Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South

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buffetbuster
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2007/10/16 19:12:31 (permalink)

Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South

Friday October 12, 2007
 
It is time for the annual trip for my cousin Johnny and I. The game plan is to fly in and out of Nashville and spend the week exploring Georgia and Alabama, with small amounts of time in Florida and Tennessee.

While at the airport in Pittsburgh waiting for my plane, I bought the latest Gourmet, which coincidentally had an article by Jane & Michael about hot fish and hot chicken in Nashville. Since the article featured Eastside Fish, that was the natural target. I called and they were open until 11:00. After meeting at the Nashville airport, we were on our way.

I really liked the atmosphere at Eastside Fish. When it was my turn to order, I told them it was my first time there. The guy who took my order yelled to someone in the back, "Hey, we got a first timer here" and the guy in the back yelled up "Where you been"? We took our food back to our hotel

Here is the two piece whiting fish, along with sides of fries and green beans:


I actually asked for the side of spaghetti, but got the fries instead. The fish was nice and crunchy, the fries were well seasoned and the green beans were ultra soft and flavorful.

Johnny turned his fish into a hefty sandwich, which ended up looking like:


For dessert, Johnny had the pecan pie, while I sampled the chess pie:


Much more to follow....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/01/05 10:36:36
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    buffetbuster
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/16 20:08:59 (permalink)
    Saturday October 13, 2007 

    We were both quite happy to get up early, since we knew what was waiting for us at the other end of a short drive....PANCAKE PANTRY!!!
    I consider this the best breakfast place in the country and both of us put it in our all-time top 10.

    You can tell the Pancake Pantry just opened because it doesn't have a long line:


    Johnny had the sweet potato pancakes, like he did on his previous visit, while I went for the sugar & spice pancakes, pictured here:

    I can't even begin to tell you how good both those pancakes were, other than they were perfect. The warm maple syrup just added to it.

    Speaking of perfect, I ordered the country ham and this was the best country ham I have ever had. Chewy and complex, it is a flavor explosion in your mouth:


    We also split a side of hash browns and bacon. While we were thrilled at the greatness of the meal we just enjoyed, we knew that it was going to be tough to top for the rest of the trip. We will see if any other restaurant can come through!

    Back to the hotel to shower and check-out. But before leaving the Nashville area, we stopped in Franklin to buy some pastries at Merridee's Breadbasket for the road.


    Unfortunately, Meridee's was mobbed...there was barely room to move around.


    After standing in line for a while, I find out they won't make the cheese pimiento sandwich in the morning. Disappointed, we still bought some other bakery items to go and Johnny especially enjoyed his slice of pumpkin cheesecake.

    One of my strange hobbies is I like to visit college campuses and buy a t-shirt or sweatshirt from their bookstore. So our next stop was Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. But, when we got there, the bookstore was closed due to Fall break.

    With some time to kill, we headed for Shelbyville and Pope's Cafe. Since we weren't particularly hungry, I thought we would just get a couple slices of pie. But, following the pattern of the day, Pope's was closed. I did see something interesting in the window, though. I remember someone reporting that Pope's bought the equipment from the late great Vandyland in Nashville.


    Much more to follow....
    post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/01/05 10:37:01
    #2
    Wandering Chew
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/16 22:03:43 (permalink)
    hey buffet -sounds like a great trip- for the less informed -i assume the Pancake Pantry is in NAshville?
    #3
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/16 22:23:55 (permalink)
    WanderingChew-
    Pancake Pantry is indeed in Nashville:

    http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=465&RefID=465
    #4
    mr chips
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/17 03:08:44 (permalink)
    Meridee's Breadbasket was a memorable stop on my Nashville trip. please keep the reports coming.
    #5
    SassyGritsAL
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/17 11:28:34 (permalink)
    Will you be heading south on I-65? If so, remember Big Bob Gibson's in Decatur or Greenbriers (take the I-565 exit and then the Greenbrier exit heading toward Huntsville). Remember, there are two Greenbrier's. I prefer the one that is 2 miles from the exit; while the other one can be seen from the Interstate spur. Only about 25 miles from Decatur is Huntsville and if you are looking for Roadfood, try Big Spring Cafe (Home of the Greasy Burgers), Blueplate Cafe for meat and three (great bread pudding), Beauregard's for wonderful wings, and of course Dreamland for ribs.
    #6
    ChiTownDiner
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/17 11:35:58 (permalink)
    Cliff - keep it coming...love your reports and pix!
    #7
    RibDog
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/17 13:29:48 (permalink)
    BB,

    Did you try anything else while in Shelbyville? I will be up that way next week for the Jack Daniels Invitational World Barbeque Championship.

    John
    #8
    soozycue520
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/17 13:32:17 (permalink)
    Grrrrrrrr8 food pics. All I can say is, YUMMY!!!

    Thanks for posting, and I'm looking forward to more!!
    #9
    tamandmik
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/17 15:48:11 (permalink)
    Ordinarily, I am not a big fan of fried fish, as I prefer my filets blackened, smoked, etc, that said, Johnny's filet sandwich looks to be an exception. I'd eat that sandwich in a heartbeat.
    #10
    Poverty Pete
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/17 17:14:44 (permalink)
    RibDog, while in Shelbyville, you should track down the Bedford Cheese factory outlet. It's only a couple of blocks from the town square.
    #11
    EdSails
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/17 18:32:16 (permalink)
    Those sweet potato pancakes sound dyn-o-mite!
    #12
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/17 19:04:10 (permalink)
    Thanks to ChiTownDiner and everyone else for the nice comments. I was hoping to be further along in the report, but the hotel last night had a poor internet connection. I just checked in at my hotel in Mobile and I'm munching on peanut brittle and chocolate covered peanuts from A & M Peanut Shop. Good stuff!
    #13
    EdSails
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/17 19:25:46 (permalink)
    Hope you're going to Wintzel's Oyster House.....still my favorite!
    #14
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/17 19:49:13 (permalink)
    Saturday October 13, 2007 cont.

    Next was the Jack Daniels tour in Lynchburg. I took this tour about ten years ago and it is quite different today. Here is the safe that Jack kicked that caused the infection in his toe, which eventually led to his death.

    barrel storage

    drip by drip


    I'm not much of a drinker, but I enjoyed the tour. This was mostly due to the guide Paul, who was very entertaining.

    To kill some time, we walked around Lynchburg for a while and soon it was time to meet Poverty Pete for late lunch at Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House.

    PP was right on time and we relaxed and chatted on the front porch waiting for the dinner bell. When it rang, we ended up being seated around a big table in the Jasper Room, with tons of food waiting for us. The fried chicken, meatloaf and fried okra photos all turned out bad, but I did get a few good ones of other things like fried apples laced with Jack:

    excellent green beans

    There is always one dessert and on this day it was cherry cobbler.


    Overall Miss Mary Bobo's gets a thumbs up. But while the food was good, it wasn't great. And our very nice hostess, who sat at our table and led the conversation talked so much, we really didn't get much of a chance to talk to each other. Still, I would be very happy to go back.

    After saying goodbye to Poverty Pete, we got on our way to Chattanooga. Full, but not stuffed, we stopped at Riverside Catfish House, which appeared in Eat Your Way Across the U.S.A.


    Sitting next to the Tennessee River, this was a nice, friendly little place just west of the city. We both got the catfish & shrimp combo. Here is a close-up of the catfish:


    Now stuffed beyond belief, we settled down at our hotel in Chattanooga for the night.

    Much more later.....




    post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/01/05 10:37:28
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    buffetbuster
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/17 19:54:32 (permalink)
    EdSails-
    That will be dinner tomorrow night! What do you recommend?
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    buffetbuster
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/17 20:31:01 (permalink)
    Sunday October 14, 2007 

    Knowing what was ahead of us food wise for the rest of the day, we just ate the complimentary (crappy) breakfast at the hotel and then headed to Rock City. Here is me, with the overlook behind me:

    Here is Johnny contemplating whether I will fit through Fat Man's Squeeze. Note: I did and Vegas lost a bundle!

    A side view of the overlook:


    Since we are being such good tourists, we next headed for Ruby Falls.
    Located inside a cave, it was a healthy walk back to the falls, but well worth it. Here is the waterfall, bathed in blue light:


    After a nice drive through the north Georgia countryside, we arrived at our first big meal of the day.....The Smith House. The Smith House is another all-you-can-eat boardinghouse meal, located in Dahlonega.

    My complaint about this place was that they pack you WAY too tightly into the seats. It was uncomfortable for a big guy like me. But the good food made the visit worthwhile. Yams:

    excellent roast beef:

    even better fried chicken:

    and greens:


    Dessert was strawberry shortcake:


    Much more to come.....
    post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/01/05 10:37:54
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    RibDog
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/17 21:39:01 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Poverty Pete

    RibDog, while in Shelbyville, you should track down the Bedford Cheese factory outlet. It's only a couple of blocks from the town square.


    Thanks Pete, I will do that.

    John
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    mr chips
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/17 22:38:05 (permalink)
    That boarding house spread looks mighty tasty. I enjoyed my tour of the Jack Daniels distillery in 1996 but missed Mary Bobo's. please keep up the excellent reports.
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    buffetbuster
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/17 23:00:59 (permalink)
    Sunday October 14, 2007 cont.

    After leaving The Smith House, we headed to Athens, so I could hit the UGA bookstore. They had a lot of really nice stuff and I ended up buying several shirts. But we couldn't waste too much time there, because we were meeting friends at Blue Willow Inn in Social Circle.


    The Blue Willow Inn is more of a buffet place, but the food is significantly better than the typical buffet. We got there and checked in (reservations are a good idea) and my friend Rhonda and her husband arrived shortly. It was the first time I had met Rhonda's husband Ash, who was very likable and we had a great time discussing politics (he works for a US senator), sports and food.

