Friday, September 14, 2012

Lynn's Paradise Café: A Truly Eclectic Paradise for L'ville

If someone sat me down and forced me to name the one thing I love about Louisville, I would probably have to be harassed for quite a while to just give one answer. If you see the My Louisville Loves page on the toolbar, you'll see that my list almost never ends (don't worry, there is a bottom to the page). However, I would say, as an attribute of Louisville, I love how genuinely eclectic our city is. If you haven't deduced quite yet, I hail from the Highlands part of town, and this corridor of our fair city specializes is Keeping Louisville Weird, as the tagline dubs it. This neighborhood, among many other incredibly awesome neighborhoods, pretty much defines unique in my book. It isn't stuffy and it isn't something you can find everywhere. Whenever I found a cool neighborhood full of colors, delicious food, friendly people, and creativity, I was brought back to my memories of the Highlands.

Although every place is different in its own right, there are feelings that you can share when you connect it to home. The artsy and eclectic neighborhood I lived in in Barcelona for example, Gràcia, reminded me of the Highlands, although it was playing a totally different game on the Mediterranean. I guess what I'm trying to get at is that there are places you can feel at home all over the world, because there is that something special that really weaves a community together. I feel that community here in the Highlands as in other neighborhoods in Louisville as well, but I belong here as another would belong in Germantown or in Nulu or in Crescent Hill. Our city is so diverse, so varied and fruitful with genuinely nice people, interesting places to visit, and the sounds, smells, and tastes of a city that knows what it means to have a good time.

Thank you Lynn's Paradise Café for letting me wax poetic before your restaurant review.

Switching focus a bit, Lynn's is a place that I have been going to since "Bardstown Roading" became a weekend ritual (Fun fact: I even had a final exam at Lynn's in college). Now, Lynn's is on Barret Avenue, which is just a few blocks from Bardstown Road, but it is still a stop on that route as far as I'm concerned. Anytime I am showing a deprived soul the Highlands neighborhood for the first time in their lives, you can be sure that brunch/lunch/dinner will be at Lynn's. That beacon of sparkly multi-colored joy is a good example of all that is good in our neighborhood rolled into one gorgeous restaurant/boutique.

This particular visit to Lynn's was in honor of a dear friend (check out her blog here) and her mother passing through Louisville on a cross country trek back to the East Coast. They were on their first visit to L'ville, although they had family who grew up here, and I was given the task of summarizing everything I wanted to show them in two days. I can now say, Mission Accomplished! So, of course, on our Highlands route, we swung by Lynn's for dinner. It was a beautiful evening, so we sat outside. I think this is the first time I have ever done so because I'm usually requesting the train table (with a moving toy train in a shadowbox table), or by the giant white tree, or in a booth that is overflowing with plastic figurines, that impossible find-the-item shaker, and giant crayons for entertainment while we wait. However, when you can snag a good day outside in the summer, you take advantage of it.

We started off our meal with an appetizer of Fried Potato Pancakes with Creamy Goat Cheese. Anywhere I can find goat cheese I get really excited, not to mention when they are served with latkes! I was not disappointed. The potato pancakes were crispy on the outside yet still yielded to that beautiful and soft potato inside. With the subtle bite of the creamy goat cheese spread, it made the beginning of the meal even more wonderful than our pure anticipation for the entrée.

We were anticipating fish that evening, and ordered the Gingersnap-Encrusted Cod and the Fried Catfish Platter. The sides we chose included southern-style green beans (which means w/bacon), coleslaw, and pan-fried apples. My tablemates were pleased with their catfish, and I loved the idea of my Gingersnap-Encrusted Cod. I could have had more gingersnap, but the fish was cooked well, and there was a substantial amount of cod, so I really couldn't complain. In addition, the guava-ketchup that came to us alongside the tartar sauce was completely empty at the end of my meal, because it was just so complete--this is what ketchup has been missing all along! If you are capable of making ketchup better, mastering southern green beans, knocking coleslaw out of the park (which is hard because coleslaw is a very subjective food), pan-frying apples to cinnamon and sugar perfection, and rocking out on the fish, you are a wonderful establishment in my book.

In addition, Lynn's has a unique boutique called the World of Swirl as its entrance. If there is a waiting list that evening, you can entertain yourself by trying on a potpourri of funny sunglasses, browsing various gags and gifts, different attire and accessories for the home, and if you are a little overwhelmed just step outside and bang out a tune with a flip-flop organ. I feel like some of these descriptions might seem foreign to those souls who have never ventured to Lynn's, but I promise you will understand after your first visit. Join the movement :)

I can't help but feeling completely recharged, fun-loving, and full of whimsy whenever I leave Lynn's. It is just that kind of place. Anywhere that has a pair of suspender pants made out of tea-bags hanging over the hostess desk, just begs that kind of attitude that makes us all step back, stop taking the world so seriously, and have a good laugh. A lot is to be said of a place that can bring us all fun and humor, no matter how we started the day. I know I'm grateful!
Go forth and indulge in some merry-making!

Lynn's Paradise Café
984 Barret Ave.
Louisville, KY
They also have a Contact Us form on their website

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