Monday, August 15, 2011

Cheeseburgers that look yummy!

Just ran across this fun little website, that focuses on the almighty Cheeseburger.  It features 10 burgers from across the country, with recipe's and a fun description from each.  I'm not sure, but I believe the voice on the website is Elaine's (From Seinfeld) ex boyfriend.  Maybe? Maybe not.

But the website is worth a look!

Speaking of the almighty cheeseburger, I have had two different burgers in recent weeks that truly do stand out from the crowd.  The first one I'll mention was from today, eaten at Drake's in Cool Springs.  This is a relatively new place (next to Starbucks on Mallory) has a really fun vibe to it.  The Tavern Burger was very tasty - served with a tangy remoulade, sauteed onions and pepper jack cheese.  They also serve it with crinkled fries.... my favorite!  For a good burger, this place was impressive.

I've mentioned Brew House South before, I even stated they have the best chicken I have ever put in my mouth.  But oh-my-goodness, their Island Burger is fantastic.  It's served with their infamous Mojo sauce and has an incredible flavor to it.  Their fries are nice and thick steak house fries.

Ok, so this is my two cents worth on a couple of burgers that you need to try out.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Big Rock Market

If you know me at all, you know that some of my favorite summer time treats are days when I get to go to the lake.  More times than not, I will head about an hour east of Nashville to Center Hill Lake.  I'm not one who likes change much, so I find myself involved in a set of "Lake Day Traditions" ...and I'm fairly picky about these lake day traditions, and I love the memories.  Big Rock Market has been a part of my set of "Lake Day Traditions" for a couple of years.  Why?  It provides all sorts of amusement...and some good food too!

On Lake Days, we'll all meet up at the Brentwood Library, typically at 10.  This allows us to arrive at Big Rock Market just after 11 am - the time most places begin serving lunch.  We'll stop in for lunch, then head over to Center Hill Marina to hop on the boat and enjoy a full day at the lake.  If I go to Center Hill, I usually like to have at least 7 people go, but no more than 9 - the more the merrier!

Big Rock Market, in Silver Point Tennessee, is just off of Interstate 40 at exit 268. For all practical purposes, it is a gas station & convenient store ...which just happens to serve food (some of the time).  We pass right by Big Rock Market on the way to the lake, so it's the perfect location and at the right time to grab some lunch.

Once on the inside of this place, you forget you are in a typical convenience store - the decor is pretty impressive.  Matter of fact, I have said more than once that I would love to have my bonus room look like the dining area.  Cool colors, cool furnishings, and an impressive abundance of room....keep in mind, this is a convenience store.

The food has always been delightful!  The chicken tenders seem to be a favorite of the girls.  I must admit, they are delicious.  I've had smoked ham, smoked turkey, smoke shoulder...all sorts of BBQ varieties and have loved everything I've ever eaten from Big Rock Market!  They have had smoked sausage with peppers and onions - and on a hot dog bun this is probably my favorite from this establishment.  Their hot dogs and hamburgers taste like backyard grilled yummy delights.  This is a great place to stop because my guests can get their own drinks, chips and we can get in and out in a..... well, there is nothing fast about the service here.

I mentioned earlier about the amusement Big Rock Market provides - I assume that the employees of this establishment are all family members.  To say that the service is friendly here is not exactly true.  I've always felt this was a "local establishment" and that our 9 person invasion was not very welcomed here.  The "dad" (whom I assume owns the place) has always been friendly....but the daughter.... wow!  While she is incredibly cute, I don't believe she has ever had a smile on her face while we've been there.  We've witnessed her yelling and screaming at another girl who works there as we were trying to place orders and pay.  Like I said, it's entertaining and amusing.  We've walked in before as she screamed at us "WE DON'T HAVE FOOD TODAY!!"  They have brought our order to a nearby table, instead of the table we were sitting at, and told us to come get it.  Last year, I would be told that they don't take American Express, then be able to use it the next time.  Sometimes they would allow us to order individual chicken tenders, and other times not.   While the food really is impressive, it's hit or miss if they are actually serving it... yet the sign out front says "Salad Bar Everyday" - I remember the salad bar being stocked maybe 5 times over the past couple of years.  This year they added a tact shop to part of the dining area - probably an indication that diners are not a high priority.

I've started calling around 10:30 to see if they would have food for the 9 of us.  Only once have they said they would have food.  Sadness.

My tradition has started shifting this year.... we now end up going to the store at Hurricane Marina to buy sandwiches for lunch.  Some have even started bringing their own lunch.  Hurricane Marina is faster, but the food is not as good and they don't supply the hours of conversations and laughs that the Big Rock Market has provided.  I may be the only person who would recommend a place because the service is so bad it is entertaining.  Sometimes you just have to laugh at the things that go on around you!

....But a day at the lake is always a good thing!

Friday, June 17, 2011

50's Prime Time Cafe

I want to share another recipe with you today. It's quick and simple and is perfect for the summer heat.  And like the last post, it's from Disney World.

When people tell me they are going to Disney, I always recommend that they go to 50's Prime Time Cafe - even if they don't go there to eat a meal (which is fun, whimsical and a throwback to the 50's) I still suggest they get a taste of one of my favorite milkshakes. 

If you like Peanut Butter and Jelly, this is a must-try!

50's Prime Time Cafe PB & J Milkshake

2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons grape jelly
2 cups vanilla ice cream
¼ cup milk
Blend all of the ingredients until smooth and thick

*Add additional peanut butter or jelly to taste.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hoop-De-Doo Musical Revue

It has been a while since I've added a post, so I thought I would start writing about the place where I last posted from, Walt Disney World.   The Hoop-De-Doo Musical Revue is a cheesy, but incredibly fun and funny dinner show at Disney's Fort Wilderness Camp Ground and takes place in Pioneer Hall.  It's been the perfect dining destination for customer dinners, employee dinners, prospect dinners, family outings, graduation presents and a great place to take friends and their families.  That's just what I did on my last visit to Walt Disney World.

Bill Reid is one of my best friends from my college days.  Bill is fun, funny, amazingly musically talented on the guitar, and truly one of the best friends a guy could ask for.  Bill has stuck with me through thick and thin and has seen me at my best and at my worst.  I remember on several of those "worst" days he would just say "Let's go get some lunch."  He knew it was time to get away from campus and get some good food in our belly's.   That may explain part of the "thick" and part of the "thin" he has seen me through...

Bill's family (Renee, Parker & Emma) and myself have had the opportunity a couple of times to be at Disney World at the same time for work, and when I found out in March that we would be there together in May, I immediately said "We have to go to the Hoop-de-doo Revue this time."  There are two reasons I love going to this show.  First of all, the food is incredibly good - and it's good 'ole southern comfort food.   When you walk in there is a vegetable filled tossed salad sitting on the table waiting for you.  The servers are quick to take your drink order, which is included in the price of the meal.  The food is all served family style so there are no hard choices in deciding what to order.  Upon sitting down, you will also find some of the best and sweetest tasting corn bread you will ever find.  No butter is needed, but it sure does taste great with butter too!

The courses are mixed in with musical interludes, "skits" and "sketches" from a zany group of country characters who are roaming the country putting on a country-time musical revue.  The entertainment is the second reason I love this dining experience. This is where the cheesy part comes in....these folks are silly, cheesy and ultimately highly entertaining as you sit and enjoy the crazy antics throughout the dining hall.  While all of this is going on, they are bringing steel pails of fried chicken, BBQ ribs, baked beans, potatoes, and other vegetables.  All of them are as tasty and as yummy as you can dream.  If I could learn to make ribs like they serve here, I could possibly stop eating out so much!

The entertainment is full of original music, improv lyrics, and old time favorites.  The laughter in this place is contagious.  Let me say the word "cheesy" again...but you will find it "beary funny" too!

Emma playing the washboard
The grand finale takes on a musical number involving all of the diners in Pioneer Hall, the servers and the Pioneer Hall Singers.  The servers share a moment in the spotlight at they bring out the Strawberry Shortcake.  The only problem with this Strawberry Shortcake is that I have always been way too stuffed to enjoy it by the time it arrives....but it is still oh-so-delicious!  The finale is fun, up beat and full of energy.  There is no way to leave this show without laughing a ton, being full from the extraordinary fixin's and wishing you had gotten tickets for the show the next night.

If you're going to be at Disney World, or even in the Orlando area, I highly recommend it.  My customers have loved it, my family has loved it, and I've gotten new accounts by taking prospects.  It's simply fun and yummy!  ...and in my book, that's a great combination!!  It was a great night out with Bill, Renee, Emma and Parker.  And I'm ready to do it again...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Senior Banquet

Sunday night I dined with a group of my favorite people.  It was the group of graduating seniors who are part of the Woodmont Hills youth group.  For over 15 years I was blessed by being allowed to volunteer with this group and I fell absolutely in love with the students who came through the doors during that time.  So it was certainly an honor and a privilege to get to be a part of their Senior Banquet.  It was a happy time.  And it was also a sad reminder.

As I have indicated before in this blog, I view mealtime and meals together as a time of community, a time of communion...a time that is special - a bonding time.  The banquet was a celebration of a many times and years spent together.  There was a slide show of each student with pictures of them through the years, activities they were involved in, pictures with friends, pictures with family members, pictures with people who were important parts of their lives.  Each student's table was covered with pictures of the student through the years, college tee shirts, pom poms and musical instruments and details that would give you a glimpse into the life of that particular student.  It's always so cool to see the creativity that goes into the table.

The Senior Banquet has always been a time of reflection for me.  It took me back to the Senior Banquet when the class from Josh Wallen's grade all had a glass of Coca-Cola in Josh's memory.  It took me back to a few years ago when there was another event next door that had a DJ and a dance floor....and how that group of seniors crashed that party and took over the dance floor.  It took me back to the banquet from the group that I had been with since the 5th grade and me not believing I had known a group of teens that long.  I was so proud of them!  That was a tough night on me!  (...but I still get to hear from many from that group)  It took me back to last year as I sat at the table with Casey and Laurel.  Nights like that are so wonderful for bringing back the memories.  It saddened me a lot because it hit home incredibly hard that from now on, with the teens from Woodmont Hills, they would just be memories...that I would no longer see these teens grow up.  That, for the most part, I would not be around to be a part of their lives.  Sad.

This event was the first time I had seen many of the students in months.  This night was obviously for them, but oh-my-word did it ever bless me.  These students truly are some of the nicest and kindest and most awesome people I know.  While I was there to honor them, they were the ones who made me feel like a million bucks.  Not just them, but even their siblings, friends and parents.

I wish I could describe these students individually and let you know how awesome they all are....everyone needs people like these in their life.  In describing them all, I would just have a long list of names and could not do them all justice.

I was able to get a big bear hug from Will - and oh how I have missed those!  Jake, even while just losing his grandmother, went out of his way to make me feel missed and special.  It was good to get to hear about Jake's college plans, though I was certain he would go to NYC and become a model... Emily Townsend, who is as sweet as Alabama Sweet Tea, well...she just always makes me feel like a million bucks.  I saw Katy and simply loved getting to talk with her a some...And I got the chance to joke around with Emily Riddle again...and catch up with Blair Thornton....and finally meet the amazing person who raised Brieonna...and hear about how Hannah wants to help kids with special needs with music therapy....and catch up with the amazingly skinny-as-crap Sterling...and have Maggie almost make me cry (only to succeed later that night).... and take some pictures with Madison and talk about her love interest (as we always do)....and get a few minutes with Seth....and get a huge hug from Woody....And see Keller dressed in a Tux....and to get a picture with Ian.... and a high-five from Ty.

The night was so incredibly sweet.  I truly went there to honor each one of those students because they have meant so much to me through the years... but they turned it around on me and made me feel so loved, so important and such a part of their lives.  This graduating class really is a great group of people!

Ashley asked me several months ago to sit with her and her family.  I don't know why, but she and her family treat me so kindly.  They include me on family things and truly make me feel like family.  At one point, our names were even next to each other in the Nashville telephone book. They let me go to football and basketball games with them.  They've invited me over to their house for the superbowl party.  They have the biggest and kindest hearts you can imagine.  It was such an honor to get to sit with Ashley and her family for dinner. Ashley means the world to me and has truly been an Angel in my life!  Today just happens to be her birthday, case you want to wish her a happy birthday, send her a cake or a send her a gift certificate from Forever 21.

I wish this group the best, I wish them God's speed and a happy future.  I wish them a happy summer and an outstanding start to "the next chapter."  And I pray that God surrounds you with people in your lives who will bless your life the way you all have blessed mine.

