Gastro Extrava-birthday-ganzas

This lonely, solo image is the only picture I have taken of the crazy deliciousness that has passed my lips in the last few days.  This picture was actually taken after the fact this morning and staged for the audience's benefit, as I could not shove one more bite in my mouth after devouring homemade biscuits and gravy.  It will have to suffice while I supplement this post with pictures of fall and otherwise re-appropriated images because of my failing to think ahead when the plates of steaming gorgeousness were placed in front of me. 

I have had the lucky and profound pleasure to eat my way through my birthday week.  It began on Wednesday night at Jack Fry's with a BFF.  They are a favorite of mine and we dined on the best menu I have had there yet.  It is so hard to pick a favorite at Jack's.  I have had almost every single thing on their menu over the years and they are all beyond compare.  The menu Wednesday was no exception.  

Fried Green Tomatoes  
Warm Brie Salad
Bourbon Glazed Duck on Braised Greens finished with an Orange Gastrique
Chocolate Cake

The Fried Green tomatoes were perfect.  The right balance of crunch and tart.  Served with a green goddess dressing. a shaved thin slice of KY country ham, house made mozzarella, and micro greens.  The warm Brie Salad is Greens tossed with just the right amount of champagne vinaigrette, toasted slivered almonds and brie- all thrown under the broiler just until the brie starts to melt and the greens think about wilting.  Heaven in every bite.  The duck breast was served with a tiny bit of foie gras on top and the entire dish was fabulous.  I need those braised greens in my life every day.  And can we talk about Duck fat?  Oy.  Food of the gods!  We tried a new wine with dinner.  Orin Swift is a favorite vineyard of mine.  The Prisoner is a fabulous wine and I knew whatever we ordered from them would be great.  Locations was no exception.  A Grenache blend with big cherry and berry on the front end and a lovely smooth, long finish.  Perfect with the duck.  The conversation was even better than the food, if you can even get your head around that, and we spent the evening moving deeper down the rabbit hole of love relationships and better coping mechanisms and laughter abounding.  A special night indeed.

Friday night my sis hosted my birthday dinner and it was mind numbingly good.  Wasabi Tuna (Whatever else she may make- THIS is her signature dish.  I could eat it everyday), Mashed Potatoes, a gorgeous fall Kentucky Bluegrass salad with pears, dried cherries, walnuts, and blue cheese (a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks EVER, Splendor in the Bluegrass -God bless the junior league and those rock star KY chefs featured in it), and Birthday cake with my loves.  My niece lent me her birthday princess crown and I was the Belle of the Ball.  A great sparkling wine, Etoile, toasted the upcoming year and the lessons learned from the past along with favorite memories, present opening, and much laughter.  

Yesterday was a two-a-day with an impromptu lunch in Frankfort at Sage Garden Cafe.  They are attached to Wilson's Nursery property and are a fun lunch spot we found about a year ago on a bourbon trek to Buffalo Trace.  I have been back several times and have fantasies about their Turkey sandwich with cranberry spread and sweet and sour cucumbers and onions.  Di-vine.  Also their chocolate peanut butter cake is dream worthy and worth the hour trip for a slice of that alone.  The nursery they are attached to is also wonderful and I have found plantings there that I can't even find in the big city here in Louisville.  Stop by if you are out that way.  You will not be sorry.

Image by

Last night we rounded out the birthday weekend with dinner at a new favorite of ours, Decca Restaurant.  They have been open for about a year or so and have one of the most creative menus in the city.  Chef Annie Pettry came to us from San Francisco and her passion for local, sustainable, and unique dishes is truly inspired.  Usually we both order the Beef Cheek because we can't find it anywhere else in the city and it melts in your mouth.  Cut-it-with-a fork good.  Last night we chose the dinner special; Whole Beast Prixe Fix.  The chef sourced a whole goat and created four courses with some part of the goat in each course.  It was remarkable and has moved into our Top Five meals of all time.  From the Goat Liver and Persimmon Chutney Amuse Bouche, to the Goat Sausage and Chevre Creme Fraiche on Fried Lentils, to the 7 Hour Braised Goat shoulder/shank with bitter cherry sauce, to the Lemon Poppy Seed cake with Goat's milk ice cream for dessert, it was perfection in every bite.  I did the wine pairing and it was as thoughtful as the menu itself.  A gorgeous evening of being with my husband on a new food adventure.  Please go and see Chef Annie and let her woo you with her food magic.  

So that brings us to biscuits and gravy this morning in front of the fire.  I know.  It is seriously obnoxious.  And it is my favorite way to celebrate anything.  This afternoon there will be walking for sure.  Lots and lots of walking.  

The light grows shorter still and we are discussing the week's schedule and where to fit in "Tilling the garden under" in the chaos of it all.  I keep thinking these warm days aren't going to last much longer.  We are still getting tomatoes and I am going to be back for another round of the Roasted Tomato soup from last weekend.  The next couple of weeks bring Halloween craziness, a much awaited trip into the mountains to visit with family, my parents move/homecoming to their new home near my sis and I, Thanksgiving at our house, and then the inevitable melancholy that comes with the approach of winter.  I will be walking the woods, cooking, and entertaining as my vaccine against the blues.  Pass on some fall goodness recipes and let's think about a cookie exchange this year.  It is always the best medicine.


You Might Also Like


  1. Sounds like a fantastic birthday! Just making home made pizza tonight, house smells delish! Trying homemade Twix for Halloween!!