When my mom suggested going to Louisville for a girls’ weekend, I was a bit surprised. If we’re being completely honest, I had never thought of going to Louisville before. I wasn’t even sure what was in Louisville.
I was pleasantly surprised by what Louisville has to offer, not the least of which is cuisine. The very first night we were there, we were blown away by the fancied-up versions of down-home favorites we were served. The food was so good, in fact, that I had to share some of it with you. Here’s my quick guide to eating in Louisville, and the kinds of tasty treats you can find there:
Chicken and Waffles
This is another southern favorite. While in Louisville, we found a twist on the classic that was amazing: Chicken and waffle sandwiches. Fried chicken between two waffles, served with maple bourbon butter for slathering. We found this in what was perhaps the most unique restaurant we ate at while in Kentucky: The Troll Pub Under the Bridge. Being a couple of trolls ourselves (i.e., Lower Peninsula Michiganders, for those of you who aren’t hip to the lingo), we were almost as excited by the giant troll outside the place (which is, in fact, under a bridge) as we were by the amazing comfort food served inside.
Candied Bourbon Maple Bacon
We all know that Kentucky is the land of bourbon, but this was just out of this world. Our first night in Louisville found us eating at Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen on Whiskey Row. Sitting on the patio, sipping our bourbon barrel ale (see below), we decided we needed a little something before we dug into the barbecue. One look at the appetizers menu, and we settled on the candied bourbon maple bacon. You read that right. Candied maple bacon served with a size of Old Forester bourbon glaze.
Yes, I know barbecue is not just a Kentucky thing. But, since every town in the US claims to have the best barbecue, you should try it every chance you get (IMHO). My go-to favorite is pulled pork. So, naturally, I ordered the pulled pork sandwich to chase my candied bourbon maple bacon appetizer. Juicy and tender pulled pork, topped with slaw, pickles, and Old Forester bourbon sauce, and served with a side of Parmesan garlic fries is, perhaps, the best way to start off a weekend of eating and drinking in Louisville.
Bourbon Barrel Ale
After a day of sampling who-knows-how-many types of bourbon, you might just need a less alcoholic option to go with dinner. At least, I did – even if I wasn’t quite ready to give up the bourbon theme. Bourbon barrel ale is just what it sounds like – the ale is aged in used bourbon barrels, so it acquires some of the bourbon flavor. I actually ordered this several times while in Kentucky, it was so good.
Last, but certainly not least, that old Kentucky favorite! If you have no idea what hot brown is, you’re not alone. We Michiganders were totally confused when we saw a mural of a hot brown sandwich dancing on the side of an overpass in Louisville. But, when in Louisville! Hot brown is an open sandwich, invented at the Brown Hotel in Louisville. It’s a thick slice of bread, piled up with turkey, bacon, and Mornay sauce (a creamy, cheesey sauce), all topped with fresh tomato. Sounds odd, but let me tell you, it’s the very definition of comfort food! Don’t worry, folks – you’ll be able to find this favorite all over the place, even outside of Louisville.