Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Siamese Twin Tomatoes And A Milestone

We’ve seen a few unusual things in the garden this year, but this tomato is the oddest I’ve ever seen in my garden.  It was attached to the plant with one stem that had split and attached in two places to the tomato.  It looks more like two tomatoes just grew together, but the one stem attachment to the plant says otherwise.  You have to look closely to see the two pieces of stem, but they are in a hole that runs between the tomato(s).

This is the top side and you can see a little light through the hole from the other side - at the 10 o'clock position.

And this is the bottom side. The large crack is where it was touching but not grown together

After cutting apart you can see how much was together and the stem which I also cut in half.

Then a few days later, we picked this one, which appears to be triplets.

Have you had any similar experiences?

I began this blog in August 2009 and three years later this is post number 1000 - that's a lot of words.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

One year ago: Greek Pizza


7/19/12 event date.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Crawfish Breakfast Burrito

For the dock party that Chris posted about over at Nibble Me This, I made a hot crawfish dip using the tails left from the May 30 blogger party which I had frozen.  I thought the dip was just okay, but when A.J. and Katherine (the Cajun’s in attendance) said they liked it, I decided it must be pretty good.  Anyway, I sent a cup of it home with each couple and kept one for myself, with Chris saying he felt crawfish quesadilla’s coming on.

His comment gave me the idea for a breakfast burrito using the reheated dip as the sauce.  I also had grilled extra peppers and onions for our bratwurst the previous night and decided to use them as well.

I chopped up a few of the veggies and warmed them in a skillet, then added two beaten eggs, some sharp cheddar cheese, and scrambled it.

I rolled it up in a warm tortilla and topped with the reheated crawfish dip.

It was very good and I liked the dip better after four days than I did originally.  So this dish not only contained leftover peppers and onions, but leftover, leftover crawfish.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

One year ago:  Pork Rib Experiment

Two years ago: Broken Bradford Pear


7/24/12 meal date

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday Humor - Senior Moments

My friend David Myers over at Big Daddy Dave sent me this and I laughed out loud, which qualifies it for Saturday Humor.  If you're a senior citizen you can probably identify with it and if not you can see what life will be like all too soon. Just click on the link for the 3 minute video - it passes fast.

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

One year ago:  Reverse Seared Rib Roast 

Two years ago:  “Once Again Peace Returns To The High Country” 


Friday, July 27, 2012

Fermented Cabbage and Cucumbers

Or, in other words, kraut and pickles.  Back on 6/20, I posted about our kraut making afternoon and now seven weeks later, we have the finished product.  It is the old fashioned, fermented-in-the-crock, variety.  I forgot the shot until I'd removed half of it.

After seven weeks, I put it into pint and quart plastic bags for storage. 

Many people can theirs, but I prefer to just store it in the fridge.  I thought it was very good with a nice tang and not too salty – some kraut must actually be rinsed before using, but this will require a little salt when cooked.  My next step will be to buy a bag of my favorite kraut from the store for a taste test to see if the homemade version was worth the effort – and it definitely took effort.

This year we also decided to make some dill pickles from our abundance of cucumbers – we use a white variety that works very well for pickles – crisp and rarely ever bitter.  Even though I’ve never been satisfied with those I’ve made, I was inspired to make them by Mary’s post over at Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes for Best Dill Pickles Ever!!! 

After looking at several, I selected her recipe as the various proportions sounded good and the name grabbed me.  I used her recipe except I substituted dried dill and I made mine in a plastic bucket that came to our neighbors school kitchen with dill pickles in it.

Bucket Fermented Dill Pickles – Adapted from Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes

8 pounds 3 to 4 inch long pickling cucumbers
4 cups white vinegar
12 cups water
2/3 cup pickling salt
12 cloves of garlic peeled and halved
1 T dried dill weed
4 T dried dill seed
1 T crushed red pepper

1. Wash cucumbers, slice off 1/16-1/8 inch of the blossom end, and place in the sink or large pan with cold water and lots of ice cubes.  Soak in ice water for at least 3 hours and refresh ice as required.
2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, water, and pickling salt and bring to a rapid boil.
3. If using jars, check out Mary’s site.  For a bucket or crock that has been sterilized, add everything but the liquid.
4. Pour the boiling liquid over the cucumbers, add an inverted place to keep them submerged, and top with the lid (just lay it on the bucket).
5. I allowed them to ferment for 24 days in a cool dry place at room temperature and they tasted just right, so I sat the entire bucket in the basement refrigerator to stop the fermentation process.

