We started our two week trip on August 18. We were en route from Baltimore to Memphis, Tenn where we were going to get on The American Queen steamboat for a trip to New Orleans.
Our first stop was lunch inMarion, VA.
at The Dip Dog
. We ordered 8 "dogs" for 2 adults and 3 children; also had 2 orders of unmemorable french fries along with our dip dogs and sodas. A dip dog is a great thing. It is a bright red hot dog on a stick which has been dipped into a sort of pancake-like batter and then deep fried. When the dog is removed from the fryer, it is swirled around in a tub of mustard and then put into a brown paper bag. They are great and the kids loved them. Our 2nd time here and we were not disappointed.
Dinner that night was at Aubrey's
in Knoxville, TN
which was just a short distance from our hotel and it was just what we were looking for after driving all day with 3 small children. The atmosphere was very nice and the service was terrific. We loved the menu. The 2 older children shared a dinner platter with a selection of four vegetables. The vegetables were as delicious as could be. The youngest one ordered the child's chicken which turned out to be 2 very large pieces of perfectly fried chicken served with fresh french fried potato chips which were excellent. My son had broiled grouper which was the fish of the day and I had the peanut crusted catfish. We both enjoyed Caesar's salads and 2 sides of vegetables. (Thanks to Carleton Pierre for having this on his list..........I recognized the name from the list of restaurants which were right by our hotel.)
Friday Aug 19, we headed on toward Memphis. We had wanted to eat at Wilma Kaye's (in Nashville) for lunch but it was too early to stop so we went on and took a detour to Lexington, TN
where we had a wonderful meal at Hay's Smokehouse
. There we had the pleasure of meeting Dennis Hays and his lovely wife and enjoying some great food. The pulled pork was awesome and the ribs, although a little fatty for my taste, were really good. We enjoyed visiting with the local folks who were enjoying their lunches there. Someone told us about Scott's Barbeque which is the western edge of town and advised us to try it there as their Q was great too, but they did not offer the selection of sides that Hay's does. Mr. Hays came over to visit with us (even though the place was crowded) and offered to take our smallest one home with him! Thanks to all the roadfooders who have posted on this great place.
When we arrived at hotel in Memphis
, my oldest daughter was already there, having flown in from Syracuse. We were glad to see her and just had to wait for the children's mommy to show up who was going to fly in that evening after work. We watched the ducks parade through the lobby of the hotel and then took off for dinner at Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous
where we enjoyed both ribs and pulled pork. (Both were delicious but my daughter said that the dry ribs that I make at home are better.) We had a real fun waiter and enjoyed lots of laughs with him. After a carriage ride, we went to a couple of places on Beale street where our youngsters really enjoyed the show with the Elvis "impersonator" and did lots of dancing with other youngsters there. We watched street performers for a while and then back to hotel to wait for daughter to show up. Unfortunately, her first flight was late getting in to Atlanta and so she missed her flight to Memphis and had to spend the night in a dreadful hotel by airport.
Sat. August 20. When she finally arrived at hotel, we took cabs over to steamboat landing and went on board.
We had lunch buffet and then it was time to go to our cabins (which were beautiful) and unpack. We were really fortunate that we boarded early as we later found out that the line of people to get on board became long and that some of the people waited in line for one hour due to the strict security screening which took a long time. After exploring the boat and admiring the lovely public areas, it was time for dinner.
I will not post every menu but will do this one night so that you can get an idea of what dinner on the steamboat is like; First course:
Crispy Fried Oysters
Chilled Fresh Berries
Black Bean Soup
Cream of Mushroom soup Salads:
Mixed Greens with Grilled Asparagus
Steamboat Tossed Salad Entrees:
Filet Mignon with Gratin potatoes and steamed mixed vegetables
Caramelized "Diver" Scallops with lemon risotto and Julienne vegetables
Veal Marsala topped with Mushroom sauce with creamy risotto Featured New Orleans Fare:
Pecan crusted Salmon with gratin potatoes and Champagne Vanilla Beurre Blanc Vegetable Selection:
Baked Lasagne with grilled vegetables, cheeses and Marinara sauce served with grilled French Bread Heart Healthy and Lighter Fare:
Grilled chicken breast with steamed vegetables and baked potato
Pasta with Olive oil and garlic
Fresh Baked potato plain or loaded
The food was first quality in every instance but a recurring problem was that some of the food served was too cool. The service (and especially the wine service) lacked the polish that we have found on cruise ships but, overall, we were very happy with our dinners each evening.
Part 2 to come later.