I ❤️ Kentucky

Carrie and I spent the weekend in Louisville, and the visit reinforced the fact that I love Kentucky like it was where I was born to live.  From the small-town feel of the big city you get in Louisville to the rolling bluegrass fields and horse ranches of the countryside it's an amazing place that reminds me of my real home in Portland, Oregon but adds so much charm and history, not to mention actual seasons.  And we can't forget the bourbon.  From great bourbon bars to the largest and best bourbon distillers in the world both Louisville and Lexington are amazing whiskey towns. 

Mar 3, 2017

Day one of our anniversary trip to Louisville was a long drive, where we checked into the historic Seelbach Hotel followed by a great bowl of Burgoo and cocktails at one of the best hotel bars in the country, The Old Seelbach Bar.

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The Old Seelbach Bar features an amazing whiskey selection in addition to being one of the oldest bars on Louisville's Urban Bourbon tour. 

The Old Seelbach Bar features an amazing whiskey selection in addition to being one of the oldest bars on Louisville's Urban Bourbon tour. 

Traditional burgoo was made using whatever meats and vegetables were available—typically, venison, squirrel, opossum, raccoon or game birds, and was often associated with autumn and the harvest season. Today, local barbecue restaurants use a specific meat in their recipes, usually pork, chicken, or mutton, which, along with the spices used, creates a flavor unique to each restaurant.

The Seelbach takes things to a new level featuring pork, rabbit, and venison in their burgoo. This combination of meats with the traditional okra, corn, and potatoes whose starches leech out to thicken this amazing soup create a concoction thick enough to stand your spoon up while still leaving an ample amount of broth to be soaked up by their amazing bourbon bread.

The Old Seelbach Bar features an amazing burgoo

The Old Seelbach Bar features an amazing burgoo

March 4, 2017

We started with a quiet morning and breakfast in bed from the amazing Gatsby's on Fourth Cafe in the hotel. We then took a drive through historic Louisville. We tried to get in for a tour of the Angels Envy distillery that opened across from Slugger Stadium since the last time we were in town, but tours were sold out for the day. Instead we took a drive out Old Bardstown Road through the historic neighborhoods East of Downtown known as The Highlands.

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We came back early afternoon and walked down the street from the Seelbach to another historic Louisville hotel, The Brown for lunch. Our favorite spot in the hotel, the Lobby Bar wasn't open yet but I got some pictures before heading down to the historic J. Graham's Cafe on the first floor.

The Lobby Bar at The Brown Hotel

The Lobby Bar at The Brown Hotel

Lobby and mezzanine from The Brown Hotel's front desk

Lobby and mezzanine from The Brown Hotel's front desk

J. Graham's Cafe is the originator of the Hot Brown, the city's signature sandwich which was developed in the 1920's to satisfy late night diners looking for more glamorous than ham and eggs after attending the historic dinner dances hosted in the 4,300 sqft Crystal Ballroom which regularly accommodated more than 1,200 guests per night.

The J. Graham cafe in the Brown Hotel's daylight basement is one of Downtown Louisville's oldest

The J. Graham cafe in the Brown Hotel's daylight basement is one of Downtown Louisville's oldest

We of course both chose the Hot Brown for our lunch, and as always were not disappointed. The amazing mornay sauce is as ever the centerpiece of this amazing open faced sandwich, combining Pecorino Romano cheese with a perfectly made cream sauce with just a hint of nutmeg to draw out the nutty flavors of the cheese. This sauce covers the base of Texas toast and Turkey before being sprinkled with more cheese and thrown under a broiler. The sandwich is then covered with 2 strips of bacon before being garnished and served. There is no better sandwich in my experience, and I've eaten some amazing sandwiches in my travels.

The world famous Hot Brown originated in this historic cafe

The world famous Hot Brown originated in this historic cafe

Mar 5, 2017

Wallace Station

Wallace Station

Country Ham and Pimento cheese on wheat from Wallace Station is an amazingly well constructed sandwich.  The salt and sweet from the ham are the perfect foil for the creamy spice of the pimento cheese.  Pimento cheese is one of those southern creations we just don't find most places in Oregon unless we make it like Grandma did.

Wallace Station's Country Ham & Pimento cheese sandwich features a house made white cheddar pimento cheese. 

Wallace Station's Country Ham & Pimento cheese sandwich features a house made white cheddar pimento cheese. 

Carrie had the Turkey Rachel, Roast turkey, Russian dressing, Swiss cheese and creamy slaw.  A southern take on the Ruben with house made slaw that takes it to a whole new level.  She said it was a great sandwich, and her clean plate said she wasn't just being polite.

The Turkey Rachel from Wallace Station features an awesome house made slaw

The Turkey Rachel from Wallace Station features an awesome house made slaw

Yesterday was an off day around here....

I said goodbye to an old friend yesterday.  In some ways it was exactly what I thought it would be.  Not much has changed in the funeral mass of the Catholic Church since the 2nd Vatican council approved the move to an English mass after all.

Other things  (mostly people), surprised me.  People who I never would have bet against making it were missing for a variety of reasons.  People I don't remember having a kind words for Packy in High School were crying like it was their son and not Tom and Sally's first born that was taken much too young.

I understand no one knows what to say all the time at these things.  I knew his mother just needed a lot of hugs, because she reached for one any time I was within arm's reach.  She also needed to know she wasn't losing all contact with us just because he was gone.  One thing I have come to realize over the years since high school is that there are some relationships that just ARE. I had not seen Sally in more than twenty years when I walked into that church yesterday, but the hug I received and the obvious thankfulness that I had made it there to be with the family didn't need explanation.  

With his Dad, who had lost his firstborn son and with whom I should have been able to empathize, I know I came off sounding like a freshman on one of his intro to journalism classes.  We had a strong student-teacher dynamic in school but it wasn't very deep or personal.  Why is the first thing we ask "How are you doing?" Or "Are you ok?"????  Shouldn't we know the answers to those two questions without opening our mouths and looking like morons?  We say them anyway, especially or maybe because we don't know what else to say when we know Ok is at a minimum weeks away, and there is still a lot of shock and grief for us all to work through before we can really know how we are coping with this loss.

On one side of the gymnasium we had a family clearly grieving.  Sisters, brothers, aunts, and uncles.  Among them were a scattering of good friends that either now or at various times in the past felt like part of the family.  We were standing around sharing stories about Patrick that made us laugh or cry.  Often stories that needed to be protected and remembered but not amplified by the PA system.  From this group came a stream of people to the microphone to share stories with a wider audience  about the amazing and complex person who the world had lost.

On the other side of the room were a lot of Packy's former classmates, probably some friends and associates from work.  Those who felt for whatever reason socially obligated to be there.  They hit the buffet line, and milled around in the corner furthest from the PA so there was less chance anyone would ask them to say a few words. 

We're all supposed to be adults now.  All around forty (some much older) with lives, jobs, and many of us with kids of our own.  Yet to hear half of the conversation my peers had today you would think they were still living in fraternity houses.  The number of people talking about parties I threw in the early '90s shocked me, and some of the best parts were my knowledge that the guy talking was no where near my party that night.  I hate to reduce myself to a variation on a pop culture reference that will be dated before most people read this post, but - Do you even funeral bro??

As things were winding down I was going to get together with some of the guys for some drinks and reality intruded.  My daughter started texting me about power flickering and water dripping from the ceiling. 

I get home and the dogs are barking, and product is waiting in boxes to be reviewed.  I opened the first and it's candy, and in my mood that works great.  It is a sample pack from a local confectionery we have reviewed before, The Candy Basket.  This sampler contains Red Velvet Fudge, Pecan Rolls, and Divinity.  All are done to perfection, and arrived fresh and soft to my door..  I can also confirm that they all pair well with both Teeling Irish Whiskey and Barterhouse 20yo Bourbon from the Orphan Barrel Collection that I also have sitting there needing to review.  I know, I have a hard job sometimes.

The sampler from The Candy Basket includes from left to right Divinity, Pecan Rolls, and Red Velvet Fudge  

The sampler from The Candy Basket includes from left to right Divinity, Pecan Rolls, and Red Velvet Fudge  

I know it looks like a problem, but the flasks in this picture are water bottles from FRED Flask.  Look for a full review of them soon. 

I know it looks like a problem, but the flasks in this picture are water bottles from FRED Flask.  Look for a full review of them soon. 

The Teeling you've probably seen reviewed here before.  It is by far my favorite everyday Irish Whiskey and for good reason.  The sweetness it gains from its time in Caribbean rum casks truly set it apart.

Barterhouse is an extremely limited edition, bottled by hand from "Orphaned Barrels" 

Barterhouse is an extremely limited edition, bottled by hand from "Orphaned Barrels" 

The Barterhouse Orphan Barrel release is something that you don't find every day, and I am telling you right now, you better start looking.  Several barrels were found in the back corner of an old rickhouse outside of Tullahoma, KY after sitting forgotten for almost twenty years.  What begins on the nose as honey and biscuits along side faint hints of buttercream opens up into bold roasted grain, mellow toasted tobacco and marshmallow to compliment the subtle smoke from the barrel and finishes with hints of nutmeg and brown sugar.  Never have I tasted a bourbon that was at once as complex and as smooth, especially after twenty some years in the barrel.  I'm going to have to hunt some more down, because I don't want ever reach for this and find the bottle empty.

So, that was another day in Fat Boy Heaven.  Sorry if it started a little bit too personal and uncomfortable.  I've decided that the only way I can write is to actually engage my mind, that means sometimes the truth as I know it might hit your screen. 

My love, prayers, condolences, and thanks go out to the Eichsteadt/Mitcheltree clan.  We all shared in the joy and happiness Patrick brought into our lives, thank you again for allowing us to join you in saying goodbye.

Ve con Dios old friend. 

Ve con Dios old friend.