos of the first deer they see…and when in season, bear sightings cause traffic jams that are a bit mind boggling!  The good news was that there was very little traffic during our mid-winter drive! 

There are many well preserved homesteads and other early structures throughout Cades Cove.  This is the Henry Whitehead Cabin.  It was constructed between 1895 and 1896. It was built by Matilda "Aunt Tildy" Shields and her second husband, Henry Whitehead.  FYI…Shields' sons from her first marriage, were prominent figures in the cove's moonshine trade.

This is the Tipton Place… It was built in the 1880s by the descendants of Revolutionary War veteran William "Fighting Billy" Tipton.  The clapboarding on the house was a later addition.  In addition to the cabin, the homestead includes a carriage house, a smokehouse, a woodshed, and a double-cantilever barn.  To see some great photos of this homestead in the summer, just go to

Here’s another view of the valley… Even in the winter, it’s a beautiful place.  An additional advantage of a winter drive in the Cove is just how peaceful it is!

There is a ‘dark side’ to Cades Cove however… What happened to all the people who used to live here?  Of all the Smoky Mountain communities, Cades Cove put up the most resistance to the formation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Cove residents had initially been assured their land would not be incorporated into the park, and they actually welcomed its formation.  However, by 1927, the winds had changed.  When the Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill approving money to buy land for the national park, it gave the Park Commission the power to seize properties within the proposed park boundaries by eminent domain.  Needless to say, long-time residents of Cades Cove were outraged.

Laurie took this photo of an abandoned old road in the cove that intersects with the parks loop tour road.

Despite resistance, threats and lawsuits, the residents of Cades Cove were eventually forced off their land.  The last holdout finally abandoned his property on Christmas Day in 1937.  However, in defiance of the Park Service, the Primitive Baptist Church congregation continued to meet in Cades Cove until the 1960s.

This is the last home on the loop drive through Cades Cove.  It’s the rustic Carter Shields Cabin which was built in the 1880s.  There are 11 structures or groups of structures along the drive, including 3 churches.
For about 100 years before the National Park was created, farming and logging was the mainstay in the valley.  This led to massive deforestation.  Initially the National Park Service planned to let the cove return to its natural forested state.  However it ultimately gave in to requests by the Great Smoky Mountain Conservation Association to maintain Cades Cove as a meadow.  On the advice of cultural experts, the Park Service demolished the more modern structures, leaving only the primitive cabins and barns which were considered most representative of pioneer life in early Appalachia.

To learn more about The Great Smokey Mountains National Park, go to To find out more about Cades Cove, you can go to

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for joining us on our scenic winter drive in the Smokies!  

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, February 21, 2014

Chance Encounter–A Diner in Clayton Missouri

At the end of a long but happy day of celebrating Laurie’s Aunt Lois’ 100th birthday and visiting with her family, we headed back to our hotel.  I avoided the Interstate highway to cruise toward Clayton Missouri from the western suburbs.  One objective was to see what had changed in the last couple of years. 

In reality, my primary goal was to find a place where we could stop in for something to eat.  I just didn’t see any restaurants that piqued my taste buds and I’d resigned myself to ordering something in the hotel… Then Laurie spotted the ‘solution’ to our cravings…and once again, ‘saved the day!’

We were nearing our hotel in the upscale Clayton area and there it was…a true diner for sure…Café Manhattan!  This restaurant has been in business since 1989… It’s a fact that 25 years is a long life for any restaurant!  There is no tougher business to succeed in…

Laurie took this photo from our table in Café Manhattan looking toward the front windows.  The restaurant has a total diner ‘feel’ to it!  Note the counter to the left with the stools…

This is a shot of the service area behind the counter.  There is just a ‘touch’ of Coca Cola promotional ephemera on display, don’t you think?  The whole restaurant was bright and shiny…clean too.

Laurie decided that she’d stick with soup and appetizers… With all the food at the birthday party and snacks at her sister’s house, we’d had plenty of food earlier in the day and she wasn't that hungry.  This is a bowl of Café Manhattan’s Potato Bacon Cheddar Soup. ($5.25) Laurie thought that it was very good!

