Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I never met an egg roll that I couldn't finish....until today. 

Reluctantly, I was taken to Wok Chow in Bearden.  I don't care for the "fast food" concept that many new restaurants have adopted.   Walk up to the counter, place your order;  then you are on your own to fend for napkins, silverware, find a table, get your own drinks all without the assistance of a wait staff.    I observed staff milling around, looking busy when they could have be waiting on tables, cleaning dishes, refilling drinks and EARNING TIPS!   

Hot & Sour Soup
We placed our orders at the cash register and found a seat.  A staff member did bring our soup ($2.50 per cup)  to the table.  The soup looked appetizing but upon first taste, we both found the soup very amateurish.   The flavor was lacking....a hint of sour in the background but nothing like it should have been.  The entire bowl had more of a thick beef broth consistency with a little "hot" in the forefront.  Our won ton noodles were stale.   Soon, our Egg Rolls ($3.75 for two) arrived and this had to be the first time I couldn't finish mine.  It was just dreadful....with a boxed grocery store frozen flavor. 

Kung Pao Beef @ $7.75
Pad Thai @ $7.50
Our entrées arrived in a timely manner.  The Pad Thai was good and we upped the hot level upon request.  The chef accommodated that, it was spicy hot.  The chicken had a very good texture, not rubbery.  My Kung Pao Beef was OK...but the overall flavor development was just missing, and the only way I can describe it would be the flavor just hadn't bloomed yet.  The dish had twelve or more Tien Tsin peppers which provided the "hot" but didn't contribute to flavor development.   The beef obviously had been prepared before hand since there were tough pieces that had not softened with the stir fry sauce.  

With the counter order system, I had to pay before the food arrived.   Total Price was $26.22.  I paid the price and must admit this had to be the MOST EXPENSIVE THAI LUNCH I have ever had in Knoxville.   There are dozens of other Thai restaurants in Knoxville that provide much better food, service and cloth napkins for much less.   After looking around the restaurant, I can understand why the place was practically empty for lunch.   The food quality just doesn't demand the price they ask.

Click to add a blog post for WokChow Fire Seared Asian on Zomato

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Blue Heaven--Key West

This is the Way to.....

Blue Heaven!!!!  I haven't been here in eight or more years and was so excited to see the Carnival Fantasy's itinerary would be stopping for the day.  I have been waiting for this lunch for more than six months of booking our cruise out of Charleston.  

My last meal at Blue Heaven was quite the experience.   If you have never been there, it is a different say the least.   You can dine indoors but the real fun is dining outdoors in the patio....sand on your feel and picnic tables for everyone to enjoy.  Kind of like Jimmy Buffett gone gourmet dining.  As a matter of fact, Bon Appétit has reviewed Blue Heaven on a couple of occasions.     This is outstanding food in a very Key West atmosphere and the entire event will always be remembered...including the roosters in the yard.   And the roosters are just as famous as the six toed cats from the Hemingway House.   Find the hostess station...put in your name and depend on a 45 minutes wait any time of breakfast, lunch or dinner.


We browsed all the hot shops on Duval street and by the time we made it to Bahama Village, it was time to get in line.   The patio bar scene is lively with many guests chatting and enjoying the wonderful weather.    After our traditional wait, we were seated at a nice table and our server approached.  Drinks delivered while we looked over the menu.  

The Garden Path to the Patio

Black Bean Soup

Our server dropped off the menu and it was the same old thing...what will I ever order?  Everything is always so good.   My usual dining technique kicks into gear.   I tell my server SURPRISE ME....with your choice.   That always is a treat to do.  I never know exactly what I will get but I can be sure it will be great.  

The Caesar Salad

The Jerk Chicken Sandwich with Cole Slaw
The Shrimp with Lime Hollandaise
Our server didn't let us down this time either.  We started with the wonderful Black Bean Soup followed by the Caesar Salad, missing the croutons and the Jerk Chicken Sandwich.  Great flavors.   I started with my Shrimp with Rice and asparagus.  So good...just like usual.  The shrimp was perfectly cooked as you can see, since over cooked shrimp will form a "circle with their tails while properly cooked shrimp will remain in the "C" shape.   Send that shrimp back with you receive it in a full is over cooked and will be tough.  

We finished our lunches but couldn't resist a piece of their famous Key Lime Pie.  It was very good...but I must admit, I can make a very good pie myself!!  My version is here!

We Enjoyed another meal...and
until next time....

Blue Heaven on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 12, 2012

El Paso Mexican--Hendersonville, NC

While on a return trip from Charleston Cruise, we stopped by El Paso in Hendersonville, NC for a quick lunch.  SO HAPPY that we have the Urbanspoon Mobile is wonderful, if you haven't tried it.  

Finding the restaurant was easy and we had never been to Hendersonville.   Quickly arrived to a packed parking lot.  Looks like this is the place for lunch and dinner.    Our server delivered a great salsa, bean dip and chips.   Time to look at the menu!  

Lunch specials are served Monday-Friday 11-3 and 
we arrived just in the last parking spot.    

Beef Burrito with Frijoles and Salad

Pork Burrito with Rice & Frijoles

One of the Best Cheap Lunches in 
a Long Time....will be sure to 
stop here on the next road trip.  

El Paso Mexican Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Eli's Table--Charleston, SC

We arrived in Charleston ready to depart on the Carnival Fantasy Cruise, February 4, 2012.   The week long adventure was great but we also had some extra time exploring the city and the beautiful aquarium at the waterfront.  

We couldn't embark until 12:30PM and it was time for breakfast.  Urbanspoon provided many suggestions and our choice was Eli's Table in the heart of downtown.  

Lively Street Scene

Upon arriving, we were immediately seated at a lovely table by a street side window where we could enjoy the city view.  Our server suggest the cocktail of the day...a Bacon Infused Vodka with bacon bits and celery stick.  Nice..but one was plenty to start the day.  

On to our breakfast selections.   Omelets are featured and they all looked great but we decided on the The Phillis Wheatley Omelet at $8.95 which featured roasted peppers, onions, spicy sausage and cheddar cheese.   My choice was The Mark Twain Omelet at $10.95 featured fresh crab, plum tomatoes, ricotta cheese and fresh herbs.    Our server asked what we would like with our plates offering grits, breakfast potatoes or toast.     I was under the impression that EVERY egg plate would have toast but not at Eli's.  In my forty plus years of breakfast dining, toast always has been included...just like a glass of water.  

You get grits, potatoes OR toast.  Oh well.....I wasn't willing to pay $2.25 for toast!


The Phillis Wheatly Omelet with Grits

The Mark Twain Omelet with Breakfast Potatoes
 All in all...this was a good breakfast and returning for
lunch and dinner would be a future destination.
I am still stunned about the toast deal!  

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Water's Edge, Charleston

Water front dining is one my favorite experiences.  I love to sit by the water and watch the yachts travel the inter-coastal while enjoying seafood..really great seafood.   And that is what we enjoyed at Water's Edge in Charleston.  
Waterfront Dining...Beautiful View
Upon arriving, we were seated water side and our waiter was promptly at our table suggesting the Crab Bruschetta @ 12.95 for our evening appetizer.  Beautiful crab atop crispy buttery toast with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and spring greens.   Nice touch of Parmesan cheese topped off the treat. 

 Along with this we enjoyed ice chilled domestic beers at an amazing price of three bucks each.  I was expecting closer to five or six but who would argue with that deal?


Water's Edge, along with their seafood selections, have a nice choice of "comfort" dishes including country fried steak, pepper gravy and chive garlic mashed potatoes.  We decided on the country fried steak and I asked my server to surprise me with my entree.  I was treated with a whole flounder with a spicy mango sweet and sour sauce.  The entire dish was crispy  yet moist and tender.  A very mild flavor accented with a bit of salt at the table.

Whole Flounder with Spicy Mango Sweet & Sour Sauce

The Country Fried Steak was actually batter dipped Filet Mignon! 
We chose Ben Marco (Argentina) Malbec wine for dinner...and it was outstanding. 

Dessert concluded with a chocolate 
cheesecake with chocolate drizzle
and a trio of sorbets...refreshing and so delicious.  

Thanks, Water's Edge...we will be returning to enjoy another dining adventure on our return trip to your Beautiful City.    And hat's off to our expert server, Jeff.

Water's Edge on Urbanspoon

Mark's Diner--Loudon

There is something wonderful about small town downtown diners!   We were in Loudon and Mark's Diner was suggested for a great lunch meal.  Loudon is a very small town and we were astonished about the hustle and bustle of this quaint town on Loudon County, TN.  The town is located in southeastern Tennessee, southwest of Knoxville on the Tennessee River.  The 2010 Census population was listed at 5,381 and is included in the Knoxville, TN Metro Statistical Area.  

It wasn't long to discover there were four very successful lunch operations and a busy coffee café.  Next time...we will have to do more exploring.  

Mark's Diner offered quite an extensive menu that included lunch specials.  My friend ordered the daily special of the Philly Cheese steak with fries and I had to order the cheeseburger with onion rings.  That seems to be my choice for judging a diner..if they can't make a good cheeseburger and onion rings..they better go out of business.  Mark's onion rings didn't disappoint.  

Just a great home town feeling at Mark's Diner

Hope you enjoy this place as much as we did!!  

Mark's Diner on Urbanspoon