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.

42F05CDC-3C99-4064-B144-E01770D0F845.JPG
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.

IMG_0015.PNG
B6A9EBFE-02EF-417E-AFD1-9BCA91469046.JPG

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

Tonight's Drink: Colonel E.H. Taylor Single Barrel

The only single barrel bourbon bottled in bond, this is a bourbon with proud tradition. It also was named American Whisky of the year for 2012, no small feat it a ever expanding bourbon culture.

The nose has creamy caramel and tobacco notes, with hints of citrus and leather.
It starts hot on the palette, rapidly fading to honey and sweet corn with a smooth finish that leaves you with a faint taste of copper and green grass.
This is an amazingly complex whiskey that hits all of the right notes while remaining as pure and uncut as it's long history.

93/100

Transient

Athenian Grill: Greek Bistro & Market by Ilias Pappas — Kickstarter

 When we were in Kentucky, I wrote about the Ambassador Day at Makers Mark on day two of our visit.  One of the great things about that day was the amazing greek food we had from Athenian Grill in Lexington and their booth on the food court there.  Now Athenian Grill is working to open a permanent location in Lexington, and has turned to Kickstarter for funding.  While most of the awards for backers are only going to be valuable to people in the Lexington area, the $50 reward includes shipping of their scratch-made pastries anywhere in the U.S.

If you are in Lexington, or really anywhere in Eastern Kentucky, I encourage you to consider supporting Illias in getting this restaurant built, you will love his food and his passion.

Source: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/atheni...

On the Road: Distillery Tours Day Four

On our fourth and final day touring distilleries in Kentucky we visited two extremes as far as age.  We started at one of the newest and high-tech distilleries in the state, Town Branch, and ended at the oldest continuously operating distillery in the state, Buffalo Trace.  The contrast in methods is striking, but the process is the same.

Read More