Metro Diner, Jacksonville FL

We had originally planned to visit a breakfast joint called the Metro Diner in December 2011. I found it via Flavortown USA, a fan site for TV’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, and saw that it is one of five Jacksonville-area restaurants to have made it to their show. We don’t get to Jacksonville very often, but it’s always nice to step away from Saint Simons for a few hours and go visit our old friend Chris. Anyway, much of that last trip had to be scrubbed, including breakfast, but this time I was determined that we’d leave the island on time and make our way to the San Marco neighborhood in the early hours and maybe even beat the breakfast rush. Continue reading “Metro Diner, Jacksonville FL”


Blue Ash Chili, Cincinnati OH

We finished up in Miamisburg and made our way back to the hotel in Dayton, where the next order of business was doing something about this hunger-striking baby. He was not interested in eating or drinking anything until we got back to the room and he had some prime rambunctious time and, once Marie got back from work, he agreed to a bottle and some attention from her. We could tell that he was not feeling his best; separation anxiety and strange surroundings didn’t help much. We gave him a good break, food, and lots of love, packed and loaded the cars, checked out and made our way south. Continue reading “Blue Ash Chili, Cincinnati OH”

Parkette Drive In, Lexington KY

In the previous chapter, I explained that when the children and I made our first stop on the trip to Dayton to join Marie, my daughter ate very lightly. This is because we watched the segment of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives where Guy Fieri visited Lexington’s Parkette Drive In and she decided that she really wanted to indulge here. Regular readers may recall that she has, in her mercurial teenage way, gone back and forth over whether she actually enjoys fried chicken or not. The segment sold her on the idea. Continue reading “Parkette Drive In, Lexington KY”

Leonard’s Pit Bar-B-Que, Memphis TN

On the Sunday of our too-short visit to Memphis, the four of us started the morning at that city’s children’s museum, about which more in a later chapter, and then we dropped Marie and the baby off with her sister. My daughter and I then took off for Arkansas and a lot of barbecue. We soon turned around, because the first stop on our planned tour was, weirdly, closed, despite my phoning the day before to confirm they’d be open. Still, we crossed the Mississippi on the fantastic I-40 bridge and returned via the slightly less awesome I-55 bridge, which is how everybody should go to Arkansas and back. Continue reading “Leonard’s Pit Bar-B-Que, Memphis TN”

The Beacon, Spartanburg SC (take two)

When we first visited the Beacon in February of last year, we were a bit overwhelmed by just how huge, wild and chaotic it was, and that’s despite very old familiarity with Atlanta’s similar Varsity. The spectacle of the Beacon makes for a real experience, and we could not wait to get back and give it another try. Continue reading “The Beacon, Spartanburg SC (take two)”

Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, Nolensville TN

I don’t believe that I got quite as much out of our trip to Martin’s as I could have. It’s one of those very rare cases where I did a little research – if you can call it that – after the fact and found that there was so much more here than I knew, and that, had I been better informed going in, I would have gone from a very pleasant and tasty experience to a potentially even better one. Continue reading “Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, Nolensville TN”

Blue Moon Café, Baltimore MD

(Honeymoon flashback: In July 2009, Marie and I took a road trip up to Montreal and back, enjoying some really terrific meals over our ten-day expedition. I’ve selected some of those great restaurants, and, once per month, we’ll tell you about them.)

Have you ever noticed that the best of families just don’t want to risk anybody going hungry? We had stayed on the Thursday night with Marie’s Aunt Bertie and Uncle Bruce in Philadelphia, and we made certain they knew that we had breakfast plans in Baltimore, but Bertie just didn’t like the thought of us leaving town without something to eat. We woke a little before seven and there was an amazing spread of cheese and fruit waiting for us. We settled in and relaxed for a while. We wouldn’t be getting out on the road for a little bit yet.

Again following a recommendation from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, we made our way down I-95 to the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore, and had our second breakfast of the day at Blue Moon Café. This place is, again, completely wonderful and completely justified the attention. Obviously, that show’s researchers do their work and pick great places, so nobody looks stupid when tourists show up to try restaurants out.

It was packed; we had about a twenty-minute wait and it almost immediately turned into an hour wait behind us, but the staff works their socks off and are downright excellent at their jobs. Wonderfully, we were seated at the counter and could see the cook singing and dancing to every single song played on that Jack-FM station while we were there, prepping and stirring and slicing with abandon and flourish. We had a great time. And the food…?

Decadent as hell. That’s an order of Cap’n Crunch French Toast and while all the walking we did mostly counteracted the food we ate, the pound that I did gain from all this eatin’ came from this thing. AND I WOULD DO IT AGAIN.

Unfortunately, Blue Moon seems to be just as well known for their line as their food. Reading what other bloggers have said, I’m incredibly grateful for only having to wait twenty minutes. Close to two hours seems to be the norm! I think that if you’re visiting Baltimore, I’d plan to go on a Wednesday or Thursday. Go on the weekend and you’re probably giving up a huge chunk of your day.

This stop turned out to be one of the most personally satisfying little chunks of the road trip, because the restaurant was literally three blocks’ walk from the stretch of road and the great old building on the waterfront where Homicide: Life on the Street, the best program ever made for American television, was filmed. It was so wonderful to walk around that place, where all those amazing actors had worked, and catch a little of the harbor breeze. It was a really nice day for it.