Living life between the barrel staves in Bourbon Country

Random Seasonings – April 11th, 2009

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More serious posts are forthcoming, but for tonight, here are a few random thoughts.

Spring is finally here – sort of. In spite of the fact that the first week of April brought 2 days of snow flurries, it seems everyone is starting to come out of hibernation. The crowd at the food shoppes around town have started to pick up, the restaurant patios have been set for the season, and the opening week crowd at Keeneland certainly drove hungry race enthusiasts to enjoy everything Lexington has to offer. The Farmer’s Market opened yesterday. As for me, I have more or less recovered from hosting two dinner parties in a span of fourteen days and am now throwing myself whole heartily into the final month of prep work for the High Hope Steeplechase. Excursions and culinary adventures will now pick up speed and frequency, as this weekend surely demonstrated.

Friday afternoon was spent, easily enough, watching the horses run at Keeneland in steady rain with occasional flashes of lightening. In spite of the weather the Maker’s Mark Mile went off on the turf without a hitch. It used to be a rainy day like that would see nice payouts as longshots regularly finished in the money. The synthetic Polytrack surface has kind of negated that – regardless I didn’t cash a ticket all day. Friday night saw us taking in what was for me a first time visit to Wine + Market (more on that below), followed by an evening of bourbon and music at the Maker’s Mark Ambassador “Speakeasy Social”. Leaving the party, our “party” headed to Le Deauville for a nightcap and a birthday toast. Since the kitchen was already closed, we then backtracked to Goodfella’s Pizza behind Cheapside for a slice. From wine and cheese, to bourbon, champagne and finally, New York style pizza – sounds like the perfect evening to me, all the more so because I got to spend it with friends. The coming week holds more racing in store, a variety of charity events to chose from, probably one visit that I know of to a local winery, and a lot of work and recipe testing for the High Hope party. Somewhere in there I have to start getting the garden ready as well.

On the subject of the upcoming steeplechase, and keeping with the New Orleans / Louisiana them, I’ve added a page honoring one of the menu items this year – alligator. I expect a few people to be somewhat put off by this, even though I happen like gator. To take some of the fear factor out of eating it I’m going to serve the alligator meatballs with a Southern Comfort Barbecue Sauce. Anyway, I just can’t think of alligator without flashing back to all the vacations in Hilton Head, South Carolina which has enough of the beasts running out to qualify the whole island as a zoo exhibit. Let’s just say you don’t fish your ball out of a water hazard on any of the island’s links. In honor of one of the forthcoming feature menu items, I’ve collected a set of gator photos that my son and I have taken over the years. You can view them by clicking here for the link to Zach’s Gator Page. Enjoy.

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My Friday night discovery was Wine + Market. The write-up in the newspaper did a respectable job but you really just need to go and hang out there to feel the vibe. You can read the Herald-Leader’s review by clicking here. The photo’s below are from the store’s Facebook page. Not only does Lexington need more places like Wine + Market, but we need them exactly in locations like this to help build a sustainable level of activity in the downtown area. The next time I visit I will delve a little deeper into the menu (we stuck with the cheese tray and a bottle of Syrah), and will post something a little more in depth. Suffice to say I will become a regular. Krim and his wife Andrea couldn’t have been nicer, and I’m glad I got the chance to meet them. Thank you to Charlotte and Carlie for the introduction.

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Easter dinner was just me and my son tonight, so we kept it simple and just fired up the grill. The pork chops were marinated in chipotle peppers, lime juice and cilantro, served with grilled orange bell peppers and accompanied by a Chilean 2002 Montes Alpha Merlot, unless you were under the age of 21 in which case you got apple juice.

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Happy Easter to everyone!

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