Wednesday, September 30, 2015

An Omaha Family Outing

Continuing along our May/June travel adventures with visits to family and friends, we finally reached our end goal…our son and daughter-in-law’s home in Omaha Nebraska.  We were glad to see everyone…especially our grandsons! 

Amy was working on our first day in town.  We all headed into the city so we could meet her for lunch.  It worked out well as she was shooting some ads in the area for her company.

This is the Old Market area near downtown Omaha… It is advertised as “Omaha's most historic and most entertaining neighborhood.  The cobblestone streets are home to a diverse mix of shopping, galleries, restaurants, taverns and people-watching.”

The Old Market Historic District was part of the wholesale jobbing area of the city, which mushroomed in the 1880s and operated well into the twentieth century.  This area was the distribution center for goods shipped on the Union Pacific Railroad and its branch lines.  The district is comprised of former light industrial and warehouse buildings as well as wholesale jobbing houses.
To learn all about this special neighborhood and all it has to offer today, just go to

Despite the fact that the Old Market area is loaded with a wide variety of retail shops, Laurie complained that there were more restaurants than there were interesting shops where she could spend some money. 

To me the most interesting ‘shop’ was “Fairmont Antiques and Mercantile”.  This is a combination museum, antique and retail store.  

The building occupied by ‘Fairmont’ is the former Fairmont Dairy Building.  The Fairmont building occupies the location of Omaha's first log cabin.  In addition Omaha's first church service was held at that cabin.  The same site also became home to Omaha's first hotel, the Saint Nicholas.  Room rates were a few pennies a night for a blanket and the privilege of curling up to your neighbor on the dirt floor.

Fairmont Antique and Mercantile advertises itself as unique…and I’m not going to argue with that statement!  Emmett Lee, our youngest grandson, happily posed with this bizarre science fiction creation.  Fairmont is packed with collections and oddities as well as items both new and old for sale. 

Laurie captured this photo of David II near an undignified John Wayne wearing a poster board ad.  We’ve always thought that David walked just like John Wayne…so this photo is appropriate and justified from our viewpoint.

Yep… That’s Larry the Cable Guy standing at the entrance to the old fashioned soda fountain and diner style operation inside the Fairmont Antiques and Mercantile Store… They also have a theater that plays old movies on a regular basis.  You can rent it for parties too!

There is a large arcade as well…  Candy is big with many hard to find old-time selections on hand.  Patrons wander the myriad of aisles stacked high with just about anything you can imagine.  One gets dizzy and disorientated trying to see everything that there is to see in this place!

To learn more about this ‘store’, go to

David II, Laurie and I were fascinated by the thousands and thousands of used and old books at Jackson Street Booksellers in the Old Market Area.  We spent a lot of time perusing the stacks and racks of old books.  In the meantime, grandsons David III and Emmett Lee sat in the front of the store with their ‘smart phones’.  The good news is that they do both like reading actual books as well!

 Jackson Street Booksellers has been buying and selling used, rare and out-of-print books since 1993.  They definitely stock thousands of titles covering all subjects… Fiction, history, classic literature, design, science and philosophy are among the subjects filling the shelves and stacks of books.  No romance novels, computer manuals or textbooks allowed!  They buy books all the time.  I observed a transaction while visiting this book paradise… This store is located at 1119 Jackson Street but they do have another area location.  Website:

Enough shopping already!  It was a great day for me as Laurie couldn’t find anything that she really liked in the time we had to browse the stores.  It was time to eat and Amy was joining us for lunch. 

This is M’s Pub.  It’s one of the oldest restaurants in the heart of the Old Market District and it’s very popular.  We arrived just before the overflow lunch crowd took over every table. 

The family name survives!  Our son David II poses for ‘Nana’ with grandsons David III and Emmett Lee.

Here’s David II’s better half, his wife Amy.  Without her critical ‘assistance and contributions’ our terrific grandsons would not have come into this world!  David II and Amy have raised a couple of great kids…

Yes indeed… They did reverse the camera, taking this photo of my better half Laurie (Nana) and me (Papa).

