Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report
Hello, we are taking a Thanksgiving week road trip and will be posting our food finds along the way, hope they will be of interest to the group. We left Decatur IL Friday night and loosely plan to end up in Greenville/Spartanburg SC on Wednesday for dinner at the Beacon Drive In, Thanksgiving at the Biltmore in Asheville NC and head home on Friday after breakfast at the Moose Cafe. We will welcome any suggestions along the way too.
SATURDAY BREAKFAST at Loveless Cafe in Nashville TN
We had heard much about this Roadfood legend, including a few mixed reviews here and there. Some rave, some say it had slipped since changing hands and expanding. We were anxious to see if the hype was justified---I think it is. We arrived around 11AM and had a 1/2 hour wait, I felt not bad considering the crowd I expected. We were taken to our seat and immediately found a big bowl of butter pats in the little foil packs, a positive sign to me that these famous biscuits were not to be devalued by the management saving a few pennies on a flavorless corn oil margarine (this is always a big deal to me--can anyone else agree?) The biscuits arrived hot from the oven and IMO are as good as any I have ever had, small; but fluffy, hot and buttery. They were served with strawberry, blackberry, and peach preserves, a specialty of the house and also excellent, especially the strawberry, and I am not a big preserve fan. With these biscuits being so good I moved on to the tougher test--sausage gravy--a dish which is endlessly disappointing to me. This was no disappointment, obviously homemade, seasoned to my taste, the only improvement could have been larger chunks of sausage, which is just my own midwestern preference. The verdict? B&G as good as I have had anywhere, and that from a tough critic. I also tried the other house specialty, the country ham with red eye gravy, also much to my liking. My wife had eggs and sausage, which were good, and grits, which member wanderingjew warned were watery. Indeed they were, but I liked them OK. Some items were just a little pricy ($8.95 for eggs/sausage/grits/biscuits) but the $3.95 B&G was a bargan. Big thumbs up from me on the famous Loveless, I wish I could return sooner but there is more roadfood to be sampled.
SATURDAY DINNER was at Bennett's Pit BBQ in Pigeon Forge TN, our home base for a few days. We have been to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge before and have found the food only average, IMO usually just slung at tourists to turn a quick buck (please do note, however, that I am not a chain snob as some members are). We hope to improve our experience this time around, but I knew this stop would be just for sustinence and indeed it was also only average. The sign claimed Voted Best Ribs in 2005 (by whom?) and maybe they were, but our brisket was not the best of anything. It was purported to be smoked for 14 hours so you get smoky pink in every bite, but I had no smoke and almost no pink except for a little burnt edge to give me a few scarce bites of flavor. The lone sauce selection was too sweet and not enough smoke, another personal taste of mine (I never get enough smoke). The fries were OK, the corn on the cob OK, the baked beans not bad, but we are hoping for more interesting fare as the week progresses, see you all later, Todd