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Kentucky Kicks Ass

Experiencing Locality in Shelby County, Kentucky

Hey, y’all!

If you follow me on Instagram or read my Kentucky travel series, you will know that I am no stranger to Shelbyville, Kentucky.

Some might argue as to what is the best part about this Kentucky town. The food? The kind, generous people? The fact that it’s the Saddlebred Capital of the World? The local shops? All of those are, of course, great – however, I would like to add one to the mix: the location.

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Conveniently located between Lexington and Louisville, Shelbyville is a true meeting ground of the state. It serves as a central location for all Kentuckians, let alone the city dwellers wishing to escape for a day or weekend trip.

Over the course of the last year, it has turned into one of my favorite destinations (and one of Jude’s, my grandmother + travel partner, favorites, too!). On our most recent trip, I wanted to dive deeper into the small businesses, restaurants, events, and farms that make Shelbyville special. I went in with high expectations – but, y’all, let me tell you… they were greatly surpassed.

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Upon arriving and checking into my hotel (I always stay at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites, which is located at 110 Clubhouse Dr. Shelbyville, KY 40065), I joined Chenelle for dinner at the Old Stone Inn.

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Stay tuned for an upcoming post to learn more about the Old Stone Inn; but, I’ll say this now: it’s a historic dining experience not to miss. Recently reopened by Chef David Danielson of Churchill Downs, the food and atmosphere is a true highlight for the region.

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Also, side note: any restaurant that serves their butter in the shape of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is a restaurant that will get my repeat business.

The following morning started bright and early with the first of my Dine & Discover classes, which was held at Citizens Union Bank. Dine & Discover is a fantastic series put on by the ShelbyKY Tourism Commission & Visitors Bureau; both of these classes catered to small businesses and I discussed how one can leverage social media to be a driving factor in their success. It was an honor to be a guest speaker; if you are looking for educational classes in the area, I highly recommend this series!

Between classes, I had to do my due diligence as a food writer and check out a new-to-me local eatery, right? At least that was my justification.

McKinley’s Bread Shop & Deli (615 Main St. Shelbyville, KY 40065)

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I stumbled into McKinley’s via Chenelle’s recommendation – and it didn’t let me down. I love casual, local eateries. It was clear that the clientele is predominantly locals — patrons that have dined there for years & will continue to do so. That’s when you know you’re in for a treat, y’all.

The bread is made in-house and is cut via a bread machine that is nearly a century old. If something, or a method, isn’t broken — why fix it? I love that they have maintained their methods; there’s something special about doing so that cannot be ignored.

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I chose the Tuscany, which featured Caesar dressing, grated parmesan, black pepper, turkey breast, and romaine lettuce, served on focaccia (my favorite bread). At less than $8, this sandwich is a fantastic value for the budget diner.

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Oh, and don’t miss out on their cookies — they are, arguably, the best part. Large, moist, and ringing in at around $1, you can’t go wrong, y’all.

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After my second Dine & Discover class, I went and visited my new friends at Lettleiki Icelandics (6105 Eminence Pike, Shelbyville, KY 40065). Now I — and any true Kentuckian — would be amiss to not love the equine industry. However, I must confess: prior to this trip, I was not well-versed in Icelandic horses, a very historic breed.

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Lettleiki is the Icelandic word for “lightness”; interestingly enough, each Icelandic horse that is born must have an Icelandic name given to it. Furthermore, in reference to their homeland, Icelandic horses cannot return to Iceland after they leave; this is largely due to the fact that Iceland does not experience vast equine diseases, unlike other countries. As for personal history, the breed’s ancestors are often traced back to Viking-Age Scandinavians that came to the region.

Upon visiting the farm, you will find world-class facilities; seriously, y’all — their barns are the most gorgeous that I have ever seen! Apart from that, they have a gorgeous arena on site, and they offer a wide array of services (breeding, training, clinics, etc).

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One of our tour guides was the farm dog — what a sweetie!

I left a big, big fan of Lettleiki Icelandics — be sure to check them out!

While I was in the spirit of the horse industry, I hopped over to Shelby Horse Supply (7022 Shelbyville Rd, Simpsonville, KY 40067) to learn more about their business. The man behind the shop, Vance Riester, very well might be the nicest guy around. He welcomed Jude and I into his shop, walked us through some of his processes, and even made a custom gift for Jude to take home!

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A full-service tack shop, Shelby Horse Supply is – and should be – your one-stop shop for all of your equine leather good needs. But, their offerings do not stop there! You can find many personal leather goods in the store, whether it be wallets, key fobs, or a plethora of other items. They custom-made a piece for me a couple of months ago – and y’all, it is truly one of my prized possessions.

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The best part? The leather goods are customizable! Many of the belts, fobs, and equine goods can have engraved plates attached to them. A true southerner, I love a good personalization service! If it walks, talks, or moves — monogram it. Am I right?

The quality of their goods is unmatched; be sure to keep them in mind!

After spending the afternoon on the farm and shopping, we decided that we needed a sweet treat. For that, I wanted to try out Serendipity Kandy Kitchen (519 Main St, Shelbyville, KY 40065), a newcomer to Downtown Shelbyville. A mainstay in La Grange for several years, the new shop in Shelby County is a very welcomed addition to the community.

Their best-selling item? Bourbon-infused, chocolate dipped Twinkies. Yes, you read that correctly. That is, simply put, my Kentucky dream. I knew that I had to try one when I visited; however, I was pleasantly surprised that the owner wanted to let me make some of my own!

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While the process is self-explanatory, I’ll omit some of the strict details for proprietary purposes. However, believe me when I say that you MUST try one of these. You’ll keep going back for more — thank me later.

Post-refreshing at the hotel, I knew that no trip to Shelby County is complete without a stop at Jeptha Creed Distillery (500 Gordon Ln, Shelbyville, KY 40065). Jeptha Creed’s property is stunning & it is a kick ass, woman-owned business — one of my favorite’s in the Commonwealth.

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Luckily for Jude and I, we were there for one of their Farm To Table dinners, which features four courses from Chef Josh Moore of Volare Italian Restaurant in Louisville, KY. What’s even better is that fact that each course is paired with a cocktail! Now that’s the Kentucky way of dining, y’all.

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The first course was a stunning salad, which featured Aqua Fresh Farms red oak leaf lettuce, roasted Italian sausage, pepperoncini peppers, Capriole Farms goat cheese, and crispy potatoes, finished with a balsamic & Jeptha Creed blueberry vodka vinaigrette. It was paired with a cranberry-spiced Negroni, which was my favorite cocktail of the evening.

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The pasta course was next, which boasted house-made Garganelli pasta in a rich mushroom ragout of Sheltowee Farm mushrooms, Jeptha Creed original moonshine, cream, sage, and ricotta salata cheese. It was simply divine! The pairing was a bay leaf limoncello.

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Our main course was a Stone Cross Farm pork loin scallopini (fra diavolo style) in a spicy tomato and pepper sauce with onion, rosemary and Jeptha Creed Hot Pepper Vodka. It was accompanied by Tuscan white beans (two thumbs up from me!) and braised, bitter greens. The cocktail? A honey raspberry sgroppino, which was fabulous!

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Last, but certainly not least (trust!), was the dessert course: zeppole. Plated were three  house-made Italian doughnuts tossed in cinnamon and sugar, joined by cherry preserves & Jeptha Creed apple pie moonshine apple butter. This was a standout, y’all. To wash it down, we were given a coffee & lavender affogato. The lavender was a fantastic touch!

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To say the least, it was a night to remember – fabulous food and even more fabulous company. Better yet, as per usual, it was a trip to write home about (or, in my case, to blog about!).

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A special thank you to ShelbyKY Tourism for two fabulous days; it is truly a privilege that y’all share your slice of Kentucky heaven with all of us!

