Friday, March 31, 2023

Old Town aka Old City Knoxville Tennessee (1)

…continuing with our ‘adventures’ related to Laurie’s sister Bonnie and her sister’s husband Bill’s late winter visit to our home here in East Tennessee. 

The “Old City”, located adjacent to the Knoxville’s downtown area, is really an historic neighborhood…that is part of the city’s core area.  Originally it was part of a boisterous and vice-laden area known as “The Bowery”.  It wasn’t part of Knoxville until the 1850s when the arrival of the railroad spurred the city leaders into action…and they annexed “The Bowery”.  The arrival of the railroad brought many Irish immigrants and they opened the Old City’s first shops and saloons.  After the Civil War, Knoxville’s Old City became one of the Southeastern USA’s largest wholesaling centers.  This was where East Tennessee merchants and grocers came to stock up their store shelves.

By the early 1900s, Central Street…the main street through the Old City…was lined with saloons and brothels.  Businesses left the area over the years as violent crime and prostitution became a problem.  These issues persisted well into the 1960s.  Finally, in 1986, redevelopment began to revive this area of town and today “Old Town” is home to restaurants, bars and restaurants, along with apartments and condos.  The next step will be the construction of a new multi-use baseball stadium on the fringe of the area.  Old Town is well on its way to gentrification…hopefully providing housing for some of the displaced.

When we saw this storefront, we recalled having amazing tamales made by Good Golly Tamale at the farmer’s market in Knoxville’s Market Square.  At that point…actually years ago...they were selling them from a hot box attached to a ‘tricycle’.  Back then they were making the tamales in a space they rented or borrowed from another local restaurant.  We were unaware that they had since opened a store in Knoxville.  Obviously we need to visit downtown Knoxville as well as the “Old City” more frequently.

Inside Good Golly Tamale, the décor is colorful…sort of a casual or shabby chic.  Back in my earlier days, this look would have been termed as “hippy chic”.  In any case, the décor fits the product as well as the neighborhood.  Everything was neat, orderly and clean.

To bring everything into perspective…Good Golly Tamale debuted at Knoxville’s Market Square Farmer’s market in the early fall of 2013.  It was a couple of years later when our foursome bought the tamales from that tricycle hot box.

Like so many fast food casual restaurants in this day and age, Good Golly Tamale’s customers order at the counter and pick up their food when it’s ready.  The practice holds down costs, simplifies the operation and works better in our current labor market. (Sorry for the blurry picture of the counter)

The menu is equally simple.  You can order tamales, tamales or tamales.  Well, you could just order a side or two… Business must be good.  This store has been open and selling tamales since 2015…8 years surviving on the sale of a filling of ground beef, beans, chicken, pork, cheese and a variety of vegetables wrapped in a soft corn ‘shell’ of masa and then finished wrapped in corn shucks/wrappers…

It was disturbing when we learned that the tricycle with its hot box had been stolen…never to be seen again.

OK…once again, sorry about the photos!  We’d all started eating our tamales and salsa was applied before I remembered to take a photo or two.  I will attest to the fact that we all loved our tamale choices!

Although we can’t claim to be tamale professionals, we’ve had enough tamales over the years to state that the taste and quality of a tamale starts with the corn masa that the meat and vegetables are wrapped up in…  Quality ingredients make Good Golly Tamale’s customers come back for more… They use organic non-GMO corn masa and locally sourced meats and produce when they are available.

Good Golly Tamale is located at 112 South Central Street in Knoxville Tennessee.  To learn more, go to

Here are a couple of street views from one section of Knoxville’s Old Town area.  Shops include wineries, breweries, restaurants and night clubs as well as specialty retailers.  Young folks are flocking to the area and adapting to an urban lifestyle… Currently, builders and developers can’t keep up with demand.

The restaurant with the turret down at the end of the street in the second photo is The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro.  It is very much a high-end ($$$$) establishment.  Our own dining experience at Lonesome Dove back in 2019 wasn’t very positive but the restaurant is rated at between 4.5 and 4.7 on various rating sites so perhaps we just visited on a bad night.  See their website at  That building dates back to 1888, when it was a saloon in a truly tough area of the city…

But now I digress…

I thought that I’d pay tribute to Regina, our United States Post Office mail carrier.  She works hard and she is the best!  However, we’re lucky she’s still on the job.  She was in her delivery van when this huge branch crushed the front end…just missing her.  She just suffered a couple of scratches and bruises.  A couple of feet further back and she would have been seriously injured or worse.  The USPS may not be perfect…but Regina is an exceptional mail carrier and our neighborhood is very happy that she is still following her daily route!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Wandering and Dining

…continuing with Laurie’s sister Bonnie and Bonnie’s husband Bill’s visit to our home in East Tennessee in early March. 

We headed out to Tellico Plains for lunch at Tellico Grains Bakery.  We arrived at about 12:45 PM but they were still packed with customers.  We wanted a place to sit down and eat…so we decided to do a bit more sightseeing before having a late lunch.  So we headed on into the 650,000 acre Cherokee National Forest to visit one of our favorite places in East Tennessee.

Yes, I am well aware that I’ve posted Bald River Falls on the blog site on several occasions.  Still, this time it had recently rained and the falls were even more spectacular than usual… Handicapped?  Hard to get around?  Then Bald River Falls are just for you!  Parking is right next to the falls and the walk down to the bridge for viewing is basically across flat ground.

Even though we’d visited Bald River Falls many times over the 13 + years that we’ve lived in East Tennessee, we’d never seen kayakers on the Tellico River just below Bald River Falls.  There was plenty of water for them to have a good time as they blew through the rapids along one side of the bridge over the Bald River, just below the falls.

Then of course, we just ‘had to’ take yet another photo of Bill and Bonnie with Bald River Falls in the background.  It’s tradition!

…so after our little side trip, we headed back to Tellico Plains for lunch.

I have written about Tellico Grains Bakery (and café) many times over the past 10 years or so.  We love this successfully repurposed building in this quaint little town.  The family owned business not only provides jobs for local folks but they offer a wide variety of quality baked goods and brunch/lunch items that are hard to beat.  I borrowed this photo of the Bakery from their website.

The four of us ordered a combination of items.  I didn’t take a picture of the two sandwiches, “Joe’s Italian” and the “Bald River Beef” primarily because I’d done it so many times before.  As you can see, I did take photos of our thin crust pizzas…one with sausage and pepperoni and the other with mushrooms and sausage.  Laurie and I believe that Tellico Grains’ pizzas are the best anywhere in East Tennessee.  Bill and Bonnie thought that they were excellent!

I bought lunch for our group…but then Bonnie went up to the bakery counter with Laurie and they loaded up on baked goods.  Bonnie bought this time.  I didn’t take photos of the great cookies or scones but this nutty caramel cinnamon roll deserved a photo all by itself!  It was amazing!

Tellico Grains Bakery’s website is at

…now, onto another familiar dining destination!

 Thai Bistro… I have posted about this restaurant many times over the last few years.  Why?  The Thai food is genuine and the quality is always there.  In this case, I skipped photos of the Spring Rolls, Crab Rangoon, Fresh Rolls, Laurie’s Lomein Noodles with chicken or my Pad Thai.  As it turned out, both Bonnie and Bill ordered something that we’d never had or featured in one of my blog posts.  

Actually, Bonnie’s entrée included the Lomein Noodles with chicken, but thanks to a fortunate error in the kitchen, they also piled some pork on her plate as well.  The combination worked well! ($13.00) She went for a spice heat index of 2…and it was just right for her taste.  Laurie went for a 3 this time…and perhaps will step it down in the future.  I of course had my Pad Thai with Chicken at a heat index of 4.  Yum! ($15.00)

As Bill’s entrees are fairly predictable, (he loves seafood and we could almost order for him), we weren’t surprised that he ordered the Andaman Seafood with Jasmine rice. ($26.00) Bill was very pleased with his choice.  It was loaded with stir fried shrimp, squid, scallops, mussels and crab meat, seasoned with scallions, bell pepper, onion, other vegetables and basil leaves…all in a spicy, but not too spicy, house sauce.

