The Funnel Cake – Gatlinburg, TN

2 10 2009
  • 631 Parkway
  • Gatlinburg, TN 37738
  • (865) 436-7230
  • Website
  • Menu
The Funnel Cake on the Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN

The Funnel Cake on the Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN

Before leaving on this trip, I had been warned by several people that Gatlinburg is not some hidden treasure in the Smokies. It’s a giant tourist attraction. After seeing it, the first thing I thought was Wisconsin Dells. My family went their yearly before my brother and I got too involved in Little League. 

Still, we had fun. The Parkway is a large area of downtown that is just lined with shops, restaurants, and attractions. You know when you see “Old Timey Photos” and airbrushed T-shirt shops where you’re at. Why people spend money on crap they wouldn’t normally buy when they’re on vacation still baffles me. 

J and I took a chair lift ride up to the top of one of the mountains where we had a great view of the rest of the mountains as well as Gatlinburg down below. After that, we kept walking towards our next destination farther down the Parkway.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Fresh Fish & Fry

16 08 2009
  • 3140 S. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
  • Lansing, MI 48910
  • (517) 882-7007
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
Fresh Fish & Fry on S. MLK, Jr. Blvd in Lansing.

Fresh Fish & Fry on S. MLK, Jr. Blvd in Lansing.

Another Sunday.  Another day at work.  That’s been pretty much my whole summer.  I’ve been without J this weekend.  She was back in Chicago for her wedding shower.  I was originally supposed to at least go back to Chicago with her, but I got some work, so I stayed here.  That means I was on my own for dinner. 

Sometime in the past, I saw an article in City Pulse about the best wings in town (sorry, I haven’t had any luck finding the article in their archives).  For some reason, I thought it was best Buffalo wing, but I guess they just did best wing and mixed both Buffalo wings and regular chicken wings.  Still, chicken’s chicken and it doesn’t really matter to me if it has hot sauce on it. 

Fresh Fish & Fry is on South Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard right in front of the Logan Square shopping center.  It’s a small joint, but it was packed on the Sunday evening I was in there.  There were a couple of tables stuffed into the corner, but they seem to be more for waiting than actually eating at.  There were a couple other people waiting for their food when I got there and there were two guys on the phone taking orders from a constantly ringing phone.  Read the rest of this entry »





Chicken & Fish Express

6 05 2009
  • 601 W. Saginaw Street
  • Lansing, MI 48933
  • (517) 267-3813
  • No Known Website
  • No Online Menu
Chicken and Fish Express on Saginaw Street in Lansing.

Chicken and Fish Express on Saginaw Street in Lansing.

I had to work downtown early.  Well, early for me.  9:00 is still a couple hours before I usually get up, so getting my butt out of bed and downtown isn’t easy.  It was a short day with my job finishing up a little after 1:30.  I had a few Tim Horton’s doughnuts for breakfast,but that was it, so I was starving.  Chicken has been all the rage and a few months ago, someone told me about a chicken place in a Marathon Station.  Since it wasn’t too far from downtown, I decided to check it out.

This wasn’t the first time I had stopped in to the Chicken & Fish Express on Saginaw Street.  A few weeks ago, I decided to stop, but was really confused and ended up leaving.  The store is connected to the Marathon Station, but the businesses aren’t really connected.  Sure, there’s a door to move between the two businesses, but it’s blocked from both sides.  Chicken & Fish Express has a separate entrance on Pine Street side of the building.  When I stopped a couple weeks ago, it didn’t look like the place was open.  The door moved when I pushed it, but there was no one inside and I didn’t see anything behind the counter, so I left. Read the rest of this entry »





Ingham County Fair

3 08 2008
  • 700 E. Ash St.
  • Mason, MI 48854
  • (517) 676-2428
  • Website
Heat race during the demolition derby at the Ingham County Fair in Mason

Heat race during the demolition derby at the Ingham County Fair in Mason

I LOVE demolition derby.  I’m a total redneck at heart.  After I graduated college and before I got my first job, I spent the summer working on demo cars with some friends of mine.  I loved every minute of it and wished I was more mechanically inclined.  My girlfriend, grew up going to Team Demo Derby’s at Santa Fe Speedway near Chicago, so there’s a place in her heart for demo derby too.  A co-worker of my girlfriend and her boyfriend had never seen a demo derby, so we met at the Ingham County Fair on the final night for some good ol’ fashioned car smashing.

County fairs were really cool when I was a kid.  We didn’t start going to theme parks until I was into junior high and high school, so the county fair was where we got to go on rides and win cheap prizes.  Walking into the Ingham County Fairgrounds in Mason brought back all those feelings.  I couldn’t believe a lot of the rides were the same (like the Gravitron) and none of the games had changed.  You’d think they’d come up with something new, but nope.

Row of food vendors near the midway at the Ingham County Fair in Mason

Row of food vendors near the midway at the Ingham County Fair in Mason

When we first walked in, we ran right into a row of food vendors.  We wanted to do a lap before deciding to make sure we didn’t buy something then find something better.  One of the first stands I noticed was the BBQ.  My girlfriend had just mentioned that she smelled BBQ as I was pointing it out to her.  After a lap to the midway and back, I got a pulled pork sandwich.  Well, sorta.  They called it pulled pork, but it was more chopped and it was Texas BBQ, so the sauce wasn’t as sweet and vinegar-y as I like it.  It was alright and hit the spot though.  The whole time I was ordering, I could litteraly hear pigs squealing from the barn right behind me.  I love the irony when they put the pig barn next to the BBQ stand. Read the rest of this entry »





Joe’s Gizzard City

7 05 2008
  • 120 W. Main St.Joe's Gizzard City
  • Potterville, MI 48876
  • (517) 645-2120
  • Website
  • Menu

So, I’m sitting at home on a Monday afternoon surfing the Internet while watching the Porn channel for fat people….otherwise known as Food Network.  My favorite show Diner’s Drive-In’s and Dives was on.  I wasn’t really paying attention, but my ears perked up when I heard the word “Michigan”  Guy Fieri was at a place called Joe’s Gizzard City somewhere in Michigan.  I kept watching to see if I could catch the name of the town.  They showed a shot of a kid wearing a Michigan State football jersey and I knew it had to be close.  Turns out, Joe’s Gizzard City is in Potterville….about 15 minutes from my place in South Lansing.

My girlfriend and I got up early one morning to do some shopping.  When it came time for lunch, we figured, what the heck….let’s go find Potterville.  We put the address in her Garmin and headed west.  We found Joe’s in the business district of Potterville.  That sounds impressive, but the business district is probably two blocks long.  There were a lot of cars parked in front of Joe’s, but we were able to find a spot.  The inside is definately a dive….and I love dives.  There are two small dining rooms.  One of them is the bar area then there’s a back dining room which is a little larger and has a pool table plus an autographed picture from Guy Fieri.  The room is dimly lit and covered with Potterville signs and memorabilia.  The tables are kind of cramed in there.  We took a table for two that kind of sits between the two dining rooms.  The bar area was full and we weren’t sure if we should go to the back dining room.  The table was small and butted up against a wall, but it kind of added to the charm.

Joe's Gizzard CityThe menu is fantastic.  Joe’s signature dish is obviously the gizzards which are deep fried in their signature batter.  Gizzards just don’t sound good to me, so we went with something else.  I’m going to describe out meals seperately, but in reality, we both ordered something different then gave the other half so we could try more of the menu.  I’m going to start with my girlfriend’s order this time because it’s such an interesting idea.

Joe’s already had deep fried hamburgers on the menu before Guy’s visit.  Guy took it one step further and fried the whole sandwich….bread and all.  Joe’s put the burger on the menu and called it The Triple D Burger.  I’m going to explain this again because if you’re like me, your reading this and shaking your head thinking that can’t be right.  They take their cheeseburger and prepare it like they normally would.  The hamburger patty is cooked then put on the bun with pickles, onions, tomatos and ketchup.  Then they take the whole thing and dip it in their signature batter and deep fry the entire burger.  When the waitress delivered the plate, there was a knife sticking out the top of a golden brown shell that you knew contained the burger.  The thing was huge.  My girlfriend cut it in half and at that point, you can see the layers.  The burger is entombed in the fried batter.  We both took a bite and our eyes just rolled in to the back of our heads.  This burger was “money” (as Guy would say).  She described the batter as sweet and kind of like a dessert batter.  I loved the crunch of the batter and the juiciness of the burger.  I didn’t really want the fixins and I was still able to peel back the bun and crust to get them out and it made for a delicious and very unique offering.  The batter added an incredible contrast to what you normally think of when you get a burger.  The sandwich was also served with fries, but surprisngly, they were nothing spectacular.  Just the regular out of the bag fries, but the sandwich was so good and so big, the fries are really an after thought on the plate…you really don’t even think about them.

I ordered the quarter chicken plate.  The meal came with two pieces of chicken, fries and coleslaw.  They use Joe's Gizzard Citythe same batter for their fried chicken instead of a bread crumb coating, so the crust of the chicken smooth and thin.  Like everything else at Joe’s, the chicken has it’s own uniqueness.  They actually start by boiling the chicken before frying.  The boiling leaves the meat moist and prevents the batter from burning before the chicken is done.  Like the Triple D Burger, the batter on the chicken added a whole range of flavors and textures you don’t normally expect. 

We couldn’t pass up dessert even though both of us were stuffed.  I introduced my girlfriend to deep fried desserts at the Illinois State Fair soon after we started dating.  We went to see Sugarland and Joe Nichols at the grandstand, but made it there early so we could walk around the midway.  There, we found deep fried Snickers, deep fried Twinkies, deep fried pickles, deep fried…etc., etc.  Joe’s had some of those same goodies on their menu.  We went with deep fried oreos for dessert.  Again, same batter they’ve used for everything else.  You get five Oreos to an order and they come sprinkled with powdered sugar.  My girlfriend compared them to corn fritters she used to get at Brown’s Chicken, but chocolatey and better.  The heat actually softened the cookie to take the bite out of them.  I expected a crunch when I bit in, but it wasn’t there.  The cookies were soft and really, really good.  Even feeling like I was about to explode, I couldn’t pass up these cookies.

The waitress seemed a little frazzled.  She was working the bar and the dining room by herself.  It took a while to get drink refills and to take plates away.  She was doing her best, but they probably could have used one more person.  With all that food, our bill was $22 plus tip.  It took a little over an hour to eat, but I did order fried chicken.  I am sooooo glad I happened to have DDD on that day or I probably never would have found Joe’s.  I have friends and family that will love this place.  Joe’s isn’t a fine dining establishment….it’s better.  It’s a dive bar in a small town with incredible and unique food.