Of note, we did find this cool little diner off the beaten path in Franfort Indiana. Shaggy's Diner...tres retro in an old store front, exposed brick walls, stone chess set (game in progress) at a table in the front window and guitar, chair and mike in the other front window niche. Local art all over the walls of course. The food was simple fare but very tasty. The prices were definately retro...great deals. I'd go again if only for the ambiance but the food was actually good. Why do I feel like Guy Fieri all of a sudden? Lord, I hope my mouth isn't that big.....
Greyhound Tavern in Fort Thomas, Kentucky...save your money. Highly over-rated. Old decor, old menu, old customers, old...old...old. I was waiting for the aging servers with the lipstick lines all the way to the nostrils to come marching out of the kitchen bearing trays of iceberg wedges frosted with thousand island dressing and those nasty little jello salad squares with mini marshmallows and canned pineapple nesting on wads of wilted leaf lettuce. It had the feel of a church pot-luck where everyone made the recipes on the Campbell's soup can labels and the vanilla wafer boxes. And the service was abysmal at best...if I were that unhappy being a 65 year old waitress, I believe I'd hang up my orthopedic panty hose and QUIT!
In Columbus, Ohio we did enjoy a walk through the "Victorian sector" and dinner at Moody's...a trendy (and VERY BUSY) Italian resturant that had just the right mix of traditional and trendy cuisine. We started with a cheese board sampler that came on a paper lined board with little accoutremonts such as salted honey and white truffle oil. The bread was a little ordinary and would have been much better served warm but the olive oil and aged balsamic in which to dip it was stupendous...fruity and bold at the same time.
I had the most amazing salad of baby arugula, sunchokes, marcona almonds, dried cranberries and shaved pecorino with a lemon olive oil vinaigrette. We also shared a pot of mixed olives (there were 12 of us ok...I didn't eat this all by myself). My pescitarian daughter and her boyfriend shared a roasted shrimp and pesto flatbread. My oldest daughter and her boyfriend shared the enourmous stuffed veal meatballs with marinara and capellini. My mother and I shared the most amazing flatbread pizza of caramelized onions, tellegio and crisped panchetta that was topped with paper thin strips of crisped potates and baby arugula.
Afterwards we had to walk off dinner and check out the shops. My oldest daughter, who lives in Columbus proclaimed that we MUST try the ice cream shop. I can't remember the name...I'll have to ask her because if you are ever in Columbus you MUST go there! I don't even LIKE ice cream and I was amazed. I had a cup of Roasted Cherry Goat Cheese Ice Cream and it was truely one of the best tasting things I've ever eaten. I paid for all that dairy later but for once it was worth it!
Other than those few eating establishments, the rest were a parade of chain joints....Cheesecake factory (which I personally find highly over rated), the ever present (and gut wrenching) Cracker Barrell to which I was dragged kicking and screaming, Ruby Tuesdays etc etc. I had to come home and do a juice detox for 3 days.....
I did cook a couple of meals while at my brother's house but only because they live so far out in the boonies that there are no restaraunts. I NEVER mind doing the cooking but my traveling companion (mom) feels that vacation means a vacation from cooking and gets downright offended if anyone suggests eating at home! I have left her in Indiana...stuck off in BFE at my brother's place for the entire month of July. I'll go back and retrieve after the wedding in Kentucky (my best friend's son) that I am helping to cater.
My poor kitchen! I had to make SOMETHING today and I had some fresh medjool dates that were...well...they had become DRIED medjool dates. I decided to cook them down in some orange juice and turn that into a date puree. I knew I wanted to make some sort of bar so I just decided to wing it....my Whole Wheat Date Yogurt Bars are the result. Sweet dates, tangy greek yogurt over a crust of oats, whole wheat flour, butter and a few other tasty ingredients become a wonderful dense and delicious bar cookie.
Whole Wheat Date Yogurt Bars
1 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup organic rolled oats
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted organic butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups pitted medjool dates
1 cup orange juice
2 T orange zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup plain Greek Yogurt (fat free is fine)
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/4 cup unbleached cane sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large cage free organic egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Combine both flours, oats, almond meal, wheat germ, brown sugar and salt in container of food processor. Add cubes of cold butter and pulse mixture until combined. Mixture will hold together when pressed or squeezed.
2. Grease and flour an 9x9x2 inch baking pan. Set aside 1/3 of crust mixture and press remaining crust into pan. Set aside while filling are prepared.
3. Place pitted dated and orange juice in a small sauce pan and simmer over medium heat until dates are tender and most of the juice is gone. Remove from heat and scrape into food processor. Add orange zest and lemon juice; pulse until smooth. Spread this mixture over the prepared crust.
4. In a small bowl, combine greek yogurt, flour, sugar, vanilla and beaten egg. Spread this mixture evenly over date mixture. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over the yogurt. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Cool before cutting.
Servings will depend on how large you cut the bars. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.
These bars are chewy in the middle with a nice firm bottom crust and the yummy, tangy yogurt topped with buttery crumbs.
(c) copyright Jill Anderson
The Homegrown Gourmet