Thai Bistro is located in Loudon Tennessee near Tellico Village.  Their website is found at Thai Bistro | Tellico Village (

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, March 24, 2023

A Mishmash or Hodgepodge

Basically, this is a mixed up continuation or narrative about our recent visit from Laurie’s sister Bonnie and Bonnie’s husband Bill.  You may think that so much shopping seems unusual for such a visit.  However, the fact is that Laurie doesn’t like to shop with yours truly as I never want to buy much and, like many men, I’m not much into ‘browsing’.  When Bonnie and Laurie are together, shopping is “in”, whether the guys tag along or not. 

On this occasion our little group started out at the J.C. Penney store in Knoxville/Farragut Tennessee’s Turkey Creek shopping center.  As you can see, the store wasn’t overloaded with customers but it was fairly well stocked in most departments.  Bill and I did do a little shopping/browsing and Bill actually bought a pair of blue jeans.  As for myself, I just couldn’t get into it…

On the other hand, with Bonnie’s help Laurie replenished part of her wardrobe buying a decent variety of tops and pants.  As a direct result of these purchases, a significant amount of ladies clothing was donated to the local charitable resale shops.

James Cash Penney was born in 1875 in Hamilton Missouri, the 7th of 12 children. The untimely death of his father made it necessary for Penney to start clerking in a store to support the family.  After moving west for his health, he opened the first J.C. Penney store in 1902 in Kemmerer Wyoming.  It is the company’s “mother store” and it’s still open for business.  The company grew to 2,053 stores in 1973 but by 2020 the company had to declare bankruptcy.  It has since been purchased by an investment group and now operates 667 stores.  James Cash Penney died at the age of 95 in 1971…still the company’s honorary chairman and still going to his office every day…

Our next stop was Bed, Bath and Beyond… This 52 year old retail operation hasn’t fared as well as J.C. Penney.  The company began the year by warning investors that it might not survive the years.  Company shares plunged almost 30% and the outlook is bleak at best.

We wandered through the store… I should have taken photos but having personally lived through a couple of retail failures in my career, taking photos was just too depressing.  From a store that was wall to wall with merchandise before Covid-19, the store was almost barren, with whole sections having little to display or sell.  

…and another one bites the dust!

From there we wandered over to World Market just to make ourselves feel better.  The ladies unsuccessfully shopped for a replacement carpet for our living area…and in the end, the four of us did what we always do when browsing through this store.  The specialty food section is just too tempting.  We bought a lot of unnecessary food and treats to take home with us!

World Market used to be called Cost Plus Stores…related to Pier One Imports…and World Market stores were purchased by Bed, Bath and Beyond in 2012.  These stores apparently escaped the fate of the parent company by being purchased by an investment firm in 2021.  The store was well stocked and busy…

Moving on to food…home cooking.

We had never had delicata squash but we’d picked up one for Laurie and me before Bonnie and Bill arrived…and then got a second one so we could have a plentiful side dish for the four of us.  The squash were split in half, the seeds removed, then sliced as shown…and placed on a baking sheet.  They were drizzled with olive oil plus salt and pepper and popped in the oven.

The delicata squash accompanied these beef flank steak pinwheels that we’d purchased at Fresh Market.  The pinwheels were stuffed or wrapped around provolone cheese and spinach…and they were very tasty indeed!  I had leftovers too…a wondrous result from too much food being served.

On another day Bill and I sat and watched in wonder as the sisters spent well over an hour trying to decide how to change the theme of our hearth and mantle…from winter to spring.  It is a bit lighter and greener than it was previously and the ladies felt good about it, so I guess that the effort expended was worth it.

Mishmash…remember the theme of this post.  I decided to just throw in a photo of one of our favorite breakfast entrees.  It was a cold morning after Bonnie and Bill had departed and it was perfect for a big bowl of oatmeal.  We don’t use the ‘instant’ version but it doesn’t take long.  When served we laden our bowls with butter, dried cranberries (or other fruit), Splenda brown sugar plus half and half milk.  Satisfying comfort food!

I had published a photo of our Quince bush during the first week of March…but now it is at or just past its full glory!  The flowering quince bush is a native of Southeast Asia.  The wonder of these deciduous spiny shrubs is that they bloom before almost everything else in the late winter or early spring.  In a recent mild winter, our bush once bloomed in January...

We love our redbud trees.  The eastern redbud is a large shrub or small tree that is native to Eastern North America, ranging from southern Michigan and south to central Mexico.  They are the state tree of Oklahoma and redbuds are everywhere around East Tennessee. 

