Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 32

plants to generate electricity. Andreae traded
that land to the company in exchange for
property around the new lakefront. Affluent
Atlantans and others soon began buying
property for weekend getaways as well as
permanent rural residences in the
Chattahoochee Forest.
According to the promotional literature,
"The Lake Rabun Hotel doesn't try to be
rustic, natural, or historic. It is."
The Lake Rabun Hotel and Restaurant
35 Andrea Lane
Lakemont, Georgia
706-782-4946
lakerabunhotel.com
AN EXPLOSION OF CRUNCH
Carolyn Holland had to be off work for a
year and a half to take care of her mother.
When that time period was up, she discovered
that Joe Fingulin, owner of The
Clayton Café, had held her job for her.
Then, when her husband had open-heart
surgery and Carolyn had to stay with him
for two months, her job was protected
again. That's the kind of place the Clayton
Café is. Doris Owens understands full
well. She has worked at the café for 30
years.
Fingulin, a former Navy cook, admits
without apology that there are dishes, like
greens, that are augmented canned fare,
and sweet potato and blueberry pancakes
start with mixes. But he makes them his
own.
Located in the former Trailways bus station
in this mountain-ringed town, the
Clayton Café is probably best known for
its fried chicken, which sets off an explosion
of crunch. Never frozen, it's brined
when it arrives, then double-dipped in a
buttermilk wash. The cubed pork loin gets
the same treatment and same seasoning,
and the couple next to us had traveled from
East Tennessee to try it.
I found no connection to Louisiana at
the Clayton Café. Nevertheless, there is
bread pudding every Thursday. It's an
example of Fingulin staying attuned to the
needs of his customers. A long way from
bread pudding-obsessed New Orleans,
Bruce Merrill loved his grandmother's
bread pudding, just south of Syracuse,
New York. But his grandmother, Anne
Moore, died before anyone documented
the recipe. He described it to Fingulin,
32 | BlueRidgeCountry.com
who added it to the menu at The Clayton
Café.
He says it's a French loaf, rolled in
melted butter, cinnamon, egg, milk, and a
sugar wash, then baked. "It's like cinnamon
croutons," he tells me.
The Clayton Café
50 North Main Street
Clayton, Georgia
706-782-5438
CARIBBEAN COOKING IN THE
MOUNTAINS
We had our North Georgia itinerary complete.
And then I got wind of black beans in
Blairsville. Customers of Dan's Grill were saying
the Cuban food there rivaled anything
they had ever been served in Miami or Tampa.
So I altered the schedule. I'm glad I did.
Cuban immigrant Dan Hernandez
opened the restaurant in 2010, along with his
wife Claudia and her parents, René and Alicia
de Quesada. "Bringing Authentic Cuban
Cuisine to the Mountains" reads a restaurant
T-shirt.
Hernandez says his food is made "from
scratch, no cans, on the spot." Ropa vieja
("old clothes"), a dish of shredded beef, bell
peppers, and onions in a light tomato sauce,
is prepared just as Hernandez's mother and
grandmother did back in Cuba. Cuminscented
black beans are cooked fresh every
day. Green plantains cooked, pressed into
patties, and fried become tostones, served
with a brightly-flavored mojo sauce of citrus
and garlic. The mature, sweeter plantains,
their skin blackened by ripening, are fried as
maduros. Papa rellena is a popular appetizer
of mashed potatoes filled with ground beef,
then breaded and fried.
With so many people from Florida visiting
the Georgia mountains, Hernandez says his
Cuban cooking has caught on quickly. As his
father-in-law proclaims when he brings my
meal-ending café con leche to the table,
"That's Colombian coffee made by a Cuban
in Blairsville."
Dan's Grill
305 Murphy Highway, #10
Blairsville, Georgia
706-745-0013
A RECIPE REVIVED
"There's a post office, some cabins, four
churches, a convenience store with no gas, and
http://www.lakerabunhotel.com http://www.helenga.org http://www.helenga.org http://www.unicoilodge.com http://www.BlueRidgeCountry.com

Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015

Letters
From the Editor & Digital Help Guide
Mill Creek Stories
Creature Feature
The Hike
Great Buys
Mountain Report
Country Roads
Creature Feature
Festivals & Events
The Curios: Our Annual Compendium of the Strange
North Georgia: A Foodie Haven
Why We Travel: The Photoessay
The 2015 Blue Ridge Country Travel Guide: A Year of Experiences
The Weekend: Harpers Ferry and Western Maryland
The Old Stone Chimney
Cabin in the Woods: Fiddler’s Roost
Mountain Garden
Guest Column: Author Stephanie Jeffries
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 2
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - Letters
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - From the Editor & Digital Help Guide
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - Mill Creek Stories
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - Great Buys
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - The Curios: Our Annual Compendium of the Strange
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - North Georgia: A Foodie Haven
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - Why We Travel: The Photoessay
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - The 2015 Blue Ridge Country Travel Guide: A Year of Experiences
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - The Weekend: Harpers Ferry and Western Maryland
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - The Old Stone Chimney
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - Cabin in the Woods: Fiddler’s Roost
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - Guest Column: Author Stephanie Jeffries
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2015 - Cover4
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