Saturday, September 15, 2007

Welcome to Kentucky

After our long drive into Louisville we were anxious to get to a coffeeshop and connected to the internet. Satisfied at after spending a few hours at a cafĂ© on Fourth Street downtown, we made our way to Bardstown Road to find some dinner. The street was bustling on this Friday night, with many of the restaurants having long waits. We did manage to find a patio spot at Avalon so we could enjoy the warm evening. Leah enjoyed a local brew while Jim tasted a few different bourbons including the local Maker’s Mark and Knob Creek. Avalon had a nice outdoor atmosphere and great service but the food was just okay, nothing too exciting.

The next morning we drove out to New Castle to check out the dinner site. Smith-Berry Vineyard and Winery is owned by Chuck Smith and Mary Berry-Smith, who is the daughter of farmer-philosopher Wendell Berry. Smith-Berry Vineyard used to farm tobacco before they moved on to grapes, all the while continuing to raise cattle and grow organic vegetables.
For the past few months in Kentucky there has been a drought going on, resulting in a brown, California-like landscape: fortunately, we have just missed the 110 degree weather by a couple of weeks. Regardless, Chuck and Mary share our enthusiasm for the dinner tomorrow and are looking forward to having everyone out in the vineyard.

After visiting Smith-Berry in the morning we happened upon a little gem called Winks Diner that served fried bologna sandwiches, great onion rings and banana puddin (which they were unfortunately out of that day). The fried bologna sandwiches reminded Jim of cooking as a boy with his brothers – the sandwich was just the way he liked it, with mayo, tomato, bologna and white bread. While driving back into town, we also noticed a number of bologna billboards, boasting how “Fosters Bologna makes Smiles” with happy, satisfied children holding sandwiches very similar to those from Winks. We were definitely not in California yet…

Tonight we were surprised to see Bardstown Road much less of a scene than the night before and more like a ghost town (apparently due to the Saturday night football game). We visited Lilly’s to introduce ourselves to Kathy Cary and enjoy her restaurant, a pioneer in Louisville for using local and organic ingredients. We’re looking forward to having her in the field with us tomorrow!

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