Friday, July 9, 2010

Downtown Lexington

and Sunday Brunch

At last it was Sunday and that meant

that the Scottish Rite weekend was officially over.

Before leaving home,

I had searched online for a suitable restaurant

to stop at on the way home.

The year before we had eaten breakfast at the hotel,

but found that we wanted to stop before we got home.

The problem is that there just isn’t any place

to stop in Southern Indiana,

at least along the routes my husband favors.

As an example,

on our way to Lexington this year,

we passed through a tiny hamlet

where the big event of the day

seemed to be one fellow getting his mail

while three others stood watching him at the mailbox.

Exciting times.

No, that just wouldn’t do.

I finally picked a place in Louisville

for its proximity to the interstate,

and figured we could get an appetizer to share before heading home.


those plans flew out the window once we arrived in Lexington.

In talking about dining options for Thursday evening,

I mentioned the restaurant I wanted to try

and we decided to see if we could go there on Sunday instead.

I called the Foodie Daughter,

who was able to look up the information on the Internet for us

and we found that the restaurant was open for lunch on Sundays.

Just to be sure we would have a table;

my husband called and made reservations for us.

I love it when a plan comes together.

We checked out of the hotel and headed downtown.

After driving around a bit

and around one block a couple of times

so I could get a picture I missed the first time,

we found a place to park next to the restaurant.

As we were still a bit early for our reservation,

we set about exploring downtown Lexington on foot,

despite the heat and humidity.

After evading a panhandler

(news flash: I don’t give handouts

as I refuse to feed someone’s drug, alcohol or tobacco addiction),

we headed back towards the restaurant.

I like the juxtaposition of the new and the old in this photo.

My husband liked this bank.

A modern fountain.

I liked the old carriage way through the building.

Did you notice that the section over the pass-through

seems to have been built later?

The restaurant I chose was Jonathan’s at Gratz Park.

Chef Jonathan Lundy opened this restaurant in 1998

in the historic boutique hotel

just a few blocks from downtown proper.

I had high hopes for this place.

This is actually the back of the Gratz Park Inn.

Don't ask my why I don't have any photos of the front of the inn.

I guess I can blame the heat

and the fact that we had walked several blocks by then.

We freshened up in the hotel’s restrooms

before checking at the restaurant.

Luckily, they could seat us,

even though we were still early.

The dining room was filled

with what turned out to be a wedding party,

so the reservations had been an insurance policy of sorts.

Our server brought the brunch menus out to us

and we both asked for coffee.

We then turned our attention to the brunch menu.

Decisions, decisions.

The decor is lovely and subdued.

This photo was actually taken at the end of our meal.

Most of the other diners had left by then.

A plate of assorted breads arrived.

My husband chose the Steel Cut Oatmeal

with Grand Marnier Macerated Strawberries and Whipped Cream

for his first course.

I opted for the Gratz Park Salad,

which was Mixed Greens with Cucumbers, Carrots, Cherry Tomatoes

and a Devilled Egg.

I picked the Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette to go with the salad.

For the entrée course,

my husband went with the Southern Eggs Benedict.

This dish was given a special twist by the chef

with fried green tomatoes and country ham on English muffins,

topped with poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce.

Home fries accompanied the dish.

My husband loved this,

but found it to be too much food to eat at one sitting.

I just had to have the Grilled Pork Chop.

The chef slow roasts the pork rack chop

which is served with Kentucky hot slaw,

mashed potatoes and pork jowl cracklings.

Obviously, asparagus spears were also on the plate.

I’m not sure that I can say that I will ever be a fan of hot slaw,

but it was an interesting flavor,

and it certainly worked well with the rest of the dish.

But that pork chop.

Oh, that pork chop.

Though the pork was just a bit more well-done than I prefer,

the meat was so delicious that it just didn’t matter.

I don’t think that I have ever had a better pork chop in my life.

Finally, it was time for the dessert course.

We had our choice of several ice creams and a sorbet.

My husband opted to get the banana rum ice cream.

He was one happy man.

My choice was the mixed berry sorbet.

It was light and very good.

I admit I had an ulterior motive

in wanting to go to this restaurant.

I knew from the web site that the chef

had recently written a cookbook

and I was hoping to purchase a copy and get it autographed.

Unfortunately, the chef was out of town for the weekend,

so I was not able to get a signed copy.

I have been enjoying reading the cookbook since returning home

and have already marked several recipes.

Chef Jonathan has included his recipes from his restaurant,

so I can attempt to recreate some of these delights at home,

without that inconvenient three and a half hour drive to his restaurant.

I heartily recommend that you either seek out this cookbook

at your local library,

or if you are like me

and believe that one can never have too many cookbooks,

go online and get this book.

The photography is beautiful,

the stories behind the inspiration for the dishes are interesting

and the recipes themselves seem to be rather straightforward.

Many historical buildings and historical markers dot the landscape.

I promised the Foodie Daughter

that I would try to get some pictures of Rupp Arena for her.

I was also hoping to get some souvenirs,

but most of the shops were closed on Sunday, so no luck there.

Apparently, Rupp Arena has a viewing window,

but it is only open on weekdays.

Sorry, dear, but this is the best I can do for you.

The Main Street entrance to the Convention Center.

This was created with colored concrete.

Churches also dot the landscape.

I love these old houses.

And now it's time to say good bye to Lexington.

Thanks for coming along for the visit.

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