Finally! A place where the vegan option is not simply just a black bean burger or garden salad. Filling a hole in healthy food options to eat out at is FIKA Vegan Cantina! Vegan is not just an "option" on the menu here, it is the lifestyle and it is a delicious one at that. FIKA is located in Granola Culture and continues in fashion with the tropical oasis charm that the space already provided. Melinda "Min" , started Granola Culture to encourage and celebrate the lifestyle that is called "Granola Culture", a modern hippie-esque way of living that is for the socially aware environmentalist, as she puts it. They have come full circle in creating a space for that lifestyle with the addition of FIKA to their brand!
I felt truly so lucky to be able to be a part of their influencer night and sneak a peak at the vegan cantina. The patio space overlooks North Limestone St. and at sunset gives you the perfect view from the bar-style seating to look out at the sun lowering in the skyline. The ambience was completed with relaxing music and palms and flowers wherever possible (no skimming on the oasis vibes).
I felt most lucky to be able to taste some of the amazing dishes Min has picked for FIKA's menu! We all grabbed a few dishes and shared it family style to make sure everything was given a good taste test. It didn't take more than one bite to know how delicious each dish was. We tasted Vegan Lasagna, empanadas, Jack Fruit Tacos, and a peanut-butter chocolate ice cream/mousse for desert. I think we were unanimously most obsessed with desert, but everything was so delicious! I totally recommend following the FIKA Instagram page for pictures of their yummy food and cool space!
We sat on poufs and ate off of wooden tray tables on the floor (It was so fun I think thats how I'm going to be eating all of my meals now.) Min joined us after a while with a tray of mimosas (so good) and we had a great conversation about quality in Vegan foods and the options that are out there. Nothing at FIKA will be over-fried or stuffed with processed tofu and soy, Min is all about the integrity of using whole foods that make you feel better (none with crazy additives and such). One of my favorite things she said was that "We became vegans because we are environmentalists; it doesn't mean that we haven't enjoyed seafood or a burger before, but we enjoy our planet more and thats why we became vegan and wanted to start FIKA".
FIKA Vegan Cantina is a place for gathering to enjoy food that is great for you and the environment! So if you ever need to escape for a little, stop by their location at 804 N. Limestone (above Broomwagon coffee shop) to be surrounded by oasis vibes and food with some integrity and quality ( & tastiness)!
It all begins with, "So where should we eat?" the often anxiety-ridden question that prefaces any date night. Lucky for you, I've rounded up twelve of my favorite spots and organized them into genre's to help make answering "where should we eat" that much easier! So whether its a date night for you and your babe or you and all your fave gal pal's, I've got some awesome places for you to try out!
(Click the addresses for map views)
1. High on Art and Coffee
523 E. High St. Lexington, KY 40502
(Where I am currently writing this post) This place offers good deli-style food and even better coffee and other cafe drinks! They even have a mini market and art for sale by local artists. Theres plenty of outdoor seating which features eclectic decor, lots of string lights, and music that tends to sway towards the classics (rock + jam). Perfect for a casual lunch or breakfast date and they even have some ice cream you can grab to-go!
2. Common Grounds
343 E. High St. Lexington, KY 40507
Just a little further down High St. is Common Grounds, located in an old brick building. They have some pretty smooth coffee and pretty delicious sandwiches and wraps (avo toast is on the menu, don't worry). You can sit outside at there little cafe tables or find a spot in one of the 4 separate rooms they have throughout the coffee house! Perfect is you're planning to stay and chat and relax for awhile, and if you stay long enough some nights they have live music and performances.
Ethnic Style Eateries
111 S. Upper St. Lexington, KY 40507
You've already heard me talk all about Nat's (peep the post below, NAT'S Thai Food) and how perfectly authentic and delicious it is. Head here for a casual day date where you can get Thai food and Irish beer all in one stop! If you don't feel like eating in the pub, take it to go and find a cafe table in Triangle Park for a Thai food picnic.
4. Girl'sGirl'sGirl's Burritos
500 Euclid Ave. Lexington, KY 40502
Eating their burritos was like love at first sight. They take classic mexican food like burrito's, quesadillas, and tamales and add their own modern twist with a myriad of add on options including the option to make your meal vegan (crispy tofu, yum)! Another little spot located in a bar, Girl'sGirl'sGirl's Burritos is inside the Best Friend Bar and you can simply eat there on the patio/indoors OR take it go like we did and grub out on your front porch with a home-made margarita or beer in hand! They open after 5 pm so if you're thinking chill, yet delicious dinner spot, think of this place.
5. Buddha Lounge
109 N. Mill St. Lexington, KY 40507
Who doesn't think of sushi when they think date night? Well mix up your regular sushi place with a visit to the Buddha Lounge for a fun date spot! They have a cool modern interior and even better sushi (Philadelphia roll is amaaaaazing). On top of that they have a happy hour monday through Friday from 3-6 pm, half price drinks and sushi is a no-briner for a fun date night in downtown Lexington!
(Nat's Thai Food Feat. below)
6. Windy Corner
4595 Bryan Station Rd Lexington, KY 40516
Nothing is as classic "Lexington" as a trip out to Windy Corner market. For a no-fuss meal that boasts a beautiful view of horse country, head here. I literally had a glass of wine and a sandwich while I watched a horse gallop through a field, you can't beat it. It doesn't hurt that they cookies and deserts are delicious too for an after dinner treat. If you want a mini escape and relaxing evening, head here for your date spot!
191 Jefferson St. Lexington, KY 40508
For a romantic night with your significant other or a chic dinner with girlfriends, this is your spot to have delicious wine and tapas (small plates). They also have an extensive bourbon or beer list, but I highly recommend going with the wine. The food is all shareable and is perfect for a night filled with lots of conversation (probably prompted by wine)!
8. Kentucky Native Cafe
417 E. Maxwell St. Lexington, KY 40508
Hidden behind Michler's Floral shop is an outdoor cafe that features food that is fresh and great drinks that are perfect for eating & drinking in the garden atmosphere. At night all the twinkly lights come on and you can walk through the outdoor greenhouses, very romantic I must say. This is a great hidden gem for anyone looking to escape to a new atmosphere for the evening!
(Buratta+ pesto+ tomato plate from Kentucky Native feat. below)
9. Smithtown Seafood
501 West Sixth St. Lexington, KY 40508
Food that goes great with beer: classic seafood Po'boys and platters. Attached to West Sixth Brewery is this great little seafood joint where you order, take your number and sit inside the brewery to await the delicious food. Local beer, local food, locally sourced, you can't go wrong!
10. Local's Lex
701 National Ave. Lexington, KY 40502
One of the first food posts I did was about Local's (Local's Lex) and that is simply because it is one of our favorite places for a quick date lunch or to go and grab a beer and appetizer! The roasted Cauliflower with Korean BBQ sauce is crave-worthy and you can eat it and drink your beer while sitting their shady rooftop! grab a beer, slider, and app and have a chill date here.
(Below, roasted cauliflower & sliders feat. from Locals' Lex)
11. County Club
555 Jefferson St. Lexington, KY 40508
I have probably brunched here too many times, but every Sunday they have a new special toast so naturally I have to try them all! Come here for awesome smoked meats and breakfast sandwiches (vegetarian options are available for those of you like me) and I can't forget to mention the $10 bottomless Mimosa's or the relish Bloody Mary's! You'll enjoy cheap drinks, great food, and an amazing musical playlist (R&B, Classic rock, 90's throwbacks) any time you decide to have a brunch date at County Club!
12. Stella's Kentucky Deli
You want comfort food, they've got it. Stella's has some seriously amazing home-cooked style foods for you brunch date and theres something everyone can enjoy! The best part is, you get more food than you ca stuff your face with for a pretty awesome price. I went here on girl's brunch date and we seriously chowed down on some amazing food in the cute old yellow house that houses the restaurant.
(Below feat. special toast, brisket + eggs, and garlic potatoes from County Club)
I hope these date spot recommendations help you with your next big decision of figuring out where to eat!
On a whim, I ended up at one of the bets Thai food places in Lexington the other day and the moment I took a bite I knew I needed to post about it! Nat's is a truly flavorful and authentic Thai food restaurant that will make you want to head back for more. From its interesting placement connected to an Irish pub to it's no frills attitude, Nat's will give you a Thai food experience thats hard to compare to anywhere else in Lexington!
