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.

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


Work Pick Me Up- Head to Baker’s Peak!

IMG_0309[7]Even though I have lived in the Lafayette area for around four years now, I still like to find new places to eat that I haven’t tried yet. The little restaurants around town are some of the best!

While shuffling from meeting to meeting at work one day, we decided to go to lunch. After searching, we settled on Baker’s Peak, a little bakery & café on Sagamore Parkway in West Lafayette. Right as you enter the door you immediately are amazed by all the beautiful cakes and cupcakes! They had everything from huge, elaborate wedding cakes to cute little smash cakes for those special occasions.

IMG_4298While you can come in to order bakery items or take out from the café, you can also sit down to enjoy a quaint little lunch. I would recommend the lunch combos to be able to try as many items as possible. Since it was a cold, windy day, I went for the Chicken Noodle Soup and Turkey Santa Fe Sandwich with Kettle Chips. The soup was light yet hearty and the sandwich was made with fresh bread and turkey. It filled me right up, but I still made sure to stop by their sweet counter before I left! With the wide selection of cookies, cupcakes, brownies and more, I had a difficult time deciding what to order. But the chocolate cupcake with decadent buttercream icing was calling my name and I was not disappointed. The cake was light and airy and the icing was sweet and heavenly! I highly recommend!

Case full of treats!

Case full of treats!

Bakers Peak 2011.15JPGSo next time you are in need a little pick-me-up on the way to work or a place to meet a girlfriend for lunch, make sure to put Baker’s Peak on your radar! Hannah, Purdue University Student and Visit Lafayette-West Lafayette Intern, shares this blog.