Fat Boy Summer Road Trip, Part 3

The final installment of our summer journey covering the drive from Roswell, NM to Salem, OR during which time we discover that Chris Ledoux was right, life really is a highway.

Read More

Fat Boy Summer Road Trip, part 2

Day 5

We left St. Louis after a great time catching up with the Golden family and headed south to Memphis.  Alongthe way we stopped at Stonie's Sausage Shop for some road snacks.  They had a great selection of fresh made smoked meats and sausages, great homemade jerky, and a wide selection of local area products from pickles to pork rinds, wine, and sodas.  It was a great find.  We picked up some cheese, some snack sticks, and some bologna and sausage to thow in the cooler for the drive to Memphis.

IMG_2927.jpg
 Even on a Monday evening Beale Street was busy.

Even on a Monday evening Beale Street was busy.

After a long drive we made it to Memphis around 8pm and headed straight to Beale St., starting at the West end at the Hard Rock Cafe.  If you have never been to Memphis, TN it really is a trip every music lover should take.  The sights and sounds even on a Monday night were spectacular, with live music coming from every juke joint on Beale.  We walked "with our boots ten feet off of Beale" taking in the sights and sounds until we reached the end of the entertainment district and were waived into Coyote Ugly by their manager T.  It was quiet on a Monday night, but we ended up having a ton of fun and closing the place down with Morgan and Evee.

 In this job attitude is everything, and the Memphis Coyotes had it.  Evee was fiesty and up for a challenge.

In this job attitude is everything, and the Memphis Coyotes had it.  Evee was fiesty and up for a challenge.

 Morgan was pure attitude, running the bartop like it was a circus tent at times to try and get tips from a small crowd while drawing people in off of the street.

Morgan was pure attitude, running the bartop like it was a circus tent at times to try and get tips from a small crowd while drawing people in off of the street.

 Some customers relucktently dance on the bar for a photo....

Some customers relucktently dance on the bar for a photo....

 Other customers are much more enthusiastic!

Other customers are much more enthusiastic!

 What's a guy to do when his buddy wanders away and the next round comes?

What's a guy to do when his buddy wanders away and the next round comes?

 This fat boy drinks them both and hopes his boy comes back before the next round hits the bar....

This fat boy drinks them both and hopes his boy comes back before the next round hits the bar....

 And then your bartenders steal your phone off the bar to take a selfie!

And then your bartenders steal your phone off the bar to take a selfie!

Day 6

Left Memphis for Shreveport, LA.  The long night had us so tired we forgot to set the alarm and were woken up by the guy at the front desk telling us it was checkout time.  Fortunately he gave us a late checkout without a hassle.  We had a huge breakfast at Cracker Barrel and were on our way.

It was a long drive, but we made it into Shreveport and got checked into our hotel.  It was right next to the Louisiana Downs racetrack and casino, so we walked over there to find dinner.

Fuddruckers was the only restaurant in the casino still open, but they have always made an amazing burger so we had a nice meal.  We played the slots for a few minutes after dinner then called it an early night.

 

Day 7

After an early night we got up and packed after a decent breakfast buffet at the hotel.  After a long drive made it to Austin, TX.

 Stubbs BBQ has quickly become one of the premiere music venues in Austin, and they proudly have decorated with concert posters from previous shows.

Stubbs BBQ has quickly become one of the premiere music venues in Austin, and they proudly have decorated with concert posters from previous shows.

 I had the 3-meat combo with spare ribs, brisket, and classic sausage.  On the side I had Serrano Cheese spinach and mashed sweet potatoes.  

I had the 3-meat combo with spare ribs, brisket, and classic sausage.  On the side I had Serrano Cheese spinach and mashed sweet potatoes.  

No trip to Austin is complete for me without a trip to Stubbs BBQ.  Stubbs Legendary BBQ has been doing pit style BBQ right since Mr. Stubblefield opened the original (and now closed) joint in Lubbock in 1968.  He was instrumental in breaking musical talent like Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughn back then and ever since live music has been almost as important as the food to Stubbs' customers and fans worldwide.

After a great dinner at Stubbs we headed for 6th Street to find a party.  We walked the North side of the block then crossed to come back to Chuggin' Monkey to get a look at the band that we could hear from across the street.

The Blues Posse were tearing it up! Their lead guitar, Jack Edery was pulling blues licks from all over the spectrum and doing them well.  Vocals from Mr. Jamie van Beek were tight and accurate.  A great show.  On to the next spot.