I was a bit surprised that Laurie didn’t order a small thin crust pizza.  Of course, we’d had pizza only a day earlier.  A 9 inch pizza with sausage or pepperoni and mushrooms at Café Manhattan would have cost $10.50.  Another of her favorites is a Patty Melt with grilled onions…on the menu here for $8.95.

Along with her soup, Laurie ordered Garlic Cheese Bread for both of us to share. ($3.75) This was a nice solid version of a standard classic…cheesy and flavorful!

I did note that a ‘true diner’ would offer some basic meals…such as mac and cheese, a meatloaf diner, chopped steak, etc. and those items were absent from Café Manhattan’s menu.  Instead the menu featured appetizers, sandwiches including hamburgers, soups, diner salads, pasta and of course, the pizza as mentioned previously.

As far as I was concerned, I just couldn’t resist the sandwich menu… So many choices and so little time!  Would I order the Empire State BLT piled high with bacon ($8.45); the Wall Street with smoked breast of turkey, fresh spinach, white cheddar cheese, tomato and bacon served on grilled sourdough bread ($8.45), or: the Seasoned Beef Sandwich with lean roast beef on toasted garlic bread with melted provel and au jus on the side ($8.45)?

Nope!  Instead I went for The Carnegie! ($8.45) This hot sandwich was indeed piled high with thinly sliced pepper pastrami and Swiss cheese and it was served on toasted pumpernickel bread with lettuce, tomato, a pickle spear.  For my side I chose Café Manhattan’s homemade potato chips.  The sandwich was very…very satisfying…and the homemade potato chips were some of the best we’ve ever had!

We noted an old collectable version of Mambo the monkey, one of Laurie’s favorite childhood memories, flying near the ceiling of Café Manhattan in his Coca Cola pedal car!  As regards ambience, this 1950s-style diner with its vinyl booths, Formica counters, and retro Coca Cola memorabilia scattered throughout, definitely has an authentic appearance…

I noted that some of the on-line reviews of Café Manhattan were a bit negative but I must say that we came away with a positive impression of the restaurant and its food...  We would definitely go back should the opportunity present itself during another family visit. 

Café Manhattan is located at 505 South Hanley Road in Clayton Missouri. The restaurant is open 7 days a week.  Phone: 314-863-5695.  To the best of my knowledge, this restaurant does not have a website.

Just click on any of these photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

This and That #3 – 2014

It’s mid-winter and we just don’t get out and about as much.  Even though East Tennessee is still much prettier than the flat prairies of Illinois in the winter, it's been gray a lot lately and this has been a cold winter as well… The good news is that our winter here is much shorter than what we used to suffer through in the Chicago area…

So…staying close to home for now, here are a few miscellaneous photos from this laid back time of the year.

I’d previously shown a photo of J.D., the cat who rules our house, keeping warm under his blanket on the bonus room ottoman.  Here’s another photo of J.D. in his cocoon under one of my mother’s wall hangings.

J.D. also has his own room…where he stays at night.  He has toys, a pair of Laurie’s sandals that he’s in love with and a small stuffed sock monkey that he cuddles.  He also has food, water, a cat tree…and this cold weather electric heater.  He does love staying warm.  On sunny days, when he’s not bugging us for a lap, a snack or to be petted, he follows the sun as it shines through the windows…

 Yup…another turkey photo!  We have a huge flock of neighborhood turkeys.  They are so big and so interesting to watch.  They also tear up our mulch beds worse than all of the skunks, possums and squirrels put together…

Another breakfast…another bowl of Laurie’s chili with added cheese!  The chili gets better as it ages in the refrigerator!  The juice is my favorite combination of ‘lite’ cranberry and regular orange juice.

This was the first significant snow fall that we’ve had in about 3 years!  This view is from our guest bedroom looking down into the backyard toward the woods on the south side of the house.

This was the view of the lake from the guest bedroom the day after the snowstorm.  Blue skies and blue water…pretty but it was cold!

This photo is looking up the street in front of our house… Again the blue skies dazzled!  

Our trash pick-up didn’t happen as scheduled… As you probably saw in the post-storm news from Atlanta, the south just shuts down when there is any measureable snow!  We had between 2.5 and 3 inches of snow… Many of our local school districts are out or almost out of snow days.

On the second morning after the storm, we had hoarfrost everywhere.  As captured in this photo of Laurie’s, it was beautiful!

Hoar frost refers to the white ice crystals, loosely deposited on the ground or exposed objects that form on cold clear nights, when heat is lost into the open sky causing objects to become colder than the surrounding air.  There are different kinds of hoar frost… This type is ‘air hoar frost’…which is a deposit of hoar frost on objects above the surface, such as tree branches, plant stems, wires, etc.

This is a photo of the woods on one side of our home.  The trees and bushes were covered with hoar frost for miles around… By about 11 am it was gone but when it melted, it fell like snow.

The name ‘hoar’ comes from an Old English adjective for showing signs of old age, and it’s used in reference to the frost which makes trees and bushes look like white hair.  It may also have association with hawthorn when covered in its characteristic white spring blossoms.

This is our home in the woods following the snow storm.  What a beautiful day!  On the third day after the storm, almost all of the snow was gone and the temperatures were back in the 50s!  As I wrote this posting for the blog, its 48 degrees here and its 20 degrees back in Chicago…

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, February 17, 2014

An Oasis…No, The Oasis!

Our route to St. Louis from East Tennessee includes I-40, I-24, I-57 and I-64.  I never eat breakfast before starting our drive as, after a couple of hours with a full belly, I have a tendency to fall asleep at the wheel.  We like to stop for a lunch/driving break sometime between a half and two-thirds of our trip.  Laurie takes over after lunch if I feel groggy.

We have stopped at this restaurant before… This is The Oasis Southwest Grill in Kuttawa Kentucky.  It’s right off of I-24 in the northwestern corner of the state…just a short drive from Paducah.

The inside of The Oasis is fairly standard… It’s clean, warm and inviting but pretty much what one expects in a casual dining restaurant along the highways and byways of the USA.

I ordered the same thing for lunch that I ordered the last time we stopped here.  This is the Oasis Hot Brown. ($6.99) This “light” lunch consists of sliced turkey and ham served on Texas toast, then smothered with southern cream gravy and covered with bacon, tomato and lots of cheese.  I of course sprinkled it with Tabasco… While I would prefer an ‘original’ Hot Brown, this version does qualify as pure comfort food!

The Hot Brown Sandwich is an American hot sandwich originally created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky in 1926.  It is a variation of traditional Welsh rarebit and was one of two signature sandwiches created by chefs at the Brown Hotel shortly after its founding in 1923.  It was created to serve as an alternative to ham and egg late-night suppers.

This is a photo I 'borrowed' from Wikipedia of a Hot Brown from the Brown Hotel in Louisville.  An ‘official’ Hot Brown is an open-faced sandwich of turkey and bacon, covered in Mornay sauce and baked or broiled until the bread is crisp and the sauce begins to brown.  When the sandwich was originally created, sliced roast turkey was a rarity, as turkey was usually reserved for holiday feasts. 

The original Hot Brown just included sliced turkey on an open-faced white toast sandwich covered with Mornay sauce.  A sprinkling of Parmesan cheese would be added and it was completed by being oven-broiled until bubbly. Pimento and bacon strips were then added to it.

Laurie ordered the Country Fried Steak. ($11.99) They take choice sirloin, bread it and fry it and then top it with country milk gravy.  Entrées come with 2 sides and Laurie chose mashed potatoes and onion rings.  She did enjoy her meal!  I tasted the country fried steak and it was quite good.

The Oasis Southwest Grill offers a large selection of appetizers; steaks ranging from $10.99 up to the 20 oz. Porterhouse at $25.99; pork chops; 7 chicken dishes; fajitas; sandwiches; salads; and seafood including shrimp, tilapia, crab cakes, salmon, catfish and a catch of the day.

This restaurant is a good place to stop when driving along I-24 in Eastern Kentucky.  The food is better than average, prices are reasonable and the location is convenient.  This is one of 3 locations, (plus one under construction), in Kentucky.  The Kuttawa Oasis Southwest Grill is located at Exit 40 of I-24 at 42 Days Inn Drive.  Phone: 270-388-0777.  The company’s Website can be found at:  

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave