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The Cynthiana, Kentucky Experience

Hey, y’all!

I am so excited to bring the next installment of my guides to the Commonwealth of Kentucky to you today!

I recently had the privilege of spending two nights with my friends at Cynthiana Tourism. While I was familiar with Harrison County on a surface level, I was honored to have the chance to get to know the community through the eyes of the locals.

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Home to many notable Kentuckians — such as Joe B. Hall, a famed University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Coach, and Robert Kirkman, co-creator of the Walking Dead — Cynthiana has permanently placed itself on the radar of all Kentuckians. Upon visiting, you will find that the community has every ounce of small town Kentucky charm that one would imagine it would. Maybe even more, y’all.

I arrived to Cynthiana on Sunday evening. Luckily, my Grandmother Jude and I had the privilege of staying at the Ashford Acres Inn. There’s more information coming soon on Ashford Acres (watch out for that post!); however, I’ll say this — it is a first-rate experience. The setting, charm, details, and food were all spectacular. It was my first time staying at a true bed and breakfast; to say that it was a treat would be a hyperbolic understatement.

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You can visit Ashford Acres Inn at 1801 KY-36, Cynthiana, KY 41031.

The Trip, Day 1: 

Upon waking up on Monday morning, my nose was immediately greeted by glorious smells coming from the kitchen. The meal started with scones and fresh-squeezed orange juice – what a treat (one that you don’t see often enough in Kentucky)! Upon finishing the first installment, the chef at Ashford Acres Inn bought out a dreamy plate of chicken and waffles. A southern classic, it is one of my favorites. However, this was an elevated take on the dish. The chicken was prepared via a three-day process – and it was smack your MeeMaw good. The waffles were herb-infused, which was a first for me. It took a simple, often bland food into a new realm of flavor. Two thumbs up!

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After breakfast, I led a two-hour, intensive Social Media course at the Harrison County Extension Office. This class was brought to the county in collaboration with the Harrison County Tourism Commission and the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce. Seeing each seat filled warmed my heart; attendees were, by and large, business owners in town  — I can’t wait to see what all they will do with their social media presence!

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Post-teaching, I had worked up quite an appetite! Enter: Leono’s. This is your classic local, at-home pizza joint from first glance; however the product that is produced is much, much better. Known for their pan crust pizza, diners having been patronizing this institution for years — and for good reason.

Crispy, nearly fried on the bottom; thick and soft in the middle — that’s what makes pan-crust pizza so special.

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You can visit Leono’s at 253 S Church St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

Directly after leaving Leono’s, I did a portion of the Historic Church Tour. Cynthiana is proud of their religious history – and for good reason. Their churches are stunning and have so much history! From the tour, I learned a lot about architecture from parishioners; furthermore, the churches were especially beautiful this time of year, since they were decorated for Christmas.

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The Methodist Church is located at 302 E. Pike St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

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The Cynthiana Christian Church is located at 202 N. Main St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

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The Episcopal Church (my favorite stop – I’m Episcopalian!) is located at 118 N. Walnut St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

Next was the Cynthiana Museum. An overarching theme of this trip is the devotion that locals have towards Harrison County. That, to me, is what makes small towns so very special. Inside the doors of the museum, visitors are able to see almost 3,000 community artifacts! This includes items from Cynthiana’s religious, educational, and agricultural history. There are also rooms dedicated to childhood in Cynthiana, daily life, local industries, and more. This is an awesome resource for Harrison County!

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The museum can be visited at 124 S Walnut St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

My final tour stop of the day was the Rohs Opera House – a stop that I was very much looking forward to! Originally built in 1871 as Aeolian Hall, the modern day Rohs Opera House is a weekend theatre + performance venue for shows from the Rohs Theatre Company. However, the best part? It’s haunted! Having been featured on many “Most Haunted” lists, ghost hunting enthusiasts come from all over to experience the paranormal activity inside the doors of Rohs.

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You can visit Rohs Opera House at 133 E Pike St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

After a long day of touring, I had to visit my friends at Maiden City Brewing for a beer (or two!). Brewed in Downtown Cynthiana, Maiden City Brewing is a newer addition to the local scene, yet a very special one. Established in 2016, this is the craft beer destination for all beer aficionados. Do not miss it!

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You can visit Maiden City Brewing at 123 E. Pike St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

Dinner was at Biancke’s, arguably the most known restaurant in the county. Serving up family-style meals for over a decade, Biancke’s is one of Cynthiana’s most beloved, historic businesses. Established in 1894 by Italian immigrants, this is the spot to go to if you want to interact with locals. And, trust me on this – get the fried green tomatoes and a pie topped with their famous meringue!

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Biancke’s is located at 102 S. Main St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

The Trip, Day 2: 

Breakfast was, once again, held at Ashford Acres Inn. The chef had mentioned the day before that he was going to be pulling out some tricks to make the meal extra special, since it was my last there. What he brought out exceeded any form of preconceived notion that I had. In all honesty, it’s one of the best breakfasts that I have ever had in my life.

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Jude and I started with an open-face omelette with foie gras and truffles. It was as decadent, luxurious, and rich as it sounds – I assure you. A showstopper!

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Next was Eggs Benedict – but, with a twist. Instead of the traditional bacon or ham, the chef used Alaskan King Crab meat. It was gorgeous and finger-lickin’ good, y’all.

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Post-breakfast, my social media tour continued at WCYN. I spent thirty minuets on air with the mayor talking about my class, all things JCP Eats, Kentucky culture, and more. It was my first time doing a live radio show and it was a blast!

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To fuel up for the rest of the day, I then visited the Main Cup. A new coffee shop in town, it has a fantastic mission tied to the neighboring Presbyterian Church. Previously used as their parsonage, I love what they did to the building. It’s quirky, yet cozy – and they are serving up some delicious coffee and treats.

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Be sure to check out the Main Cup at 105 N. Main St., Cynthiana, Kentucky 4103.

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Though it was chilly, I quickly headed off to the Quiet Trails State Nature Preserve. Quiet Trails is a 165 acre area of ridges and ravines – and it’s absolutely stunning. Full of birds, trees, and wildlife, one can truly experience the fauna and flora of the Commonwealth of Kentucky here. For nature enthusiasts, this is a must-see!

Directions:

From Cynthiana, take U.S. 27 north approximately 10 miles. Turn right onto KY 1284, which leads into Sunrise. Continue on Pugh’s Ferry Road after crossing the four-way intersection. The preserve is located on the right, 1.8 miles from the intersection.

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After a morning in nature, I decided to spend the afternoon shopping. The thing that impressed me most with Cynthiana was the robust downtown scene they have. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — there’s nothing like a small town downtown; Cynthiana executes this with high precision. Full of eateries and boutiques, it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon visiting all of the stores.

I used this opportunity to do a lot of my Christmas shopping. This holiday season, do not forget to shop local, y’all. It’s so important!

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Abstract Distractions, 129 E. Pike St., Cynthiana, KY 41031. (Love my new copper bracelet, y’all!)

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Inspired Designs, 134 E. Pike St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

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Emerson Steel Boutique, 135 E. Pike St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

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Molly B’s Boutique, 208 E. Pike St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

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I love to gift Candleberry candles during the holiday (Hot Maple Toddy is my favorite); furthermore, local honey makes a great holiday hostess gift!

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Flower Depot, 208 S. Main St, Cynthiana, KY 41031.

Last, but certainly not least, I had to finish my time in Cynthiana with the Mural Tour. They are plentiful around town, though some of the highlights include the Joe B. Hall Mural, the Mural of Distillery History, and, of course, the Walking Dead Mural.

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These are fantastic photo opportunities to commemorate your trip to Harrison County, y’all.

I cannot thank my friends at Cynthiana Tourism enough for a fabulous trip. If you haven’t been to Cynthiana, or if you aren’t currently planning you’re next trip there, what are you waiting for? Adventure awaits!

As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a commissioned post; all opinions, however, are my own.

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The Southland Neighborhood, Lexington, KY Experience

Hey, y’all!

I recently visited my friends at Visit Lex to check out all that the Southland Neighborhood has to offer. This was a region of Lexington that I was not very familiar with; thus, it was truly an honor and a privilege to dive head-first into the culture.

About Southland:

Largely a residential section of the city, Southland boasts a charm and a devotion that is unique to areas of its nature. The restaurants were full of locals. That, to me, says it all; when in Southland, you are having a truly authentic Lexington experience.

Now, the best part — the food!

Winchell’s

348 Southland Dr., Lexington, KY 40503

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Winchell’s is, without question, an icon of the neighborhood. Having been a part of the Southland community for over 25 years, they have proven to be a casual go-to for Lexingtonians. From grabbing a drink, to boasting well-rounded breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, you should not – if seeking an authentic experience in Fayette County – miss Winchell’s.

Also, biscuits and gravy.

Enough said.

Those are the three words to this country boy’s heart. Winchell’s gravy is smack-your-MeeMaw good – savory, heavy, and beyond flavorful. It’s that old-fashioned gravy that you grew up on – and it doesn’t get much better than that.

Also, might I add: the jalapeño cheese grits are everything that I’ve ever wanted and more.

The Ketch Seafood Grill

2012 Regency Rd., Lexington, KY 40503

Much like Winchell’s, I very much noticed the local devotion to the Ketch when dining. Many of the diners were regulars – that was clear. Conversations were shared between the staff and the patrons; they seemed as if they were friends. In fact, I have no doubt that they were. That is an accolade that cannot and will not, in my book, be overvalued.

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Plus, anywhere that puts Old Bay on their fries is a place for me.

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Willie’s Locally Known

286 Southland Dr., Lexington, KY 40503

*Edited (November 25th, 2018): Willie’s has, unfortunately, closed. I am proud to have dined there!

Willie’s served up some of my favorite food of the day. I have three words for you: pork belly tacos. Enough said, am I right?

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Apart from the trio of tacos that I tasted, The Original Willy’s Pork Burger was a standout. Featuring a pork and beef blend, it boasts a house seasoning, smoked cheddar, pickled onions, house-made pickles, and a Carolina Mustard Sauce. Sound familiar? You’ve likely seen it on the Food Network’s Burgers, Brew, & ‘Que!

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Pietana

210 Rosemont Garden, Lexington, KY 40503

Proudly claiming themselves as Southland’s hole-in-the-wall pizza joint, Pietana is just that. I found the space to be aesthetically pleasing, modern, yet cozy – a balance that is not the easiest to obtain. They use fresh, local ingredients: West 6th’s Amber Ale goes in the dough, the brisket is from the Blue Door, the sausage is from Marksbury Farm (one of my favorites), several meats are from Critchfield, and Winchell’s sausage gravy makes an appearance on the breakfast pizza pies.

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I chose to special order a pizza with prosciutto and arugula. Two thumbs up — a solid choice. The pairing of the two + Pietana’s great base ingredients = magic.

Marikka’s Bier Stube

411 Southland Dr, Lexington, KY 40503

If you ask a Lexingtonian about the institutions that they have great memories connected to, chances are you will commonly hear “Marikkas”.

Marikkas first opened in 1991; given the popularity and size of the original location, the owners knew that they had to expand. The new location is here and it is quite the sight for the eyes! Approximately 22,000 sq. ft., Marikkas has six volleyball courts, a 10,000 sq. ft beer hall, Kentucky’s largest beer selection, a restaurant, and a private party space.

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As one of the region’s only German eateries, Marikkas proudly serves native delicacies such as homemade sausages, wursts, wienerschnitzel, and more. Whether you are venturing into Marikkas to socialize with friends over drinks, spike on your opponent, or to satiate your appetite, take it from me – you won’t regret your visit!

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I cannot thank my friends at Visit Lex enough for this fabulous day. If you haven’t explored the culinary scene in Lexington’s Southland Neighborhood, what are you waiting for? Adventure awaits!

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As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a commissioned post; all opinions, however, are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

The Morehead, Kentucky Experience

Hey, y’all!

I am so excited to bring the next installment of my guides to the Commonwealth of Kentucky to you today!

I recently had the privilege of spending two days with my friends at Morehead Tourism. My exposure to this small community in Eastern Kentucky was very limited; I was thus honored to have the chance to get to know the community on a deeper level.

Home to Morehead State University, beautiful hills and mountains, a plethora of local businesses, and that Eastern Kentucky charm that I love and is unrivaled — Morehead packs quite the punch. As I have said before, I’m biased towards rural Kentucky; however, when you experience it for yourself, all is understood.

The Trip: 

The moment I arrived to town, I started eating. Name a more iconic start to a trip — I’ll wait.

Now hear me out. I fully contend that an essential part of our culinary scene in Kentucky exists in gas stations. Country ham and biscuit trail, anyone? While hibachi certainly isn’t the norm in this situation, I heard that it was a local favorite. Given the convenience and price point, I can see why!

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You can visit Hibachi Express at 408 Flemingsburg Rd, Morehead, KY 40351.

We then headed to Main St. in Downtown Morehead. Morehead State University runs perpendicular to the street, which certainly boasts a charm. University towns are special – I love seeing the devotion, the pride, and the school colors everywhere.

Our first stop on Main St. was Pasquales — the #1 place that was recommended to me in the community.

Small, quaint, and friendly — that’s how I’d describe it. You order at the counter and the food is brought out to you. It’s a popular spot for pizza and sandwiches; however, the key item on the menu = the cheese fries.

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Y’all, let me tell you. Those cheese fries don’t come to play – they come to conquer. They are huge and perfect to share with a friend!

Also, any restaurant that has Ale-8-One on the fountain is a restaurant for me. God bless Eastern KY!

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 You can visit Pasquales at 182 East Main Street, Morehead, KY 40351.

After a food-packed start, I wanted to sit down with a hot cup of coffee, read the news, and relax with Jude. I always try to seek out a local coffee shop wherever I am. In Morehead, that just so happened to be The Fuzzy Duck. The best coffee in town is here – that’s for certain! I loved the atmosphere – there were professors grading papers, students working in groups, and friends enjoying an afternoon on the town. It was diverse, yet symbiotic – exactly what a small town should be! The Fuzzy Duck has a multitude of sweets to choose from to accompany your coffee; also be sure to visit the bookstore in the back of the building (Coffeetree Books).

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The Fuzzy Duck is located at 159 E Main St, Morehead, KY 40351.

It was a beautiful day in Morehead. The leaves were astoundingly beautiful and the air was crisp, yet not too cold. We decided to walk up to Eagle Lake at the top of Morehead State University’s campus. I’m not going to lie – my jaw dropped a little. To have this lake, especially with the fall backdrop, on campus was so amazing! If I had attended MSU, I’m sure I would have spent many hours reading and studying up there.

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Oceans, ponds, lakes, rivers — you name it. I love being around water. Being at Eagle Lake prompted the next logical visit, Cave Run Lake. But, more on that in a future post… stay tuned!

It was then time to check into the Hampton Inn & Suites; I was greeted at the door, shown to my room, and immediately started getting ready for the next task at hand — dinner!

Jude and I dined at Melini Cucina that evening. The Director of Tourism recommended the manicotti – and for good reason. It was delicious! I also had the mussels, which were a highlight of the trip. One of my favorite foods!

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Melini Cucina is located at 608 E Main St, Morehead, KY 40351.

The next morning started bright and early at Root-A-Bakers, which was the other hotspot that was recommended to me in town. Upon walking in, I understood why.

First and foremost, if it is your first time in the shop, you get a free iced sugar cookie! This is one of their specialities and they are absolutely delicious.

However, my cravings upon seeing the offerings did not stop there. I proceeded to order a muffin, an apple fritter, a sticky bun, Danish Wedding Cookies, their homemade croissants, and spinach dip! They don’t call me JCP Eats for no reason, y’all. Ha!

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The most delicious thing that I consumed in Morehead was the spinach dip. Now, hear me out. I love delicatessen food; it is my favorite! This spinach dip was, arguably, the best that I have ever had. I’m craving it as I type! 

Root-A-Bakers is located at 313 Flemingsburg Rd, Morehead, KY 40351.

For lunch, I had a craving for sushi – thus, we headed to Yamato. Jude tried her first bite of sushi, which was hilarious. Isn’t that what culinary exploration is all about? Finding new towns, new cities, new dishes, new chefs. I was proud to witness the moment!

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Yamato is located at 125 Flemingsburg Rd, Morehead, KY 40351.

After lunch we headed to the Kentucky Folk Art Center. Folk art is one of my favorite things; for those unfamiliar, it is largely art produced by an indigenous culture and/or group of individuals. Eastern Kentucky has some of the best, if I do say so myself – and the Kentucky Folk Art Center is not to be missed. Located in the historic Union Grocery, the FAC hosts a permanent collection of 1,400 pieces; however, the first floor gallery features rotating exhibits.

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The Kentucky Folk Art Center is located at 102 W 1st St, Morehead, KY 40351.

I then hopped over to visit my friends at New Frontier Outfitters. I only recently learned about this KY business; however, let me tell you – they are pushing out amazing products and content. They create clothing gear for your travels and their clothing line truly embodies what I believe in: living well and traveling often. I’m so proud of these young entrepreneurs – people like them make Kentucky the great Commonwealth that it is!

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New Frontier Outfitters is located at 139 E Main St, Morehead, KY 40351 and their collection can be shopped online here.

While on Main St, we stumbled into Holbrook Drug – a highlight of the trip. Bob Holbrook and J.B. Calvert founded the business in 1950 and it has been a mainstay in Morehead ever since. While it is a working pharmacy, they also have a Soda and Fountain Shop located inside. They pride themselves on being a part of Morehead history: they “served ice cream to your parents, your grandparents, and maybe even your great-grandparents from the original soda fountain! With over 32 milkshake flavors, a one-of-a-kind orangeade, and enough homemade fudge flavors to make you want to try each, Holbrook Drug is a one-stop shop for anyone’s sweet tooth!”

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I couldn’t agree more with the above sentiment. It reminded me of the Soda Shop at Grider Drug in Russell Springs, KY – my home. My family owned a couple of businesses on Main St during my childhood; I visited the Soda Shop almost daily and, oh, how I remember those orangeades and those sandwiches! I miss it so very much. Holbrook took me back to my childhood – and for that, I thank them.

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Holbrook Drug is located at 208 E Main St, Morehead, KY 40351.

I cannot thank my friends at Morehead Tourism enough for a fabulous trip. If you haven’t been to Morehead, or if you aren’t currently planning you’re next trip there, what are you waiting for? Adventure awaits!

As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a commissioned post; all opinions, however, are my own.

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The Murray, Kentucky Experience

Hey, y’all!

I am so excited to bring the next installment of my guides to the Commonwealth of Kentucky to you today!

I recently had the privilege of spending two nights with the team at Murray Tourism. It was my first time in this small community in Western Kentucky – however, trust me when I say that there’s a lot of soul and culture packed into Calloway County.

About Murray:

Home to Murray State University, a plethora of restaurants, and the nicest people that you’ve ever met – Murray, KY deserves all of the many accolades that it has received.

Did you know that Rand McNally and USA Today named Murray the Friendliest Small Town In America in 2012? Murray claims to know no strangers – and while I always view statements like that to be superficial, I found it to be a reality.

Being a boy from small town Kentucky, I might be biased. However, while small towns might not have the same amount of activities as cities, there’s something that’s unparalleled about them. There’s a sense of community, a deep friendship, a sense of belonging to something intimate. I thank the people of Murray for inviting me in to experience their version of this experience.

The Trip:

My time in Murray started with a round of golf at Miller Memorial Golf Course. I really enjoyed my round — and it’s not just because I birdied three of the first seven holes. Ha!

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We then headed to Hazel, Kentucky — a magical little town also in Calloway County. It’s a great destination for an afternoon trip, only made better by having lunch at the Blue and White Grill. The street that runs through town is chock-full of antique shops. Don’t miss these! They are full of treasures.

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I then checked into the Hampton Inn and Suites, which is located across from the Murray State Football Stadium. I was welcomed by the manager, shown to my room, and walked in to find a very special, curated basket of goodies to commemorate my trip to Murray.

Southern hospitality was an overarching theme throughout the week, y’all.

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Dinner was at the Keg — a local provider of flavorful meals, inspired by New Orleans cuisine. From steak, to gumbo, to seafood… this is a restaurant not to miss.

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The next morning (well, both mornings!) started bright and early at Rudy’s On The Square. This is your classic, small town diner. However, it’s more than that. It’s historic – and they serve up some delicious eats.

Having originally opened its doors in 1940, Rudy’s is the namesake of Rudy Allbritten, a Murray resident. The iconic restaurant closed, but reopened its doors in 2017 under the same name. They did a fantastic job in keeping the charm and the ambiance.

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One of the most memorable conversations of the trip happened at Rudy’s.

The person that was paying in front of me thanked the cashier. The cashier then responded, “I’ll see you at lunch!”

If that isn’t the epitome of Murray, I don’t know what is.

Jude and I then spent the morning perusing the square – which is SO charming – along with exploring Murray State University.

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Clara M. Eagle Art Exhibit, Murray State University

We needed a mid-morning treat, so we had baked goods from Sammons’ Bakery and coffee from Shaffer Coffee Company! Both were delicious. Sammons’ is a classic in Murray and Shaffer is new to town.

I was impressed by the price point and deliciousness at Sammons’ – we got two treats for $2.50!

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Shaffer was modern and simply stunning. Their beans are locally sourced and they brew each and every cup on a customer-by-customer basis. I could have sipped on coffee all day in there!

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Lunch was at HRH Dumplins, which served arguably my favorite food item of the trip: their rolls! Those homemade yeast rolls are decadent.

Delicious.

Mouthwatering.

I have had incessant dreams about them since I left Murray.

Excuse the dramatization, but they are, simply put, iconic.

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As for the rest of the menu, it boasts comfort food and delicatessen specialities. We tried the specials of the day – Keanu Pasta (yes, named after – and originally served in the Murray location for – Keanu Reeves) and the enchilada soup. Both were delicious. We also had the chicken and dumplings and the chicken tarragon sandwich (one of the best that I have ever had).

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A trip to Dumplins is not complete without their delicious, made in-house cakes and a glass of the fruit tea. Some of the best that I have ever had!

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Dinner was at the Alley, which is an upscale eatery located on top of a bowling alley. It is open only on Friday and Saturday evenings — and they are serving up some serious deliciousness! Don’t miss the filet mignon topped with a bleu cheese butter. Wow!

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They had a fabulous pianist, featuring classics from Sinatra to Fitzgerald, along with some jazz adaptions, such as “Bare Necessities” from the Jungle Book. It really made the evening special!

After dinner, Jude and I attended a Playhouse in the Park show: The Penguin Project Presents “Shrek Jr.” This was the most special part of the trip. This theater project features actors and actresses with disabilities. Y’all – these kids were TALENTED. I was in awe of the production!

Murray is one of only 72 communities in the United States with this project. To say the least, all communities would benefit from the Penguin Project. It changes the lives of these children forever! I’m tearful just reflecting on the experience.

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Full disclosure: we had a second dinner at Murray Country Club after the show – ha! You only live each day once, right?

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Pork belly — divine!

Chef Bradley Thornton invited me in; a local to Murray, he has been a part of many acclaimed culinary scenes. He was the sous chef in Nashville for the opening of Husk, while also earning tenure in Asheville. The food that he is serving out of Murray Country Club isn’t to be missed. It was simply delicious!

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The main activity of my last morning was the Downtown Murray Farmers Market. While it was raining and not all vendors were there due to the weather, it was such a lovely experience!

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At the market, I had many conversations about my love for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, met some amazing farmers, and came back to Louisville with some fantastic produce + extra goodies. If you are in the area, this is the best way to spend your Saturday morning. Don’t miss it!

More on the Farmers Market in a coming post… it was pretty special!

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We couldn’t leave Murray without visiting the famous Dairy Queen – yes, Dairy Queen! It’s unlike most around the world, due to the fact that it is a walk-up! I felt like we were going back in time, which certainly had a nostalgic feeling for my grandmother. We loved it!

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I cannot thank my friends at Murray Tourism enough for a fabulous trip. If you haven’t been to Murray, or if you aren’t currently planning your next trip there, what are you waiting for? This is a small town with a big punch — you won’t regret your trip!

As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a commissioned post; all opinions, however, are my own.

The Louisville, Kentucky Experience: The Highlands, Butchertown, Germantown

Hey, y’all!

I am so excited to bring the third installment of my guides to the Commonwealth of Kentucky to you today!

It was an immense privilege to partner with Go To Louisville (Louisville Tourism) on this post; I am so proud to call this city home and it is an honor to show off all that we have to offer!

Louisville is chock-full of amazing restaurants; thus, we are going to be breaking up this series into neighborhood installments. The first feature is on the Highlands, Butchertown, and Germantown.

About the Highlands: 

To quote Louisville Tourism, “Bardstown Road, Louisville’s original “Restaurant Row,” is situated in the city’s Highlands neighborhood. In addition to being a dining Mecca, it’s also known for its eccentric collection of shops and is one of the most popular neighborhoods for local nightlife.”

Where To Dine:

La Pêche Gourmet / Lilly’s Bistro

1147 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 

Lilly’s is one of Louisville’s original farm-to-table restaurants — classic, elegant, and southern excellence are words that come to mind. La Peche, which is attached, is a dine-in or carry-out gourmet delicatessen. You can order made-to-order sandwiches, choose from the case, or from weekly specials.

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La Peche is my favorite spot in the city – it’s my go-to, my diamond, my ride-or-die. The Burger’s Fried Chicken Sandwich is, hands down, my favorite fried chicken sandwich in the state (remember: I’m a Kentuckian, y’all). Order it with extra caesar dressing on the side.

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Jack Fry’s

1007 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204
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The warm brie salad is a must-order!

A historic Louisville eatery that is not to be missed; with a history that dates back to 1933, the restaurant is a huge part of Louisville culture. Now a fine dining institution, often acclaimed as one of the best restaurants in both Kentucky and the United States, the menus – both lunch and dinner – aim to surpass all expectations. Walking in is like walking back in time – expect a hybrid of a speak-easy with a white tablecloth eatery. Fabulous.

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Crab cakes – one of my favorite lunch specials.

La Chasse

1359 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204

Another fabulous eatery off of Bardstown Rd, La Chasse offers an “intricately-woven Southern French and Spanish fusion menu that is prepared with classic French technique and exuberant innovativeness.”

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Beautiful octopus

The flavors offered at La Chasse are, to say the least, iconic. Elevated, well-executed, and simple – yet, immensely profound. Also expect to indulge in the amazing wine list and artisan cocktails.

Bonus:

Be sure to visit Seviche, the child of Chef Anthony Lamas. It’s mouthwatering!

1538 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40205

About Butchertown:

To echo, “These days, though one large meatpacker anchors the area, Butchertown is in the middle of a renaissance and is being spruced up with chic boutiques, the city’s first brandy distillery, and more options for shopping, dining and having fun.”

Where To Dine:

Butchertown Grocery

1076 E Washington St, Louisville, KY 40206

According to their website, “On the outside, Butchertown Grocery seems like a decidedly simple, 19th-century brick building. But on the inside, you’ll discover a sleek restaurant with cozy banquettes, marble tables, mosaic tile on the floor, and weathered exposed wood on the ceiling.”

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As I’ve said before, elevated simplicity is my philosophy on food. I very much relate to their perspective, which is largely why Butchertown Grocery is one of my favorite restaurants in the city.

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Croissant stuffed with pistachio butter, topped with a raspberry drizzle. 

From oysters, to escargot, to the chicken and waffles, to the amazing baked goods — you will leave planning your next visit.

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Beignets served with a bourbon-bacon sauce – divine! 

Hi-Five Doughnuts

1011 E Main St, Louisville, KY 40206

Known for their inventive flavor combinations, large portion sizes, and delicious, yeasty doughnuts – Hi-Five makes some of my favorite sweets in the city.

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I recently had a sweet doughnut topped with a sugar cookie. That was a new one, even for me — and, to understate, it was delicious!

Naive

1001 E Washington St, Louisville, KY 40206

Naive is new to the Butchertown scene – and it has been welcomed with open arms. They focus on sustainability, locality, freshness, and lightness. The meals have healthy spins, yet are delicious and filling.

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Pad Thai

Also, side note: it is one of the most aesthetically pleasing restaurant in Louisville. The interior is so gorgeous!

Red Hot Roasters

1399 Lexington Rd, Louisville, KY 40206

A retro-inspired bakery + coffee shop, Red Hot Roasters serves up some of the most delicious small-batch coffee in the city. Inspired by the owner’s eclectic (and fabulous!) style, the new shop has quickly turned into one of my favorites.

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The only thing that makes it better? A cactus cookie!

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About Germantown:

To recite, “Germantown, one of Louisville’s oldest neighborhoods, was named after the influx of German immigrants who first settled there in the mid 1800s. The area is dotted by the largest collection of shotgun and camelback houses in the city. A popular local saying is that there’s a dive bar on every corner. Recently, the neighborhood has become a mix of old and new, maintaining its history, while welcoming hip eateries and bars.”

Where To Dine:

Sarino

1030 Goss Ave, Louisville, KY 40217

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Sarino focuses on fresh, homemade pasta and Neapolitan pizza. Trust me when I say that they deliver. It’s a large menu, one that is worth exploring; I’m already looking forward to my next visit!

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Couvillion

1318 McHenry St, Louisville, KY 40217

Per the restaurant, “Couvillion (‘COO-vee-ohn): A thick, rich fish stew most often prepared with catfish thickened with roux. Or, in our case, a genuine, southern restaurant in the heart of Louisville’s Germantown neighborhood.”

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Gumbo Z’herbes

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Apple Butter Pie

Located behind the Germantown Mill Lofts, Couvillion serves up some major flavor! The food is heavy, comforting, and downright divine.

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Bourbon Banana Pudding

The Post

1045 Goss Ave, Louisville, KY 40217

Can there be a food guide without pizza? In my world, absolutely not. The Post is Germantown’s go-to for New York Style Pizzas (by the slice or served whole), craft beers, and cocktails. The flavors range from classic to experimental, such as stir fry pizza (yes, you read that correctly).

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I cannot adequately thank Louisville Tourism (Go To Louisville) for working with me on this post. My city is fabulous – if you aren’t currently planning your trip here, what’s stopping you?

Come hungry!

As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a commissioned post; all opinions, however, are my own.

The Berea, Kentucky Experience

Hey, y’all!

I am very proud to bring the second installment of my guides to the Commonwealth of Kentucky to you today!

Recently, I had the privilege of spending two days with the team at Berea Tourism – and let me tell you, it was a treat!

About Berea:

To quote Berea Tourism, “Located just south of Lexington, KY, ​Berea is home to a thriving population of weavers, instrument makers, furniture artisans, jewelry designers, glass workers, potters, painters, sculptors, and musicians. The story of Berea’s artisan community is interwoven with the historic Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South. Berea has a longstanding tradition of diversity, social justice, environmental responsibility, and community service. Both college and town are committed to the practice of sustainability and conservation.”

Berea is, to understate, a cultural mecca of Kentucky; there isn’t another town in our Commonwealth that rivals the originality of the city. Visit with a hunger for art and an appetite for local food – you will be pleased, to say the least.

The Trip:

I started off the afternoon at the office of Berea Tourism. Upon meeting the staff, we ventured over to Honeysuckle Vine, a fantastic shop located beside the office.

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Afterwards, I visited Happy Meadow Natural Foods. At this store, they are “dedicated to bringing you high quality natural foods and supplements and all the information you need to make healthy lifestyle decisions.” Be sure to browse the wide array of vitamins, local offerings, along with interesting foods, snacks, and spices!

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Next on the agenda was lunch at the Kentucky Artisan Center. “The Kentucky Artisan Center celebrates Kentucky’s artisans through sales, exhibits and displays, events, demonstrations, and information about Berea and other Kentucky destinations. The Kentucky Artisan Center is a great place to experience Kentucky hospitality and see the array of Kentucky’s creative works and products. The Kentucky Artisan Center is a state agency in the Tourism, Arts, & Heritage Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

Along with that, there is a delicious, full-service cafe located in the center that is sure to please!

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Delicious pork.

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Corn pudding, a classic.

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The Artisan Blend Tea is SO good; be sure to grab a container to bring home! This pitcher was sweetened with honey, which was a great compliment.

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Each month there is a new burger offered at the center; this month, it is a delicious burger topped with a fried green tomato. Divine!

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Buttermilk pie — need I say more?

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Delicious strawberry cake, which features fresh strawberries in the batter.

Don’t miss out on the Old Town Amish Store while you’re in town! “Come inside and breathe in the smells of fresh baked breads and slow smoked BBQ.  We have a unique store featuring Amish country favorites, such as hand rolled butter, a diverse selection of cheese, and bulk foods galore.”

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The highlight was their molasses cookie — there are no adequate words, y’all.

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If you order one of their popular sandwiches, be sure to get it with Amish Butter Cheese – it’s creamy and delicious, just as the name would suggest.

If you are in the mood for catfish, look no further than the Dinner Bell Restaurant – a Berea tradition for almost thirty years! I tried both the grilled and fried versions; both were delicious!

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After a day of shopping, there’s nothing more refreshing than a cup of coffee. For that, you must go to Berea Coffee & Tea! The space is calm, relaxing, and so cute; they offer a full line of drinks, along with small bites and sandwiches.

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Next to Berea Coffee & Tea is Papaleno’s, one of my favorite restaurants in Berea. If you want Italian food — look no further. Located in the central area downtown near the college, this is a must-stop eatery!

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Check out that butter!

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Lasagna — it’s so good that you’ll want a second order!

Papaleno’s and Berea Coffee & Tea are located near Boone Tavern – a historic hotel in the heart of Berea. Inside, there is an amazing restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’m excited to tell you more about my time here – stay tuned for my next post!

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The next day started off with breakfast at Native Bagel Company, another favorite of mine. They make their bagels like the New Yorkers do (which, as we all know, is the best method) – an 18 hour fermentation process to draw out maximum flavor. What makes Native Bagel Company special is that they add a Kentucky touch to the process. The secret? They boil the bagels in water infused with a touch of sorghum syrup.

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After breakfast, I visited Sustainable Berea to tour their gardens and to learn more about their mission. To say that I was impressed would be a colossal understatement. To quote, “In 2005, now executive director Cheyenne Olson and other community members in Berea, KY, grew concerned about overpopulation, food production, degradation of the environment, dwindling water supplies, climate change, species extinction, sky-rocketing national debt, and the need to embrace alternative sources of energy. Berea, unfortunately, was lacking in many of these areas, so in the fall of 2005, 15 people met in the conference room of a local church to share their concerns regarding energy, climate and economy, and to discuss what might be done to prepare the city of Berea for these challenges. Following a brief period operating as the Berea Outpost (under the Post Carbon Institute), this group became Sustainable Berea and eventually the 13th official Transition Initiative in the United States.”

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The farm itself is impressive. “The Urban Farm’s main mission is to produce high-quality food for residents and visitors in a manner that restores the land, educates youth and adults, provides a neighborhood gathering place, increases food security, promotes local economic development, and improves the health and quality of life of the community.”

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While sustainability is at the farm’s core, they also share a passion for bettering the community and the lives of those that inhabit it. “Sustainable Berea has partnered with Liberty Place Recovery Center for Women in Richmond, KY to create a curriculum that spans four weeks to teach financial literacy, entrepreneurship, workplace expectations, building leadership and communication skills, and learning to use computers. The four women selected for each 4-week class will also engage in paid work for the Berea Urban Farm. The program is partially funded with a grant from the USDA and will run through the summer of 2019.  At its completion, more than 30 women will have been trained.”

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It was only fitting to then visit the Berea College Farm Store, “an experiential learning laboratory for undergraduates in local food systems and value-added agriculture.

The Berea College Farm is one of the oldest continuously operating student educational farms in the United States. It raises a wide variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, grains, beans, mushrooms, honey, pork, beef, chicken, goat, fish, and more – all produced by students gaining hands-on farming experience while working their way through college. Much of the cropland is USDA certified organic and the Farm maintains animal-welfare certifications on several of the livestock enterprises.”

I got to have lunch with Dr. Sean Clark, the director of the farm; he is also a professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Clarence M. Clark Chair in Mountain Agriculture at Berea College. His passion was obvious — and it made me really excited to be at the store. They are doing great things for the community; we, as Kentuckians, should be both proud and in awe of their work.

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A delicious Cuban.

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To visit Berea without a stop at Noodle Nirvana is, at its core, erroneous. The menu, including the curry bowl that I had, is both expansive and delicious. I was honored to sit down with owner Mae Suramek, who shared her passion for food, culture, and philanthropy.

A socially-conscious business is one to take note of; however, when they serve up food this delicious, it’s a win-win in my book. Be sure to drop in – you’ll be thankful you did!

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My last stop in Berea was for a delicious meal at Hitz BBQ. I love BBQ very much – in fact, I hold it to a high standard. Hitz, to say the very least, surpassed my standards. The sides – including loaded potato salad and the best macaroni and cheese – stood up to the meat, a true test of a BBQ restaurant in my book. The brisket, pulled pork, and hoecakes were mouthwatering.

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The highlight, however, was the candied pork belly. Y’all – I’ll drop the microphone on that one.

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I cannot thank Berea Tourism enough for a fabulous two days. If you are not currently planning a trip to Berea, take it from me – you are missing one of Kentucky’s diamonds.

As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a commissioned post; all opinions, however, are my own.

 

Gallrein Farms Corn & Avocado Salsa

Hey, y’all!

Last week, I launched my official guide to Shelby County, Kentucky – be sure to check out that post here. I hinted at the fact that more was to come regarding my time at Gallrein Farms and today is the day!

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Gallrein Farms is a local, family-owned operation that specializes in sweet corn. However, their reach spans to great extents!

In their market, you can buy Kentucky-grown watermelons, peppers, melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and more. There is a large selection of honey, which is gathered from their beehives. Homemade doughnuts will greet you, as well – be sure to pick up a box! You can purchase cabbage, peaches, onions, meats, you name it; when they advertise themselves as a full-service market, they mean it to the greatest extent of the word.

Offerings change seasonally via availability, so be sure to stop in often. I know I’ll be needing some apple cider in the coming months!

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Come to the farm hungry because they also have a cafe that serves lunch from 11-2, Monday-Saturday. I was impressed by the multitude of offerings housed in the vicinity; everything that I tried was delicious!

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Fortunately, I was invited into the kitchen to prepare a corn + avocado salsa with one of the cooks; y’all, this is such a simple, refreshing, and flavorful combination. It’s perfect for the end of summer and would be a delicious dip to have at your next party. Trust me when I say that it is two thumbs up!

My philosophy with food can best be described as elevated simplicity; if you can impress with ease, I say go for it! Gallrein Farms does this really well, which is largely why I love them so much.

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Gallrein Farms Corn & Avocado Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 4 ears of Gallrein Farms corn (raw)
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 red onion
  • Fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped

Directions:

Start with a large mixing bowl. Slice corn off of the cobs, finely dice the tomatoes and onion, cube the avocado. Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Chop cilantro and stir well. Serve with tortilla chips.

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If you are looking for your next Kentucky road trip, look no further than Shelbyville, KY – this is the place to be!

For more recommendations, click here – and don’t forget to stop at Gallrein Farms. Tell them that I sent ya!

As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a commissioned post; all opinions are my own.

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