 Blues Posse blew the roof off of The Chuggin' Monkey during their first set

Blues Posse blew the roof off of The Chuggin' Monkey during their first set

We left the Chuggin' Monkey and wandered into Pete's Dueling Piano Bar.  It was packed, with hundreds of people all singing along and shouting requests spanning the decades.

Another music town, another Coyote Ugly! Rosalyn, Morgan, and Ashley were fun but didn't match the energy or fun of the great ladies we met a couple of days ago in Memphis. 

We closed Coyote Ugly down again, and headed back to the hotel.

Day 8

We got up and moving planning on heading for Amarillo, but plans to see a friend fell through so we changed our routing a bit, heading to Roswell, NM instead. It was a long drive, but we made Roswell about 7:30 local time.  We had dinner at a local Mexican restaurant recommended by the girl at the front desk called Los Cerritos.

I had a great stuffed sopapilla with all the trimmings.  The recommendation if anything undersold the food.  I love New Mexican food, with the great use of hatch green chiles and a unique addition of fried dough.

Fat Boy Summer Road Trip

Day One

The Fat Boy Summer Road Trip started out with a day of flight from PDX to Kansas City. 

IMG_2728.JPG

After my arrival we went to dinner at a local spot called Nick & Nino's Pub. I Continued celebrating the #OldFashionedFortnight with a strong but decent Old Fashioned made with Makers 46. For an appetizer we had the Fried Trio, a combination of fried pickles, fried zucchini, and fried green beans. Dinner was a 16oz Rib eye, served with mashed potatoes and fresh sauteed veggies. The rib eye was perfectly cooked and seasoned, in addition to being tender enough that I didn't realize I was using my butter knife until the second bite.

The atmosphere at Nick & Nino's was great, with friendly staff and live music from a decent band.  Not a bad start to the adventure. 

Day Two

 

IMG_2738.JPG

Our second day started on base at Ft. Leavenworth for Maj. Michael Cooper's graduation from the United States Army's Command and General Staff College.  It was great to be able to be here and see Coop reach another milestone in his military career.

IMG_2741.JPG
FullSizeRender.jpg

The keynote address was provided by Gen. Abrams, Commanding General, U.S Army Forces Command.  His address focused on the bonds forged by graduates with each other and with graduates from the 93 nations represented in this year's class, the threats they will face in a faster paced global environment than his generation of staff officers had to deal with, and the relationships that would change to the organizations graduates would return to or be joining.

IMG_2905.JPG

After graduation breakfast was in order, so we headed to downtown Leavenworth to a restaurant that opened just a couple years ago in the old railroad depot, appropriately named The Depot. 

IMG_2903.JPG

My breakfast special included a biscuit with gravy, crispy and perfectly fried hashbrowns, two eggs, and two slices of crispy bacon.  The biscuits were flaky and amazing, gravy was peppery beauty.  One of the best classically dine breakfast Atos I've had in a long time.  Definitely worth a stop if you find yourself in Leavenworth, KS.

That evening we went out to celebrate before leaving town, and spent must of our evening at DraftCade in Kansas City's Zona Rosa mall.  Featuring 60 taps of craft brew goodness, classic pinball and arcade games, and a decent bar menu it was a fun place to hang out.

IMG_2758.JPG

  From there we headed out to local dive Arthur's for karaoke and drinks with some old friends to end the night.

Day Three

Day Three dawned with a delay after finding that the Uhaul had been stolen from the parking lot over night.  After a three hour delay to file the police report and track down a replacement trailer we were finally on the road to St. Louis and a home cooked meal with the Golden family.  Bob worked for Coop in New York, and I met them on our last trip West three years ago.  Since then they have become good friends.

FullSizeRender.jpg

 We arrived to advance amazing meal and great time catching up with the whole family. We stayed up until after 3am laughing and talking around the fire out back.  It was the perfect end to a day that started out so crazy.

Day Four

We woke up and had a light breakfast before heading out to see a little bit of the city.  We stayed at Anheiser-Busch's Grants Farm.  The historic home if general US Grant's in-laws it became the country home of the Busch family in the early 1900's.

IMG_2911.JPG

 We expected to see the Clydesdale horses so famous for pulling the beer wagons.  We didn't expect to find camels, elephants, buffalo, and exotic birds.

IMG_2914.JPG
IMG_2912.JPG
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

 From Grants Farm we headed downtown to visit the Arch.

