Category Archives: Food

Treasure Coast of FL. Hokkaido Japanese Steak & Seafood House

 

November 15th– Port St Lucie, FL.-Bob and Barb at Hokkaido Japanese Steak & Seafood House-a favorite for their luncheon Bento Boxes filled with California Roll, sticky rice, tempura veggies, scallops, steak, shrimp or my personal favorite salmon prepared grilled and no fishy taste perfect!
We just had an Hibachi experience that was unprecedented! Terrific fun at the counter as Subi the grill Cook/Chef did his magic with lobster, shrimp, beef and scallops (Barb and I had lobster and tender steak) from the mixed fresh veggies to the squirted Saki into the mouth by Subi and he flipping little hunks of veggies at peoples mouths ala throwing a fish to a seal, slapping the grill and flipping his spatula and knife everyone sat and enjoyed a spectacle of dining circus land. The filet mignon chunks were done medium just as I like it and we smiled as much as we chewed leaving an excellent dining experience for a change of pace dinner.
You can have lunch or regular dinner too. Its not just a Hibachi restaurant and the bar is stocked with everything you’d expect from a first-rate restaurant bar. I enjoy hot Saki rice wine and Barb enjoys a Zinfandel at least twice a week. We get this and so much more at Hokkaido!
Located 1960 N.W. Courtyard Circle in Port St Lucie, FL
Call for reservations and opening times— 772- 878-4188 or 772-878-9268

Holly House of Hamilton A very Fine Bed & Breakfast Inn

P1030603APtravelnews – October 15th-Hamilton, GA. When we pulled in to the Holly House in the small town of Hamilton, GA. (20-miles from Columbus) we entered this truly fine home between two giant  100-year old Holly bushes.  Close by the other side of the front steps stood a huge Magnolia Tree, almost ready to bust out in giant fragrant blooms.  The landscaping helped frame this 6000-square foot,  in the folk Victorian style home, perfectly!   Barb and I entered the front door and were met by Judy Archibald, our incredibly sweet and friendly owner/hostess.  Little did we know the treat that awaited us?  The home was decorated with a wonderful selection of antiques and vintage clocks and church organs, a player piano that Judy; quite professionally and beautifully sang to the tune of that 1910 song; “Let Me Call You Sweet Heart”; that to a person with a nostalgic bent, would bring tears to the eyes (it did mine, remembering all my departed loved ones) of anyone who remembered the sweet pastel views of their past happiness during their formative years with their families and friends, mostly now departed. The themed rooms all lent an air of relaxation and simple, quiet contemplation of the real meaning of life and all that it truly encompasses.

A bit like a fairytale, the Holly House B&B was so nostalgic!
A bit like a fairy tale, the Holly House B&B was so nostalgic!

We’ve visited dozens of B & B’ over the past 20-years, both privately and professionally as B&B reviewers and travel editorialists. Only a few of these are remembered with fondness.  The Holly House, with everything it engendered, by far has been the best overall experience of any of the past visits we’ve made all over the south and northern parts of the USA. Just meeting and hearing Judy sing would be enough for a visit!

P1030614In 1992 the ceilings were lowered and the home made a perfect, now two-story, 6 suite room B & B with a music parlor, the Salute to Liberty Room, the all important gorgeous dining room, two kitchens and is located near Callaway Gardens, and behind a very historic courthouse.

In 2011 Don & Judy Archibald from Manhattan Beach, CA. bought the 1880, totally remodeled in 1992, Holly House and love all that it means to them, their children ( their children and grown and do not live at the Holly House) and their guests. Each guest room is uniquely named and furnished such as the “Victorian Countryside room”, the “Holly’s Haven”, the “Inspired by nature” where we slept for a night, the “Walton Romance Room”, the “Journey Suite” and the “Holly Room. “There is a billiard room, a library and just behind the property a nature walking path meanders through the wood and glade. The location is 20-miles North of Columbus, and 85-miles South of Atlanta. Our breakfast, one of the very best ever, featured a giant peach cobbler made with peaches stuffed into Croissants. Eggs and pork chops, great coffee and  of the garden Rosemary, roasted potatoes-WOW!

The billiard room was the Military remembrance room too!
The billiard room was the Military remembrance room too!
And eggs too! Stuffed Croissants with delicious peaches, incredible pork chops, taters with out of the garden Rosemary.
And eggs too! Stuffed Croissants with delicious peaches, incredible pork chops, taters with out of the garden Rosemary.
No I'm not making it up. Judy had a voice like an angel!
No I’m not making it up. Judy had a voice like an angel!

The B & B address is 127 Barnes Mill Rd. Hamilton, GA.  And phone is 706-628-5634 See their website: hollyhouseofHamilton.com

Abuelas Cuban Cafe

Americanpresstravelnews- September 19th, Crossville, TN.-“Bob & Barb on the Road Again”–Crossville has several very good Mexican Restaurants, now it has Abuelas Cuban Café.  No, not all Hispanic food emporiums are the same. There are many variations on rice and beans, pork and beef, spicing and marinating, etc,

What’s different? An island such as Cuba, and the little city within a city; Little Havana in S. Florida, has its own distinctive take from Mexican and Puerto Rican foods. Cubans grow Yucca, of course, as in other Hispanic foods; Plantains and black beans, yet marinated roast pork, seasoned chicken and Cuban Spice Veggies are usually distinctive to Cuban style foods, of course not always.  Havana salad (use of fruits such as mango and papaya) has avocado and a very different take on citrus salad dressing.  Piccadillo bowl has savory stewed beef with raisins and olives (Mexican piccadillo does not usually have raisins) white or yellow rice, yes, but seasoned differently.  All of this is to say, Cuban foods are just different and savory too, in their own right.

We tried the Cuban sandwich, and the roast pork sandwich-they are definitely quite unique in their food genre. In true Cuban style, meats are usually marinated, and this not only softens them, but adds considerable flavor. The Cuban bread is toasted with the ingredients in between the bread, usually pressed solidly on the grill. Various items (pork, ham, salami, pickle and cheese) are melted and hot when brought to the table with a side of sweet plantains (banana’s) delicious!.

Mom Karen Reph (the Abuela- means Grandmother) and her daughters;  Kelsey  Green, and Karly opened the restaurant July 7th 2017. But first, they did a few “pop up” trials where they went into two other off-day restaurants, and showcased their dishes to the public. They had great responses, and so they “jumped the broom” so to say, on to, and into 595 Main Street in Crossville and opened Abuelas Cuban Café.

WOW! The café con leche (Coffee with hot milk) a very Cuban coffee presentation, is superb. Their flan custard dessert was delicious, and the empanadas (little fried pocket sandwiches like those fresh fried pies) were filled with ground, marinated beef with raisins and olives. The empanadas were terrific, and we know; Barb and I lived near some of the best Cuban restaurants in S. Florida, and frequented all of them from time to time several years ago. When you go, try the Yucca Fries with some tangy mojo mayo for dipping.  The Havana Salad, try it for yourself-its got the goods for flavors of the islands.

We really like Cuban coffees, and starting out the day with a strong, sweet Espresso is a real mood, eye opener, and energy wake-up.

Karen Reph, mom and grandmother amongst the 3-co-owners said that: “We brought to Crossville our heritage foods we grew up with, and felt Crossville folks would love them too.”

We explored something new in Crossville, and found ourselves at a Cuban Restaurant, so reminiscent of what we enjoyed in South Florida and the Keys, and we are happy to recommend Abuelas for everyone looking to spice up their lives and palates, for a change of pace.  Abuelas is Located at 595 Main Street, store #102 in Crossville.

By the way Barb and I wrote the book “Best Restaurants in the Florida Keys.”(Available at Amazon) Of the hundreds of restaurants, one of our favorites was a Cuban Restaurant.

Discovering a Secret City

Japan suffered greatly for being the aggressor in a war they mightily regretted.
And a cousin was in the middle of it all!

American Press Travel News-Bob and Barb “On The Road Again-this time in Oak Ridge, TN–Secret City No Longer a Secret

“Shhh, don’t ask and don’t tell was the official mantra of,  and for anyone living and working in Oak Ridge, Tennessee over 7-decades ago.

Barb and I jumped at the opportunity to check out a terrific area that offers museums, fishing, great restaurants, and even bird watching, not necessarily in that order.”

 

Imagine visiting a city that wasn’t even on the map until the late 40’s. People who lived in that city had no address and phone available to the outside world. Their street addresses were in coded names. It was as if they lived on an island, did everything together on a social basis with what turned out to be an extended family of some 75,000 people. These were specialists, and their families in unique scientific fields in physics, chemistry electrical and chemical engineering, boiler making, construction specialists, metallurgists, and heavy construction development where K-25, a mile long was the largest building under cover of roof, at 44-acres was constructed at that time.

In1941, just after Pearl Harbor was bombed, most all of these folks were brought to a place that they couldn’t write home about, or have their friends and family visit.

They were on a mission, an incredible mission to assist in ending the war in the Pacific and what they wrought, the Atom Bomb did just that, after this hellish bomb was unleashed on Japan, it helped save hundreds of thousands of our service men and women, who would have had to storm the beaches of Japan, and those people that would assist them.

Oak Ridge is the city that allowed teams of physicists and brain stormer’s like Einstein and Teller to name just a very few, to help make this deed a reality. Today, about 8-decades later, there is still tight security for much of the business end of the city that is devoted to developing modern technological advances in nuclear medicine, nuclear power and various other technologies, with some of them absolutely top secret even today.

Some facts about early Oak Ridge are in order here: The Oak Ridge Reservation encompassed 59,000 acres in 1940s, Oak Ridge used one-seventh of the electricity produced in the U.S. during full production, the average age in Oak Ridge at the time was 27, Oak Ridge didn’t appear on a map until 1949, it was not incorporated as a city until 1959. Because of the secrecy demands of the Manhattan project, the Oak Ridge High School football team was only allowed to play away games, and the opposing team was not given the team roster of the players, they were only known by numbers. Every person over the age of 12 had to wear an identification badge at all times during the 40’s.

Visiting the American Museum of Science & Energy we passed by a large image of
Einstein who had penned a letter to President Roosevelt that helped convince him to initiate the development of the “bomb” before Nazi Germany could do it. This letter helped kick off the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge. The entire story is now in plain sight for visitors to this museum and it’s a terrific place to bring the family. Any age range can learn much from the hands-on displays and mind games that challenge with their simple and complex games designed to broaden the mind and enlighten the curious. Oak Ridge continues to earn the U.S. the title of “Super Power.” Live demonstrations, audiovisuals, machines, and devices will definitely keep you and the children entertained and delighted. We also visited John Rice Erwin’s open-air museum called “the most authentic and complete replica of pioneer Appalachian life in the world.” The museum contains over 250,000 pioneer relics including 30 log structures from pioneer times, a chapel, a schoolhouse, cabins and barns replete with actual relics of those times. Outstanding!

.  We went fly-fishing with guide Clayton Gist (865) 806-7803 and yes, got braggin’ rights! Gist explained that the Clinch River is probably the premier trout river in Tennessee. We headed for Big Ed’s Pizza at Broadway in Oak Ridge, terrific on our way home.