Monday, April 23, 2007

Lexington Eats

CabbageLover and I journeyed to Kentucky last weekend for LexingtonNative's wedding (gorgeous in every way: weather; cute, countryside church; reception site with a dynamite patio; the wedding dress and killer shoes!). On the Friday flight over, I salivated over Bon Appetit's special Travel issue, which featured Shanghai soup dumplings. Can't wait to try these in China next month.

When we arrived, we headed straight for Billy's Bar-B-Q.

I couldn't wait to try the dill-ickles (or frickles, depending on which menu you're reading), banana pepper rings, garlicky cheese grits, coleslaw, green beans, pork ribs and a pulled pork sandwich. My favorites were the banana pepper rings -- tart and thinly sliced -- and the airy white-cornbread that came with the ribs. (CabbageLover and I agreed Mardi Gras Grill fries a superior, crispier pickle.)

At the wedding, we feasted on tasty Southern staples including shrimp and grits, biscuits and ham and a delicious passed hors d'oeuvre that reminded me of a dressy Bagel Bite. I can't remember what the waitress called it, but it oozed cheese and bacon and tomato atop a crispy phyllo tartlet shell. I washed all that down with champagne, then bourbon and 7-Up. And ended with some yummy cupcakes.

On Saturday, it was off to Keeneland for the races. Of course I was more interested in the KY specialty called burgoo, a meaty stew, than betting. It was good, but I have to admit that the fat beef frank that CabbageLover ordered was even more satisfying.

Those were mere snacks, though. We left the races a bit early to make a pilgrimage to White Castle. It was my first time, and it was sooo worth it! For once I enjoyed onions on my cheeseburger (or, more accurately, slyder). Other slyders I also tried: chicken ring, bacon cheeseburger and fish. I couldn't be stopped. As we left, I checked out the breakfast options. Bologna! CabbageLover, I declared, we're coming back here tomorrow morning.
Amid all this eating I had developed some cold symptoms, so I skipped the post-wedding bar outing that night and took a nap. Then I consumed a midnight meal at Waffle House. It was my first time at the chain, though Houston does have locations. My chocolate chip waffle was not fully cooked and a little too chocolatey, but still, I could tell it had potential. CabbageLover's sweet cream version was near perfect.
The White Castle folks greeted us again for breakfast. The fried(!) bologna, egg and cheese was Oh.So.Good, and the sausage, egg and cheese worth the trip, too. Sadly, the bacon, egg and cheese was kinda dry. Hash browns were greasy but fabulous, crisp on the outside and moist on the inside.

Then it was off to Midway, a picturesque, small town with fun shops and casual/upscale-ish eateries that weren't open around noon. We wandered into Quirk, a charming cafe with a downstairs bookshop. Quirk had high, airy ceilings, great natural light and an appealing menu.

I asked for a mug of apricot tea and a bourbon chocolate chip scone while CabbageLover got some coffee and a cherry scone. This time, my chocolate chip-studded food was much better, though the chips dominated the pleasing bourbon flavor too much.

Next, we drove to Versailles to visit Woodford Reserve Distillery. Essentially old gray buildings smelling of alcohol, but much cooler than that sounds.

The Bible Belt law prevented us from an undoctored taste of the bourbon (it was Sunday), but the chocolate bourbon balls we were allowed were delightful. (So, too, the nonalcoholic peach tea.)

Before heading to the airport, we returned to Midway to Wallace Station for sandwiches -- meatloaf & cheddar and Aussie grilled cheese with tomatoes and pesto -- and vinegar coleslaw. The sandwich fillings were good, but I absolutely loved the light but thick, toasty bread, with its excellent sandwich-pressed crunch. We topped that meal off with a scoop of Valentine's chocolate bourbon ice cream. What a buzz!


Katie said...

Good lord! How did you not explode/blackout/have a heart attack during your trip?! Looks like a great time though! And horse race betting is the best!!!

mv said...

I'm still trying to recover! I'm sure my cholesterol/blood screening test next week will reveal the dark side of that weekend. =)

cf said...

i like how you eat-up/torture yourself before a cholesterol/blood screening test.

bourbon balls? explain!

mv said...

Bourbon balls are delicious! Chocolate coating and creamy, alcoholic center. The Washington Post has a recipe for them this week (along w/a version of Hot Browns, aka the glorified Bagel Bites I had at the wedding):