Category Archives: Food

A Slice of Heaven: Ladybird Diner | Lawrence, KS

Ladybird Diner Exterior

It’s a simple concept, really. A charming diner tucked in the heart of downtown Lawrence, Kansas. How have we not had this around for years?

Ladybird Diner, located at 721 Massachusetts St., is a new diner that provides quality, home-cooked food. And pie. Do NOT forget the pie. The exposed-brick space is dressed in vintage curtains and filled with antique trinkets from the fifties. The waitresses even wear handsewn aprons and pile their hair into fifties coiffures. The menu is adorable and offers various breakfast dishes (think chicken-fried steak, biscuits and gravy, and French toast) as well as classic burgers and sandwiches. There are also numerous vegetarian options, including some delicious salads and a mac n’ cheese omelet (mix it with hot sauce for added flavor). And don’t forget the shakes, malts, mimosas and beer.

Ladybird Diner Interior

Ladybird-Diner-Menu

Ladybird-Diner-Pie

I’ve visited Ladybird Diner a few times. As with any newly opened restaurant in Lawrence, it still packs quite the crowd. One of my visits, of which I poorly photographed for this blog with my phone camera (sorry!), found me eating pie with a couple of great friends on a Wednesday evening. Pie and prosecco in a Mason jar? Why not.

Let’s talk about the pie. It’s absolutely delicious. Even if you don’t have enough room after your meal for pie, get a slice to go. Or, better yet, visit for the pie alone. The crust is perfectly crumbly and the flavors are deliciously complex. I’ve enjoyed the Brown Sugar Peach (pictured), Blueberry Basil and Strawberry Rhubarb. All of these are amazing. I’ve got my eye on the Mexican Chocolate next.

Ladybird-Diner-Sign

Have you visited Ladybird Diner yet? What was your favorite item on the menu? Let me know in the comments below.

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Lawrence Restaurant Week: Ramen Bowls | Lawrence, KS

Have you been enjoying Lawrence Restaurant Week? If you haven’t, and you live near Lawrence, Kansas, you really outta get on that. (It ends this Saturday!)

This year marks the first year of Lawrence Restaurant Week, an event similar to the one Kansas City started a couple of years ago. Essentially, it’s an opportunity for city members to go out and try a new restaurant, as 19 participating locations have worked hard to compose a price-fixed menu filled with delicious foods. For anywhere from $10 to $40 you may get an entire meal, including appetizers, entrée, and dessert. A restaurant that is fast-becoming one of my favorite spots downtown, Ramen Bowls is among the participants.

Ramen Bowls Menu

Unlike the $1 packages of ramen you may have lived on during college, Ramen Bowls is a gourmet restaurant that specializes in authentic Japanese- and Hawaiian-inspired ramen noodle and seafood dishes. The downtown restaurant first opened its doors in the fall of last year as the very first ramen bar in the entire state of Kansas. With that being said, I haven’t ate there more than once before. What’s more, authentic ramen noodle dishes are not in my wheelhouse of expertise. That’s why I absolutely loved going there with my husband earlier this week, during Lawrence Restaurant Week. It gave us both the opportunity to try dishes we otherwise never would have tried on our own.

Ramen Bowls Appetizers

From the price-fixed menu ($29 each), the husband and I shared a couple of piping hot appetizers: Island Kara‘age, which were breaded chicken thighs in a pineapple-basil aioli, and Yakibuta Egg Rolls, which were filled with a crispy pork belly, Napa cabbage and spring onions. These were absolutely delicious! We were also treated to a glass of sake. I sipped on the House-Infused Chocolate.

Ramen Bowls Bibimbap

After that, we each chose an entrée that we knew would end up carrying over to the next day’s lunch. I opted for the ChaHan Bibimbap. Bibimbap is a Korean rice dish. This particular recipe was made with garlic and ginger fried rice, onions, scallions, mushrooms, smoked pork and two basted eggs, and topped with Sriracha aioli and hot pepper sauce. If you can’t handle the heat, don’t go for the bibimbap. I downed my water glass like a madwoman. The pork was tender and the ingredients perfectly complemented one another. The husband went for the ramen dish on the menu, Herb Creamed Corn Ramen with Smoked Pork. From the slurping noises I heard, it’s safe to say he loved his dish as well.

Ramen Bowls Dessert

Finally, we were served a sampling of Japanese desserts. The presentation was certainly adorable, but this was my least favorite part of the meal. The chocolate sauce and berries were tasty, but the baked goods were bland. I feel bad saying this, as the chef brought us our dessert platters and was very excited to describe each treat on our plate. But don’t worry Ramen Bowls, it’s not your desserts that lure me to your shop—it’s your delicious meals!

Ramen Bowls is a restaurant that is especially great-tasting when it’s cold. Now that we’re moving into fall, I expect I will be frequenting this spot a lot more.

If you’re looking for something new, flavorful and fun, you must visit Ramen Bowls; do not pass go. The atmosphere is intimate and casual, the food is great, and the wait staff is super friendly. Plus, it’s the only ramen spot in the entire state!

Don’t forget to hashtag #EatLawrence on your Lawrence Restaurant Week outings!

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My Travels: Attending a Luau | Maui, Hawaii

Greetings! I hate to have to apologize for my lack of blogging, but I’m going to have to do it. I’m sorry dear readers! But I recently returned from the state of Hawaii and haven’t had the mindset to blog in awhile. (I’ve been stuck on “Maui Time.”) But I’m back and ready to share everything with all of you!

The husband and I decided to get away during this hot (hot, hot, hot!) summer, and an opportunity opened up for us to visit beautiful, sunny, PERFECT Maui, Hawaii. We stayed at the Ka’anapali Beach Club, which is on the north shore of the island, and scored the fabulous ocean view that welcomed you at the start of this post. Not too shabby, eh?

While we were there, we had a few things we wanted to check off our “Hawaii List” (other than sitting by the beach, relaxing and doing absolutely nothing save for tanning and maybe reading pages of Fifty Shades of Grey). One of the things on our list was attending a luau.

We chose the Drums of the Pacific Luau at the Hyatt Regency (only a few miles down the road from our hotel). We were greeted with a shell lei and a mai tai, seated at a long table where we could chat with the other luau attendees, and entertained with traditional hula dancing. What a blast! I wish our seats weren’t so far in the back, but you couldn’t ask for a better venue. We were seated outside in an area across from the ocean.

The show started as soon as the entertainers unveiled the Kalua Pua’a (in other words, the big ass roasted pig), digging it out of its hole and parading it around for all to see. Then they opened up the all-you-can-eat buffet. Delicious! There was Kalua Pork, Huli Huli Chicken, Grilled Fish, Lomi Lomi Salmon and Pacific Ahi Poke, as well as salad, noodles, roasted vegetables, tropical fruits and Hawaiian rolls. And don’t forget the assortment of desserts, including Pineapple Cake and Bread Pudding, or the open bar.

After dinner, the show began. The routine featured dances inspired by Polynesia, Tahiti, Samoa and New Zealand. It supposedly told stories of the islands, but I had a hard time paying attention to those elements as I couldn’t take my eyes of the shirtless men or the dancers’ hips. (How do they do that!?) The show ended with a fantastic fire eater. Ah-mah-zing.

Afterward we just walked around the hotel grounds, hand in hand. You couldn’t ask for a better evening.

Stay tuned for more tales from my trip to Maui!

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I’m Always The Hostess: Brunch-Themed Bridal Shower

This past weekend I had the opportunity to throw a bridal shower in honor of my younger cousin, April. And as someone who loves any chance to throw a good party, I started pinning ideas right away.

The Decorations

For ambiance, pastels like light pinks and pale blues took center stage: I crafted a homemade flag banner with leftover cardstock from my scrapbook collection and filled my home with peonies, zinnias and rose of Sharon from the Lawrence farmer’s market and my very own garden.

 

The Food

I wanted to keep everything simple, so I put together a menu that featured all brunch-themed foods. Here is what I included on my brunch-themed menu:

+ Quiche Lorraine (Thanks for the delicious sausage quiches, mom! They were yummy!)
+ Crustless Zucchini & Basil Quiche
+ Maple Bacon
+ Biscuits with jam (Shortcake recipe courtesy Rustic Fruit Desserts.)
+ Donut and fruit skewers (This adorable idea is courtesy Val So Cal.)
+ French Toast Cupcakes






The Drinks

I also put together a mimosa bar. This is the best idea ever, in my opinion. I want one ready for me at all times throughout the day. To create a mimosa bar, simply buy two kinds of juice (I chose orange juice and cranberry-raspberry juice), pour them into decorative pitchers, flank them on either side of a bottle of champagne, and top the bar off with fruit garnishes. This was my favorite thing about the party (aside from the donut and fruit skewers). It was there for the party to make their own mimosa as strong (or as weak) as they like. And the kids loved sneaking away with some of the orange slices.

The Fun & Games

For entertainment I put together a couple of games for the party to delight in: One little game called “The Groom Says,” which is essentially a fill-in-the-blank game that includes statements made by the groom, and another game that involved toilet paper. This one produced lots of laughs and was definitely the favorite of the afternoon. We adorned the bride-to-be and another one of our cousins in toilet paper in an attempt to turn the toilet paper into a beautiful wedding dress. As you can tell, we failed. 🙂

Then of course, we ate, opened presents, and celebrated April’s happiness.

 

So that’s a wrap everyone! Everyone seemed to have a great time, and I had a fabulous time planning the whole thing. I can’t wait to throw another party sometime soon. And here’s my advice to anyone throwing a bridal shower: Keep the menu simple and don’t get lost in all the endless food options. Pick a few key dishes and let them really shine. Also, enlist the help of someone special. My husband kept me sane by helping me clean the house and my mom helped out in every possible way. Thanks you guys!

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

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Filed under Decor, DIY, Drinks, Entertainment, Food

Cute Cupcakes: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

It’s your “lucky” day! I found the best cupcake to enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day this Saturday: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes. These mini slices of heaven are beyond delicious. I know I’ve shared with you a handful of cupcake recipes that I have enjoyed baking in my kitchen travels, but none have elicited such a reaction from my taste buds as this one.


In case you don’t know what an Irish Car Bomb is (and if you don’t, what kind of St. Patrick’s day celebrant are you?!), it is a beer cocktail that is comprised of a shot of whiskey, such as Baileys, dropped into an Irish stout, such as Guinness. The kicker is that once the shot is dropped into the glass, the drink must be chugged  before it curdles and makes a huge mess.

To mimic this party favorite, our cupcake today consists of a Guinness-flavored chocolate cake, a Baileys-flavored chocolate ganache filling, and a Bailey’s Irish Cream frosting.

Please keep in mind that this cupcake is a little time consuming. If you are looking for a quick and easy dessert to bring a St. Patrick’s Day gathering, this is not the recipe for you. The cake requires you to heat Guinness and cocoa powder before mixing the ingredients together; and the ganache filling consists of slowly melting blocks of chocolate and then, after the cake has been baked and cooled, piping them into the middle of each individual cupcake. But don’t let the added steps stop you from making these cakes yourself. Set aside some baking time to give these cupcakes a go. The Guinness really deepens the flavor of the chocolate, making it taste richer, and the Baileys ganache filling, once bitten into, is a creamy, chocolatey delight. Find the recipe here.

If you just don’t have time to spare, make a normal chocolate cake and top it off with the Baileys Irish Cream frosting. I have received many rave reviews on it alone. (Specifically the DeBacker clan.)

Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting

• 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 3 to 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
• 4 to 8 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish cream (I use this four-pack of Baileys Minis.)

1. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually add the powdered sugar until it is all incorporated. Mix in the Bailey’s until smooth. Add more if necessary until the frosting has reached a good consistency for piping or spreading. Frost the cupcakes as desired.

This weekend I will be enjoying brunch with my soon-to-be-a-doctor sister-in-law. Cheers to early morning drinking games!

So what are your plans for this emerald-toned weekend? Picking shamrocks? Making Irish-themed desserts? Drinking Guinness? Watching basketball? (Rock Chalk Jayhawk!) Leave me a comment and let me know! I look forward to hearing from you.

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