It was lunch time and no one ate a heavy meal… I lost track of who ordered what but this is M’s Pub “Original Lavosh”…Havarti Cheese with scallions on a lavosh cracker. ($9.50)

Next in line was “Kate’s Chicken Salad”.  ($11.90) The chicken salad was served with a small side salad, along with chicken breast and celery dressed with lemon mayonnaise and then garnished with red grapes.  Interestingly…it was served with a cinnamon roll.

I’ll bet that you could pick out the 2 members of our family group that ordered the hot dog and bacon cheeseburger! ($7.50 and $10.95 respectively)   

I do know who ordered this dish… Laurie loves Escargot! ($10.25) This Casserole was filled with snails in garlic butter with melted Havarti cheese on top.  She really enjoyed this luscious treat!  The Havarti cheese was a twist on the usual...

This was the Reuben.  It was a little unusual in that it included both corned beef and pastrami with the usual sauerkraut and Swiss cheese on grilled dark rye bread.  I don’t care for Thousand Island dressing so I always have them use spicy mustard instead.  With the cup of soup…and upgraded side dish, my lunch came to $11.90.  It was decent but not great.

David II ordered the Omaha Grill with the soup as his side. (I don’t remember what either of the soups were) His sandwich consisted of thin sliced roast beef, red onion and provolone cheese on grilled sourdough bread, served with a side of creamy horseradish sauce.  He requested extra horseradish sauce.

Service was decent and the food was competent if not overwhelmingly bodacious.   We’ll have to return for an adult dinner sometime before I’m ready to render judgment on the food.  M’s Pub is located at 422 South 11th Street in Omaha Nebraska.  Phone: 402-342-2550.  Website:

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, September 28, 2015

Mom’s Café – Plattsmouth Nebraska

We spent a little time exploring Plattsmouth prior to hitting the road to our family’s home in Omaha.  But it was around lunch time and it was time to fuel up before that last short exploratory drive to our destination…

This is Mom’s Café at 422 Main Street in Plattsmouth.  When I was doing my research for this trip, I’d come across some very positive comments about this restaurant in Diana Lambdin Meyer’s travel guide, “Off the Beaten Path - Nebraska”.  I’d added it to my list of restaurants to check out if the timing was right if we came through Plattsmouth. 

This is a pretty good size restaurant.  We were there during off hours so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.  We sat by the window in the part of Mom’s that was filled with tables.  The portion with the counter and stools was more ‘diner like’ while the area with the tables was more like a country café dining room.

When she checked the menu, Laurie immediately found what she wanted for lunch!  She ordered this massive plate of creamed chipped beef on toast, having no idea it was this big…but she was a happy camper!  I tasted it and it was very good…Laurie asked for toast instead of biscuits, since that's how her Momma use to served this. 

When our waitress approached the table, we were both engrossed with the old time food listed on our menu… We thought that we were ‘back home’ in East Tennessee and that Dolly Parton herself was waiting on us!  Our waitress sounded just like Dolly and she was built quite a bit like her as well…if you know what I mean… She was a hoot and she was very helpful too!

“Off the Beaten Path-Nebraska” had recommended the chicken fried steak and I love good chicken fried steak…so I had no problem figuring out what I’d have for my ‘light’ lunch.  It came with the mashed potatoes and green beans… The chicken fried steak was very good, perhaps not the best ever, but very satisfying.  I was very happy with my choice!

We wisely skipped dessert as I tend to doze off if I down too many carbs…and I’d already done enough damage!  Mom’s Café doesn’t have a website but we would suggest that you stop by if you’re in the vicinity of Plattsmouth Nebraska.  As per “Dolly”, breakfast at Mom’s Café is the busiest meal… I can’t find my receipt but I can tell you that the prices at this country café are wallet friendly!  I suggest that you call ahead to check their hours.  Phone: 402-296-3000.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by and sharing a ‘little’ country style lunch with us!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Last Day – Omaha Bound!

