Charmed in Louisville
Sunday, July 13, 2008
The chandeliers at the Hotel 21c sing and ring bells. Holograms of eyes stare back at you from the mirror and when you are at the urinal you suddenly wonder "Am I supposed to be peeing on this?" In other words our hotel was PeeWee's Play House meets the Whitney. I was in Louisville, Kentucky for the summer field trip of The Southern Foodways Alliance. The members from there were our hosts and they showed us a real good time. The focus of the meeting was Bourbon, but we learned a lot about other things as well. There is a fair amount of small sustainable farming and there are restaurants that support it. There is impressive local cheese. There are good, hot new places to eat and there is an equally good collection of places that have been there for years that people love. I was introduced to Benedictine spread and Jezebel sauce. I was treated to the best, best ,best ever Old Fashioned made by Preston and Julian Van Winkle, pere et fils , of the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery from their family recipe. I wish I hadn't been reminded about how good good Bourbon can be.
We had great tomatoes several times, once simply sliced at the Pendennis Club and another time pureed into a new twist on gazpacho at Lilly's. Lunch at the Seelbach Hotel included a sweet green pea soup made doubly delicious by the inclusion of rice (from Anson Mills) croquettes and diced green tomato pickles. There was a fabulous multi-coursed prix fix at Edward Lee's 610 Magnolia (whose kitchen may be smaller than mine, but then they're only open three nights a week). And let's not forget the strawberry rhubarb breakfast pies from Lynn's Paradise Cafe , please see photo left
Perhaps my favorite among favorites was a visit to Muth's Candies , a fifth generation candy maker that still does everything by hand. The place is tiny- only four or five workers, and they make dozens and dozens of different candies. Every single thing they make is delicious. Products range from a fantastic popcorn peanut brittle to the signature Modjeska, a marshmallow caramel dream named for a Polish actress from the Belle Epoque.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, pork ribs have returned to the summer menu, and Lord, the tomatoes...
posted by Bill Smith at 7:00 PM