Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays

Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy Kwanzaa   Peace and happiness to all of you May the holiday find you surrounded by all of the things that bring you joy and all of the people you love Feliz Navidad!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Zeigler's BBQ & Catering - Acworth, GA

Earlier this year we attended the Pigs and Peaches BBQ Festival in Kennesaw, GA. Besides being a fun summer event, the festival also features a Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned BBQ contest. We spent the evening tasting various barbecue, mostly concentrating on the brisket options that were available. At some point along the way we found ourselves at the Zeigler's BBQ stand. At the time I commented that theirs was the best brisket I've tasted outside of Texas. We made a point to say hello to the pitmaster at the event and let him know that we thought his brisket was really well done.

Having tasted Zeigler's brisket at the event we made plans to visit their local restaurant. We did just that this past weekend.

Zeigler's BBQ & Catering is located in a small strip mall in Acworth, Georgia.

Judging by the size of their dining room, and the amount of food I saw go out the door, it appears that a majority of their business is done as take out. We were one of two tables dining in but there were several folks waiting around for their take out orders.

Orders are placed at the counter and then delivered to your table, typical quick, casual dining set-up.

We knew what we wanted so after a quick glance at the surprisingly vast menu orders were placed. I went with a combo plate choosing brisket, chicken wings and ribs. For sides I decided on baked beans and french fries. My dining companion ordered the brisket plate with potato salad and coleslaw. We got our beverages and sat down to wait for our food.

Before long plates started hitting the table.

Brisket Plate

Brisket and Chicken Wings


Although it's hard to tell from the pictures, the brisket is thickly sliced. It's smokey, with a perfect ratio of fat to lean. Just as good as I remembered from the Pigs and Peaches Festival. Truly some of  the best brisket that I've had anywhere. The big surprise for me was the wings. They were fried crispy, just like I like them, with a very flavorful sauce. I'd definitely get these again when I go back. I found the ribs to be a bit underwhelming, they seemed a bit dry to me. They had great flavor and the dining companion said they were fine. Maybe they just suffered in comparison to brisket and the wings.

Overall Zeigler's was a winner. When I'm in the mood for brisket and a trip to Texas just isn't in the cards you can bet I'll be heading to Zeigler's.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chattanooga Choo Choo Model Railroad Museum - Chattanooga, TN

When we recently visited Chattanooga we paid a visit to the model railroad museum located at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Entertainment Complex. The museum, while not large, has a nice display of trains. Chattanooga and the surrounding Cumberland Mountains are depicted in the panoramic display.

Although I haven't done it for years, I remember many trips by train taken with my mom and sisters. Our journey took us from our house in the south to my grandfather's house in the northeast. I loved everything about those trips. The way our sitting room became our bedroom at night, having our meals in the dining car, the sound of the clacking train tires on the track. To this day the sound of a train whistle takes me right back there again. There is still something exotic and romantic about train travel. One of these days I want to take a long trip by train across the states.

The museum display is curated by the Chattanooga Area Model Railroad Club. When we were there some of the display had be decorated for the holiday.

Moonshiners! The cops are on their trail...

This area of the display shows the Incline Railway on Lookout Mountain. It's one of the steepest passenger railways in the world.

Beside the model railroad itself the museum also has a small display of older model trains. Some from the 1800's.

The museum was smaller than I thought but the display was very nice and well worth visiting. If you like model trains, or for that matter any trains, the Chattanooga Choo Choo Entertainment Area is definitely be worth a stop.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Chattanooga, TN

We were in Chattanooga, TN this past weekend. All I knew about the city was what I learned from that song about the choo choo. There is one, a Chattanooga Choo Choo that is.

Part of the reason we were there was to visit the model train display (more to come in a future post) at the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel. The hotel, located in the converted Terminal Station in downtown Chattanooga, is on the list of America's historic hotels. We didn't stay there but I really want to now because hello! Some of the rooms are inside restored railcars. There are more traditional rooms available as well but let's be honest, why stay in a regular room when you can stay in a restored RAILCAR.

Our visit to Chattanooga happened to coincide with what is billed as a 24 hour block party being held on Main Street and the surrounding Southside. We walked over to Main Street from the station and strolled around the street fair. There were tree planting events, parades, specials at the local shops, horse and carriage rides and a whole section dedicated to all things mutt. Lots of cute dogs visiting and looking for homes. A nice event run by people that seemed to really enjoy what they were doing. If I happen to be in the area next time this event is scheduled I'd like to check it out more thoroughly.

Another thing I wanted to do was eat at my favorite MN barbecue chain. I've eaten all kinds of barbecue all over the place but there is something about this place that has me seeking it out whenever I get within distance of one. Maybe it's the consistency, the Devil's Spit sauce or something else. I like Famous Dave's. However, there is one thing that always irritates me when I dine there. If I order a burger, and I often do, the wait-person can be heard spouting the following foolishness "How would you like your burger, medium-well done or well done? Medium well done? There's no such thing as medium-well done Famous Dave. Well done is well done. Why perpetuate this charade? The servers should just say your burger will arrive well done. There is no other option, deal with it. Inevitably I order it, eat it and enjoy it all the while being mildly disappointed that I can't get it cooked to the temperature I enjoy. They need to fix this.

The day we were in town we took advantage of free electric bus rides around the downtown area. We hopped on and took the half hour ride around town. I saw a nice city. Lots of outdoor art, local non chain coffee shops and retail stores, just a nice looking city. All that aside, let me say here and now that I tend to draw crazy like moths to a flame. It seemed inevitable that one of the local "characters" would board the bus and sit right by me. And he did. I was regaled with tales of conspiracy, government underhandedness and various other ramblings. When my friend exited the bus the driver said that he "seemed good today, like he had gotten his meds." I told him not to worry, that we have crazy people where we from too. In hindsight I shouldn't have said crazy, I should have said colorful characters, but, dude was full on cray cray so there you have it.

All in all we really enjoyed our time in Chattanooga. You have to like a city where roses are blooming in December right? We had fun and ended our trip sitting at the bar at Red Lobster (I know, don't ask) drinking beers and rum drinks and watching the Georgia Bulldogs take a heartbreak of a loss to Alabama. If we're in this part of the country a bit longer I definitely want to go back and check out the local Chattanooga food scene. If we do you can read about it here.

Happy travels!