Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Riverside Dining In Chattanooga Tennessee

Bob and Nona, our close friends from Clearwater Florida, flew in and out of Chattanooga on Allegiant Airlines.  Their flight home after their visit to our home was scheduled for after dinner so it made sense for us to drive down to Chattanooga and find a place to eat that wasn’t far from the airport…

This is the Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Bar in Chattanooga Tennessee.  I’d researched the area and checked out the restaurant choices.  I was looking for a place that had a good reputation, had a nice view and that served seafood too.

This is a view of the Boathouse Rotisserie from along the riverfront… It sits up nicely, high and dry and providing diners with a good view of the Tennessee River.

The Boathouse Rotisserie is a big restaurant…and popular too!  Note the big bar beyond the half wall.  This is what it looked like at about 5 PM when we sat down.  By 6 PM it was packed with hungry and thirsty patrons… An even bigger space was behind us.

Of course, we can’t forget the outdoor dining area.  This is just a partial view of the space.  Despite the fact that it isn’t my favorite type of dining venue, it’s obviously very popular with many customers…

This is the upriver view of the Tennessee River from the outside dining deck at the Boathouse Rotisserie. 

FYI, the Tennessee River is the largest tributary of the Ohio River.  It is about 652 miles long, wandering from East Tennessee into Alabama, Mississippi, back into Tennessee and Kentucky.  The river was once popularly known as the Cherokee River as many of the Cherokee lived along its banks.  The river’s current name is derived from the Cherokee village that was named ‘Tanasi’.  

Laurie and I started out with this Feta Cheese Dip with extra virgin olive oil, lemon and roasted garlic and served with a popular local sourdough bread from Niedlov’s Breadworks. ($7.00) It was loaded with flavor, with the combination of ingredients really delivering a terrific and distinctive taste treat.  The waitress brought some more bread so that Laurie and I could clean up this treat… 

Laurie loves clam chowder.  Both she and Nona ordered a bowl of Boathouse Rotisserie’s Fresh Clam Chowder – Made to Order as part of their dinner. ($12.00) I thought that it was quite pricy but it was a big bowl of chowder and both ladies gave this specialty two thumbs up!  Note the ‘in shell’ clams that come with and in the chowder…

For her entrée, Nona ordered the Fried Shrimp…6 extra-large shrimp with all the usual side accompaniments. ($22.00) She really enjoyed her shrimp dinner!

My better half ordered the Wood Grilled Red Fish Tacos with Mexican slaw, cilantro, chipotle sauce and lemon. ($15.00) She loved the tacos but the side of black beans and rice just wasn’t her thing.

What can I say!?  I decided to skip the seafood side of the menu, instead ordering the Wood Spit Roasted ½ Chicken with Margarita sauce and fire roasted salsa. ($13.00) The chicken was nicely seasoned and juicy and I liked the French fries too.  It was a lot of food for the money…

My buddy Bob skipped the seafood menu too.  Instead he ordered the “Texas Dip”, smoked brisket with Swiss cheese, onions and pan juice for dipping. ($14.00) He declared that his sandwich was a winner!

Since this is a seafood orientated restaurant, I should mention other options on the menu besides the shrimp and redfish items that we ordered.  Boathouse Rotisserie also offers items featuring trout, flounder, catfish, salmon, mussels, clams, oysters, crab, squid and calamari…

One final look at the Tennessee River from the riverbank in front of Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Bar.  This restaurant is in a great setting about 5 or 6 minutes from downtown Chattanooga.  Laurie and I really liked this big casual restaurant and we will definitely return with family and friends.

Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Bar is located at 1459 Riverside Drive in Chattanooga Tennessee.  Phone: 423-622-0122.  You can check out their website at

To Bob and Nona… Thanks for coming up here for a visit!  Bob and I had a great time talking about our many years in retailing and our common experiences at Venture Stores.  Nona was really happy to take a break from Clearwater and to spend time visiting with Laurie and myself and sightseeing in East Tennessee. 

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

Thanks for stopping by to see what’s been going on here in Paradise East!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, August 28, 2017

Good Friends Visit from Florida!

We love having guests…friends and family…come and visit us here in  ‘paradise’ that is East Tennessee.  Not only do we get the chance to visit with people we care about, we also get a chance to show off some of the pluses in living here…

Bob and Nona are friends that date back further than any other couple in our lives.   I’ve known them since the early 1970s and Laurie has known them since the latter part of that decade. 

Bob and I worked together in St. Louis in the 70s at Venture Stores, the discount store division of what used to be May Company.  Venture and May Department Stores are long gone but Bob, Nona and I just keep on going…

This photo with Laurie, Nona and Bob was taken on the outside dining deck at the Tanasi Clubhouse in Tellico Village in Loudon County Tennessee.  The previous 2 photos were also taken at this restaurant/clubhouse.

It is sort of surprising that Bob and I became buddies in the first place.  He’s a New York bred former store operations and merchandising executive and I was always in the security/safety/audit/loss prevention end of the business.  Although the relationship between these functions has greatly improved in recent years, back in the 70s such friendship was very unusual.

We tend to take first time visitors to specific favorite places…either for the scenery or, in this case, the food.  One day during their visit, we took Nona and Bob on a drive in the countryside…with lunch in a popular spot along the way.

This is the interior dining area at Tellico Grains Bakery and Café in Tellico Plains Tennessee.  Frequent readers will probably recall a couple other posts on my blog site about this little small town gem offering lunch and baked goods.

Laurie took this photo of Nona, Bob and yours truly as we patiently waited for our lunch. 

One of Bob and my favorite recollections from back in the day when we lived in St. Louis was our golf outings… We were terrible golfers and to refer to the golf course we played on as primitive or not well maintained would be an understatement.  It was perfect for us though…with little pressure from other golfers…and lots of time to laugh at our attempts to play the game.

Both couples ordered pizza.  This was Bob and Nona’s cheese version of Tellico Grains’ ‘pizza pie’.  As I mentioned previously, Bob is from New York.  So is Nona.  New York is one of the 2 states in the USA that has the reputation of having the best pizzas in the country.  Well, Nona and Bob gave their pizza 2-thumbs up!!  They said that it was excellent…

This is ‘my’ 10 inch pizza.  Unfortunately for Laurie, she was attempting to stick to her successful “Delay, Don’t Deny” diet.  However, given the rave reviews by Bob and Nona…and by yours truly, she did succumb and took 2 bites of this pizza. 

Laurie and I have declared the pizza at the Tellico Grains Bakery to be the best we’ve had in East Tennessee in the 8+ years that we’ve lived here.  To learn more about this local bakery and restaurant, you can go to

Our next stop on our drive was the easily accessible and beautiful Bald River Falls in the Cherokee National Forest.  We were surprised that the falls weren’t more voluminous as we’ve had a rainier than average month and year.  I guess that it all depends where the rain has actually fallen.  The Bald River’s drainage area must have been a bit neglected rain-wise.  Note the swimmers at the base of the falls.  They seemed to be having a great time.

Of course, when you visit a place like Bald River Falls, one must take the obligatory series of photos!  It is a beautiful place to visit and, everyone we’ve taken there, loved it…

The road to Bald River Falls branches off the Cherohala Skyway, so the next segment of our drive was up the Skyway to a decent viewpoint.  As you can see, it clouded up as we drove up into the mountains…but Bob and Nona still declared that it was peaceful and well worth the drive.  Bob said that he liked the view through the misty cloud cover.  The second photo of the homes down in the valley was taken with my 10x1 lens. 

The Cherohala Skyway was completed in 1996.  This road is a National Scenic Byway.  The Skyway crosses through the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee and on through the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina.  I’m not sure how high this viewpoint was…probably about 3,400 feet…but the highest scenic turnout is at Haw Knob at 4,890 feet.

So what else could we do to show off East Tennessee to our friends?  How about a nice ride on Tellico Lake!  Thanks to our friends Jodie and Morrie, a cruise on the lake was on our calendar.  Bob and Nona thought that this was a great way to spend a couple of hours…beautiful and very relaxing!

This photo features our hosts and Laurie.  Captain Morrie is at the helm and the 2 ladies are chilling in the back of the pontoon boat.  We were pretty lucky as heavy rain and a few thunderstorms continued to stalk us as we cruised along the lake.  But, with Tellico Lake’s 351 miles of shoreline Morrie was able to dodge all the rain. 

I don’t know the distance from one end of the lake to the other but the most direct road distance from one end to the other is about 35 miles.  The distance if one made the trip by water would be a lot longer…  

Following our lake cruise, we all drove over to Alcoa Tennessee for dinner at another of our favorite and casual restaurants…Hot Rod 50s.  Both Bob and I ordered “The Hog”, a giant breaded pork tenderloin sandwich.  Yum!  Everyone enjoyed their meals.  I’ve written about Hot Rod 50s too many times before to repeat it again… You can check it out yourself at

Being city dwellers, Bob and Nona don’t see too many deer.  So, to cap off our day we decided to take them to our most reliable deer spotting area.  These photos were taken in a neighborhood in Monroe County Tennessee where we are 99% guaranteed to see deer every night at dusk.  On this occasion, we really scored.  In addition to these deer that were feeding very close to our car, we saw another 3 dozen deer or so as we cruised through the area. 

That’s about it for now… We had a great time with Bob and Nona and we sure do thank Jodie and Morrie for the boat ride!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, August 25, 2017

Twisted Root Burger Company – Waco Texas

Casual dining was our goal for our last meal in Waco.  I’d done a little research and since we do love a good hamburger, our dinner destination was obvious to me…

Can you say “quirky”!?  The colorful photos above show 2 of the exterior walls of our dining destination.  This is the Twisted Roots Burger Company… Right away we knew that this would be an experience!

The first Twisted Root Burger Company location opened in Dallas Texas in 2006.  The restaurant was featured on the second season of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri in 2009 and the place became a dining destination.  Today, this growing chain has 20 locations, 19 in Texas and 1 in Louisiana. 

The inside of Waco’s Twisted Root Burger Company location is about as quirky as the outside.  With a huge high ceiling…a former playhouse…using lots of reclaimed wood and with the walls festooned with the bottoms of beer kegs and beer keg lights, this is a different kind of burger joint.

Customers generally order at the counter but in our case, we ordered at the huge bar in the center of the expansive room.  When your half-pound burgers are ready, customer pick them up at the counter and then ‘dress’ them with the pickles shown above.  In addition to burgers, there are a variety of salads, sides and a bunch of milk shakes to choose from…including some ‘adult’ versions. 

This is another view of just one corner of the humongous dining area.  Note the projection TV showing on the concrete walls.  There are 4 such projection TV’s, 2 on each of the longest walls.  Live entertainment is also provided.  We ordered up a second adult beverage (beer for me and a Moscow Mule for my bride) and stayed around to enjoy some music even after we finished eating.  Between the songs, it was Trivia night!

Our bartenders were an attraction in themselves.  They were fun guys to talk to and Laurie thought that they were cute.  Note the “Leg Lamp” with the fringe shade from the classic movie, “A Christmas Story” at the back left of the photo.   

Now about the burgers!  They are all 8 oz. creations.  This was the Spicy Goat. ($7.99) It featured Glenview Farms goat cheese, chipotle sauce and bacon.  It was a very fine burger…cooked just right…medium rare as ordered.

A wide variety of burgers are offered.  These include: The western with pepper jack cheese, bacon, fried onion strings and jalapenos ($8.99); Le Wagyu with Dijon crusted Texas wagyu beef with thyme, caramelized onions and topped with gruyere cheese ($11.99); In the Buff - ground Comanche Ranch buffalo with thyme, caramelized onion on wheat ($10.49); Vegabond Burger made with house made chickpea, black bean, brown rice and quinoa and topped with slice avocado and sriracha on wheat ($8.49), and; Big Tex…a hamburger topped with cheddar cheese, guacamole, fried onion strings and chipotle sauce ($8.49).

Laurie ordered the “Lots-a-Shroom Burger…8 oz. of medium rare beef topped with garlic baby bello mushrooms and aged Swiss cheese. ($7.49) As Guy Fieri would say, ‘Winner winner, turkey dinner’! (Translation: It was really good!) She enjoyed her house cut potato chips too…

Other sides include 3 different iterations of French fries, onion strings, fried pickles and fried green beans and carrots.  A buffalo burger is on the regular menu but rotating varieties of meat are also available.  These include venison, elk, lamb, ostrich, rabbit, camel, duck, boar, beaver, kangaroo, emu and alligator.  

We wish we had a Twisted Root Burger Company based here in East Tennessee!  This particular Twisted Root location is at 801 South 2nd Street in Waco Texas.  Phone: 254-366-2888.  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

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Featured on HGTV’s Fixer Upper

Continuing with our exploration of Waco Texas, we were off to check out a couple of food and beverage related locations that have been featured on this popular HGTV show…

Our first stop was at Common Grounds, a local coffee shop.  It is located in an old house…just the kind of place that Chip and Joanna Gaines like to refurbish for new homeowners…

Parking was a bit of a challenge.  Common Grounds is a busy place with limited street parking and a convoluted and small parking area behind the coffee shop and another adjoining store… As you can see, the back ‘yard’ of Common Grounds is loaded with picnic tables and a plethora of other types of seating. 

Note the stage at the back of the yard.  Common Grounds has become a popular spot for live music.  Buzzfeed has included Common Grounds as one of the 14 Texas music venues in the Put the Life into Live Music!

As with most coffee shops, customers place their orders at the counter.  A wide variety of coffee specialties are rounded out with some tea offerings plus biscuits and cookies.  Common Grounds works with 5 different coffee roasters to provide a variety of tastes.  Unfortunately, they were sold out of bags of coffee to go.  Laurie was disappointed!

As noted at the beginning, Common Grounds is located in an old house.  The rooms at the back of the house/shop are a bit quirky and the operation is obviously very popular with the younger set.  This location is fairly close to Baylor University…which has to be good for business!

FYI…Common Grounds does have a drive-thru window and it was busy too!  I also learned that Common Grounds, which has been in business since 1994, has converted a shipping container into a ‘coffee shop’ that’s ensconced on the grounds of Chip and Joanna’s Magnolia Market near the center of Waco.

Common Grounds main store is located at 1123 South 8th Street in Waco Texas.  Phone: 254-757-2957.  Website: The website features a video of Common Grounds in operation…

Our next stop was more successful for us…at least from the viewpoint of personal satisfaction!  This is Heritage Creamery and it is conveniently located right next to the Common Grounds coffee shop.

This is the service counter at Heritage Creamery.  As with Common Grounds, even though our visit was on a mid-afternoon on a weekday, this ice cream parlor was busy. 

Guess what!  Heritage Creamery is owned by Blake and Kimberly Batson…who just happen to own the Common Grounds next door. 

These menu boards will give you an idea of the imaginative flavors available at Heritage Creamery.  The available flavors tend to be related to what local produce is available… In addition to ice cream, a selection of big cookies is also available.

We really liked this idea!  Heritage Creamery offers a ‘flight’ of ice cream to those customers who can’t make up their mind or who want to try a variety of flavors.  I think that we tried the strawberry lavender, the salted Texas caramel, brown butter and Texas pecan and the sweet cream stracciatella.  They were all quite good! 

Heritage Creamery offers their ice cream via scoops in cups, cones, shakes, floats or ice cream sandwiches…with the ice cream layered between a couple of their cookies.

Heritage Creamery also offers their treats every week at Waco’s Downtown Farmer’s Market.  This store is located at 1125 South 8th Street in Waco Texas.  Phone: 254-537-1352.  Website:  The website features a video about how their ice cream is made...

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by to see what we’ve been up to!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, August 21, 2017

Wandering Around Waco

Here are a few more photos of local scenery, sights and places around the Waco Texas area…

This view of the Brazos River and the limestone bluffs that are part of Cameron Park was taken from Brazos Park East.  Parkland lines miles of shoreline along the Brazos and Bosque Rivers.  Cameron Park alone offers 20 miles of hiking and biking trails along with picnic areas, playgrounds, etc.  Another popular activity is kayaking along the rivers…

The Brazos River was called the Rio de los Brazos de Dios, (translated as "The River of the Arms of God"), by early Spanish explorers.  Much to my surprise, it is the 11th-longest river in the United States.  The river stretches 1,280 miles from its source at the head of Blackwater Draw in Curry County New Mexico all the way to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico.  The Brazos has a 45,000 square-mile drainage basin.

This is the entrance to Spice Village in the downtown area of Waco.  In Trip Advisor it is listed as the #5 “thing to do” in the area…only trailing the Cameron Park Zoo, Waco Mammoth National Monument, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum and the Waco Suspension Bridge.

As you can see from the preceding photos, Spice Village is a collection of shops that offers just about everything to shopping fanatics!  There are collegiate related products, items for kids, baby, home decor, men’s accessories, jewelry, souvenirs, bath and body, candles, clothing and a lot more.  There are more than 60 little shops covering 30,000 sq. ft. in Spice Village.  Spice Village has been in operation for over 20 years. 

Spice Village and its shops/boutiques are located on the 2nd floor of the historic McLendon Hardware Company building.  This structure was completed in 1908.  To be honest, although Spice Village was an interesting concept and it was quite busy during our visit, we aren’t huge shoppers so we left without any purchases.

Food Trucks are the ‘in thing’ across America and it’s no different in Waco!  Not only did we see a significant number of food trucks and carts at Magnolia Market, along with individual offerings around the area, we noted a large gathering of mobile food offerings near the Brazos River in the downtown area.  The closest mobile food offering in the photo is Xristo’s Café which offers Greek cuisine.  Why don’t we have a food truck like this one in Knoxville!?  FYI…Xristo’s is on Facebook at

Most of the food trucks are open from mid-morning to early afternoon to capture the lunch crowds, though some also offer evening hours or take part in occasions like First Friday Waco to draw visitors to experience downtown.  Just how significant are food trucks/mobile food units in Waco?  How about the fact that every April the Waco Chamber of Commerce sponsors an annual event called the Texas Food Truck Showdown!  No less than 39 food ‘trucks’ competed in this event this past spring… To learn more, go to

That sliver of water on the horizon is Lake Waco.  This side of the lake is near the Waco Regional Airport.  Airport Park occupies a big stretch of shoreline on this side of the lake as does Lake Country Club.  Airport Park and others along the lake are operated by the US Corp of Engineers.  Entry and launch fees are required for some of these parks…

We circled around Lake Waco until we found an upscale subdivision that faced the water.  This is a view from a small parklike area in that subdivision. 

Lake Waco is a reservoir or dam pond located within the city limits of Waco.  Managed by the Army Corps Engineers, the lake serves as the western border for the city.  The dam is actually located on the Bosque River, not the Brazos.  The surface area of the lake is 8,465 acres.  For the anglers out there, fishermen can catch a wide variety of fish in this lake.  They include flathead catfish, largemouth bass, redear sunfish, blue catfish, redbreast sunfish, crappie, bream, bluegill and white bass. 

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