This jar is for the kitchen fridge.

I believe these are the best dill pickles I’ve made and all who’ve tried them liked them a lot, so I believe this is the new go to recipe – Thanks Mary.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

One year ago: Salmon Cakes

Two years ago:  A BBQ Send-Off


7/25/12 event date

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Grilled Zucchini Greek Salad & Filet

Bev searched the internet for a recipe using the zucchini we are getting from the garden and found this salad from Kalyn’s Kitchen for Grilled Zucchini Greek Salad.  We also had a whole beef tenderloin in the fridge from which I cut a couple of steaks.

The steaks just got a treatment of Montreal Steak Seasoning and a little extra salt, then reverse seared to an internal temp of 125*.

We followed the recipe for the salad but included a grilled green onion and added no additional salad dressing – check out Kayln’s site for the complete recipe.  This is my plate.

The photo leaves a lot to be desired but, we thought this was a company quality salad, even without the vinaigrette, plus we both thought the steak was outstanding.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

One year ago:  Salmon And Quinoa


7/17/12 meal date

Monday, July 23, 2012

Junior High Reunion

Yep, that’s what I said, junior high, and who does that, you asked.  When I was a kid, we all grew up in a small neighborhood, went to grades 1-9 together, played after school with one another, and had our first loves together.  Then it was off to high school a bus ride away, except after one year, it was off to a different state, leaving all of my childhood friends behind.  They continued thru high school together and have had the opportunity to see each other at the HS reunions, but I haven’t seen them in 51 years.

I came across one of the classmates on Facebook and as we were chatting last summer I mentioned that it would be great to have a Barnes School 9th grade reunion to catch up with the old gang and the next thing I knew she had one planned.  Nancy worked diligently and found all but a few of the 30 class members, arranged for a place, and sent out invitations.

So on July 12, 14 members of the class and one very special teacher (social studies, boy’s phys. ed. and basketball coach) assembled at the Say-Boy Restaurant in Fairmont, WV.  While most of the attendees came from the local area, we had attendees from Ohio, Maryland, New Hampshire, Tennessee (me), and North Carolina (the teacher).

This is the class less one person who had to leave early.  Nancy and I are sitting beside Mr. Doddrill.

I hate that one person was hidden and I’m hoping someone else got a shot where he wasn’t – this is him and the person who had to leave early.

It was very obvious everyone was having a great time visiting and catching up – I could hardly get them to sit down and order lunch.  One person made a beautiful quilt for Mr Doddrill and we all signed it - the school colors were orange and black (note Mr. Doddrill's clothing) and we were the Barnes Tigers.

She also brought a hat or visor with the school initials for everyone.

Another person brought a collage of pictures and I made a CD of the top 39 songs from 1960-61 for the attendees.

This was definitely a long standing wish come true for me and I hate I didn’t persue it several years ago – I’m extremely grateful to Nancy for making it happen as I likely would let it stop as an idea.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

One year ago: Surf & Turf At The Lake


7/14/12 Event

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday Humor - Fly The Friendly Skies

A Preacher was seated next to a Cowboy on a flight to Texas.

After the plane took off, the cowboy asked for a whiskey and soda, which was brought and placed before him.

The flight attendant then asked the preacher if he would like a drink.

Appalled, the preacher replied, "I'd rather be tied up and taken advantage of by women of ill-repute, than to let liquor touch my lips."

The cowboy then handed his drink back to the attendant and said, "Me too, I didn't know we had a choice."

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

Two years ago:  Chandlers Deli In Knoxville


Friday, July 20, 2012

Spicy Crappie & Jalapeno Hush Puppies

When I read your blog recipes, I save many of them on an Excel spreadsheet under various categories, one of which is try ASAP and when Marguerite over at Cajun Delights posted her recipes for Cajun Catfish Feast, I knew two of them had to go on this list.

Since we always have crappie in the freezer, thanks to friends Ronnie and Nancy, I used it along with the Cajun spices I had on hand to make my version.

Spicy Crappie Filets:
25 crappie fillets (approx)
1 cup flour, self rising
¾ can beer - add slowly til right consistency
1 ea egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp  Emeril's Essence        
A few shakes of hot sauce
1 pkg panko bread crumbs

1. Wash fish and pat dry with paper towels.
2. Combine flour, beer, egg, Essence, and hot sauce - add the amount of beer to get the batter thickness you want.
3. Dredge fillets in batter and allow extra to run off.
4. Roll in Panko and sit aside for about 5 minutes.
5. Fry fish in 360* oil until golden brown, turning once. Salt to taste and drain on a wire rack - keep warm in oven or grill.

For the hush puppies, I used Marguerite's recipe as written and it's available on her site (link above).

As I often do, I cooked on the grill side burner and had a grill burner on low to keep the early batches warm – I cooked the hushpuppies first and then the fish and we sided it with some grilled green bundles and our new favorite apple bacon slaw.

I thought the hushpuppies and fish turned out very well and I will definitely make both again. Thanks Marguerite for a delicious meal.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

One year ago:  Tomato Juice And Dolly

Two years ago:  Grilled Pork Tenderloin Filet


6/25/12 meal date

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hamburger Steak And Ratatouille

This meal is what happens when the real cook in this family takes over the kitchen and it was built to use stuff we had on hand.  Our summer garden is in full swing and we are giving away lots of produce, especially about a half bushel of zucchini before eating any ourselves, until this meal. 

Bev decided she wanted to make two things from the burger and veggies we had on hand  – Salisbury Steak and Ratatouille, which I decided I really liked after the Hoffer boys made it for us on Memorial Day.  We didn’t have any mushrooms for the steak dish and Bev decided it was really the meat recipe she liked and we could just top it with the ratatouille – similar to tomato sauce or ketchup on meatloaf.  We used the same recipe as the two previous times.

Hamburger Steak from Lynda's Recipe Box
1/2 of a medium onion, diced
2 teaspoons oil 
1 1/4 pound ground beef chuck-80/20 blend
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs (homemade from Garlic Tuscan Bread – Sam’s)
1/3 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce, or can use steak sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

The recipe calls for caramelizing the onions, but Bev just mixed everything together and we shaped it into four 7 oz steaks.

Ratatouille from American Profile.com (we halved and adapted it to get the following)
Original recipe from the Duluth Grill, Duluth, Minn

1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1¼ cups bell peppers, coarsely chopped
2 cups zucchini, coarsely chopped
2 cups eggplant, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper  

3 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tomato (14 oz), peeled and pureed
6 oz can tomato paste
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 tablespoon fresh basil
20 basil leaves, chiffonade
Leaves from 5 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
3/4 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Kalamata olives
To taste crumbled feta cheese

Instructions:  The recipe calls for baking the veggies but we decided to grill them.

To prepare the sauce, add the tomatoes to boiling water for about a minute, remove and drop into cold water.  Peel the tomatoes, chop three, and puree one.

Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a large Dutch oven.  Add the garlic and sauté over medium heat until golden and add the pureed tomato, tomato paste, and bay leaf – cook about 10 minutes.  Add chopped tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook 10 minutes (At this point Bev turned off the heat while we cooked the veggies, but they can be done at the same time).

Preheat grill on high heat.

To prepare vegetables, toss onion, bell pepper, zucchini and eggplant on a jelly roll pan (or a bowl) with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper.

Cook over high heat on the grill in whatever pan works for you until they are getting tender and caramelized. (I cooked them in three batches so they would be in a single layer in the pan).

When veggies are ready, add to the sauce along with the olives and the herbs and simmer about 15 minutes – adjust salt and pepper.

While the sauce cooks, grill the meat over medium high heat to your desired level of doneness.

Plate the meat, top with the ratatouille, and add feta cheese and basil chiffonade.

In our house there are the basic everyday meals, the good everyday meals, the company quality meals, and the I-could-make-money-on–this-in-a-restaurant meals.  This one was the latter, and not only were the meat and ratatouille each very good alone, we both thought they worked outstandingly together.  I may never go into the kitchen again and just let Bev work her magic.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

One year ago: Leftover Eggplant For Breakfast

Two years ago: Grilled Chicken With BBQ Sauce


7/09/12 meal date

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Now That’s A Banana Split

While visiting my home town of Fairmont, WV last week, Bev and I went to dinner with a childhood classmate (Nancy) and her husband (Jim), seeing her for the first time in 47 years.  I asked her to select the restaurant and she chose Oliverio's, our favorite Italian place in the area, but I failed to take my camera – I believe we all thought our meals were very good.

When the meal was over, I wasn’t quite done visiting and asked if there was somewhere we could go for a cup of coffee or something and Jim suggested the Pokey Dot Restaurant – an old hangout from his Fairmont days.  Since it was pretty busy, I hated to take up a table just for coffee so I began looking at the dessert menu, as did Jim and Nancy.

As it turns out, Jim is a big fan of Ice cream and after reading the description for the “Humongous Banana Split” which starts out with “Mounds of delicious vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream….", he opted for one.  I was sitting such that I could see the girl making it and I watched her dip out several scoops of ice cream then form them into a softball sized ball – repeating for each flavor.  After getting one ball of each flavor – which was already a lot of ice cream – back down into the freezer she went to form more balls.

At this point I told Jim I thought he was about to get more than he bargained for and he went to ask if it was his - and it was.  When they brought it, it had nine 1# balls of ice cream with the usual assortment of toppings.  It was so big, the entire restaurant was smiling and one lady even crossed the room to ask if she take a picture of it.

Trust me, my shot doesn’t do it justice, but if you just imagine each scoop is the size of a softball or look at the standard sized banana split dish peaking out from under the chocolate, you’ll get the idea, and mounds of ice cream doesn’t begin to describe this beast.  And the most amazing part was that it carried the unbelievably low price of $7.99.  Talk about a great value, I checked in Walmart and nine pounds of the cheapest ice cream at costs about $9. 

Jim ended up boxing the top two tiers and eating about half the lower one before giving up.  I told him that seeing this creation and the look on his face was worth the 450 mile drive to WV regardless of how tomorrow's reunion went (more later on this).

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

One year ago:  Eggplant Parmesan

Two years ago: Blueberries, Maters, & Mayo


7/13/12 event date

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Breakfast Stack

I can’t believe I almost forgot to post this.  Bev didn’t finish off the last little piece of Nueske’s corned beef hash as expected and so I had to eat it along with a boiled potato that was left over.  I cooked everything but the egg in one pan including a bacon wrapped, smashed potato for Bev, and some onion.  After flipping, I added cheese to the potato then began stacking it up.

I topped with a fried egg and sided it with a slice of rye toast.

It was way delicious.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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


6/23/12 meal date

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saturday Humor - Scottish Cow

The only cow in a small town in Ireland stopped giving milk.

The town folk found they could buy a cow in Scotland quite cheaply so they brought the cow from Scotland.

It was wonderful, produced lots of milk every day and everyone was happy.

They bought a bull to mate with the cow to get more cows, so they'd never have to worry about their milk supply again.

They put the bull in the pasture with the cow but whenever the bull tried to mount the cow, the cow would move away.

No matter what approach the bull tried, the cow would move away from the bull and he was never able to do the deed.

The people were very upset and decided to go to the Vet, who was very wise, tell him what was happening and ask his advice.

"Whenever the bull tries to mount our cow, she moves away. If he approaches from the back, she moves forward.

When he approaches her from the front, she backs off. If he attempts from the one side, she walks away to the other side."

The vet rubbed his chin thoughtfully and pondered this before asking,

"Did you by chance, buy this cow in Scotland?"

The people were dumbfounded, since no one had ever mentioned that they had brought the cow over from Scotland.

"You are truly a wise vet," they said. "How did you know we got the cow from Scotland?

The vet replied with a distant look in his eye:

"My wife is from Scotland."

