I last left you in Asheville, North Carolina. Now let's see what's happening in Louisville, KY. Yes, I skipped over Myrtle Beach, SC.... I loved it there, but the food/booze scene was lacking. I guess with the pretty beach and tacky souvenir shops, nobody cares much? There was delicious calamari everywhere, at least.
Louisville, however... what a surprise! Besides all the bourbon/whiskey distilleries, there are some really interesting places to eat great food and drink great beer (and whiskey).
The first night we went to Milkwood, Chef Edward Lee's second restaurant in Louisville. I would love to go back and eat at his first joint, 610 Magnolia. The chef was on a book tour, so we didn't see him that night (I'm kicking myself for not going to his event in St. Louis just a couple weeks before this trip), but the food at Milkwood was outstanding. Homemade pickles and charcuterie and GARLIC BUTTER. Yeah, like apple butter but made from garlic. Glorious! The waitress brought me an extra portion because my garlic tattoo was showing :) What a gem of a restaurant located in what seemed to be a pretty vibrant downtown area. Reasonably priced, to boot!
Then there was Bourbon. We toured 3 distilleries on the "Whiskey Trail:" Jim Beam, Heaven Hill and Maker's Mark. A tip about distillery tours: they are only open until 3 pm or earlier... plan on morning/early afternoon trips so you can go to more than we were able to. These 3 were a good variety, but I would have loved to go to some of the smaller craft distilleries. Next time. Visiting the big guys, though, was neat, and I learned a lot about Bourbon. Did you know that they can only use each barrel once in order for it to be called bourbon?
|Jim Beam's Yeast. It's like 100 years old.
|Tour-bottled Knob Creek being sealed with wax.
|The first barrel of Bourbon in this particular Heaven Hill Barrel House.
|LOVED the details at Maker's Mark.
|Pages from the sketch book of the woman who designed/marketed
Maker's Mark. It was a husband-wife team. So cool!
Yeah, it was fun learning about bourbon... but I'm a BEER girl. Louisville did not disappoint in this category. There are some fantastic beer-centric bars in this town. The one's we went to: Louisville Beer Store, Sergio's World Beers, Holy Grale and The Silver Dollar:
|Louisville Beer Store. That's what it's called. Tons of bottles to
choose from, and some rare ones. They also have several on tap,
and a bar you can drink at.
|Me and Sergio, of Sergio's World Beers. Over 1000 different
beers, only 1 Bud Light (which they priced at $26.00 :))
|Holy Grale is a bar in an old church! Hallelujah!
Great seasonal beer selection, and reliable sources told
me the food is excellent, too.
|Panorama of Sergio's
|The Silver Dollar is actually more of a Whiskey bar, but they
had a great beer selection, too. And scrumptios foods!
Also, they play all their music on a turntable. Old country
music on vinyl pairs perfectly with bourbon.
Back to food... We were fortunate to get to try The Blind Pig. I say fortunate because rumor has it they are closing. It's a damn shame. Check out this lamb and gnocchi for goodness sakes! Hopefully the people that run it will continue making good food elsewhere in Louisville.
I was surprised to hear that Louisville is actually one of the best places in the country to eat seafood. How can that be? It's in the Midwest, nowhere near an Ocean. There is a UPS hub there, you see, so most of the country's seafood goes there before it goes anywhere else. Therefore, we sought out Sushi. The place that keeps winning "best in Louisville" is called Sake Blue, and is way out in the suburbs in a generic upper-middle-class strip mall box store kinda area. I got the Chirashizushi (I call these "Happy Bowls") so I could try a variety of fish. It did indeed taste very fresh and it was gorgeous and seasoned just right to let the fishes' flavors shine.
So yeah, I am smitten with Louisville. Besides all the great places listed above, the town seems to have a lot in common with my home, St. Louis. They have a Louis and Clark connection, are named after the same French King as us, there are Fleur de Lis' everywhere and they ask the notorious "What Highschool did you go to?" question. So basically, Louisville is like my town's bourbon-drinking southern cousin. I'll be back... because, family, you know?
Tell me in the comments what places in Louisville I should visit next time!