The best thing about Gatlinburg

I’m not one for eating dinner early.  It is my solid opinion that 5 pm is when the nanny eats dinner with the children; the adults eat at 6:30 or 7 or 8.  Bridge tournaments, with their continuing emphasis on starting the second session earlier and earlier, are bad enough.  Here, I am saddled with teammates who like to eat really early.  They have been known to go out to dinner at 4:30 in the afternoon.  That’s siesta time, not dinner time.

It turns out that there is another group that likes to eat early–rednecks.  My early eating teammates made a 5:00 pm reservation at Peddlers tonight, which is when they open.  There was a huge crowd waiting for the doors to be unlocked, and it took almost 15 minutes before they could get us to a table, not that I was in any hurry.

We are 6 big men, and the table we got wasn’t really big enough, but that’s life in the big city.  They took our drink orders and shooed us off to the salad bar–every meal comes with it.

Feeding frenzy at the salad bar.

Feeding frenzy at the salad bar.


Salad bars have largely gone out of style in California, except for the Crows Nest in Santa Cruz, but they are big here.  Something about all you can eat really motivates people.  Since everyone came in at once, everyone went to fill their plate at once and there was quite a line, but it moved fast and we got back to our seat.

Then the meat man comes around to take your order:


Pick your own cut

Pick your own cut


This handsome fellow, fortunately named Chris, show up rolling a cart with a full strip of New Yorks and a full strip of rib eye steaks.  You can order standard cuts off the menu, or show him how much you want him to cut off for your personal choice.  There’s something very elemental about seeing the huge slabs of raw meat, and it’s a powerful presentation.

I tried to be a good boy and ordered the grilled trout.  Then I ruined the healthiness of it by ordering the sweet potato casserole.  The single best thing about eating here in the Smokies is sweet potato casserole–sweet potatoes, brown sugar, coconut and maple syrup. And butter.  Lots of butter.  Every little boy in America would eat his vegetables if they all tasted like this, but it’s really more like dessert than dinner.


Not much trout here

Not much trout here

This is the only dish I’ve had here with what you would call a small portion–two trout fillets are about 5 ounces or less of fish, and not very good fish, either.  I guess I should know better than to order anything other than MEAT around here.

Jack had the steak/shrimp combo, and it looked quite a bit better:

New York steak, broiled shrimp and steak fries.  A meal for a man.

New York steak, broiled shrimp and steak fries. A meal for a man.


For me, at least, dinner tonight was not very exciting.  But then, I came here to play cards, not experience fine dining.  And the cards are going well–we are in the finals of the first KO event tonight, having vanquished one very good team and two pretty good teams.  There are 25 brackets in this event, we are in bracket 2, where each player has an average of 6200 masterpoints.  It’s a pretty tough field.

That’s all for now–time to go play the finals.  Wish us luck.


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