Open To Adventure

Saturday is the day we have set aside for adventure and a dinner date. We try to find a new route to an old favorite restaurant or try out a place we’ve never visited. This past weekend we did both. We set out on a long drive through the mountains around Watauga Lake, with our destination being La Cucina Italian Kitchen in Mountain City.

A stop along the way included the oldest frame house in Tennessee, located in the town of Elizabethton.

We explored the winding roads with hairpin turns through the Cherokee National Forest for the next couple of hours. Motorcycle riders from all over the US travel to Johnson County to ride “The Snake.” The Snake motorcycle trip includes incredible mountain scenery, 489 curves, three mountains, and one vast, beautiful valley in a thirty-three-mile journey. During long-ago summers, Mr. Mickey and I took the same roads on his Honda Shadow along with other motorcycle riding friends. It is almost as much fun in a Mercedes sedan!

We reached our destination in time for our reservations. We have been planning to visit the La Cucina Italian Kitchen for years, but until now, our schedule and an available table have never coincided. After hearing so many glowing recommendations from all of our friends who have been there, we suspected we would love this place. We did!

The charming owner, Matteo Torri, took a quick break from creating magic in the kitchen to greet us at the door. He and his wife, Graciela, live on the property and tend the gardens that supply the flowers and some menu items.

Bread made earlier in the day was served while we looked over the expansive menu.

I strongly suspect that these tomatoes and basil were growing in the garden earlier in the day.

My fresh vegetable, shrimp, and pasta dish were perfectly prepared. Mr. Mickey’s shrimp alfredo was so delicate and flavorful he didn’t speak after it arrived. It was an absolute delight to enjoy Matteo’s food!

We are about to share desserts made from recipes passed down from Matteo’s family. We were so impressed with the other food we enjoyed; we broke our tradition of sharing only one dessert.

If you plan to visit La Cucina, you should know that payment is cash only, and it is in a dry county. You may bring a bottle of wine, but they are not allowed to serve alcohol.

Garden Party lipstick here from Beautycounter matches my Malibu Punch items exactly!

My look for the day included a Malibu Punch tank and jacket from Chico’s this past spring. The dark wash straight leg jeans were from J.Jill last year. The navy blue espadrille shoes are by Nine West. The Tory Burch sunglasses are from last year. Similar here.

As we were making our way home, the storm clouds started to gather over the mountains again.

  1. I love hearing about your adventures and seeing what you wear for each one. You are always impeccably dressed.

  2. I love to read about your weekend adventures with Mr. Mickey. The pictures are so beautiful. I know you said you get a facial once a month. Do you also get massages?

  3. Beautiful journey and pretty scenery. The house is interesting and a treasure to have preserved with such a family history. Your food looked really delicious. Thanks for sharing the lovely trip with us.

  4. I very much enjoy your travels exploring close to home. You’ve convinced me to do the same. So often interesting places exist just a few miles away and I’ve ignored them. No more. These little adventures add so much! I love the coral color. I added a few pieces in a similar color to my summer wardrobe too. What a nice pick me up! You look lovely with coral close to your face. I see you’ve styled your hair a bit differently. It looks fresh and sassy! Thanks again for keeping at the blogging biz and enriching our lives.

  5. Beautiful place to visit! The restaurant has great food. It’s been a while since we’ve been there, so it’s time to go back! You and Mr. Mickey look wonderful, so healthy and happy. The weather was perfect for this outing! I love all your outfits, and I love your blog because I get to go so many places and live vicariously. What fun!

  6. Susan, you described the area so well it made a trip down memory lane for me. Thanks for the memories I hope to return one day and enjoy the drive. We drove the drive in the Corvette and it is exhilarating. You look beautiful in the red jacket.

  7. Oh my! The ring you’re wearing is so beautiful (in the lipstick photo). Is that available anywhere?

  8. My husband and I will be attending a business function with these instructions on dress: coat and tie are required for men, dressy dress or dressy pant outfit for women. I think I’m okay with my choice which is an Eliza J green dress. My question is hubby’s attire. Suit or sport coat? I felt sure you or Mr. Mickey would know the answer. This is a new group for us to be around so no experience with this group.

  9. That food looks fabulous. Love the colorful jacket you are wearing, the color looks so nice on you. Great travel photos.

  10. My first 10,000 miles on a motorcycle was on a Shadow. I don’t ride anymore but used to put on about 10,000 a year. I live in southeastern PA and we once took a ride to Niagara Falls for dinner. When we got home, it was almost dawn. Oh, the energy and stupidity of my youth!

  11. La Cucina is a favorite of ours, as well!! And because Chef Matteo does cooking classes I now make fresh pasta myself!! Also he taught us how to make his fresh Italian red sauce and homemade salad dressing! I learned so much! He requires a group of 10 to do a class but it was SO FUN!! We had five couples. And afterwards we all feasted on the the bounty of our hard work! Maybe you’d want to check it out sometime!

  12. Just Beautiful……we used to live in Knoxville, I love Tennessee! Your hair looks beautiful and you look elegant.
    P.s. I’m trying to grow my hair out and so far I’m doing pretty good ( my husband likes my hair short, but told him not to say anything because this is something I want to do before I am 60! Only in 1 year and 8 months) !!

    All the best,

  13. It’s such a joy to find a new entry on your blog! Thank you for the helpful hints on wardrobing, for sharing a peek into your life (and Mr. Mickey’s)
    and travels, it’s very entertaining! Ann Lee S, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada (the Warm Land, Duncan, BC) look us up! come for a wine tour!

  14. That color looks amazing on you! I always enjoy your travel posts. You live in such a beautiful area.

  15. Hi, Susan!
    The food looks yummy; the chef must be great. I love your idea of dropping the attached chain in back to simplify your necklace. It’s so important for long-term couples to go out and try new things. You’ve shared a very good example of how to do that. You’re also a good example of how to be classy for women over 60.
    Thanks for the work you do,

  16. Love this adventure. My husband & I do the same thing. Infact we had an adventure Saturday also.
    Irish Acres antique in Nunsuch KY, shop followed by the Verona Vineyard in Verona KY.
    It really is fun to explore & find hidden gems.

  17. Tennessee looks so beautiful. Again, love your outfit and the creative idea with the necklace. You & Mr. Mickey look charming together. The food looks yummy too.

  18. Loved the views of the country. The Italian restaurant sent me back to Italy. I am Italian and your food looked so authentic and so good. I immediately viewed the tiramisu and I was ready to take a bite. I’m so happy that you were able to enjoy all their food that was ordered.

    Safe travels,
    Sandy N.

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