September 28, 2016

Adventures in Louisville

Last month, we took a trip to visit Frank's brother. We snagged great airfare on Frontier to Cincinnati, rented a car and drove down to Louisville. This was our second time visiting Bob & Hugh, but they've since moved from the country into the heart of Louisville. They've gutted and completely remodeled their house, and it looks fantastic. Their neighborhood has prime location - everything is no more than 15 minutes away. Our last visit was during the dead of winter when Louisville happened to have an unusually frigid spell. A stormed dumped several inches a snow prior to our arrival too. Needless to say, the weather was less than ideal last time. This trip, though, was perfection. Not too hot, humid or cold; there was a little rain, but mostly sunny skies.

Deals on Frontier often come with some sort of catch and this was no exception. Our flight to Cincinnati was a red-eye. Hertz was one of the few car rentals open at that hour, so we were unable to competitively shop, but I did secure a good rate on an economy vehicle. Unfortunately, Frank did not fit in the Ford Focus that was assigned to us. We had to spend a bit more to upgrade to an Impala. At least, the ride was smooth and very roomy. Traffic was non-existent; we made it to Louisville in just over an hour. We were exhausted since neither of us caught a wink on the plane, but before we napped we wanted food. Bob suggested we go to Con Huevos. They weren't open yet, but we went to Please & Thank You. The guys all had coffee and I opted for their delicious chocolate chip cookie. It did not disappoint. Frank's iced coffee was made with sparkling water, a twist I hadn't encountered before.

Breakfast at Con Huevos was an excellent The Chilaquiles were an easy choice and they hit the spot. Frank also enjoyed his huevos rancheros topped with chorizo.

I did a terrible job of documenting the rest of our meals. In fact, these are the only two food photos I snapped. I suppose we were too busy enjoying conversation or too eager to dig in - I didn't even give it a thought until I uploaded the photos. I had to laugh because it's very unlike me.

Anyhow, after a nap, we were refreshed and ready to take on the town. We decided to begin with a pub crawl of sorts, the first stop was Great Flood Brewing Company. They were hosting a couple of rugby teams so it was a bit loud and rowdy. After one round, we opted to Uber to Monnik Beer Company. It was more subdued and they had some outstanding brews. The Saison and the Coffee IPA were my favorites. When hunger struck we moseyed over to The Silver Dollar.

There was a wait for a table so we bellied up to the bar to pass the time. They are known for craft cocktails so rather than going straight to beer, I wanted to try something new. I was overwhelmed by the options, since I'm not really into liquor... so, I played the part of the annoying customer. I asked the bartender to suggest something that didn't have that overpowering liquor taste, but also something that wasn't sweet. Fortunately, he didn't seem to mind my cluelessness and he whipped up something with mezcal. I haven't a clue of what was in it, but it was mighty tasty. Meanwhile, we moved over to the dining room. The menu has mostly southern dishes, but with a Californian honky tonk flair. Sounds weird, right? It is, but in the best way. It's one of those things you must experience. The service, food and drinks were equally matched. It was a great time. The brisket was good, not Texas good, but tasty nonetheless.

As we were headed out from dinner the skies opened up, we took it as a sign to retire back to the house. We had beers on the porch, chatted a bunch and made plans for Bob and Hugh to visit us for Thanksgiving. Plane tickets reserved, and all.

The next morning, we had a yummy breakfast at the house and then headed out for the day to play tourist. Ever since I conquered my fear of bridges, I've been rather fascinated by them. When I learned of the pedestrian bridge that spans the Ohio River I knew it was something I wanted to check out. The Big Four Bridge is a former railroad truss bridge that connects Louisville, KY to Jeffersonville, IN. We walked over to Indiana, strolled around Jeffersonville before heading back to Kentucky. It was interesting to see so many homes on the wrong side of the flood walls... I can't imagine what flood insurance premiums must be.

Next, we rented a pontoon boat for a couple hours to see the sights along the river. Before our reservation, we ran over to Lotsa Pasta to pick up cheese, salads and sandwiches for a picnic on the boat. It's such a great specialty store, I wanted one of everything! We really enjoyed ourselves on the boat, it was such a lovely afternoon.

We rode down the river just past the East End Crossing Project. The bridge is nearly complete; when done it will alleviate a lot of commuter traffic from downtown Louisville. We went by the Louisville Water Tower which is older than the one in Chicago. The Pumping Station recorded the 1937 flood crest, it's hard to imagine the flood waters being that high.

A stop at Sergio's World of Beers was a must! It was conveniently located near the marina. Sergio has friends in all the right places which allows him to secure the rarest of keg offerings. Plus, coolers line the entire place and they're filled with an eclectic selection from all over the world. It's a real gem. Bud light was appropriately priced at $89, I think the Budweiser was $99. Ha! I was overwhelmed by all the choices, I wanted a sour but it was difficult to choose only one. I went with a recommendation from the bartender. It was an outstanding sour from Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien, seriously, it was bucketlist caliber.

Later, we had dinner at Ramsi's Cafe. It showcases dishes from all over, Ramsi's definitely offers something to suit any mood. I opted for the fish tacos. The breading was light and not a bit greasy. It was the first I ever had fish tacos served with cheese, but it worked. Frank was pleased with his lamb burger.

On our final day, Bob took us to the Kentucky State Fair. I've never been to a state fair before so it was fun to see all the entries. Especially, Bob's chocolate chip cookies. They didn't win, but he has earned a ribbon for his habaneros (2014). Trump may not win the election, but Trump Ale did secure a blue ribbon, Bwhahaha.

After the fair, we had lunch at The Post. They have large pizza slices for only a few bucks that were pretty good, but it was the stromboli that was amazing! It was huge too, easily 2-3 meals worth. Dinner that night was at Bombay Grill. I'm not too familiar with Indian dishes so Bob ordered several for us to try. It was all quite good. Although, it was the cauliflower appetizer that I couldn't get enough of; oh my goodness, it was delicious. A little sweet, a little spicy and crunchy. If I'm not mistaken, it was gobi manchurian. I must seek it out at home.

We had a wonderful visit, after a farewell, we were on the road headed back to Cincinnati. Our flight was scheduled to depart at 6am so I reserved a room near the airport on Hotwire. It landed us a deal at the Holiday Inn Cincinnati Airport which oddly enough is located in Erlanger, KY. Prior to this trip, I had no idea that CVG is not in Ohio.

Sleep sounded heavenly, but after checking in we decided to drive into Cincinnati. We were just too close not to visit the city. We stopped inside Jack Casino to have a look around and then did a quick drive by around the sights. We were impressed by the John A Roebling Suspension Bridge and the area around the waterfront between the Reds and the Bengals' stadiums. Our last stop was at Skyline Chili, the lights were on, but no one took our order at the drive thru. Which might have been for the best, never did I realize that Cincinnati Chili was more of a meat sauce than chili and it's served over spaghetti. It might be the best thing ever, but it did not look the least bit appealing on the drive thru menu.

Our stay at the Holiday Inn was very comfortable and it worked out beautifully for our early flight out of CVG. I must say it's nice having time on your side when flying from EST to PST time zone, our flight arrive shortly after 7am and I was only a few minutes late for work at 7:30. It was wild going home from work that day thinking that I woke up in Cincinnati, well, Erlanger, Kentucky.

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