    At the table next to us, a man got down on one knee and started singing, while pulling a ring out of his pocket. All the waitresses came running into the room to watch. It was very fun to see and she did say yes. When I congratulated them on the way out, I told him I wasn't sure if it was a marriage proposal or a try out for American Idol!

    The food at Blue Willow Inn is excellent. I was so caught up in the conversation, I didn't take many pictures, but here are a few.....
    fried chicken:

    dessert area, which included pecan pie, coconut cake, chocolate cake, carrot cake, brownies, peach cobbler and much more:


    The food is so good here, Johnny thinks it is in his all-time top 10 and he has been to approximately 300 different Roadfood places!

    After saying our goodbyes, we drove off to our hotel in Atlanta.
    post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/01/05 10:38:20
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    buffetbuster
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/17 23:52:00 (permalink)
    Monday October 15, 2007 

    We headed to Silver Skillet in downtown Atlanta for breakfast. Bad news for me....they were out of country ham. Johnny and I both got pork chops, mine fried and his grilled:

    Good biscuits, gravy and eggs completed the country breakfast. But we couldn't leave without trying some other Silver Skillet items, so Johnny went for the lemon ice box pie:

    while I went for the banana pudding:


    Another of my little interests is taking tours of all of the capitol buildings and I haven't been to the Georgia capitol before. Here is an outside view:

    inside of the dome:

    and the house chamber:


    Certainly a nice building, but nothing about it particularly stood out.

    Since we hadn't eaten for a few minutes, it was time for lunch. We headed to Harold's, which is a barbecue place.


    We were both very disappointed with this place. As much as I liked the very good brunswick stew and the cole slaw, the meat tasted old and had no flavor. Here is the plate:


    No big deal, we headed for the aquarium, which was huge! This is just a small portion of the main room:

    a close up of a sea otter:

    and my favorite thing, the sea nettles:


    This is one of the best aquariums I have been to and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Atlanta.

    Much more to come.....
    post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/01/05 10:38:50
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    Oneiron339
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/18 07:28:10 (permalink)
    I wish I knew your itinerary. I never pass up a Silver Skillet lunch or a trip to Harolds.
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    John A
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/18 07:30:51 (permalink)
    Great report and pics BB, keep it up.

    Thank you
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    buffetbuster
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/18 07:33:57 (permalink)
    Oneiron339-
    My apologies for not contacting you. It would have been nice if you could have joined us. But there is so much to do (and eat) in this area, it probably won't be long until we are back.

    So obviously you are a fan of Harold's? I was hoping our bad meal there was an aberration.
    #24
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/18 08:23:37 (permalink)
    Monday October 15, 2007 cont.

    After the excellent time at the Georgia Aquarium, we headed next door to the World of Coca-Cola. Some interesting stuff about the soft drink I hadn't known and they had a lot of fun things to do, especially for kids. Also enjoyed watching all the foreign commercials. At the end, they have a big room where you get to try 62 different Coke products from around the world. A few of them tasted rather good, but most of them were nasty. A beverage called Beverly from Italy took me days to get out of my mouth! Yuk!

    With dinnertime approaching, we headed to Mary Mac's Tea Room, where Rhonda joined us for dinner. Great atmosphere at this place! Instead of telling the waitress what you want, you write in down on the note pad and give it to her. The food wasn't great, but certainly good enough. Sweet potato souffle:

    If this is your first visit, you get a free sample of pot likker, which we thoroughly enjoyed:

    Both Rhonda and I got the four veggie plates, while Johnny ate the fried chicken. For dessert, banana pudding and peach cobbler:


    After such a full day, we headed back to the hotel to just relax for a few hours. But you can't go to Atlanta without a visit to The Varsity.....especially since Johnny hadn't been there before. So a little after ten, we headed downtown once again.

    Neither one of us really cared for the onion rings, but I enjoy their hot dogs. And unlike last visit, I did get a "What'll ya have" from the girl at the counter.



    Full and tired, we retreated to our hotel for the night.

    Much more to come.....


    post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/01/05 10:39:18
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    Leania_1stone
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/18 09:41:25 (permalink)
    I haven't had breakfast yet and now I'm drooling everything looks fabulous :)
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    EdSails
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/18 12:14:18 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by buffetbuster

    EdSails-
    That will be dinner tomorrow night! What do you recommend?


    Fried crab claws and plenty of oysters on the half shell!
    #27
    CajunKing
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/18 14:42:50 (permalink)
    BB

    How was the chess pie back at Eastside Fish??

    Your trip to date sounds like you had a wonderful adventure.

    #28
    Rick F.
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/18 14:43:03 (permalink)
    " />Heavens! You missed the bookstore (and the buildings and 10,000 acre campus!) of The University of The South.
    [img]
    #29
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/18 20:32:57 (permalink)
    Rick F. -
    Are you an alumni of Sewanee? I have an ex who worked as a professor there and hated it. But she was a big city girl and she had a hard time making the adjustment.

    CajunKing-
    I thought the chess pie was quite good at Eastside Fish. Not as good as what I had at Arnold's Country Kitchen, but good nonetheless.
    #30
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