Wild Thyme

I love supporting local business and I love learning new things. Tonight was a great opportunity to do both. Thanks to the invitation from friends, we visited Wild Thyme. This is a local cooking school and they do great cooking lessons, cooking competitions, dinner mysteries, and other fun events focused on food. I had heard great things, but this was our first chance to go.

The atmosphere is amazing. It is small, state of the art, and intimate. There were only about 10-12 of us there and the chef was great at fielding questions, inviting us to the front of the kitchen to observe, and bring things out for us to see and smell.

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We started with a salad, and then we got to the good stuff. Tonight’s main entree was steak au poivre, brussel sprouts, and gourmet mashed potatoes.

The steak was cooked so perfectly. It was pepper coated, seared, and finished in the stove (similar to what I tried to do in my surf and turf challenge). However, this was perfectly cooked (check out that photo!), while my previous attempt was slightly overdone. Also it is best to sear steak in grapeseed, flax, or coconut oil because of the smoking point of various oils. I had been trying to sear steak using olive oil. To make brussel sprouts better, you should remove the bitter triangular core. They blanched, roasted, and then sauteed them and they were pretty tasty. Finally, the mashed potatoes were made using white truffle oil to give it the best flavor.

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We finished the night with a cranberry-cherry bourbon bread pudding. Our chef/instructor used french bread soaked in egg, sugar, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice that had been baked, tossed with dried fruits, and then topped with a buttery bourbon sauce. It was delicious and not heavy like other bread puddings I’ve had.

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What a fun night! I can’t wait to go back for another cooking event! Interested in other cooking events I’ve been to? Check out my Sushi Rolling Class or my Soups On events.

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Cock-a-Doodles-is-a-must-Do!

I finally got to try Doodles, a local Lexington restaurant whose breakfast people have been raving about since I moved here. When I drive by on weekends, I can always see the crowd gathered in the parking lot waiting for seating. It is even considered a delicacy included on one of the culinary walking tours. While I couldn’t imagine waiting in the lengthy lines on a weekend, I could handle a working breakfast meeting on a weekday at a resturant that was new to me.

My dining partner had pancakes (no picture available). The best part? They ask if you want your pancakes “with fun.” If you answer yes, you get whipped cream, sprinkles, strawberries, and chocolate chips. It looked yummy and fun!

I opted for a Doodles original called Pigs and Puffs: crisp bacon on top of New Orleans style beignets (which of course I now want to try to make on my own), and fresh fruit. On top of this, I had bottomless coffee!

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Overall, it was a good breakfast and dining experience. For breakfast, Doodles is a must “do.”

I’ve got a little German in my blood… and in my belly

Sauerkraut has always been one of my favorite foods. I loved living next door to my grandmother while growing up who would can her own kraut from her garden and then we could have homemade kraut all year round. Of course I liked all of the other things she canned too including pickles, green beans, and corn.

Kraut seems to be a food that polarizes people – either you love it or you hate it. Maybe my love of it is in my veins. You know… my German blood may be dictating my tastes.

I’ve had two German meals from two different restaurants in the past two weeks (is this more evidence of my love of kraut??) and wanted to compare the two meals for any other German food lovers out there. I’ll also share a quick crockpot recipe.

Recently, I enjoyed a sausage, mashed potato, and kraut dinner from Stella’s Kentucky Deli. You can see a photo and read about the meal in my post about Supporting Your Local Restaurants, Farmers, and Charities.

Yesterday, I had the chance to enjoy Hofbrauhaus with some great friends. I remember growing up near there and thinking that it was so cool that there were only two locations in the world, Germany and Newport, KY. Now of course that has changed with the additions of Las Vegas and Pittsburgh locations.

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I had the exact same meal at Hofbrauhaus that I described from Stella’s: sausages, mashed potatoes, and kraut.

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In my personal opinion – the sausages tasted nearly identical, but I liked the way the sausages were prepared at Stella’s better. They are sliced and fried so that you get a nice crisp on all sides. The Kraut at Stella’s was better – it is cut thicker and it has more of the pickled taste to it. If you don’t like that, then you’ll like Hofbrauhaus kraut which is thinner and sweeter. The mashed potatoes at Stella’s were better too – they were a little thicker, left the skins on the potatoes, and had more seasoning. I loved the meal at Hofbrauhaus, but have to give the victory to Stella’s. This is amazing to me, as Stella’s is not known for it’s German food. I’ll have to have the same dish at Marrika’s and compare for the true German food victory.