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

One year ago:  Gardening Thursday – Getting Ready To Plant

Two years ago: A Very Berry Breakfast


Friday, July 13, 2012

Breakfasts From Independence Day Leftovers

As is often the case with a big cookout, there were leftovers from ours and since I hadn’t made any creative breakfasts lately, I decided to make a couple - first up was a burger patty.

Normally, I’m a pretty lazy morning cook, which is likely why I like to use the leftovers, but for this one I did sauté some onion and roasted red pepper – the peppers were in a jar and just needed slicing and the onion was already sliced, so still pretty lazy.

I nuked the burger, topped it with a slice of cheddar, toasted half a burger bun and slathered on a little mayo, and stacked it up.

I topped it with an over easy egg and must say it was delicious.

I used a couple of wieners for the next day’s breakfast and basically built an open-faced Northern WV dawg of bun, mustard, hot dog sauce, and chopped onion.  Then I added a little shredded cheese and the requisite over easy egg.

Again, it was delicious.

I decided to toss this sandwich in with this post because it was too good to ignore.  On the last morning of our RV trip to Roan Mountain, we opted to eat some of our leftovers for breakfast and I requested the same sandwich Bev had made for supper the previous night – a super delicious sandwich.

It started by slicing one of my barbecued chicken breast, topping it with Bev’s homemade pimento cheese, and nuking just to get the meat a little warm.  It was set on a slice of mayo’d chipotle cheddar bread from Smoky Mountain Bakers then topped with onion, lettuce, and the other slice of bread.

It was an excellent combination of flavors with the bread giving it just a little heat.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

Two years ago:  Shrimp Scampi Pasta


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Independence Day At Almost Heaven South

After hosting the kids and grandkids the previous week, I was content to spend Independence Day sitting on the dock alone and watching the leafs float by, but I have a wife.  And for Bev, this day requires a cookout of burgers and dawgs and a few friends over to enjoy it with.

So we had a little get together for 15 at the dock with the main entrée being a choice of regular or stuffed burgers – Chris from Nibble Me This had recently posted his recipe for a Chile Stuffed Burger and I just had to try it.  I followed his proportions, except I used the dried cilantro I had on hand, to end up with this for eight 6oz burgers.

2/3 cup diced green chiles – this was a small cans worth after draining
1/3 cup sautéed onion
1/3 cup roasted red pepper from a jar
1 tsp. dried cilantro

Mix everything together and let it sit an hour to rehydrate the cilantro.

Check our Chris’ site for some photos as I only remembered to take two for the whole day.  I definitely need to get a designated photographer when I’m cooking for a crowd.  This is the dock before we started eating and my burger.

In addition to the burgers, the guests brought deviled eggs, a Mexican dip, and snacks for appetizers, potato salad, pasta salad, and ranch beans for sides, and coconut cream pie, brownies, and homemade vanilla ice cream fro dessert.

I have to thank Bev for making me have such a fun day.  The food and company were all very enjoyable and I really liked Chris’ burger stuffing - what a great way to celebrate our freedom.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

One year ago:  Nothing

Two years ago:   Leg Of Lamb On The Spit


7/4/12 event date

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Eggplant Parmesan

We got our first eggplant from the garden and Bev wanted to turn them into eggplant parmesan.  Normally we don’t go with the baked version but go the easy route, but this time she wanted to go all out.  After looking at several on-line recipes she settled on this recipe from Taste Of Home, mostly because it had the most cheese.  She made the full sauce recipe and half the other parts and below is as she made it.

Eggplant Parmesan – adapted



•3 garlic cloves, minced
•1/3 cup olive oil
•2 qts..home canned tomatoes – drained
•1 cup pitted ripe olives, chopped
•1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves or 1 tablespoon dried basil
•3 tablespoons capers, drained
•1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
•1/4 teaspoon pepper

•1 cup all-purpose flour
•4 eggs, beaten
•3 cups dry bread crumbs
•1 tablespoon garlic powder
•1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
•4 small eggplants (about 1 pound each), peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices
•1 cup olive oil

•2 eggs, beaten
•2 cartons (15 ounces each) ricotta cheese
•1-1/4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
•1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves or 2 tablespoons dried basil
•1/2 teaspoon pepper
•8 cups (32 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

