louisville, kentucky: lynn’s paradise cafe

Over Labor Day weekend, my six-year old daughter, Madeline, and I boarded a flight out of our town’s little regional airport and traveled to Louisville, Kentucky. We were headed to Louisville to attend the wedding of my younger cousin, Alyson. This was the second trip Madeline had taken on an airplane – the first was when she was two and a half – so she was very excited.ย  My daughter was was also thrilled to be attending her first wedding ever, because to her, weddings are all about the Disney fairytale – the flowing white dress, a beautiful princess, a handsome prince,ย  and lots of dancing.

The wedding was a gorgeous event, held in a beautiful Catholic church in downtown Louisville. Other than the fact that I failed to pack any snacks for my daughter for the long wedding ceremony, and that I mistakenly gave Madeline a heart-shaped bath salt to eat during the service (thinking it was a mint), we had a really lovely time.

But let’s talk about food, shall we? This is a food blog, after all.

Saturday morning, before the wedding, a group of us went to a relatively famous Louisville restaurant – Lynn’s Paradise Cafe for breakfast. Lynn’s Paradise Cafe is an eclectic restaurant, and the shiny sequined sign outside immediately gives that impression.

When you walk in the front door, you’re in a retail shop, filled with lamps and greeting cards and books and other knick knacks. It’s sort of overwhelming, but fun to browse. My mom and I both had our cameras, and both of us wanted to wander and take photographs rather than sit still at the table. I really wanted to be in the restaurant when it was empty, just so I could look around with no people to distract me – there were so many things hanging from the ceilings and walls to look at.

The lamp you see below is made entirely of used tea bags. Used tea bags! Crazy, right? But you know, I kind of want one now. I think it would look pretty good in my foyer. I’m just not sure I can drink that much tea in time to make one before I have grandchildren of my own, though.

There IS more to this restaurant than just the decor, although the decor takes top billing at first glance. The breakfast portions are huge. I ordered the wild mushroom scramble – eggs scrambled with Portobello and button mushrooms, baby spinach, and white cheddar, and served with a horseradish dill sour cream. For sides, I ordered the cheese grits (because I cannot resist grits) and the buttermilk biscuit.

I will admit that the wild mushroom scramble is not pretty to look at. It is not photogenic. But it was damn tasty. The horseradish dill sour cream had great flavor and really complemented the eggs and mushrooms. The cheese grits were just okay. I love my grits plain, so I don’t hold it against the grits. I hold it against the cheddar cheese, which I’m just not a fan of. The buttermilk biscuit? Oh, my. I’m in love with that biscuit. My dad thought it was too messy, and I agree that it was. This is a biscuit that you eat with a fork or break up into pieces, but I’m good with that.

If you ever find yourself in Louisville, Kentucky, you should really go to Lynn’s Paradise Cafe. Like all good Kentucky establishments, they serve bourbon, and you can even get a mint julep. Browse for a bit in the shop, look up at the very cool tea bag lamp, eat a buttermilk biscuit. You’ll be glad you did.

And wait. What’s this? That’s not food.

This, my friends, is a cave. I thought I’d end with this photo because this was part of what made my tripย  so special. In the photo is my 75 year old dad with my 6 year old daughter. My dad, my mom, my daughter, and I spent a lot of time driving around Louisville, listening to my dad’s stories of growing up in Louisville back when he was a kid.

This cave is in Cave Hill Cemetery, where my dad’s mother and father are buried. Seeing two of the most special people in my life, my dad and my daughter, checking out this cave – I loved that. It was just a moment in time, but I’m glad I got it on camera.

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17 Responses to “culinary institute of america – the boot camp, day two”

  1. Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — October 7, 2011 @ 11:02 am

    Another great post! Glad you had a good experience, food looks gorgeous. PS: I’m TOTALLY jealous. PPS: We all already knew you could cook!

  2. Kay@chopstix2steaknives — October 7, 2011 @ 11:54 am

    I love reading about your experience and those early waking hours is something that I don’t look forward to as I am not a morning person. Am glad you got what you seek out with going on a 2 day bootcamp course.

  3. TikiPundit — October 7, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

    Thanks for these two great posts. It’s clear that you enjoyed the experience and it’s also clear that you can write very well. This was a great summary of a tempting expedition for me!

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — October 8th, 2011 @ 8:23 am

      Thank you so much for that sweet compliment on my writing.

  4. Liren — October 7, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

    The chef’s whites suit you! And of course you *can* cook, we knew that all along ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Macaroni Mama — October 7, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

    Sounds like a fun trip!

  6. MikeVFMK — October 7, 2011 @ 8:23 pm

    Yes you can! What an incredible experience that will no doubt leave you with memories for a lifetime. The chef white’s suit you perfectly!

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — October 8th, 2011 @ 8:22 am

      Ha ha! Thanks, Mike. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — October 8, 2011 @ 9:02 am

    MJ – of COURSE you can cook. What a wonderful post – I felt like I was there with you!

  8. Gail — October 9, 2011 @ 10:34 am

    I know exactly how you felt at bootcamp. I had the same feeling when I went to culinary school. Such a wonderful experience!

  9. Mary Constant — October 10, 2011 @ 7:40 pm

    I’m glad that you loved the experience! I have taken some classes at the CIA Greystone and loved them. Both Hyde Park and Greystone are the most beautiful old buildings , both formerly Catholic institutions of one sort or the other. (Greystone was the Christian Brothers Winery)

  10. Peter — October 10, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

    It was great to meet you, and I’m jealous of your adventures.

  11. Adrienne — October 10, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

    What an incredible experience! Of course you can cook! You are a woman of many talents.

  12. Paula — October 10, 2011 @ 11:05 pm

    What a great wrap-up of your experiences on day two. It is clear that you were so much more comfortable finding your way around the kitchen and working with your wonderful team. You all seemed to have jelled together quite easily. Your dish look great, you look wonderful in the whites and your sense of accomplishment from the past two days is evident in your face and in your writing. My son-in-law is a chef and I have always admired the skill level and pure physicality required to work in a professional kitchen. Most patrons in the dining room truly have no idea. Looking forward to what you decide to create with much greater confidence in your own kitchen.

  13. Connie — October 11, 2011 @ 8:52 pm

    I really enjoyed reading your blog. My husband and I just completed the 5 day boot camp with Chef Bruno. From your menus, it sounds like we cooked the same things. But I can’t imagine doing everything we did in 5 days in only 2! We had so much fun that we are planning to do another boot camp next spring – probably the Bread Boot Camp. This was one of the most fun vacations we have ever had and we loved every minute of it!

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — October 12th, 2011 @ 7:03 am

      That’s so great to hear, Connie. I’d love to do a 5-day boot camp, but I’d never get my husband to go along with it. I’d have to plan a solo vacation. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Rose — October 12, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

    Just got around to reading this along with some other great recipes and stories. This is an amazing blog! One would think you are a professional writer. It is put together so well. I can’t imagine the time and effort you put into this but it’s absolutely beautiful. I will definitely be back! Happy birthday in case I miss it.

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