There’s A Blur on My Bifocals…Oh Wait That’s Life

Friends Drift Inn Farm – Real Life in Appalachia and Beyond

Friends Drift Inn Joyce Pinson and 610 Magnolia Chef Edward Lee Louisville KY

Click to Read Interview with Chef Edward Lee

Honey Let Me Tell Ya – It Has Been a Sweet Week

“Honey let me tell ya” is a phrase we mountain girls use to preface a humorous recounting of a real life event. Storytelling is part of the Appalachian culture; our way of connecting to others and sharing the giggles that life brings our way.

Last weekend was one memorable “Honey let me tell ya” adventure. It was supposed to kick off with Charlie and me attending a black tie event for the University of Pikeville. “Supposed to” being the operative words. Hotel reservations were made. Charlie’s tux and my gown were selected. The thing is, the event was the weekend BEFORE…somehow I got the dates confused.

Well you know the old saying “adjust and adapt.” No sense wasting hotel reservations. I dialed up Rhoda suggesting we go to Lexington, catch up with Chef Ashby and grab a meal at Azur Restaurant before heading to Louisville for an interview with Chef Edward Lee.

Chef Jeremy Ashby and Rhoda, two of my favorite people!

Honey let me tell ya, I had her at “Ashby.” Giggles

On a “Girls Weekend” there is no “Luggage Police.” We loaded the car down with enough clothes and shoes for two weeks and headed up the Mountain Parkway. It’s the Pointy Toed Shoes Sisters method of operation. Giggles

Privy to an “inn-siders” joke about Earl Grey Tea …the staff at Azur had piping hot cups of the decidedly British beverage on the table before we even had our coats peeled off. Rhoda and I laughed until the tears rolled;
Ashby and his good sense of humor. For the record, Earl Grey is not a “staple” at Azur Restaurant.


Azur Restaurant and Patio Lexington KY Chef Jeremy Ashby Whimsy

The chef was in rare form that evening, surprising us with food flights of fancy. Duck, pork, beef, and chocolate – do I really have to spell it out for you? Just do not ask him about waffles. It pains him “a trend that won’t die.” Giggles

Ashby kept us out until the wee hours of the morning as we planned our strategies to take over the world.

Behind the Sunglasses

Professional Photographer Dusty Layne

Morning arrived way too early. Getting up at the crack of dawn, not a good thing for Rhoda and me. We do not exemplify “morning people.” Even the promise of meeting Chef Edward Lee was not enough to make us giggle. We troweled on make-up as best we could, and hooked up with Dusty Layne to make the trip on to Louisville.

Dusty is a “Nikon 100” photographer. I keep telling you we do have it going on down here in the mountains. I am excited to be working with the man who has a wicked sense of humor and amazing talent! He took one look at Rhoda and I in the grey morning light, shook his head, and uttered something about the way we were hiding behind sunglasses.

We giggled and put the pedal to the metal. It’s a good thing Kentucky’s finest did not observe us on their radar as we rolled into Louisville like Smokey and The Bandit.

Louisville The River City and Chef Edward Lee

Chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia a James Beard Nominee

Chef Edward Lee was late. That night the 610 Magnolia crew would be catering the “Good vs. Evil Bourdain and Ripert Show.” The next week, Lee was preparing for a photo shoot for his upcoming cookbook. He had just finished his stint on “Top Chef.” I knew he was busy. I knew he was tired. All things considered, the interview went well.

Dusty headed back to Lexington and Rhoda and I headed to Hillbilly Tea for a much needed brunch. We met up with fellow Kentucky writer and food blogger Jessica Pendergrass   of Urban Sacred Garden.


Joyce Pinson and Jessica Pendergrass Planning Take Over of the World

The food was terrific! The conversation centering on a reoccurring theme, our strategies to take over the world. Giggles


Rhoda and I then proceed to Ghyslain a confectioners delight where all manner of sinful temptations of chocolate incarnations perch behind shiny glass display cases. Sharon Rudd of Eggplant to Go just happened to be there too. It was a chance meeting full of giggles.

We exchanged a little small talk, and pointed the car to the hotel, grabbing a long overdue power nap. Blame that on Ashby’s waffle rants.

Sharon Rudd Food Blogger of Eggplant to Go at Harvest Restaurant Louisville KY

We got up, cleaned up, and then headed back downtown to Harvest. Let me tell you, this restaurant was not on my radar and I am so very glad Sharon suggested it. The service some of the best ever; fun, upbeat, and attentive to our tight schedule. The food; it was the kind of meal where your eyes roll back in your head and heaven’s angels sing praises only you can hear. I cannot wait to go back to this James Beard nominated “Best New Restaurant.”

Angels and Demons Bourdain and Ripert

The Kentucky Center was a short drive away. I’m not a fan of Bourdain, and I do not know who Ripert is. But the show was funny especially the part where Rhoda and I dozed off. Again, blame it on Ashby.

We got up bright and early the next morning, headed off to Lexington to meet Abby Laub, a young free-lance writer. Our destination was to be Alfalfa’s…which Rhoda and I well remembered from our days at UK. Pretty funny considering Alfalfa has moved, and we ended up being more than fashionably late. Abby just laughed.

From there, we headed over to Stuarto’s Olive Oil for yet another interview. Stu is an interesting study, and his gift for combining flavor pairings is one that he readily shares. It was a good conversation.

Appalachia's Life Lie The Mountain Parkway covered in snow slipping and sliding!

We trekked back to the mountains, tired but happy. The trip, usually about 2 ½ hours, took us about 5. Snow plows might have been involved. By the time we got to Pike-Vegas, we were exhausted and the roads were more than treacherous.

No way to get on home to the barn.

But Rhoda had a spare bedroom, internet access, and a couple of bottles of wine. Honey let me tell ya…it was all good. Giggles

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About Joyce Pinson

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.