Do you hate carpenter bees and the damage they can do to your home?  Me too, so I was somewhat disturbed to learn that redbud flowers are pollinated by long-tongued bees such as blueberry and carpenter bees.  Short-tongued bees can’t reach the nectary’s…

I’d just posted a photo of our local female Flicker…the largest member of the woodpecker family that regularly visits our bird feeding station.  Laurie just captured a good photo of her mate…handsome fellow that he is!  Northern flickers are native to most of North America, parts of Central America, Cuba and the Cayman Islands.  They are one of the few woodpeckers that actually migrate.

Flickers are the only woodpeckers that frequently feed on the ground and they also sometimes catch insects in flight.  Although they eat fruits, nuts, seeds and berries, (mostly in the winter), their primary food is insects.  Ants alone can make up 45% of their diet!  They will actually break into underground ant colonies to get at the larvae.

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

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Seafood for Dinner +

…continuing with our visit from Laurie’s sister Bonnie and Bonnie’s husband Bill.  They both love seafood and they decided that Bonefish would be a great dinner destination.  The previous evening, we’d stayed home and had a hearty beef stew that Laurie and I had put together...

Bonefish was their restaurant of choice.  Laurie and I frequently dine here for her birthday or other celebrations…such as an anniversary.  This particular location in Knoxville/Farragut’s Turkey Creek shopping center, is fairly close to our home.

I noted that the dining room never really filled up with customers…and it was a Friday night.  Perhaps burgeoning inflation and growing credit card debt is beginning to really impact the middle class.  I do know that while this is the exception, Laurie and I are eating out less while tending to dine in lower cost restaurants.  Given the lack of customers, this didn’t appear to be a promising evening for the wait staff but it was great for those of us who were being served…

Bill love Brussel Sprouts…as do I!  The difference is that I can’t eat them (greens in general) as they negatively impact my meds.  So…I had to watch Bill devour this appetizer special, a platter of roasted Brussel Sprouts. ($9.90) He thought that this was a terrific start to his dinner…and I did eat one little piece to confirm what I thought.  Bonnie was treated to a couple of bites too.  We agreed that they were delicious!

So…I ordered an appetizer as well.  This was my Tempura Crunch Sashimi Tuna. ($13.90) The sushi-grade tuna was seared rare and sliced with sashimi sauce and tempura crumbles.  It was served with wasabi, soy sauce and it was accompanied with a sriracha drizzle.  It was excellent…as confirmed by Laurie, who is a real sashimi lover.

Both of the ladies decided to go all out so they each ordered a pair of Cold Water Lobster Tails. ($38.90) Each of them were served a pair of 5 – 6 oz. lobster tails, seasoned and steamed, then served with warm drawn butter.  The lobster tails came with 2 sides, so the ladies got to choose between coleslaw, seasonal vegetables, jasmine rice, garlic whipped potatoes and French fries.  Two happy wives!!!

While Bill and Bonnie went for beers, Laurie decided to try a special Bonefish Grill adult beverage.  It was the Smoked Old Fashioned Woodford Reserve Bourbon with Angostura bitters and a Bordeaux cherry…smoked with oak and served over a ‘colossal’ ice cube. ($13.10)

Bill decided to order the seafood special.  This was the Rock Butterfish stuffed with lump crabmeat. ($28.90) He sided it with broccoli and jasmine rice.  He thought it was very nice but he did second guess his choice…

For my entrée, I went with the Mahi-Mahi and Shrimp. ($24.90) A wood-grilled mahi-mahi filet was paired with 5 jumbo shrimp…all brushed with a light citrus-herb marinade.  The seafood was very nice indeed.  For my sides, I just asked to for double up with the jasmine rice…although if I could have, I would have had that nice looking steamed broccoli like Bill had.  I saved some soy sauce as well as some wasabi…so I mixed it in with the rice…and I was happy.

We did have a nice dinner…no problems at all.  This particular Bonefish Grill location is found at 11395 Parkside Drive in Knoxville Tennessee.  Phone: 865-996-9777.  This restaurant’s website can be found at:

Time for a couple of photos from our home…

Laurie took this great photo of ‘our’ Northern Flicker on our feeder.  She actually held still for Laurie!  When she or her mate comes to feed, they just stays put until they’ve eaten their fill.  The only other birds that we’ve seen challenging them at the feeder are the mockingbirds… 

Time for a simple breakfast…just leftover cheesy potatoes, pan fried in butter to ‘brown them up’ a bit.  Then I just dropped 2 over-easy eggs on top of the potatoes for a very satisfying meal.  Of course, I did sprinkle it with Tabasco after I took the photo.  I must be ‘slipping’ though…as there was no meat or bread accompaniment!  I did however adhere to my home dining mantra, “waste not and want not”!  It was plenty to eat!

Just click on any photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, March 17, 2023

Visitors – Out and About

Nothing too exciting going on lately.  So we were happy to learn that Laurie’s sister Bonnie and her husband Bill were once again coming to pay us an extended visit!  It was a great way to celebrate the beginnings of the Spring Season.

Some of our early spring blooming plants had already showed themselves, and, with the mild late winter weather we were experiencing, life was once again proving resilient despite some truly damaging freezing temperatures back in December.  The daffodils and grape hyacinths were among the first blooms to appear.   We love spring, don't you?!   

Laurie doesn’t get much satisfaction shopping with yours truly…mainly because I don’t like to shop for much…except groceries.  So, when her sister visits, she and Laurie are off and running.  We needed a new towel set and new bathroom rugs for the primary bathroom and Laurie was also looking for a replacement carpet for our living room area.  Homegoods, in Maryville Tennessee, was the first of many stores visited over the next few days… They were ready for Easter business and even I think that this store was well organized and stocked.

Of course we stopped at Homegoods’ carpet display to see if we could find something that had the right colors…and of equal importance…the right dimensions to fill our need.  The width and colors of the carpet shown above would fit our needs but it wasn’t quite long enough.  We may go back and pick it up and make it work if nothing better comes along.

Note: We did find a towel set that fit our needs.  Time to retire the old ones!

Next, the ladies stopped in at the Rack Room Shoes adjacent to Homegoods…but I (we) escaped without making any purchases.

What to do next?  In the depths of my memory, such as it is these days, I recalled reading about a new brew pub in Alcoa Tennessee…which is right next to Maryville.  Bill loves a good beer plus Laurie and I are always looking for a new place to bring visitors and/or just to have dinner.

This is Black Horse Pub and Brewery.  Jeff Robinson was a helicopter pilot for the 101st Airborne Division during Operation Desert Storm.  After returning from Iraq and Kuwait, in 1992 Jeff and his wife Sherri opened a small pub in downtown Clarksville Tennessee.

Then in 1995, the couple completed construction of their own brewery.  They chose the name “Blackhorse” in honor of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.  Jeff never served in that unit but he admired the Cavalry’s spirit and energy.  The “Blackhorse” Regiment has served in the Philippine-American War, the Pancho Villa Expedition, World War II, the Vietnam War, Gulf War and the Iraq War.

This is a big restaurant and pub with a very large bar and a variety of seating…the latter ranging from low tables to booths to high stools and tables and, of course, stools at the bar.  The ambiance is industrial but the ‘look’ is tempered by the wooden beams, wood covered ceiling and those big circular lighting fixtures.  Thanks to the server for her big smile!

At my stage and age, I opt for a standard table if one is available.  Booths are too hard to slide in and out of and if I sit on one of those high stools for very long, my legs tend to go to sleep…awkward! 

It wasn’t time for dinner so we just ordered this large Charcuterie Board with crusty bread, some unleavened crackers, cheeses, fruit, nuts, pepperoni and salami…all drizzled with honey. ($17.50) It was a very good charcuterie board with lots to nibble on for the money.  Everything was nice and fresh.  We proclaimed the Blackhorse Pub and Brewery as a “winner” and vowed to return soon!

I stuck to a nice Lemonade ($3.25), Laurie had the Vanilla Cream Ale ($6.00) which she loved, Bonnie had McGee’s Pale Ale ($6.00) and Bill had the Beer Sampler. ($7.50) He really liked their ‘Warhorse’ brew!

The Blackhorse Pub and Brewery in Alcoa Tennessee is located at 441 North Hall Road.  Phone: 865-448-5900.  The Blackhorse Pub and Brewery’s website is at Blackhorse - Blackhorse (

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave