Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Breakfast – “Over Easy”

While visiting our son and his family in Omaha this past Thanksgiving weekend, the adults decided to go out for breakfast one morning…

This is “Over Easy”, a breakfast and lunch restaurant in the Omaha area.  Nice door and window don’t you think?  Perhaps it might be a bit upscale?

I took this photo of the interior of the restaurant with Amy, David II and Laurie at the table in the center.  Given the fancy wall with the blackboards and the flowers on the table, it was obvious that this wasn’t the usual breakfast 'diner'.

To quote from Easy Over's website: “Bringing a new standard to what you can expect from a local breakfast is the backbone of Overeasy.  The Interior is designed to welcome and surprise you, and we believe that resonates in everything we do.”

Upscale and different definitely describes our breakfasts… This is the “Overeasy” version of Eggs Benedict. (10.99) Two poached eggs and house-made hollandaise sauce perch on top of pieces of Asiago crusted rosemary focaccia bread accompanied by prosciutto and asparagus alongside.
I really enjoyed this breakfast but if it were me, from a 'taste' point of view, I would have had the prosciutto on top of the bread, then covered with the eggs and hollandaise sauce.  However I do admit that it wouldn’t have looked as pretty when served…

I asked for a side of TD Niche pork sausage with my Eggs Benedict. ($3.29) While it was a good size patty, I really didn’t care for the seasoning and it was a little pricy for what I got.

Amy ordered the Egg Boat. ($9.99) This consisted of a ciabatta demi baguette filled with scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese and green onion with a side of fruit.  I’m not sure what the round object in the photo is…a hush puppy or more likely a sweet potato “tot”.  Amy seemed happy with her breakfast.

Laurie went for the Over Easy version of French Toast. ($8.99) They use seasonal house-made bread pudding, sliced and then seared and heavily drizzled with house-made crème anglaise.  It was a winner!

From Laurie’s perspective, breakfast without bacon is like daylight without sunshine…very unfulfilling!  Consequently, she ordered a side of house-cured black pepper bacon to go with her French Toast… ($3.29)

It was OK but she likes her bacon a little thinner than these slabs.  Her actual preference is Applewood smoked bacon from Costco that I pepper heavily and I fry it!

The menu at Over Easy is definitely imaginative and a bit off the charts… Consider their Breakfast Sandwich. ($7.99) It consists of toasted wheatberry bread, paprika cream cheese spread, cheddar cheese, one fried hard farm fresh egg, jalapeño jam, and your choice of bacon, ham or sausage.  A vegetarian version would substitute avocado, tomato, caramelized onions and fresh spinach.

David II was definitely thinking outside the box!  He ordered the Breakfast Tacos. ($9.99) He was served these 3 soft flour tortillas filled with scrambled eggs, pulled pork, salsa verde and pickled onions.  He really enjoyed his breakfast!

While I’m more of a ‘standard breakfast guy’, Over Easy was an interesting change of pace with an ‘edgy’ menu using high quality ingredients.  It’s truly worth a visit!  Over Easy Restaurant is located at 16859 “Q” Street in Omaha Nebraska.  Phone: 402-934-2929.  Website:  FYI, Over Easy also offers drive-thru service…

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for breakfast!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, March 28, 2016

Birthdays and Thanksgiving in Omaha

Laurie and I have been spoiled since moving to East Tennessee from the Chicago area.  Our winters are mild and snowfall with resulting slippery roads is quite infrequent… We generally avoid heading north after the first of November.  In the spring we avoid driving north until late in March or around the first of April. 

But sometimes we do gamble on the weather and road conditions.  Thanksgiving and a ‘flock’ of important birthdays can cause us to live dangerously… So, this past November we headed out to Omaha for a family visit over the Thanksgiving weekend…

We try to time our visits to Omaha so that we can maximize the time we can spend with our grandsons…as well as our son David and daughter in law Amy.  Holiday weekends, spring break and summer vacation are the best times to guarantee any significant ‘face time’ with the family.  Their ‘life schedule’ is hectic in any case and it is a bit crazy during the school year.

The day we arrived, our youngest grandson, Emmett Lee, was prepping part of our evening meal.  He was very focused!

Emmett was working in tandem with his dad, David II.  David II does a fair amount of cooking in the household… I’m only good for grilling or making breakfast so he’s a step or two above me skill-wise.

During any Thanksgiving visit with David II and the family, we always celebrate 3 birthdays that are grouped relatively close together.  Emmett Lee just turned 12 years old…  With kids today, it’s mostly all about video games and electronics.  We were very happy that Emmett had listed a number of actual print copy books on his wish list!

On the other hand, David III celebrated his 15th birthday with video games!  He still does read print books though and he seems to enjoy the National Geographic subscription that we renew for him at Christmas every year…

The third birthday that we celebrate during these visits is Nana’s. (Aka Laurie or grandma) Her age is classified and is released on a ‘need-to-know’ basis only but suffice it to say she is a heck of a lot younger than yours truly!  Laurie really cashed in with a purse, a bunch of books and a movie CD.  She is an avid reader and what woman doesn’t like purses!

The birthday “cake of choice” of choice was this giant chocolate chip cookie.  Emmett Lee is always first to blow out the candles…sometimes even before birthday wishes are formulated!

And so we progressed to Thanksgiving… Amy and David II worked as a team in the kitchen prepping and cooking our holiday meal.  He looks good in an apron, doesn’t he? 

Recently Laurie finally got it through my head that I need to wear an apron whenever I cook…i.e. grill or fry.  Her logic was simple… Wear an apron or do your own  laundry!  I caved in immediately!

How about that turkey!  It was great looking and it was cooked perfectly…
FYI…my main assignment on Turkey Day takes place right after the family feast.  I am the expert ‘carcass stripper’, tasked with the duty of recovering as much usable meat from the bird as possible.  Leftovers are critical…otherwise how could David II and I pig out on piled high turkey and stuffing sandwiches!?

Laurie took this family photo at the dining room table.  From the left, David III, David II, me, Amy, Emmett Lee, RuRu (grandma), Amy’s sister Shelby and her son Dalton.

Laurie was thoughtful enough to take a photo of her dinner plate.  Looks pretty good!  The set of china was passed down to David and Amy from my mother…
Amy took this nice photo of Laurie and I with ‘the boys’!  

Amy loves to take photographs…and she’s good at it too!  We went for a drive looking for venues that suited her creative needs.  We found a nice setting on a school campus. 

I am about 6 ft. tall… Fifteen year old David II is standing a little closer to the camera but there is no doubt that he has vertically surpassed me!  The doctor has told his parents that he’s likely to top out at around 6 ft. 7 in.  Emmett Lee won’t be short either…probably around 6 ft. 3 in.  If I do say so myself, they are a couple of good looking boys and they’re good kids too! Both very smart as well and excellent in school!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a family visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, March 25, 2016

Springtime in East Tennessee!

We love springtime, and who doesn’t!  It’s a time of renewal, change and the return of greenery and a refurbishment of nature’s color palate.  It is a promise of the warmth and long days of sunshine to come. 

Laurie captured this male bluebird in a tree in our backyard.  He’s dressed in his full spring mating finery…a beautiful sign of spring for sure!  He did everything but smile for this photo…

This is a photo from the back deck or our house in mid-March.  The low lying greenery is beginning to fill in a little and the redbuds have popped out…enhanced by blue skies!

Along with spring’s arrival, we had visitors to help us enjoy the change in seasons.  I took this photo of Laurie with our daughter-in-laws parent, Bonnie and Dan.  They had just recently retired and were returning north to Indiana from their exploration of Florida…

Turn around is fair play… Laurie took this photo of Dan and Bonnie with yours truly.  I grew the beard starting last October and so far I like it.  The big test will be the beard vs. the hot summer weather to come.   

We drove Bonnie and Dan around a little bit before going out for dinner.  Laurie took this view of a tiny portion of Tellico Lake and the distant Smoky Mountains from the Wellness Center in Tellico Village.

This was another early spring view of Tellico Lake and the mountains.  The first view was in Loudon County and this one is a bit closer to the mountains in Monroe County Tennessee. (Note: Tellico Lake has 351 miles of shoreline)

There are flowering trees everywhere… The predominate color is white with a nice scattering of redbud trees and the occasional forsythia bush mixed in…

Knoxville and Farragut Tennessee’s big Dogwood Arts Festival begins April 1st…but the timing of the dogwood blossoms is always a bit unpredictable.  They may be a little early this year but the dogwood festival trails (driving tours) are always popular!

Our Scarlett Quince at the front of the house never completely stopped blooming throughout this relatively mild winter and now it is in full bloom…just beautiful!

Another true sign of spring!  JD is on the porch grabbing that warm spring sunshine… He lives for sunshine and during warm weather he spends a lot of time on the screened porch soaking it up!

We had a full moon the other night… Very bright indeed!  Laurie captured this photo of the moon shining through the buds and blossoms of one of our trees.

This is another view from the back or our house.  It was taken from our guest bedroom’s deck a week or 10 days after the photo Laurie took from our first floor deck.  Tellico Lake is in the background, the redbuds are maxed out and the green is filling in… It won’t be long before our lake view is hidden until fall.

During the winter of 2014 – 2015, our loropetalum bushes really took a hit!  One of them died and 2 of the others looked like we should give them their last rites… Fortunately, all of them have come back and they are showing off their vibrancy again this spring!

This piece of Mother Nature's lucky landscaping is on one side of our house.  This beautiful patch of moss has totally taken over the side yard with a little help and encouragement from us.  Pluses are that it’s green year around and that it never needs mowing!  We are also encouraging the moss to take over the back yard as well…minimizing summertime mowing there to about once every a month at present.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by and checking out springtime in East Tennessee!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Daddy’s Diner – Richmond Missouri

We don’t like to eat much of anything on those mornings where we have a bit of a drive ahead of us.  The reason is simple…if I eat very much I get sleepy…not a good thing when one is driving!  So we normally just have some juice and then we fill up our travel mugs with coffee and hit the road.

Sooner or later however, the need for feed overtakes us and we start looking for a likely spot where we might satisfy our hunger pangs.  We were looking around while we were driving through Richmond Missouri and we spotted Daddy’s Diner!  It had a little business despite the odd hour that we stopped so we decided to give it a try… 

Daddy’s Diner has the look of your basic local restaurant coupled with a bit of a diner feel given the counter and stools.  The décor was simple, the restaurant was clean and our server was efficient.

Much to our delight, we discovered that breakfast is served all day!  In our book, that’s a winner since breakfast is our favorite meal… 

I had my standard breakfast…Two eggs over-easy with crispy hashbrown potatoes, 2 sausage patties and toast. ($6.95)  Everything was cooked just right!  Yes, that is ketchup on my hashbrowns and the orange spots on the eggs are sprinkles of Tabasco…

We’re always looking for great Biscuits and Gravy so we asked for a half order that we could share. ($2.99) I put Tabasco on my half and started eating before I remember to take a photo… It wasn’t the best we’ve ever had but both the biscuit and the sausage gravy were better than average.

Laurie ordered her standard breakfast as well… She had 2 eggs over-easy, with bacon, crispy hashbrowns and toast. ($6.95) The bacon was a cut above the usual, (critical to a bacon lover) and consequently, Laurie was content as we prepared to get back on the road to Omaha again…

The menu at Daddy’s Diner isn’t huge but you do get a lot of food for your money.  Items like Liver and Onions, Country Fried Steak and a Pork Tenderloin Dinner are examples of the offerings among the entrees.  Entrees come with a potato, another side and a dinner roll.  The most expensive entrée on the menu costs $8.95! 