As far as the dining out part....if every meal could be spent with people this amazing I would always be willing to pick up the tab!  To the graduating class of 2011 - you are loved.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

National Cheeseburger Month?

Maybe I've known this before and just don't recall it, but for much of April I've been hearing about how May is National Cheeseburger Month.  That sounds like my kind of month!  It makes sense...people are lighting up their grills, cooking out and what a better time of the year than May to have "National Cheeseburger Month."  Some things just receive a day - National Oreo Day, National Margarita Day, National give someone a hug day.... I like that the cheeseburger gets a full month.  Whoever declares these days - Kudos to you!

That said, the first week in May I will be at Disney World...and no doubt will have my fair share of Cheeseburgers.  However, I'm really thinking about doing some Disney World oriented posts too.

So we'll see how next week goes... there may just be a combination of posts.  Yes, it's interesting to me that I'm actually planning ahead for these things now... but I am looking forward to sharing my favorite food (the cheeseburger) along with posts from my favorite place (Disney World).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Top Ten List

I've had two people in the past week ask me to name several of my favorite restaurants around town after discussing post from my blog with them.  It's kind of fun when people talk with me about places I have recommended or telling me they've tried a place.  During the conversations, both of them suggested I do a top ten list. 

It sounded like an easy enough suggestion....until I started thinking of having to limit my favorite places to ten local restaurants.  But here they are, these are my top ten favorite restaurants in the Nashville/Brentwood/Cool Springs/Franklin area at this very point in time.  I know me well enough to know the list would be slightly different on a different day.

They are in no particular order....
  1. Chuy's - I've had too many good times here for this place not to be on the list.  I love the atmosphere there, their chips, salsa and their Elvis room...
  2. PF Changs & Pei Wei - They are both owned by the same company, and have basically the same menu, so it works as one place, right?  Pei Wei has been a staple on Thursday nights before Sanctuary and the people I go there with have been such a blessing.
  3. Sopapilla's - The food is great, it's close to my house, the service is excellent, they GIVE YOU dessert, and I've even written a blog post about this place.  If you haven't tried it yet, you want to give it a try.
  4. Cantina Laredo - It's in The Gulch and is an upscale Mexican place - which is kind of a weird concept for me.  But their Guacamole and their  Sizzling Apple Pie on a Fajita platter sold me on the place.  And I've had the best of experiences there each time I've gone.  They've all been special times with special people!
  5. SATCO - For Nashvillians, no explanation is needed.  This place is all about the atmosphere.  The food is good, but for the hangout potential, it's the best.
  6. Brewhouse South - I've only known about this place for two weeks, but it has made the top ten list for certain.  They have absolutely THE BEST chicken I have ever put in my mouth.  They've gotten a little mention in a blog post, but not nearly what they deserve.
  7. Blue Coast Burrito - I've eaten there so many times it simply feels like home.  It (Baja Burrito) was the first of its type in the Nashville area and still remains the best, in my humble opinion.
  8. Five Guys - They have the best cheeseburger in Nashville, period.  I wish I could buy into this chain and let them call it "Six Guys." One of my favorite Five Guys stories is being in DC last summer and while I was walking out of Five Guys five "ladies" were walking into Five Guys.  I noticed, as I held the door open for them, that they were all crossdressers/transvestites.  I SOOOOO wanted to take a picture of them in Five Guys.  Get it?... Five guys dressed as women in Five Guys.  I so missed out of this opportunity.
  9. Genghis Grill - It's stir fry and you get to choose how much and what goes in each bowl.  And you get to choose the sauce and the carb and you get to watch them make it!  And lately I've been going with some spectacular people, which makes this place even better.  It's a fun place with really good food.  ...and if the food was bad, it would be my fault because I didn't choose the right combination.  I like this place!
  10. Jim n Nicks - I've done a blog on this one too, and I really can't say enough of good things about this place.  If Cool Springs were to get a Jim n Nicks, I'm certain they'd all know me by name!  The food is wonderful, and like the other favorites, there are sweet and precious memories involved.
Ok, so that's it, that's my top ten list as requested.  Maybe I'll do this in another two months to see the mood I'm in then.  In two months, the marina restaurant may just be on my list!