Shakertown at Pleasant Hill

Shakertown at Pleasant Hill

Each month my former co-workers and I get together to have lunch.  It’s great to see and keep up with everybody who I used to spend so much time with on a daily basis, whether in meetings or working on projects.  We enjoy visiting different restaurants each month and having unique adventures.  For example, we recently went to the Stockyards for lunch as well as a local brewery and a bourbon oasis.

Last month we decided to visit Shakertown at Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.  It’s only about a 30 minute drive from Lexington.  The drive is very scenic and really pretty.  As you drive to the location you can almost feel yourself going back into time. Barely two-lane roads wind down through the forest and for several miles all you see is wildlife, water and trees.  It’s a lovely drive.

According to the Shaker Village website, “The Shakers were 19th century America’s largest and best-known communal society.  In 1805, a group of Shakers came to central Kentucky and established a village they named Pleasant Hill.  The Shakers chose a peaceful way of life.”  Coming into the village you can almost feel the history.  The buildings are so well-preserved and the setting is serene.

Bubbly Horse at Shakertown at Pleasant Hill
Shakertown is a serene setting in Harrodsburg, Kentucky

The Shaker Village website goes on to describe the Shakers: “they were celibate, believed in equality of race and sex, and freedom from prejudice.”  Well, I’m not sure the ‘celibacy’ part was such an effective long-term plan for the Shakers!

There are many buildings on the property.  One of the employees told us that 34 buildings were still in use.  You can see the craftmanship in the buildings, the finishes, and the furniture.  It’s not a mystery why the buildings are still there.  They are well made and have stood the test of time.  The Shakers were the original minimalists.

Bubbly Horse at Shakertown
Historic buildings still stand today

Shaker Village serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the building known as the Trustees Table.  It is known for its great food and unique setting.  When we arrived we were serenaded with a lovely Shaker hymn.  What a great start our adventure!

When waiting for your table you can’t help but notice the two winding staircases that lead upstairs.  As the history goes, one side was for the ladies use and the other was for the men to use.  According to several sources, the only time men and women mixed in the staircases was during worship services.

Bubbly Horse at Shakertown Staircases
Shakertown staircases
Bubbly Horse at Shakertown
Shakers were the original minimalists

Farm to table is a very popular movement these days in most places.  Shakertown prides itself on a menu that features seasonal ingredients from both the on-site garden as well as from local farmers in Harrodsburg. The menu isn’t huge, but it definitely has some items that you don’t find many places.  In the past, Shakertown was known for its livestock, primarily Berkshire hogs and cattle.  It was said to have some of the best quality meat available for purchase in the state of Kentucky.  They also raised sheep for the wool to make cloth for clothing and various items.

Bubbly Horse at Shakertown for lunch
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. Great menu!

Interestingly, Shakertown now serves a full bar.  They even have mixologists!  I’m not sure how the Shakers would feel about that, but it does add a unique twist to the property.    They serve southern cocktails such as the Colonel’s Cocktail, which is a mix of Makers Mark, orange liquor, sweet iced tea and lemon. I thought The Gardner cocktail looked interesting, as well.  The Gardner cocktail contains Bulleit Bourbon, Bulleit Rye, Cynar (which is an Italian bitter liquor, primarily made from the artichoke), cardamom-caraway syrup and orange bitters.  Who knew artichokes were used in cocktails!

Bubbly Horse at Shakertown Bar
Cute bar area at Shakertown

As we were ushered into the dining room, we noticed the stark furnishings but could not help being impressed with the  lovely wooden tables and chairs.  On the wall were shelves that held candlesticks with paddle-like attachments and wooden knobs.  The knobs, according to my friends,  were designed not only to hang the shelves and candlesticks, but also for the Shakers to hang their chairs after the worship services.   Certainly efficient design work!

Bubbly Horse at Shakertown
Lovely Dining Room at Shakertown
Bubbly Horse at Shakertown
Wooden knobs were used for hanging various items, including chairs!
Bubbly Horse at Shakertown
Craftmanship at it’s finest!

Shakertown seems to be a popular place for lunch.  The dining room was full of families, tourists, and groups like mine.  You need a reservation for a group, even for lunch.

After we ordered they brought out a basket of cornbread muffins.  I’m not really a cornbread fan, but all of my fellow diners loved it.  Coleslaw served family style was also brought to the table prior to the meal.  It was a nice touch.

Tomato pie is one of my favorite things.  You certainly don’t find it on restaurant menus very often.  I hope you saw my post about it several weeks ago, it’s a very unique southern dish.   Shakertown’s tomato pie ingredients as listed on the menu contained garden tomatoes, Gruyère cheese, fresh basil and grated Parmesan.  Count me in!

Bubbly Horse and Shakertown Tomato Pie
Delicious tomato pie from Shakertown!

As you can see the portions were very large.  A garden salad accompanied the tomato pie.  It was excellent!

Shakertown is well known for its homemade desserts.  Of course, no meal is complete without desert in my book.  There was a wide variety of desserts to choose from, so we ordered several!  Dessert options included, Lemon Shaker Pie, Chocolate Flourless Torte, Fresh Peach Shortcake, Vanilla Panna Cotta and of course Buttermilk Pie.  I ordered the Buttermilk Pie. You can’t believe how tasty it was!  Yummy!  The rest of the desserts were very good as well.  I can assure you that no dessert was left behind!

Bubbly Horse at Shakertown Lemon Pie
Lemon Pie dessert
Bubbly Horse at Shakertown Buttermilk Pie
I loved the Buttermilk Pie!
Bubbly Horse at Shakertown
Vanilla Panna Cotta dessert
Bubbly Horse at Shakertown chocolate dessert
Chocoholics will love the chocolate flourless torte

After lunch we walked around the grounds for a while.  It’s a very peaceful setting.  Naturally, I made sure we made a visit to the gift shop.  Staying true to the theme, the shop contained many handmade items, such as pottery, brooms and various handicrafts.

Bubbly Horse at Shakertown
Shakertown gift shop

Shaker Village is one of our Kentucky gems.  You can spend the night there, dine there, or just hang out.  The Shakers created a beautiful place and we should be thankful that it has been preserved over the years.  You can go to relax and just enjoy the peaceful surroundings and escape for a while from the stress of today’s lifestyle.

Bubbly Horse at Shakertown
We had a lovely day at Shakertown!

Next week be watching for my Castle and Key blog post.  You don’t want to miss it!  xoxox

No Bones About It!

No Bones About It!

This post is in collaboration with Bone’s Restaurant.  All of these opinions are entirely my own. Thank you for supporting businesses that are partners with Bubbly Horse!

When you arrive at Bone’s, the building is very unassuming. With a simple awning and a small front drive, you might just pass it by. Trust me, you will be sorry if you do! But, as most fine dining restaurants, be sure you make a reservation.

There is a reason why Bone’s Steakhouse in Atlanta is always listed as one of the best restaurants in Atlanta, or for that matter the US.  The place oozes an old school vibe.  You almost expect to see the Rat Pack sitting in the corner drinking martinis!

 

I was in Atlanta for business recently, so my parents went along with me.  A small family vacation, and it happened to be my mother’s birthday!  There’s not a better birthday dinner than celebrating at Bone’s.  They really make you feel special and important.  Check out how they decorate the table below.  So cute!  I haven’t seen any other restaurant do this.  Very cool.

Bones Filet in

I have been a customer at Bone’s for a long time, so I even have a profile on file. The General Manager just happens to have a connection with Kentucky so I contacted him before we arrived in Atlanta.  He was so nice.  He greeted us warmly at the door and showed us to the table.  Our table was in the Dog Room, that’s where I like to sit.  Portraits of regal dogs adorn the dark paneled walls.  Glass wine cases and low lighting complete the ambiance. Everybody looks better in low light!

 

 

It was time to order dinner.  For my appetizer I ordered the lump crab cocktail.  The cocktail was served with both a cocktail sauce and a remoulade sauce.  You can’t believe how firm and delicious it was.  Fresh off the boat!

Bubbly Horse visits Bones restaurant in Atlanta

Soon after the starters were taken away and the crumbs were swept away,  our main course arrived.  Bone’s is a steakhouse, so I ordered steak.  I can grill a good steak, but I can’t get the crust to turn out like professional grills do.  The filet arrived, cooked perfectly and already portioned out for me (dad and I always split a steak).  It was so tender I really didn’t even need a knife.  The outside of the steak was perfectly crusted.

Bones Filet in Atlanta

A birthday dinner wouldn’t be complete without a birthday cake!  And at Bone’s they give you about half of a cake.  Great for sharing, and it’s ice cream!  Delicious!

Birthday cake at Bones Stekhouse in Atlanta

The last part of the birthday celebration is my favorite.  I’m sure you have gotten the connection between the name Bone’s and dogs by now.  When you are leaving the restaurant you are presented with a cute little box to take home.  Guess what it is? A box of cookies, shaped like bones!

Thanks to Bone’s we had a great birthday celebration for Mom.  I would tell you how old she is, but I would have to kill you. Ha!  xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

Dining Delight

Dining Delight

This post is in collaboration with The Charleston Grill and The Belmond Charleston Place. All of these opinions are entirely my own.  Thank you for supporting businesses that are partners with Bubbly Horse!

Charleston is definitely a foodie destination.  Southern cuisine at it’s best!

Trip Advisor ranked The Charleston Grill in the Top 2 places to eat in Charleston.  I had read all the reviews and decided to make reservations for us (my parents and I) during our recent trip to Charleston.  My aunt and uncle had visited The Charleston Grill over the New Years’ holiday and have raved about it.   I didn’t realize that the restaurant was located in our hotel, The Belmond at Charleston Place.  How convenient!

When you arrive at The Charleston Grill you are greeted by a professional staff and ushered into a lovely dining room.  There’s dark paneling and luxurious fabric as well as soft lighting.  Candlelight and muted lighting makes us all look and feel better!  The lounge had a jazz combo playing softly.  It’s truly a beautiful space.

Charleston Grill Bar

Photos courtesy of The Charleston Grill

The menu had several options that caught my eye.  At home, I don’t get the chance to have super fresh seafood, so I opted for the scallops.  The scallops were sautéed perfectly with a golden crust and had a piece of morcilla (which is a blood sausage from Ecuador) which was accompanied by pea puree.  The dish had a chili-chorizo vinaigrette to top it off.  All I can say was WOW!  I’m not even a huge sausage fan and I could have licked the plate!

Bubbly Horse visits the Charleston Grill

As a side dish we ordered the roasted baby carrots.  They were so tender and delicious.  Sweet carrots accompanied by feta cheese, fresh mint and pickled Fresno chili peppers.  The feta cheese gave them just enough saltiness.  They were almost too pretty to eat.

Bubbly Horse visits The Charleston Grill

throughout the evening, from the hostess to the sommelier to the server, the staff was knowledgeable and the service was top-notch.  To be honest, these days it’s hard to find a restaurant with high quality service standards, but The Charleston Grill trains and educates their employees, and it shows.  The wine list was extensive and had a wide variety of wines and price points.

No meal would be complete without dessert!  That evening the dining room had a special dessert.  It was a chocolate tart with a graham cracker crust and a poached pear.  The chocolate was warm and sweet and it was drizzled with a raspberry sauce.  Hello treadmill!  It was delicious and I ate every bite!

The Charleston Grill at The Belmond in Charleston

The evening was so lovely.  I would advise that you visit The Charleston Grill on your next trip to Charleston.  You won’t be disappointed!  Cheers xoxo.

Stephanie and her parents at The Belmond

 

Steak Lovers Unite!

Steak Lovers Unite!

Who doesn’t love a great steak!  As we get older maybe we don’t eat as many steaks as we used to for a variety of reasons, but that doesn’t mean we can’t splurge sometimes.

Recently T & L published an article about the best steak houses in the country.  I’ve actually been to several of them but the others are certainly on my to-do list!  Everybody has steaks but GREAT steaks are hard to find.  Many on the list are iconic places that maybe you have visited or have heard of over the years.

The good news is that a couple of the steakhouses listed are pretty close to where I live.  Road trip! xoxo

Photos by Kelly Campbell, Starr Restaurants and Urban Farmer.

http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/best-steakhouses-in-the-us#five-oclock-steakhouse

 

South Beach Fun

South Beach Fun

On a previous blog post I told you about my recent shopping trip to Ft. Lauderdale.  It was really fun. Of course the primary activity was shopping but we did go into South Beach one night for dinner.  South Beach didn’t disappoint!

Uber picked us up on Thursday for the 45 minute drive into South Beach.  We had reservations at 10pm at a restaurant called Villa Azur.  Here’s a few photos.  It’s a beautiful place.

These are night and day photos, because you see the restaurant serves dinner until early morning.  But, when you reserve the table you only have a two-hour reservation and unless you are ordering bottles you have to adhere to that policy (the people at the next table were asked to leave, times up!).

The food was delicious.  I had a truffle and brie  cream salad for starters and sea bass for my entrée.  The sea bass had crushed tomatoes and a tomato vinaigrette. Both were so good.  They were almost too pretty to eat!

During dinner they have a DJ that plays a variety of music.  Everything from old school hip hop to rap music to AC/DC was playing.  It was really fun.  It was certainly a party atmosphere.  There were lots of good-looking people there.

During the evening I took a selfie (while sitting in my chair) as my back was to the outside. This is what I got, needless to say I didn’t know there were people dancing on the tables behind me!

Bubbly Horse visits South Beach

Later in the evening they gave everybody sparklers.  It was really festive.  They also had models that walked thru the restaurant.  Check this out.

I had a lot of fun.  I hope you enjoyed hearing about the trip! xoxox


Continue reading “South Beach Fun”

Burger Nation

Burger Nation

I love a good burger, who doesn’t!  Food and Wine lists the best burgers in the US.  Even though you may not be able to visit many of these restaurants listed, you can still use the ideas for your own burgers.  Most of the burgers have different types of meat, besides hamburger.  Talk to your grocery store and see if you can try something new in your mix.  Use a different bun and you go from yum to super yum! xoxo

http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/best-burgers-in-the-us?xid=NL_DISH111217&utm_source=foodandwine.com&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=the-dish&utm_content=2017111220PM#15