This past weekend, CLEguy and I hit the road and headed south down 71 to Louisville, Kentucky.
On our way down, we got to see some of the gorgeous Ohio fall foliage. Having never been to Louisville, I also got to appreciate some of the Kentucky scenery along the way. The city of Florence’s water tower is especially adorable and southern!
Since CLEguy and I have the reputation for being foodies, our friends put some thought into where we should go to dinner on Friday and decided on Proof on Main. This combination restaurant and art gallery is a truly unique space. The restaurant is filled with interesting art pieces, some of which are even mobile and will join you at your table (there was a red penguin statue making it’s way around the restaurant). The attached art gallery is open as late as the restaurant for browsing.
Proof on Main is part of Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail, a selection of downtown restaurants and bars specializing in bourbon. There’s even an iPhone app to track your progress along the trail! We started our dinner with bourbon for CLEguy and his friend and a “Steffenwolf” (vodka, grapefruit juice, and elderflower liquor) for me. We also split a charcuterie plate with toscano, rabbit liver pate, salami, cheddar, and coupole.
The most interesting part of the charcuterie plate were the smoked grapes, which had an intense, heady flavor. Pairing those with the white truffle honey on the platter made for a delicious combination.
For our entrees, the guys both chose the scallops and I selected the duck.
The scallops were served with parsnip puree and root vegetable chips. They were meaty and perfectly cooked. Although the one complaint was that both guys would have liked more scallops, especially for the price ($29).
The duck was delicious. Seared pieces of duck breast were served over bulger wheat. Thinly shaved dark chocolate and mandarin oranges accented the dish. While I never would have guessed that dark chocolate, mandarin oranges, bulger wheat, and duck could pair so well, all the elements combined to form a perfect bite. This was a really incredible and unique dish.
We had a small snafu with our entrees the first time they came out of the kitchen and Proof did a great job of “how to fix a problem.” After mentioning the situation to our waiter, the manager immediately came over, apologized, and sent out an appetizer and a round of drinks. It’s not about a restaurant being perfect…it’s about a restaurant handling situations quickly, politely, and properly. And Proof did that perfectly. Plus, our additional appetizer was insanely good: a tuna crudo with watermelon, shaved beets and goat cheese.
Stuffed and happy, we called our first night in Louisville quite a success.
The next day was the wedding. I have known the groom since high school (in fact, we went to prom together) and I was so excited to be attending this special day.
The reception was held at the Henry Clay, an historic building in Louisville with residential, retail, and banquet space.
The space was beautiful, the food delicious, and the couple so happy. All in all, a fabulous wedding that I’m so glad we could attend!
After the reception, CLEguy and I decided to get in one more stop on the Urban Bourbon trail: The Brown Hotel. The lobby bar is ornate, yet comfortable, with huge couches to sink into while you sip.
As we headed back to CLE on Sunday, we agreed that Louisville is a fabulous, not-too-far destination for good friends, good food, and good bourbon. How was your weekend, CLE?