Daddy’s Diner is located at 1003 East Main Street in Richmond Missouri.  Phone: 816-776-1013.  Daddy’s Diner is on Facebook at

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, March 21, 2016

Missouri Railroad Depots Along the Way

Last November Laurie and I made our family pilgrimage to St. Louis to visit her family and then onto Omaha to have Thanksgiving with our son and the family…

Of course, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to seek out and photograph old railroad depots along the way…

When we explored a bit of St. Charles Missouri, we encountered our first old railroad depot on the trip.

The well maintained and appropriately decorated depot in St. Charles is adjacent to the historic downtown and it’s quite close to the banks of the Missouri River.  This KATY/Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad Depot was built in 1892 and the last train that served it departed back in 1958.  The depot was relocated to its current location in St. Charles’ Frontier Park in 1979 where it was refurbished and is now a centerpiece for that park.

The depot now belongs to the St. Charles Department of Parks and Recreation.   It is home to various events during the year and one end of the building can be rented for special events.

And it seems that so many old depots these days are accompanied by an old caboose.  They are relatively easy to come by as thousands of them were in use at the end of every freight train until the 1980s.  That’s when safety laws requiring the presence of cabooses and full crews were relaxed and they fell into disuse.  This one is in keeping with the depot as it was an ‘extended vision’ KATY caboose.

If you’d like to buy your own 'antique' caboose, depending on the condition, they seem to range in price from about $3,000 up to around $50,000.  To check out one on-line catalog, you can just go to

The St. Charles KATY depot has not one, but rather two cabooses displayed nearby.  This is an old ‘standard’ or ‘cupola’ style Wabash Railroad unit. 
The Wabash Railroad was a Class I railroad that operated in the mid-central United States.  It had track in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Missouri and the province of Ontario.  The Wabash's major freight traffic advantage was the direct line from Kansas City to Detroit, without going through St. Louis or Chicago…hence the St. Charles connection.

This unnamed extended view caboose sits across the street from the old Higginsville Missouri railroad depot.  I couldn’t identify the railroad that operated this caboose based on the paint scheme.  There were just too many color variations over the years by the different railroads across the country.

This relatively rare ‘stick style’ and well preserved depot was built in 1889.  It was constructed for the Chicago and Alton Railroad but it also served the Lexington and Sedalia, Gulf, Mobile and Ohio and the Illinois Central Gulf Railroads.  Today, the building houses the Harvey Higgins Historical Society headquarters and railroad museum. 

During the period from 1890-1937, the Higginsville Depot provided freight service to the Higginsville Flour Mill, the International Shoe Co., and 3 large coal companies.  It was also an important passenger terminal with 10 passenger trains stopping each day.  Trains rolled through Higginsville 24-hours a day.  The depot was manned by a staff of three telegraph operators, a cashier, and a clerk.

Note: Stick style architecture is named after its use of linear "stickwork" (overlay board strips) on the outside walls to mimic an exposed half-timbered structure.

No...this isn't another depot!  As we cruised the back roads/secondary highways, ambling in the direction of Omaha Nebraska, we drove through Lexington Missouri.  I saw signs referring to the Battle of Lexington State Historic Site so I decided to have a look at the site.

Laurie rightly pointed out that we didn’t have time to visit this historic site and I had to agree…but it’s on my list for our next trip to Omaha!  This part of Missouri was sympathetic to the Confederacy during the Civil War and a victory here by Confederate Missouri State Guard over a Union Army force in September of 1861 gave the South short lived hope in their struggle against the North.

The website for Missouri’s Battle of Lexington State Historic Site can be found at  Over 28,000 visitors stopped by this site in 2014!

This very old and decrepit combination depot is located at the corner of East 4th Street and Main Street in Henrietta Missouri.  This classic depot was built ca. 1902 and it used to be the Wabash Railroad Depot serving Missouri City Missouri. 