Not many places in Lex can offer you cold beer from an Irish pub while you await your authentic ( & bold) Thai food. Jack and I sat in the back of McCarthy's while we anxiously waited for our lunch to arrive. Every minute was worth the wait though once we dug in. From not being that hungry, to finishing my whole plate (what's new) I was more than happy with my pick from the menu! I chose the Shrimp dish and Jack had the Spicy Kobe, both matching in some serious spice without losing bold flavor.
I left with a seriously full tummy, but was so happy. The guy who cooked our food also served it to us and told us how the restaurant is family-run and Nat is dedicated to his bold flavors and spicy food. I loved getting to heard a little back story on the restaurant as I tried to calmly sip water post spicy meal.
The authenticity gave me some "staycation" vibes so this Madewell shirt was spot-on and so were my draw-string chambray shorts for their adjustability (BOTH on sale). Of course I can't forget to mention my new Draper James sunnies that I attempted to use to help hide my post meal "why did I eat this much food" face. I can't complain though because we were so happy with everything about Nat's and I absolutely recommend trying out this local Thai food hole in the wall!
Carsons's has been a place I've wanted to try since it first opened and graduation weekend seemed like the perfect time to give it a try! Planning meals for 9-11 people for 3 days was no easy task, but every spot we hit seemed to be a crowd pleaser! On our final big group dinner this past Saturday evening I made reservations at Carsons. We had a rocky start with some confusion about the reservation times with our hostesses, but the food and service after that point more than made up for it!
Naturally we started with a few drinks. Jack with his usual bourbon on the rocks (Maker's Mark this time around) and I chose a Merlot from Washington State that was delicious with our appetizers!
If it weren't for the large group we were with, I could've strictly eaten from the starter menu! The two appetizers we did choose to split though were so delicious. We had the Baked Goat Cheese with truffle rolls and the Bearnaise Truffle Fries, obviously keeping any reservations about dieting to the side for this meal.
Jack obviously has a much bigger appetite than myself, even after a weekend of large, rich meals. So he decided to order the Set and Spicy Flat Iron Steak, it comes over a bed of garlic mashed potatoes and topped with fried onion straws. He admittedly said it was one of the best meals he had, had that weekend mostly thanks to the delicious Siracha Bourbon BBQ sauce that the steak with marinated with!
Trying to convince myself I was being healthy, I ordered the Soft Shell Crab Salad. It was absolutely delicious and I loved that the whole crab was placed on the salad (proof there was no imitation)! It came with 3 sauces to drizzle, Siracha, creme fraiche, and a spicy dill ranch for the dressing. Even beside the flash fried crab, the salad tasted very fresh and is something I'd definitely order again!
I think one of my favorite parts was getting to sit outside on their beautiful patio under toasty heat lamps, with a fireplace near by! We all loved the atmosphere combined with delicious food. Carson's left us all smiles and no room for desert (for once)! I would definitely recommend this restaurant for group gatherings and anyone who loves American style food with a local twist.
reThere a few places more perfect to eat on a nice day in Lexington then Locals' rooftop patio. Yesterday happened to be perfect 75 & sunny weather so Jack and I opted for a casual early-dinner date there!
Naturally we started with some cold beers. I love the glass mugs they serve them to you in (they're just so photogenic)! Jack and I got the perfect table, half shade, half sun because jack claims as a southern "he appreciates shade more" and me being from the north, I'll take any moment I can to sit in the sun! But I believe in contrast my Blue Moon with a fresh orange wedge was way more refreshing being drunk in a sunny spot on the roof!
Post beer, we began to dig in. The "shareables" section on the menu looks so yummy, but we decided on the roasted cauliflower with Korean BBQ on the side. Absolutely delicious and it definitely counts as your serving of veggies for the day ;)
Our main entrees included their "Handers" which you go in thinking will be the perfect light little sandwich, but they are more filling then they look! Jack got the Chicken Courdon Bleu (of which he had to eat with two hands, so yummy) with a side of their fresh cut fries that are seriously addicting. Since I am a vegetarian I got their Portabello 'hander' with a side of their vegetable of the day which happened to be broccoli in a white wine vinaigrette! Everything was perfectly delicious and required a nice walk post-meal to stretch out hahah.
This is a perfect spot to go on a casual date night, with gal pals for drinks and apps, or to show off a great local spot to your parents! To peep their awesome restaurant and relish menu, check out their website Localslex.com !