Thursday, February 9, 2012

Eating out....

I've never posted about eating out, but it's something we all do...probably more often than we'd like to admit.  Tony & I just returned from a trip for two & I thought I'd share some of our experiences.

First of all, when we are traveling we've always had a "loose" rule to chose the individually owned restaurants as much as possible.  Sometimes this isn't possible, and sometimes we just don't want to, but on our trip this week we did follow that rule.  On top of that, we tried to chose restaurants that source their food locally from non-corporate farms.

On our way to the Smokies, we stopped at Somerset, Ky and ate at "Guthrie's River House", overlooking the Lake Cumberland. Tony had one of their famous steaks.  I had pecan encrusted chicken over sweet potatoes with a brown sugar & sherry glaze.  Both meals were amazing.  We finished with a creme brulee for two - love cracking that sugar shell on top!  This is the second time we've eaten at Guthrie's and each experience has been fabulous.
Creme Brulee at Guthrie's

While at the Smokies, we ate at two breakfast joints frequented by the locals.  One was the "Log Cabin Cafe", which provided us a very nice, made from scratch breakfast.  One was "Atrium Pancakes", which we think we ate at 23 years ago on our Honeymoon.  Their syrup was definitely the star of the meal, it's homemade & wonderful.  Tasted like syrup used to when I was a child.  It's so good that they even sell it in pint jars to take home!

Our favorite meal of the trip was at "Bistro 109", which is right beside the old courthouse in downtown Sevierville. We started our meal with the lamb lollipops, moved into seafood dishes & finished up with a creme brulee.  There were subtle things in each dish that made the entire experience unique.  The cherry gastric with the lamb, the corn-pepper-bacon reduction with my crab cakes & the blueberry glaze with Tony's scallops were perfectly chosen complements to the plates.  Definitely one of the best meals we have ever had in our lives.  You can click below to see their full menu & much more.  As you will see, their prices are so similar to what you'd pay at a major chain, which makes them a great value as well.  On top of all of this, the atmosphere was impeccable & comfortable, from the table linens to their music selection it was a great place to spend some time.
Lamb Lollipops at Bistro 109

On our way home, we stopped again at Somerset & chose to eat at "Life is Sweet."  It is a quaint little restaurant on their downtown square.  The atmosphere was warm & charming & we were soon enjoying both of their daily specials.  Tony chose the open faced pork sandwich with potatoes & gravy while I had their lamb gyro.  Both were wonderful.  I can't say enough about the cucumber sauce & spiced lamb in my gyro, they were perfect together.  The dessert case was filled with amazing looking desserts, but by this time in the trip we had indulged enough so we didn't try any.
Life Is Sweet on Urbanspoon

It takes a little research to find these places, we use alot.  We also use, which highlights restaurants that locally source their food. Sometimes these restaurants cost a little more than a chain, but it has always been worth it. The important thing to remember is that even if you find something occasionally that you don't love, you've had a unique experience & you will eat at least twice more in the next 24 hours, so you really haven't lost much. Life is too short not to be adventurous!

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