Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Rosy’s Café – Loudon Tennessee

Another casual dining option recently opened in Loudon Tennessee and we decided to give it a try. 

It was a rainy winter day so this photo of Rosy’s Café that was taken from the car was about the best we could do… Rosy’s is located within 3 or 4 blocks of 2 other local favorites near Tellico Village in Loudon county Tennessee. 

This space was previously occupied by Classico Italian Restaurant which relocated a couple of miles north off of TN Hwy 444.  The other 2 restaurants that are really close to Rosy’s are Thai Bistro and Lorenzo’s Mexican Restaurant.  All of these restaurants are obviously trying to cater to adjacent Tellico Village with its 7,000 + residents.

To learn about any of the 3 nearby restaurants listed above, (contact information for Rosy’s Café will be at the end of this posting), go to


Rosy’s dining area is spacious and warm…with tablecloths too!  This is a very large restaurant with a big room off to one side for parties and meetings.  We were there for an early dinner during the week…

Laurie and I went to Rosy’s Café for breakfast at dinner…our favorite meal!  For a shared side, we ordered the biscuit and sausage gravy.  The biscuit was very good and the gravy has a nice flavor with a little spicy touch.  A few more sausage crumbles would have enhanced it further.

Laurie ordered a special Eggs Benedict for her breakfast entrée. This creation included the poached eggs, asparagus and mushrooms on top of a toasted English muffin and topped with homemade Hollandaise Sauce.  She really liked this variation and her hash brown potatoes were just like she wanted them too!

I ordered a standard breakfast…2 easy over eggs with 3 sausage links, toast and crispy hash browns.  It was a very nice breakfast and, if you noticed, they go to a little extra effort with presentation of their dishes.

…so a couple of weeks later, we returned to Rosy’s for an early dinner.  We’ve been eating at off times for 2 reasons.  Laurie is on a diet that allows her to eat whatever she wants but within a 4 hour window each day.  The rest of the time, she fasts… The other reason is the flu season, with it being much more virulent and widespread this year.  Less people around equals a bit less exposure to the flue bug.

We started out with an appetizer.  These are the Spicy Cheese Curds…a really big order for $7.49.  There were definitely enough for a table of 4!  They were spicy…nice but not overwhelming…and the ranch dressing went well with them.

For my dinner, I went for the 8 oz. “Kick My Ass” Burger. ($10.99) This burger was topped with jalapeno peppers and pepper jack cheese.  It was very tasty but it was a tad overcooked…as I’d requested it medium-rare.  I’m not an onion guy so I had them on the side and I gave them to Laurie who thought that they were very good!  The French fries were better than average.

This photo of Laurie’s Patty Melt with seasoned French fries just didn’t come out well…pretty blurry. ($9.99) Nevertheless, she really liked the sandwich with the rye toast and her seasoned fries were very good too!

We heard a rumor that the owner of Rosy’s Café is from our stomping grounds in the Chicago metropolitan area, but we haven’t confirmed it yet.  The prices at Rosy’s might be a tad high for the area and for the clientele…but time will tell.  Quality can trump (no politics intended) price if the two aren’t too far apart.
Rosy’s Café is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week from 7:30AM until 8PM.  They are located at 316 Lakeside Plaza in Loudon Tennessee.  Phone: 865-368-6915.  At this point, this restaurant doesn’t have a Facebook page or a website.  We will return and try out their lunch and/or dinner menu.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for breakfast, aka dinner!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 

Monday, January 29, 2018

On to Our Destination – Kinsale in County Cork

Our final destination for this day’s drive was the coastal town of Kinsale in County Cork Ireland… Our little group had diverted to local roads from the expressway/motorway to explore an area that might be tied back to Laurie’s brother in law Bill’s, heritage. 

Moving on from his probable heritage site, it wasn’t long before we sighted a castle along the road!  This is Foulkstrath Castle, a Norman Tower House located in County Kilkenny. 


·         County Kilkenny is home to 8 intact or restored castles as well as 11 castles ruins!

·         Foulksrath Castle is reputed to be haunted by 3 different spirits, 2 females and a male.  It was visited in 1992 by a BBC television crew of British ghost hunters.

This is part of the wall encircling Foulkstrath Castle.  That’s the Ford van that we rented for our exploration of Ireland…

The estate and original fortified and moated structure were first built in 1349.  However, the current castle was built in the early 1400s… Most of the outer wall, as well as the tower and part of the moat are still intact.

We took this photo of the inner courtyard area through the gate shown in the previous photo.  Imagine...this is now someone's private home!


·         Relatives of Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels), were associated with the castle since at least 1857.  In that year, Godwin Meade Pratt Swift patented the first aircraft in Ireland.   He called it an ‘aerial chariot’.  He tested it by launching it via a catapult (with his butler as the pilot) from the top of the castle.  It crashed and the butler survived with several broken bones…

This is a view of The Square, Freshford in the town of Kilkenny.  This is a fairly typical center city scene in a modest sized town… The population of Kilkenny is close to 27,000.  Kilkenny is the ‘County Town’/County Seat for County Kilkenny. 

The city began as an early 6th century ecclesiastical foundation within the Kingdom of Ossory…that’s ‘only’ 1,500 years ago!  Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, Kilkenny Castle and a series of walls were built to protect the town merchants in this trading center.  Kilkenny was given a charter as a town by the Lord of Leinster in 1207.

Learn about the ancient Kingdom of Ossory (1st Century) and its legendary founder, Oengus Osrithe, at
FYI… I was curious about the Brennan Sisters Takeaway restaurant at the right side of the photo.  Talk about a cosmopolitan establishment!  It has an Irish name (previous owners), an owner named Abdullah Barat and it serves Irish and Turkish food as well as pizza!   

Along the way as we headed south, we passed this abandoned mill…you can see the water wheel at the rear of the structure.  I was unable to identify this particular mill, but I did learn that it’s one of several located in the area.  Some of them date back to the late 1700s and corn flour seems to have been the dominant, but not their exclusive product.

For photos and background of several of this type of structure in County Kilkenny, go to

I’m not able to identify these beautiful but sad church ruins that we passed along our route, but County Kilkenny contains perhaps the highest concentration of medieval ruins in Ireland.  The area was conquered in the years after the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169 and major rebuilding took place after the conquest. 

To view some of the other ruins in the area and to learn a little about them, you can go to

In addition to a plethora of historic ruins, there is a lot to see and do in County Kilkenny.  Check it out at

Then we were back on the M8 Motorway (Irish Expressway) on the final leg of our drive to Ireland’s south coast.  We took the loop road around the City of Cork to avoid the traffic and to maximize our time on the water.  If we’d had more time, Cork would have definitely been on our itinerary. 

…and finally we reached our destination for the day.  This is the town center for Kinsale County Cork Ireland.  Kinsale was founded under a charter granted by England’s King Edward III in 1333.  Kinsale (Irish Gaelic: Cionn tSaile) means “Tide Head”.  It has been an historic port and fishing town over the years. 

Today Kinsale is all about tourism… This town of about 5,300 residents is sometimes referred to as the Irish Mediterranean and its well known for its safe harbor and mild climate. 

This large marina is located adjacent to Kinsale’s town center.  The town is not only a holiday destination for Ireland’s citizens but, as our presence indicates, overseas tourists as well.  Boating is obviously a big draw as is golf and fishing…

This shows part of the drive up Compass Hill behind the town as we sought out the location of our accommodations for the night…

The town of Kinsale is situated between the surrounding hills and the harbor’s shoreline.  It is a maze of narrow streets with few of them being far from the water.  Many haven’t changed for hundreds of years.  Not only are there many very old Irish structures, but there are buildings from later periods with historical links to the French, Spanish, British and Americans.

This is the Rocklands House Bed and Breakfast.  It’s perched high on the hillside, above Kinsale and its harbor.  Laurie took this photo of our gracious and helpful host, John Bateman, giving directions and restaurant suggestions to Bonnie and yours truly. 

As I mentioned before, Rocklands House is located on Compass Hill.  This was our room with a very comfortable king-size bed plus a great view of the Bandon River and the town of Kinsale. 

…yet another look at our room.  Some may complain that the TV is too small, but there is something wrong with you if you want to spend much time in your room in a place like Kinsale!

…and this was our bathroom at Rocklands House.  The facilities as well as the grounds were very well maintained!

More about Rocklands House in another posting.  However, in our opinion not only was this a great stay, it was a great value too!  We visited Kinsale in the latter part of September and our price per night was only 90E/$108.00 per couple!  Learn more at

Rocklands House sits on 3 acres high above Kinsale.  That’s the R600 Bridge over the Bandon River as viewed from Compass Hill.  The river is famous for its Atlantic salmon fishing.  The largest recorded salmon caught in Ireland since 1991 came from this river.  It weighed 28 lbs. 3 oz.

From about 1694, Kinsale served as a supply base for British Royal Navy ships in southern Ireland.  Its usefulness was limited the service of smaller vessels due to a sandbar at the mouth of the river. 

One English privateer, Captain Woodes Roger, referred to a pair of rocks at the entrance that his ship almost ran aground…terming them the ‘Sovereigne’s Bollacks’.  In 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars, the Royal Navy moved its supply and replenishing center to Cork harbor…ending the naval significance of Kinsale’s Harbor.   

This is a view of Charles Fort from Compass Hill above Kinsale.  This is a ‘star fort’ at the southern end of the village of Summer Cove on Kinsale Harbor.  The star shape of the walls allow defenders many angles of attack against anyone trying to storm the structure.  First completed in 1682, it’s sometimes referred to as the ‘new fort’ in contrast with James’ Fort which had been built on the other side of the harbor before 1607. 

Focused water borne attacks, the weakness of this fort lies landward with vulnerability due to higher ground above its defenses.  Consequently, in 1690 it fell to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and his forces after a 13-day siege during the Williamite War in Ireland.   The fort was then used as a British Army barracks for over 200 years, finally being given up by British forces after the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921.

To learn about the Williamite War, a 3-year event, you can go to

Charles Fort is open to visitors and it is a key area tourist destination.  You can learn more at
Although it is basically an historic ruin, the site of James Fort on nearby Castlepark peninsula in Kinsale harbor is also open to the public.   

Much more on Kinsale to follow… Just click on any of the photos to 
enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for our continued Irish adventure!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, January 26, 2018

Ireland – Wandering Toward the South Coast

Early on a Sunday morning, with very light traffic, we escaped from the Dublin metropolitan area.  Our eventual goal was the south coast of Ireland but we quickly got off the M7 Motorway so we could see more of the countryside at a more leisurely pace…

We thought that it was a good start for our day when Laurie spotted this horse wandering along the road… You never know what you’ll see when you’re a little off the main routes!

It was Sunday, so not too much was going on in the little town of Castlecomer…an area from which part of Laurie’s brother-in-law, Bill’s family, might have emigrated from. 

Castlecomer is a former coal mining town in County Kilkenny.  It has a population of about 2,200 residents.  The ‘castle’ in the name refers to a long gone castle built nearby by the Normans in 1171.  The earliest record of a settlement here dates from ca. 1200 when William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke erected a motte (mound) and built a castle on it.

Laurie and her sister Bonnie posed for this photo at the entrance to St. Mary’s Parish Church at the town of Castlecomer.   Much to my surprise, St. Mary’s is a member church in the Anglican Church of Ireland...not the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church in Ireland (including Northern Ireland) has a total of 3,700,000 members.  The Church of Ireland is second in total members with about 375,000 members, only 126,000 or so in the Irish Republic itself with the remainder residing in Northern Ireland…   

Saint Mary’s Church stands on the site of the ancient parish Church of the Holy Cross.  It dated to ca. 1374 but no traces of it remain.  In 1637 the area was conveyed to Christopher Wandesford.  He built the current church.

The town of Castlecomer itself was destroyed in the 1798 rebellion.  Subsequently Lady Anne Ormonde offered incentives for rebuilding the town and she restored Saint Mary’s Church…


·         The Irish Rebellion of 1798 was a short-lived uprising against British rule in Ireland.  French forces with 14,000 troops attempted to aid the Irish forces but were deterred by rough seas and were either captured or had to turn back.    The area around Castlecomer was one of the worst sites of retribution by the British with the massacre of captured and wounded rebels… To learn more about this rebellion, just go to

Castlecomer Discovery Park opened to the public in 2007 with the launch of its “Footprints in Coal” exhibition, a visitor’s center and this grouping of craft studios.  The park is set in the former grounds of the 18th century Wandesforde Estate.  This park began as a community project to rejuvenate the town of Castlecomer itself.

FYI…Coal mining continued in the area until 1969!

Since it was fairly early on Sunday, there wasn’t too much going on at the Castlecomer Discovery Park, but we did go through the Visitor’s Center to see what the park was all about.  These buildings are all located in what was originally the farm yard and kitchen gardens of the estate.

There were a lot of photos on display in the visitor’s center showing the estate back in its more recent heydays… This particular picture, one of my favorite themes, shows the arrival of the first passenger train in Castlecomer on 2/21/1921.

Other photos showed the Estate Yard in 1914 and two family members on horseback and in uniform at the estate gates.  The estate’s horses were requisitioned for service in Northern France at the outbreak of WWI.

As you can see from this photo and the one that follows, the Castlecomer Discovery Park is very much a work in progress. 

The town itself was laid out in the 1600s by Christopher Wandesford.  The town owed its development to the wealth generated from the coal mines.  Castlecomer not only served as a market town for the area, but it was an ‘estate village for the Wandesford family, who owned the mines.  Some homes in the town itself date all the way back to the 1640s…

Castlecomer House, which was the family home of the Wandesfordes, was located on the opposite side of N78 across from what is now the Castlecomer Discovery Park.  After the first house was burned down during the Battle of Castlecomer in 1798, Lady Anne Ormonde built another massive home in 1802.  Apparently it was very big and very imposing… It is reputed to have had 365 windows, one for each day of the year!