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

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

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

 

 

 

 

Blogger Brunch at Corto Lima

Hey, y’all!

Long time, no chat. If you’ve been following along with my Instagram posts + stories, you know that I just purchased my first home in Louisville, Kentucky. So much of my January has been focused on furnishing my home, decorating it with love, and preparing for my move (which was this weekend). I feel immensely grateful that my job has flexibility and that y’all allowed me this grace period to get everything together. Your words of love, encouragement, and the well wishes have meant so much to me!

With that said, many new things are coming to y’all with the acquisition of my home. More recipes, more photos, a dedicated filming space, and so much more! Stay tuned — there’s so much to come!

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Now, back to the regularly scheduled culinary programming!

Those that have been with me on the blog from the get-go are aware of the fact that I love Corto Lima, which is located in Downtown Lexington, KY. The name is derived from the location of the restaurant in Spanish; it is on the corner of Short (Corto) and North Limestone (Lima).

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What I love most about Corto Lima is that I get to enjoy a lot of inspired dishes from my travels right here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Their inspiration is well-curated and executed with utmost precision; many meals have been shared within their restaurant walls and many more are to come.

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This month, Corto Lima invited ten bloggers to a Winter White Brunch to sample a plethora of brunch favorites. I’ve had both lunch and dinner with them before; however, this was my first time sampling the brunch offerings. I left with mixed feelings — the food was impeccable, yet I was sad that I don’t have this as a regular brunch option in Louisville. It was fantastic, y’all.

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Before we get into the courses, there are many parties to thank: Corto Lima for the event space and the delicious food, Sarah of Space, Place, and Grace for the fabulous photography, Marie of Back Road Bluegrass for her assistance in orchestration, The Big Event Photos for the iconic photo booth experience, and Miss Make It All for the custom KY decals. Y’all sure do know how to make a boy feel special!

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Now — the food!

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We started with guacamole, queso, and the salsa trio — need I say more?

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Next was the Mango Con Chili, a sentimental dish for me. It’s a classic treat in México and took me back to living in downtown Mérida with my host mamá, Ligia. I enjoyed many bowls of this with her in the morning, cherishing new family,  and enjoying the beautiful sunshine. Special, special memories — and I thank Corto Lima for transporting me back to that time.

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Next? One of my favorites — the Huitlacoche Egg Quesadilla. An edible corn fungus, this is one of my favorite delicacies! It’s a must-try on your next visit.

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I’ve never met a burrito that I didn’t spiritually bond with; this one was no exception. The portion that you are seeing is one-third of the typical serving size (yes, you read that correctly). Thus, come hungry, y’all!

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Arepas were the feature of the next course, which happened to be one of my favorites. Most commonly made from ground maize dough, arepas are a staple in both Colombian and Venezuelan cuisine (with other prominent features in el mundo hispanohablante). Having just traveled to Colombia, this teleported me right back to the streets of Cartagena!

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Okay, y’all. It’s time to get serious. This is the Roasted Banana Dulce de Leche French Toast. Dulce de leche stems from heating sweetened milk, inducing a Maillard reaction. The result? Culinary gold for a sweets aficionado! The addition of the banana French toast made this a two thumbs up dish for me.

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Why have one dessert when you can have two? Welcome to the stage — hibiscus ice cream + a delectable churro. It’s as good as it looks, which is all I need to say.

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Scratch that. Why have just one or two desserts? Pffft! Three desserts it is! Tres Leches is one of my favorite menu offerings from Corto Lima. El Pastel de Tres Leches is a Latin American classic, featuring sponge cake soaked in three variations of milk. If a recipe involves heavy cream, evaporated milk, and condensed milk — I’m here for it… with bells on, as I grew up saying.

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Again, a special thank you to Corto Lima for the food, Sarah of Space, Place, and Grace for the stunning photos, Marie of Back Road Bluegrass for her orchestration, The Big Event Photos for the photo booth experience, and Miss Make It All for the custom KY decals.

Be sure to check out each of these Kentuckians; better yet, start planning your next visit to Corto Lima in Lexington, KY (101 W. Short St)!

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

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: I was not compensated for this post; all opinions are my own.

 

Simple Truth Lemon Shrimp

Hey, y’all!

I hope that your New Year is off to a great start. January 1st marks a change in the lives of many, myself included. I promote food positivity, not diet culture; that’s why I am so tickled to be partnering with Kroger on their Simple Truth line.Processed with Focos Processed with VSCO with e6 presetKroger simply wants to help people live their best lives in 2019; with so many diet fads focusing on what you should eat less of, Kroger is focusing on the items to eat more of. That’s a mission that I can get behind!

In your local community, Kroger is your one-stop shop for quality, healthy food. When shopping, look for the Simple Truth label. Located all throughout the store, Simple Truth foods are free from 101+ artificial preservatives and ingredients! Thus, there is no worry as to how the food was raised, processed, and/or acquired. That, to me, means everything.

For today’s recipe, I decided to work with the Simple Truth Raw Shrimp (both peeled and deveined). Shrimp is, simply put, my favorite meat. It’s versatile and flexible – two qualities that I very much appreciate in food.Processed with Focos Processed with VSCO with e3 preset

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Processed with Focos Processed with VSCO with e6 presetI developed an easy, foolproof shrimp recipe that can be used in a multitude of ways. Eat them as described and simply dip them in cocktail sauce; if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, use them in salad, tacos, pasta, or soup! How easy is that?

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Lemon Shrimp

Ingredients:

1 Bag Simple Truth Raw Shrimp, Peeled & Deveined

3 lemons, juiced

1 tsp. lemon zest

¼ c. olive oil

1 tsp. Italian Seasoning

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. chopped parsley

Salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Follow instructions, as provided, for the shrimp.
  2. In a large bowl, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, Italian Seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt; mix well.
  3. Add shrimp to the marinade, stir well, and cover with cling wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Over medium-high heat, add shrimp and marinade into a large skillet. Preparation time depends on size, though typically is around 2 minutes per side (4 minutes total). Shrimp, when done, are pink and have an opaque, white flesh.
  5. Garnish with finely chopped parsley and serve!

I believe that there is power in food. It sustains us, and most importantly, it brings us together. That’s my culinary truth – and the Simple Truth line at Kroger is perpetuating that notion. For that, I thank them.

Also, be sure to check out the Simple Truth Digital Coupon Event on the Kroger app – there are so many savings to be had! The event ends on February 5th, 2019.

Tell me – what’s your favorite way to eat shrimp? I think I’m going to use these in a salad for lunch and inside a burrito for dinner. Yum!

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

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

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

 

 

Iconic HopCat Fries Rebranded

Hey, y’all!

If you are from Kentucky, you are likely familiar with HopCat; there are locations in both Lexington and Louisville.

The Louisville location is in the Highlands at 1064 Bardstown Rd.

Their mission is a fun one: to be the best damn beer bar on the planet. They define great beer as as product that is made with both care and pride. If you are a beer aficionado in Louisville, you should check out their selection – I am confident that you will find both a beloved and a new favorite on the menu. They have 100 on tap!

However, HopCat is known for more than just their beer. If you are a foodie like me, you probably have dreams about their fries (fries before guys, am I right?). Beer-battered with amazing cracked pepper seasoning — they are downright addictive.

img_5835_facetune_14-01-2019-12-11-45Originally named “Crack Fries” due to their addictive nature, HopCat took it upon themselves to rebrand their iconic menu offering because they feel that the ever-growing drug problem is no joking matter — and it isn’t.

I very much appreciate their initiative and their desire to change how we frame and discuss drug culture. It takes a lot for a company, brand, or restaurant to redo something that they’ve done so well for years – however, at times, it is necessary to do so in good conscience.

Released today, they are proud to bring “Cosmik Fries” to all of their 17 area locations. The name Cosmik comes from the song “Cosmik Debris” by Frank Zappa, an anti-drug anthem.

Be sure to visit your local HopCat to celebrate the rebrand; if you are in the Louisville area, visit my Instagram before Friday and enter the giveaway I’m hosting for a $50 gift card!

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

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

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

Jeptha Creed Southern Fried Green Tomatoes with Vodka Aioli

Hey, y’all!

How’s your week going? I finally feel like I am starting to get into a routine again, Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise. I’m so thankful!

I was recently featured in a cookbook released here in Kentucky – Jeptha Creed: Kitchen Collection. A special thank you to my friends at Jeptha Creed for partnering with me for this book! I am honored to be a small part of their efforts – a kickass, woman-owned business here in the Commonwealth. They are movers + shakers!

c66cfd4d-4f31-4b4e-9594-f481a2a18e7fToday, I’m sharing my recipe for Jeptha Creed Southern Fried Green Tomatoes + Vodka Aioli with y’all. They are finger lickin’ good!

Processed with Focos Processed with VSCO with e3 presetFried Green Tomatoes are sentimental for me; they remind me of the farm, of growing up in the country, of meals at home in Russell County. They are reminiscent of my childhood; and for that reason, they will forever be one of my favorite foods.

For the breading, I used Jeptha Creed’s Bloody Butcher Corn Meal, which is a product of their Shelby County-grown Bloody Butcher Corn. I also infused the aioli dipping sauce with their Hot Pepper Vodka, which amps it up like we enjoy doing here in the Bluegrass State!

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Jeptha Creed Southern Fried Green Tomatoes & Vodka Aioli

Ingredients

Tomatoes:

  • Green Tomatoes, sliced
  • 1.5 c. Jeptha Creed Bloody Butcher Cornmeal
  • 1.5 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Sugar, to taste

Vodka Aioli:

  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c. ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • Jeptha Creed Hot Pepper Vodka to taste, starting with 1 tbsp.

Directions:

Tomatoes:

  1. After slicing tomatoes, heavily salt and pepper both sides. After that, sprinkle a little sugar on either side to both cut bitterness and amplify the natural flavor of the green tomatoes. Allow tomatoes to rest on a baking pan lined with parchment paper for a few minutes.
  2. In three separate bowls, set up a dipping station. From left to right and in order of use: all-purpose flour, the eggs whisked with the water, Jeptha Creed Bloody Butcher Cornmeal.
  3. Cover each tomato slice with all-purpose flour, fully coat in the egg + water mixture, and coat liberally with Jeptha Creed Bloody Butcher Cornmeal. Repeat for each slice.
  4. Fry in olive oil.

Sauce:

  1. Stir together all ingredients, minus the Jeptha Creed Hot Pepper Vodka.
  2. Starting with 1 tbsp, add in the vodka to taste.
  3. Refrigerate until serving.

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

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

Best,

JC

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

My Stay At Ashford Acres Inn

Hey, y’all!

My most recent tourism trip was to Cynthiana, Kentucky; you can read more about that experience here.

The highlight of the trip, hands down, was my stay at Ashford Acres Inn.

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Ashford Acres Inn is a magical countryside destination; located in Harrison County, it is both a bed & breakfast + a wedding/event venue. After staying there and seeing photos of events held on the property, I’m ready to start planning a wedding for someone!

In true Antebellum Greek Revival style, the property is stunningly grandiose. Large pillars, plentiful windows, and an expansive + shaded porch welcome you to the property.

Upon arrival, you will feel as if you are on set for Gone With the Wind – which, in my book, is a southern dream.

History:

To quote, “(Ashford Acres Inn) was built in 1858 by local resident John Williams. Williams built the house for his son as a wedding present; when the wedding was abruptly called off, the house went to his daughter, Caroline, who was married to Cynthiana sheriff, R.T. Lindsay.

A story has been passed down that the house, during the Civil War, was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers. It is said that during that time, while Caroline was standing in the east bedroom on the second floor, a cannonball shot in through the front wall and out the side wall.

Between 1865 and 1941, a number of different families resided in the house as originally built. In 1941, the Owen Family purchased the property and fully renovated the house. They added the columns, a dining room, the veranda, and painted the house white. Much of the beauty of the house that you see today is due to their renovation work.”

The history of the property only increased the appeal of our trip. It was quite the destination!

We stayed in the Oak Suite – other options include the Magnolia, Maple, Ash, and Garden Suites. The room was huge! Features included the most comfortable bed, a full table, a wonderful desk for me to work at, a reading room, a fireplace, and a stunning bathroom.

Processed with Focos Processed with VSCO with e6 presetI always want to be welcomed into a room with a cupcake, y’all. Is that being too over the top?

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Guests have 24/7 access to snacks and refreshments; however, the highlight was definitely the breakfast!

Upon waking up on the first morning, Jude and I were welcomed by glorious aromas drifting upstairs. What we found in the dining room was everything that I wanted and more.

A small touch that I loved was that the tables were marked via your suite name — so charming!

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We started with fresh-squeezed orange juice and scones; afterwards, we had their take on a southern classic: chicken and waffles. Prepared via a three-day process, the chicken was – as I said in my original post – smack your MeeMaw good. In accordance to this country boy’s scale, that’s about as good as it gets. Not to be outshined by the protein, the waffles were herb-infused and beautifully dense. It was a filling, refined breakfast – one that I’m dying to recreate for myself!

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69cf30f0-99eb-48cd-bcf9-482ea25b14acThe second breakfast was, without question, one of the best of my life – and that’s something that I do not say lightly.

64fe3f5b-cbfb-46ea-b575-a49f6d8935f1It started with an open-face omelette, topped with foie gras and truffles. Rich and high on the hog, as we say in the south – it was a dish to write home about!

Processed with Focos Processed with VSCO with e6 presetNext came the King Crab Eggs Benedict. Why use bacon or ham when you can use king crab meat? It didn’t stop there though, y’all. Creamy, delicious hollandaise sauce, crisp spinach, and a brioche base. Need I say more?

2b682f3a-b09f-4038-b7b6-44b49f9977b3There were many things that I loved about staying at Ashford Acres Inn, my first true bed and breakfast stay. The multiple fireplaces, the decor (immaculately executed for Christmas, might I add), the rocking chairs, the front porch, the beautiful surrounding farmland, and the historical character that is unrivaled in historic properties — to name a few.

It was also so nice to be able to relax with a cup of coffee and forget all that is going on in my crazy, hectic life.

On top of that, the service was superb and the individualized attention one can receive in an intimate setting of this nature is truly something special.

cdb9fb10-f128-492d-b923-bf3d5f574971Many chances exist to visit my friends at Ashford Acres; they offer a couple of meals per month (this month: a dinner on January 24th and a breakfast buffet on January 26th), which I very much recommend checking out. Even more so, plan your next Kentucky getaway to Harrison County and stay on the property! You won’t regret it. The best part? If you are looking for a getaway this month (January 2019), rooms are 50% off!

Processed with Focos Processed with VSCO with e3 presetAshford Acres Inn is located at 1801 Hwy 36 East, Cynthiana, KY 41031; they can be reached at 859-298-2989.

While you’re at it, be sure to visit their Website, Facebook, and Instagram!

Adventure awaits around the Commonwealth of Kentucky – what’s stopping you from experiencing it?

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

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

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

 

 

An Open Letter To My Fat-Shamer

Hi.

You don’t know my name – but, my goodness… you sure do think that you have a grasp on my life!

You probably thought that you were being discreet at dinner when you were talking about me.

Unfortunately for you – and for me – the wine was a little deceiving. You’re not the most soft-spoken of ladies; that and the fact that we were sitting five feet apart. That might’ve been a clue, hunny.

And I quote you, “There are so many fat, disgusting people on this trip. I mean, look at that guy in the glasses right over there.”

(note, dear reader: my left side was turned to their table; we were not facing each other)

“Look at his profile. Wait, he doesn’t have one. There’s too much fat. It’s disgusting!”

Do you remember when you said that?

Maybe the wine will make you forget.

Maybe you are simply a horrible person and this is the norm for you.

If that’s the case, you live in a sad, sad world.

However, trust — I’ll remember.

I’ll remember when you questioned my worth — whether I was worthy of taking of the space that I do.

I’ll remember when you judged me from the onset — labeling yourself and other smaller counterparts as superior.

I’ll remember you ruining my Crème Brûlée — and girl, let me tell you… that’s hard to do.

I’ll remember those stinging, hate-filled, disgusting words.

I’ll remember those stares.

I’ll remember.

Do you remember that you kept slandering my very existence from there?

“How can he comfortably walk around?”

“Does he fit in bathrooms or public areas?”

“Where can he buy clothes that big?”

“Does he realize that his life is a ticking time bomb?”

Since I was raised better, I didn’t turn around and answer any of the questions you posed for your three table companions at the time.

However, let me do so now.

 I am, believe it or not, fully capable of walking. In fact, I do it more than most. There’s a preconceived notion that fat people don’t move, don’t exercise, don’t exert energy. If you truly knew me – or took the time to do so before making assumptions – you’d know that I am an avid golfer. You’d also know that I take 6-10 trips/year; in each city, state, country I do a lot of moving – trust.

Do I fit in public areas or private areas, such as restrooms? Well, of course, yes. Thank you for asking. If I feel that I cannot be accommodated in a public area, guess what? I purchase two tickets. An unfair disadvantage to me, sure – but, I do it so I don’t have to deal with people like you.

That’s the world we live in, unfortunately.

Where can I buy clothes? Girl, let’s go shopping! My closet needs to be purged every other week; believe you me, I experience no scarcity in the fashion department.

Do I realize that my life is a ticking time bomb? Well, isn’t that the case for all of us? However, before you judge, you should know that my medical history is private. I will say this though — looks can be deceiving and I’m doing just fine. How are you doing?

Now, nameless lady, I must say — you probably feel sorry for me (if you are capable of feeling, that is).

Well, I must confess — I, too, feel sorry for you.

I am sorry that your life is so lacking that you feel the need to impose rude comments on others.

I am sorry that you have likely not received an adequate amount of love in your life. The absence of love and care has most likely catalyzed the omission of those from your repertoire.

I am sorry that you feel that some individuals are more deserving of taking up space. Opposite from the cross that was dangling from your neck, I think you need to pick the book back up and reevaluate. If you’re ever in Louisville, join me at Eucharist – I’ll let you sit with me!

I am sorry that aesthetics mean everything to you. There is so much to life — so much you are missing. I feel for you, I really do. Life is beautiful, wild, crazy, exciting; the thought of living in such a close-minded shell really makes me tearful.

Most importantly, I’m sorry that we didn’t get the chance to meet.

Let me formally introduce myself, since you didn’t give me a chance to do so.

My name is JC Phelps.

I have suffered from eating disorders my entire life – three, to be exact.

Body acceptance has been a journey for me. I’m doing a lot better, though I still fail at times. I try to love myself more today than I did yesterday.

I’m really a nice guy — a little eccentric, a little country, but I promise I’ll always extend my most sincere southern hospitality.

I am fat.

You’re not telling me anything that I don’t know.

But, nameless lady, do you know what else I am?

I am an entrepreneur.

A Kentuckian.

A college grad.

A MBA grad.

A son.

A brother.

An uncle.

A friend.

A confidant.

A golfer.

A world traveler.

A dreamer.

A proud gay man.

Most importantly – I am, without apology and unabashedly, myself.

A wise drag queen once said, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”

I hope, more than anything, that you can learn to love yourself, nameless lady.

However, I implore that you must first forgive yourself.

And by the way — I forgive you.

Bless your black, black heart.

My best,

JCP

The fat guy you were making fun of.

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