So, now that I've impressed upon you the seriousness of this trail, (Except for the part where there's a sign that warns you that bears are active in the area, and the fact that you are indeed stepping over numerous piles of bear scat to remind you and praying that you don't see a class ring or something in one of them) Let me mention a couple of really neat things about it. First, the trail to Ramsay Cascades winds through some old growth forest. Some truly enormous trees. Now, they aren't the redwoods, but they are the biggest trees I've ever seen. Michelle and I took a quick break at this one...
This angle actually makes it appear a little smaller than it is, but you get the idea. Very big trees. And as tall as you'd imagine a trunk of this size to be.
Then there's Ramsay Cascades itself. The tallest falls in the Smoky Mountains at around 100 feet. Check it out:It was quite a sight. Michelle and I both took our shoes off and waded at the foot of the falls a little bit. The water was ICE cold. No joke, it made my feet hurt it was so cold. I don't know how there wasn't ice somewhere. Anyway, we spent a little time at the Cascades, had something to eat and relaxed then started the trek back down. A tough hike all in all, but very rewarding, and an excellent test of both our mettle, and our equipment. :)
So, what would you do if you had just hiked the roughest 8 miles of your life, and were now sitting at the family vacation home in the Smokies, looking at dailyplate.com and realizing that you now have more than 3000 calories to consume? That's right. You plan dinner!
Michelle and I went down to Maryville and tried a little place that Dad and Donita have been watching from afar and wondering about. It's called the Lemongrass. It's a Thai menu, and there's a sushi bar. So, in the interest of informing Dad and Donita, and the rest of my vast readership, here's how it went:
The restaurant is smallish, but in a cozy way. Well lit and comfortable. There were quite a few people there, but we didn't feel crowded out or anything. The service was excellent. It's the kind of place where they place your napkin in your lap for you and all that jazz, and the staff was very attentive and interactive. Our waiter was quite smooth and did a great job. (He kept the meal moving, but you didn't feel like he was standing there waiting to take your plates from you.) :)
So, we tried it all. We ordered some sushi. A shrimp tempura roll which was absolutely awesome, and a salmon roll. It too was very good. The nori (dried seaweed used to roll everything up) was very mild, which is usually my trouble with sushi. The seaweed overpowers the fish and other things. The flavors were all present and nothing overpowered.
As for entrees, Michelle had a Red Curry Chicken, and I had Cashew Chicken. I got to sample Michelle's which was very tasty, and mine too was excellent. I ate the whole thing and it wasn't a small plate. :) Again, the flavors were complex, all present, and very well blended. I sound like one of those judges on Iron Chef. Allez! Cuisine!
One of the best surprises about the place was the dessert menu. The desserts are actually unique! I was expecting, "Ok, cheesecake, some pie, vanilla ice cream, oooh...look at this Triple Chocolate Thunder Blunder Mega Bang Death Mountain!!"
Michelle had a slice of fresh mango with rice pudding, which I sampled, and which was pleasant and light. I had banana pieces, wrapped in rice paper and deep fried, drizzled in honey and sesame seeds, with a scoop of the ubiquitous vanilla ice cream. A really great, and unusual dessert experience.
The whole trip to Lemongrass was well worth it. It's priced pretty comfortably. Two people can eat there for somewhere between 30-50 dollars depending on what you order and whether you do the whole thing or just have entrees. A 4 star experience to be sure!
Alright, I'll wind it down now. I'd say if you've read this far you deserve to be finished! Thanks for reading, and I'll talk to you next time!