It was purchased in the early 1990s and then moved to Henrietta.  It operated as a restaurant for a short time and later the city took possession of the building.  This old depot is now the property of the owner of a short-line rail operation and railway salvage company.  He bought it with a long range plan to refurbish it…but there hasn’t been any progress so far. (Someone needs to save this depot!)

The town of Henrietta has a second depot as well.  This all brick former Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe combination depot apparently still serves as a line office for what is now called BNSF/Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad.  I was unable to determine the date that this depot was built but given the design, it had to be early in the 1900s.  I did find a nifty black and white photo on line showing the depot in use back in 1943.  To check it out, go to

Henrietta was laid out by its founder, Henrietta Watkins in 1868.  The current population is roughly 365 residents…

Timing is everything and I’m fairly fortunate when it comes to timing my depot photos just as a big freight train roars by!  This one had the ‘hammer down’ and he was flying along the tracks…

 America’s $60,000,000,000 rail freight industry includes 140,000 rail miles operated by seven Class I railroads, 21 regional railroads, and 510 local railroads.  Not only does our rail system move more freight than any other freight rail system in the world but it also provides 221,000 jobs across the country.  Other benefits include significant reductions in road congestion, highway fatalities, fuel consumption and greenhouse gasses, logistics costs, and public infrastructure maintenance costs.

That’s 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, March 18, 2016

Billy G’s – Kirkwood Missouri

On an evening last November just before Thanksgiving, Laurie and I took her niece Sarah out for dinner in Kirkwood Missouri.  Sarah was celebrating the purchase of her first home which is located close to the downtown area. 

When Laurie and I lived in the St. Louis area back in the late 70s and early 80s, downtown Kirkwood didn’t have much to offer.  These days, in addition a street lined with specialty stores and restaurants, there is a busy railway depot right across the street to the right of this photo.  This is definitely one of the “in spots” in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area.

After having a look at Sarah’s new home, she chose Billy G’s in the old town area of Kirkwood for dinner.  It was too cold for outdoor dining but the setting for it was very appealing.

Billy G’s is a bright and inviting restaurant with a warm ‘vibe’.  This restaurant is one of nine operated by the Gianino family in the St. Louis area.  Billy G’s just opened in Kirkwood in August of 2013. 

St. Louis has an abundance of very good to excellent Italian restaurants.  This certainly isn’t true where we live in East Tennessee.  But in addition to Italian fare, Billy G’s also offers some American classics, such as Meat Loaf or Shrimp and Grits.  It has something for everyone…

We started out with a couple of adult beverages accompanied by this order of Garlic Shrimp. ($12.99) Lots of garlic to sop up with that bread...  It was a nice start for our meals.

This was Sarah’s Margherita Pizza. ($15.99) She has eaten here many times and she really likes the food and the ambiance.  There was plenty of pizza leftover for her to take home too!

Laurie loves square cut pizza…vs. the big triangular slices.  This Build Your Own Pizza with mozzarella and provel cheese enhanced by bacon, Italian sausage and pepperoni was a winner for sure! ($18.84) Even though I had a piece of pizza…just so I could ‘taste’ it…Sarah ended up with more leftovers!

Provel cheese is definitely a “St. Louis” affectation and since we’ve moved away, it doesn’t work as well for us as it did when we lived there.  What we have discovered is that if you blend the provel with mozzarella on a pizza, it’s the perfect cheesy combination!

For my entrée, I went with one of the aforementioned American classic entrees…the Chicken Fried Steak with green beans and mashed potatoes. ($15.99) Loved the green beans as well as the chicken fried steak… The gravy and the breading were very nice and the cut of meat was larger than I’d expected.

Billy G’s was a very nice dining spot.  The food was better than average, the restaurant itself was comfortable and appealing and the service was friendly and competent.  Billy G’s is located at 131 West Argonne Drive in Kirkwood Missouri.  Phone: 314-984-8000.  Their website can be found at

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for dinner!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave