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Princess of Pies

Nov

09

Posted by on Nov 9, 2017 | 0 comments

BestApplePie_RobinDance_A Good Cook is like a sorceress quote

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.
Elsa Schiaparelli

 

My mother-in-love is one of the best cooks on the planet. I learned that the first time I met her. Then, a college student sustained mostly by starchy, mysterious, dining hall fare, I devoured everything she put on the table; even squash casserole, a subversive compliment to her. I remember her telling me she was glad I was the kind of girl who would eat instead of picking around her plate. I suppose in its own way, that was a compliment, too, but I blushed, worried I must’ve eaten like a hog. Those glorious calories shoved in my mouth were worth the red cheeks.

Sarah was known far and wide for her cooking, and if she knew your favorite thing, she’d be sure to include it if you were coming for dinner. I’m not sure I could choose one favorite dish of hers, but her Cowboy Cookies were magical, and try as I might, I couldn’t come close to her fried chicken. Plenty of her recipes found their way into my kitchen, though, and she delighted in my phone calls when I needed to clarify a process–like making sure if one cup flour, sifted is the same thing as one cup of sifted flour (it’s not). She also insisted that it made a different to “start with flour and end with flour” when adding ingredients for her famed pound cake–I have never put it to the test, though. I think it’s best to trust the cook.

Sarah’s desserts were legendary, and everyone had their favorite (mine was her Italian Cream Cake. sigh…). A diplomat and pleaser at heart, she made sure to rotate whose favorites showed up for holiday meals when our family gathered together.

But then…

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Oooooh, please DO keep reading over at Grace Table table today!
Queen of the Kitchen, Princess of the Pie, and YOU is delicious reading ?. 

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The Secret About Whole30

Jan

29

Posted by on Jan 29, 2016 |

Whole30 Is Not Hard Quote - Robin Dance

January 4th my husband and I started Whole30 for the fourth time. Our secret? Apparently the fourth time is the charm.

I tackled the “What is Whole30?” question a while ago, so if you aren’t familiar, take a moment to become acquainted. Then use your handy back button to return and finish reading. (I’ll wait for you.)

Tad and I are Whole30 evangelists. We believe in it. That being said, it is very much a love/hate thing for us–

 

We cry when we have to tell our restaurant server, “We’ll pass on the candied pecans in the salad,” and I have to give away ALL of my homemade sourdough bread when I make a batch. We miss the noodles in chicken soup. We miss the beans (legumes) in chili. Lots of things to miss (buh-bye Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie), so it’s best to focus on what you can have.

Basically whole foods as close to their original state as possible. High protein meat, seafood and poultry; healthy vegetables; moderate fruit; and my guiltiest of pleasures, nuts–cashews and almonds and macadamias, oh my!

Whole30 is not intended to be a “diet.” It is lifestyle change. It is more about well respecting your body, caring about your health, and exercising self control over instant gratification. We’re killing ourselves, people. Ignorance is not our body’s friend.

For 30 days you commit to not eating any sugar or sugar derivative, no added sugar (practically every processed food in the US has some form of added sugar…buyer beware), most forms of dairy, no pastas or legumes (including peanut and soy), no alcohol, no grains of any kind.

And I think it is ultra important to note we sign up for this for our overall health and to break our sugar addiction, not for weight loss. Whole30, similar to a Paleo diet, touts incredible health improvements in these areas:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • type 1 & 2 diabetes
  • asthma
  • allergies
  • sinus infections
  • hives
  • skin conditions
  • endometriosis
  • infertility
  • migraines
  • depression
  • bipolar disorder
  • heartburn
  • arthritis and joint pain,
  • ADHD
  • thyroid dysfunction
  • Lyme disease
  • fibromyalgia
  • chronic fatigue
  • lupus
  • IBS
  • Celiac disease
  • diverticulitis
  • multiple sclerosis

and even more…!

Isn’t that crazy? But isn’t it worth a try if you have issues in any of the above areas?!

