After spending a few days in Essex Junction, Vermont, Melanie said we should check out Shelburne, Vermont, just down the road a piece. She wanted to go by the local Episcopal church there to see the Tiffany Windows, but we were too early for anyone to be at the church and so, after taking a few photos of the outside of the church and giving me instructions to find breakfast, we took a short ride to the Inn at Shelburne Farms.
Our hosts in Essex Junction mentioned Shelburne Farms to us without much explanation, so we didn't have any idea what to expect. Upon arriving, we drove through a stone gate, then through a series of pastoral settings with barns and livestock. The drive into the inn is just over a mile ending in an idyllic setting next to Lake Champlain.
Checking in with the inn restaurant hostess, we were asked if we were a part of the James Beard Foundation group staying at the inn. At this point, I'm thinking we surely must be at the right and proper place for a great breakfast. 😎
Turns out, set and setting were great as was the breakfast. Afterwards, we walked the grounds a bit and then made our way on to the White Mountains for the evening. The Inn at Shelburne Farms is a great experience. Food is worth a try too. Reservations may be had, but not required.
You may also want to check out various farm-related programs they offer on site.
From their webpage:
From 1886 to 1902, William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb consolidated 32 of these farms into a 3,800-acre agricultural estate. Its landscape design was inspired by Central Park landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The Webbs’ grand model horse farm began a tradition of agricultural innovation. With increasing financial pressures by the 1950s, the family shifted away from maintaining the main house and barns to focus on raising dairy and beef animals.
In 1972, Webb descendants decided to open and share Shelburne Farms with the world and give it a new purpose. In 1984 the family contributed the property to the nonprofit educational organization that owns it today.
Today, Melanie and I rode the easy six miles on the Ashuelot Recreation Rail Trail into Keene, New Hampshire for, among other things, lunch.
We'd received some guidance from one of our hosts, Laura, at Ashuelot River Campground, but, while we got names for places she likes, we didn't get any particulars from her. We were fortunate, once we reached Main Street, to happen on Odelay, one of Laura's recommendations.
Odelay is a phonetic English rendering of the Mexican slang interjection "órale", which translates roughly to "listen up" or "what's up?" While I've been unable to get the name of the chef at Odelay, suffice it to say he has talent. He fuses Vietnamese and Mexican cusines, among others, for really delicious combinations. Fusion.
Odelay doesn't have much of a web presence, but the person who assisted us with ordering mentioned the chef had a food cart before opening Odelay and sold street food.
Odelay is located at 44 Main Street in downtown Keene.
We didn't have much free time while we were in Birmingham, but the last evening there we met long-time dear friends at what continues to be one of our very favorite places to eat, El Barrio. El Barrio is listed on our resources page, but really another mention won't hurt anything.
Besides, what a great way to catch up with friends over several Tuesday margarita specials and a great meal, including great Sopaipillas.
Don't let Catch's location on Market Street in a strip shopping area fool you.
It was raining and had been raining for some time when we arrived. It's raining as I type this. Relatively deep standing water in spots had to be navigated as we parked Miranda on the side of the shopping center. We called about an hour before hand and reserved a spot in the bar which is small and located in the entrance way.
The setting didn't matter, road weary people often can't be too choosey. When a good meal follows, first-world problems are forgotten.
From their site:
A James Beard Finalist for best Southeast Chef and featured on Bravo TV’s Top Chef (season 9) Keith Rhodes has been caught up in the North Carolina seafood scene since he founded Catch in 2006. The chef has always favored wild caught or sustainably raised seafood and continually supports local fisheries and organic farmers. On any given day his coastal creations can take you on a global escape with flavors that traverse borders and seas.
We had a great brunch here with Tate and Zoe on Sunday past.
From the Marche website:
Marché Artisan Foods is a bustling European style eatery located near the heart of Historic East Nashville in “Five Points.” We are a diner’s dream serving seasonal cuisine with our all day brunch menu. The simply fresh cuisine and elegantly rustic setting create the perfect ambiance for any occasion.
I recommend you make a reservation.
We arrived in The Gulch after a drive from Louisville where we'd spent a fine couple of days visiting with our great friends Pif and Chip Hicks. It was pretty warm and we were pretty hungry.
The Gulch, located between Music Row and Downtown Nashville, has become popular with many restaurants and music venues and places to live. It was a bustle of humanity on Saturday past with lots of people on the street and riding scooters. There were lots of cars too and no place for Miranda on the street near Peg Leg Porker, so we opted for paid parking nearby. The lot was charging a daily rate of $20.00. We were hungry. We paid and hoofed it a few blocks, dodging the scooters, to the Porker only to find a line out the door at the Porker. Yes, we got on line and, yes, it's that good.
Because we hail from Birmingham, Alabama, we know good ribs. Dreamland has long been the go to place for great ribs. The Peg Leg Porker rivals Dreamland and may be just a smidgen better. Jus' sayin'.
This was our second time dining at Sidney Street Cafe. The first was back in June of 2017 when we were in St. Louis to give Leisure Travel Vans a look see. If you're in the loop, you know what resulted from that trip. 😎
This time around we passed through St. Louis for some (very) minor warranty work on Miranda. We were able to get most of the work done and afterwards made a reservation at Sidney Street for dinner.
We were just as impressed this time around as the last. Great food and service and, as a bonus, Sidney Street is located within walking distance our favorite St. Louis bar, Venice Cafe.
Make an evening of it next time in St. Louis. Great diner at Sidney Street, then, if your lucky, great music in a funky venue at Venice Cafe.
So, we'd wanted to dine at a much touted Italian restaurant Monteverde, didn't have reservations and got there only to discover they were jammin'. Seriously jammin'. The bar, and the tables in the bar, had a wait and the wait for a table in the dining room was 90 minutes. Okay. So, no.
I quickly did a local search and found Rick Bayless', Leña Brava, was relatively close by and off we went. When we arrived at the restaurant there were, luckily, a few seats remaining at the bar. We took our place, ordered wine and some oysters to start what would turn out to be another great experience in a Bayless restaurant.
The first time we dined in a Bayless establishment was a few years back. We had a reservation at Topolobampo. One memory of that experience is we were told our table was that of Michelle and Barack Obama when they were in town. Fine.
But I also remember the sauces that accompanied the dishes we were served that night. Exquisite comes to mind. Fine chemistry comes to mind. Finesse comes to mind. Our dinner was great. The experience was great.
Our dinner at Leña Brava was different, less formal, but also a great and memorable experience.
We were recently dining out in Birmingham, Alabama and friends we were with mentioned they were going to visit Traverse City, Michigan. We immediately told them they should make a reservation to eat at Trattoria Stella.
I tried to find my review on missingpersonsrv, but couldn't. That's because somehow a well-deserved mention fell through the cracks. Happens.
Arriving in Traverse City after driving the entire way from Ludington, Michigan in a torrential rain that included Miranda driving through water a foot and a half deep, we were looking for coffee beans when we happened on Trattoria Stella.
Having done some research on restaurants in the area, I tried several days before we arrived to get a reservation at Stella, but was told they were booked.
So, after getting coffee beans at a local roaster, we decided to try and walk in to Stella when they opened at 5:00 p.m. We were glad we did because they have a great first come, first served area in their very nice bar setting. As a bonus, the restaurant is located in an interesting setting, an old asylum with many other shops therein.
We enjoyed great service and a very good dinner.
When visiting Traverse City, don't miss eating at Stella.