Hi, I'm Lu!

A PhD Student at University of Chicago who loves discovering the world and trying new eats! Hope you enjoy!

Hillbilly Tea

Hillbilly Tea

Half fried hen - drizzled with herb honey, roasted sweet potatoes and buttermilk biscuit
Half fried hen - drizzled with herb honey, roasted sweet potatoes and buttermilk biscuit

This past Memorial Day weekend, we escaped the hustle and bustle of Chicago on a road trip to Louisville, Kentucky.  So of course, we had to thoroughly sample the Southern cuisine, starting off with Hillbilly Tea, an extremely cute cafe that serves up mountain inspired organic teas and refined dishes.

When in the south, you can't miss out on fried chicken, so we ordered the half fried hen.  If they still have this on the menu when you go, definitely order it.  The crisp is a fine crunch with a slight taste of honey, which is drizzled over the chicken.  Paired with it are fluffy buttermilk biscuits and perfectly roasted sweet potatoes.  We practically wolfed this dish down!

Left: Iced tea soda (exotic fruit tea syrup) Right: Jasmine scone and jam
Left: Iced tea soda (exotic fruit tea syrup) Right: Jasmine scone and jam

On the tea menu is iced tea soda, and I could not pass this up even though I'm normally not a big fan of tea.  It was naturally sweet with the amazing bubbling texture.  If I had a soda machine, I'd always add some bubbles into my teas.  And with tea, I must have a scone with jam.  Hillbilly Tea's jasmine scone is pretty nice, but it still can't beat a British scone, which is consistently soft and fluffy on the inside.

Bourbon cured trout salad - candy bacon, arugula and twig tea dressing
Bourbon cured trout salad - candy bacon, arugula and twig tea dressing

Because of the artery-clogging nature of Southern cuisine, we had to order something healthy.  Although the menu said there was only arugula, there was quite a bit of iceberg lettuce also, which made my taste buds much happier.  Mixed together with the bacon and trout, this salad really came together as a whole when the dressing coated everything.

Left: Hellbelly frog legs with marmalade Right: Roadkill stew
Left: Hellbelly frog legs with marmalade Right: Roadkill stew

I guess most brunches don't include frog legs and roadkill stew, but when we saw it on their menu, we had to order them.  The frog legs were disappointing because they didn't have much flavor and were a bit overcooked, making them much chewier that they should be.  The marmalade added some flavor, but this starter still wasn't very impressive.  In contrast, the roadkill stew of oxtail and lamb was very savory a delicious.  We slurped it up as we chatted about how glad we were that we didn't encounter any ox or lamb on the highway to Louisville...

Good earth - vanilla complements puerh tea's cocoa-like sweet, earthy richness with a cinnamon kiss and notes of chocolate
Good earth - vanilla complements puerh tea's cocoa-like sweet, earthy richness with a cinnamon kiss and notes of chocolate

And finally, we had to try an earth tea.  Like its name, Good earth brings you closer to nature in its taste.  It's a very nice tea to sip on after your meal, especially to cleanse your palate of the yummy oils from the brunch!

Tips:

  1. Make a reservation for brunch - the place got filled up pretty quickly!
  2. There is street parking right outside.
  3. Try the teas, especially the iced tea soda.  After all, it is called Hillbilly Tea.
Hillbilly Tea on Urbanspoon
Sushi at The Sit Down

Sushi at The Sit Down

Quick Thai at Siam Rice

Quick Thai at Siam Rice