 

The first time we went through Whole30 we were legalists. The Hartwigs, inventors of all things Whole30, expect the best for you, setting compliance in all areas as The Standard. I didn’t even chew gum (artificial sweeteners), and to the degree that I could control meals out, I ate only the foods included in the program.

I’m not going to lie: No sugar and no grains that first time around were a shock to our systems. We not only counted the days, we counted the minutes of each day. Thirty days felt like 100.

But this go ’round has been easier. Much easier.

 

We’ve known what to expect. We are barely keeping up with the days (though with the end in sight, we’ve gotten to the point we’re over it….).

I’ve gotten more adventuresome. I’M ON MY THIRD FREAKING BATCH OF HOMEMADE MAYO and I might not ever buy it again! Clarifying butter is no big deal. I’ve made homemade barbecue sauce and ranch dressing, and some kind of avocado dip for veggies. I bought a julienne peeler to make zoodles and matchstick carrots and to shred spaghetti squash. I bought spaghetti squash for the first time! I’ve tried new recipes–some of which I’ve added to my regular repertoire, others that I’m happy to have tried if only to learn never again!

I mean it when I say I was the person who said, “I could never do that,” primarily suggesting I couldn’t go without any sugar for 30 days. So don’t give me that excuse.

 

The most common quote the Hartwigs hear from their book is one I’ve repeated many times to friends in conversation–

“It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking our coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.”

 

Perspective shreds your sad, little, tired arguments to pieces. 

Ready to try it? I’ll be your biggest cheerleader!

Related links that might offer a bit more encouragement:

Why I refuse to be discouraged

Why I’m doing Whole30 and a recipe born of desperation

 

Buy “It Starts With Food.” (Their original book, compelling, convincing science behind the process). At least look at it.

Buy “The Whole30.” (A simpler approach to the program in five easy steps. HIGHLY motivating.)

 


(affiliate links used)

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Best Chattanooga Restaurants for Dinner (+ a $50 giveaway!)

Sep

20

Posted by on Sep 20, 2013 | 39 comments

Where_to_eat_in_Chattanooga

I've saved my favorite Chattanooga restaurants for last; while most of them could be lunch destinations as well, I prefer these for dinner fare.  I'll share a bit about why they're included and pictures if I have them. 


chilled water & menu from the BoatHouse menu

Boat House Rotisserie & Raw Bar

Riverside, 1459 Riverside Drive, Chattanooga, TN 37406 || 423-622-0122

IMG_1766


View from the Boat House restaurant on the TN River in Chattanooga

Our view…

Why I love it:  Back porch seating overlooking the Tennessee River.  It's worth it to wait or arrive early (or late) in order to grab a spot; you're doubly lucky if it's at sunset.   The Boat House is located along the Tennessee Riverpark, a 10-mile stretch of trails starting at the Chickamauga Dam and ending in Downtown Chattanooga.  We park our car near the dam and ride bikes to the Boat House; then, stop for a few eats and drinks to rest and reload for the rest of our ride.   

 

Something special:  If you arrive between 2-6, you'll receive Happy Hour prices on drinks AND appetizers; you'll be able to sample a lot for a little money.  Their fried okra is spectacular–whole pods sliced lengthwise, then lightly battered and fried to perfection (my friend Stephanie swears by their woodgrilled okra but I'm holding tight).  Funny, I've only tasted a few menu items because these things are what keep me coming back. Salads are very good, the Voodoo Chicken is a nice change-up on chicken, and their fries, cooked in olive oil, are impossible to resist.


Fried okra from the Boathouse Rotisserie & Raw Bar in ChattanoogaOne more thing:
  This is one of the three restaurants owned by Lawton & Karen Haygood that make my list.  Three different concepts, three fantastic eateries.

 Facebook page || 

 

Public House

Southside,  1110 Market St. Chattanooga 37402 || 423.266.3366


Public House Restaurant in ChattanoogaWhy I love it
:  The story behind the restaurant: "…an extension of a community…" (one reason I love homegrown spots).  They offer high quality & local-when-possible ingredients, attentive service, and little details that make a difference (i.e., black napkins if you're wearing dark clothes but white cloth if not). They offer two sizes of sides, a wide variety of selection and complimentary Niedlov's yeast rolls (but only by request).


Public House Restaurant in ChattanoogaSomething special:  
The decor will grab your attention the minute you walk in the door.  For some reason the white leather (pleather? vinyl??) made me think "Frank Sinatra"…but I don't know why.  It feels simultaneously retro and current.  

If you'd like an afternoon cocktail or have to wait for a table, be sure to check out The Social, a small gathering spot/watering hole just beyond the restaurant.  It was there one afternoon the bartender gave us a lesson in all things Chartreuse, its origin as a French liqueur made by Carthusian Monks, which in turn, lends itself to the yellow/green shade by the same name.

One more thing:  It's been too long since I've eaten at the Public House, in large part because it's 30 minutes+ from our house; the fried chicken is the only thing I can remember to recommend; but I couldn't let that stop me from putting it on my list–it really is a special place.   Oh, and I can't think of anyone else who has a better, more engaged, local social media presence!

Facebook || Twitter

 

Urban Stack

Southside, 12 West 13th Street Chattanooga, TN 37402 || 423.475.5350

Why I love it:   Their venue, the Southern Railway Baggage Building (circa 1867), and yes, their burgers.  Plus, I applaud them for buying local when possible.   My go-to burger simple–The Big Cheese–but it becomes spectacular with their housemade pimento cheese, melty and drippy.  Say yes to the Gouda Creamed Corn and a dessert shake using Clumpies Ice Cream.

Something special:  They've built "one of the most environmentally friendly businesses in one of the oldest buildings in the city."   (LEED Certified.)  Cool beans.  

Urban Stack is one of several restaurants that make my list by local restauranteurs Taylor and Mike Monen–I mentioned Milk & Honey on my breakfast list and you'll see another below.

One more thing:   This is a burger and bourbon bar, and from what I understand they have some mighty fine whiskeys–I'm wildly curious if I could tell the difference between a 2-ounce pour of Johnnie Walker Blue ($67, most expensive) and Old Crow ($4.50, cheapest).  The bourbon menu is fun to read and it's educational: you'll learn there's a way to order it: neat, on the rock or stacked.

Unless you arrive during off hours, you're going to have to wait.  

Facebook || Twitter

 



Margarita at Taco MamacitaTaco Mamacita

Northshore, 109 North Market Street, Chattanooga, TN 37405 || 423.648.6262

Why I love it:  It's not Tex-Mex, it's Fresh-Mex.  This is the third restaurant making my lists from the talented team of Mike and Taylor Monen.  I love Taco Mamacita's branding–colorful, fun, memorable and consistent with their fare.  You really can taste the fresh, and Taco Mamacita is not – I repeat not– a typical Mexican restaurant.

Something special:   Mexican Street Corn, shaved (off the cob) and the Salsa Sampler (mango jalepeno, sweet and spicy).  My favorite taco is the General Homeboy and their Peruvian Chicken is tender and yummy.  Like margaritas?  Try the Elvez.

One more thing:  This is the only Monen-owned restaurant with locations elsewhere – Nashville and Sullivan's Island – but I'm thinking that's only a matter of time.  The Monens develop a concept well, set a standard of excellence, and the rest is up to the customers.  If you're at any of their restaurants during peak hours (Taca Mamacita, Urban Stack, Milk & Honey and I'm guessing Community Pie, too, a newish pizza venture), you're going to have to wait.  It's worth it.

Facebook || Twitter

 

Two chains I have to mention–
1) because they're in the Gunbarrel Road/Hamilton Place Mall area
(so much of what I mention is downtown); and
2) because they're closer to where we live, they're places we frequent.

J. Alexanders

2215 Hamilton Place Blvd, Chattanooga, TN 37421 || 423.855.5559

Why I love it:  Consistent, excellent quality, large portions (though smaller in recent years) and exceptional service.  I'm partial to their salmon or marinated rib-eyes, and their loaded baked potato is the loadiest of them all.  

Something special:  Servings are large and we typically share an entree and split a salad. There's no way you'll have room for dessert if you get an appetizer, so keep that in mind.  They've recently added guacamole to their menu and it's absolutely HOLY GUACAMOLE!  A mile high and chunky, expensive but soooo good.  

One more thing:   The Key Lime Pie WILL be the best you've ever put in your mouth–mounds of real, whipped cream and not too tart, not too sweet.  All of their desserts are delicious, worth the price and calories, large enough to share.   Also, they're one of the few local restaurants I've found that serve Mollydooker wines by the glass, a favorite when I can get it.

 Facebook || Twitter (No local social media presence–boo!)

 

Bonefish Grill

2115 Gunbarrel Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37421 || 423.892.3175


50 Dollar Bonefish Grill Giftcard GiveawayWhy I love it:  Five dollar Bang Bang Shrimp on Wednesday nights!!  I get a side salad & their delicious bread and it's a wonderfully priced, consistently good meal.

Something special:  Servers knowledgeably recommend what preparation to go with the type fish you're considering.  Warm mango salsa, pan asian, lemon butter–it's hard for me to decide because they all sound good.  Also, their Pecan Parmesan-Crusted Trout was fantastic the last time I had it (but since I keep going back for the Bang Bang Shrimp $5 deal, it's been a long time since I've ordered anything else).

One more thing:  Don't turn your nose up if you aren't a fan of chain restaurants or think you can't get good seafood when you aren't near the coast.  There's a very good reason Bonefish is always crowded–it's fairly priced, the staff is well-trained and attentive, and the seafood is consistent and delicious.  (Consistency is important to me, can you tell? It's high praise when I mention it.)

In fact, I happened to find out in advance that Bonefish Grill was voted the Times Free Press Best of the Best for Seafood in Chattanooga this year!!  They'll be featured in the TFP 9/27 edition (along with the rest of the Best of the Best winners)!

In celebration, Bonefish is awarding a $50 gift card to one of my readers, details at the end of this post.

Facebook || Twitter (Facebook is local (yaeee!), Twitter is corporate)

 

Worthy mentions:

I like these spots a lot, and I'll tell ya why ~

Sugar's Ribs.  Yummy barbecue, fresh corn on the cob (a specialty, you'll see why), wood-grilled okra & perfect sweet tea.  Owned by the same couple as Boat House Rotisserie and Raw Bar (and Canyon Grill below), they do what they do VERY well.  Plus, there's entertainment for the children:  goats.  While you're waiting on your food, you can feed the goats!  (Yes, they're outside…!)


Tonys_Pasta_ChattanoogaTony's Pasta Shop & Trattoria.  A fabulous location in the Bluff View Arts District (downtown).  Tony's is a local institution, reasonably priced and good Italian.  It has fun outdoor and upstairs (backporch) seating, but you're going to have to wait if you arrive during peak hours; there are no reservations or call ahead seating.  

St. Johns Restaurant.  Arguably the nicest restaurant in Chattanooga; also, the most expensive (the reason I didn't include it in more detail).  You can expect excellent service in a beautiful setting, but if you eat upstairs, your food might cool a bit by the time it arrives from the downstairs kitchen.  There's also their sister restaurant right next door, the Meeting Place.  For some reason, we've never made it there, but it's reputed to be the same delicous food; just in a more casual setting.  Yep, it's on my list.

 

And if you ask me my absolute favorite?  I'll tell you……..

Canyon Grill

The Haygood's third restaurant on my list (joining Boathouse and Sugar's).  It's a worthwhile drive from downtown Chattanooga, located in a
modest building at the top of beautiful Lookout Mountain.  Don't judge
this award-winning restaurant by its cover–the food is memorable, fresh and nothing
short of spectacular.  They ice down all their meats and seafoods rather
than refrigerate them.  My favorites:

  • Slash & Burn Catfish ~ it's not just an entree, it's an experience.  Ugly to look at, beautiful to eat,
    and they keep track of how many they've sold (21,571 when I checked).  I cannot believe they've shared the recipe.
  • Fried Squash ~ I cannot figure out how to duplicate its light coating, and it is by far the best I've ever tasted.
  • Coconut Cake ~ OhMyLanta–THIS is Nectar of the Gods in cake form.  I
    don't even LIKE coconut, and every time I eat this the heavens illumine and angels sing.
  • Other mentionables:  hickory smoked steaks and bread
    pudding (one of my friends wanted to buy the decadent sauce and drink
    it).  Canyon Grill is located in a dry county, but you can "bring your own" if you'd like.

 

BIG THANKS to Bonefish Grill for offering a $50 giftcard to one of my readers, in celebration of their Times Free Press win for Best of the Best – Seafood in Chattanooga!  (Giftcard is good at ANY Bonefish Grill.)

To enter this giveaway, simply Like this post using the FB button below and/or share this post within your social networks.   Comment the URL to your Facebook Status, Tweet, Pin or whatever you choose to do; you can also Like the Bonefish Grill Chattanooga and Corporate page and comment that you did for extra entries.  

You're welcome to enter more than once but be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry.  Deadline for entry is Friday, September 27th (midnight EST), the day the Times Free Press award winners are published.

 

The Best Chattanooga Lunch Spots

My Favorite Chattanooga Breakfast Venues

 

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#LoveWhereYouLive ~ Chattanooga’s Best Restaurants for LUNCH!

Aug

26

Posted by on Aug 26, 2013 | 5 comments


Love-Where-You-Live-black-pinkMy favorite lunch spots in Chattanooga

Southern Star

It's been too long since I've been to Southern Star, but the fact I'm
putting it number one for lunch is telling:  it's fun, home-style cookin' and
representative of true Southern fare (I have a love thang for their creamed corn and mashed potatoes).  Their sweet tea is perfect and
they'll start you with wafer-thin cornbread on the house (ask for it
extra crispy and be sure to
Screen Shot 2013-08-26 at 12.58.23 PMsprinkle with salt).  Menu changes daily but salads and sandwiches are always available.  I hate to say it but their desserts aren't my favorite…they look better than they taste.  Open weekdays only
on the Southside, 1300 Broad St, Chattanooga 37402 (second location on Signal Mountain).

 



Good Dog, Chattanooga, Exterior
Good Dog, Chattanooga, interiorGood Dog.

If I liked hotdogs better, this might've made the #1 spot for lunch; it's not just about the food, I like the story behind the food.  What Five Guys did for burgers, Susan, Fred & the gang are doing for dogs.  They're part of Chattanooga's Harvested Here movement and they refuse to use anything but fresh ingredients, local when available.  Sausages are seasoned and cased in-house, gluten-free buns are available, and I'm partial to their twice-fried fries (frites), served in a cone that plops right in an opening in your table.  Come early and plan to gander a bit–their tiny space is FULL of dog-gone fun memorabilia and local artistry.   On the North Shore, open seven days.  34 Frazier Ave, Chattanooga 37405.

 


Fresh 2 Order interior, ChattanoogaFresh 2 Order

One of only two chains I'll mention, but they've earned it the old fashioned way:  by serving "Fine. Food. Fast!"  They have the BEST salads in Chattanooga (my favorite is the Market–mixed baby greens, balsamic vinaigrette dressing, candied walnuts, golden raisins, cranberries, apples, toasted almonds, but I hold the mandarin oranges).  One of the things I like best about F2O is they have full portions and 3/4 portions, and recently they added very reasonably priced Chef Small Bite Appetizers.  Just look at this gorgeous Almond-crusted Seared
Sushi Chef Small Bite at F2OTuna atop Asian Slaw with a Dijon Vinegarette!!  A perfect size for me and only $5.  Crazy.  One more plus (as if there weren't enough), I love their decor.  You WILL be served FAST but it feels anything like a fast-food place.  You can order online in advance, on their monitor when you walk in the door or stand in line to place it; a little off-putting at first but no big deal once you've tried it.  Kids eat free on Sundays.  Hamilton Place Mall area, 1919 Gunbarrel Road, 
Chattanooga, 37421.

 


Terminal Brew House Chattanooga, view from second floorTerminal Brew House. 

I've only been there once and all I can say is Shame on me!  TBH is the kind of place that attracts both locals and visitors, and its diverse menu will leave everyone with more than a few choices.  They use locally sourced ingredients and their craft beers are found elsewhere around town.   My daughter loves the Fru Fru Chicken Sandwich, and their sweet potato fries are the best I've had (dusted in cinnamon sugar & fried perfectly); we inhaled their Festo–Feta Basil Olive Oil Spread slathered on fresh bread.  If you order the salmon, make sure to ask for it rare (mine was overcooked and dry).  YUM on the bacon-studded grits & although I can't speak from experience, friends rave about their salads and burgers.  Oh, and if you're curious about their in-house crafted beers?  Try their sampler, six 2-ounce pours and a great way to figure out which you like best.

 

Salmon Elliott, Bacon-studded Grits, Chipotle Whisky Baked Beans @ Terminal Brew House

Salmon Elliott, Bacon-studded grits & Chipotle Whisky Baked Beans

 

The Fru Fru @ Terminal Brew House in Chattanooga

The Fru Fru Chicken Sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries & Regular Fries
Beer Sampler @ Terminal Brew House in Chattanooga

Beer Sampler

 

The English Rose Tea Room.

Yes, it's a tea room, but I've never gone for tea, only lunch (though we DID have tea service :) ).  It's authentic, lovely for a special, memorable outing, and a departure from the ordinary.  I had the yummy soup of the day (potato leek) with a crusty roll, and while I don't recall what anyone else had, we ended our meal with Eton Chaos (fresh strawberries and meringue chips folded into whipped cream) and Profiteroles (cream puffs served with chocolate sauce and custard).  Mmmmm!  If the Southside was closer to my house, I'd frequent the English Rose, it doesn't just feed the stomach, it feeds the soul.  In addition to tea and food service, they have a fun little gift shop full of All Things Tea  Open Tuesday- Saturday, 11:00-5:00; 1401 Market Street, Chattanooga, 37402.

 

Sofa King Juicy Burger

I'm adding this one for three reasons: a) FANtastic onion rings made with Aretha Frankenstein's pancake batter; b) Liquid nitrogen milkshakes made right before your eyes–it's a show for little ones and the young at heart (they're made in a shake "lab" while you watch); c) the kitsch.  I love their branding concept.  I know, I know, you can't judge a book by its cover, but I like their retro vibe.  Their burgers are good, better to me than Southern Burger Co.  Though I wish I could add Southern Burger to my list, I've had bad experiences twice now at their Ooltewah location (soggy buns, limp french fries, small servings and marginal service; I hope their other location is better and their line is a mile long at the Chattanooga Market, a good sign).  Just beyond Downtown, 1743 Dayton Blvd, Chattanooga, 37405.

 

NoteablesBeyond the Garden Gate (off the beaten path in Ooltewah, a little kitschy, but their quiche & raspberry tea are favorites); Champy's (the best Chattanooga fried chicken), Cafe Roma (their website is lacking, but their food is not!  VERY worth the drive to Cleveland, TN; great seafood). 

If you live in the Tennessee Valley, what are your favorite lunch destinations?? 

DO share your favorite hometown lunch spots in comments!  If you aren't a blogger, you can even link your list from Facebook or Pinterest!!


