Delicious College Of The Ozarks Restaurant | Dobyns Dining Room

Delicious College Of The Ozarks Restaurant | Dobyns Dining Room

John and Amy head out to their favorite Branson, Missouri area restaurant, Dobyns Dining Room at College of the Ozarks!

The lunch was incredible, the service was impeccable and the atmosphere perfect!

Manitou Springs Colorado | Adam’s Mountain Cafe

Manitou Springs Colorado | Adam's Mountain Cafe

When John and Amy lived in Manitou Springs, Colorado as church planters, Adam's Mountain Cafe was their favorite restaurant.

This is an incredible place for healthy, delicious food in beautiful Manitou Springs!

Stay for a quick tour through Manitou Springs and Garden of the Gods after they finish lunch!

Shepherd Of The Hills Restaurant | Shepherd’s Mill

Shepherd Of The Hills Restaurant | Shepherd's Mill

John and Amy experience some incredible food in a delightful atmosphere at the Shepherd's Mill Restaurant at The Shepherd of the Hills in Branson, Missouri!

The food all across the homestead whether it's at the restaurant or during one of the dinner shows is delicious!

The Apple Barn Sevierville Tennessee | A Fun Tour

The Apple Barn Sevierville Tennessee | A Fun Tour

John and Amy take you on a tour of The Apple Barn restaurants and shops in Sevierville, Tennessee!

They start out with an amazing lunch and then tour through the various apple related eateries and shops. This is an incredible, must do experience on your Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, Tennessee vacation!

Branson Restaurants | Florentina’s Ristorante Italiano

Branson Restaurants | Florentina's Ristorante Italiano

John and Amy had an AMAZING meal at Florentina's!

Check out the pizza (including gluten free!), seafood ravioli, desserts and so much more!

Local Flavor Branson Mo | AMAZING New Branson Restaurant

Local Flavor Branson Mo | AMAZING New Branson Restaurant
John and Amy experience Branson's newest restaurant, LOCAL FLAVOR, for the first time!
The owners are INCREDIBLE people and the food is PHENOMENAL!
Hear their inspirational story on the opening of Local Flavor in Branson, Missouri and also check out their original location in Oklahoma!

Brand new tasting passport at Silver Dollar City’s Bluegrass and BBQ Festival!

Is the new Tasting Passport at Silver Dollar City Worth it? Yes!

Silver Dollar City's Bluegrass and BBQ Festival

After trying out Silver Dollar City's Tasting Passport during the recent Street Fest and Dollywood's Dining Pass during their Flower and Food Festival, we were excited to see if Herschend Family Entertainment could outdo themselves.

The could. They did.

For $30 you receive a badge and lanyard that provides you many delectable options to choose from. At Dollywood you find a QR code on the Dining Pass that hangs around your neck. While a quick scan opens up an informative website with all of the food items and their locations in the park, we found Silver Dollar City's method preferrable.

Every option was printed clearly on the badge, or as Silver Dollar City calls it, the Passport. Additionally, everything could be seen in larger print in the Pathfinder, Silver Dollar City's free newspaper and park guide. 

Opening day of the festival gave us perfect weather to walk the park and enjoy a great variety of bluegrass music and non-stop, diverse aromas as we passed by all of the various food stands and restaurants. 

While we enjoyed our day at Dollywood recently, we didn't prefer the majority of the Dining Pass stops to be located in one section of the park. We found ourselves aimlessly wandering the nether regions of Dollywood wondering when we might stumble into a kiosk. It wasn't until we moved back toward the front of the park that we found the food.

At Silver Dollar City it's an entire park experience. The cooks are joyfully and artistically creating their edible masterpieces at every corner of the park. Whether you are on Main Street, by the Grand Exposition, near Mystic River Falls or down by Fire in the Hole, temptations abound.

The only time we had to ask for directions was for the last punch of our passport. I was desperately seeking a BBQ bacon mac and cheese waffle cone, but didn't know to look right on Main Street for the kiosk. A wonderful Silver Dollar City citizen pointed us in the right direction and before long I was devouring a waffle cone made out of fortune cookie batter filled with a curious and mouth watering mix. 

Our favorite item of the day was probably the barbecue tater twist dog. It was truly amazing, and the portion size was large.

The Tasting Passport is not meant to be a meal replacement, but rather a fun and adventurous sampling of new and unique foods. While the idea is for each item to be snack sized, if you plan your day of tasting carefully, you'll find some samples are larger than others. In fact, like our tater twist dog, some are full sized.

We'd recommend considering eating a full meal at lunch and also purchasing a single Tasting Passport that can be used throughout the day for snacks and desserts. Between the two of us both times at Silver Dollar City and also once at Dollywood we purchased only one Passport and shared each of the five items. This worked great for us and we weren't at all hungry doing it this way. Of course, if you are zeroed in on treats others in your family are not, then you'll be very happy securing one all for yourself.

So, is the Tasting Passport worth it? We can't answer for everybody, but for us the answer is a resounding yes!

It does seem as if the portion sizes have increased some from the previous festival, which is great.

This time around we didn't get any desserts on the list. It took every ounce of restraint to say no to the temptations that were all around. Suffice it to say the desserts were our favorite foods the previous two festivals here and in Tennessee. My mouth is watering just thinking about them.

The Local Goat: A Lunchtime Review

The Local Goat

Never underestimate the power of goats.

We had the entire day planned out, and it was slam packed full of food and fun. There certainly wasn't any space for another meal on the agenda. Well, that was until a goat changed everything. The power of goats is very real, my friend.

My wife Amy and I were sitting atop horses, meandering down a lonely trail (as all wannabe cowboys do, right?) when we saw an adorable goat on the other side of a fence. The cutie and his or her goat brothers and sisters reminded Amy of another goat encounter the previous day: goats on a roof. She told the trail guide that we never get suckered into tourist trap style souvenir shops, but this one in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee had GOATS ON THE ROOF! We were drawn into this shop by the power of goats. Their power was about to seduce us yet again.

Immediately after our trail ride at Smokey Mountain Deer Farm we were on our way to Dollywood to shoot some video of us indulging in a myriad of treats at their Flower and Food Festival. We were going to purchase the new Dining Pass and capture the experience of us devouring incredible offerings. After that? We'd be celebrating our son Skylar's birthday in Nashville with a huge meal at the restaurant of his choice. There was no room for more food. Except, there most definitely was. We couldn't say no to the goat.


We had heard quite a bit about The Local Goat and were amazed at how their large parking lot was always full as we drove down the strip in Pigeon Forge. It was definitely a restaurant we wanted to try, especially after reading a review from someone who confessed to driving fourteen hours to eat there. Insanity, right? Or, maybe not.

In addition to all of the food we scheduled to shove deep into our bellies that day, we had already gorged ourselves on incredible southern cooking at other culinary hot spots in town. Honestly, we weren't all that excited about ever eating again. Yet, the goat was calling.

We had heard that it was nearly impossible to get a table at The Local Goat without reservations or a very long wait. Our busy day wouldn't allow for any wait at all, and we were thrilled that they were able to seat us immediately. It was meant to be.

The restaurant was jam packed and as we were led to our tables we did what most others do in the same scenario: we covertly scanned the room and checked out what was on everybody's plates. Oh man, were we in trouble. Very wonderful trouble.

I wanted most everything on the menu. I was zeroed in on the shrimp and grits. Our server recommended it and it's one of my all-time favorite meals. Amy had other ideas, though. She thought splitting a burger was the way to go since we'd be eating again in less than an hour or two at Dollywood. My bulging gut agreed, but my watering mouth did not. I was ready for my own meal plus an appetizer or two, or three. Her wisdom prevailed, however, and as usual, I'm glad it did.

I did start with an appetizer, deep fried deviled eggs. One of their signature dishes was a must have and, wow, was I happy with my choice. They had a bit of a spicy kick to them and the flavor was incredible. I ate every egg on my plate as Amy, a victim to a gluten allergy, watched longingly. I haven't seen that look in her eyes since we were dating almost 30 years ago. At least I didn't have to share.

While we were wowed by the various plates full of food that servers were delivering to tables all around us, including a fluffy mountain of onion rings that I almost lunged out of my booth at, we knew our limits.

Our blue cheese saturated, medium cooked burger arrived on a gluten free bun alongside some skinny fries and homemade ketchup. There was also a side of crispy onion straws specifically for me as I am completely unafraid of getting glutened.

Of course we had to have dessert, right? Wrong. Impossible, actually. Not only could we not consider another bite of food, no matter how tempting it was, we had to record that video for our travel channel. Five different orders of food awaited us at Dollywood in mere minutes. 

Have you tried desserts at The Local Goat? Leave a comment and let everybody know your recommendations. In fact, what are some of your other favorites? appetizers? Burgers? Sandwiches? Entrees? 

Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg have some ridiculously good restaurants. But now we understand a little better why they are nearly in need of a traffic cop to direct people in and out of this destination. 


Mouth-wateringly delicious. All of it. The goat was right.

Would we drive fourteen hours to eat at The Local Goat? No. I mean, honestly, who would? Except for that one guy. I have some absolute favorite restaurants scattered all over the nation, but there's not one that I'd jump into the car and drive from sunup to sundown to enjoy. Suffice it to say, if we are anywhere near Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, we will yield to the mystical BAAAAAA! echoing through the mountains as it leads us right into the overflow parking lot at The Local Goat. We'll just be sure to have reservations.


Is The Dining Pass Worth It? Dollywood Flower And Food Festival

Is The Dining Pass Worth It? Dollywood Flower And Food Festival

John and Amy head out to the Flower and Food Festival at Dollywood and check out several of the food options with the Dining Pass. Is it worth it to get the Dining Pass? Watch and see.

AND, John and Amy were thrilled to have run into Will and Dawn from Yankee in the South!

Check out their channel at!

LOCAL GOAT Pigeon Forge | Deep Fried Deviled Eggs!

Local Goat

LOCAL GOAT Pigeon Forge | Deep Fried Deviled Eggs!

John and Amy just had to try out LOCAL GOAT in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to see what all the hoopla was about…and IT WAS AMAZING!

Check out the DEEP FRIED DEVILED EGGS and the rest of their incredible lunch!