Posts Tagged ‘Cyndi Allison’

50+174 Cheerwine will be a constant reminder of Southern Expedition 2011

A day does not go by that I do not reflect for at least a moment on my Southern Expedition that I took in January 2011.

I had so many great moments during that trip that not only got me away from the cold and the snow of Canadian Winter but it was such a break from issues in life that I needed to get away from for a short time.

I was so fortunate to meet many fine people that I had talked with online in the world of BBQ and was blown away by the Southern hospitality that was awarded me by the friendly folks in North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

It all started in Salisbury North Carolina when I met with Blog Writer Cyndi Allison taking possession of the Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse that I was lucky to win in her online draw back in October. Not only did I get the smoker but we also exchanged some gifts that were from our local areas. One of the gifts I received was a case of Cheerwine which is a local favorite soda drink in North Carolina.

It has a wonderful Wild Cherry flavour and is made with Pure Cane Sugar rather than using corn syrup as most soft drinks do. Mind you that is only in the 12 oz. glass bottle size and only available from the distribution center in Salisbury.  You can read an in depth story I wrote on this soft drink on my BBQ blog here.

My point being that looking back the case of Cheerwine had a deeper meaning to me  since its name is derived from the word Cheer which is a pleasure that it represents and though not having alcohol content it uses wine in its name to show off the clear burgundy colour.

So it is like raising a glass with friends, When I got home I cut the side off of the Cheerwine case and brought it to Costco and had it put in a nice glassed frame which is now proudly hanging on the wall in my office, as a constant reminder of good times and good people.

The next day I had a great lunch at Lexington #1 Barbecue with other BBQ friends Wayne Brown, John Shepard and his son by the same name along with Cyndi and her son Eli.

I also had the pleasure of spending an evening with Michael and Stephanie Baxter in Fitzgerald Georgia.

And in Florida  I met members of two special BBQ teams that competed in the Lakeland Florida Pigfest.

First off there was Doug and his wife Biggi Francis along with their 2 kids and Sue from Hogs Gone Wild BBQ.

Doug, Sue, Melissa, Biggi and TJ

and Chad Ward along with the rest of the Whiskey Bent BBQ Team

And on my way out of Florida I stopped in Jacksonville to spend a few hours with no other than Hank Bob or as he is known when not in character Aaron Smith.

Another couple of great guys to meet were the owners of Southern Soul BBQ Griffin Bufkin and Harrison Sapp.

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I am a bit reflective today mainly because I hung up my Cheerwine frame and again it reminded me of the great time I had. and I will raise a bottle to all of my southern friends and I hope that we get the chance to meet again on a future trip, but in the meantime will continue to talk with most of them online….. CHEERS!

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50+124 So Glad to Meat y’all

During my trip to Florida I had the chance to meet some great BBQ peeps that I have had the pleasure to chat with over the past year or so.

My first stop on the way in to the fun in the sun was Salisbury North Carolina where I was so happy to meet a lady (and her fam) that has inspired me to become the BBQ writer that I am becoming. Cyndi Allison is a teacher that uses her BBQ and Cooking blogs more as a hobby rather than a full time gig but she is excellent at her craft.

Cyndi Allison & son Eli on Left, Eli's dad and myself on other side at Winks BBQ

Cyndi has two sons Caleb (who was away at school) and Eli pictured sharing a meal with us that is a local hero that savea young man from drowning at the Bull Hole a year and a half ago, Eli received many awards for his bravery, but beside that he is a great kid that never fails to make his momma proud.

This is the famous Bull run where Cyndi's son Eli saved a young boys life!

Here is Eli at the Bull Hole but the water is very low now compared to that day a year and a half ago.

Eli’s Dad Jimmy was kind enough to drive them and the smoker I won through Cyndi’s blog Barbecue Master to my room at the Days Inn (Salisbury NC) and then drive us around town for a tour of the great town and point out some places of interest including eateries and historic buildings.

The next day Cindy, Eli and myself met up with John Sherwood aka Sir PorkaLot on twitter along with Wayne Brown that uses the name BrownKW on twitter.

We met at what may well just be one of the most popular BBQ joints in the country Lexington #1 in North Carolina.

John Sherwood aka SirPorkaLot with his son

Wayne Brown and his Peach Cobler

The six of us enjoying 3 hours of good times at Lexington BBQ

We all had such a laghing good time, with lots of blog material for all.

A couple of days later I traveled to Fitzgerald Gerogia to spend an evening with Micheal and Steph Baxter of the Pemium Smoking Wood company Baxter’s Original and soon to be Competition BBQ team.

Michael and Stephanie Baxter of Baxter's Original, helping me drink the Carolina Blonde's that Cyndi passed my way.

