Hey guys and gals and kittens and geckos! I'm back in Michigan and very, very cold. Logan's been up here for a couple of weeks and still has a few days of work left, so I'm hanging at the very nice hotel and watching the snow snowing its snowy self all over the outdoors.
Also, I've added a little something to the sidebar (Thanks, Google Latitude!) so you can see whereabouts we are. My lack of ability to blog things as they actually happen has led to some confusion in the past, so now it's easy to see what part of the country we're in, no matter what I'm posting about.
Case in point; I'm in Michigan, right? But here's a movie I put together, just a quickie time-lapsey thing, about our road trip from Michigan back to Austin in October. We stopped in Louiville for a couple of days and had fun both on and off the Bourbon Trail as well as on our own homemade Ham Trail. Then, we got to stay in Nashville for a few days with our wonderful friends Carrie and Shiloh, who showed their lovely city, its 2-for-1 beer specials, its honkey-tonks, and its hot chicken off to their best effect. I can't thank them enough!
Links to worthy stops and mo' better information after the vid. I hope you enjoy it - it's my first foray into iMovie and caused a lot of cussing when I was putting it together. The music clip is "Humdinger," by Old Crow Medicine Show.
- Not on the official Bourbon Trail, but the most interesting complex: Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort KY (I think their website is roaring at me)
- Four Roses distillery, Lawrenceburg, KY, in a pretty but definitely aging Spanish Colonial-style building
- Heaven Hill (Bourbon Heritage Center), outside of Bardstown, KY. My least favorite. Has several levels of tours and a giant shop, but feels a bit like DisneyBourbon. Probably a good stop if you're short on time.
- Best tastings, nicest proprietor, awesome Kentucky experience at Col. Marsters' place, the Chapeze House. Try tastings of a HUGE selection of bourbons, or get a nicely made Old-Fashioned; have benedictine and Ritz, a superlative accompaniment to your bourbon. Plus, you can stay for a communal dinner cooked by the Colonel's wife, Margaret Sue, if you'd like. Definitely make it a point to chat with the Colonel about the history of Kentucky Bourbon.
- Buy your bourbon to take home at Toddy's Liquors; it's the size of a trailer and has the biggest bourbon collection for sale we've ever seen. (they ship, too.)
We had dinner that night at the wonderful Proof on Main in Louisville. Smoked grapes on the charcuterie plate! Bison tongue mortadella! Whipped ricotta in a cast-iron pot with racing dailies underneath as insulation! And, and, and you can tour the hotel that houses the restaurant, 21c Museum Hotel, afterwards. It's full of really neat modern art and some fun interactive exhibits. (You could stay there, but it was a bit out of our price range...)
- Finchville Farms, Finchville KY: lovely hams displayed on tables for you to fondle.
- Scott Hams, off a dirt road in Greenville, KY, is a perennial Best Ham winner at the Kentucky State Fair; they train local 4-H students to carry on the old hammy traditions. And they are sweet as pie. You can also get sorghum and Kentucky cookbooks there.
- Col. Bill Newsom's Aged Kentucky Country Ham (Princeton, KY) was the most expensive of the hams we bought, by far; perhaps because they have a picture of Bobby Flay enjoying their products? The ham was still damn fine, though, and they sell a prosciutto-type ham that melts in your mouth. It's $18.99 a pound.
- B&B, or Broadbent Hams, has a store in Kuttawa just off I-24. I didn't have high hopes, because the place had no charm at all (it looks like it's a roadside store off I-24, if you know what I mean) but their ham was great and has also been crowned by the Kentucky State Fair.
Hot chicken is a Nashville tradition, as it turns out, so we had to get a couple. Our digestive systems totally paid for this later, by the way (except for Logan, who has some sort of strange iron inner workings in place of a people-tummy.)
- Bolton's Spicy Chicken and Fish, in an itty bitty shack - chicken comes from "mild" to "extra hot hot hot extra hot extra hot", depending only on how much seasoning is shaken onto the fried pieces. Very good chicken, but I preferred the spicy fish sandwich; fried whiting on white bread with a slice of American cheese, onions, and pickles. Once I figured out how to attack it, that is.
- Prince's Hot Chicken: my god, was that some spicy hot chicken! The different heat levels are actually marinated and sauced with different mixes of pepper. We died of spiciness, then ate more, then died again. And the soft white bread gets saturated with heat and is no help, either.
Other food and drinks:
- We had drinks, no pics, at Patterson House - awesome speakeasy-type place with very nice drinks in a very dark room. And we went to lots of comfy bars where we mostly failed at ring toss, and we honkytonked, but this was in October and I don't know where these places were. Oops.
- I do know that everyone within a 600 mile radius of Nashville should go eat unassuming chef Tandy Wilson's ridiculously delicious food at City House right effing now. Best pizzas we've had since Italy, no joke - we actually got another pizza for dessert - and my A.P. drink (bulleit bourbon, amaretto, douglas fir brandy, lemon bitters, prosecco) makes my mouth water four months later. And the conchiglie pasta with creamed turnip greens? Never you mind. (they do a offal dinner on Sundays, too!!!!)
- The Loveless Cafe - I had good memories of the place from a driving trip I took with my parents 15 years ago. Now there are two-hour waits, and the food is good, but if you live or have spent any time in the South you already know all about this food.
And we stopped on the way back to Austin in Dallas to have the burger at The Grape (available only Sunday brunch and Monday), named Texas's best burger a couple of years ago. It was a good burger, but we had the cats in the car and I spent most of the meal craning my neck to see how they were doing.
So that's how we roll in the Fit on a driving vacation - with a car full of cats, cases of bourbon, and whole hams, bellies full of charcuterie, pizzas, insanely spicy fried stuff, and liquor, and iPods full of This American Life and Radiolab. You know how we be.