Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Highlands, NC With The Hoffers

During the 2013 Blogger Party, we arranged to meet up with Sandy and Stu Hoffer for lunch and a visit to Highlands, NC.  They live about an hour away on the western side of the Smoky Mountains.

We met for lunch at the Caffe REL, which shares a building with the Hot Spot gas station on East Main Street in Franklin.  While a unique location for a Bistro, to say the least, it received 4½ stars everywhere I looked - check out Sam’s post (My Carolina Kitchen) from November, 2009 for more details.

According to the chef/owner, he spent most of his career working for corporations including the prestigious Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, WV and finally decided it was time to quit making them rich and make a little for himself – based on his white 911 Porche Carrera, it’s working.

Bev and I each had oysters with hers being fried and on a po' boy and mine being poached and served over linguine with a spinach sauce.

Both of our meals were delicious and I will definitely go there again if in the area and would encourage you to do the same – thanks Sam for the recommendation.

Highlands seems to be a typical tourist town for the area and Stu and I found a nice wine garden at the Old Edwards Inn & Spa and drank a cold Highlands Brewing Company ale while the women did their shopping thing - the tall lady in the white pants was modeling for the boutique next door.

The road from Franklin to Highlands is a curvy narrow road that runs through the Cullasaja River Gorge and provided a shot of this side stream waterfall that could be driven under and the impressive falls on the main river after a big rain.

It was a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon and Stu and Sandy are so nice to be around.

Photos best if enlarged by clicking on them - especially the falls.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


6/7/2013 event date


  1. Glad you had a nice time in Highlands and that you enjoyed your meal at Cafe REL. Both are two of my favorites.

  2. Wish I could have been there to enjoy Cafe REL. Love unique placed like that. Not a bistro, but we've got a breakfast spot that shares half of a gas station building. Best breakfast burritos in town. :)

  3. The meal looks fantastic.. I'd have a hard time deciding between the two. Fried or over pasta? Can't I have a little of both :)

  4. Larry, Thanks for the restaurant tip! Love the waterfall photos... You guys are becoming true road warriors with trip after trip... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  5. Sometimes the best restaurants can be found in the most unlikely places. Bev's po' boy has my mouth watering before I've even had my morning coffee. I'm hoping to make it out your way one of these days and will have this restaurant on my list.

  6. Your oyster sandwich & pasta both look amazing. Great photos Larry.

  7. It's a pretty area, no doubt about it. And the 911 is testament to someone's excellent cooking and management skills, a very astonishing feat in the world of restauranteuring.

  8. I'm glad you enjoyed the road through the Cullsaja River Gorge. It's one of our favorite drives.

  9. Just a beautiful area! I've wanted to try that restaurant since my parents told me about it. Maybe we can get by there when we are there for the KCBS contest.

  10. We have not been to the Highlands, NC area for who knows how many years . . . probably 14 years ago. Such a pretty drive from SC to that area. We'll certainly have to do it again and check out this restaurant! So glad that your friendship with Sam and her husband has been so rewarding! Blogs ROCK!

    Have a great day,

  11. Sounds like a wonderful area to visit...beautiful waterfalls.


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