Monday, March 8, 2010
LOUISVILLE ROAD TRIP - Part I
I'll get to the red penguins. But to recap my fine - and full - weekend of art and dining, it's probably best to start at the beginning. My best-friend-since-the-8th-grade Cindie always did a lot of traveling with her mom. Beach trips. Colorado & New Mexico trips. Trips to historical sites. Sometimes just mid-day lunch getaways without their husbands. Attending the annual art and craft show in Louisville, Kentucky Crafted, was an early March favorite. Cindie's been soldiering on since her mother passed away in August. When she asked me to go with her this year, of course I said yes. Kentucky Crafted included an impressive array of visual art and artisan crafts - photography, jewelry, woodworking, glass, some exquisite baskets. So what did I buy? I have a great fondness for wooden spoons. These are made of reclaimed wood, well-shaped and well-seasoned - unlike those dry white machine-made things I find most places. I've always admired similar ones when cooking in Cindie's kitchen, and I know they work well. That oval-looking walnut item at top left is a bowl-scraper. Turns out there was also a food aisle at the art show, with many free samples to be had. Barbecue and hot sauces in abundance, preserves and pickled items of many stripes, several booths offering up chocolates and other sweets - many featuring bourbon, a signature Kentucky ingredient. So what did I succomb to? Cheese, of course. I had to wait in line to sample Kenny's artisanal cheese. But one small cube of the smoked blue gouda convinced me buy a hunk. Cindie recommended the aged cheddar, and I decided to go for it too. Then she tasted the Tomme de Nena, a cheese neither of us had heard of before (or knew how to pronounce), motioned to me to try it, and I added it to my basket. At this point, I was short by just one cheese for the "buy 4 - get the 5th free" deal, so I selected the St. Jerome and got the bonus chive-onion Jack. Cindie is a strategic traveler. She had scoped out the info that U of L would be playing a 2:00 basketball game at the same venue as KY Crafted - the ridiculously enormous KY Expo Center - which also that day had a home & garden show, a houseboat show, and some event involving cows going on. Thank goodness the Six Flags season hadn't started yet. We were glad we'd arrived early for KY Crafted. When we finished around noon, we were ready to eat. So we headed to Carolina Shrimp Co., an unpretentious place Cindie & her mom had stumbled on once. An order-at-the-counter and they-bring-it-to-you-when-it's-ready place. A place with a roll of paper towel on every table in place of napkins. We split this bowl of rich lobster bisque. And an order of hush puppies. Cindie loved her fried oyster po' boy. I chose steamed shrimp - simple and perfectly cooked, with diced green pepper and onion, and a nice bit of kick from the shrimp boil seasoning. The sky was blue, the sun was shining. The temperature was nearing 50, and we had just tasted the beach. I shed my winter coat, and we were ready to explore more of Louisville . . .