Now for a quick and easy crockpot recipe. I know this was passed on to us from a friend, but I can’t remember who and I’m not sure where they got it, so I can’t give proper credit to the creator of this meal. Add kraut, bratts, one can of coke, and one can of beer to the crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. I don’t even like the taste of beer, but this turns out to be delicious, and as mentioned, quick and easy. You can also add sliced peppers to this if you want a little more substance. My last piece of advice is to buy the smoked bratts instead of the regular bratts; the smoked ones will hold their shape better after cooking all day.

I wonder what food I like that I can attribute to the Irish in my blood?

Eli’s Barbeque

This weekend I had the pleasure of making my first (and certainly not my last) visit to Eli’s Barbeque in Cincinnati.

It is a little bit off the beaten path and there is no sign for the restaurant. You just have to look for the massive smoker and a picture of a pig.

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Once inside, you get to peruse a large collection of records and choose your music. We had an early lunch and were the only ones there at that time, so the music selection was all for us! We must not look our age, because the employee asked if we knew how to change records on a record player… We enjoyed Michael Jackson and Johnny Cash while there.

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All this to say, that the atmosphere was so cool. And the food matched. It was delicious! I went with pulled pork (which you can get Pittsburgh style with cole slaw on the sandwich), mac n’ cheese, and jalapeno corn bread.

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If you need a unique joint to try some great barbeque, then Eli’s is your place.

A New Food Truck in Town

Joe and I have always been interested in the food truck culture. In fact, we even had a few fun engagement photos taken at a food truck in Lexington thanks to our good friends Kim and Dave at 522 Photography. Very few people have seen this one…

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Food trucks have been quite the rage lately, and simultaneously quite the controversy in Lexington. There is a great rotation of food trucks like Fork in the Road, Cluckin Burger, and Bradford BBQ featured at local breweries like West Sixth Brewing and Country Boy Brewing.

Tonight, we had our weekly West Sixth Running Club. Next week I’ll earn my running club t-shirt. Woo hoo! After the run, we decided to sample Lexington’s newest food truck: The Athenian Grill. We had “Crazy” Feta and a lamb gyro. It was νόστιμα (Google translate tells me this is the greek word for delicious)!

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If you are one of my blog followers in the Muncie area, get excited! Your first food truck is in progress! Check out Slop on Top.

If you haven’t explored the food truck culture yet, you are missing out on a great culinary experience, wherever you are.

 

“Life changing donuts”

A friend’s facebook post about amazing donuts and a great back patio prompted my first (but, certainly not my last!) visit to North Lime Coffee and Donuts.

I’m not sure how long this place has been around, but it must be one of Lexington’s best kept secrets. They have a small selection of their daily donuts and then a donut of the month special. Despite the small selection, the donuts they have are done so well!

I had the strawberry cake donut (front) and my mom had the key lime donut (back). The were amazing! The shop’s website may sound dramatic, but they are not lying when they say “Life changing donuts.”

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I am convinced that they are life changing donuts from both the taste and the large number of people lining up for them early in the morning. I’m looking forward to trying another kind next time.

I’ve never tried making donuts, but in the spirit of fall (today is the first official day of fall!) and being healthier (baked not fried!), I think I’ll try making this recipe for Baked Pumpkin Donuts.

If you try North Lime Coffee and Donuts or making your own donut recipe, let me know how it goes!

A Taste of Lexington’s Latino Culture

In my last post I mentioned that Lexington is always doing something fun. Well, they are at it again this weekend! We attended the Festival Latino de Lexington last year and had been looking forward to coming back this year.

We enjoyed the dancing, music, and presentations by school children from all over the city. But of course, my main interest is the food.

We chose to go to the stand for the Nicaraguan Latin Grill, a restaurant I had been wanting to try for a while now. They have authentic cuisine and I’m told there is great salsa dancing on Tuesday nights! I had shredded marinated beef, rice topped with black beans, and sweet plantains.

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Joe had a pork taquito, mixed rice and beans, plantain cakes, and yuca topped with chimmichurri sauce.

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Both meals reminded me of my time in Costa Rica. What a great place with great food!

I’m thinking I should add some ethnic cuisine to my challenges. I’ve never tried cooking with yuca or plantains before.

We ended the night with some amazing fresh churros. If you haven’t checked out the festival (and the food!) yet, you still have time. Enjoy!