Category Archives: Restaurants

Mordecai’s – And A Sunday Adventure!

Ritchey has had two weekend long activities with Relay for Life – for the American Cancer Society – for the past two weekends.  This was our weekend to spend together.  Sunday after church we drove to Springfield to eat lunch at Mordecai’s.  Naturally, you can order from the menu, but everyone gets the buffet.  Normally I do not eat from buffets, but this is the one exception I make!  Mordecai’s has the most fantastic food!  In fact, their wait staff wears shirts that say, “Life’s too short for average food!”

A sign outside the door announces the menu for the day – well, at least part of it!  Turkey and dressing caught my eye!  There was also fried chicken, ham, Italian green beans, sweet potatoes, corn, macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce, breakfast items, a station to make omelets to your specification – so many choices! I’ve waited until this moment to mention the whipped red potatoes – light, delicate, just the right amount of butter and cream – so very good!  The salad bar is always fresh and includes a huge platter of fresh fruit.  There are several soups offered and at least five or six desserts.  I always get cherry cobbler – it’s my favorite, so why mess with a good thing!

Our hostess seated us immediately.  It is a very pleasant atmosphere – a hometown feel – which, of course, it is.  Most people there were locals – some were having breakfast, some Sunday dinner.  Friday and Saturday nights draw people from out of town – several counties away – to enjoy the good food and company.  It is especially a homecoming for me since my mother grew up in Springfield.  The building that houses Mordecai’s used to be the IGA foodstore – I was there many times with my grandmother!

Since I didn’t know, as we left I asked our hostess why they chose the name Mordecai’s.  Abraham Lincoln’s uncle, Mordecai Lincoln, lived a short distance outside the city limits of Springfield.  His house, built in 1797, is still standing in the original spot.  Abraham’s father and mother were married in Washington County, very near the Mordecai Lincoln home.  This is Lincoln country!  Lincoln Park is just past Mordecai’s home.  As a young child I remember visiting the park and going through the buildings – remembrances of days gone by.  But I had not seen Mordecai’s house!

As with anything else new, Ritchey and I couldn’t resist driving to the Lincoln house for a photo.  The rest of our day was spent driving the backroads of Washington County, looking for small cemeteries and taking gravestone photos.  We actually follow maps since it is easy to get lost on the tiny roads – some that are so small it’s hard to meet an oncoming car!  This doesn’t sound interesting to most people, but it is what we do.  At the rate the older stones are deteriorating it will be impossible to photograph all in the neighboring counties before they are unreadable.  This is an important part of our heritage.  No one should be forgotten.

I photographed all the stones at Hillsboro Church – many have been broken and removed!  This church is no longer used for services.  The sky was such a gorgeous blue!  At a cemetery at the corner of Coulter Road and Glenn Creek Lane the grass was waist high!  We will return in late fall and try to get better pictures.

We tried to find several other small cemeteries on our map, but with no luck.  As we were driving back to Harrodsburg  Ritchey asked if I had ever been to the Old Mud Meeting House, one of only two that have survived in Kentucky.  I had not.  Then he told me a cemetery was beside the meeting house.  I was excited, but not prepared for what we found.  This was a Dutch Reformed Church, established by 50 families who came to Mercer County from Pennsylvania in 1781.  There are 25 – count them – 25 Revolutionary War veterans buried in this cemetery!  The Sons of the American Revolution have placed plaques with their name, birth and death dates, the name of their regiment and their rank.

Many of the stones are in bad shape – lichens are destroying them little by little.  Erosion from the elements plays its part, too.  Both sides of this stone look alike – the writing has faded – time has taken its toll.

My goal is to get good pictures of each stone and each plaque; and draw a map of the placement of stones.  If not done now, in a few years most of the stones will be unreadable.

This is a fairly large cemetery, all old stones – with a few of the above ground monuments that were popular at one time.  A couple of these are crumbled and broken.  The Old Mud House is being restored to be viewed and enjoyed by future generations – the cemetery needs the same care – to be photographed and cataloged for posterity.  Instead of a recipe, today you got a genealogy tour and a history lesson!

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Tomato Bisque

Note by Phyllis Brown:  The first time I had this delightful bisque was at Stella’s Deli in downtown Lexington.  Stella’s is “dedicated to local farmers and to supporting local food economies.  Their mission is to produce simple, high-quality foods that emphasize the superior flavors and textures of fresh, local ingredients”.  Everything is made by hand, there at the tiny shop, using seasonal ingredients.  Saturday morning brunch is the thing to do before or after hitting the farmers’ market which is close by.  When I complimented her on the bisque she told me it was made with artichoke hearts – no cream – to give it that yummy thickness – and seasoned with lime juice!  So, of course, with all our tomatoes I had to make my own!  I wash my cherry and pear tomatoes, put them between two towels to dry, bag and freeze.  During the winter I pull out a bag and make this bisque!  This is my recipe from remembrance of that delicious goodness from Stella’s Deli!  Last night I made this bisque with yellow pear tomatoes and large Mr. Stripey tomatoes – yellow with red streaks.  You can use any combination or color tomatoes you choose.

Tomato Bisque

  • 25 yellow pear tomatoes
  • 2 large yellow tomatoes, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 10 artichoke hearts
  • zest of 2 limes, reserving one to zest when serving
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • 3 small stalks celery, chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves

Place all ingredients into a large pan except reserved lime zest and thyme leaves.  Slowly bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Use an immersion blender to puree soup.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.  Add thyme leaves.  When serving, top with lime zest.  Enjoy!

Cats and Good Food!

Shakertown is our comfortable, go-to place!  It is ten minutes from our home!  Not only do you get some of the best food in the state of Kentucky, but there are other ways to help you slip back into the era of a calmer lifestyle!  Usually there are several cats to love on!  This was taken outside the gift shop – but usually this sleepy kitty is inside the shop – sitting with the pottery and painted gourds and stained glass.  He knows no bounds!  And, of course, Ritchey is drawn to him automatically!

You can take leisurely walks down the tree-lined avenues, 19th century buildings on either side.  Long-horned cattle and Percheron horses are in the fields.  Ducks and geese swim on the pond – and run towards you noisily squawking when they see you – always looking for free handouts!

And then there is the food.  People are drawn to Shakertown not only for the taste and quality of the food that is served, but for the kind and friendly manner of the hostess and waitstaff.  Sunday was our third week in a row for lunch.  I must share it with you!

Ritchey had the Chicken Croquettes – moist free-range chicken and fresh herbs formed into pyramids, dusted with bread crumbs and quickly fried, topped with a Kentucky bourbon and mushroom cream sauce and served with crisp baby green beans.  It is hard to imagine just how good this dish is!  It absolutely melts in your mouth!

I chose the Johnny Cakes and Country Ham – a julienne of country ham and shallots cooked in a white wine and butter sauce over silver dollar cornmeal cakes, served with sauteed mushrooms, spinach and roasted red peppers.  This is the best meal I’ve had at Shakertown.  The country ham and shallots on cornbread was a combination I would not have considered – but it was excellent!  And the spinach was cooked to perfection!

Since we can never seem to get enough vegetables we shared a side dish of sauteed yellow squash and zucchini with pesto.  I know what I will do with my next veggies from the garden!

I saved the best for last – Shaker Lemon Pie.  To look at this you might think, hmm, it’s just an ordinary piece of pie – what’s all the fuss!  Click on the picture and take a closer look – you can even click again for an even closer look!  The crust is flaky perfection.  But then you take a bite – and your eyes open wide in surprise and then close in delight!  Whole lemons are sliced paper thin – giving a tart, true lemon taste!  And I have the recipe for you – from The Shaker Cook Book by Caroline B. Piercy.

Shaker Lemon Pie

  • 2 large lemons
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, well beaten

Slice lemons as thin as paper, rind and all.  Combine with sugar; mix well.  Let stand 2 hours, or preferably overnight, blending occasionally.  Add beaten eggs to lemon mixture, mix well.  Turn into nine inch pie shell, arranging lemon slices evenly.  Cover with top crust.  Cut several slits near center.  Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for about 20 minutes or until silver knife inserted near edge of pie comes out clean.  Cool before serving.  Enjoy!

The Original Kentucky Hot Brown

The Original Kentucky Hot Brown

Note by Phyllis Brown:  How about this for lunch?  The original Kentucky Hot Brown – made at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky.  This is where it all began in the 1920’s when the Brown Hotel would draw over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance.  In the wee hours of the morning, after tiring of dancing, guests would be ready for an early breakfast.  Instead of the usual ham and eggs Chef Fred Schmidt created something new and unique – an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and a light Mornay sauce.  There are no words to describe this hot brown!  The flavors are in exact proportion – some restaurants serve a hot brown with so much cheese that’s all you taste.  Not with the original – each ingredient is perfectly matched with the others.  Ritchey and I visit the Brown Hotel for the sole purpose of having this delectible lunch!

The hotel itself is a joy to visit.  Located at the corners of Fourth and Broadway in downtown Louisville, it is a treasured reminder of the past.  It was built in 1923 at a cost of $4 million, and was visited by prominent guests and celebrities through the 1950s.  Just walking through from the upper parking lot down to the lobby to the street-level J. Graham’s Cafe for lunch, you can enjoy hand-painted relief ceilings, intricately carved railings and Bottocino marble flooring.  It is truly a visit to the past.  And spending the night at the Brown is a delight!  Ritchey and I call it ‘our’ hotel – well, after all, it is The Brown!

Following is the hot brown recipe from the webpage of The Brown Hotel.

The Legendary Hot Brown Recipe

Ingredients (Makes Two Hot Browns):

  • 2 oz. Whole Butter
  • 2 oz. All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Qt. Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, Plus 1 Tablespoon for Garnish
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 14 oz. Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast
  • 2 Slices of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed)
  • 4 slices of Crispy Bacon
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced in Half
  • Paprika, Parsley

In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk whipping cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.

Summertime at Shaker Village

Sunday lunch is always lovely at Shaker Village.

Ritchey had their Summer Vegetable Pasta – baby squash, zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, shallots and scallions in a white wine and butter reduction served over fresh wide noodles and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.  I tasted it!  I can vouch that it was stupendous!

I decided on the Pleasant Hill Chicken Salad Plate – their yummy chicken salad, fresh fruit and ham salad and pimento cheese on biscuits.  It was very light and refreshing on a hot, humid day!  After lunch we walked around the grounds – even in all the heat it was immensely enjoyable!

The horses must have had the day off!  None were pulling wagonloads of visitors today!

Mr. Goat wanted his head scratched and a handful of green grass!

Will he become Thanksgiving dinner later in the year?

Isn’t this rooster a beautiful color?

Now how many of you thought this was corn?  It’s actually sorghum!  You can tell by the head that develops at the top of the plant – look above the handles of the plow – you can see one!  Later in the year you can visit and watch them make it into molasses!

The dining hall – side view.  We sat at the door in the very center of the picture – what a great view while enjoying such a good meal!

The fields were full of glorious wildflowers!

Ironweed – I wish I had some in my garden!  It’s beautiful – and draws butterflies by the hundreds!

If we had more land we would have at least one field dedicated to wild flowers!

Algae has overrun the pond!  Looks like the geese are swimming on grass!

The geese started towards me – I’m sure they thought I had food – not a camera!

Come spend a relaxing day at Shaker Village!  You will see something different every time you come!  And it will take you back to a time when it was said, “We make you kindly welcome!”

The Mayan Cafe

Photo – The Mayan Cafe website!  Chef Herberto Rosendo “Bruce” Ucán Ake

THE MAYAN CAFE

If I had but one choice for dinner, it would be The Mayan Cafe.  Ritchey and I found this wonderful place quite by accident – while I was at a conference at the Galt House in Louisville.  We wanted lunch close by so I would make my afternoon classes.  After our first visit we came back every day to enjoy their stupendous food!  Not only is the food very, very good – it is not your every day, run of the mill cuisine.  If you love to eat – and enjoy trying something new – this is the place to come!  On top of that, they use local, sustainably-farmed ingredients!

We celebrated Linton’s birthday at The Mayan Cafe!  First was their Guacamole and Totopos.  This is the way to make guacamole!  What a beginning!  Then on to the entrees!

I had the vegetable plate – Tok-Sel Lima Beans – an ancient Mayan recipe – and my favorite!  Corn cakes, fried plantains and grilled cactus.  Notice the pickled red onions – to die for!  I also had a carrot and ginger bisque with goat cheese and roasted pumpkin seeds.

Ritchey had salmon in a roasted garlic ciutiachoche cream sauce, served with Tok-Sel Lima Beans and rice.  He also had a bowl of seafood bisque – made with salmon, crawfish and whitefish.

The birthday boy had scallops in a salsa negro sauce with fried plantains and a yucca cake.  Notice the golden-brown sear on the scallops!

Kate had shrimp in a pumpkin sauce with grilled cactus and rice.  All the dishes tasted great and were presented beautifully!

We were full and very happy people!  Then we had dessert!  Linton and Kate had a Fried Banana Churro rolled in honey and pistachios, with a Mexican chocolate sauce and banana ice cream!  Ritchey and I shared a Coconut-Mango Cheesecake – extremely good – the flavors just burst in your mouth.  It is the best cheesecake!

When you are in Louisville, visit The Mayan Cafe – you will find your restaurant!

The Old Chickahominy House

The Old Chickahominy House

Any time Ritchey and I are in Williamsburg, or even close, we stop by The Old Chickahominy House.  My sister and I discovered the wonders of this restaurant when we took a tour of Washington, D.C. and Virginia in 1979 – this was before either of us married.  About 15 years later I introduced Ritchey to the wonderful old Virginia ham and biscuits (square and rather flat, but out of this world!), homemade pies (last time I had coconut!), Brunswick Stew, chicken and dumplings – and he agreed it was the best he’d ever had!  When we visit for a few days we eat breakfast here every morning.  If we are driving elsewhere we always opt to stay in Williamsburg overnight, just to go to The Old Chickahominy House to eat!

The dining room reminds you of an old manor house – with many small tables and chairs.  Portraits and oil paintings adorn the dark colored walls.  The oak floors add to the ambience.  The fireplace and mantel are the focal point – with candlesticks and decorations.

In addition to the yummy food, they have a gift shop with delightfully dainty items for your table – among other things!

The owner was kind enough to take our picture the last time we were there!

Next time you are in Williamsburg stop by and have a bite – I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!