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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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Archive for the ‘Louisville’ Category

Sunday, August 4, 2013 @ 10:08 PM

Well I do apologize for another long hiatus, but since it is still summer time, I wanted to share another hot spot for COOL TREATS.   The Comfy Cow, a popular ice cream spot with three locations around Louisville, KY found its way into our hearts on one of our first visits to see my parents while they were living there.  We have since been back two or three other times and suffice it to say this ice cream is legit and doesn’t need summer heat waves to enjoy it.  If you are like me, you will find an excuse to have a scoop or two any day of the year!  Looking back our first visit was actually during Thanksgiving,  Kheri was only 2 months old and now she is about to turn 2, my how time flies!

RESTAURANT: THE COMFY COW (LOUISVILLE, KY) 

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Although only open since 2009, this local shop has been churning out unique and standard flavors alike, that their customers continue to rave about.  Even better is the founders’ mentality “Ice Cream is our passion. We hope that every bite you take reflects the care and attention to detail we put into each and every small batch we produce. We continually look to source the absolute finest ingredients, locally whenever possible.”  I mean to take the subject of ice cream that seriously, you know you are going to get a delicious product.  Their popularity has continued to grow and with shows like Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food Nation” starting to pay attention, it is not hard to imagine this local shop being around for a very long time.

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SIGNATURE DISH:

Well if I didn’t make it clear above, ice cream is the name of Comfy’ Cow’s game.  They have other desserts that they feature, but people are truly flocking for their unique flavor creations as well as the good ol’ standby favorites.  Adam in particular fell in love with their bourbon ball ice cream, a flavor we have never seen elsewhere and likely if we did probably would not have been executed as well as it is at the Comfy Cow.

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TASTE:

Adam and I both have had a LOT of ice cream in our day, but this ranks up there with some of the best we’ve ever tried.  There is something about its creamy texture, that whether you are enjoying a flavor you have never before experienced or their basic vanilla, you know you are in for a treat.  As I mentioned above, in the 3 visits we have paid to the Comfy Cow, Adam has ordered the Bourbon Ball every time and has NEVER been disappointed.  It is truly such a unique flavor and for someone with a love for bourbon like his, this is truly a special treat for him.  I on  the other hand have tried a lot of what you might dub standard flavors on each of our visits, but even so, I wasn’t lying when I said I LOVE ice cream, so I have a lot of comparisons, and this place has most of those others beat!

 

AMBIANCE:

Not only is this place churning out some serious ice cream, but they also have a really cool space to enjoy your treat in.  I was shocked at how large the location we visited was and while the front counter area feels like a old timey treat shop, as you walk back you will notice tons of little pockets of seating areas with all sorts of crazy décor to gander at.  What is also nice about the size of the Comfy Cow is even on a busy night, you can still easily find a place to get tucked away and enjoy your family’s company without feeling like you are encroaching on anyone else’s conversation, rather it has a very “comfy” feeling to it, more of a retreat than a destination.

 

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SERVICE:

Although we only ordered at the counter and waited for our respective cones or dishes, every employee we have ever encountered has been very sweet, attentive, and willing to let us try a million flavors before settling upon just the right one. 

PRICE:

This will sound silly, but since we have always gone with my parents, I’m not entirely sure how much their treats run, however I’m pretty sure it was very reasonable.  In our 3 visits I have only ever ordered 1 scoop and it is always VERY generous in size and I believe around the $3.50 range if I had to venture a guess.  So yes it is likely more expensive than the $.79 cone from McDonalds, but that little bit of upcharge is worth it when it comes to the flavor.

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Overall we have always had a truly lovely experience when we have gone to the Comfy Cow and we must have enjoyed it that first time, or we wouldn’t have gone back every subsequent visit to Louisville.  My parents have actually since moved to the lovely state of North Carolina, so unfortunately it was good we got our visits in while we could, we will just have to find a local ice cream spot their to see if it can rival the Comfy Cow’s place.  And while yes over the course of our lifetime I am sure Adam and I can list plenty of other ice cream shops we have been to that have been equally as delicious, but the Comfy Cow truly became a yummy favorite in our books, so with that I scream, you scream, we all scream for…happily we give them 5 Little PIggies.

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Monday, June 4, 2012 @ 09:06 AM

017Well it’s officially June and in my book that means it should feel like summer, but while we have had a few warm summer like days, when it is only a high of 55 like it was last week, I would much rather curl up and eat a bowl of hot chili than the summer salad I brought with me to work. But, I’ll guess I’ll take advantage of this weather (and thinking about chili) and use this occasion to share with you a version of the comfort food (chili) that I have grown up eating and am very fond of…”Cincinnati” chili.

Now I’ve had chili all around the country in all kinds of varieties, but I don’t think it is more popular in any other place than the Cincinnati area. In fact, the city of Cincinnati serves up more chili per year than any other place in the U.S., and it is not what you would typically think of when thinking of chili. “Cincinnati Chili” is a version of the dish that has a lot of Greek spices and is served over spaghetti noodles and covered in shredded cheddar cheese…yum!

