Friday, September 30, 2011

Comfy Cow

Well it's officially Fall, and even though it's my favorite season, I am feeling a little sad to see the Summer go. It was such a hot one that I often felt it necessary to cool off with a little ice cream indulgence. I discovered The Comfy Cow one weekend night, after I finished getting my weekly fix of Mexican food with my friend, Patrick. He had spoken highly of it a few times and even though I was super full and trying to keep the body swimsuit worthy, I went in for the kill. The line was literally out the door and down the sidewalk! Fortunately, the line moved fast and it was nice to have a little time to let my quesedilla digest. I would normally go straight for anything chocolate, but decided on the interesting flavor of Watermelon Mint. The watermelon was highly refreshing and the mint was subtle. Both of these together added a light amount of lingering sweetness. Patrick enjoyed the Dolce de Leche, one of the Comfy Cow favorites that presents a creamy caramel flavor along with a pinch of seasalt.

It was not very crowded on my second trip here, so I was able to take my time and sample a handful of flavors. I also asked the attendant which flavor she liked best and she did not hesitate to suggest the Dolce de Leche. The Cake Batter Up was a unique palate pleaser that reminded me of the yellow cake you'd relish with a glass of cold milk in grandma's kitchen.  I felt it was too rich for an entire scoop though. I also really enjoyed the Bourbon Ball flavor, as it provided a distinct bourbon flavor that was not too overpowering. However, I ended up ordering a cup of the attendant's second favorite, the Peanut Butter and Chocolate.

(Please take note that if you are with me and I start to order an ice cream cone, you must talk me off the ledge...I can't do cones! It is a long and horrifying story. Let's just say the result will be catastrophic).

Back to my story... If peanut butter and chocolate were to have a love child, it would come out tasting just like this flavor. The peanut butter based cream and thick chunks of rich chocolate, produced a mixture with the best traits from both parents. I would babysit for this child any night of the week and I would probably even let it stay up past it's bedtime.

Visit number three came after a tough workout at the gym. I was ready to get my chocolate on once again. First I sampled a Hazelnut Chocolate, which was good but didn't knock my socks off. I am a fan of hazelnut, especially with chocolate. But the hazelnut flavor in this mixture was a bit weak for my tastebuds. So I moved on to my next sampling selection, the S'more. This one proved to be a winner. I was expecting it to have a chocolately base, but was actually delighted to find the mushy graham cracker stood out, along with chunks of chocolate of course. Unfortunately there was only a little bit of marshmallow goodness. The more ewey, gooey marshmallow, the better right? Overall, I was happy with my choice and would gladly ask for S'more!

The Comfy Cow's micro creamery has developed around 70 different flavors including the "Signature" options and others that are rotated throughout the year. They are also well known for their amazing array of specialty sundaes and ice cream pies, whose cookie crusts are made from scratch. Yum, yum. This local biz currently has two locations, in the east end at Westport Village and near the University of Louisville at Cardinal Towne. And I don't want to get too excited, but I have heard a buzz that there might be a store opening in my neck of the woods, off Frankfort Avenue. I truly appreciate that there is a "Foodie Flavor" featured every week and I am hoping to return soon to sample some Fall flavored creations.

The next time you want to indulge and cool off with an ice cream, don't hesitate to ask me to join you at the Comfy Cow. Just remember, I don't do cones. Don't even mention them around me. But on a lighter note, live to eat!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hillbilly Tea

Imagine yourself enjoying a chilly mason jar of organic iced tea with your favorite little brother on a blazing hot day. Add to this scenario a trendy, low key, and ecclectic atmosphere with wholesome Appalachian inspired cuisine, and you might just have the perfect Sunday afternoon. We sat in one of the wooden booths and were given both breakfast and tea menus as our server listed off the daily specials. I went for the classic peach tea and Michael chose a green tea with ginger and jasmine.We noted the cool wall decor which includes colorful, abstract artwork that is framed along a brick wall and painted onto a fabric, hung at the far end of the room. There are many other pieces that tie into the mountain theme such as a rocking chair with a country quilt laid on top. Upon entering the room, you will see a counter to the left that features a multitude of teas and desserts. There is a shovel and a wicker kitchen chair that hang from the side walls, a wagonwheel sitting on top an old kitchen cupboard, and a few mini schoolhouse chairs scattered about. Ironically this "Hillbilly"cafe is situated in the heart of downtown. Sitting at 120 First Street (in between Main and Market Street), I think it brings the best of the "backwoods" - cuisine and culture, to my beloved Louisville.

I was so caught up in this fun and relaxing atmosphere, that I wasn't even a little prepared to place my order when the server arrived with our teas. However Michael, always the decisive one, announced he was all set on the Hillbilly Breakfast Platter. I looked at the menu over and over and considered options such as the Moonshine Breakfast with bourbon pork chop and eggs, the Skillet Pancake, and Poached Eggs on a Buttermilk Biscuit. I finally decided on the Hillbilly Nola - granola made from scratch with housemade yogurt. Unfortunately, we arrived after the breakfast rush hour that left them with no granola! So with pressure building on me to decide, I changed my game a little, and in the heat of the moment, I blurted out "Scrambled Eggs with Succotash". Both Michael and our fun server gave their approval with a nod stating, "Nicely Done ".

Speaking of nice, the teas tasted so incredibly pure that there was no need to alter the flavor by adding any sugar. As we waited for our food, I told Michael about the uniquely refreshing bubblegum iced tea that I purchased a few weeks prior from the Hillbilly Tea tent at a local festival. I highly recommend it. My succotash included a mix of white and pinto beans with some corn, a little tomato, and an amazing array of herbal flavoring that was tough to pinpoint. I definitely tasted hints of basil which is my favorite. This flavor was present in the scrambled eggs too. I felt the corn and tomatoes could  have made more of an appearance but I was satisfied overall and would order this comforting dish again. Michael's platter included scrambled eggs and two toast sticks which he said were borderline burnt. However, he relished the crispy potato cake draped with a light cheese and the petite, yet succulent bison patties. He also appreciated the orange slice and single strawberry that added some sweetness to the platter.

One might expect to walk away from a hearty breakfast table feeling bloated from an overabundance of grease and salt. Fortunately that is not the case at this establishment as the chef takes great pride in using the most simple and fresh ingredients that are sourced locally. The portion sizes were big enough to fill our stomachs but not bust our buttons open like any gluttonous breakfast diner or even some other trendy brunch cafes would surely do. I mean don't get me wrong, I love to pig out every now and then but I've got to keep my buttons in place if I want to keep my body rockin.

As for service, it was prompt and all the wait staff were very attending. We particularly enjoyed our down-to-earth server who was quite chatty. He was full of compliments and he even apologized for not delivering our food personally due to his serving a big party of tourists. We will definitely be dining here again and plan to check out the lunch menu and the new upstairs area that is in the works.  

So the next time you are craving an organic tea or a "backwoods" brunch platter that won't bust your buttons or your bank, I suggest you head downtown to Hillbilly Tea. It's where the Holladays like to have their tea parties. Live to eat!