Love-Where-You-Live-black-pink

 

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Burgfest ~ a SPECTACULAR Bavarian Castle Festival

Oct

02

Posted by on Oct 2, 2012 | 8 comments

Burghausen Castle - Bavara - picture by Robin Dance

I’ve taken to calling her Mayberry, this place that has gentled her way into my heart.

There’s no Andy or Barney but it’s small town and slow and her people simmer friendly and open. I know when it’s time to go for good, she’ll hold back a sliver of my heart.  How could that not happen when you live in the place fairytales are born?

Burghausen is home to the longest castle in the world, so it makes perfect sense to have a party that goes on for days.  And based on the crowds and revelry, I think every one of her 19,000 residents showed up or somehow took part in Burgfest 2012, a Renaissance Festival of Epic Proportion.

Children playing drums at Burgfest Castle festival

7534270454_be630e65e8_b

Burghausen Castle Festival processional

Burgfest 2012 ~ Dancing and music

 

Burgfest is sensory feast.

Festival eats and drinks, of course, but the scents, sights, sounds and tactile experience filled me to the overflow.  Imagine men, women and children celebrating their heritage fully committed with wild abandon.  In a storehouse of memory, this one dazzles me dizzy.

Burgfest 2012 ~ Drum processional

DSC_0291

Steckerfische ~ literal fish (on) sticks!!

Food at Burgfest

Burgfest foods, grilled meats and sausages

Peasants at Burgfest gathering flowers

Renaissance Festival family

 

Their commitment to authenticity is remarkable, a romantic depiction of Medieval times.  Puppet shows, live entertainment, reenactments…all made me long to understand the language.  Then again, I understood enough.

DSC_0303

Burgfest Castle Festival

Hand-cranked swing at Burgfest Castle Festival

Fruit and vegetable cart at Burgfest

DSC_0277

 

Children of all ages had a difficult choice to make:  what festival novelties to take home.

Wooden clogs at Burgfest

Armor helmets, Renaissance Festival

Swords at Burgfest Castle Festival

Bows and arrows, Renaissance Festival (Burghausen Castle Festival)

 

It was all I could do not to buy Renaissance clothing (or a COOL bow and arrow)–you know me and my propensity for wearing princess dresses…. If only I had known I needed cash!  (After the fact, I realized I could have gotten a deal on period dress at Amazon.  Le sigh….)

I’ve never considered going to a Renaissance Festival before, but if they’re anything like Burghausen’s Castle Festival, attendance is just a matter of time (DO tell if you’ve been to one yourself).

Have you subscribed to blog updates yet to follow this series?  Tomorrow I’ll complete my recap of Burgfest with my favorite discovery of the day:  the thing squeezed my heart so tight I can still feel the hug months later….

Amazon affiliate links used.

 

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Grit(s)

Feb

24

Posted by on Feb 24, 2012 | 7 comments

GritsGrit.

Add an "s" and it transforms into a wonderful, Southern breakfast side dish, best served with a lump of butter (never margarine), a sprinkling of salt and crushed pepper, and a smattering of crumbled bacon in every bite; and cheese, cheese is always an option.  A close second, and truthfully, my preferred dish, is wonderfully creamy shrimp and grits, spicy with a hint of heat, but not so much as to over power the dish.  The grits are delicious canvas for the rest of the meal, and they can make or break the entire thing if not properly tended.

Most people outside the South don't understand grits, as if a they were a thing to be understood.

Either you're a believer or you aren't, and I feel sorry for those who are trapped in the latter category. 

I suppose for most people, "grit" conjures images of hang-dog determination and wrestling with or through the things that irritate the mind, soul or body, but for me, right now…5,000 miles from home, three weeks without touching the skin of my babies, and away from familiar comforts, the thought of a steamy bowl of Southern comfort brings a smile.

* * * *

5 minute fridayMy bizarre response to Lisa-Jo's Five Minute Friday writing prompt…I doubt anyone else will go this route!!  Feel free to join her!

 

Photo credit:  SouthernPlate.com

 

 

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