Sunday, August 10, 2014

Cousins Gather At The Loveless Cafe

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We had planned for weeks to drive to Middle Tennessee and meet with Stone's cousin, Patsy and her husband John.  As we pulled out of our driveway it came a torrential downpour.  Stone drove about two miles and pulled over.  Hmmm, we hadn't gone very far.  The visibility was just about nonexistant.  It was safer to pull off in a parking lot and wait it out.  The storm was moving quickly so we didn't have to wait long.  Soon we were back on the road heading out of town as the sun broke though leading us away from this dark, gloomy day in Knoxville.   Stone hadn't seen his cousin Patsy in some time and I had never met her or her husband.  We arrived as Patsy was out walking their dog Caesar.  Caesar was a friendly little thing.  I'm not for sure what breed you would call him, although I believed I could see some Pug in him.  I just thought he was adorable and seemed to be a daddy's boy.  He couldn't wait to meet Stone and I as he toughed on his leash promoting Patsy to hurry.  Or maybe it was the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies I had brought for Patsy and John.  He was so excited.  Quickly our introductions where done and Caesar led us indoors. All five of us including Patsy, John, Stone, myself and Caesar gathered around the kitchen table enjoying cheese and wine while we got caught up on the latest with the family and other happenings. 

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For dinner, we drove over to the Loveless Cafe.  I was so excited.  Stone and I had spoken often about eating here, but had never made the trip.  It isn't really close to anyplace where we typically go in Nashville.  We arrived late in the evening, therefore it wasn't crowded.  We were seated immediately.  From what I understand from others, that is not typically the case if you go during prime time.  Here is a little history about the cafe.  Lon and Annie Loveless served their famous fried chicken and biscuits for their first customer in 1951 from the front door of their home.  They soon converted their dwelling into a restaurant, adding country hams to the menu.  They later built 14 motel rooms for travelers.  Although the motel is no longer in service, the Loveless Cafe serves more that 450,00 costumers a year and makes up to 7,000 biscuits a day. The still use the original recipe.  I couldn't wait to try those biscuits.  Luckily, as soon as we where seated, the complimentary biscuits where placed on our table along with  homemade peach, strawberry and blackberry preserves,  I tried them all but blackberry was my favorite.  The Loveless is known for their biscuits and they did not disappoint.

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The menu was large but I didn't spend time with it.  I had looked online and knew exactly what I wanted, The Egg White Garden Omelet and a bowl of fruit. Stone tried their acclaimed Fried Chicken and he quickly realized why it was famous.  Their chicken was crispy and juicy.  The portions were enormous and as hard as I tried, I couldn't clean my plate, but I gave it my all.  I had really wanted to try their dessert, but there was no room left.  I guess we will just have to make another trip.  Not a problem!
As we where leaving, it was closing time.  The sky had darken as we gave our hugs and said our goodbyes to Patsy and John.  The Loveless Cafe was everything I had expected, but its more special that we experienced it with family.  Stone steered the car towards Knoxville, making the three hour drive home with the light of a full moon guiding our way.  It's days like this that make you excited about what tomorrow will bring.

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 Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 large egg
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups of Old Fashioned Rolled Oats, make sure you get this kind.  You cannot use just any kind of oats as it will make a difference how your cookies turn out.  Trust me, I know from experience!
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 dark chocolate chunks
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions:
In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter, egg, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
In a different bowl, whisk the baking soda, salt, cinnamon and flour together.
Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix until combined.  Add walnuts, chocolate chunks and semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Form the dough into a (2 1/2" circular log). Wrap in plastic wrap.  Freeze until ready to use.  When ready to bake, carefully slice into 1/2" slices place on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake in 350' oven for 12-14 minutes.