Our overnight stay in Nebraska City Nebraska was our last overnighter before arriving at our son’s home in Omaha.  Even so, we tried to check out a few more ‘sites’ and ‘sights’ on our way to our family’s home…

This is Main Street in downtown Plattsmouth Nebraska.  The Plattsmouth Main Street Historic District itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The District includes 45 late 19th and early 20th century buildings located along this street.  The district is primarily composed of 2-story masonry buildings of commercial Italianate design as well as several exceptional examples of government related architecture.

Laurie really liked this decorative balcony with the wrought iron and beautiful architectural detailing over the windows, the door and along the roof line.

The city of Plattsmouth, which was incorporated in 1855, has one of the oldest commercial streets in the entire state.  A significant number of the buildings within the Historic District were built in 1885 or earlier.  I noted that one building displays a date showing that it was built in 1870…

This is the Cass County Courthouse at 4th and Main Streets in Plattsmouth Nebraska.  This impressive Romanesque County Capitol Style structure was completed in 1892. 

I’ve discovered that a struggle over the location of the County Seat was quite common.  There was money and prestige for the towns that could claim the title!  Because of its early establishment and prosperity Plattsmouth was initially named as the county seat.  However, by the late 1880s, increased settlement throughout the county brought calls for a more centrally located county seat.  Plattsmouth supporters countered opposition efforts by securing passage of a bond issue for a new courthouse.  They hoped a new and costly courthouse would lessen the chance that the county seat would be moved.  The result was this courthouse…and the gambit worked!

The early history of Plattsmouth was shaped by the Missouri River. By 1848 a ferry operated between Iowa and the mouth of the Platte River on the Nebraska side of the river.  This ferry carried a great many of the Mormons to the start of the South Platte or Mormon Trail.  In 1852 Samuel Martin erected a 2-story log house called the Old Barracks near what is now the east end of Main Street.  This opened as Martin’s Trading Post.  Later the same year a second building was built near the “Barracks” and the town of Plattsmouth was born… 

The Joseph and Mary Cook log cabin was built near Mynard in Cass County Nebraska back in 1868.  It’s maintained by the Cass County Historical Society.  That group also operates a museum and maintains an old caboose and a one-room school house.  To learn more about the Cass County Historical Society and the museum, just go to

The Cook/Koch family celebrated its 100th reunion here in Cass County back in 2013.  Their Facebook site includes a photo of a barn that Joseph Cook built near Mynard back in 1886.  Mynard, which is 4 or 5 miles southwest of Plattsmouth, is an unincorporated community in Cass County Nebraska.  A post office had been established there in 1894 but it was closed in 1939…

The Fitzgerald House is on top of a very large and steep hill in Louisville Tennessee.  It was built in 1914.  The house is a good example of a Craftsman bungalow although it is larger than was typical and it has a rare built-in basement-level garage.  It was hard to get a good photo as this property is a bit overgrown…

The southern California firm of Greene and Greene were the most renowned practitioners of the original American Craftsman Style.  The arts and crafts movement was kicked off with the first American Arts and Crafts Exhibition in April 1897 at Copley Hall in Boston.  It featured over 1000 objects made by 160 craftsmen and women.  In homes, the most common architectural features include: low-pitched roof lines, gabled or hipped roof; deeply overhanging eaves; exposed rafters or decorative brackets under eaves; a front porch beneath extension of main roof; tapered, square columns supporting the roof, and; 4-over-1 or 6-over-1 double-hung windows. 

We found this rather dilapidated former Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad combination passenger and freight depot in South Bend Nebraska.  I could not determine when this depot was built but I did learn that it had been moved to its current location on this site beside Nebraska Hwy. 66. 

South Bend is a village of less than 100 people that is perhaps best known for the nearby pedestrian bridge across the Platte River which leads to Schramm Park State Recreation Area.  That bridge was built in 2004 on the pillars of the abandoned Rock Island Railroad Bridge.  While there are no tracks still running by this depot, 35 trains a day…most of them coal trains…pass through South Bend on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway mainline.

