The Hungry Wanderers

Eating and exploring our way through the world

Posts Tagged ‘Breakfast’

Cracker Barrel (Dickson, TN)

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on April 27, 2010

On our way out of Nashville, heading to Memphis and later Little Rock, Arkansas, the Husband and I decided to get a big breakfast and skip lunch in order to get to Graceland with enough time before they closed for the day.  We were looking for a hearty breakfast and our choices we had narrowed it down to were Waffle House and Cracker Barrel.  We decided that whichever one we got to first that wasn’t too crowded would be where we would eat.  We first found a Waffle House just outside of Nashville, but the parking lot was packed.  Back on to I-40, we found ourselves in Dickson, TN with only a 10 minute wait at Cracker Barrel.

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An iconic symbol of Cracker Barrel is their front porch and rocking chairs.

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As you enter the building, prior to getting to the restaurant itself, you find yourself in their giant country store.  When there’s a wait, the hostess is standing at the door to the building taking names.  You then have however long your wait is to peruse the store.  The store is filled with all sorts of country knick knacks and interests.

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IMG_2671 This stand of candy sticks takes me back to my childhood when my family would stop at a Cracker Barrel when driving cross country.  I remember that I used to buy a handful of these with my allowance before getting back on the road.

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IMG_2673 One of the reasons Cracker Barrel was on the list of options for breakfast was that the Husband and I had heard about their Audiobooks selection.  You can rent an audio book at one Cracker Barrel and return it at a later location.  After looking through the selection, we learned that to sign up to the program, you have to pay the full price for the selection and then get a refund when you return it.  We also learned that there are zero Cracker Barrels in Nevada!!! We decided to skip getting one and stick to our ipods and the radio for the rest of the drive.

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After enjoying the store, we were seated.  The restaurant itself is covered in old-time paraphernalia.IMG_2675 IMG_2676

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An element I loved as a kid – games at the table!

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Enough of decor and on to food! The Husband and I each tried to determine what we wanted individually and decided to share some items we didn’t want an entire plate of.  When our food arrived, it looked like so much!

IMG_2679 The item we decided to split was an order of pancakes.  The Husband normally just uses syrup but I was in a fruit mood and had strawberries added to it.  Personally, I though the strawberries were better than the pancakes, but I’m not a huge pancake fan 🙂

IMG_2680 The Husband and I each ordered eggs over easy and a form of breakfast meat.  Turkey sausage patties for me.  (These were good!)

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And thick-cut bacon for the Husband.  Not as thick-cut as he expected.

IMG_2682 As side dishes, the Husband’s meal came with grits (he added sugar) and biscuits and gravy.  While he enjoyed the biscuits, he felt they were more like rolls than biscuits.  The gravy had something left to be desired.

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My meal didn’t come with a side but I was eyeing the Hasbrown Casserole.  Not knowing what would be mixed with the hash browns to make it a “casserole” I was a bit nervous.  I was very pleased though when I received cheesy hash browns.  Yum!

IMG_2683 Breaksfast was just like any other Cracker Barrel meal.  Fine, but not great.  I go, rarely as it is, as a travel restaurant to experience the atmosphere.  I leave you with a photo of one of my favorite parts of the Cracker Barrel porch.  I hope to one day have a similar scene on a porch of my next or future home 🙂     IMG_2691

Off to Graceland we go!

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store on Urbanspoon

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Departing Hamilton Island, a Cyclone Approaches, and Lovely Mainland Airlie Beach

Posted by gingerbreadpirate on March 20, 2010

On our last morning in Hamilton Island, we had to be up early to catch the shuttle to the ferry jetty (dock), so we could catch the ferry back to the mainland, so we could head on our 6+-hour road trip to Mission Beach.  Our bags were to be picked up at 6:30 am from the room, so we were up before 6, getting packed and showered.  We really haven’t had a hard time getting up early on this trip, as we have always had an easterly facing room, looking over the ocean, and we’ve been sleeping with our blinds open.  So we said good morning, and good-bye, to our balcony view for the last time.
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Evidently, there was a miscommunication with the desk between a handful of the staff, and the shuttle left without us.  No worries, though.  The porter grabbed a buggy (golf cart) and drove us down to the jetty himself.  Finally, we were down in the “downtown” area when there was some light, so we got a couple pictures of the limited shopping area on Hamilton Island.

IMG_5574 Across the harbor, there’s a bakery and a couple restaurants.  The bakery was only open from 7 am – 10 am, though, so we never made it over to check it out.  By the bakery, there was also some beachwear, souvenirs, and boutique clothing shopping to be had.

IMG_5575This is one of the other hotels on the island, and while I don’t believe it’s the tallest hotel, because of its location on the island, I believe it’s the highest.

IMG_5587 There was a little deli available for sandwiches and the like.

IMG_5588In general, the island was laid out a quiet island resort street, with all the establishments right on the water, with a harbor view.

IMG_5589 At the end of this street, you can see Romano’s, where we had dinner the night prior.

IMG_5593 There was a nice, quaint ice cream parlor, which we never made it to.  They had some great-looking ice cream, and it was one of the more flexible establishments, in terms of operating hours, but ice cream just wasn’t in the cards for us.

At the ferry jetty, they had the sea state for FantaSea’s ReefWorld, where we saw the Great Barrier Reef.  The incoming Cyclone Ului (category 3 hurricane), was headed right for Hamilton Island, and was coming via ReefWorld.  The same reason our trip to the reef had been so rough, had now closed ReefWorld for the day (and probably through the Cyclone’s entire track), and was going to make our ferry right a bit interesting.

IMG_5596 I know it’s hard to read, but it says 3.5-4 meter swells, and wind speeds from 30-40 knots.

Our ride back to the mainland, despite the fact that it was only 20 minutes, and despite the fact that the passage is largely protected by other islands, was rough.  Several times our catamaran yawed hard, causing things to slide, and in one case, causing the five-foot high luggage cart to overturn.  The crew was remarkably responsive, but completely unpanicked, which made the Wife and I feel a lot better.  Both of us ended up feeling a little queasy.  We had brought books, and were reading them during the trip, and by the time we realized that the reading and rolling wasn’t a good mix, we felt just the slightest bit uneasy.  Not to worry, though, the short trip kept us from having any real problems.

From Shute Harbour, where the ferry dropped us off, we drove to the adjacent town of Airlie Beach.  It was a fun little beach town, and we walked around looking for petrol (gas) and brekky.

IMG_5597 The nice, quiet beach town was asleep when we got there at 8:30 am.

IMG_5598 It had all the typical beach town amenities, though, including bright pastel signs.

IMG_5602They also had a Subway.  We’ve heard that Australia has more Subways per capita than any other country, to include the U.S.  For those of you that don’t know, I worked at a Subway in my hometown on and off for about five years, so Subway holds a special place in my heart.  The smell of its fresh bread means more to me than just “eat fresh.”  It also represents dozens of nights crawling into bed after a long day of school and subsequent work at Subway, drifting off to the smell of bread.   I suppose there are worse things to drift off to sleep to.

As a side note, after years and years of FREE Subway food, though, I have a REALLY hard time paying for anything from Subway.  Consequently, I love smelling the stores, but I rarely enjoy any of the food.  To be fair, the owner of “my” Subway was a complete stickler for cleanliness.  Our store was always remarkably clean, and high quality was always one of his big points.  So I do NOT suffer from the problem that so many fast-food employees suffer from, of being unable to stomach food from my previous employer.

IMG_5606Once again, being a beach town, there was a pretty laid-back feeling to it all.  Here is a picture of what, as best as I can tell, is a hive for backpackers and caravaners.  This place helped travelers get travel caravans, find hostels or backpacker hotels (of which Airlie Beach had plenty), and provided some additional traveler services for backpackers and caravaners.  Travel caravans have been very popular along our road trip.  Think of a Volkswagen Vanagon, only a little smaller, with three or four people inside, along with a couple folding beds, cupboard, etc.  Everywhere we’ve gone, there are caravan parks available for travel caravans.

IMG_5610As we walked around, looking for breakfast, we came across a couple interesting places.  We decided on Capers, at the Airlie Beach Hotel.  Really, what roped us in, was that they had percolated coffee on the menu!

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They also had bagels on the menu, which we hadn’t seen anywhere.  While we’re all about trying, experiencing and enjoying local cuisine and customs, sometimes it’s nice to have a slice of home in a foreign land.  With a couple North American delights on the menu, we were hooked.  Interestingly, the assistant manager (who handled our order), commented that they catered to North American.

IMG_5635 So, this is the ONLY place I have seen brekky spelled like this, but I thought I would at least include the shot.

IMG_5611They were nice enough to define how to order and pay.  We still haven’t gotten the hang of it, but it is getting easier.

IMG_5621 It had a nice inside and outside seating area.

IMG_5614 Once we sat down, CLEARLY they cater to North Americans, because they had ketchup (catsup?).  This is the first time we’ve seen ketchup in Australia.  Normally, if you want something like it, you ask for “tomato sauce,” and something very similar, but distinctly different is served to you.  It’s usually a little thinner than ketchup, and definitively less sweet.

IMG_5619 The Wife had a nice cappuccino and a bagel sandwich.IMG_5628Both the bagels were served with hollandaise, as the sandwiches came with eggs Benedict on them.  Interestingly, the eggs come completely cooked, with no soft yolk, which really significantly changes what we think of when we order eggs Benedict.

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I had a bacon, Swiss, and eggs Benedict.  I knew we probably wouldn’t be able to have lunch, as we would be pushing to get to Mission Beach before it gets too late, so I added a couple eggs on the side.  Everything was so remarkably fresh, we could barely believe it.  We were pretty hungry, but it didn’t change the fact that the food was delicious.

IMG_5629 And finally, my percolated coffee in my beloved mug.  The coffee was STRONG, but it had that distinct filtered texture, and I savored every drop.

IMG_5622After breakfast, we headed out to the beach, just to take a quick walk around before getting on the road.  The beach was directly across the street from Capers.  There was a nice park and a pleasant, manicured path all along the beach.

IMG_5638The weather doesn’t appear to be too rough, but it was somewhat windy.  Otherwise, though, the weather was fantastic while we were in Airlie Beach.

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IMG_5644 We set up our tripod and got a quick picture of us.

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IMG_5653A handful of landscapers were putting up this billboard showing the dangers of both the box and irukandji jellyfish.  We thought it was interesting that while the box jellyfish is considered to be the most agonizing sting of any beast on earth, all jellyfish stings should be treated as an irukandji sting, when in doubt.  Vinegar is used to flush the venom from a sting, and a bottle of vinegar was provided attached to the sign.  Keep in mind, this wasn’t a small flyer, but an eight-foot tall sign.

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Overall, we were remarkably pleased with Airie Beach and figured that, if given the option again, while Hamilton Island was fantastic, we probably could have spent a couple days in Airlie Beach, too, saved a couple nickels, and still had a fabulous time.

After Airlie Beach, we were off on another road trip, heading to Mission Beach.  Stay tuned for our next post about our trip.

Posted in Hotels, Restaurants, Travel | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

An Early Morning in Brisbane

Posted by gingerbreadpirate on March 13, 2010

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After we got out of the Brisbane Central Train Station, we went looking for a cab.  Finding a taxi, though, at the train station proved harder than it looked.  Our plan was to go to our hotel and drop off our bags while we went to explore the city for the day.  We were gross from the night before, and having not showered on the train, and would have preferred a shower, but we knew there way a room would be ready at 6:30 in the morning.  Also, we really had no idea where our hotel was, so just getting there might take quite awhile. 

We went looking for a taxi stand, which we were prepared to be quite the adventure.  As it turns out, there is a Holiday Inn directly adjacent to the train station, and there was a cab stand at the Holiday Inn.  While we were prepared to be looking for a half hour at 6:30 in the morning, it took us all of five minutes to find a cab.  We got in the cab, and told the driver where we were staying.  He didn’t say much, and tore out of the Holiday Inn’s parking lot.  As it turns out, our hotel was about five minutes from the train station, by cab.  We would eventually walk this path twice and drive it once more in our 36 hours in Brisbane, although, with luggage, it would have been quite a hike, as it involved climbing a large, large hill. 

As we got out of the cab, the driver grumbled that our meter was only $6.80, and that he only makes $3.25/hour.  I think he was upset that we took his "sweet” spot at the front of the line at the hotel, where he was hoping to get someone that needed to go to the airport or out of town, instead of four minutes away.  I sympathized with his problem, but didn’t care for his delivery.  Tipping is generally unnecessary for all services in Australia, but I tipped the guy $1.20 for his “trouble.” 

We headed inside and let the guy behind the counter know what we were hoping to do; drop our bags, and be on our way.  He said he could do us one better; take our bags, after we headed to the pool area to shower, get changed, and generally get cleaned up.   What a deal!  The only catch was that the pool was on the top floor, and the lift only went to the second to last floor, so we’d have to take a flight of stairs.  Not a problem we told him, and off we went.

Check out the view from the pool.

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We got changed, showered, and cleaned up, dropped our bags, and headed out on the town.  The guy behind the counter, who had so pleasantly given us a key to get up to the pool, had left at the end of his shift, so there was a new gentleman there to help us.  Paul Healy, the assistant manager, was nice enough to take our bags, give us some ideas about where to go and what to do in the city, and even gave us a map of the city.   

So off we went to see the city.  Across the street was a nice park, so we stopped and took a couple pictures.

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IMG_4135 After the park, we headed out to find some breakfast.  We found a great little sidewalk cafe to have something to eat.  Something I’ve been bummed about here in Australia is that they don’t really drink filtered coffee.  It’s either cappuccino, espresso, latte, etc., or it’s instant coffee.  To be fair, instant coffee has come a LONG way since when I first started drinking coffee when I was entirely too young to be drinking coffee (probably 15 years ago), but still… nothing beats a nice, warm cup of freshly-brewed, filtered, black coffee.

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This was the view from the cafe.

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IMG_4165 I actually took this picture sitting in my seat at the cafe.

From here, we were off to explore the city on foot.  We hiked all over, including the local mall, the botanical gardens, the riverfront, and the government district (Brisbane is the capital of Queensland).

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We decided to go see what the botanical gardens had to offer, and we were not disappointed.  While the gardens in Sydney had a lot of great trees and plants, the Brisbane gardens had a lot of wildlife, too.

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IMG_4227 This guy was remarkably photogenic, and really kept strutting around while I was taking his picture.

IMG_4232 Here are a couple ibis, hanging out on these movable barriers.  I was amazed at how intimidated we were by them as we walked right by them.  They were pretty big, and clearly ill-tempered.

IMG_4248 From here we went to the riverfront to snap a couple pictures.

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IMG_4288 It’s not exactly the Sydney bridge, but it is picturesque, I thought.

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IMG_4307 The river wasn’t the only picturesque thing on the riverfront, though.  There were all sorts of restaurants and shops to see, too. 

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From here, it was time to head back to the hotel.  We had walked around for nearly four hours, and we figured our room would probably be about ready.

IMG_4369After we got into the hotel room, we realized that our travel company was clearly going to take good care of us.  We had changed our mind on our hotel in the Blue Mountains.  We were happy with the Hunter Valley hotel.  We were very happy with this room at the Grand Chancellor. We’re excited to see what hotels are yet to come! 

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This was the view from our room.

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In the afternoon, we headed off to a local brewery to try some Australian beers!

Posted in Architecture, Hotels, Restaurants, Sites, Travel | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

The Flying Biscuit

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on April 19, 2009

With my siblings-in-law in town, along with their respective spouses, we needed a fun place to go to breakfast before our day of North Carolina vineyards. We decided to head to the Flying Biscuit in Stonecrest. As it was almost noon when we got there, it was probably nice that they had lunch available, too.

My recommendation: A fun place to go, and certainly “different,” and if you like eggs, they have a great selection of egg plates. I would generally recommend it for its novelty before recommending it for its food, though.
Overall: The menu is extensive, the servers are friendly, and they do have hearty biscuits, as the name MIGHT suggest.
Ambiance: Funky. With a name like the Flying Biscuit, you would probably be thrown off if you walked in an everyone were wearing suits and ties. The walls are decorated with interesting murals, and even the drop ceiling tiles are all painted in a continuous ceiling-scape. The ambiance is completely consistent with what you might expect from the name.
Menu: Mostly natural selections of biscuits and eggs. There are also selections of sandwiches and pastas. My wife would say it’s healthy food. I, however, do not equate natural with healthy. Butter is not healthy. Butter is not margarine; I understand that, but it’s not healthy. It’s just different.
Something you won’t find on most menus: Creamy, dreamy grits. The grits are particularly creamy (made with some kind of dairy product).
Service: The service is a little slow, but nothing frustrating. The servers are knowledgeable and personable.
Food: I had the special, which was a biscuit with egg and gravy on it. It was awesome. I had a taste of a lot of the food on the table, including my wife’s scrambled eggs with sausage, spinach and pasta in it, and my sister-in-law’s multi-grain peach pancakes. Everything else was fine, and tasty, but the biscuit and gravy with the egg was dyn-o-mite.
7930 Rea Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28277

Flying Biscuit Cafe on Urbanspoon

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