To learn more about the Castlecomer Discovery Park and its many activities, including trail rides on horseback, go to

We then headed down the road…following our GPS rental unit.  That proved to be a challenge more than once as she took us down some ‘interesting and sometimes challenging’ roads on the most direct route to our next destination.
The sisters were just happy to see the woman along this little back road with her dogs!

…and of course we had to stop and visit!  The lady was very friendly and her dogs were curious.

…did we stop to chat or to admire the dogs!?  What a nice smile!

Here’s one more photo of the Irish countryside in County Kilkenny.  The narrow road is actually wider than many of the roads that we traversed in Scotland…

We would both like to thank whoever developed or provided that wonderful and proper voice giving directions via the GPS unit.  She was invariably polite, never rasping out “Recalculating”, but rather taking any missteps in stride, accepting my direction and gently providing adjusted directions.  Never once, in Scotland or in Ireland, was I told to ‘make the next legal U-turn!’ 

A bit further on down the road, we stopped to ask directions from this local resident.  We couldn’t communicate well with her though as her native tongue was Irish Gaelic…

In my next post from Ireland, we reach our destination for the day…Kinsale on the south coast just a little south of the City of Cork.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for coming along on our journey!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Taziki’s Mediterranean Café

When Dawn Marie’s visit ended in early December, she flew home via the Chattanooga Tennessee airport.  The air fares are quite a bit less expensive for several markets if you fly in and out of Chattanooga vs. Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson airport.

In any case, we wanted to have lunch before she flew home to Miami Florida…

We discovered that it isn’t all that easy to find a place open for lunch in downtown Chattanooga on a Sunday in December… Our first choice was the Maple Street Biscuit Company but we discovered that they aren’t open on Sundays. (Note: Checking that company’s website, it appears that the downtown location for Maple Street Biscuit is now closed)

We passed a couple of other places that weren’t open and then we spotted Taziki’s Mediterranean Café.  We’d seen one of these in the Knoxville area but hadn’t had a chance to try it out yet…so this was an easy choice for us!

Taziki’s Mediterranean Café is another entrée in the burgeoning fast casual dining business.  Customers order at the counter and they bring the food to the table.    

The dining area has that industrial look…with lots of metal, wood and stone with concrete floors. 

Taziki’s Mediterranean Café is on a fast track growth-wise.  They are primarily located in the South and Southeast but they are branching out across the USA.  The company either has or is opening locations in 17 states.  The company’s first restaurant opened in 1998 in Birmingham Alabama where the company is headquartered.  As of this past November, this franchise based operation had 82 locations…

That industrial look carries over to the clever use of space with a balcony seating area above the entrance into the main area of the restaurant…

Now onto the food… We were very hopeful as we love quality Greek cuisine.  I don’t recall, but this bowl of red sauce with goat cheese and pita must have been gratis as it didn’t show up on my bill.  It was tastier than the appetizer we did order.

This is the Taziki Dip appetizer. ($5.49) It was OK…but not very distinctive.  We had expected Tzatziki Sauce with the pita chips…but this combination of cucumber, dill and lemon just didn’t have any zing…or the expected garlic either!  We should have read the menu more closely…

We all ordered the Lamb Gyros with chips and fresh fruit or a salad. ($9.99)  The lamb gyros came with taziki sauce (not tzatziki sauce!), tomatoes, mixed lettuce and grilled onions. (I skipped the onions)

Once again we were disappointed!  We should have noted that the menu item was called “Lamb” gyros.  I should have learned by now to ask about the ‘gyros’ before ordering them.  We love what is termed gyros in the Chicago area based on our long tenure in that market.  In reality, what we love is a mixed lamb and beef version which is cooked in loaf form on a spit and then sliced off as needed.  It can be called doner kebab (Turkish) or Shawarma (Levantine preparation).

Gyros, strictly defined, can be pork or chicken (Greece) as well as beef or lamb in other Mediterranean locales…not usually the mixed meat version that we are used to and love.  However, we do like lamb but we thought that this lamb was overcooked.  The restaurant’s ‘taziki’ sauce just didn’t help these gyros by providing any flavor ‘pop’.   

Dawn Marie did opt for a piece of Dark Chocolate Cake which she said was pretty good… ($2.75)

The employees at Taziki’s Mediterranean Café were very nice and the service was fine.  All the food was fresh and since one of the themes of this chain is a healthy Mediterranean diet, they probably hit that mark right on the money.  Perhaps we’ll give it another try in the Knoxville area as the menu is much broader than just gyros to included sandwiches, roll-ups, soups, salads, and complete entrees.   

The Taziki’s Mediterranean Café in downtown Chattanooga Tennessee is located at 432 Market Street.  Phone: 423-779-3100.  The company’s website with all their locations and the full menu can be found at

Our search for good Chicago style gyros continues!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave