The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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We stopped for lunch at Highlands Smokehouse.  We were on our way to Glen Falls and decided to eat lunch before hiking the trails.   For an appetizer, we decided to split a bowl of Brunswick stew.

Best thing we ate here.  It had just a hint of spice along with some meat and lots of veggies, including okra.  It was really tasty.  Normally I don’t like hushpuppies, but this one  just tasted like cornbread to me.  As for the rest of the meal, we weren’t as impressed.

Loren got a half rack of ribs with collard greens and baked beans.

He said the ribs were ok, but didn’t really have a lot of smokey goodness.  He did like the beans, but the collard greens had a really odd flavoring to them.  I thought they tasted like sweet dill pickles.  He didn’t like them at all.  I got a pork sandwich with corn pudding and mashed sweet potatoes.

I did not like the taste of the pork.  It wasn’t smokey and it had an odd aftertaste.  It’s hard to describe.  It was really moist and almost had a beer like flavor to it.  That’s probably not the right flavor, but whatever it was, it just didn’t do it for me.  The corn pudding sort of tasted like scrambled eggs with lots of pepper.  The mashed sweet potatoes were ok, but would have been so much better if they were served with a cinnamon butter.  Overall, not the best BBQ we’ve had.  Total bill was $35.

Highlands Smokehouse
595 Franklin Road
Highlands, NC
(828) 526-5000

Highlands Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

Food2/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value2/5
2.5/5
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  • Filed under: BBQ, Highland, NC
  • Rafferty’s


    On our way up to North Carolina to see the autumn leaves, we stopped for the night in Athens, Georgia and ate dinner at Rafferty’s.  We missed the entrance to the restaurant twice as there’s only one way in and out. 

    For a chain restaurant, the food was pretty good.  We started off with some batter fried mushrooms. 

    These were really tasty.  The batter was very crunchy and Loren liked the horseradish sauce that came with it.  I opted for some ranch dressing.   For his entree, Loren got the West Texas BBQ chicken. 

    He said it was good and believe it or not, it actually had more bacon on it than he could eat.  It was a little crispy around the edges, but otherwise tender.  I got the rack of baby back ribs and a baked potato.

    The ribs were tender, but I’m not sure how to describe the BBQ sauce.  It wasn’t sweet, but it had a fruity finish.  It was different, but I liked it.  Our waitress was really nice, but she kept apologizing for putting in our entree order after the mushrooms.  The wait really wasn’t all that long, but she seemed to think she had to constantly tell us how sorry she was about it.  Total bill with a drink was $40.

    Rafferty’s
    15 Huntington Drive
    Athens, GA
    706-613-0045

    Rafferty's on Urbanspoon

    Food3/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.0/5
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  • Filed under: BBQ
  • Hot and Saucy


    We drove over to Tampa tonight for some BBQ at Alex’s Southern Style BBQ.  Let me preface this review by saying that it was a very hot August evening and there was a definite lack of air conditioning in the restaurant.  Couple that with the overwhelming BBQ smokiness in the air and you end up with an overall uncomfortableness that definitely had an effect on how we felt about the food.  After a while, the air felt so thick and pungent that my eyes started to water.

    Our initial reaction when we walked in the door was that the BBQ smokiness in the air was a good sign; that the food was going to have that deep rich smoked flavor to it.  We wanted to try a little bit of everything, so we got two of the two meat meals, one with chicken and pork, the other with beef and ribs.

    Unfortunately, there was so much BBQ sauce on everything that we couldn’t really taste the meat.  It was a sweet and tangy sauce and a little went a long way.  The meats were all tender, but neither of us could make a good judgement on the flavor.  What’s funny is that so many of the other reviews we’d read said that they usually didn’t put a lot of sauce on the plate.  As for the sides, the onion rings and okra were both crispy and tasty, the cole slaw was good, but Loren didn’t like his greens.  He said it had a flavor that just wasn’t what he expected.

    Total bill was $22 and the smell of BBQ smoke lingered on our clothes for hours.  I began to understand why people were coming in and getting take out instead of eating in the restaurant.

    Alex’s Southern Style BBQ
    5362 W Village Drive
    Tampa, FL
    813-269-0050

    Alex's Southern Style Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon

    Food3/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere1/5
    Value3/5
    2.7/5
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  • Filed under: BBQ, Tampa
  • Always a Line


    We’ve been wanting to try Eli’s BBQ in Dunedin for quite a while, but every time we think about it, they’re closed.  They’re only open from 11am to 6pm on Friday & Saturdays, but we were determined to make it over there today.  It’s a small little shack with some picnic tables out back, but they make some mighty fine BBQ.

    We got there around 12:30pm and the entire time we were there, the line never got less than 5 deep.  People have learned to get there early before they run out of BBQ goodness.  We settled on some ribs and pulled pork and grabbed ourselves a bench out back.

    The ribs were very tender and the bbq sauces were both very good.  I really enjoyed the pulled pork.  It was so juicy and tender and there was a lot on the sandwich.  They only have 2 sides available, baked beans and cole slaw, and I enjoyed them both.   With 2 drinks, the total was $16.  Definitely a place we’ll eat at again.

    Eli’s Bar-B-Que
    360 Skinner Blvd
    Dunedin, FL
    (727) 738-4856

    Eli's Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value5/5
    3.7/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: BBQ, Dunedin
  • We were headed down to Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in St Petersburg today and ate lunch at Munch’s Sundries.  Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive Ins and Dives filmed there earlier this year and based on our experience, I think it was a good pick. 

    It’s got that diner feel to it.  Been around since the 1950’s and the photos on the walls bring you back to an era long gone.  We started off with some onion straws.

    It was a big ol’ basket of lightly battered, very yummy onion rings.  This is one of those addictive appetizers.  Loren even found a few bonus items in the basket, some okra and a piece of fried chicken.  The waitress said sometimes you may even end up with a fried shrimp in there.  For lunch, Loren got a cheeseburger with fries.

    He said the burger was good, but that the bun had a bit too much mustard and relish on it for this taste.  He ended up having to help me eat my lunch, the BBQ rib sandwich.

    Ok, I’m not really sure why they called it a sandwich, maybe because there were two pieces of bread on the plate?  It was just three of the tastiest BBQ ribs I’ve had in a long time.  They were so tender and had lots of flavor.  I didn’t even bother with the BBQ sauce.  I would definitely come back for more BBQ.  Loren’s even thinking about using them to cater BBQ for one of their autocross events.

    And when there’s homemade apple pie on the menu, I find it very hard to resist.

    Lots of apples and cinnamon on a tasty crust.  And the best part was that the whole meal with a drink was $21.  Next time we’re in south St Pete, we’re definitely stopping here again.

    Munch’s Sundries
    3920 6th St S
    St Petersburg, FL
    (727) 896-5972

    Munch's Sundries on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value5/5
    4.0/5