FullSizeRender.jpg
  the old courthouse in St Louis

 the old courthouse in St Louis

We were all hot and tired so headed back to Bob and Rinku's house for dinner.  On the way we grabbed pizza from local favorite Imo's.  Featuring a cracker thin crust and light sauce it is unique but a nice might take on a take out staple.

Day Five

We left St. Louis after a great time catching up with the Golden family and headed south to Memphis.  Along  the way we stopped at Stonie's Sausage.

IMG_2927.JPG

Snack stix and sweet bologna were my favorite finds, but a great selection of meat and sausage aft decent prices.

I ❤️ Kentucky

Carrie and I spent the weekend in Louisville, and the visit reinforced the fact that I love Kentucky like it was where I was born to live.  From the small-town feel of the big city you get in Louisville to the rolling bluegrass fields and horse ranches of the countryside it's an amazing place that reminds me of my real home in Portland, Oregon but adds so much charm and history, not to mention actual seasons.  And we can't forget the bourbon.  From great bourbon bars to the largest and best bourbon distillers in the world both Louisville and Lexington are amazing whiskey towns. 

Mar 3, 2017

Day one of our anniversary trip to Louisville was a long drive, where we checked into the historic Seelbach Hotel followed by a great bowl of Burgoo and cocktails at one of the best hotel bars in the country, The Old Seelbach Bar.

42F05CDC-3C99-4064-B144-E01770D0F845.JPG
 The Old Seelbach Bar features an amazing whiskey selection in addition to being one of the oldest bars on Louisville's Urban Bourbon tour. 

The Old Seelbach Bar features an amazing whiskey selection in addition to being one of the oldest bars on Louisville's Urban Bourbon tour. 

Traditional burgoo was made using whatever meats and vegetables were available—typically, venison, squirrel, opossum, raccoon or game birds, and was often associated with autumn and the harvest season. Today, local barbecue restaurants use a specific meat in their recipes, usually pork, chicken, or mutton, which, along with the spices used, creates a flavor unique to each restaurant.

The Seelbach takes things to a new level featuring pork, rabbit, and venison in their burgoo. This combination of meats with the traditional okra, corn, and potatoes whose starches leech out to thicken this amazing soup create a concoction thick enough to stand your spoon up while still leaving an ample amount of broth to be soaked up by their amazing bourbon bread.

 The Old Seelbach Bar features an amazing burgoo

The Old Seelbach Bar features an amazing burgoo

March 4, 2017

We started with a quiet morning and breakfast in bed from the amazing Gatsby's on Fourth Cafe in the hotel. We then took a drive through historic Louisville. We tried to get in for a tour of the Angels Envy distillery that opened across from Slugger Stadium since the last time we were in town, but tours were sold out for the day. Instead we took a drive out Old Bardstown Road through the historic neighborhoods East of Downtown known as The Highlands.

IMG_0015.PNG
B6A9EBFE-02EF-417E-AFD1-9BCA91469046.JPG

We came back early afternoon and walked down the street from the Seelbach to another historic Louisville hotel, The Brown for lunch. Our favorite spot in the hotel, the Lobby Bar wasn't open yet but I got some pictures before heading down to the historic J. Graham's Cafe on the first floor.

 The Lobby Bar at The Brown Hotel

The Lobby Bar at The Brown Hotel

 Lobby and mezzanine from The Brown Hotel's front desk

Lobby and mezzanine from The Brown Hotel's front desk

J. Graham's Cafe is the originator of the Hot Brown, the city's signature sandwich which was developed in the 1920's to satisfy late night diners looking for more glamorous than ham and eggs after attending the historic dinner dances hosted in the 4,300 sqft Crystal Ballroom which regularly accommodated more than 1,200 guests per night.

 The J. Graham cafe in the Brown Hotel's daylight basement is one of Downtown Louisville's oldest

The J. Graham cafe in the Brown Hotel's daylight basement is one of Downtown Louisville's oldest

We of course both chose the Hot Brown for our lunch, and as always were not disappointed. The amazing mornay sauce is as ever the centerpiece of this amazing open faced sandwich, combining Pecorino Romano cheese with a perfectly made cream sauce with just a hint of nutmeg to draw out the nutty flavors of the cheese. This sauce covers the base of Texas toast and Turkey before being sprinkled with more cheese and thrown under a broiler. The sandwich is then covered with 2 strips of bacon before being garnished and served. There is no better sandwich in my experience, and I've eaten some amazing sandwiches in my travels.

