On the Northern edge of downtown Astoria, Oregon, across from the Maritime Museum is an old tramp boat sitting on a trailer, with lines around the block. When you get closer it is easy to understand why: you can smell the greasy goodness of fried fish as only Bowpicker serves it up.Read More
We woke up after far too little sleep in Nashville this morning with another long day of driving planned, but wanted to see a couple things in the daylight before we left town. We went by and snapped a picture of the Nashville skyline in the morning sun and a picture of LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans. Our final stop was to the Nashville Farmers Market to grab a fresh lunch before hitting the road for Joplin, MO to hug an old friend and have dinner with her.
The Nashville Farmers Market is huge, with five buildings in total. Two "Farm Sheds" contain stalls for local farmers to sell fresh produce and feature everything from turnip greens to fresh peaches and heirloom tomatoes. In the middle is the Food Court, an enclosed building that is home to several permanent restaurants, an international foods market, and quite a few temporary food booths selling everything from handmade pastries and gelato to traditional Indian and Jamaican foods.
The final two structures are the "Flea Market", featuring booths from dozens of different vendors. Here you can find all kinds of thins from clothing to household goods and designer fragrances.
In the Food Court we decided on a crepe from Music City Crepes. They intrigued me with hot savory crepes filled with meat and cheese. I had mine with ground beef, cheddar cheese, olives, onions, and fresh spinach. It was a nice refreshing yet substantial meal to hold us through the 600 mile drive planned for the day.
From Nashville we headed out on our long drive to the Southwest corner of Missouri. Crossing the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and the Ozark mountains.
Our route took us to one of the biggest river joinings in the world. In the span of two miles Route 51 took us across the Ohio River from Kentucky into Illinois, then across the Mississippi River from Illinois into Missouri just a mile north of the point where these two mighty rivers join. You are in Illinois so briefly that the only indication is a sign saying you are on the Lincoln historical trail just before you leave while crossing the Mississippi.
We checked into the Holiday Inn in Joplin and then met up with Katie, a good friend who lives just west of Joplin for dinner at the Steak n Shake before calling it a night. It was a long drive but worth it to have a few hours catching up with an old friend and having a meal together before heading to bed for Sunday's journey.
With yesterday's delays we had some miles to make up today, but had a night in Nashville waiting as our reward for making the push.
We saw some beautiful scenery crossing the Smoky Mountains as we crossed Virginia, and driving through them in Tennessee as we logged almost 900 miles. We stopped in Bristol, VA/TN for a later lunch and found ourselves at Burger Bar, a downtown Bristol fixture since 1942 with a big sign advertising Bristol's Best Burger. We were greated by friendly staff and a 1940s style diner that I'm sure looks very much like it did the day it opened.
I had a pretty basic bacon and cheddar burger made extraordinary by the hand formed fresh beef patty, high-grade bacon, and perfect seasoning. When I eat at this type of diner I try the burger the way it is served before I add condiments, and for a burger to be "Fat Boy Approved" it has to stand on its own. This burger did with no problem at all. The beef perfectly cooked, juicy without grease running all over, high quality toppings, and a great bun that held up without being too crusty.
After completing our meal we found out that Joe Deel, one of the owners was there and when our waitress handed him the card I left with the check he came out to talk with me for a few minutes. What I wish I had known before I ordered is that much of what they serve every day isn't on the menu. Regulars know to ask what they have fresh when they sit at the counter, and it has been known to range from fresh organic produce to venison. If I make it back I'll be sure to ask Joe what he wants to cook me instead of even looking at the menu. This is hometown hospitality and tradition done right, and Bristol's Famous Burger Bar is earning a permanent place in Fat Boy Heaven as a result. Whether you are in town for races at the Bristol Motor Speedway, or traveling through to learn more about Bristol's role in country music history make sure you stop in and see the Deel's and tell them the Fat Boy sent you.
As we left Bristol a torrential thunder storm hit out of nowhere, not an uncommon occurance this high in the Smoky Mountains. Visibility was so bad that traffic on the Interstate literally pulled over to wait it out or crept aong with 4-way flashers helping fellow travelers see them on the road. It passed almost as quickly, and we made the trip the rest of the way into Nashville without issue.
We checked into our hotel and quickly changed out of our travel clothes to go out and explore Nashville. Coop had never been here, and was blown away when we got down to Broadway, where the majority of the honky tanks in town sit side by side in a three block stretch near the Ryman Auditorium and the Nashville Convention Center. After walking the strip we decided nothing special was going on anywhere else, so we might as well hit the oldest of the bars. On Broadway, Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. The place was packed and we waited on line for about 20 minutes before getting inside. Once there we got drinks at the bar from the friendly and efficient staff and found a spot to stand and enjoy the performance of Anthony Orion and the Goodfellows.
It was a great night at an amazing bar, and even after a long day on the road we couldn't pry ourselves away until last call. Now we can't wait to get back to Nashville with more time to explore.
Bro Dogs came out to cater my 20 year high-school reunion, and they did not disappoint. I had The Dude - a Hand made sausage topped with cream-cheese, onions, mushrooms, bacon, cheddar, and jalapeño peppers on a custom made roll that holds up well to the toppings.
Strangely, it was the cream cheese smeared on the bun that really pulls this dog together. The creaminess blends with the onions and peppers to provide a saucy feel to the dog.
The cart has a wider menu than he brought out on site to our event, and I will be looking them up next time I'm downtown to give them a try. This is Fat Boy Heaven on a bun folks.
When we were in Kentucky, I wrote about the Ambassador Day at Makers Mark on day two of our visit. One of the great things about that day was the amazing greek food we had from Athenian Grill in Lexington and their booth on the food court there. Now Athenian Grill is working to open a permanent location in Lexington, and has turned to Kickstarter for funding. While most of the awards for backers are only going to be valuable to people in the Lexington area, the $50 reward includes shipping of their scratch-made pastries anywhere in the U.S.
If you are in Lexington, or really anywhere in Eastern Kentucky, I encourage you to consider supporting Illias in getting this restaurant built, you will love his food and his passion.
I love good food, and love comfort food even more. So when the guys told me that there was a new cart in the parking lot of my my old employer at Triangle Pointe in Tigard, I decided to visit them for lunch and see it for myself.
Featuring "Scratch Made Classics", Retrolicious is comfort food done right. Their signature sandwhich seems to be a creation they call "The Jethro". Roasted pork, bacon, BBQ sauce, coleslaw, and cheese on a toasted roll is an amazing sandwich. Served with potato chips for $7, it is also a great value for the time put into the preperation that goes into this thing. The pork is slow roasted, the bacon crispy, and the slaw a perfect contrast. If there weren't so many other great items on the menu I would eat this happily every week. Fortunately for all of us, there are plenty of other great items on the menu.
From meatloaf sandwichs and dinners to fried chicken with mashed potatoes, pimento mac and cheese to homemade soups the hits keep on coming from this wonderful cart. I'm just hoping to catch the chicken and waffles next time....I hear it's the best in town.
Retrolicious can be found around town throughout the week. Check out this piece of FatBoy Heaven....you won't be sorry.
I was at the Feast Oregon Grand Tasting yesterday (and will post more later on that topic and the great things I tasted), and met the Ladies responsible for The Pie Spot. They have a KickStarter campaign that is about to run out, and I'd love if my readers could help them meet their funding goals.
Their story is on their KickStarter page, so I won't tell it here, but I can tell you that I was impressed by their offerings at The Grand Tasting. They brought a Marion Berry pie, and the amazing Chocolate Hazelnut. The Chocolate Hazelnut was messy but delicious, with chocolate chipts that were distinct enough to stay suspended in the brown-sugar and corn syrup filling without melting together and becoming a gooey mess. Think a pecan-pie, with hazelnuts and chocolate chips rather than pecans. Easily the best desert of the day, even considering the presence of Salt & Straw at the event.
Lets see if we can help these folks out with getting their store-front open!
First on the list today was Slick's Big Time BBQ out if Newberg. We tried the Chef's Special, which included 2 Ribs, a Pulled Pork sandwich and 2 sides for $12.00
The ribs were juicy and tender, with a very nice bark. They were cooked the way I would do them in the back yard, cut thick and falling off the bone. In a competition they would be overcooked with the way the whole piece of meat came off when I tried to take a bite. The pulled pork was tender, but I didn't care for the heavy sauce they paired with this one. It was supposed to be sweet and spicy, but the spice overwhelmed the sweet here. The baked beans were more of a chili than a baked bean, and the slaw was good but not great.
Overall it was decent but not great BBQ, but well above average for a fair-type setting.
One of the things that is an exciting trend in Portland food is the Food Cart, and I've decided to start highlighting new cart ideas that have taken to KickStarter for final funding to get off the ground. Crowd sourcing technology has been an ever present fact of life, but crowd sourced local food is an idea I love.
The latest idea is Cheese & Crack, a gourmet cheese and cracker box featuring hand-made crackers with local cheese and meat. A great concept, and one I can't wait to try this summer. You can find out how to help here, and check out the video for more information.