Due to the fact that it was held at the Speed Art Museum, one of my favorite venues in the city, I knew that it would be a fabulous evening. That said, y’all – and I don’t say this lightly – it exceeded my wildest expectations.
After being ushered into the main room (shoutout to my friends at Estes Public Relationsfor putting on an amazing event!), it was time for the real party! Dinner party, that is.
Our visiting All-Star, Chef Richard Blais, came to us from San Diego. And he brought the entertainment all evening – what a fun, hilarious guy!
We were also graced by our local All-Star, Chef Sara Bradley of Freight House in Paducah. You might be familiar with her work from her amazing run on Top Chef: Kentucky! She represented us so well!
The first course was a delicious tostada with an indulgent, creamy spread + pickled beets. Two thumbs up!
Next was a beautifully prepared Asian Carp, which as an invasive species, bodes well with the James Beard Foundation’s commitment to sustainability. (Something I learned at the event: did you know that almost 40% of food produced in the United States is wasted? What an unbelievable, hard-to-stomach reality! We must do better.)
The carp was prepared by Chef Sara Bradley – on the side, we also got one of her famous biscuits!
A plus: Please and Thank You had cookies being passed out, as well. I mean how can you complain?! They’re the best!
I look forward to attending more events with – and actively supporting – the James Beard Foundation, Kentucky Tourism, and our prospering culinary scene. I am consistently in awe at the talent that we possess in our Commonwealth. I have long believed that we are an over-looked state; however, from the work of many, we are starting to get the recognition that we have long-deserved.
As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!
Y’all come back now, ya hear?
FTC: This experience and post was kindly sponsored by Kentucky Tourism, in partnership with the Lou Hammond Group; however, as always, all opinions expressed are my own.
This post is sponsored by Kingsford but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
Many associate grilling out with summer; however, I’ve always disagreed – I love to charcoal grill in the fall! I love being out on the deck or the patio with crisp, fall temperatures, oversized sweaters, and mouthwatering, grilled food.
My favorite part about charcoal grilling – and food, in general – is the fact that it brings together the people that I love most. To welcome autumn, I did just that. What better way to usher in a season than with my best friends?
When designing the menu, I knew I wanted it to be: 1) simple, 2) hearty, and 3) cooked over charcoal.
For me, charcoal is key when grilling because the smoky, wood-fired flavor of the food – along with the tenderness if cooking meat – is in a league of its own. If I’m out to impress, charcoal is undoubtedly the choice. Apart from that, I find charcoal to be very economical and it allows for greater control in the cooking process.
Cooking with charcoal is also, to be frank, an experience in and of itself. To grill is to socialize; and grilling with charcoal is more interactive and more fun than using a gas grill, slow cooker, or an instant pot. As the charcoal warmed with my friends on a breezy Sunday afternoon, glasses of tea were poured, laughs were had, and memories were made. For that, I am grateful.
When cooking with my girls, I know one thing will always be on the menu: steak. However, charcoal grilling is fantastic for side dishes, as well! We chose to grill some corn on the cob – and it was perfectly charred (I won’t confess how many ears I had!). There was no prep, minus shucking the ears; after shucking, we placed the ears on the charcoal grill and cooked/flipped until the corn had a light, beautiful char.
As for the steak, we chose a few beautiful cuts of sirloin and Shelby made her special marinade. She – luckily for me and for y’all – is allowing me to share her recipe; trust me when I say that it is iconic!
Shelby's Marinated Steaks
Your Choice of Steak
1/4 c. Soy Sauce
1/4 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/8 c. Worcestershire Sauce
3 tbsp. Brown Sugar
1 tbsp. Minced Garlic
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
1/2 tsp. Thyme
1/8 tsp. Black Pepper
Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl; mix well.
Add the steak to the marinade, ensuring that all pieces are fully covered and immersed.
Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes, up to a maximum of 90 minutes.
Remove steaks from the marinade, place on the charcoal grill, and grill to your desired level of doneness.
As I previously mentioned, grilling in the fall is my absolute favorite; apart from that, fall is my favorite because of the Holidays. The grilled corn would be a perfect side dish for your family Thanksgiving gathering; you could also cook some delicious turkey using a charcoal grill and Kingsford Charcoal. In doing so, your menu is sure to be one to remember – be sure to cook plenty, as your guests will want seconds!
For an incredible feast, look no further than Kingsford Charcoal; you can purchase Kingsford Charcoal at your local retailers: Target, Lowe’s, Walmart, the Home Depot, and many more!
Y’all, I want to know: What food will you be charcoal grilling to help you make the most of this season? Tell me below in the comments!
Happy grilling – and happy fall – to all y’all!
As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living.
We here in Kentucky love trails. Most notably, of course, we hold our Bourbon Trail near and dear – and with good reason. That said, I think there should be more trails for those of us that are more food-focused, as opposed to spirit-focused (note: both are great – ha!).
If you know anything about me or my blog, you probably know that I adore Shelby County, KY. It’s the perfect town, located between Lexington and Louisville, that boasts everything that I love about Kentucky: good food, country roads, kind people, farms, horses, and amazing local businesses.
I was recently in town trying some new-to-me local restaurants and was astounded at the quality of BBQ dishes around the county. Like, mouthwatering good. Write your MeeMaw good. Praising the Lord good, y’all. And I couldn’t help but to think to myself… I think all foodies need to have a BBQ-packed day in Shelby County! Thus, I present to you: the Shelby County BBQ Trail!
Mulberry Orchard is known for being a locally-owned and operated farm in Shelby County that produces 17 different types of apples (more on that later); that said, they also have other fruits, amazing produce/merchandise (I had the best sugar baby watermelon from the store!), and an on-site café that serves up some delicious BBQ. You’ll want to grab the Orchard Pulled Pork Sandwich, which is flavorful BBQ with incorporated apple pieces, all served on a pretzel bun; and, of course, you have to get the Honey and Apple Coleslaw on the side!
Ken-Tex has been serving up Texas-style BBQ since 1984 – and with one bite, you’ll realize that they are not amateurs! The name, Ken-Tex, was a natural choice: A Shelbyville girl (Ken) met and married a Texas police officer (Tex); together, they opened the business. Though the original owners sold the business, Ken-Tex is still family-owned and operated. You’ll want to grab some of the brisket, as it was fantastic. Come for the rotisserie pit, hickory-smoked BBQ (you’ll smell the deliciousness!); stay for a helping (or two!).
B&N Food Marketwas my favorite stop of the trip, hands down. This food market has been family-owned and operated since 1970. B&N is famous in Bagdad, KY – and with good reason. Upon walking in, you know this is a spot for locals to eat, to converse, and (I’m sure) to solve the world’s problems. I know for a fact that I plan to spend a lot of time in the future here – and I’d love for them to cater my next party.
Why will B&N cater my next party? Two words: the brisket. It was THE BEST that I have ever had, and I do not say that lightly. Brisket is my favorite form of BBQ and B&N‘s almost brought tears to my eyes. Get it. Run, don’t walk.
Apart from the brisket, I also ordered the ribs, smoked turkey, pulled pork, and a bean soup. Every morsel was finger-lickin’ good.
B&N is famous in the community for their Newt Burger, which I also tried (all of the food, am I right?). Two thumbs up! If you love burgers like me, order one… along with your BBQ!
Pro tip: When visiting, make sure you say “Howdy!” to Buckshot, the owner. He’s a great guy and I really enjoyed the time that I got to spend with him. Tell him that I sent ya!
I’m no stranger to the Red Lion – I’ve been a couple of times and it has been a lovely experience time and time again. The small, intimate, Tudor-style pub is the perfect spot to meet up with friends; the atmosphere is warm and inviting – and the food is great!
Through my visits to the Red Lion, I have noticed that their menu rotates. That said, on my last visit, I was able to order pulled pork poutine. Poutine is a Canadian dish that is comprised of french fries and cheese curds, topped with a brown gravy. The Red Lion made it even more decadent with pulled pork – because, well, why not?
Love BBQ? Love adventure? Love local food? Look no further than Shelby County, KY. Do visit and plan to stay – take a seat, grab a glass of sweet tea, and have an appetite, y’all! I know that my friends will treat you well.
As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living.
I’m currently writing this while sitting in the air conditioning and drinking a Diet Coke at Dollywood (more on why I am here later); that said, I want to go old school on y’all & write an impromptu blog post. As someone that has been in this industry for roughly a decade, this used to very much be the norm. And I miss it. Question: Would y’all want to see more posts like this?
