Home of Purdue Contest Winner’s Thrilling Exploration

Dining at East End Grill

Dining at East End Grill

I like to enter contests! Just the thrill of thinking I might win a free copy of a newly released book gives me the chills! I entered the Home of Purdue Holiday Shopping and Entertainment contest, imagining how much fun it would be to win just ONE item from the extensive list of gift cards and tickets for attractions around the area! However, imagine my surprise when I received the email from Sara Erickson telling me I had won! My husband said, “that’s nice.” Neither of us realized the scope of the prize package…until we started to take out item after item (after item) from the package we picked up. What generous businesses in Lafayette and West Lafayette! We were awestruck and appreciative of the variety and abundance of donations.

I have never been so glad to have entered a contest. Have to confess my husband was impressed…and I did a little dance, before I got down to seriously planning my visits to the various businesses!

Thursday I took my friend for a lunch at East End Grill. We were welcomed by Scott Trzaskus and enjoyed a wonderful lunch of smoked salmon sandwich with yummy pesto!

Kathy's Kandies! Next we walked to Kathies Kandies (the scent of homemade sugar cookies in the background) where Kathie welcomed us, congratulated me (yes, lucky me!) and promptly filled a box with her delicious chocolates!

My next stop was The Design Nook. There is so much to see there! I wandered around the beautiful displays and to say they are eye-opening is an understatement! I purchased unique ornaments for my three grandchildren. The staff was so helpful!

Shopping at Design NookJust around the corner at Artists’ Own, I browsed through all the hand-crafted art from our own local artists, meeting Mary Firestone and purchasing one of her leaf-pressed holiday ornaments, and a hand-made ice cream scoop for my daughter.

On Friday,  I stopped in to visit Linda Elmore, and from her beautiful collection at L.E. Originals and found two pairs of earrings and a bracelet for a friend. This is a store I had never visited before, but will visit again soon for something for me! Beautiful hand made glass beads! (Thanks, Linda!)

Lafayette Symphony OrchestraWhew! Can you believe I am not done yet? Saturday’s offering was tickets from the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra for its presentation of We ❤️ the 80’s which was so enjoyable with pieces from Pachelbel, Mozart, Haydn, Leonard Cohen, Prince, and Thriller!
Thanks to Andrea Hatch for reserving our tickets, and to Sara Mummy and Nick Palmer. An unforgettable evening!

My husband and I followed that with a trip to Nine Irish Brothers for a tasty dinner: shrimp cocktail and smoked salmon. We sat by the fireplace (lucky us!), and we visited with owners and friends, Jan and Jerry O’Bryan.

Nine Irish Brother with Jerry & JanOur final excursion was Sunday morning–brunch at Town and Gown. We were greeted by owner Matt O’Neill. I ate the most delicious eggs Benedict with smoked salmon ( by now you know I love salmon any way I can get it) served on an open-face fresh croissant.

Town and Gown

Town and Gown

Wow! You’ve really got to try it. Trust me!


I am saving the Riverside Center skating tickets, the Triple XXX restaurant, Monster Mini Golf, and Bruno’s for when my grandkids will be here for Thanksgiving! They will be so excited to visit those new places! You will be hearing from me again about how it all goes.
In the next few months I will use the gift cards to the Igloo (when it’s warmer!), a night away at Homewood Suites when there is not a Purdue Football game! Thanks Karen Hirsh-Cooper for being so flexible! And perhaps, last but not least…I’ll meet you at Arnis!

Tomorrow it will be back to the gym and the real life of a retired school librarian, but this week of being a special guest in so many welcoming establishments let me have the thrill of feeling like a Very Important Person. I am thankful to the team at the Home of Purdue for all the work to procure those gift packages! I am lucky I got to see Lafayette, Home of Purdue, my home for 48 years, in a whole new light!

West Lafayette Native and our 2017 Holiday Shopping and Entertainment Contest Winner, Lauralee, shared this blog.

Girlfriend Getaway Contest 2017 Details

Girlfriends Getaway PrestartWe are celebrating fall fun with our Girlfriend Getaway Contest 2017 worth over $500! Here are some special details about the local places who have donated:

