Friday August 4th- Knoxville
We left Friday morning after dropping the dogs off at the Happy Tails Pet Resort. We usually take the pooches with us, but with the hot and muggy weather we did not want to have them stay in the truck during our meal-times and other happenings, so they got 'doggie-spa' time this trip.
We headed for Knoxville Tennessee via Lexington to meet up with Sundancer and Poverty Pete at Littons restaurant. Litton's has a good review on this site and is known far and wide as a great Burger Restaurant. Apparently it is better known that even we were aware as about mid-morning we received cell-phone calls from both Sundancer and P.P. that the Governor of Tennessee was enjoying his lunch at Litton's to celebrate his previous day's victory in the Primary Election....so the Parking area (at 11am) was crammed with TV trucks and cops and others interested in something other than a good burger. However by 1:30pm when we finally got into Knoxville things were back to normal. While Busy, the parking was easy and we were seated within a few minutes of entering.
Photo- 1 and 2
We had heard a lot about the Thunder Road Cheeseburger, so that was my choice. Janet and Paul selected the 'regular Cheeseburger' and Steve opted for the Fish Sandwich platter.
Here is my Thunder Road Cheeseburger. it was a great Burger ,but the Pimento Cheese was a bit overpowering , so I scraped off much of it, leaving a small amount to balance a bit better with the onions and the burger meat.
Here are the 4 plates together-
The fellow at the table beside me had ordered the Chili Dog. When it arrived he agreed to have us include it in the photo report. There is a 'Weinie' buried in that chili somewhere.!!
We enjoyed the lunch and the conversation a lot. For dessert we ordered some Red Velvet Cake (very, very sweet) for me and a Key Lime pie slice for Janet. I would pass on both next time. They were good, but on top of the Burger and Onion Rings they were a bit much!
At this point Paul headed for home, planning to join us Saturday in Georgia. P.P. and Janet and I headed south out of Knoxville to Madisonville and Sweetwater. We no sooner left Litton's that we were delurged with a real Frog-choker of a Rainstorm. We worked our way thru the late Friday afternoon traffic in Knoxville without being able to see the highway signs in the heavy rain. Luckily Steve knows the area so we finally emerged from the rain in the right location and pulled up at Benton's Hams in Madisonville TN without an extended delay. The place is on US 411 just south of the Junction with TN-72. Easy to spot once you are out of the city traffic.
We had a nice visit with Allan Benton who owns the business. Mr Benton started his professional life as a teacher just a year younger than the Mayor, so we swapped stories about what it like to try to feed a family on teacher pay back in the 60's!! He took us on a tour of the place showing and describing the steps in the process of making the ham and bacon products that he now excels in marketing. Fred Sauceman did a great article a couple of years ago reviewing Alan Bentons business. As a result of that article, Sundancer and I visited the place and really got hooked on the wonderful meat Mr.Benton produces. Country Hams, some 'extra-aged' for up to two years, Great Bacon- Ask Lleechef, she mooches some at every chance...and especially the Prosciutto.
Here are Hams in the various stages of aging.
Here are sides of Bacon, almost ready to slice.
We weren't sure how much of the prosciutto we wanted (read could afford at $16.00 a pound), but Allan told us that he sold the WHOLE Prosciutto Hams, de-boned and trimmed, but not sliced, for $6.50 a pound. Well Poverty Pete and I both jumped at that, with the agreement that Alan would cut the finished ham into two pieces so that we could each get a 'half'.
Here he is working on OUR Prosciutto.
We also bought some finished Bacon( 1 lb. pkgs), and some Country Ham 'Bits and Pieces' in 4 oz sealed pacs. Allan sealed our Prosciutto in the vacum-sealed plastic so it will keep until we are ready for it.
We bought some triscuits and had our supper in the motel on friday evening. This was a taste-test of comparing the prosciutto with thinly sliced Country Ham. We liked them both, but really noticed the softer texture of the Prosciutto when compared to the Country Ham. The Hams smokey flavor and grainier texture made it stand out from the mellower unsmoked Prosciutto...but the Ham was from the Bit's and pieces packs so it was probably trimmings from the outer edges, rather than the heart of the Ham!
Anyway, rather than go out for dinner friday we stayed in the Motel, snacked the nite away on the ham and triscuits and drank the Fuzzy Navels we wrote about on another thread. Homemade Peach Puree, OJ, Schnapps, and some bubbly soda made great beverages for Jan and I, while PP stayed with his beer!
Saturday Morning- We wandered around the Sweetwater Fleamarket for an hour or so. It is a large weekend Flea Market, Located on I-75 at exit 60. Always an interesting place to find a lot of stuff you don't need , fun to look at.
Then it was time to head for Dillard GA, with a stop at the Mayfield Creamery in Athens Tennessee on the way. Mayfield makes very good Ice cream. We think it is the equal to Grauters, the Cincinnati Ice Cream Chain, but Mayfields prices are "dirt cheap" compared to the other 'premium' sort of Ice Cream Stores.
At the dairy on the edge of Athens they have tours for those who want to watch the process and a pretty little Ice Cream Parlor and Gift Shop that just can't be beat.
The ice cream is a buck a scoop, and two scoops fills the Mayor quite well, thank you. I enjoyed Turtle-tracks and Carmel Coyote this time, While Janet did a Coffeecrunch and Carmel Coyote also.
With our sweet-tooth filled, we did the scenic skyway road over into North Carolina then south to the State Line and Dillard GA, in time to walk around their BBQ festival..More to be added