That said, I was recently working on a campaign with Kroger on Instagram. I was to create a fall-appropriate dish and decided to make something very easy, inexpensive, and family-friendly. So many of y’all on Instagram have reached out to me saying that you + your children have loved this snack idea – thus, I thought I’d share it here on the blog.
Oven-Roasted, Peanut Butter S'mores Apples
note: this is for two halved apples; this recipe is SO easy to adjust to your quantity needs.
2 Tbsp. Crunchy (or your preference of) Peanut Butter
2 Tsp. Honey
2 Large Marshmallows
Cinnamon, to taste
Nutmeg, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Prepare the apples by cutting them in half and carefully removing the core.
Roast the apples until they are fork-tender, roughly 25-30 minutes.
Pull the apples out of the oven, spoon peanut butter into the middle, and top with a jumbo marshmallow.
Broil until the marshmallow is toasted to your preference.
Remove from oven and top the apples with honey, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
How easy is that? An easy, healthy, and filling treat for your family this fall!
As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living.
Y’all come back now, ya hear?
FTC: This is not a sponsored post; all opinions expressed are my own.
Rural Kentucky. I love it. I love it with all of my being, every ounce of it. And Munfordville is a perfect example as to why.
Why do I regard Munfordville so highly? Central Kentucky is one of the most beautiful places in the world to me. The people are warm, kind, and friendly; the terrain is rural, heavy in farmland, and gorgeous; and it’s chock-full of activities for all travelers: solo adventurers, families, children, adults – you name it!
Hospitality is at the core of Munfordville. Travelers have been coming to the town for ages; the historic Munford Inn started welcoming guests in 1810, and in present times, the Munfordville Welcome Center is continuing on the tradition [ps: I totally recommend dropping by the Welcome Center – the staff is fantastic (including the tourism director, who is the absolute best!) and there’s a great shop, full to the brim with local goodies!].
Munfordville is gorgeously located on the banks of the Green River, which serves as a launching spot for many paddlers and boaters. That, along with hiking and the caves that the region is known so well for, makes Munfordville an outdoor enthusiast’s nirvana.
That said, upon spending a couple of days in town, I have a few tips for y’all to maximize your time in Munfordville: where to eat, what to do, and where to go. Start planning your trip now, as I can assure a good time will be had by all!
The Brew House is a small, quaint, family-owned coffee shop located on Main St. Serving up delicious coffee (I noticed they have Sunergos, which is one of my favorites!) and fresh-made pastries, this is a fantastic place to start your day. You’ll love the friendly baristas and owner, alongside knowing that you are supporting a local business. Being from a very small town myself, I think it’s special when a community can – and does! – support a coffee shop. Oh, and do grab a muffin and/or a scone!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: small town downtowns are unrivaled in my book – and Munfordville‘s is no exception. After having a coffee at the Brewhouse, take a walk around the vicinity; upon exploring, you’ll find local businesses, historic homes and buildings, murals (I loved the Coca Cola graphic!), and the Munfordville Welcome Center. Bring your camera, as it is picturesque!
Y’all know that I love to travel abroad. That said, did you know that we here in Kentucky have our own version of Stonehenge? A replica of the English landmark was constructed by Munfordville resident Chester Fryer; he built the recreation of ancient history to bring visitors into the region and welcomes you to visit it! In addition to the display that resembles the world-famous Stonehenge, the estate is divided into several other rock displays: Earth Mysteries, The Garden of Gethsemane, Rock Gardens, and Rock Park.
Dine at Poor Keys BBQ
Open on Thursdays, Poor Keys BBQis a fantastic business that is owned and operated by local resident Brian Key (who is, by the way, such a fantastic guy!). The BBQ is extremely affordable and – in all honesty – mouthwatering. Give Brian a visit and tell him that I sent you! You can contact him/check availability and location here.
Shop at Deitweiler’s Country Store
12825 Priceville Rd.
Cub Run, KY 42729
Located three miles from Cub Run Cave, Deitweiler’s is a large-scale Amish store that has everything from fabric, clothing, and hats to food items, preserves, household goods, quilts, chimes, and rocking chairs. Amish stores are some of my favorites to visit, as I love the variety of delicious goodies they carry. Deitweiler’s did not disappoint and I very much recommend that you pay them a visit!
Nature lovers + outdoor enthusiasts — look no further. Located on the banks of the Green River, Munfordville boasts the Green River Park and Arboretum. On the property, in addition to the beautiful trees, one can find covered picnic pavilions, grills, a nine hole disc golf course, children’s playground, a hiking trail head, paved walking trail, and a boat ramp that can be used for boating, canoeing, kayaking or fishing.
Browse Schmucker’s Greenhouse
317 Clearview Dr.
Munfordville, KY 42765
Schmucker’s is another fabulous, Amish-owned business in Munfordville. At the greenhouse during the main season, you will find six greenhouses full of assorted, potted annuals and perennials, mixed containers and hanging baskets, knockout roses, fruit trees, ornamental trees and bushes, strawberry plants, blueberry bushes, blackberries, raspberries, and grape vines. Of course, being this time of year, the greenhouse was full of my favorite fall decor – mums!
Drive Country Roads With No Destination
I very much implore that you drive around Munfordville + Hart County with no destination. I did just this on my trip and it was one of my favorite activities. I found dead end roads, fields of goldenrods, beautiful farms, and southern landscapes that were stunning.
Driving backroads is therapeutic; it’s good for the soul. I’ve always felt that way. Maybe it’s because I’m a country boy. Maybe it’s because Munfordville is so beautiful. Most likely, it’s both.
Pool halls are a large part of small town culture. They are chock-full of locals, conversations, and I can guarantee you that many of the world’s problems have been solved within their walls. The Munfordville Pool Hall fit the bill perfectly, serving up delicious burgers, sandwiches, sides, and milkshakes. Don’t miss it!
Feast on Delicious Mexican Food at El Mazatlan
1172 Main St. (US 31W)
Munfordville KY 42749
Even though El Mazatlan is a chain, it’s one of my favorites. I grew to love it while getting my MBA at Western Kentucky University. I was so excited to see that Munfordville had a location – and I had to stop, naturally! You’ll love the manager, the expansive menu, the portion sizes, and the price point. Pro tip: order the chilaquiles. They are fabulous.
Attend a Festival
Munfordville is home to two fabulous festivals during the fall, one of which I got the chance to attend on this trip. Make plans for the second – and plan to attend Civil War Days next year – y’all; the folks in Munfordville know how to throw an event!
Civil War Days, which sprawls out throughout downtown Munfordville, is a local celebration and appreciation of Hart County’s role in the Civil War. It garners a regional crowd – and after attending, I can see why!
A spectacle of a historic era and heritage, it’s truly something to see. The grounds of the Hart County Courthouse are filled with various food vendors, games, activities, and booths with everything from Civil War items to hand-made arts and crafts. The festival also has live music, historical tours, artifacts, living history encampments, and historical memorabilia on display.
Saturday and Sunday are highlighted with reenactments of the Battle of Munfordville and there is also a Blue Gray Ball. How cool is that?!
The Big Buffalo Crossing BBQ Cook-Off
The Big Buffalo Crossing Cook-Off is a Kentucky State Championship cook-off and is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society. Each year (this year is the tenth annual!), professional BBQ teams from all over the U.S. compete for the championship of this highly-regarded festival. This year, they will be competing for both the notoriety + respect that a win in Munfordville brings, along with prize money totaling $15,000.
Competitors cook through the night on Friday and the judging is on Saturday; visitors can watch the BBQ masters in their natural habitat, along with enjoying BBQ from local vendors.
You might have read my post about the Butler County Donut Trail a couple of months ago. I’ve SO enjoyed seeing your emails, photos, and DMs as y’all have embarked on the delicious journey with your friends and family!
If you haven’t done the trail yet, no worries – it’s here to stay and you can go at your leisure. However, you might want to book a hotel room and prepare for a food-filled trip after this blog post. While the Donut Trail is most definitely a highlight, there’s so much food and culture to be found in Butler County, Ohio. Here are my tips:
The best way to describe Cozy’s is, well, cozy. Fitting, right? Whether you eat in the farmhouse-inspired dining rooms, in the pub section, or out on their gorgeous patio, you are sure to have a warm, fun-filled time. Cozy’s menu focuses on farm-to-table dining, with recipes that are simple, yet elevated, and extremely satisfying. This is a must-stop on your visit to Butler County! Oh, and two words: carrot cake. Order it, thank me later. They’re famous for it!
The Cone is an immaculate, preserved piece of Roadside Americana – something that you don’t see often, and even more rare is seeing it done well. This, however, is an amazing example. It was clear that this was a local favorite, as it was packed; after one taste of the ice cream, I understood why. Jude and I loved it – especially the cherry-dipped, which reminds me of my childhood!
The International Market is one of the most impressive (and fun!) stores that I have ever visited. The size of the selection is impressive enough. Bleu cheese? Yeah, there’s almost 100 of them. Butter? An entire bar of it. I was also very impressed by the Asian food section, produce, and seafood.
Grainworks Brewing Company was another highlight of my stay. I had the opportunity to meet one of the owners and to learn of his passion, dedication, and devotion made the beer taste even better. To quote, “Built on the same soil from which Cincinnati’s greatest breweries harvested their grain, Grainworks Brewing pours that rich history into every glass. It’s beer with a heritage. It’s beer with a soul” — and I couldn’t agree more.
Java Johnny’s is a friendly, unassuming coffee shop in Middletown. Perfect for a stop along the Donut Trail, it’s a lovely, cozy place to relax and decompress. Java Johnny’sroasts their own coffee beans, which makes for a flavorful cup of Joe. And while the coffee was great, the highlight was the chicken salad croissant. Hear me out: I’m a chicken salad addict (some might say snob) – and their version is some of the best that I have ever had. It was definitely one of the, if not the, most delicious meals that I had on my visit to Ohio.
Combs BBQ is a funky BBQ shop in Middletown that is counter-served and finger lickin’ good. While the decor is eclectic, the food is classic; their slow-cooked meats = where it’s at, y’all. Don’t miss the pulled pork, which was my favorite; I also had a rack of ribs!
Eat at Northstar Café and Explore the Liberty Center
7610 Sloan Way
Liberty Township, OH 45069
There’s a reason that Northstar Café has grown to have five locations – and upon dining there, you’ll understand. Northstar chooses locally grown, organic, and artisan-produced foods that aid in protecting the environment, while also supporting producers with sustainable practices. In my opinion, that makes for even better food! From buddha bowls, to artisan pizzas, to sandwiches, and pimento cheese – there’s something at Northstar Café for everyone. And if you’re at this location, explore the Liberty Center afterwards. It’s an area chock-full of shopping, eateries, and some great murals!
Take a Cooking Class at the Learning Kitchen
7659 Cox Ln.
West Chester Township, OH 45069
I took my first cooking class at the Learning Kitchen – and it was a fantastic experience. The class size was small, which led to having a lot of individualized attention from the chef. Our theme, Shrimp Three Ways, produced three dishes that have been easily replicable in my own kitchen. That’s what I appreciated most – not only do you get a meal out of the experience, but you get skills that you can apply at a later time.
I have to say it again: Embark on the Donut Trail!
It’s delicious. Sinfully delicious. And it can be completed in one day. For more information on completing the Donut Trail – and I implore that you do this – click here.
Butler County, Ohio is full of adventure – what are you waiting for?
As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living.
If you love food (and you probably do if you are here in my cranny of the Internet) and you live in Kentucky, listen up!
As a Louisvillian, I am so excited to welcome back the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America® Series (presented by Capital One) on Sept. 26th and 27th. The event will center around delicious food (of course), along with thought-provoking conversation surrounding the non-profit’s mission of cultivating a better food world for all.
Spotlighting issues within the Foundation’s Good Food for Good™ platform, including food waste reduction, sustainability, inclusivity and chef advocacy, the seventh-annual cross-country food series will highlight the organization’s mission-forward impact programs and initiatives, while dishing out tasty bites to the foodies like you and I!
While the festivities start on Thursday, I am coming to y’all today to let you know more about Friday’s Raising the Bar event, a cocktail party focused on sustainability, located on the Brown Hotel’s rooftop. That’s iconically Kentucky by my standards.
At the party, attendees will be able to enjoy delicious bites and fun cocktails from top local mixologists and chefs including host chefs James Adams and Dustin Willett of the Brown Hotel.
In addition to having one-on-one interactions with the chefs and mixologists, attendees will receive practical and delicious tips and guidance on how they can help build a better and sustainable food world, starting in their own home. That, in my opinion, is of utmost importance.
I hope to see y’all there!
If you see me at the Brown, come up and say hi – let’s make it a social event, chock-full of good eats and delicious libations! I’m not sure there is a more fitting atmosphere for JCP Eats readers, y’all!