Saturday September 17, 2011

I Feel Grand

Late on Wednesday night, Mr. BraveTart and I came back to the Bluegrass after a week in Los Angeles where we spent time visiting my brother. On our drive home from the airport, a series of mysterious and congratulatory tweets and texts kept my phone beeping the whole way.

It seemed everyone assumed I’d know what they were referring to, so no one actually mentioned exactly what I’d done to merit praise. Finally, I received a more specific message, “Congrats on Ace Best of Lex!”

cherry soda and cheese cake ice cream float

Every year Ace Weekly, Lexington’s indy newspaper, conducts a survey of its readers to uncover the eponymous best of Lexington. The categories run the gamut from the obvious, “Best Restaurant,” to uniquely Kentucky matters, “Best Hot Brown,” and snarky entries like “Best Hipster Crossing” too.

Still on the road and with spotty cell phone coverage between Cincinnati and Lexington, I had no way of learning if Table 310 had won something marginal like, “Best Restaurant Owned By A Frenchman” or “Most Ironic Desserts” or if we’d nailed something rad like, “Best Blog to Table Restaurant.” I didn’t know we’d even won anything, we might have simply placed. Oh, the suspense!

An hour later, we pulled into the garage and I jumped from the car, flipped open my laptop, and pulled up Ace Best of Lex as fast as my fingers could type.

Holy. Crap.

I couldn’t contain my excitement. Table 310 came in second place for “Best New Restaurant,” snuggled between Nick Ryan's Saloon (where my good friend Joey Pugh is at the helm) and Windy Corner (my hero and former employer Ouita Michel’s latest venture).

On top of that, our chef Johnny Shipley came in third for “Best Chef” in Lexington. I work with Johnny six days a week and eat his food on a daily basis, so I know I’m biased when I say I think he was totally robbed. I don’t talk about Johnny a lot here, my musings rarely leave the Pastry Dungeon, but I can’t say enough about how much I respect Johnny’s work at Table 310. He works harder, longer, and under more pressure than me by a light year. His talent, creativity, and hard work deserve public acknowledgment and I felt proud he finally got it.

But the cherry on top? Table 310 won “Best Desserts.” They’d even paired it with Rosco’s giant photo of my Aperol Float. Below it, the caption credited BraveTart, not Stella.

cherry cheesecake ice cream float

And to me, that was really telling. It reminded me that even though I often blog and bake in total isolation, I’m not isolated. Through BraveTart, twitter, and Facebook, I have a chance to interact daily with those of you who dine at Table 310.

I love getting tweets from total strangers, telling me they’re about to order one of my desserts at the restaurant. I love posts on Table 310’s wall asking when a certain dessert will make its way back to the menu. I love when someone leaves a comment on one of my recipes saying they’d tried it at 310 and had just made it at home. There is no printed dessert menu at Table 310, I write it on a chalkboard every day. My name’s not on it. BraveTart’s not on it. But you guys found me anyway.

cheesecake float with graham cracker heart

Of all the photos I have of the desserts I’ve made for Table 310, Ace chose my Aperol float. I dunno if it was a random choice or not, but I thought I’d return volley with a float I ran to use up the last of summer’s cherries.

Cherry Cheesecake Float:
Honey Graham
Homemade Cherry Soda
Cream Cheese Ice Cream

So to those of you in town who read Ace Weekly and voted for me, thank you. Thanks for visiting Table 310 and taking a chance on dessert. Thanks for finding my blog. Thanks for giving me a serious case of the warm fuzzies. What a day. I feel grand!

posted byStellaand filed under:  Fruit  Gluten Free  Ice Cream  Local  Restaurants  Sarah Jane

38 comments and counting

Sep 17, 2011 ·  5:18 PM

Congratulations on what is surely well deserved recognition! Hope you enjoyed your time in Los Angeles (I actually live there). Enjoy being “high on life!”

 · Maia ·

Sep 17, 2011 ·  5:51 PM

Well-deserved congratulations all around!

 · Michelle ·

Sep 17, 2011 ·  6:04 PM

Stella, congratulations! We’re off to an equinox party out in the country with pulled pork, wonderful pizzas, and plenty of vegetarian dishes, along with liquid refreshments. It also celebrates our friend Bonita’s 50th birthday. She and her partner own Greener Groundz which serves the best pizza with whole wheat crust I’ve ever tasted. For some odd reason, Bonita refers to D and me as “the kids.”
love, c

 · uncle c · 

Sep 17, 2011 ·  8:27 PM

Congratulations Stella!!! That is so amazing, all your hard work really paid off and that’s so damn cool. Keep it up!

It couldn’t of happened it a better person.

 · Kimberly (unrivaledkitch) ·

Sep 17, 2011 · 10:01 PM

Congrats Stella!

 · Sumaiyyah ·

Sep 17, 2011 · 11:07 PM

I didn’t realize this…I subscribed to your blog a while ago by finding a link on another food blog. But I just now realized from this post that you have a restaurant in Lexington! I live in Lexington!

 · Katrina ·

Sep 17, 2011 · 11:18 PM

@Maia, thank you! HIt me up on twitter sometime, I’ll have to say hullo next time I’m in LA!

@Michelle, thank you ma’am. Deserved or not, I’ll take it!

@Uncle C, haha, that’s so great! I can imagine how you and Donna are “the kids,” it makes perfect sense. xoxo

@Kimberly, thank you so much! I really appreciate it. My nose has certainly been against the grindstone since last November, that is for sure.

@Sumaiyyah, thank you!

@Katrina, what a small world! Thanks for subscribing. You’ll have to come say hello sometime.


Sep 17, 2011 · 11:50 PM

OMG …am I in heaven or What? ? This looks absolutely amazing!! Can’t wait to try it. Congratulations well deserved.

