A 2,000 Mile Round Trip From The Cloister


We’re back after a 2,000 mile drive to Austin, TX and return. At one time I could drive 2,000 miles and shrug it off, not anymore! Bonney and I discovered several things during this trip.

1. There is little benefit to driving 300 miles/day for three days over driving 450 miles/day for two days….it’s better to keep going for 450 miles since either distance is equally tiring.

2. StaybridgeSuiteWe discovered a very convenient place to stay if we are in one location for a number of days vs an overnight stay. For $90 a day we spent 5 days in a two bedroom, living room and  two bath suite at the Staybridge Suites near the Austin Airport (The standard price for a 2 BR Suite is $244.99/day) The daily fee included a full breakfast buffet and weekday evening receptions including a buffet dinner. StaybridgeDiningThis usually costs more but Staybridge caters to corporations who put new employee families up while they search for housing and since few new hires move during the Holiday Season Staybridge is willing to negotiate attractive prices rather than suffer vacancies.

3. I talked about Nashville’s Meat and Three meal tradition in a previous post. Austin calls theirs “Home Cooking”. Austin’s home cooking is more expensive than Nashville. Dalt’s on White Bridge Road in Nashville offers a Turkey and Dressing Meat and two for $9.49 while Threadgills in Austin charges $13.99 for the same offering.

4. brisketAnother thing I notice is that BBQ in Texas is beef while BBQ in Nashville is usually pork. Frankly I like beef BBQ better than pork. I notice that BBQ beef brisket is very popular.

It was a wonderful trip as we visited our son Michael but it sure is great to be home!

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A Flooding at The Cloister


water1 001I woke up Saturday morning and as I walked toward the bathroom, water squirted up from between the floor boards of the bedroom. We had trouble!

We could not find the source of the flooding. Up from under the slab? Inside a wall? Down from overhead? There is just one smart thing to do….call Charles!

You can see evidence of Charles Hinton’s presence by his older model turquoise pick up truck. His truck is usually somewhere in the Cloister complex. He oversees much of the activity related to maintaining our complex.

water1 010After nearly an hour of troubleshooting Charles advised us that the source of the water was either under the concrete slab floor or inside a wall, most likely, there was a water pipe leak inside the bathroom wall, he was absolutely right. If the leak was from under the slab floor, the HOA must pay to fix and repair water damage. If a pipe was leaking inside the wall our insurance should cover.

water1 012Charles shut off the water, we spent the weekend with no water.  Meanwhile our insurance company advised me that insurance covered the water damage but we must pay the plumber to fix the leak. On Monday the plumber cut into the wall and repaired the leaky pipe. That was just the start of a long week.

1. A water mitigation team came in and tore out almost every square foot of floor in the house.

2. They ran 8 turbine fans and 4 huge dehumidifiers for 2 1/2 days to dry out our home.

3. We spent two days in a motel.

4. We are now living on mostly bare concrete floors until a new floor is installed, after the holidays.

This has been a new experience for us which I hope we will never repeat.

A Nashville Meat and Three Just 4 Miles Away


Hawaii gives us the Plate Lunch, the Trans-Contintenal Railroad gave us the Blue Plate Special, but nothing matches Nashville’s world famous Meat and Three.

DJ Plate LunchThe plate lunch is a  Hawaii/Japan fusion menu item that is a quintessential part of the cuisine of Hawaii, roughly equivalent to a meat-and-three plate. However, the inclusion of pan-Asian ingredients makes the plate lunch unique to Hawaii. Standard plate lunches consist of two scoops of white rice, a scoop of macaroni salad, and a main entrée. DJ Bento BoxIt is the Hawaiian version of the Japanese Bento Box.

As for the Blue Plate special, I remember that term when I was a kid in Jersey City, Daniel Rogov, in the online Culinary Corner, claims the first use of blue-plate special was on a menu of the Fred Harvey restaurants on 22 October 1892. These restaurants were built at stations to serve the travelling public on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad and it seems the blue-plate set meal was designed to rapidly serve passengers whose trains stopped only for a few minutes.DJ Blue Plate Special He went on to say, “As to why the term ‘blue plate’ — no mystery here. Fred Harvey bought nearly all his serving plates from a company in Illinois. Modelling their inexpensive but sturdy plates after those made famous by Josiah Wedgwood … these were, of course, blue in color. Thus, quite literally, the ‘blue plate’ special”.

DJ Meat and ThreeBut…..Nashville is famous for it’s “Meat and Three”.  Arnold’s(moved from the Fairgrounds area to The Gulch), Wendel Smith’s(on Charlotte Ave across from Bobbie’s Dairy Dip) , and Swett’s(on Clifton Ave and 28th Ave N.) are the most authentic altho Swett’s is considered more “Soul Food”.  Today I discovered a new “Meat and Three” on Annex Ave, across from Costco.

DJ’s Pub & Grub 3736 Annex Ave Nashville,TN has been opened for less than a year. Several years ago Bonney and I and several neighbors would enjoy Friday Catfish at the same location but run by different owners. That business closed down and we somehow got out of the habit. On Friday our good neighbor Diane invited Bonney and me to catfish and we decided to try DJ’s.DJ Pub and Grub

It was crowded, I know why, it’s one of the few smoking-allowed restaurant and bars around. Show me a smoker and I’ll show you someone who can handle his/her whiskey and beer. The 100 foot long bar was lined up elbow to elbow, from one end to another, and this was three hours before the live music. We enjoyed the best catfish meat and three I have eaten in years. Unfortunately the smoke-laden air in the room was almost too much, but we discovered that they do a carry-out meat and three for $7.99.

We think we have discovered a carry-out place that will deliver reasonable quality at reasonable prices. If you’re too lazy to cook some night you might call (915-0440) and order a carry-out. It’s a real “Meat and Three” experience just 4 miles and 10 minutes away.