We got lost trying to find that depot and then again when we started running very low on gas.  In our wanderings, we came across these signs and I must admit they captured our attention!  This isn’t something you see advertised every day…

The annual Testicle Festival at Round the Bend Steakhouse near Ashland Nebraska, a 2-day event, has been going strong for over 20 years.  The owner orders over a ton of testicles and about 3,000 guests show up for the ‘feast’.  The steakhouse can accommodate up to 180 people at a time in the dining room, plus 80 in the bar, and another 450 in its “Ball Room”.  As per the owner, if you’ve never tried beef testicles, they are often compared to chicken nuggets… I’ll just take his word for it!

Round the Bend Steakhouse is located at 30801 East Park Highway in Ashland.  Their Website can be found at:

Part of this adventure was just how close we came to running out of gas!  Note the gauge above!  We should have had plenty of fuel but our GPS directed us to a couple of locations where there might have been a gas station at one time or another…but no longer!  Have you ever noticed that when you’re looking for something that you commonly see on drives and along the road, you can’t find one?  This was a little too close for comfort but we found a gas station just about in the nick of time!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit! 

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Wine and Beer Lounge Experience!

Back in August we got together with 3 other couples for an evening out.  Irv and Martha had tried a relatively new place in Farragut Tennessee and after checking out the menu, that’s where we decided to meet!

This is 'Mind Yer Ps and Qs in the Renaissance Center which is located on the south side of Kingston Pike in Farragut. (US Hwy. 11) It’s in the same center with Restaurant Linderhof, the only German restaurant of note in the Knoxville area.  There is a little outdoor seating but the primary focus in indoors… I learned that this establishment opened in the Fall of 2014.  I’m surprised that it took us so long to ‘discover it’!

The inside of Mind Yer Ps and Qs is a bit industrial with both high and low tables available for patrons.  In the top photo you can see an array of beer taps…24 in total!  The dining/drinking space is wide open and without any obvious design attempt to deaden the sound of animated conversation, I suspect that it could become a bit loud… This was a Wednesday night and while customers steadily came in for a few libations, there were plenty of tables still open.

As the website states, “Our wine selection offers an experience you can’t find anywhere else.”  They are the first wine lounge in Knoxville to offer wine on tap.   In addition to wine on tap, Mind Yer Ps and Qs has more than 25 carefully selected by-the-glass wines.  “Wine ology” flights like the one shown above are offered.  This is a good way to learn about wines…and to find out what you like and what you don’t like.
If I counted correctly, there are 38 wines listed in the on-line listing.  Laurie ordered one of the wine flights listed on the ‘wine menu’.  This was the Keg Wine Flight. ($12.00) They included the ‘Old Soul’ Chardonnay, OZV Zinfandel, the Milbrandt Cabernet Sauvignon and a Malbec that I can’t read and which isn’t listed on the internet menu.  She was very happy with her choices!  I’m not much of a wine drinker but I did have a glass of the Old Soul Chardonnay and it was very nice indeed. ($7.00)

Another member of our group went for a flight of some very imaginative beers… She really liked 2 of them but the other 2 not so much.  Still, this was an opportunity to try different brews and that is the objective.

The light amber colored brew is called Victory Sour Monkey.  As per the information on the menu, this brew is “A Sour that hits you right in the cheeks, but give it time…As the initial lemon smack settles it is quite enjoyable.” 
I love the names that micro brewers come up with.  In addition to Sour Monkey, my favorite names from the menu include Highland Lost Cove, Boulder Shake Chocolate Porter, Parallel 49 Salty Scot and Fat Bottom Lychee Weiss.

Of course you can’t drink and not snack on something… Mind Yer Ps and Qs has a “Small Plate” Menu for its guests to graze through.  One member of our group had the Benton’s Hot Dog Sliders.  These are Benton’s hot dogs served on pretzel rolls covered in beer cheese and served with a side of salsa and a pickle.  These sliders got 2 thumbs up!

Laurie and I love Benton’s Hot Dogs.  Unfortunately Benton’s only sells them in frozen packs of 25…far too many for us to use at home in a reasonable period of time… Benton’s hams, bacon a prosciutto are famous and are found on menus in fine restaurants all over the USA. (Website:

I ordered a couple of appetizers for the table.  This was the Beer Cheese with pretzel bits for dipping. ($6.95) It was OK but not great and I felt that for the price another ounce of beer cheese was in order.  The pretzel bites were nice and fresh.