 · Grishma  ·

Sep 18, 2011 ·  2:14 AM

Cherries are one of those fruits which are so sensual and sweet, this looks just splendid, beautiful photography as well.

 · Madison Chloe Marie ·

Sep 18, 2011 ·  8:22 AM

Congrats Stella – so well deserved. One day I will tweet you that I am about to order a dessert from you……

 · eatlivetravelwrite ·

Sep 18, 2011 ·  8:32 AM

congrats! I hope to make it there eventually.

 · Rodzilla ·

Sep 18, 2011 ·  9:03 AM

Thanks for sharing this.Good presentation,just beautiful!

 · myFudo ·

Sep 18, 2011 ·  9:35 AM

congratulations! I’m so happy for you!

 · romana · 

Sep 18, 2011 · 11:05 AM

Help!! I’m sinking. Throw me a float.We know how well deserved the honors are.Why does one put his nose to the grindstone? Nearsightedness?

 · deadly · 

Sep 18, 2011 · 12:49 PM

@Grishma, it’s really tart, which gives it an unusual flavor profile for a float. The soda has a tart cherry bite and the ice cream has a cream cheese tang, so it’s really refreshing in spite of its fattiness. Hope you make a batch.

@Madison, I totally agree! I’m a lucky girl to have Sarah Jane and her camera at my side.

@Mardi, oh my goodness, that would be so exciting!

@Rodzilla, me too! Perhaps if you visit I will debut my Pop-Tart dessert (Pop-Tart, OJ panna cotta, “toast” garnish)….

@myFudo, thank you so much!

@romana, thank you, I appreciate it!

@deadly, I think you certainly need a float. Perhaps I can get your assistance in my apple stack cake experiment…


Sep 19, 2011 · 12:44 AM

They better recognize. Wait…they did!!! Nicely done.

 · Mallowsota · 

Sep 19, 2011 · 11:44 AM

Beautiful shots. Love these. Congrats on the recognition from Ace, too!

 · Rosco ·

Sep 19, 2011 · 12:56 PM

Congratulations – to everyone!

 · Kaitlin ·

Sep 19, 2011 ·  1:37 PM

What a creative idea!!! I have never had a cheesecake float…it just looks and sounds fantastic!

 · RavieNomNoms ·

Sep 20, 2011 · 12:43 AM

Congrats!! This looks delightful. Can’t wait to try it with my kids.

 · Mike @ How To Make A Smoothie At Home ·

Sep 20, 2011 ·  5:31 PM

@Mallowsota, haha. Indeed…

@Rosco!!!! They used your picture too! Mmm….Aperol.

@Kaitlin, thanks girlie! Team Table 310 is pretty happy.

@RavieNomNoms, thanks to the homemade soda, it has a more luxurious body than a traditional float. But it would be great with a store-bought soda too.

@Mike, it’s a lot of fun, enjoy!


Sep 21, 2011 · 10:39 PM


You totally deserve it! I keep up with your blog every week and I get very excited each time you post a new blog. You write with such passion and charisma-truly a joy to read. Cheers to your success

Jennifer Saman Wilder

 · Jennifer · 

Sep 22, 2011 · 11:35 AM

@ Jennifer, That really means a lot to me, I appreciate you taking the time to tell me that. Thank you!


Sep 22, 2011 ·  3:05 PM


 · Sippitysup ·

Sep 23, 2011 ·  1:51 PM

Bravo Stella! Always nice to hear about the pastry kitchen getting some highly deserved recognition! The sky’s the limit for you. I know I’m excited to see where you go next!

 · Terris @ Free Eats ·

Sep 23, 2011 · 11:08 PM

@sippitysup, thanks Greg!

@Terris, thanks for the encouragement! I’ll keep my nose to the grindstone.


Sep 26, 2011 ·  1:42 AM

That is so awesome!! You know, I was hoping to alter my roadtrip last month from Ohio to Texas to pass through Lexington so I could eat there, but it didn’t work out. wah! Keep up the great work! That float looks amazing, by the way.

 · Jessica ·

Sep 27, 2011 · 12:01 AM

@Jessica, awww, bummer! It wouldda been super fun to meet you! If you’re ever in the neighborhood, lemme know.


Sep 27, 2011 ·  1:06 AM

I just found your site and I love it so much!! The pictures, the food, the writing, the recipes, they all rock!! And I live near Louisville, so you being in Kentucky makes this site even sweeter. Thanks for blogging!

 · beks · 

Sep 29, 2011 · 12:32 PM

Congrats on a well-deserved win Stella! Next time I’m in Lexington, I’ll be sure to stop by =)

 · Peggy ·

Sep 29, 2011 ·  9:49 PM

@beks, right on! You’ll have to let me know if you’re ever in town. Thanks for dropping by!

@Peggy, thanks lady! Are you going to the KFB dinner next weekend? Maybe I’ll see you there!


Oct 05, 2011 · 11:10 AM

Hi Stella I am Michael Cain’s wife… found your blog in a round about way from your mom’s facebook…haha anyway, I just wanted to say, CONGRATULATIONS on such a wonderful recognition Next time we are in Lex, we will have to come eat at Table 310

 · Sarah ·

Oct 06, 2011 · 10:14 AM

@Sarah, hi honey! Thanks for stopping by! Oh my goodness, I can always count on my mom to spread the word. Definitely swing by 310 sometime. I’ll have to check out your blog too! Say high to Michael for me!!


Oct 11, 2011 ·  1:01 PM

hey, the Readers chose well. Excited to see November’s Food and Wine Magazine!

 · ace ·

Oct 11, 2011 · 11:48 PM

Aw, Ace thanks for coming by!! xoxo


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