Silverback Grab and Drag

We knew it was dangerous at the time.  At least dangerous compared to what we had experienced so far in our travels.  We have visited and lived in mostly arid, dessert regions in the north and south of Africa but we had yet to experience Dark Africa – the jungles.   For perspective, the African continent is bigger than the United States, China, & Europe…COMBINED.  In 2005, Volcanoes National Park, bordering Congo, was a danger zone.  I remember arriving at the “hotel” that night.  It was late and there were military fatigues everywhere.  At the gate of the hotel there was a sandbagged .50 caliber machinegun post.  Ehhhh…we’ve been around small arms in our past, but .50 caliber machine gun nests/towers for protection…ok, more serious.  While unpacking from the taxi, we met some awestruck hikers from Europe, who had just returned from visiting the rare Silverback Gorillas, and were still laughing and in awe.  We asked them how the journey was and boy did they have a story! After the Genocide and Civil War, the Rwanda Government was working hard to protect the Mountain Gorillas.  Seeing the photos we captured can prove to you why.   They are amazing creatures with personality.  SO much personality I am going to share the story the hikers shared with us in a bit.  My story is somewhat cool as well.   I could technically say I was CHARGED and grabbed by a huge Gorilla!  The video I captured is in the park after 4 hours of hiking and yes…she came after me and tried to drag me away.  For what reason I am not sure or “fond” of, but my friends who can interpret Kirundi or Kinyarwanda, can only tell me.  😊  Nonetheless, it was an absolutely amazing experience.  We think dogs can have personalities, but these beasts though…wow.  So much personality, this is where I lead to the next story going back to the hikers we met the night before. Obviously, the jungles were dangerous at the time due to poachers and rebel elements hiding in the jungles.  Every group that wanted to see the gorillas at the time had to be accompanied with an armed convoy.  Two machine gun crews in the front and two gunners in the back.  It takes about 2-6 hours to find the gorillas in the jungle.  Sometimes, you have no luck and you are out hundreds if not thousands of dollars in costs.  We were lucky and so were the group before us.  But this time as they were hiking up the mountains after a few hours, they heard a loud rumble. They quieted and froze.  Then they listened and it was the beat of several mountain gorillas beating their chests like a drum.  The hikers said their hearts were beating in awe but also in fear.  Then it became quiet.  It was just wind blowing through the bamboo. Everyone was stopped including the machine gun crew who crouched for observation.  After a moment, trees began to start shaking up hill.  Then it stopped and it became SILENT again.  Then one more drum beat of the chests…for distraction?  Then several huge, silverback beasts jumped out of the bushes so fast they could barely see them but the four machine gunners, the ONLY FOUR, two up front and two in the rear were taken out and disappeared.  NO JOKE!!!  All that was left were 5 tourists from Europe in the middle of the African jungle. Think about this. Alone in the jungle and your only protection has vanished and you are alone with a couple of friends just a few years after a civil war among rebel insurgents hiding somewhere and wild mountain gorillas that just took out your only protection.  We can all laugh LOL because moments later, the bushes rumbled below them, along with chuckles.  The guards apologized.  They said the Gorillas have not only timed hiker visitations and recognize who they are but they like to play games.   Could you imagine?!  The personality of wild animals playing games in the jungle?!  I was only charged and grabbed by a desperate female beast.  Not sure if I am flattered or not I was chosen?! lol  But cool nonetheless and happy we could experience it.  May we all seek adventure, humbleness, compassion, and wisdom from the world that surrounds us!

Life Events – Cambodia/Laos 2002

This day 18 years ago we sat contemplating our next moves. We would later declare the day our very own International Negotiations Day. In 2002, there was only one paved street in the entire country of Cambodia. Dirt roads heading north into Laos, while available, were slow, cratered, muddy, and ambushed daily. The safest route was the Mekong River according to the US diplomat we met at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Phnom Penh. We got our Visa’s and chose to avoid the road ambushes and take chances with pirates on a 7 hour cargo boat ride up the Mekong. We had hopes of finding floating villages on the way up to eat but instead we had to satisfy our hunger via rain water off the edge of the boat from passing thunderstorms. Just before nightfall we finally arrived at a tiny village near the Laos border. After a day and a half of no food, I ordered my Go-To safe bet – Chicken Fried Rice – only this time, the feet, the beak, and some feathers were included. I again chose to go hungry another day. With only $100 in travelers checks we were able to luckily find some missionaries that could exchange with us for USD currency we could use for negotiating. We found a small motorized canoe to take us to the Cambodian checkpoint so we could exit into Laos. The elongated motor later broke in half. But after repairing it with tree bark, we finally floated up to our first checkpoint. Three thatched huts, four Cambodian military personnel in tank tops laying on hammocks and strapped with AK’s. We were led to the commanding officers post where we sat on top of and next to cases of RPG’s and ammo. While not friendly, we were able to get our exit stamps without many issues. It was the other side of the Mekong that was the most difficult. The Laos military post wanted steep bribes to allow us entry even though our Exit Visas were already approved. This post had however came under heavy attack recently. They knew we didn’t want to stay in the area very long. Jake meanwhile hid our USD in his sock. We even challenged the small army to a game of volleyball for entry. No budge. The last bus out of the small village was forced to leave without us with more aggressive, agitated action. Nightfall was not far and what was comical turned more concerning. Eventually we were able leave by hitchhiking on the back of a fisherman’s truck. I can remember sitting on those soggy, smelly fish nets thru the Laos jungle praying to make it out of insurgent controlled territory before nightfall ambushes. We did. Good news: We finally found food and enjoyed $1 a night thatched huts surrounded by waterfalls, dinner for 75 cents, beer for 15 cents, and snake wine for 10 cents. In other good news, The Pig is back open ALL DAY Thursday thru Sunday for take-out and bar service on the patio!

Our Response to COVID-19

At the Blue Pig, the health of customers and employees is always a priority. As of this week, we at The Blue Pig have already enforced new recommended policies set by Local Health Code and the CDC and our own enhanced policies.
While we have been spared for now, we want to act as if there is community spread already so we have measures set in place to protect staff and customers. We want to be proactive instead of reactive. Young folks, I realize we have nothing to worry about and some feel invincible. However, as you age yourself, you realize how fragile we become and how much deeper your love grows for the elderly, the vulnerable, and their needs in our community. I feel we all have a more critical ethical obligation now to assist them in the days ahead. So where do we go from here? After talking to Nursing Home facilities and researching CDC guidance and what restaurants are doing in areas where there is community spread, we feel these new measures will further ensure and help us get a head start on staff and customer safety. Just in case. What is listed below is a condensed version of our new policy. So, in short, what we have enforced beyond just more frequent hand washing;
• Increased frequency and rigor of sanitizing and cleaning facilities with EPA registered chemicals proven to rapidly kill the Corona Virus. Bathrooms, door handles, our tablets, will all be sanitized every 30 minutes or more frequently as deemed necessary during demand peaks. Menus and pens will be sanitized after each use and salt and pepper shakers and sugars will be provided per request.
• All food and beverage delivery boxes from our distributors are sanitized before entering the building. As well, we have modified our purchasing to companies that have full traceability of all products.
• All staff have been notified to not only monitor themselves with routine temperature and symptom checks but also to notify management if anyone in their household or who they may have come in contact with flu-like illness and to stay at home. The Blue Pig has also decided to follow Starbucks in assuring that there is adequate social distance between tables.
• We ask you as a customer to also wash your hands diligently for at least 20 seconds with warm water after entering the Blue Pig. We also kindly ask you to monitor your household for illness and to refrain from coming to the Blue Pig to protect other customers and consider ordering Take-Out.
• For those who wish to place To-Go Orders and Orders for Pick-Up, The Blue Pig purchased To-Go containers late February in preparation for this possible event.  For now you may call 931-854-9970 to place your order with a server. We will have an online ordering system setup soon as we are working with our Point of Sale Software engineers to further enhance our operations to improve service and safety measures. This will be rolled out in the coming week or so. Stay tuned.

We will continue to monitor the situation as we take this and all food quality & safety very seriously. We apologize in advance if this might add a few more minutes to your ticket time so we can be sure we offer you the best food, and cleanest experience in Tennessee.

With Love,

The Blue Pig

If other restaurants want to follow as well as add comment of further steps we can all take, please read below of our COVID-19 Policy.

COVID-19 Action Plan

Our Customers
1. First, monitor members of your household and if there are signs of illness, we ask you to consider ordering for online pickup instead of dining out to protect other customers who dining at our facilities. The Blue Pig will have our Online Ordering set up by March 17th, 2020.
Staff
1. Take your temperature before work and if you run a fever or feel ill, stay home and contact management and your healthcare provider if necessary. As well, per CDC, health screening expands to close contacts, family members, and roommates one has been in recent contact with. If you have a sick roommate, most especially with COVID-19 symptoms, you are requested to contact management and stay home until further notice.
2. We are unique as a business in which we personally interact with customers. We kindly ask all staff members to maintain adequate social distance of at least 6 feet at other bars and restaurant until further notice to limit your exposure for the customers we care for and serve.
WHEN ENTERING THE FACILITES
3. Must thoroughly Wash Hands as usual, at least 20 seconds per CDC Guidelines as soon as you enter the Blue Pig facilities.
4. Sanitize Door handles you had used entering the facilities as well as the sink used enter using yellow K54 Hydrogen Peroxide Sanitizer.
5. Sanitize Door handles that are accessed by the public before open and every 20 minutes.
DURING SERVICE
1. At open, Sanitize all door handles and tablets as well as sanitize all food delivery from our suppliers that arrive with K54 Sanitizer.
2. Maintain social distance of at least 6 feet between tables. Large parties are discouraged at this time.
3. Sanitize menus after each use.
4. Wash hands frequently and always after taking menus or cash or credit cards.
5. Sanitize bathroom handles, toiletry facilities, soap & towel dispenser every 20 minutes using K54 Sanitizer spray. Sanitize tablets, door handles, pens, S&P shakers, and BBQ bottles with K54 every 15-30 minutes.
6. Sanitize tables and Salt & Pepper Shakers after each table turn per usual protocol
7. Kitchen staff must sanitize the hand sink station every 15 minutes or after Server contact, the server needs to sanitize hand sink after each wash after having contact with customers.
8. After night time duties are finished, all door handles, tablets, and touched surfaces will be sprayed with Redisan K37 or K54 Sanitizer.

 

Hours of Operation this Week

It will be three years April 1st and we have been so blessed! But also so blessed it is hard to keep up, especially with the unfortunate event last week. So far with catering businesses and helping out with charity / relief events this week, I am stretched too thin to offer adequate lunch service standards this week until Saturday & Sunday. So this week we will be open for DINNER ONLY through this Friday with normal hours on Saturday and Sunday brunch. My apologies for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. We will open with our Happy Hour & Dinner Service at 5pm Wednesday, Thursday, Friday night, and then usual hours all day Saturday and of course for our brunch on Sunday!

The photo attached is an Art Piece crafted and modified from the late Brother Mel, who was famous for his art of the Last Supper.  This is a piece I had him create for my last restaurant to represents family and community.  I have not found a place for this piece in the Blue Pig yet but it represents how beautiful Cookeville and our surrounding area is and how we all have come together.  So grateful.  For us, the restaurant, and our community.

Thanksgiving Holiday Hours

We hope everyone has a most wonderful time with friends and family this Thanksgiving. For those wishing to share The Pig with loved ones, we will be open with smoked goodness!
Open Wednesday & Friday Night – Kitchen 4pm – 9pm | Cocktail Bar 4pm – 11pm
Open All Day Saturday Kitchen – 11am-9pm | Cocktail Bar 11am – 11pm
Sunday Brunch 11am-2pm

Thanksgiving Holiday Hours

We hope everyone has a most wonderful time with friends and family this Thanksgiving. For those wishing to share The Pig with loved ones, we will be open with smoked goodness!
Open Wednesday & Friday Night – Kitchen 4pm – 9pm | Cocktail Bar 4pm – 11pm
Open All Day Saturday Kitchen – 11am – 9pm | Cocktail Bar 11am – 11pm
Sunday Brunch 11am-2pm

Holiday, Conference, & Event Planning

The Pig will be having a special menu this Holiday Season combined with our other local Smokehouse favorites for your Office, Family, & Friends.  Most especially, we will be bringing back our special Sarajevo style Dark Chocolate Meat Sauce perfect for smoked meats!

For smaller parties of friends and family, we will be having our usual fire-roasted BBQ menu including our Seasonal Special of Wild Caught Cajun Butter Gulf Shrimp, Pecan Crusted Salmon with a Sweet Bourbon Glaze Sauce, and a New York Strip with Parmesan Peppercorn Butter.  Please click this link for up to 12-18 persons – Reservations 

For Private Holiday Events we will also be having our BBQ Fare, including a choice of two meats & three sides;

Pecan Smoked Turkey – Garlic Honey Glazed Ham

Sweet Horseradish Glazed Sweet Potatoes – Roasted Root Vegetables – Cole Slaw – Green Bean Slaw – White Cheddar Mac – Turnip Greens – Blue Pig Balsamic Salad – Mashed Potatoes – Buttermilk Biscuits

For Renting the restaurant on Sunday or Tuesday Nights, we can further offer Smoked Prime Rib, Fire-Roasted Lobster Tails, and Smoked Filet Mignons with our French Peppercorn Sauce.  The Pig is also available throughout the year for Private Lunch Meetings & Conferences.  To inquire further about ideas or to purchase individual entree’s for your Thanksgiving or Christmas Party or to Reserve a private Holiday Event Party of 25 or more, please fill out the form below!

 

 

 

NYE 2018

Doing something Special to celebrate The Blue Pigs’ 2017 debut year of success and happiness.  Proud of how far we have come in a short period of time and the blessings of new friends we have made along the way.  We are going to showcase a limited menu on a reservation only event between 6pm to 8pm Sunday night.  Click here for Reservations.

NYE 2018