JOINTS. Roadside, that is…

I am fond of off the road, out of the way, never been down this street, road, avenue type of driving.  And often I’m rewarded with new adventures.  If I’m really lucky I’ll find a new joint to grab lunch or dinner.  (Finding a new breakfast joint would be heaven but those seem fewer and fewer these days.)

A while back I had to be up in Rocky Top.  Yes, that Rock Top, as in the song.  That song that once it gets in your mind, it squats.

It was a quick work trip and I found myself zipping down Main Street and hurriedly heading back to Knoxville.  But out of the corner of my eye I spied:

This was  just a quick glance as I was ready to get back to the “big city”.

But, it wasn’t long until I found myself back in Rocky Top and I was hungry.  I do love me some Bar-B-Que so I decided to pull in and give Coal Creek Smokehouse a try.  And OhMyYum what a great decision.  The place is a small house accessed from an alley between two buildings or from a side entrance through a gravel walk.  But either way you get in, once you’re there, you want to stay in and Pig Out!

Here are some of the YUMS I have enjoyed:

Brisket Plate with Baked Beans and Potato Salad and SPOON BREAD
Pulled pork sandwich with Mac & Cheese and Baked Beans
Fried Pickles
Pulled Pork platter

I return often.  The food is all homemade and the meats are smoked in house.  This past Tuesday they had sold so much pork they were out.  So Brisket won, temporarily.  So far the Pulled Pork is my favorite.

I have never had Spoon Bread before.  I love all things corn and corn and more corn.  I’ve had corn bread baked and fried.  But this spoon bread was out of this world.  I found a recipe online that I want to try soon.  It looks so similar.  Spoon Bread.  If it’s anywhere as good as Coal Creek’s, it’s heavenly.

The town of Rocky Top started out as Coal Creek.  It was a mining town.  Then it was Lake City.  Now it’s Rocky Top.  Ever how you call it, I call it “Tops” in Bar-B-Que.  Do yourself a favor, get off the freeway, the throughway and follow your hungry gut to discover something new and different.  I’m surely glad I did.  And I’ll do it again and again!



I love Live Theater.  I have been fortunate enough to have seen some really great theater in my life.  I’ve also had a privilege to have performed in live theater as well.

Since moving back eastward, I have decided to get out more and support the local arts as much as possible.  And I can report, Eastern Tennessee is RICH in live theater.

The first show I saw here was Del Shore’s “Sordid Lives.”  The show was staged at Johnson City Community Theater.  I saw this show  in Los Angeles several times, so it was a pleasure for it to be my first theater outing in my new home.

I loved the TV show “In The Heat Of The Night.”  I do remember seeing the original movie when I was quite young, but I remember the TV show more.  I was thrilled to be able to see it in a theater setting.  And oh what a powerhouse.  I saw this show in Abingdon, VA at the Barter Theater.  BTW, the Barter is Virginia’s state theater.

I had so wanted to see “I Love A Piano” in Jonesborough.  I had thought I was to be out of town the last weekend it ran.  But my travel plans changed and I had completely forgotten to pick up tickets.  But Fate had a very different plan.  On the last Saturday it ran, I happened to wonder over to Jonesborough (a whole 8 miles away) and was walking around and getting a bit of exercise and window shopping.  As I was meandering down Main Street I happened to see that “I Love A Piano” was starting in less than 10 minutes.  I popped my head into Jonesborough Rep Theater to see if any tickets were available and there was one.  And that’s all I needed.  So I said YES.

The next two shows were both presented by Kingsport Theatre Guild.  And what shows.  Both are deep and rich in family issues.  First up was “‘Night Mother”.  A two woman show featuring a mother and daughter.  A solid show with great performances.  This is a show I’d love to see again.

And last night I saw the Southern Melodrama “Steel Magnolias”.  Oh what deliciousness are the quips, and how heart-wrenching is the seriousness of the piece.

In three months I have been dazzled by 5 very different shows.  The casts have  possessed a wide range of talent.  Each theater is different in setting, staging, lighting.  But all of them have the same thing in common:  A Desire to Entertain.  And all of them have succeeded wildly.  Come to Eastern Tennessee (and far western VA) and be  entertained.  It ain’t only NYC and LA that know theater!

Let’s Go LIVE!


Typically I spend most birthdays in NYC, 13 of the last 15 to be exact.  Usually, it’s still cold and after living in Los Angeles for the last 17 years, a bit of cold was always fun.  This year my birthday was not long after relocating from LA to Eastern Tennessee, so I opted against NYC.  Nothing personal Big Apple….

I decided to make a short driving trip for this year’s birthday.  (As if that cross-country relocation wasn’t enough driving.  lol). And I wanted to go to some place that I’d never been before.  I settled on Lexington, KY. and I’m so glad I did.  Typically it’s a four hour trip for most people, you will quickly learn “I ain’t most people.”  I love to leap frog, hopscotch, lollygag or aimless wander as I wonder… I’m a sucker for seeing every small town and most roadside attractions along the way.  I’m endless fascinated by local things.

Otherwise, I would never have realized there is such a thing as a Woodbooger.  It’s in Norton, VA.  Sadly, I was a little too early to eat there as they opened a few hours after I drove thru, but next time for sure.


Woodbooger Grill

And I am a lover of alcohol.  I am always searching for something local.  According the google gods, there is a Moonshine (and vodka) distiller in Whitesburg, KY.  I have yet to acquire a taste for “Shine” but I wanted to give it a try.  Again, I was too early.  Boo…  Next time for sure (again).

Kentucky Mist

Kentucky Mist Moonshine

FORTUNATELY, Lexington was Open.  I arrived early afternoon.  I had looked for a unique and stately place to call home.  And boy did I find it in The Campbell House.  It’s a curio collection property by Hilton.  It’s old school oozing with charm and elegance.  The Campbell House Lexington.

My birthday weekend was bitterly cold (I think NYC sent the cold to taunt me.). But I wrapped up and went forth and conquered.

Here are a few of my pix from this fun trip to Lexington.


All in all, I had a most delicious and satisfying birthday.  Now, I’m comfortably on Highway known as 55.  And it’s a whole lotta fun!

Peace!  DAN