If you regularly follow PCC, you’ve read about 2 other Cincinnati locations (here and here) that specialize in this signature dish; and while there are still many places in the Cincinnati-area that focus on this style of chili, one place is definitely king among them all and easily the most well know. I’m, of course, referring to the iconic Skyline Chili.

The first Skyline was opened in 1949 by Greek immigrant Nicholas Lambrinides, and is typical amongst Cincinnati chili his chili had a wonderful sweet Greek taste. Lambinides named his spot for the view he had of the skyline from his first restaurant. Probably little did he know at that time this small chili shop would grow into the chain it has become today, with more than 100 locations now and its chili even being sold in grocery stores. So…how does Skyline compare being that it is so mass produced?

Adam and I have visited plenty of Skyline locations, separate and together. Most recently we got the opportunity to meet for lunch with our friend Garrett in Louisville while he was on his way from Dallas to Cincinnati of all places; and while Skyline isn’t necessarily a hot to hit up in Louisville, when you get the chance to see an old friend and one of his favorite restaurants is Skyline…you take it. Plus, we had yet to actually take any pictures of us dining at a Skyline, so it was win-win. So we arrived in Louisville on that Friday mid-day, picked up my dad (also from Cincinnati) and headed over to their local Skyline to meet Garrett.

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While I’m sure the original Skyline location was as quaint and homey as the other two local Cincinnati spots we have featured, a lot of the Skyline locations nowadays are very “chain-like,” and feel like any other fast food type restaurant. But while this might turn some people off, I encourage you to still try it based on its history and they are still churning out a great product. I ordered my typical cheese Coney and this time opted to also add on an order of fries. Adam, also, stuck to his standard Cincinnati chili order…a “3-Way” (spaghetti, chili, shredded cheese) and 2 chili & cheese Coneys w/ mustard no onion.

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These Coneys (and the standard 3-way) are always just as good as I remember and I consider to be the “gold standard” I compare every other Cincinnati chili against. There is something so simple yet so delicious about their recipe and I have never found another who gets it quite as perfect as they do. Part of that could be nostalgia talking…, I have been eating these since I was a kid, but I also think they have found the perfect combination for their recipe (hint…I think it’s the chocolate) and have never tried to mess with a good thing. I’m kinda glad we don’t have one by us, because I can’t imagine it’s that healthy…and as much as Adam loves it…it would not be good! Smile

SIGNATURE DISH: While their menu is pretty similar to every other Cincinnati style chili restaurant out there, they also order a variety of other dishes since they now a restaurant that is scattered throughout the Cincinnati area, they have realized they also need to cater to other people and tastes if they want to continue to bring in steady business from chili and non-chili lovers alike. However, Cincinnati Chili is still the main attraction and makes up a vast majority of why people frequent.

TASTE: I mentioned that I may be biased since I have been eating this chili since I was in the womb, but as far as Cincinnati chilis go, this to me is the best and what I compare all others too. If you remember I really did LOVE what Blue Ash had to offer, but Skyline’s still outranks it!

AMBIANCE: As I mentioned above, please don’t enter a Skyline and expect to feel all nostalgic and original anymore. Although there still exist a few that have the old feel, due to the sheer number of them, they have branded themselves in such a way as to allow for recognition and modern appeal. There are still touches from their early days, but it does lack a little bit of that original charm.

PRICE: Like most other local Cincinnati chili favorites, it is hard to beat a couple of bucks for a Coney or a little more for one of their “ways.” To feed the four of us was under $30, which is a steal these days!

SERVICE: Our server was very good. I can’t say she was memorable, but everything came out fast and our drinks were always full. To me, that’s good service.

This review may be short and to the point, but it really doesn’t take much to describe this chili. Adam and I both love it and think everyone ought to give it a try. They are truly a favorite and while we have tried others from the area, I am not sure they will ever really compare for us. That being said, I urge you try any Cincinnati chili to decide first and foremost if this is a dish you even enjoy. I know it isn’t for everyone and on the sweeter side, but I would say give it a try before you automatically decide you don’t like it; and if you want to start with a great base line standard, then Skyline Chili is the where it’s at! For that reason I am giving them 4 ½ ‘Little Piggies’

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 @ 09:05 AM

IMG_0458It’s been a little while since we’ve heard from the lesser known member of Pop Culture Cuisine, so I thought this week would be a good opportunity for my husband Adam to tell you once again about one of his favorite things…bourbon.

Hello faithful PCC readers; and welcome to another installment of the ‘Bourbon Diaries’ as I’m now calling them. Yes, I know that is a bit cheesy…but work with me…I’m not the blogger in the family. Winking smile So last November we were down in Louisville for Thanksgiving with Katie’s family; and regardless of the time of year, I always look for an excuse to visit a bourbon distillery when we are down in that part of the country. So, on the day after Thanksgiving, my father-in-law (Art), bro-in-law (Christian) and I made our way down to the Mecca of bourbon…the Home of Jim Beam and Visitor Center in Clermont, KY.

