I spent last week in Gatlinburg with some friends. We ate a lot. I mean a lot, lot. So much that by the time I got home on Saturday I was literally sick of food. That’s why I waited to write about the trip. I wanted to make sure I was back to my normal appetite before I blogged about food again.
We arrived in Gatlinburg on Sunday, but the eating didn’t begin until the following day. The first thing we did when we all woke up on Monday was breakfast at The Log Cabin Pancake House. We discovered this place the last time we vacationed in Gatlinburg and so we made a B-line for it first thing Monday morning. The pancakes are amazing, but their other breakfast options are delicious as well.
I had the country ham breakfast, which included a big piece of country ham, two eggs, and three pancakes. It was all good, but the country ham was outstanding. My mom’s side of the family is from Alabama, so I know country ham quite well; and when I say this was the best country ham I’ve ever had I am as serious as a heart attack. It was intensely salty, but not too salty; fatty, hammy, porky goodness. It was perfect with the sweet blueberry pancakes.
We visited The Log Cabin Pancake House again later on in the week. This time I ordered the French Toast Royale: four pieces of French toast and bananas, covered with a cream cheese sauce. The bananas and sauce reminded me of banana’s foster. It was decadently rich, but very delicious.
We ate at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. for lunch, which is a chain restaurant, but still very good. Generally speaking, I think that their prices are ridiculously high, but the Shrimp New Orleans is definitely worth the price. This dish is all about the sauce. You could pour it on shoe leather and it would be delicious.
Tuesday we ate lunch at the New Orleans Sandwich Company, which is tucked away on the main shopping drag in Gatlinburg. This place specializes in Po’ Boys, but I got their Muffaletta. It’s an Italian-style sandwich that originated in NOLA: sliced ham, salami, mortadella and provolone, covered in a vinegary olive salad. They served it on an entire loaf of Italian bread, literally. (and I only ordered HALF a sandwich!) I love muffalettas, and I order one whenever I see it on a menu. This one was on par with some of the best ones I’ve eaten.
The muffaletta was good, but there’s another sandwich at the New Orleans Sandwich Company that knocked my socks off. We went back a few days later and I ordered their Fat Tuesday sandwich. It’s a Po’ Boy with roast beef and your choice of turkey or ham, cheddar cheese, and au jou gravy. For a dollar extra I opted to get BOTH turkey and ham on mine, because that’s how I roll. They piled home cooked roast beef, turkey, ham, and cheese, with mayo, lettuce, tomato, and pickle on a loaf of bread; and then they dipped the bottom half of the sandwich in the au jou gravy. They asked if I wanted extra gravy; I obliged.
This sandwich is in my top three sandwiches of all time. It was out of this world good. It was rich and savory and bold. It was huge too. Despite my best attempt, I couldn’t finish the whole thing, which I guess is reasonable considering it was as big as an ENTIRE loaf of bread! Everything about this sandwich is amazing, but the thing I liked most was the pickles. The acid from the pickles cut through the richness of the meat and cheese and gravy. Without that pickle I wouldn’t have been able to eat nearly as much of the sandwich as I did.
Wednesday we ate lunch at a place in Pigeon Forge called Huck Finn’s. It’s a restaurant specializing in Southern food, and in particular, catfish. Everyone ordered their own entrée, but they serve the sides family style: cole slaw, white beans, hush puppies (outstanding by the way), pickles, and Vidalia onions. I ordered their fried chicken and fried okra. I enjoyed everything, but the fried green tomatoes and alligator tail are out of this world!
Thursday we ate lunch at a bbq joint in Pigeon Forge called Bennett’s BBQ. All I will say about this place is I’ve had better. Much better. In fact, there’s a place 5 minutes from my house that serves much better BBQ than this place (Beale Street BBQ). I ordered a sampler platter that included pulled pork, beef brisket, and spare ribs. Everything was super dry. I will not be going back to Bennett’s BBQ.
Thursday evening we ate at a horrible Italian restaurant in Gatlinburg called Best Italian. In my experience, any restaurant that has to tell you that they are the best in their name probably isn’t the best. Their garlic bread had huge pieces of UNCOOKED garlic piled on top of it. Enough said.
I skipped Friday because that’s the day we ate at The Log Cabin and the New Orleans place again.
Saturday was our last day, but as we left we stopped at a place in Sevierville, TN called Tony Gore’s BBQ & Grill. It’s about ten miles east of Gatlinburg. Their sign reads, “Southern Gospel. Southern Cookin’. Southern Hospitality.” All three were definitely present when we were there. We ate here the last time we were in Tennessee, so we knew we had to eat here again this time. Everything I’ve eaten here has been outstanding. I have eaten a lot of BBQ from a lot of different places, I even make my own; but Tony Gore makes some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had. I ordered a sampler platter (notice a pattern here?) of pulled pork, fried catfish, cole slaw, hush puppies, and fried okra. It was all amazing. They have about six different BBQ sauces on the table, which makes eating there even more fun because you can experiment with all of them as you eat.
It was after this meal that I started hating food. I ate waaaaaaaay too much at Tony’s. I really wanted to try a piece of their Reese’s Piece’s chocolate cake, but there’s no way I could force another bite down my gullet.