 The world famous Hot Brown originated in this historic cafe

The world famous Hot Brown originated in this historic cafe

Mar 5, 2017

 Wallace Station

Wallace Station

Country Ham and Pimento cheese on wheat from Wallace Station is an amazingly well constructed sandwich.  The salt and sweet from the ham are the perfect foil for the creamy spice of the pimento cheese.  Pimento cheese is one of those southern creations we just don't find most places in Oregon unless we make it like Grandma did.

 Wallace Station's Country Ham & Pimento cheese sandwich features a house made white cheddar pimento cheese. 

Wallace Station's Country Ham & Pimento cheese sandwich features a house made white cheddar pimento cheese. 

Carrie had the Turkey Rachel, Roast turkey, Russian dressing, Swiss cheese and creamy slaw.  A southern take on the Ruben with house made slaw that takes it to a whole new level.  She said it was a great sandwich, and her clean plate said she wasn't just being polite.

 The Turkey Rachel from Wallace Station features an awesome house made slaw

The Turkey Rachel from Wallace Station features an awesome house made slaw

The Wife and Daughter take a trip to NYC and review the experience

Note from the Fatboy-in-Chief: This article was written by my amazing wife about her recent trip with my mother-in-law and daughter to NYC for my daughters 16th birthday.  You will notice some stylistic differences but the writing is probably much better than mine.  Enjoy.

Read More

Fat Boy Summer Road Trip 2014 Part 2: On the Road day 9

Today we had planned on hard driving getting us to Albequerque, NM.  We got a bit of a later start, and when I realized that Route 66 passed through Joplin, MO we decided to spend some time exploring the Mother Road instead of pushing down the interstate.

Read More

The Fat Boy Summer Road Trip 2014 Part 2: On the Road Day 6

 My view for 4 hours while waiting for Coop to finish getting his Jeep inspected for shipping.

My view for 4 hours while waiting for Coop to finish getting his Jeep inspected for shipping.

Today started of OK, then got bogged down for hours before a great finish.  We got moving this morning, checked out of our hotel in Towson, MD and planned to get to the Port of Baltimore around 1300 for Coop's appointment to ship his Jeep before a six hour drive to Raleigh, NC.  Unfortunately, what we hoped was going to be a quick process dropping off the Jeep ended up keeping us there until after 1800, making getting to the Raleigh area and Ft. Bragg impossible.

what it did do was have us ending the night just south of Richmond, VA after a great meal and evenin catching up with an old friend for Coop and meeting a new friend for me when we met Art at Honey Whyte's. 

 

When Art found out we were coming through late hetold us he had just the place for us to get the best burger in Richmond, and he was underselling what we found.

image.jpg

Located on Historic Tobacco Row in the Shockoe Bottom area of Richmond, VA Honey Whyte's boldly proclaims on assign out front "best burger", and they back it up convincingly.  The only entrees on the menu are burgers.  They have turkey burgers for the healthy eaters and even a black bean patty for the vegetarians in the crowd but what they really do is beef.  You start by choosing either a 1/4 pound or 1/2 pound patty and then the type of burger.

image.jpg

Fried pickles, the perfect appetizer

We started with an order of fried pickles, and they were perfect.  Thickly battered and evenly coated, they were crispy and delicious.  Back home fried pickles often are cooked at too low a tempature and end up a soggy mess, it's good to be in The South again.

 Honey Whyte's "1/2lb Heart Attack" stands by itself, no sides needed!

Honey Whyte's "1/2lb Heart Attack" stands by itself, no sides needed!

The signature burger at Honey Whyte's is the 1/2 pound Heart Attack.  A 1/2 pound fresh beef patty between two grilled cheese and bacon sandwiches.  Presentation was simple, a giant burger in the center of a clean white plate with a knife stuck in the center.  No sides like fries to detract from the mountainous burger.  The individual sandwiches were grilled crispy and perfectly browned, and the beef was one of the best burgers I've ever eaten.  This goes in my top 5 list along with burgers like The Boncat Bite's Green Chile Burger in Sante Fe, NM and the Hot Brown Burger from Wallace Station in Versailles, KY.

 The cross section of the 1/2lb Heart Attack shows off the bacon and cheese in those great sandwiches it uses as buns

The cross section of the 1/2lb Heart Attack shows off the bacon and cheese in those great sandwiches it uses as buns

It was great to meet Art and a great chance for he and Coop to catch up, but it was also an amazing burger experience.  Serendipity to be sure on this Fat Boy Summer Road Trip.

 Coop and Art at the end of the night as we headed out to find our hotel.

Coop and Art at the end of the night as we headed out to find our hotel.