Michael Baxter and I with the smoker built on a 1950 Ford Pick-up

Michael points out his buddy Glen that is the master welder that put together the 1950 smoker above

The Baxters were very kind to put me up for the night and we had a great time during my visit before I carried on to see my Parents in Fort Myers Florida. I have to say that I have not had so much fun as I had with these other BBQ folks. They made me laugh but I also repect them all for the people that they are, each having special qualities.

I have to say that the person that coined the phrase “Southern Hospitality” came up with something that describes all of these people to a tee!

I never felt so at home though before this day I never had met any of them in person before.

As any of my other friends that have in interst in BBQ already know the members of the BBQ community are an amazing group that will go to the wall for you, and I for them too.

50+123 Made it to Salisbury North Carolina

This is the first leg of my Trip to Florida, I made plans to pick up the Masterbuilt Electric smoker that I won on Cyndi Allison’s Barbecue Master Blog a few months back since Masterbuilt’s contest could only ship within the United States I had to make arrangements to have the smoker delivered in the USA.

I could have had it shipped to my parents in Florida directly but I thought it would be better promotion if we could get a picture of Cyndi presenting the smoker in person. (I will cover this in more detail in my Oshawa Ogre’s Views, News and BBQ’s Blog in the near future)

Being that Salisbury North Carolina is pretty much half way between Oshawa and Fort Myers Florida, this seemed like a no brainer.

Normally I fly down to visit my parents but since I now have a very fuel-efficient VW Jetta TDI Diesel I wanted to drive down this year anyways, I really enjoy driving and the fact that I was going alone did not bother me since I could enjoy listening to tunes on my new Freeway DVD Car stereo that I just got for Christmas.

Seeing that it is a 13 hour drive according to Google maps I wanted to hit Salisbury between 5 and 6 pm and in order to make that dead line (had dinner plans arranged with Cyndi and her family at a local BBQ Restaurant ( more on that later too) I needed to leave Oshawa at 3am on Friday morning Jan. 21st Argggggh that is my normal time for going to sleep!

Being a huge Toronto Maple Leafs fan I had to watch the Leafs Ducks game and that went til 10 pm  so I did not get to sleep til 11 pm and had my alarm set for a way to early 2am wake up alarm.

But I did get up and have a shower to wake myself up and was out the door at 3am, though I went to top up the fuel on my car and wouldn’t you know it I picked a station with a big line up at the pumps (mostly taxi’s) so I did not get on the highway til 3:20.

As you see above Coolio and the gang were fresh and ready for the drive, though I wonder why penguins would want to go down south, maybe they thought I was going to South Antarctica?

Why the penguins you may ask?, It is a bit of a long story that I will cover in a future post, so stay tuned for that one.

As you can also see from my pic above it was snowing when I left Oshawa but the worst of it came when I was in the Niagara Falls area and through New York State and Pennsylvania when I Drove through Blizzard conditions 4 different times and if not for the tail lights of the cars in front of me I think I would have drove right off the road like many others that I had seen do.

Further south you would expect it to get better right?…. Wrong!

Road conditions were terrible even though the snow stopped falling except for flurries the odd time through West Virgina, the amount of roads that were still snow covered would make your head (and my tires) spin.

It is a good thing I bought new Snow tires a couple of days before my trip my old all season tires would have put me in the ditch or worse for sure!

I did not stop seeing snow on the ground and still on the roads for that matter til I was well into Virginia! and to top it off I saw the remains of at least 4 tractor trailers that had jack knifed rolled over or was facing the wrong way on the Interstates.

I will say this, I normally drive I75 to go to Florida which is a very boring drive and a lot of big cities to drive through with traffic, but the trip from Oshawa to Salisbury NC was (except for the snow) a scenic drive and I enjoyed the landscapes that I had not seen before.

Remember I said I wanted to be in Salisbury for 5pm? well I pulled into the Days Inn at 5:15, and I would have been even earlier if I had not missed a couple of exits that my GPS was ordering me to take, But I must say that Garmina does have a nice British accent, If I would have listened to her!, I did say I like listening to my tunes while driving and the car was kind of rockin’ out!

After unpacking the car I called Cyndi and she along with Jimmy and her son Eli drove over to the hotel and dropped off the smoker and some very nice gifts from local NC  product producers, but before looking at those we went to have a great dinner (just as much the company as the food) at Winks BBQ not too far from the Days Inn here in Salisbury.

I will review them more on my BBQ Blog when I get a chance to write that but as you can see above we had some great BBQ (I found out that I liked Fried Ocra! (did not even know what it was) and I found out that Hush Puppies actually do taste great and I do like them! (after a bad first impression of them back in Oshawa) Helps when they are fresh and not reheated from frozen Buster Rhino’s North Oshawa!

I also had Chopped Pork with a vinegar based sauce which was very good, the sauce is different from what I am used to in Canada but still tasty, though if I am totally honest I think I like the pulled Pork with ironically the Carolina Sour sauce with Slaw on top from Rubbs Barbecue better.

Cyndi’s family is not huge on slaw so when they asked for no slaw I kind of got the same treatment. I will say this though the portions served were more than enough for us all and we ordered the small plates!

After dinner Cyndi pointed out to me at the back of Winks that they are stick burners which means they cook using chunks of wood for fuel not gas, electric or charcoal. It made for a great flavour in the pork.

Jimmy then drove us around for a tour of Salisbury and by their recommendations I have Breakfast planned at another BBQ Joint that has a fantastic biscuits and gravy I am told. I also was shown the Catawba College that Cyndi teaches at and it is a beautiful campus for sure.

Back to the Days Inn and we Took promotion photos for the Smoker and exchanged some gifts from our local areas mostly BBQ Items but also some other local items that both of us will enjoy including sauces and rubs that we can review for our own blogs in the near future.

Cyndi was able to write a blog post within an hour and a half of leaving here on her Barbecue Master Blog.

I started to write but I was preoccupied with a Carolina Blonde!

I had better explain that lol, Cyndi gave me a six pack of a locally bottled beer that is called Carolina Blonde as pictured below and I must say that beer has a wonderful taste, and this is being said by someone who does not like american beer, but this rivals anything I get in Canada.

Well been a very long day I need some rest, I have been awake for over 24 hours now and I will be going to meet more BBQ peeps tomorrow at Lexington 1 BBQ and may also do some sight-seeing around town.

I have more pics that I wanted to add in this post but working on this little netbook is proving difficult, I will try more later on.

50+36 Multiple Birthday Celebrations

Today is a Day that I am worn out, why you may ask?

This week-end has included Birthdays and Parties and not to mention trying to get some work done for a customer that I need to deliver on Monday morning.

Today three people that I am close to for different reasons are celebrating birthdays today, and I would like to take a minute to wish all of them a Happy Birthday and tell you all a bit about them.

Andrew Kevin Lang

Andrew is my daughters boyfriend, he is a very tall boy that has to duck in order to go through a lot of doorways and because of his height he has trouble finding a vehicle that he can drive without banging his knees on the dash board.

The last car that he was able to drive was a 1987 Honda Civic 2 door. He enjoys most of my BBQ recipes that I attempt, which makes him ok in my books.

He is adored by my Grandson and he also likes to play hattrick.org a game that I also play and have since 2003. Happy 24th Birthday Andrew!

Joe Simeunovich

Joe has been a friend of min since the early 1980’s I met Joe when he was a customer of mine when I joined the paper Shoppe and I sold paper and Graphic Arts Supplies to his company Joe S. Printing here in Oshawa, Joe just turned 50 years old today so as you can see Joe and I are the same age.

Joe also shares my passion for BBQ and he joins me on many of my trips to various RibFests in Ontario.

No one else would understand it but we both laugh anytime one of us says to the other “Skeeeee Dooooo Boots”

Cyndi Allison

Cyndi lives in the far far away land that is known as North Carolina and you may wonder why I would add some one that is so far from here in Oshawa.

When I started blog writing earlier this year and became more serious about the fun hobby of Barbecue, I learned a lot of tips about both skills by following the writings of this wonderful person.

Cyndi has been an online writer for more than 10 years producing work for a number of websites doing contract work for others and also managing her own website Yes! You can Cook and also a Blog called the Barbecue Master. I have learned some valuable skills by reading her work and testing some of her Southern based recipes such as her Southern Rhubarb Bread Recipe – Mountain Style and Bisquick Sausage Balls Recipe among others which I have found on her website or she has sent me a link for.

The now 49 year old Cyndi is a mother of 2 wonderful boys Caleb and Eli that would make any parent proud just recently Eli was presented with a number of awards for saving a boy from certain demise from a swollen fast moving river sacrificing his own safety to help his fellow man.

Cyndi has taught me a lot about writing and food prep not to mention also being a good friend on twitter and facebook.

When not involved with on-line writing Cyndi is a professor at Catawba College molding the youth in North Carolina in media.

 

I should also mention one more person that had a birthday the day before on Saturday but I have to make mention of this now 15 year old Girl that has inspired so many people while she battles IBD.

Alyssa Benedet

Ally as she is called by all of her family and friends has been spending a ton of time in Hospitals of late battling her disease. She is currently in Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital with her amazing mother Susan Oliver Benedet that stays by her daughters side through every treatment 24/7.

Saturday was Ally’s 15th Birthday and Sick Kids was kind enough to let Ally go home on a 4 hour day pass to celebrate her Birthday with family and friends in her own home, I would think that was the biggest gift of the day to be sure. If you have a facebook account please take a moment to join Ally’s Prayer page linked here and offer her a few words of encouragement  or even a riddle or brainteaser for her to try to solve, her family would be very happy to hear from y’all.

To all four of my friends I offer the best of birthday greetings and hope that all of your wishes come true.