Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lynn's Paradise Café

... otherwise known as "the world of swirl". Lynn's Paradise Café is not only famous for it's decor, but also for its yummy "get your money's worth" food! Although the menu does not have a huge selection of items, the items offered are very unique.
My husband and I decided to vacation in Louisville, KY this summer (A: because I don't have any vacation left due to spending it in the hospital and B: because of gas prices). We made a list of all of the things we would like to do in Louisville and the surrounding area, and going to Lynn's Paradise Café was one of the things on the list. Besides wanting to try the scrumptious variety of food, we wanted to see for ourselves the "much talked about" funky décor.
So, we decided to go for breakfast this morning (and on to the Louisville Science Center after that, but that's another story). We checked out the online breakfast menu because we figured there would be a wait, and wanted to be prepared.
When we arrived at Lynn's, there was an explosion of color, artificial flowers, giant teacups, and even a life-size horse toaster. That's right, a horse "toaster". See for yourself!

Here are some of the other things we saw as we were welcomed to the "world of swirl"....

The Giant Teacup

The Inside

The Lamp at our Table

The 1st Sign

The Second Sign

The Kites

My cup overfloweth.....

The Blue Frog (need I say more?)

As you can see, this is a pretty eclectic place. Even the inside looks like a huge vintage garage sale! The neat thing is that everything flows well --the atmosphere, the people, and the food. Speaking of....I'm glad we looked online before we came. Everything is a bit overwhelming when you first enter the dining room -- luckily we knew exactly what we wanted to order. Here is what we decided on before we came:

Jason: Paradise Pancakes—Lynn's version of the classic pancake made with Weisenbergerstone-ground yellow cornmeal and whole wheat flour. (Standard order is 2 but he only had one since they were as big as the plate!)

Brandi: Biscuits and Gravy—Homemade buttermilk biscuits smothered in Lynn's own sausage gravy. (I know, sounds boring but it was what I was craving at the time!)

We only had to wait about 10 minutes on our order (just enough time to take a couple of pictures inside the dining room --without a flash, mind you, so as not to bring attention to our table). Once it arrived, I just had to take a picture of each dish. Here is what our orders looked like:



What a mountain of food!! I mean, look at that pancake! And I promise you there were like 6 biscuits in that bowl (and each biscuit was 3 inches tall)! Plus, we each had a tall glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice. So, how much for this delicious spread? Well, we went to Lynn's with the mindset that everything was going to be expensive - -after all, it is a tourist attraction -- but were pleasantly surprised with the menu prices. My meal was $6.95 (doesn't include juice) and Jason's was $5.95. We did worry a little when we first received our menus, though, as the top three "breakfast signature items" were $14.95 and up. But you have to realize what these "signature items" were. Here is a picture of one of these items, the Bourbon Ball French Toast that Lynn's is famous for:

Three slices of thick french toast drizzled with warm Bourbon Vanilla Custard, garnished with chocolate syrup and Kentucky Bourbon Whipped Cream, and topped with sliced strawberries and toasted pecan halves. Now see why it was $14.95? This beauty actually beat Bobby Flay's french toast in the "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" episode on Breakfast.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed your little trip with me to Lynn's Paradise Café! I have only one thing to leave you with (they say a picture is worth a thousand words)...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ale-8 One -- only the best soft drink in Kentucky!

"Kentucky Swamp Water" is what this drink is sometimes referred to as. For those of you who grew up in the central Kentucky region, you know what I am talking about when I say that this drink has been a "staple in my diet" since the day I was born. No joke - my parents used to put this stuff in my bottle when I was little (which may explain a lot of things)! This soft drink is manufactured in a small factory in Winchester, KY about 15 minutes from my hometown. It is sweet, fruity, and highly caffeinated and can be found in most areas of Kentucky and the surrounding states.
Ale-8 is sold in 12 oz. cans, 20 oz. plastic bottles, non-returnable 12 oz. glass bottles, and returnable "long-neck" 12 oz. glass bottles (these can be returned to select stores for $.20 or $.30 per bottle).

The long-neck glass bottles have the best flavor, followed by the "short-necks" as they are called (remember this is redneck country - and I'm proud to be one!). The cans used to be horrible, but the company recently changed the formula, so the flavor is a lot better now. Just think of the flavor as being "ginger ale with a kick" and much sweeter.

Ale-8 is actually becoming more and more popular these days. Although it has been around since the 1920s (check out the history), Diet Ale-8 was not introduced - or perfected - until 2003 - and it has even more caffeine than regular Ale-8 (my advice is to stick with the regular). Other Ale-8 products have made their way onto shelves as well, including:

BBQ Sauce

Sweet/Spicy Salsa

Apple Butter


So, as you can see, Ale-8 One is moving up in the world! If you haven't tried it yet, I suggest you pick up a bottle (make sure it is a bottle if you want the full effect). Can't find it where you live? You can order it here (along with other Ale-8 stuff)! And, by the way, check out my brother-in-law (an Ale-8 employee) sporting some of the "Ale-8 Apparel" (the long-sleeve chocolate t-shirt). Isn't he precious? :)

If you do decide to take a gander at it, drop me a line. I'll be interested to know what you think!

Friday, June 20, 2008

It's as easy as ... PIE!!

Yeah right! We have all heard that saying before, but is pie really that easy to make? I mean, first you have to make the crust. Then you have to make the filling. Then you have to make the top crust or the meringue. Let's face it, that is absolutely too much work for a simple slice of goodness!! (well, depending on the pie, I guess). It would be so much easier to buy one of those "don't let your grandma see you buy that" freezer section pies... or a pie from the bakery at the grocery store...or if you are in Louisville, one of those scrumptious pies from the Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen. But wait, before you go running out to pick up one of the above mentioned pies, read on.

If you like pecan pie, I have an "easy as pie" recipe for you to try (and I promise, it is easy!). In fact, the recipe is from a kitchen magnet I picked up while I was vacationing in Savannah, Georgia last summer. I know! Isn't that neat? Who would have thought to put a recipe on a magnet? Anyway, here is my $1.75 magnet recipe:

At first, I was hesitant to make the pie using this "magnet recipe" - after all, it is from a magnet. Well, let me just tell you, I have made this pie about a dozen times and have found it to be very simple, very easy, and very delicious!! Actually, I just made this pie for one of our sweet professors at the Seminary. It took all of about 5 minutes to prepare. It takes a while for it to bake, though (about an hour), but the wait is definitely worth it. Just in case you can't see the recipe above, here it is:

Pecan Pie
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat 3 eggs, 2/3 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/3 cup of butter (the real stuff), and 1 cup of dark or light corn syrup. Cover bottom of pie shell with one cup of pecan halves or broken (chopped) pecans. Pour the syrup mixture over the pecans. Bake 40-50 minutes or until filling is set.

Now there are several options for the crust. You can either purchase a frozen crust (I think granny would be okay with this) - Mrs. Smith's is my personal favorite; a refrigerated crust (such as Pillsbury), a pie crust mix (Jiffy is the best), or you can make your own from scratch. I used the refrigerated one (Pillsbury) for the pie I made last night. Here is what the finished product looked like:

I was a little disappointed in the way the crust turned out (you can't tell it from the picture, but it is a little brown-er than I would have liked), but hopefully it tasted okay. I am still learning the "decorative edge technique" - haven't mastered that yet. Oh well, practice makes perfect!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store... Half Restaurant, Half Store... All Country

I don't know about you, but I just LOVE Cracker Barrel! The food is good ole' southern food, the atmosphere is cozy, and the store has some really neat items. Also, the rocking chairs on the front porch give this restaurant that "Down Home" country feel. It is the closest thing you can get to mama's and granny's kitchen, especially in Louisville, KY!

My husband and I and a couple of our best friends, Nuno and Sarah, decided to hit the Barrel after church last night around 9:00 p.m. This is a great time to go -- kind of late -- but there was not a wait and hardly anyone in the restaurant. We ordered our drinks and then contemplated what to order (except my husband, of course, who always gets the same exact thing: chicken dumplings, mashed potatoes, green beans, and cornbread with a Diet Coke). I couldn't decide on Breakfast or Dinner. [They really shouldn't put both menus on the table -- it can cause a lot of stress in someone's life!!] I really wanted a bowl of soup beans, but I also wanted french toast. I seriously thought about getting both, but decided against it. :) And then, there was the Broccoli Chedder Chicken which was the Wednesday Special....and then there was the picture of the BBQ chicken dinner as soon as you opened the menu.

So......decisions, decisions. Well, after much contemplation and temptation, I finally decided and here is what I ended up ordering:

Momma’s French Toast Breakfast®

Four slices of our own Sourdough French Toast and Two Eggs cooked to order~
with your choice of either~Any Fruit Topping or Pure Maple Syrup~and~Choice of Smoked Sausage Patties, Turkey Sausage Patties orThick-Sliced Bacon

I wish I had a picture of this sweet and delicious meal. You'll just have to trust me that it was soooo worth waiting for! The french toast was perfectly cooked with a crisp, crunchy crust and it did not taste "eggy" if you know what I mean. I had turkey sausage with my french toast, and pure maple syrup (sausage with syrup is one of my favorite things!). Everything was hot, which was very surprising at 9:30 p.m. ...probably because they had to cook everything fresh. I chose scrambled eggs, but gave those to Nuno.

Oh yeah, I also had a biscuit with strawberry jam for my appetizer. Did you know that you have to ask for bread now? CB will not bring out your complimentary corn muffins and biscuits unless you ask for them. What is the world coming to??!!

Anyway, dinner was great. Fellowship was great. Unfortunately, though, I did not have enough time after dinner to shop in the country store (they were closing), but I did manage to pick up some "vintage candy" -- Razzles!!

"First it's candy, then it's Gum!!" My friend Sarah and I just had to have some, especially since it was from the movie "13 Going On 30". We were so excited about our candy, and seeing what color our tongues were (as our husbands made fun of us!) that I totally walked off and left my to-go box of that yummy french toast that I could have had for breakfast this morning. :(

Monday, June 16, 2008

Chicken Salad

One of my favorite foods is chicken salad. No, not the "store-bought" kind. The "tastes so good I want the recipe" kind. It is one of those foods that can be eaten on crackers, on white bread, on croissants, or straight out of the bowl.

Chicken salad has many different ingredients. The basic chicken salad starts with chicken (either shredded or cubed), salad dressing or mayonnaise, pickle relish (dill or sweet), and salt/pepper. From here, you can personalize the recipe to make it your own. Here is the recipe for a chicken salad I prepared recently for a bridal shower. I served it on croissants. The crunch from the apples and the sweetness from the grapes makes this version so yummy! I hope you enjoy.

Chicken Salad
5 chicken breasts, shredded
1 medium apple, chopped (I use Fuji or Gala, but you can use whatever kind you want)
1 cup red grapes, halved (or green grapes)
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup Miracle Whip Light (or regular Miracle Whip -- I don't care too much for mayonnaise)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook chicken breasts in a Crockpot until tender - usually about 3 hours on Low (or, you can purchase a rotisserie chicken from the grocery, or even use canned chicken). Shred chicken breasts. Add apple, grapes, relish, and celery. Lightly toss. Add Miracle Whip and fold in until well-blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.

P.S. Some things that I omitted from the recipe:
*1/2 small sweet onion, finely chopped
*1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
*1 tsp sugar

If you have a good recipe for chicken salad, please share it! On a side note, Rafferty's has really good chicken salad and croissants (and yes, they drizzle them with honey butter) as well as a Sunshine Chicken Salad that is awesome. Check it out!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


If you have never had a "s'more", you have no idea what you are missing! S'mores are not just for camping. You can have s'mores anytime you want (I actually had some last night)! Know what the name s'more comes from? First of all, it is a contraction for "some more". But the origin of the s'more is very interesting. Check it out here.

A s'more consists of graham crackers, marshmallows, and a chocolate bar. What more could you ask for?!

The best s'mores are those in which a marshmallow is roasted over an open fire, then placed in between two graham crackers with a piece of chocolate (I use 1/3 of a Hershey bar). However....if you do not have an open fire, there are several other ways to make a s'more. Here is how you assemble it (if not using an open fire):

Once assembled, you can do one of three things (if you know of more ways, let me know!):

1) Microwave it! (10 seconds)
2) Wrap it in foil and toss it on the grill (5-10 minutes, depending on how hot grill is)
3) Wrap it in foil and toss it in 350 degree oven (this takes too long!)

The end result is a yummy, chocolately, marshmallowy, crunchy, messy, gooey treat that you will eat so fast you will want "s'more"!! :)


Hi Everyone! Welcome to my food blog! So many people have inspired me to "blog", so I thought I would blog about what I know best -- food! I am new to blogging, so bear with me. I hope you find this to be a place that is helpful and enjoyable to you, as well as fun! I will be posting recipes, cooking and baking tips/hints, restaurant reviews, you name it. Feel free to comment -- I'd love to know what you think! Now, let's have some fun! :)