Italian Calzone solo

The Original Best Italian – Gatlinburg, TN

The husband and I were drawing to a close our weekend of time alone and eating. Our “last”meal was a pretty big deal. I sort of wanted Paula Deen’s but…if I was honest with myself, it was just because of the hoe cakes, biscuits and fried chicken. Did I really want to spend $60+ on that? So – we went the pizza route. No pizza in 9 weeks for me! Yes, it’s appropriate to cry for me.

We saw some pics from a friend of a crazy huge calzone that The Original Best Italian serves – gigantor! Calzones to me are just okay – I much prefer pizza. But, the husband was all over getting a monster calzone.

The Original Best Italian is tucked away in a corner of Gatlinburg (across from TGIF and Melting Pot) – if you see wooden Jesus, you have arrived!

It was the night of the Derby so it wasn’t busy – our service was fast and friendly and we always had drinks!

We started with some of their signature garlic rolls…(that was my other stipulation – I wanted some bread after no carbs for 9 weeks!)

Italian Garlic knots

Yum! I especially like all the extra garlic butter at the bottom to dip them in! (along with the side of marinara)

Oh – and check out this glass. It was totally retro and adorable.

Italian coke

The husband thinks I’m like an old lady. I’ll freely admit that I am – books, blankets, cats, coffee…yep.

He was going straight for the calzone. I could have been a good wife and split it with him but really, I didn’t have a single desire for a calzone.

Take a look at this beast!

Italian Calzone solo

And for some perspective…

Italian Calzone

It was like an extra large pizza folded in half! He said that there was a crazy amount of cheese in it (along with his sausage and banana peppers). He was in calzone heaven. (and, hell no, he didn’t finish it!)

I got pizza – just pepperoni pizza

Italian Pizza

It was damn perfect pizza – homemade thin crispy crust. Lots of cheese, perfect sauce. So…damn…good. You know I love Dewey’s pizza and this rivaled it. Yes, that good!

We left, crazy full and loaded down with boxes. We waddled down the strip some more. Debated whether to ride the sky lift or not. (that was a not) If you’re in the Gatlinburg area and are looking for something other than pancakes or fried food – hunt down The Original Best Italian! (wooden Jesus!)

The Original Best Italian Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Burro Loco Marg

Loco Burro – Gatlinburg, TN

As we checked into our hotel, we discovered that the Dolly parade (or something like that) was headed our direction. We decided that it would be a good time to head into Gatlinburg and do some shopping. I’m not a parade person.😉

We stopped at Mel’s Diner for lunch so we knew it was going to be a minute until we were hungry for dinner. Thankfully, I was ready to shop! As we walked, the husband and I saw that Loco Burro had rooftop seating – I love guacamole and we needed to kill some time…plus, people watching in Gatlinburg is top-notch.

Because of the parade, it wasn’t busy at all – score! Our server and service was awesome – fast, friendly, we chatted with her for a bit.:)

Since we weren’t crazy hungry, we just (Okay, just me!) had some drinks to start with…

Blueberry Margarita

Burro Loco Blueberry marg

Yum – super sweet but still yum!

Then, to kill some more time…

Burro Loco Marg

I wish I could remember what it was – I’m not particular when it comes to the margaritas!

We discovered that we were never going to be hungry enough for a meal – which is sad because all of the food around us looked amazing! The husband got the 6-Layer Dip appetizer…it was like a meal. Crazy huge.

Burro Loco Layer Dip

Okay – this next picture, sums up how perfect this whole experience was.

Burro Loco Guac Station

Seriously. A Guacamole cart/station when you order table side guacamole. My whole trip was complete at that point.

Burro Loco Guac

Mmm…guac. It needed a bit more lime and salt (to be fair, she asked me if I’d like to add anything extra but I felt guilty for being picky…) but, it’s guac.

The husband and I really enjoyed our experience here – I know it’s not southern fare but if you’re in Gatlinburg and looking for a place for some drinks and for a great atmosphere…this is it. The bonus? Mechanical burro riding, people. Enough said.

Loco Burro Fresh Mex Cantina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sawyer's french toast

Sawyer’s Farmhouse – Pigeon Forge, TN

A couple of things – I’m on a crazy strict diet right now so there aren’t going be many reviews, sadly. My life consists of chicken, fish and veggies right now.

Also – I was given a brief (2 day!) reprieve from my diet and was able to eat what I want. Let me just say, no sugar for 9 weeks will make a girl crazy. Hence, why I probably loved this breakfast! (I was like Elf with the syrup)

The husband and I went for a weekend trip to Pigeon Forge a few weeks ago – it was nice, just the 2 of us getting away. REALLY nice being able to eat some food.😉

I read some good things about Sawyer’s Farmhouse and wanted something different – something that wasn’t a Waffle House, a Pancake House or a buffet. The place is huge AND there’s a great big rooster outside. Damn, gotta love that. I couldn’t convince the husband to selfie with the rooster.

Coffee was immediately ordered (of course)

Sawyer's coffee cup

Life without coffee is not a life worth living. Truth.

The husband decided on the Mountain Man. Of course. I don’t think he had any decision-making issues at all.  3 eggs, home fries, biscuit and gravy, sampling of all breakfast meats and 3 pancakes. Hello, big breakfast!

Part 1

Mike breakfast

Part 2

Mike breakfast 2

And, all together now…

Mike's big breakfast

I would like to tell you that he didn’t eat it all. That would be a lie. To be fair – we eat healthy 90% of our life. It’s what deprivation will do to a person.

I couldn’t make up my damn mind! I really wanted a bowl type thing with home fries, toppings and a runny egg on top but that wasn’t an option. So – I went with cinnamon, syrupy goodness

Sawyer's french toast

It was soooo good. Lots of cinnamon and powdered sugar AND I requested some blueberry syrup. Yum.

And, to make my carb load complete…home fries!

Sawyer's home fries

Those are perfect home fries – super crispy. Could have popped them like potato chips. Oh wait, I did. I don’t think I ever used my fork!

I know so many people always look for good breakfast joints – THIS is it, people! If you’re in Pigeon Forge and looking for some good early eats, go to Sawyer’s Farmhouse! (I hear they do an awesome lunch, too!)

Sawyer's Farmhouse Breakfast Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Burger inside

The Public House – Cheviot

I knew that The Public House was a bar in Cheviot, so I was a bit hesitant to go there just for a dinner. Wasn’t sure if we’d be given “the eye” or not. I know regulars are pretty possessive of their space.:) Hey, I am.

But, I heard (from my Cheviot bar/restaurant frequenters) that they had really good burgers and some good pizza too. You know the husband and me…burgers and fries. (and pizza!) We’re in!

When I walked in, I could immediately tell why it’s a welcome spot for regulars – it’s comfy, big and you could tell that the bartenders and servers knew most of the people in there. I’m down for a “Cheers”. We were greeted warmly and shown to a table – no “eyes” were given.😉

The menu is simple (love that!) – appetizers, sandwiches, burgers and pizzas. Hey, I’m down with that.

Even though it’s not my favorite appetizer, the husband wanted Soft Pretzels. Between him, my son and my bestie, I’ll never escape the soft pretzels!

Pretzels

I only took a couple of bites – they’re just too fluffy and filling for me. They were fine – needed some more salt. Yes, I’m aware that I say that about all things. The husband had no issue taking them down.

So that we could maximize our choices – we split a burger and a pizza. In theory, good idea. But, I eat so little that I knew a lot was going in to go boxes. Hunger knows no reason.

Bah Bah Black Sheep

Burger

Burger inside

That right there is a damn good burger. Really – pretty perfect. I LOVE that bacon and runny egg. I’d get super upset if the egg yolk was cooked. The husband and I were elbowing for bites. Okay, maybe not – since we split it in half. But, I’d poke him in the eye if he’d try to get in the way.

I needed (yes, needed) a side of Parmesan garlic fries.

Fries

I liked the plain fries but there was something off-putting about these topped fries. I’m not quite sure what it was (well, minus the wrong dipping sauce of marinara – just, no) but, I was really wishing for a more garlic taste. Maybe the parmesan was overbearing?

Our pizza – The Firehouse

Pizza

It just wasn’t good. The dough was way too puffy. The sauce was just okay. We each ate one piece and didn’t take it home with us. My sister said that the pizza has changed (not for the better) in the past few months. Yeah, we’ll stick with the burgers. Dewey’s still has my pizza love.

Our service was awesome. It was a great atmosphere. Pricing was good. Burger was fantastic – and we’ll totally go back again because of that!

The Public House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Burger

Bru Burger Bar – Downtown

It’s actually been a couple of months since I’ve been to Bru Burger – what can I say? I’m a blogging slacker! Or, I’ve been busy…😉

A group of us went for a pre-Bachelorette party dinner. Trendy, new and burgers? Hells, yah!

It’s beautiful inside – a bit smaller than I anticipated the space to be but, still beautiful. The servers got a little testy if your chair was a 1/2 inch in their space. Welcome to downtown dining.

We had some cocktails – I believe we did a shot but I have no clue what it was! Also – I might have had several of the Peach Margaritas. 

Margarita

Holy delicious! I suppose that’s why it was so easy to slurp down about 4.

For the table, started off with a couple appetizers…

The Triple Dip

Appetizer

Goat Cheese was awesome. And, who can refuse Naan? I’m not a fan of hummus in general but took a little swipe anyway. It was hummus. I just read an article today about how hipsters have destroyed food set up – the “board” was on the list.:)

Pretzels

Pretzels

Needed more salt but, your basic soft pretzel.

Onion Rings

Onion Rings

Total and complete yum. Crispy and quickly consumed!

My burger – Provencal Burger

Burger

I love goat cheese so that’s what sucked me into this burger. I wasn’t impressed though – the burger was pretty dry. The bun was tasty. I DID enjoy the fries even though I had to salt them.

I don’t know if I picked the “wrong” burger (of course, my philosophy on that is this…I shouldn’t have to pick the one item that they do well – everything should be good) or if Bru Burger was having just an “off” night.

I had an awesome time with some fun women. Our server was amazing – I’m sure it wasn’t easy dealing with a group of 8 women that were swinging back cocktails. He definitely deserves some major props! However, based on food, I definitely don’t need to travel downtown for this burger again. Especially since I have some amazing burgers in my own neighborhood.

Bru Burger Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

MF food

Mama’s Farmhouse – Pigeon Forge, TN

It was our first night in to Pigeon Forge – all my kids wanted was fried chicken. Seriously – who doesn’t? We attempted to go to Paula Deen’s restaurant – yeah, that wasn’t happening without call ahead or a 3 hour wait. Since it was about 8PM, I did a quick search to see what restaurants in the area were high ranked. Mama’s Farmhouse was in the top 5, had all you can eat fried chicken and was right behind our hotel. Score!

The whole “all you can eat” and family style dining was all new to us. For 19.49/person, you get a salad, biscuits, choice of 3 entrees, 5 sides and a dessert. Big old fat fest!

Even at 8, they were still on about a 15 minute wait. When we got sat, it looked like the restaurant had been hit by a bomb! Apparently, a lot of people like to get down with the family style dining. I did hear a man, as he was paying, complaining about the price. Dude – look at the menu before you hog down fried chicken.

Our server was awesome – we could tell that she had been crazy busy before us, yet she still had the energy to be nice and accommodating.

I love iced tea. I really love iced tea served in adorable mason jars.:)

MF Mason jar iced tea

We all got a salad to start – it had an apple cider dressing as the house. AMAZING. Even my kids who are ranch addicts loved this dressing! I even liked the crunchy black eyed peas.

MF side salad

MF apple cider dressing

For our entrees, we got Fried Chicken (of course), meatloaf and turkey/dressing. We picked broccoli casserole, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, macaroni and cheese and chicken and dumplings as our sides.

MF foodMF food 2

MF food 3

The food was pretty good – the fried chicken was probably the best thing on the table. Mashed potatoes were super runny. I’m a major macaroni and cheese snob because I crush the mac’n’cheese making. With family dining, you can request as much “extra” stuff as you’d like. The only thing we got more of was the fried chicken. I don’t think the family dining style was really created for us.

We each got to pick a dessert, too – banana pudding (have I mentioned that I HATE bananas?), peach cobbler or chocolate chip cookies. I forgot to take a pic but the chocolate chip cookies were really delicious. Probably because they just came out of the oven!

We were crazy stuffed – waddled to our hotel and watched some football. It was okay but can’t say that I’d have to go again. If I’m going to do family style dining and spend that kind of money, I’m going to Paula Deen’s.

Mama's Farmhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

MA perfect nachos

McAlister’s – Blue Ash

Working in Blue Ash, I’ve heard about McAlister’s but I’ve never actually been there. However, as I was stalking their menu, I noticed something. The nacho description – it appeared to be a description of perfect nachos. My nacho-loving, foodie self flocked to McAlister’s, right before Christmas to scout out these intriguing nachos.

Because my college attending daughter loves free food, she met me there. Teen people are good for that.😉

Blue Ash is crazy during lunch time – uber busy. Luckily, we got there around 2ish so…we were dining almost solo! I like the simple set up – order at the counter, get your drink and a number and the food is brought out to you.

I got nachos (surprised?) and an Iced Tea…apparently, they’re known for that, too.

MA iced tea

It was damn awesome iced tea! Fresh, perfect brew and super cold.

MA perfect nachos

Just take a look – tortilla chips, layered with melted cheese AND shredded cheese, chili, black olives, jalapenos, tomatoes, green onions, sour cream and GUACAMOLE! Boom – perfect nachos! And, I believe they were only 7.99!

My daughter got a half Reuben and a half potato. I raised her right.

MA Reuben and potato

That is a 1/2 potato – seriously! It was HUGE!

MA reuben

I was too focused on my nachos to try hers but neither the sandwich nor the potato stood a chance.

My daughter and I were both in love with McAlister’s – it’s a deli, doing things simple and right. The bonus? ALL of the above (plus, my daughter’s tea) was under $20!

So, you nacho junkies – GET to McAlister’s for your nacho fix!

McAlister's Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

MD Fried Bologna

Mel’s Diner – Pigeon Forge, TN

I’m simple woman. I like simple food that’s just really tasty and unpretentious. I don’t need a bunch of ingredients that 1. I can’t pronounce or 2. I have no clue what they are.

Which is why Mel’s Diner is one of my favorite restaurants in Pigeon Forge. It’s diner food – things that we all know and love but done, awesomely perfect. The husband and I first discovered this delicious gem in 1999, when we got married. Yes, you can “aw” right there.:)

We take a short trip, post Christmas, to good ole’ Tennessee! Our first meal (lunch) was Mel’s Diner. Yah!

The decor is like an old school diner – oldies music, fun lights, booths. I love it. Plus, the service is always fantastic. And, it’s the south so you’ve got some “sweeties” and “God Bless ya’ll”s there too. I love the south.

What did we get?

The husband decided to veer away from a burger (crazy talk!!!) and got the Elvis Country Club. He talked a big game about getting a milk shake but couldn’t push the button.

MD club sand and fries

He loved it – let’s face it, the man doesn’t eat carbs so he was in heaven! Fries were coated = bonus.

My secret southern daughter got her go to…Chicken Pot Pie.

MD chicken pot pie

I don’t think I heard a peep out of her. Two words – puff pastry.

My son, who professed to not be hungry, “just” got a Jumbo Grilled Cheese

MD grilled cheese and fries

It was ALL gone – not a fry survived his non-hunger massacre.

And, let me just say here – you can take the girl out of the west side (actually, I still live here) but you can’t take the west side out of the girl. I got my usual – the Fried Bologna Sandwich. And, because calories don’t count on vacation, I added cheese and bacon to my fries. Don’t judge me.

MD Fried Bologna

So…stinkin’…good! The husband snagged quite a few bites. It’s so yum.

If you’re in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area, go to Mel’s Diner – it’s delicious food, at a great price and you’ll leave with a nostalgic smile on your (full) face!

Mel's Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Pretzels

Tavern on the Bend

The husband and I were craving some fries (do you see a pattern in our lives?) on a Saturday night and wanted something different close by.

After serious deliberation, we ended up at Tavern on the Bend. Kind of reminds me of Keystone Bar and Grill – burgers and mac’n’cheeses. Hey, I like the simple, remember? I would enjoy just a few more appetizers choices. We have been there a couple of times before so we knew what we were in for.

I’ve never ordered one of the many mac’n’cheeses – I always gravitate to the burgers. That night, I veered. (show ya later)

As an appetizer, we ordered pretzel sticks. Between my best friend, my son and my husband, there will not a pretzel stick undiscovered in this city, dammit!

Pretzels

Hands down, the BEST pretzels that I’ve ever had, anywhere, at any restaurant in this city. Yes, that includes the german ones, too. I’m not sure what happened to make these pretzels so awesome but I’m pretty sure that magic had to occur. I’d go back just for these.

My hubby got a burger – it’s been a while and there’s no online menu but I believe it had jalapenos on it.

Burger

You can’t tell here – but, his burger was bloody red. Now, he doesn’t mind the pink but it was bleeding all over the bun and plate. It was sent back and when it came back out, it was on the SAME soggy, bloody bun. Nothing fixed – except that now the burger was charcoal. I was in horror and shock that it was sent out like that. The kitchen needs to be ashamed. I should have taken an after picture but I was kind of embarrassed to post it.

I got the grilled Mahi sandwich.

Mahi sandwich

It was okay. My bottom bun was soggy and the fish needed some flavor. I wouldn’t order it again.

As for the fries that we went there for – our food was set down, the husband grabbed and ate a fry and SALTED his fries. He NEVER does this. Me? I’m like a salt lick and I think everything needs salt. The fries were seriously plain if he shook that shaker. He just handed it to me and said, “Don’t even try it – just salt it.” Bad sign. The thing is, fries need to be salted when they’re hot and fresh from the fryer. Shaking it on later doesn’t do much good.

Typically, Tavern on the Bend does a good job. Hoping that their kitchen was just having an “off” night.

Tavern on the Bend Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

 

 

 

BW3 wings

Buffalo Wild Wings – Harrison, OH

My son has recently developed a love for chicken wings. He’s a little late to the buffalo wing game but I’m just glad that he’s eating something different.

After church, a few Sundays ago, we were solo and wanted some apps – more specifically, my son wanted wings and pretzels. Yep, he’s definitely becoming a man.

We’ve been to Buffalo Wild Wings before, of course, and it’s 1 of the 5 restaurants in Harrison but hey, I like blogging and taking food pictues so…get over it.

I like this location – it’s HUGE. Lots of tv’s for the football watching. And, the running kids aren’t as noticeable because of the restaurant’s vastness. Please note sarcasm and judgement.

My son – being predictable got the pretzels and wings (medium)

BW3 pretzels.jpg

BW3 wings.jpg

That time, the pretzels were a smidgen overcooked and crunchy. Usually, they’re good. My son just didn’t care as much as I did and since he was the one eating them, I backed off and let it go (start singing).

True to MY predictive nature, I got Nachos and Onion Rings.

BW3 onion rings.jpg

BW3 nachos

The onion rings are awesome – if you’re in search of perfect ones, these are it. Crunchy and the onion doesn’t come out in one piece. #firstworldproblems.

The nachos, while good, aren’t perfect. Not enough “stuff” – I know it looks fully topped but it’s mostly lettuce. The cheese and chili is almost non-existent. They need sour cream, black olives and PICKLED jalapenos (not real ones). And, of course, guacamole. But, these will do in a nacho pinch.

I realize that it’s not fine dining but I do enjoy Buffalo Wild Wings – probably because I enjoy fun appetizers and the smell of buffalo sauce can always make my mouth water. I’m a simple girl.

Buffalo Wild Wings Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato