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Saul Good’s presence will likely close the doors on a straggling downtown restaurant or two. With its reputation, well-conceived menu, dining room layout, and outstanding service Saul Good does it right. The only ding we’ll give them is on their “fish of the day”, it’s more like “fish of the year” because it’s the same fish every day. Maybe they invested in a small Mahi-mahi fishing company
We checked out the new digs and sunk our teeth into a Texas Burger, $9.49, and at that very moment we confirmed that Saul Good brought all their tasty talent with them downtown. This is an awesome burger, “…Pepper jack cheese, jalapeños, tomato, red onion, Balsamic dressed lettuce and BBQ sauce…” and for the price it can’t be beat. They don’t skimp or cut corners in any aspect of what they do, and you’ll see that detail even in the fresh jalapeno’s on your perfectly cooked burger. You’ll find what “happy” tastes like in every bite.
In an email interview with the owner, Rob Perez, he tells us that the “..love of the vibrant downtown atmosphere…” attracted them to the location which was actually three separate buildings, one of which being the old Hutchinson Pharmacy.
Metered parking is free after 5pm and all weekend. Any other time they’ll validate your parking in the Victorian Square parking garage for up to three hours. So now you have no excuse NOT to go; and another “good” at Saul Good is half priced draft beer (during 3pm-6pm Fri-Sun) !!
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Their shirts carry the slogan “Best Little Ho-House in Kentucky” and no other restaurant arouses our desires for comforting diner food more than Tolly-Ho. This Wildcat staple for students and community has been flip-flopping fresh burgers since 1971.
From its inception by “The Bobs” (Bob Tolley and Bob Hollopeter) in the early 70’s to the present day, Tolly-Ho has stuck to old fashioned cooking and its lust for customer satisfaction.
They’re always ready and willing to please a customer and serve Breakfast & Lunch 24/7. For us, an early morning breakfast need triggered this visit.
When you walk in, you may notice a few things that you don’t typically see elsewhere. Right off the bat, they take your order on a piece of paper and never use any computer. Your meal is cooked to order, absent of precooked meat patties so they’re able to come to a “suitable arrangement” for any special requests you may have. Speaking of old fashioned … ever heard of pinball machines? You’ll find a few there to keep you busy while you wait for your food.
We committed “breakfast adultery” and broke off from the typical a la carte’ morning plates we’ve been accustomed to. The “Hot Mess Sandwich” is stacked with sausage, Bacon, Hash Browns, American cheese and two scrambled eggs on Texas Toast. It was sinfully good. Though the Hash Browns needed some seasoning, just peel off the top toast and sprinkle some salt on and you’ll be good to go. We really liked all the favorite breakfast foods in one bite.
While you’re stopping by, let the Ho-Team know if you’re a “Ho Virgin”. They love to know when people visit them for the first time and these special occasions are celebrated. If you have room for it, we also highly recommend their Milkshakes. Yes they really do “bring all the boys to the yard”. While the quality of the milkshake varies with the person making it, you can’t beat the pleasure offered by a handmade milkshake.
Don’t visit one of those “breakfast drive-through’s of ill repute”. When your belly is stimulated with morning hunger, hit the Ho. While driving past you may think Tolly-Ho is “A Lil’Ole Bitty Pissant Country Place” but they always leave you fully satisfied and never disappointed.
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We’ve seen a storm of Groupon offerings for Mi’ Irie Caribbean Restaurant and with their high approval rating on Urbanspoon.com our destiny led us to dig up the treasures within their menu.
When we visit a popular Lexington Restaurant on a Friday evening we except to see “all hands on deck” upon walking inside. But Mr’ Irie Mon Caribbean appeared to be abandoned. Don’t worry, with all the business’s and corporate call centers around, it’s as thick as thieves in there during lunch.
Again we see no fountain drinks here but pay-per-serving bottled/canned drinks. I’m sure that works perfect for the lunch crowd but I’d rather walk the plank before I keep doling out money for enough liquid to swallow my dinner. We opted for water.
You’re going to want some Johnny Cakes. They come with an entrée and are fresh, light and fluffy with a taste like a funnel cake or glazed donut. It’s a deep fried batter essentially. We found that natural honey was the perfect accompaniment to dip the Johnny Cake in.
For the entrée we chose the Jerk Chicken ($11.75) and it was really tasty. When we cut into it, we found it was moist to the bone and fresh. We were very satisfied with it. I could smell the fresh juicy, expertly roasted hen as soon as it made it to our table. If you like Jerk Chicken, you’ll like this one.
For the sides, the “Rasta Pasta” was spaghetti and spiral noodles with stir-fried zucchini, onion, red bell pepper and snow peas. It was seasoned perfectly and the onions had a wonderful caramelization and the whole thing was perfectly seasoned.
Another favorite side was the “Fried Plantains”. I’ve searched what seems like the Seven Seas to find the best Fried Plantains locally with the exception of Davy Jones’ Locker and we’ll put a big ol “x” on Mi’ Irie Mon because they are THE SPOT to go to for superb Fried Plantains.
With all this perfection coming to our table we were disappointed with the Nachos. Pass on the Nachos. These are SAMs Club white corn tortillas, in a small portion to boot. Served cold (not fresh and warm as you may be accustomed) they really cool down the toppings pretty quick. So after a few minutes you’re eating cold soggy nachos. The toppings were flavorful though. These folks know how to cook, but need to make a few corrections to bring out the best of what they have to offer. There is some misunderstanding of what is meant by ordering a Nacho Appetizer, since it arrived 10 minutes AFTER our entrée. Mi’ Irie Mon Caribbean Restaurant, send out the Nacho’s BEFORE the main course arrives! And talk to your food purveyor about a better Nacho that you can throw into the fryer before serving.
But with the stoic and hardworking lone cook in the kitchen, I could tell she “don’t be wantin no back chat, yuh hear!” We ate it all and was happy.When a hurricane of Caribbean hunger hits us again we’ll be more than happy to take refuge at Mi’ Irie Mon Caribbean Restaurant to have that blackened chicken again or discover another favorite food treasure.
On a bright sunny Saturday we found Sav's to be as busy as a sandcastle building class in the middle of the Sahara Desert. If that flew by you, let us put it plainly … it was empty. But who would blame the crowds for being elsewhere? With the A/C off, Sav propping the front doors open and the arid temperatures of the outside creeping in, I'll admit it was uncomfortable.
You'll not see anyone cooking your order after you place it. This is a “kettle cooking” restaurant which means all the food has been previously prepared and he'll just reach behind him and spoon your order out of a big kettle behind him on the counter. Whether you're eating something prepared today or yesterday is for you to decide. This doesn't mean his culinary education came from a “feed the children” campaign in deep Africa. In fact we're not saying this is entirely bad, many restaurants operate this way depending on the food they are serving. And we all know that some things taste better after a day in the fridge anyway. Unfortunately ours did not.
Every tester had the same comment. It's just one sentence. “It was bland.” And everyone was right. Al the dishes were bland. Which was confusing since Sav's grill had a 90% “liked” rating with over 420 votes at the time of our visit. That's a pretty strong rating. Our thinking here is the since the food is different from what you mostly find, that drives up the approval rating. Because unless Sav lost his salt shaker that day, we can attest that the flavorless food didn't give him that high rating. Because of this we will not go through the meal we ate but give it some time and go back to try it again. Though I will tell you the reviews are riddled with the same complaint.
Another observation to point out, there are no fountain drinks. Which means you'll be paying per bottle for your beverage of choice. And at $1.25 for an off-brand bottle of water made us realize Sav expects us to pay the Congo price for a simple bottle of water from Wal-Mart. People like to eat food from 3rd world countries without feeling they are actually there.
We'll give it some time and have another expedition out to Sav's but unless they throw a bouillon cube in one of those pots or develop a sense of the American expectation at a restaurant I'm afraid the outcome will be the same. Until then we'll say that Sav's Grill is no diamond at all, but has all the potential to bring both authentic and tasty food from Africa for Lexingtonians to try.
With our bellies on empty we drove over to get a morning fill-up at one of our favorite breakfast spots in town, Doodles. Before I tell you about our trip to this trendy spot, let me fill you in on its history.
A couple of decades ago the building was one of the few downtown gas stations. In fact if you squint and hold your head the right way you could imagine yourself there. After the gas station closed it went on to become a neighborhood liquor store, owned by “Doodle”. After some time the Liquor store closed and it sat empty. The building and open space works perfectly for a restaurant and thus, Doodles was born.
We've been to Doodles many times over the years and can advise that you may have a short wait while other hungry Lexitonians are getting their breakfast crave serviced. This isn’t a fast food “Jiffy Lube” and a 20 minute wait would be normal.
The hash is my favorite and as much as it should come with an appointment to a cardiologist, it does not. They do have healthier breakfast options, but none fill me up as best as this premium dish. You can taste every little component of the hash, which is the mark of a well-designed meal. If you’ve never had Corned Beef Hash, give it a try. You’ll likely be glad you did. You can get the smaller portion a la Carte for $5.25 or the “real man” meal for $9.25. [Want to try Corned Beef Hash at home? Try this awesome recipe and enjoy: CLICK HERE]
This is a Full Service breakfast joint and the Doodles Breakfast Technicians can get ya fixed up with just about anything from grits, eggs, and oatmeal to vegetarian sausage.
For those who traveled a rough road on Saturday night, you can get a tune up with another favorite, “The Cure” (…Two local eggs cooked to order with your choice of meat (bacon, sausage or veggie sausage), a side (cheese grits or fried potatoes) and bread(toast or a biscuit)$8.95 … )
Another real upgrade with Doodles is their Beignets. These are cooked perfectly and are of the traditional New Orleans type. Even though too many of these have surely contributed to the spare tire around my waste, at $2.95 for a basket they’re worth it. Get two baskets so you don’t fight about it with others at your table.
With all this goodness pumping out of the Doodles kitchen we were a little let down by their Bloody Mary. I expected a real piece of work but rather saw them pour from a premix “Zing Zang” bottle and left off all the pompous embellishment, which we absolutely adore, by decorating only with a lime wedge. We’ll skip that next time.
So the next morning you find yourself needing to make a breakfast pit-stop, head on down to Doodles and get your fill on some premium breakfast eats. And don’t forget the Beignets!
Doodles Breakfast & Lunch
262 N Limestone
Lexington, KY 40507
Buongiorno and welcome to another review from MyHappyFork! After scouting one of the most popular pizza joint’s in town, our “associates” have good things to say about Joe Bologna’s. We’ve found that the rumors about them weren’t just a bunch of bologna.
First off let’s say that it was packed at 9pm when many family dinner services are slowing down. We’ve got no beef with being busy, in fact it’s a great indication of the health and popularity of this establishment.
I once watched a local TV show which highlighted the great effort Joe Bologna’s goes through to make all their bread fresh every day. So I had to order a breadstick for an appetizer. This breadstick is the Boss of breadsticks. It was as long as my forearm! So the price of $1.95 made it a steal! We got it with butter garlic and marinara sauce. I don’t want to get whacked for saying this but, the butter-garlic oil just tasted like garlic in oil. None of the tasters liked it since it really had no butter taste and passed it up for the much favored marinara sauce. We’d give the Marinara Sauce at Joe Bolognas’ a blue ribbon, it’s the best we’ve tasted in Lexington. I’d plant my mug in a bowl of that stuff.
The salad’s appeared fresh and many of the dressings are made in house. If you’re like us, we don’t like brown lettuce and we didn’t see any of that here.
Our favorite was the new Chicken Parmesan Sandwich ($6.95) and Manicotti ($14.25). The Manicotti was very tasty. But this may not be the dish for you if you don’t like a lot of cheese filling. This entrée is packed with so much dense cheese that we recommend keeping your beverage glass full to wash it down. The perfectly seasoned Marinara sauce balances that thick cheese flavor well. It was very much appreciated by our team.
We also had the Italian Sub ($6.75) and Eggplant Parmesan Sub ($7.75). Both were tasty. Everyone liked the side of fries but one note on the Eggplant Parm…. you really have to season that eggplant prior to breading and we felt it was a tad flat on that end. They had a nice outer crust (like a Mozzarella Cheese Stick) but needed a dash of salt.
Another note on the Sub’s & Sandwiches here; for our visit we only purchased the half order of the respective Sub and the prices reflect the smaller portion. And even our biggest “Guido” couldn’t finish off the bigger portion. We wanted to let you know they’re generous on the portion size here and it can calm anyone’s stabbing hunger. You could get the whole helping and take half home.
I’d put a hit contract out on my tasters if we passed up trying a fresh, homemade Cannoli. You MUST get this even if you have just a small spot in your belly for Dessert. The crazy part is, it’s $3. By the time I get done eating I’d normally have to split any dessert but if you have a lot of room you may want one Cannoli per person. Otherwise, two can share it and get a good taste of something we normally can’t find that’s both local and homemade in Lexington.
If our opinion doesn’t convince you, consider that the establishment is in an old renovated religious temple. Making this food taste like it’s anointed by the Almighty is one thing, cooking it in his house is another. So fogettabout that big chain pizza place and hit up Joe Bologna’s.Joe Bologna's
She's got the Jax! The 1975 gambling song by AC/DC, The Jack, rolled through my head upon hearing that local Hell's Kitchen finalist Natalie Blake had landed as the Executive Chef at this new local restaurant. But can she really cook or is this a big bluff? The My Happy Fork team went over to ante up and check out the menu.
This West Short and Limestone Street location has had many attempts at a stable business, mostly known for the spot that the popular Bar, Mia's, made a losing bet for thriving a business. But there's something I just love about sitting out on the sidewalk and enjoying the evening.
Even with short notice The Jax staff was able to fill our reservation which I will recommend for anyone at the moment if you'd like a table. Since it's new it's popular and it does fill up there with lots of nicely dressed guests ready to gamble on this fresh Lexington scene.
Let's say upfront that this is NOT a well-oiled machine. They have plenty to work out and I say lets give them the time to get “the house” in order. The menu alone looks like it was decided by a roulette table or drawing straws. You'll see everything from Kettle Chips, Caprese, Beer Cheese to dried figs & honey on a Baguette. And entrees ranging from Burgers, Taco's and Pasta to Curry and Pork Sliders. We picked up on no sense of direction with this menu but only that Chef Blake is playing her hand smartly and waiting to see what Lexington wants from her (ie to see what sells and what doesn’t). Though I wish she would create her own destiny and show us her flavor, perhaps the menu will solidify in the future.
There are several starters to choose from and a coin toss won us the “chips and guacamole” at $6.50. With 17 tortilla chips and a 3oz serving each of salsa and guacamole we really didn't feel the value here. The salsa was good but we've had better guacamole at impromptu parties. Both had a perfect little dash of heat at the end but the guacamole could have used some seasoning. And I couldn't help to notice the large group of cilantro stems in our salsa which was surprising to see from this Celebrity Chef.
Let me interject and say it was at the point that the server began to take our entree order that we were informed of the nightly specials. This mis-step might very well be remedied as their staff get more training and experience. But when we ordered our beer, it was served to us to warm bar glassware. We were told that The Jax doesn't have chilled glass to serve beer in. We couldn't wipe the “uh oh” from our faces.
We doubled down and pressed on to try the Tacos at $11.90 and the Jax Burgers for $13.90. The Tacos had a surprise of wonderful taste. Here's “The Tacos” description right off the menu, “Tomatillo braised pork in three corn tortillas toped with queso fresco, house picked onions, fresh cilantro, lime crème fraiche & sliced radish.”
The Jax Burgers are small but delicious. An equivalent size portion is an Appetizer down the street (and less than the $14 price we paid here) so we were surprised at the size vs price. But the burgers were good and layered with complimentary flavors. The Jax describes their burgers; “Three petite Angus beef patties placed on soft brioche buns, with farmhouse cheddar cheese, crispy romaine, house pickled red ions and our authentic Jax sauce. Served with house made kettle chips.”
Rarely do we ever pass up a chance for a good dessert and when we learned that our local culinary ace, Chef Blake, had Beignet's on the menu, we went all in for it. We were surprised by what actually arrived. Most places around Lexington that serve a Beignet bring something along the lines of a square or triangle puff pastry dusted with powdered sugar. As you will see in the pictures below, we received something that looked like a hushpuppy. It was about the same size and color as a hushpuppy but did indeed have the flavor of a Beignet. Don't fret too much, this variation of the typical Beignet is not unknown, but often referred to as a boules de Berlin referring to a Berliner (like a doughnut but without the hole) often filled with a jam. We were slightly disappointed at this dish because the Beignets, being round, rolled over the dish and really had no powdered sugar to speak of and were perhaps left in the fry oil a little too long. We would have been happier with the larger Beignets but the accompanying lemon butter showed off Chef Blake's creative mind. We really liked it. So as you can see our hopes for this potential downtown staple wasn't busted.
As we like to say, if you're not happy with a visit to a new restaurant don't fold your cards and give up on them. Let them know what you like and what you don't like. Give them some time and visit them again as we certainly will. They are eager to listen to their customers and will continue to change and evolve to stack to the odds in your taste-buds favor.
Address: 101 W Short St, Lexington, KY 40507
Click Here for menu