July 14, 2008

Blue Grass & Brown Whiskey: Louisville With The Southern Foodways Alliance

We arrived at the Oak Room Bar in the Seelbach Hotel to a cocktail from mixologist Jerry Slater, made from champagne and whiskey (Buffalo Trace, if memory serves). Then it was upstairs to the Oak Room for a dinner from chefs Todd Richards and Duane Nutter, the highlight of which had to be the bread pudding spiked with Benton's bacon. I imagine there was a bit of whiskey in there as well.

Friday featured a full schedule, including a tour of the Shuckman's Smoked Fish facility, where we were treated to salmon and trout that's smoked using wood from Pappy Van Winkle whiskey barrels. We also sampled some caviar from Kentucky Lake, of all places.

Richards and Nutter also prepared our lunch in the Rathskeller at the Seelbach, including an amazing pea soup with Carolina Gold rice fritters and pork belly with 'fourth generation' barbecue sauce.

After a trip to Old Town Liquors to browse their whiskeys and pick up a bottle of Old Weller, it was off to Schnitzelburg for a tour of the neighborhood. First up was a lesson in the game of Dainty. The tournament was played outside of Hauck's, the best 97-year-old beer store/grocery we've ever come across, and Elizabeth caught on pretty quickly:

After the game, we headed to The All Wool & A Yard Wide Democratic Club for an old-school fish fry, including a new one to us: 'rolled oysters' - basically a fried oyster with an obscene amount of breading. No complaints here.

After dinner, we took a tour of the neighborhood's bars, most notably the Old Hickory Inn, where our friend Billy entertained with some karaoke:

On Saturday, we took a trip to the Pendennis Club, the kind of place that might not normally admit the likes of us. This gentleman's club is the possible birthplace of the Old Fashioned (made with Van Winkle, of course). We were served bison biscuits topped with another unfamiliar treat, 'Henry Bain Sauce.'

Sunday's breakfast at the Brown Hotel featured the legendary Hot Brown sandwich - so rich that there was no need for lunch, or really, dinner either.