For Art and me, this was our second journey to the bourbon trail to experience where bourbon comes from first hand, the first being our excursion to The Woodford Reserve Distillery (which you can read about on PCC here). Right away there is a big difference between visiting Jim Beam and our other distillery visits…they do not actually have a distillery tour. This is changing this coming summer when the folks at Beam will open up the distillery for official tours for the first time (can’t wait!). But on this trip it was…well…I’ll let the good folks at Jim Beam who explain it best tell you…

Start your visit with a guided Heritage Tour of the historic T. Jeremiah Beam home where three generations of Beam distillers lived overlooking the scenic landscape and towering rack houses. You can then step inside the Stillhouse Exhibit featuring our authentic 1800’s copper still, believed to be one of the oldest in America.

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Then it’s time to venture inside our oldest rack house, Warehouse D, built by Jim Beam after Prohibition. You’ll find yourself surrounded by the unmistakably rich and warm smell of Kentucky’s finest bourbon aging in 20,000 oak barrels. It’s the perfect warm-up for a sample of one of our Small Batch Bourbons in our tasting room. And finally, commemorate your visit with a purchase of a variety of Jim Beam® merchandise—including apparel and our world-famous bourbon candy—at our gift shop.

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The whole tour only takes about an hour and has quite a few high notes. First, it’s kind of awe inspiring when you look out across the hillside and see all the aging warehouses or rack houses as they are called. Whereas most distilleries have just a few aging houses, Beam’s houses pepper the countryside. I don’t know exactly how many there are, but it’s a bunch…easily in the 20 or more range! Another neat thing about the view is you’ll notice that all the trees are black…stark black! I don’t know if you’ll see this anywhere else but around an area where they are distilling spirits, because what happens is that the “Angel’s Share” or portion of distilled spirit that is lost to evaporation during the aging process eventually resettles on the surrounding bark as a dark black fungus. It is both an ominous sight and very neat at the same time.

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The tour of the old home of Jeremiah Beam is not much of a tour, just a look at some old pictures and distilling equipment in one room and then a (promotional) video about Jim Beam. Thankfully, this is just a short stop, because it doesn’t really add much to the experience. What does, however, is the walk through one of the oldest rack houses in the bourbon world. This thing is enormous…and full of yummy sweet bourbon! The first thing you notice is how cold it is…temperature controlled for optimal aging. The other is the sheer number of barrels. You can easily see how Jim Beam is the largest distiller of bourbon in the entire world. You know, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of the sight of all those barrels in one spot.

Well, although you don’t get an official distillery tour, they do know how to send you out with a smile on your face at Jim Beam…by ending the tour with two tastings of their bourbon. On this day we were served Red Stag (not my favorite) and were fortunate enough to get to try one of the highest-end single barrel bourbons made today…Booker’s, named for former master distiller and 6th generation Beam, Frederick “Booker” Noe.

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Booker actually re-introduced small batch bourbons back onto the landscape some years ago and in 1992, he introduced his own signature bourbon, Booker’s® True Barrel Bourbon. Inspired by a 200-year-old tradition, Booker’s is the first bourbon bottled straight-from-the-barrel, uncut and unfiltered (single-barrel); and let me say it here…this is the real deal! After aging from 6-8 years, Booker’s is bottled anywhere from 121-127 proof, which is very strong; and on this day, we tried a batch that came in at 124 proof. Whoooo! It was just as smooth as it was strong…and it was hella-smooth! 😉 Let’s just say this is definitely a spirit that you sip slowly…or beware the burn, but definitely tasty and worth the trip in and of itself.

SIGNATURE DISH: Jim Beam is the largest producer of bourbon in the world. Not only is bourbon the signature of Jim Beam, but Jim Beam is the signature of bourbon around the world.

TASTE: Jim Beam has a whole family of bourbons, some tasting far better than others. While Jim Beam White Label (standard 4 year aged product) is better as a mixer and not what I’d prefer straight, many of their other products from Devil’s Cut to Knob Creek to Booker’s I’d be happy to sit and sip with you any day of the week!

AMBIENCE: Although they lose points for not having an official tour of the distillery, the surrounding countryside comes close to making up for it. Between the rack houses throughout the hillsides and the black stained trees, it’s a view you’ll appreciate and remember.

PRICE: You can’t beat the price of this tour…free!

SERVICE: Our tour guide was very helpful and informative. You could tell she was a bourbon enthusiast which I appreciated, and her knowledge and love of Jim Beam enhanced the tour.

All in all, I definitely got a little geeked out about visiting the pinnacle of the bourbon world; and although they didn’t have an official distillery tour that day, I’m excited at the prospect of returning to Clermont in the future to see Jim Beam made first hand. But for this trip, I give the Visit to the Jim Beam grounds 4 ‘Little Piggies’

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