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Recently, I took a trip to the Smoky Mountains. While the beautiful scenery, shopping and miniature golf are big draws for the region, the food also is pretty popular.
While in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, there are a few places I visit each time. This year, I tried a few new places as well.
The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge always is a must. The food not only is good, but you get a lot of it. With your meal you get soup, salad, potatoes, green beans — which I never eat because I’m not a fan of the bean — dessert and their famous corn fritters and maple butter.
Another great thing about this restaurant is the cooks share a few of their recipes. The corn fritters are pretty easy to make and are a great tasty bread for any meal. When I made them, I didn’t use bread flour as suggested in the recipe but substituted all-purpose flour which worked just fine. Instead of dropping by the spoonful, I used a cookie scoop to make sure the fritters turned out nice and round like at the restaurant.
For the butter, I used maple butter crystals which I purchased at the Old Mill store next to the restaurant. I’m not sure if you can find this item locally but it can be ordered on Old Mill’s website.
While in Pigeon Forge, I can’t skip a visit to the Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant. Usually, on the way out, my family stops there for breakfast for some great apple fritters and apple julep. Fritters of all sorts seem to be popular in this city.
Normally I don’t go to any of the dinner shows, but this year I tried the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show. The meal was good old-fashioned fried chicken, barbecue, corn on the cob, cole slaw, cornbread and dessert. It was not only a good meal but an entertaining show full of bluegrass music and comedy.
In Gatlinburg, I never miss breakfast at the Pancake Pantry. Sometimes I dream about its silver-dollar pancakes and fresh whipped butter. Yum, my mouth is watering just thinking about them.
If you are in the mood for pastry, the Donut Friar in the Village shops is a popular stop. The cinnamon twist is my favorite.
Another food find surprised me. In one of the shopping hollers on the main street is Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine. While I didn’t partake in any ’shine, the were plenty of treats for foodies to check out. From relishes to spicy pickles, there was a variety of things to try. I bought a jar of mango barbecue sauce after tasting it in the store. I’ve tried it on some chicken strips and plan to use it on ribs soon, too.
Each visit, I drive through the arts and crafts community and usually find something new. This time it wasn’t a food find but a food-serving find.
There was a shop called Simply Twisted that had a variety of serving pieces and silverware with unique designs. They were so cute I came home with a dip bowl and serving spoon. I might have to check it out again next time.
There are many great places to eat all through the region and many stores that cater to anyone who loves to cook or eat. I’ve tried and enjoyed several on various trips, this is just a tour through what I experienced this trip.
Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 cup self-rising flour
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 cup frozen cream style corn
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Mix milk, egg, butter and corn. Stir in dry ingredients and mix well. Drop by spoon-full into hot oil, (350 degrees) fry until golden brown.
2 heaping tablespoons of maple butter crystals
1 tablespoon of hot water
1 stick of soften butter or margarine
Dissolve the maple butter crystals in the hot water until the mix resembles syrup.
Mix syrup into softened butter.
To learn more about places featured in this column: