I returned from my trip to Louisville, Kentucky just a week ago with a specific goal on this adventure – to enhance my sourdough bread skills. You may be wondering why Kentucky? Well, a year prior when I was attending IACP in Louisville, I toured a unique place just outside the city in Anchorage, Kentucky called Louismill. Louismill, an artisan milling company, was constructing a new restaurant, which was almost complete called, Mozzpi. The owner, Tom Edwards, left his corporate career to pursue his higher calling – milling and baking, which originally started as a catering operation, by towing a own wood-fired oven around Louisville for parties and special occasions.
My love for sourdough and the art of creating my own ferment has been an on-going passion of mine for many years, and I am always up for learning new techniques and tricks to perfect my baking skills, which led my charge to Kentucky. Also, there were a few recipes I had tasted on my previous visit, that I had to get my hands on – the sourdough foccacia and english muffin recipes.
Over the course of a week, our hands-on instruction from both Tom and his sister, Lori – who is a real work-horse at the new restaurant, taught us different ways of kneading, folding and baking bread, including in a wood-fired oven, which I have tried at home with sub-par results. On this trip, I did have the opportunity to bake in a similar wood-fired oven, and yes, I think I got it!
During our visit, there were many fun experiences, especially with my good friend and baking cohort, and with some new bread-loving enthusiasts we met in class. Also, I encountered some unexpected recipes that I fell in love with like; Ciabatta Loaves and Seeded 100% Whole Wheat Sourdough that I will be adding to my bread repertoire.
However, if bread baking isn’t your thing, there are many reasons to come to Louisville – Restaurants. The downtown has an emergence of young chefs creating fantastic eating establishments that are very note worthy. Here are my top favorites places to dine, mostly located on Market Street in the newly revamped NULU area.
Rye – casual, but classy with farm-to-table freshness in every bite. Start with the Roasted Beets in Caramelized Onion Yogurt – it will remind you of the French Onion Dip you used to dive into with those ruffles potato chips, but 10 times better! Lamb Shank Ravioli with Fresh Peas and Radishes from their garden was cooked al dente, leaving a nice chew and the butter sauce enhanced the slightly indulgent experience.
Pink Trout with Celery Leaves and Radish, resting on a bed of Labneh was a refreshing lift and nicely executed, especially after a long day of bread making and eating.
Decca – outside patio seating is key at this place. The ambiance is perfect on a warm evening with cool breezes to accompany your favorite bourbon cocktail or glass of wine.
Don’t miss the Steak Tartar with Charred Beet and Chips. The sweetness of the beets infused the beef like a nice marinade with a contrasting crunch from rye crisps. Crispy Skinned Salmon with Marcona Almonds and a smear of Sugar Snap Pea Puree was announcing spring pea season has arrived. The fatty fish and contrasting light flavors made it apparent that veggies are the highlight of the meal.
Other great places to stop for a bite…..
Red Hog Artisan Meat – charcuterie plate is a must!
Wiltshire Pantry – go for breakfast or baked goods.
Mayan Cafe – cocktails and Silkil-Pak – Pumpkin Seed Dip with tomatoes and cilantro are a must here. The staff are pretty great too!
The Brown Hotel – ask for the Chocolate Walnut Pie! Skip the stay, checkout the new Omni – a better updated choice for now.
Lola at Butchertown Grocery – Gastro-chic space with music some nights. Order the Yellow Bowl, one of the best salads in town! Bring a sweater, it’s mighty chilly inside!! Full cocktail and wine list as well.
As for Bourbon in downtown Louisville…..
Michter’s – private tastings only, until new tasting room opens in downtown Louisville September 2018! Some of the best small-batch sour mash bourbon in the state.
Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company – Revamped space in downtown, part of the bourbon trail. Small-batch, sweet mash distillery – go see Corky the owner!
And definitely visit Churchill Downs, it’s part of American History!