Friday, August 1, 2014

Weekend in Louisville

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties

- Return to the Scene of good Food and Booze

We're shooting south down I-65 and headed to Louisville for the weekend! We did Round 2 down there this past 4th of July weekend. Check out the first trip down there from this past winter HERE. As the holiday crept up on us we had nothing to do and decided a ride down there to tour the bourbon distillery's this time around would be a fun getaway at a reasonable price. I was happy with the end result as we also squeezed a daytrip to Cincinnati in on this visit. Great getaway for Chicagoan's.

 Downtown Louisville

Good eating and drinking is what we were in Louisville to do so I again missed the Bat factory tour and also the Muhammad Ali Center. Next time! I do enjoy coming down here and the ride isn't bad at all. Boring maybe, but not awful if you stop in Indianapolis for some eats. We did a few repeats on this 3 day stay as we loved Milkwood on our last visit and then enjoyed drinks in the sun at Garage Bar and ate at Silver Dollar upon our arrival late that evening. Of course a couple trips to Indi's for some fried chicken and sides were also accomplished. That smashed pork burger at Milkwood was as good as last time of not better.

 We were repeat visitors to Garage Bar, Silver Dollar and Indi's as they were open at times when needed during the holiday weekend. We missed some favorites too.

Vietnamese Lamb Sausage w/ fried green tomato, pan- drippings, pickled fresno, green goddess dressing at Milkwood

I'm always eager to try new spots and as many places as we made it to the first go around there were plenty more that hadn't been hit up. Right across the river in New Albany, Indiana is a new-school BBQ place that gets plenty of praise both locally and nationally. Feast BBQ sits in a beautiful historic building and was open on the 4th so we made it our lunch stop before hitting up the Buffalo Trace Distillery for one of their free tours...and tastings.

New Albany, IN

Having read a few of the articles they have displayed on the walls I learned this is run by a guy who's all about the science of BBQ. Most of the worthwhile spots down in this area are run by hipsters and I don't think this place was any different though that doesn't mean it wasn't any good. One of their famous dishes is a smoked tofu and that wasn't going to be ordered so I actually went ahead and got a couple tacos while she ordered the pulled pork sandwich.

Pulled Pork Sandwich and Greens

My tacos were very pleasing. They can come two ways, American or Mexican style, and I got one of each. Brisket was topped American style with BBQ sauce, cole slaw and green onions while the pulled pork Mexican variation had cabbage, cotija cheese, pickled red onions, crema and lime. The Mexican version was much better. The pork might of been a little hidden amongst all the toppings but having tried her sandwich I can verify it was done right. Greens were approved by me but not her while the cocktails were cheap and strong. They have a really nice selection of beer and bourbon for you to enjoy with your 'que. Cool place as is the town itself which has some great Main Street Americana charm going on.

Brisket (L) and Pulled Pork (R) Tacos

Grand Theater in New Albany

Aside from maybe apple pie and fireworks what can be more American than touring a bourbon distillery on the Fourth of July? Not much I can think of so we were off to the Buffalo Trace Distillery for their free tour which I thought was tons of fun. I learned stuff, drank a few shots worth for free and got a bottle of hand packed Blanton's to start my racing horse bottle-stop collection.

Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour is always free

After the Buffalo Trace tour we thought about doing the Four Roses one but decided not to in favor of getting back to Louisville for more food and drink. But not before a quick pit-stop at the southern fried chicken finger chain known as Zaxby's. Started in Athens, Georgia they now have locations in 15 states along with close ties to the SEC. These fried chicken finger chains are a thing around the south and Zaxby's is supposed to be one of the giants. I've always been anti-strip but was recently turned onto this phenomenon by Farmhouse Chicken Strips on Chicago's southside. Zaxby's weren't quite on the level of Farmhouse but as far as a quick drive-thru snack goes I can ride with it. Count me a fan of their signature self named sauce.

Zaxby's Chicken Fingers

Louisville has as big of a cocktail scene as any city it's size so it was no surprise to find a couple tempting establishments that we hadn't been to last trip thru. First up is a place downtown called Meta. Upon walking in you feel like you're at somewhere like the Whistler and with it they had a verdita drink on the menu titled "Ode to Logan Square". Drinks were stiff while a late nite plate of homemade pimiento cheese was on point. If you want a cocktail in more lush surroundings I recommend checking out the St. Charles Exchange. They really went all in with the inside but as far as the drinks go I don't really remember. Though you know their bourbon selection is marvelous.

Image Image
 Sipping up Louisville's Cocktail Scene

One of the newly opened places I had my eye on was a spot called Gralehaus that specializes in both beer and breakfast. The guys behind it own another popular spot in town and plan on opening a B&B alongside this new venture very soon. They're taking the Longman & Eagle approach. As I mentioned in the previous post most of the city is one big Logan Square.

Located in the Highlands Neighborhood

a peak inside

They do food and beer for there or you can buy beer from their fridge to put into yours. Taps, bottles, cans, you name it they got it. Having checked out the menu beforehand it was the crepes that caught my eye. They offered quite a few variety's and while the one I wanted wasn't on there I found a replacement pretty quickly. The Country Ham with an egg and red eye gravy as well as a couple other components I can't remember was a nice way to start the day but having seen another patrons Biscuit and Duck Gravy plate I was kind of regretting having not gotten that. She had the cornmeal crusted catfish sandwich of which everything except the fish was made in-house. I heard it was good, small but worthwhile.

Country Ham & Egg Crepe

Catfish Sandwich

Best bite of this trip came from Harvest Restaurant located in the NuLu neighborhood amongst a bunch of other worthwhile spots. We stopped in for drinks, which were super refreshing, and I decided I had to try their take on an old state favorite.

Popular Restaurant in the NuLu neighborhood

Burgoo is a social event in Kentucky, much like the fish fry is here in the Midwest. Usually its made by churches and organizations but you'll find restaurants making it here and there too. Traditionally it's made with whatever meats and vegetables were available and everything from racoons to squirrels are game. At the farm to table Harvest Restaurant they're making theirs with chicken, pork, turkey, new potatoes, heirloom tomatoes and pretzel croutons. This was deep in flavor and definitely something I'd seek out next time I'm around.

Kentucky Burgoo at Harvest Restaurant

Also located in NuLu is a place called Taco Punk and seeing as how I'm a taco fiend I had to stop in and try one. Upon entering the place has the feel of a Chipotle so my hopes weren't all that high but I left pleasantly surprised with my "quick service gourmet taco". I tried the pineapple pork shoulder which is real smoked pork finished with a pineapple glaze and chose my toppings ala Chipotle. The meat had actual smoke flavor and they make the tortillas fresh to order and stuff them with fillings.

Smoked Pork Taco from Taco Punk

Last stop before heading back was to an old Louisville Drive-In that's been slanging burgers since 1947. I chose to try the other old school burger joint nearby last time so this time around I wanted to see what was up over here on this trip.

 The famous Dizzy Whizz Drive-In

Their famous Wizzburgers were 2 for $5 on my visit but she wasn't eating so I went with just one. This is a double decker burger ala the Big Mac minus the sesame seed bun. I think the sauce is a little bit different as well, mostly mayo based and I liked it for a fast food burger but would still say Jim's Hamburger Heaven in Elmhurst makes my favorite burger in this style. For more eating options check out my last report from Louisville HERE. That's it for this trip, see ya next time!


316 W Main St
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 584-6455

Feast BBQ
116 W Main St
New Albany, IN 47150
(812) 920-0454

Buffalo Trace Distillery
113 Great Buffalo Trace
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 696-5926

425 W Chestnut St
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 822-6382

St. Charles Exchange
113 S 7th St
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 618-1917

1001 Baxter Ave
Louisville, KY 40204
(502) 454-7075

Harvest Restaurant
624 E Market St
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 384-9090

Taco Punk
736 E Market St
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 584-8226

Dizzy Whizz Drive-In
217 W St Catherine St
Louisville, KY 40203
(502) 583-3828

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