Two of this particular appetizer were ordered by our group.  This is the Buffalo Chicken Dip, a hearty dip with that buffalo wing spice flavor, served with chips. ($7.49) Shredded chicken mixed right in with the sauce just kicked this dish right over the top!  It was a major winner!  We’d order this again at any opportunity… We did have to ask for a few more chips.

Other appetizer style small plates on the menu include Chips and Salsa, a Cheese Board and a Hummus Plate with pita bread, celery, carrots and chili oil to pop it up a bit.

Different styles of beer are served in differently shaped glasses.  We only captured 3 of them in our photos.  Of course Guinness actually requires bars and restaurants to serve their brew in their glass! 

The middle photo is of my glass of “Loose Caboose” beer.  The happy hour price was $4.00 per glass.  As with wine, my range of taste when it comes to beer is limited…  The fact is that that I usually stick to Miller Lite or Corona.  However, I really did like this beer…and it didn’t seem to give me that ‘full’ feeling that most beers do.

The taps at Mind Yer Ps and Qs frequently rotate through a selection of beers in all styles and craft.  These include seasonal offerings, ales, stouts, pilsners, and high gravity brews to name a few.  

I was hungry so I ordered the Roast Beef and Chipotle Jack Cheese Panini. ($8.95) This sandwich/Panini comes with roast beef and chipotle jack cheese topped with arugula salad and house made horseradish spread.  The chips were included.  I was disappointed in the sandwich.  It was OK but it was bland.  I couldn’t taste any of the spice or heat that one might expect from chipotle jack cheese or horseradish spread.

Two other sandwiches on the menu include a Turkey, Apple and Brie combination and P’sQ’s Caprese Panini.  

Laurie went a different route.  This is the Chupacabra Flatbread. ($7.95) The flatbread is topped with goat cheese, crispy sausage, roasted red onion, arugula and a Siracha drizzle.  IT WAS NOT BLAND!  It was so hot that I was surprised that Laurie ate the whole thing… She liked it a lot and said that once she started eating it, she couldn’t stop!

There are 2 other flat bread offerings on the menu.  There is the Three Star Flatbread with bell peppers and pulled pork and the Yuppie Flatbread, which is basically a salad on flatbread.  The final item on the small plate menu is the Piggy Mac…mac ‘n cheese with pulled pork, Benton’s bacon pieces and ‘shine sauce’. 

This was our happy little group as we readied to close out our evening.  Our server…who was also one of the 2 women who own Mind Yer Ps and Qs took the photo.  From left to right: Irv, Martha, Laurie, yours truly, Paul and Jill.
We all had a great time!  

The owner/server really knew her beer and wine offerings and she spent a lot of time helping us with our selections.  Despite any critical comments I made above regarding the food, our overall impression of Mind Yer Ps and Qs was very positive.  The next time I’m ordering the Benton’s Hot Dog Sliders… We definitely will return!

Mind Yer Ps and Qs is located at 12744 Kingston Pike (US Hwy. 11) in Knoxville Tennessee. (Geographically it is actually west of Farragut) They are open daily.  Phone: 865-288-7827.  Website:

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for an evening out!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, September 21, 2015

Nebraska City – North to Plattsmouth NE

On the last morning before arriving at our grandson’s (and parent’s) home in Omaha, we checked out a couple more sites that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places…

As you can see, this is the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) Memorial Hall and Museum.  It’s located at 901 1st Corso in Nebraska City.  This building was built in 1894 in the Richardson Romanesque style.  The G.A.R., which was formed in 1866, was a nationwide movement composed of Union veterans of the Civil War.  (Comparable to today’s American Legion, VFW, etc.)  Aside from the considerable political influence it wielded, the association worked to increase patriotism and it provided an environment of fraternity and comradeship for its members. This building is one of only three existing free-standing halls that were built exclusively for the G.A.R. in Nebraska.