  • Rest in a lovely hotel room with luxury bedding and amenities galore from an indoor pool/whirlpool, fitness center, outdoor firepit and more! Where? Courtyard by Marriott
  • Arni’s Pizza is best known for their savory pizza and the Arni’s Junior Salad. This has been a local hotspot for many years!
  • Triple XXX or Route 66 are known for their root beer and chopped steak burgers, but we love their breakfasts, which offer homemade biscuits and gravy, Belgium waffles, corned beef hash and much, much more.
  • Town & Gown: Flowers galore can be found in this beautifully landscaped outdoor patio. Smell the fresh flowers as you feast on light and fluffy pancakes, rich and flavorful biscuits and gravy, and decadent cocktails.
  • “Thank goodness for great food!”? Every time we make a visit to Bruno’s Pizza and Big O’s Sports Room in West Lafayette, Indiana, we have this feeling of jubilation!
  • Kathy’s Kandies: Satisfy your sweet tooth with truffles, gourmet popcorn, cakes, toffee, shakes and smoothies, licorice, artisan chocolates; need we say more!
  • Beverage Heaven…  They are known not just for their frozen custard but also their fruit drinks and flavored sodas. Where? Igloo Frozen Custard
  • East End Grill, Lafayette’s newest restaurant serving modern with a twist fare ranging from chopped salads, to burgers & sandwiches and the best steaks and seafood available.
  • Nine Irish Brothers serves up traditional Irish pub fare in a lively, tavern setting! Every dish at Nine Irish has a unique flavor combination that artfully combines the recipes of old with some modern inspiration.
  • People’s Brewing Company is a hidden gem in Lafayette-West Lafayette. Guests pull up to what is an old loading dock, and within its space is a fun, relaxed bar where locals and visitors enjoy a fresh brew while sharing their day’s stories.
  • Scarlett’s Red Velvet, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Miss Princess, Cotton Candy, Wedding Cake, and Kentucky Bourbon Pie; these are just a small selection of fun flavors of cupcakes at Gigi’s Cupcakes.
  • Did you know you can create your own floral designs at Rubia Flowers! Led by one of their designers, you and your friends will create a seasonal arrangement that you can take home at the end of the night.
  • Enjoy meeting the many farm animals at The Farm located within the state park., hike the park trails and embrace the utter beauty of nature at Prophetstown State Park.
  • Have you ever come face-to-face with a wolf? Wolf Park gives you the extraordinary opportunity of meeting numerous wolves, coyotes, and foxes; each have their very own story and background to share!
  • Tour the the building that was once featured at the St. Louis Worlds Fair, Haan Mansion Museum of Indiana Art! It holds some of the most historic and valued Indiana art pieces in the state!
  • Test your mini golf skills at Monster Mini Golf: 18-holes of surprises, twists, and turns! What’s the catch? It’s all in the dark with neon monsters around every corner!
  • Games galore! Merlin’s Beard is a new and unique attraction to the Lafayette area. With over 250 games to choose from, there is a game for everyone!

Enter to win this fabulous contest at HomeOfPurdueBlog.com. Good luck!

Halloween Classic, Boo at the Zoo

p1030521Boo! Halloween is almost here and we are frightfully excited for Boo at the Zoo! On October 26-28, this “hauntingly-friendly” event is back for another awesome year of scares and laughter. Boo at the Zoo is perfect for pre-school and elementary school-aged children. The event features a nightly kid’s costume contest, fun games, cockroach painting, Mad Scientist Laboratory, and the Enchanted Train Ride. Live entertainment and the Columbian Park Kiddie Rides also add to the family event.

p1030524This special event has been on my Halloween bucket list since my daughter was born 3 years. We have waited until she is a little older to take her, but this is the year and we are so excited.  Friends have shared it is one of the best events hosted by the Lafayette Parks Department and is so much fun! I don’t have a personal review (that will come next year), but as a mother, I can’t wait for my little one to enjoy this spectacular spooky event!


For more information about this event and others in our area, visit www.HomeOfPurdue.com.



Out To Lunch Diving Divas Visit La Hacienda

Bar managerMargaritasHow do you set your Mexican restaurant apart from the others? How about a tequila bar with 79 distinct tequilas, most 100% agave, differentiated by age and processing! Tequila tastings are now a thing in this town.  The Dining Divas, plus intern Bryce, decided to try the made-from-scratch margaritas upon the recommendation of bar manager Braden. Margy tried the mango margarita which was sweet and fruity, lovely to look at, and garnished with orange instead of lime.  “Refreshing!”  Bev and Bryce went the classic route with the house margarita on the rocks.  “Really good!” Kay had the frozen Texas margarita which differed from the house version by addition of a higher end Triple Sec.  “Yum!”  Jo passed–someone has to keep order!

Manager Juan Carlos Fuentes-Milan reported that this West Lafayette location is the seventh La Hacienda; the others are in greater Indianapolis.  Proximity to Purdue made this the perfect spot to try out their first tequila bar.

Out to Lunch GroupWe enjoyed chips with salsa, guacamole, and queso, all with a nice kick, with our margaritas.

The décor is wildly festive and chock full of custom-made benches and tables. The owners saved the beautiful hand-made tiles that were part of an earlier restaurant on site.  We ate in the bar which boasts 5 televisions and Braden was very helpful to us in making our selections. Our food came out quickly after we ordered, making this a good choice for working people with limited time.

Quesadilla Del Mar

Quesadilla Del Mar

Kay, our seafood specialist, had quesadilla del mar ($10.99) with guacamole salad.  This consisted of a generous portion of shrimp, scallops, crab, cheese, onions, green peppers, and mushrooms stuffed into a large flour tortilla with queso on top.  She was pleased that there was lots of seafood, perfectly grilled, and a large portion of guacamole, tomatoes, and lettuce on the side.  Kay says, “I’d happily have this again!  La Hacienda has a large selection of seafood on the menu and they are justifiably proud of their seafood dishes.”

Bev had arroz texano ($10.99), a combination of steak, grilled chicken, shrimp, and rice.  The steak and chicken were tender and the shrimp were fatties.  This was a substantial meal so some of it went into a to-go box and provided lunch the next day.arroz texano

Jo’s vegetarian fajitas ($11.99) were an ideal meal for a vegetarian low-carb diet– a hard to find commodity.  Grilled mixed vegetables were served with tortillas, guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo.  Jo loves hot vegetable salads, so mixed the fajitas and salad for a perfect meal.

Veggie Fajitas

Veggie Fajitas

Bryce ordered tacos de carnitas, which were 3 corn tortillas stuffed with shredded pork served with pico de gallo and rice.  Bryce declared them really good, very fresh. He said, “Carnitas are often dry, but these aren’t! And the pico has a nice kick.”

Veggie tacos and enchiladas

Veggie tacos and enchiladas

Margy’s combination #1 ($8.99) consisted of one taco and 2 enchiladas, all vegetarian, served with beans and rice.  This dish was good, familiar and not too hot.  It would be a good choice for someone who doesn’t like spicy food.

Manager Juan Carlos says business has been brisk since La Hacienda opened at this site and judging from our experience, we’re not surprised.  If you stand in the middle of Howard Street (which we don’t really recommend), you can hear the music of Mexico coming from La Hacienda and the music of Ireland coming from Nine Irish Brothers. And then you know you must be in West Lafayette—the home of great food from around the world!

The Dining Divas; Out to Lunch on the Road Less Traveled consist of:

Kay Conner, photographer, seafood superstar
Margy Deverall, author of Lafayette articles, dedicated vegetarian
Beverly Shaw, author of West Lafayette articles, bring on the beef (or chicken or pork)
Jo Wade, founder of this food blog, very veggie


Weekend Update: 4th Annual River City Grapes & Hops Fest and Lafayette Soap Box Derby

Soap Box Derby

Soap Box Derby

Lafayette-West Lafayette Weekend Update! Looking for a fun Indiana weekend getaway? Or do you live in this area and are looking for entertainment close by? Check out the endless possibilities for fun events happening this upcoming weekend in or near Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana.

The Tippecanoe County Historical Association will be hosting the 4th Annual River City Grapes & Hops Fest on Saturday, June 11. This event will be held on 5th Street, between Main and Columbia Streets, in downtown Lafayette, from 6:00 to 10:00 pm. Attendees will have the opportunity to sample various wines and beers from local and regional vendors and purchase from these vendors, as well. In addition the Knickerbocker Saloon will provide musical entertainment throughout the evening. Food will be available for purchase from Sovereign Catering.

phone camera 069It’s Soap Box Derby time in West Lafayette, this Saturday, June 11. The race begins at 8am.  Watch as youth compete to become Soap Box Derby champions! The Lafayette Soap Box Derby races have four divisions:  Stock, Super Stock, Masters and Challenger. The Derby has a long history of building more than racers.  It has a legend of building character, friendships and the desire to achieve. They believe that kids involved with their program should be taught the value of hard work and good sportsmanship.

For more information about these events and other special “happenings” in Lafayette-West Lafayette, check out our website at www.HomeOfPurdue.com.

Pete’s Diner is Serving Guests 24 Hours A Day

22Twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week; Pete’s Diner is the only place in town that is open around the clock! Beginning in June of 2015, the diner, on the heart of Main Street downtown Lafayette, opened its door for service. For a quick meal at any hour, Pete’s Diner has got you covered.



We visited for a quick meal during our lunch break on a weekday. When you walk in you see a completely renovated space from what was there previously. The space is much more open and lit up than it was in the past. The atmosphere is very casual and laid back. All of the servers are sweet and quick at their jobs.

2The menu is just printed on brightly colored sheets of paper, which shows you how casual the place really is. In addition, breakfast, lunch and dinner are served all day long. For an appetizer we shared an order of mozzarella sticks that were oozing cheesy yumminess.  I choose to have breakfast and ordered the “RET’s Famous Omelet”. It was filled with smoked sausage, onions, peppers and cheese. It was pretty greasy, but definitely comfort food and very filling. My omelet came with hash browns and a biscuit. My friend had a BLT Salad. That was the greenest and most bacon covered salad I have ever seen!

1The total check was less than $25 (with tip) for our meal. It is a great deal and the portions are pretty generous! Pete’s Diner is in an ideal location to serve Lafayette right in the heart of downtown on Main Street. For that late night craving, or breakfast around the clock, Pete’s Diner has got you covered.

Rachel, Purdue University Student and Visit Lafayette-West Lafayette Intern, shares this blog.