Sunday, February 6, 2011

Birthday Weekend

We don't usually make a big deal for our birthdays. Usually we go out to a nice dinner and call it a night. Unfortunately, there are really no nice restaurants here in Sylva. Now that is not to say that there aren't good restaurants but none are kick ass.

Tom lucked out on his last birthday because we were in NYC the week before so I took him out to eat at Bobby Flay's Bar Americain. If you read my blog, you know I am a Food Network Chef Whore. If there is a Food Network Chef restaurant around, I will go and eat there.

This year, Paul Deen opened a new restaurant at the Harrah's Cherokee Resort & Casino. Harrah's is about 30 minutes from where we live so I thought it would be good to have my birthday dinner there. As a Harrah's Total Rewards member, yes I love to gamble, I got a free room. So we decided to make a night of it and spend time at the hotel and have dinner out.

Now, I wish I could say that we went to the casino and I won a huge jackpot and I could quit my job, travel to Paris, buy a new car and live the high life from here out but I didn't. That sucks big hairy balls too because I wanted to win a big giant jackpot. But instead, I lost money on this trip.

Please note: I am having photo editing issues and I cannot get this straight regardless of what photo editing program I use. GRRRR These are photos from my phone so they are wonky. I am too frustrated to continue so you get crooked pictures. Too bad, so sad!

Anyway, we headed out Saturday afternoon. Luckily, they had our room ready. The Harrah's Cherokee is not Vegas but it'll do in a pinch. The hotel itself was very nice. The staff was friendly and we have an enjoyable stay. We had a great view of the mountains. We also had a view of lots of construction. I remember the first time we went to this casino and it was small and rundown. Now it is huge and fancy. When we went to see Paul Deen, I was impressed by the event center. It is very nice and there is really no bad seat in the joint.

We didn't stay long in the room because we headed down to the casino to gamble a little before dinner. We actually had a nice set of clothes to change into but after walking by the restaurant we knew we could wear our jeans and be super casual.

Let's talk about the restaurant. Oh boy, if I were Paula Deen, I would be a little reluctant to put my name on this place. It was nice and clean but very sterile and cold. Luckily, we had made reservations because there were people trying to get in and they were told the next available seating was in 3.5 hours. When we went into the restaurant it was virtually empty. They were turning down people left and right though. It didn't make sense. At one point, the lights went out. And the staff was just unorganized and not very good.

Our server was very good though. She was friendly and on the ball. But I have to say that I was a little disappointed in the food. For a starter we had Fried Green Tomatoes. It is sad day when my fried green tomatoes are better than Paula Deen's. They were good but the breading too thick and greasy. The tomatoes were mushy. My next dish was a wedge salad. I love wedge salad. The best wedge salad I have ever had was at Delmonico's in Vegas. This one was good though. Tom had a spinach salad with warm bacon dressing and he gave it the thumbs up.

I had fried chicken with mashed potatoes and collard greens and Tom had the chicken pot pie. He gave the pot pie a passing grade. My chicken was good but I have had better. I suspect, and I can't be 100% sure, that my mashed potatoes were not fresh potatoes but the flaked kind. They were good but they didn't taste like fresh potatoes. The collards greens were delicious though. OMG, they were a little spicy and just delish. I am a sucker for any greens!

The best part of the meal was the bread basket. The cheese biscuits were great and so was the cornbread muffin! I could have eaten the whole basket of bread! The portions were huge and I didn't even have room for dessert! WTH? I figured I would have cake Monday!

So overall, though the restaurant wasn't great, it was pretty good. Plus, I am sure I am going out to eat again Monday since why should I have to cook on my birthday, right? So I can't complain!


  1. it looks like you had an amazing celebration! Indoor pool?! i could float all day and pretend I was on a tropical island!

  2. I'm so glad you got to go there, even though it was a little disappointing. Happy Birthday, by the way!!!!!