•After slicing, lighty salt the eggplant on both sides and drain in a colander for an hour then pat dry with paper towels.
•In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook garlic in oil for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and puree roughly with a hand blender.  Add the olives, basil, capers, pepper flakes and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45-60 minutes or until thickened.
• Meanwhile, for eggplant, place flour and eggs in separate shallow bowls. In another bowl, combine the bread crumbs, garlic powder and oregano. Dip eggplant in the flour, eggs, then bread crumb mixture.
• In a large skillet, cook eggplant in batches in oil until golden brown and drain on wire rack.
• In a large bowl, combine the eggs, ricotta, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, basil and pepper.
• In a greased 8" x 11" baking dish, layer 1/3 of tomato sauce, half the eggplant slices, 1 cup ricotta mixture, half the remaining parmesan, and 6 slices provolone cheese. Repeat layers ending with the last 1/3 of the sauce, but add the top layer of cheese about 10 minutes before finished cooking.
• Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Yield: 1 casserole (8 servings each).

Cooks Notes - For the 1 1/2 cups of dried bread crumbs, she used 1 cup fresh bread crumbs, 1/3 cup Panko, and  potato flakes on top of the panko to make 1/2 cup.  The potato flakes are supposed to help it adhere better to the eggplant.

Since the outdoor temps have been hovering around 100*, we decided to do as much as possible outside on the grill, beginning with frying the eggplant in olive oil.

After Bev built the casserole, we cooked it on the grill by having the two burners under it on low and the ones on each side on high generating a 350* temp.  The casserole dish was on a rack on a jelly roll pan which made it very oven like.

When it was nearly done, she added additional provolone to the top to melt, along with some fresh chopped basil.

This is my first helping.

It was absolutely delicious and I look forward to the next time – company quality for eggplant lovers with one change.  We used provolone throughout  because it was on hand, but the top layer got tough and we’ll top with mozzarella next time.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

One year ago:  Ready To Travel

Two years ago:  A Very Berry Breakfast


7/2/12 Meal date

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

RV Trip To Roan Mountain – Wineries And Stuff

Our plan was to stay at the campground Mon-Wed nights and come home Thursday, but we were having such a good time, we checked and found our site was available another night and we snapped it up – ain’t retirement great. 

There was a restaurant in Banner Elk that I’d researched and sounded good and the two Wineries that we’d stopped by an hour before they opened the previous day.  So we decided to hang around the campground until late morning, then head for Banner Elk for our fourth visit to the town, but first stop.

We first went to the Banner Elk Winery about a mile east of town and had a great visit – I’d figured a 30 minute stop and we were there nearly two hours.  This is part of the grounds.

The tasting with our hostess and a young American now living in Australia - the hostess was from Buckhannon, WV and we had several familiar things to discuss.

We bought a case of their wine including six bottles of Chianti that was made by a local first generation Italian-American from Sangiovese grapes imported from Italy, using an old family recipe and just bottled and sold for the first time by the winery.

The next stop was the Painted Fisherman Café and Beer Bar where we all had delicious lunches of creative sandwiches and I enjoyed a glass of Dales Ale.  In the interest of space, I won’t go into the details, but it was a place worth visiting with some very creative dishes such as sweet potato salad, which I really liked.

After lunch, it was on to the newly opened Grandfather Mountain Winery which had a vineyard reminiscent of some we saw lining the steep hills along Germany’s Mosel River. 

They had a nice tasting room and entrance patio and we thought a couple of their wines were pretty good but only bought a couple of bottles. 

From the winery there was one more stop for the power shoppers at the original Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, NC.  I’d never heard of them, but they are apparently becoming popular, with stores around the area, including Knoxville.  The original is 129 years old (and looks it) and has a selection of everything on the planet, as near as I could tell from my brief walk around – this is not my kind of place, but I could see a need to spend at least a day to see everything, including the annex a quarter mile down the road.

Here are some front, inside, and rear shots including the porch – my favorite part.

I had have to say we again got our money's worth from this day and after a stop at Smoky Mountain bakery the next morning to pick up the goodies we'd ordered, we headed home.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

One year ago:  None

Two years ago: A Hot Day Salad Ala Lea Ann


6/14/12 event date