·       The last surviving G.A.R. member that actually saw combat in the Civil War died in 1953.  He was 109 years old.  The last surviving member of the G.A.R. died in 1956 at 109 years of age.  He was a drummer boy who’s unit never saw combat.

Unfortunately, the G.A.R. Memorial Hall and Museum is only open on the weekends.  The on-line photos of the exhibits look very interesting and we will have to come back for a visit.  To learn more, just go to

This is St. Benedict's Catholic Church which is located at 411 5th Rue at the summit of Kearney Hill in Nebraska City.  The rear portion of this Romanesque Revival style church was built in 1861 and it’s believed to be the oldest brick Catholic Church in Nebraska.  The church bell came from the wreck of a paddlewheel steamboat on the Missouri River. 

Part of the reason for this church’s listing on the Register is its association with Father Emmanuel Hartig, a missionary and Benedictine priest.  Father Hartig, who was a native of Germany, served St. Benedict's for 40 years. (1861 – 1874 and 1881 – 1908) He was responsible for the erection of 6 Catholic churches and the establishment of several parishes in southeastern Nebraska and northwestern Missouri.

As a tourist destination at its current location in Nebraska City since 1937, the Mayhew Cabin and "John Brown's Cave" were a commercial enterprise created by Edward Bartling.  However its importance to the state of Nebraska is more complex.  With its connections to known abolitionist John Henry Kagi and a location that facilitated easy access across the Missouri River into Iowa, whether real or imagined, this property provided Nebraskans with an easily accessible connection to significant symbols of American History, such as John Brown and the Underground Railroad.  With skepticism and intrigue surrounding the property, the cabin and cave serve as a unique piece of Nebraska folklore.

The Mayhew Cabin itself was built in 1855 by Allen Mayhew in 6 weeks.  He used mostly cottonwood logs for the construction, which he hewed and squared.  Then the ‘chinking’ and ‘daubing’ were placed in between the logs and a wood shingle roof was added to finish the construction.
To learn more about this historic site, tourist attraction and museum, go to

Next…North to Plattsmouth Nebraska…

This is the Captain John O’Rourke House at 424 North 6th Street in Plattsmouth Nebraska.  Constructed in 1881, this is a fine example of an Italianate house.  The timing or popularity of building styles in Nebraska do not fit neatly into nationwide architectural trends, with stylistic trends tending to reach Nebraska approximately 10 years late and persisting about a decade after they had fallen out of fashion nationally.  Nebraska was only 13 years old in 1880.  Settlers could rightly describe themselves as a success if they just managed to eke a sufficient enough living to stay.  Consequently, in those early years, the few who were extremely successful might construct a substantially built and designed house of such a recognizable style.
John O'Rourke emigrated from Ireland and almost immediately joined the Union Army.  He fought in the Civil War, was wounded, was a prisoner of war, escaped several times and he achieved the rank of Captain by the time he was mustered out of the army.  He is reputed to be the subject of the song or ballad “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”.  His brother-in-law, Patrick S. Gilmore wrote the song… To learn more about Captain O’Rourke, just go to

Constructed in 1896, the Paul Gering House is located at 423 North 6th Street in Plattsmouth.  The two-and-one-half-story wood-frame structure was designed in the Colonial Revival style.  Gering was a German emigrant who became an obviously successful pharmacist.  The home cost $4,500 to build back in 1896…that would equal more than $500,000 in today’s dollars.  Interestingly, the Gering family lived in the O’Rourke home across the street prior to moving into their new house. 

Plattsmouth is located on the Missouri River just a little south of Omaha.  It is the county seat for Cass County Nebraska.  Currently, this attractive small city’s population is about 6,500.  Although the number of residents seems to have stabilized in recent years, at its peak in 1890, the town counted about 8,400 citizens.


·       Famous mystery/crime story author Raymond Chandler is from Plattsmouth.  His most famous books include “The Big Sleep”, Farewell, My Lovely” and “The Long Goodbye”.  

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

Thanks for stopping by for yet another series of history snippets! 

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave