#LeggingsinLexington: Parlay x WOB x Willie’s!

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I’m Erin. I wear leggings EVERYDAY and I live in Lexington, KY. I created the hashtag #leggingsinlexington through my Instagram account @gingerlipeffects. Out of that, the name for this article was born. I’m a Kentucky transplant, originally from Texas. I’m a rookie army wife, first-time toddler mom & expert LipSense enthusiast. All these factors affect my perspective on life, love & culture. My family and I moved to Lexington July 5th, 2017. Coming from the south, the best way I know how to meet my new neighbors (Lexingtonians?) is to experience their cuisine. What I’ve found so far fits well within my comfort zone.

My husband, Brian, and I are bad about having a consistent date night out of the house. We usually stay in, order food for pick up and Netflix and chill. We are minimalists on a budget and paying a sitter to couch surf while our daughter is tucked in for the night seems a tad excessive. However, this past weekend was a massive exception. Friday Brian completed his third year in the electrical apprenticeship program through his day job, Saturday my in-laws came to visit for the weekend and since Brians’ birthday was that following Monday, we celebrated him on Sunday. You followin’ me? Three solid nights out on the town. In a row.

I’ll just start from the top.

I work at the University of Kentucky Healthcare facility here in Lexington. During an episode of small talk with one of the clerks in my unit, I find out she moonlights as a singer. Not just any singer, this is Joslyn of Joslyn and The Sweet Compression! They are a local favorite and I was determined to be their newest fan girl. Turns out, Friday night they were scheduled to play at Parlay Social, another local favorite. Just like that, I now had a date night planned.

The atmosphere & band at Parlay Social definitely made up for what the dinner menu was lacking. The drinks didn’t hurt either. We started off with a pretty basic pretzel & beer cheese because they were out of Bootleg Nachos, which was my first choice. Brian ordered Bourbon Brined Chicken Fingers with BBQ sauce that couldn’t have been much different than frozen chicken fingers and fries from the grocery store. I waited longer than I should have for The Capone Grilled Cheese and was super confused when my food was delivered because it looked nothing like the menu description. It wasn’t until we got our check that I realized they brought me The Gatsby instead of The Capone. At least that’s what was notated on our check.

When I had gone to The Parlay before, they served fresh lemonade, which I ordered mixed with Honey Whiskey. Delicious combo! However, now instead of lemonade, they serve drinks mixed with fresh orange and grapefruit juices. It wasn’t until after my first Honey Lemonade that I found this out. So of course I had to try a drink with one of their fresh juices. There was a table of ladies toasting champagne flutes so I asked our server what they had. It was their signature drink, The Parlay. Originally it is Rose Champagne mixed with fresh OJ but these ladies had substituted the OJ for grapefruit juice. I followed their lead and I’m glad I did. It was tangy, refreshing and bubbly. It ended our experience at The Parlay Social on a high note.

I told you The Parlay was just one of three nights out, right? Saturday and Sunday night we visited two different restaurants and had a much more appetizing experience in terms of food.

We live on the southern cusp of Lexington and stayed a bit closer to home by visiting World of Beer at The Summit on Saturday night. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law had driven down from Chicago that day and I had just gotten off work. We needed something family friendly and they accommodated our party of five (including our two year-old) with ease. It was a cold and rainy night so the cozy, ski-lodge type atmosphere was perfect. Their beer list was extensive as I’m sure you can imagine and we each enjoyed the offerings.

We ordered two starters, Pesto Hummus with pita bread and cucumbers and Buffalo Wings with Ranch and Blue Cheese dressings. We had no problem polishing off these appetizers before our main courses arrived. My sister-in-law, Julie, ordered a colorful stacked salad, Brian and his brother, Scott each got the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich with fries (after downing a plate of Buffalo Wings, might I remind you) and I enjoyed a WOB favorite, Pork Schnitzel.

It’s easy to dry out thin pork loin if overcooked. That seemed to be the case here but when eaten with the added accompaniments, it really was a well-crafted dish. The creamy mashed potatoes underneath and the sunny-side up egg on top offered plenty of velvety texture to each bite. But the flavor was in the sautéed kale with sweet pickled onions and candied bacon. I paired my entrée with a Snakebite, equal parts pale ale and apple cider. I’d give the experience as a whole a seven out of ten and look forward to trying the Black & Blue Flatbread on my next visit.

We made another appearance as a party of five at Willie’s Locally Known for dinner service on Sunday. This place is a local fan favorite as a coworker who claims to eat here three times a week recommended it to me! No judgment. Can’t blame them. BBQ speaks straight to the heart of this Texas girl so there really wasn’t much convincing necessary to get me here. They also offer a schedule of musical acts on nights and weekends. I later found out that Joslyn and The Sweet Compression have played at Willie’s too! Oh how we’ve come full circle.

I didn’t stay late enough to hear the live music on stage that night but the menu stole my attention completely. I sipped a frozen Margarita made with Bourbon and Tequila to start with a sampling of Fried Pickles and Smoked Deviled Eggs (as recommended by my coworker). They didn’t disappoint. After living in Kentucky for eight months now, I thought it was time to try a Hot Brown. This Kentucky favorite is essentially an open-faced ham and cheese sandwich. Willie’s does it better. They piled smoked turkey on top of buttered toast and drench it in cheese sauce. It’s topped with bacon and a Fried Green tomato. It was so decadent that I enjoyed half of the Hot Brown before deciding I needed to enjoy it again the next day and brought home the leftovers.

The rest of the group was all smiles with their various picks of smoked meats and BBQ sides. I snuck a taste or two of the green beans and mac n cheese while hearing “these baked beans are SO good” and “ya so is this potato salad”. Full disclosure- my mouth is watering as a type. Next time my Texas family comes to town I’ll know where to take them. Works for me- I like having a plan.

I love that Lexington is such a melting pot of cuisine to experience. Moving here from Austin, I feared that was something I would miss, the diversity of community culture. I think it’s safe to say the resources here are endless and I’ve only scratched the surface.