Thursday, July 31, 2008

Prince's Hot Chicken

Prince's Hot Chicken in Nashville, Tennessee

I had read that one thing we needed to try in Nashville was Hot Chicken and that the place to get it was Prince's. So, on a blisteringly hot day we made the pilgrimage. We joined a bunch of other sweating customers patiently waiting for their food as the kitchen meticulously cooked up one order at a time.

Finally, our order was up. I got a leg quarter, medium spicy with extra pickles and bread. I knew from my research that I probably didn't need to go spicier than medium, and sure enough it was very hot (both in temperature and spice level). It was also very tasty - nice and crunchy outside and perfectly moist on the inside.

Leg Quarter at Prince's Hot Chicken

Sherry got a breast quarter, mild. It was still plenty hot, though - not a bad way to go if you don't like really spicy food.

Breast Quarter at Prince's Hot Chicken

Good eats. Definitely not to be missed when visiting Nashville.

Prince's Hot Chicken
123 Ewing Dr.
Nashville, Tennessee
(615) 226-9442‎

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Meat and Three in Nashville at Arnold's Country Kitchen

Arnold's Country Kitchen

Although we'd been traveling through the South for several weeks, somehow we had neglected to hit a Meat and Three place so far on the trip. Now was the time to remedy the situation and Arnold's Country Kitchen was the place to do it.

Arnold's Country Kitchen

Arnold's was busy, but very efficiently run by a friendly staff. We soon had our food and were happily chowing down. Everything we tried was fantastic.

Roast beef and turnip greens (with mashed potatoes in the back):

Roast Beef and Turnip Greens at Arnold's Country Kitchen

Fried chicken, mac 'n cheese, green beans and a dish of pinto beans:

Fried Chicken, Mac and Cheese and Green Beans at Arnold's Country Kitchen

Corn bread served two ways - muffin and griddle cake.

Corn Bread at Arnold's Country Kitchen

While I'm sure this wasn't the healthiest lunch we've ever had, it did not feel heavy or greasy. Just very flavorful and highly satisfying.

Arnold's Country Kitchen

Arnold's Country Kitchen
605 8th Ave S.
Nashville, Tennessee
(615) 256-4455‎

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


We always make an effort try to eat interesting, local fare when we travel. Kentucky made this very hard to do. Looking for dinner on our second night in Bardstown, we finally lost the battle. We saw a Mexican place, but we had already learned the hard way that you don't go to random Mexican places in Kentucky. I won't go into the gory details - just trust me on this...

Not up for another hot brown, we didn't have many other options - Kentucky is national chain restaurant central. We eventually gave in, and ended up at A&W. And not just any A&W - this one was a joint A&W / Long John Silvers establishment. Complete with a disaffected teenage girl running the till.

I hate to say it, but the food tasted pretty good...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Jim Beam, Hot Brown, Liquor World

Statue of Booker Noe at Jim Beam Distillery

Our final distillery visit was a quick stop at Jim Beam - the largest producer of bourbon. Nice setting, with some fun exhibits like the above statue of Booker Noe and this fire truck:

Firetruck at Jim Beam Distillery

The tasting was very pleasant as well. They were pouring two of their premium whiskeys: Booker's and Basil Hayden's. We enjoyed both, but preferred the Basil.

While bourbon was our focus in Kentucky, we did manage to try some local chow as well. What qualifies as local chow? A Kentucky Hot Brown, of course:

Kentucky Hot Brown at Mammy's Kitchen in Bardstown, KY

This version is courtesy of Mammy's Kitchen, a restaurant on the main drag in Bardstown. Substantial hunks of smoked turkey and thin slices of nice, salty ham sat on top of two thick slices of toast, completely smothered in a rich, cheesy, Mornay sauce. The turkey was very good quality with a great smoky flavor. Not something we would order every day, but pretty darn good comfort food.

Kentucky Hot Brown at Mammy's Kitchen in Bardstown, KY

Also in Bardstown, and not to be missed, is Liquor World - a small liquor store that just happens to have the most jaw-dropping crazy huge selection of whiskey I've ever seen in my life.

Liquor World in Bardstown, Kentucky

Jim Beam Distillery
149 Happy Hollow Rd.
Shepherdsville, Kentucky
(502) 543-9877

Mammy's Kitchen
114 N 3rd St.
Bardstown, Kentucky
(502) 350-1097‎

Liquor World
93 N Salem Dr #C
Bardstown, Kentucky
(502) 349-7560‎

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Maker's Mark and Four Roses

Maker's Mark Distillery

Our visit to bourbon country continued with Maker's Mark Distillery. Like Woodford Reserve, they also do a tour of their production facilities (the tour at Maker's is free, though).

Barrels at Maker's Mark Distillery

If you've seen one distillery, you've pretty much seen them all, but we still enjoyed the tour.

Spirit Safe at Maker's Mark Distillery

One thing unique to the tour at Maker's was the dipping area where they add the signature red wax coating to each bottle of whisky (note the spelling - Maker's is the only American brand that uses the Scottish "whisky", rather than the Irish "whiskey").

Wax Dipping Apparatus at Maker's Mark Distillery

And, of course, the tour ends with a tasting. It was more interesting here than at Woodford Reserve since they let you taste the unaged spirit ("white dog") as well as the finished product.

Tasting at Maker's Mark Distillery

We also stopped in at Four Roses Distillery.

Four Roses Distillery

Although they were not doing tours (they shut down production during the summer), it was probably our favorite of the distilleries we visited. They gave a very interesting description of their bourbon-making process. They distill ten different "flavors" of bourbon - combinations of two grain bills with five strains of yeast - that are then blended in various ways to produce their various offerings.

We tried three of their whiskeys - Yellow Label (their primary brand), Small Batch, and Single Barrel. The Small Batch was our favorite - more complex than the Yellow Label, and more mellow than the Single Barrel. Good stuff.


Maker's Mark Distillery
3350 Burk Spring Rd.
Loretto, Kentucky
(270) 865-2881‎

Four Roses Distillery
1224 Bonds Mill Rd.
Lawrenceburg, Kentucky
(502) 839-3436‎

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Woodford Reserve Distillery

Whiskey Barrel at Woodford Reserve Distillery

The first stop on our Kentucky Bourbon tour was Woodford Reserve Distillery. It is located in a beautiful setting amid the sweeping green fields of Thoroughbred farms. We took a very nice tour (5$) of the facility that goes through all of the phases of the operation.

The massive fermentation tubs boiling with yeast activity are fascinating to watch.

Fermentation at Woodford Reserve Distillery

They do a three-stage distillation using copper stills brought over from Scotland.

Copper Pot Stills at Woodford Reserve Distillery

It is hard to beat the atmosphere of a whiskey warehouse, with barrels of aging spirit stacked from floor to ceiling.

Barrels Aging at Woodford Reserve Distillery

Here is Sherry getting a pour straight out of a barrel. Unfortunately, we were only allowed to smell and not taste (some song and dance about "health regulations").

Sampling a Barrel at Woodford Reserve Distillery

Watching bottling machines is mesmerizing...

Bottling at Woodford Reserve Distillery

And let's not forget the tasting part of the tour. This was the first time we'd had Woodford Reserve. The taste is difficult to characterize, but if I had to describe it I would say that it had notes of toffee, roasted nuts, delicate butterscotch, vanilla, peach and aromatic spices...

Tasting at Woodford Reserve Distillery

Woodford Reserve Distillery
7855 Mccracken Pike
Versailles, Kentucky
(859) 879-1812‎

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Beer And Brewing

We love a good craft beer. We seek it out when we travel, and we're lucky enough to be blessed with a lot of it at home here in San Diego. We've also been known to brew up a batch or two ourselves.

Our Beer Recipes:

Partial Mash IPA Recipe"Piggish" IPA - Partial Mash Brewing and an IPA Recipe Modeled After Blind Pig

This was our first partial mash recipe, and we haven't looked back since. It was loosely inspired by Russian River's Blind Pig IPA. This post also contains an overview of the partial mash brewing process.
Rye IPA RecipePiggish Rye IPA

This is a variant of our Piggish IPA that has some Rye malt in the mix.
Belgian Tripel IPA RecipeBelgian Tripel IPA

Belgian Tripel meets West Coast IPA in the style of Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel. A perfect match.
Partial Mash Imperial Stout RecipeImperial Stout

Our first adventure on the dark side, and boy did it come out nicely.
San Diego Session AleSan Diego Session Ale

A light, hoppy and not too high octane beer that is perfect for a summer day when you are having a few.
Fresh Hop Brewing - A Wet Hop IPA RecipeFresh Hop Brewing - A Wet Hop IPA Recipe

After hand-picking fresh Cascade and Nugget hops at Star B Ranch our near Ramona, California, this is the recipe we used to brew a fresh hop IPA with them.
All Grain Brewing on the StovetopAll Grain Brewing on the Stovetop, and a "Half Nelson" IPA Recipe

An all-grain beer featuring Nelson Sauvin hops, done on the stovetop.
IPAison West Coast IPA with Saison HopsIPAison - A West Coast IPA with Saison Yeast

A marriage of a West Coast style IPA malt/hop profile with a Saison yeast.
Late Extract AdditionBatch #4 - Late Extract Addition

A recipe from our pre-partial-mash days, with a discussion of how important using late extract addition is when making a West Coast IPA.

Beer At Home
San Diego Pale Ale
Liars' Club R.I.P.
Liar's Club Alpine Tavern and Alpine Beer Company
San Diego Strong Ale Festival
Ballast Point 12th Anniversary Party
Pizza Port Belgian Beer Party
Our Magic Beer Fridge
Picking Fresh Cascade and Nugget Hops at Star B Ranch

Beer On The Road
Great Divide Brewing Company in Denver
Beer Tasting in Sonoma County
Toronado and Magnolia in San Francisco
Beer In Austin - Beer Alley, St. Arnold Elissa IPA, The Ginger Man
Moon River Brewing Company in Savannah, Georgia
Beer Blessed in Asheville, North Carolina

Favorite Beers
Racer 5, Bear Republic Brewing Co.
O'Brien's IPA, Alpine Brewing Company

Cooking With Beer
Beer-Braised Lamb Shanks

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Breakfast at Waffle House in Lexington, Kentucky

Waffle House in Lexington, Kentucky

It is hard to get through a 6 week road trip across the Southern United States with just one post on Waffle House. So here is a second one - but this time we actually went inside.

Waffle House Menu

We were in Lexignton, Kentucky (getting ready to plough through bourbon country) and we needed breakfast. There was a Waffle House virtually in our hotel parking lot. Fate had come calling and would not be denied.

First up, a waffle - not great, but edible.

Waffle at Waffle House

The country ham, on the other hand, was actually pretty good.

Country Ham at Waffle House

As was pretty much everything else we had (although the "smothered" hash browns were a bit disappointing, with just a few onions scattered underneath).

Breakfast at Waffle House

As advertised, they had the jukebox complete with the left column of songs all about Waffle House.

Jukebox at Waffle House

Bellies full and Waffle House virgins no more (although does it count if you go before midnight?), we hopped in the car and headed out in search of bourbon.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Charcuterie At Home

Homemade Charcuterie

We are big fans of charcuterie in all its forms. Cured meats, sausages, pâtés - we buy them when we see them, seek them out when dining in restaurants, and have had some modest success creating them at home.

Here is a collection of some of the experiences we have had making our own charcuterie. We encourage you to give it a try as well - it is easier than you might expect.

Cured Meats:

Homemade PancettaHomemade Pancetta

This was our first foray into the world of charcuterie. It turned out wonderfully, and so has every batch since.

Pancetta is an ideal first step in curing meats as it simple and relatively tolerant of non-ideal temperatures.
Pancetta TesaPancetta Tesa

Even easier than making the rolled version ("arrotolata"), Pancetta Tesa tastes every bit as good and can be made without any special equipment or curing environment.
Homemade Coppa CapicolaCoppa / Capicola

In which a humble pork shoulder is transformed into something spectacular. Perhaps our favorite cured meat.
Saucisson SecSaucisson Sec

Saucisson Sec is about the easiest cured sausage you can make, but that doesn't mean it doesn't taste fantastic. The complexity of flavor you get belies the simplicity of the ingredients.
Tuscan SalamiTuscan Salami

Tuscan Salami was our first experience with making a fermented sausage. The fermentation process gives a salami that fantastic twangy bite.
Homemade GuancialeHomemade Guanciale

Homemade Guanciale is what you make when you happen to have pork jowls on hand. The process and end product is very much like Pancetta.

Smoked Meats (and other smoked treats):
Homemade BaconHomemade Bacon

When we made our first batch of homemade bacon several years ago, I proclaimed that we would never buy bacon again.

And we haven't.
Jalapeño BaconJalapeño Bacon

A fun twist on bacon. The heat from the Jalapeños adds complexity without being at all overwhelming.

A perfect topping for a cheeseburger...
Smoked Picnic HamSmoked Picnic Ham

Best ham we've ever had. Smoky and succulent. Easy and inexpensive.
Smoked AndouilleSmoked Andouille

We fell in love with Andouille in New Orleans. Unable to find a good version at home, we decided to make our own. You should, too.
Smoked DuckSmoked Duck

Smoked Duck is truly one of the best things in the world - especially when it comes straight off of your smoker.
Smoked TroutSmoked Trout

Move over smoked salmon - smoked trout is a force to be reckoned with. We love it straight up, or packed in olive oil and stored in the fridge for later - especially for breakfast.
Smoked AlmondsSmoked Almonds

I bet you can't eat just one.

In fact, I guarantee you can't eat just ten...

Homemade Italian SausageHomemade Italian Sausage

Probably the most simple thing you can do to enter the realm of charcuterie is make your own sausage. Italian sausage is a good place to start.
Coppa di TestaCoppa di Testa

Coppa di Testa is Italian for head cheese, and head cheese is English for awesome. Pig face terrine is a good thing - especially served on toast.

Meat and Cheese Curing FridgeOur Meat and Cheese Curing Fridge

Curing meats is all about environmental control. We converted a cheap fridge into our curing chamber. It is easy to do, and does double duty as our draft beer system!
Meat and Cheese Curing FridgeWeber Smokey Mountain Cooker

One of the best purchases we've ever made. Our WSM has seen a lot of use in the few years we've owned it.

Highly recommended.
Meat and Cheese SlicerMeat and Cheese Slicer

Cured meats need slicing. We picked up a Chef's Choice 610 Premium Electric Food Slicer from EdgeCraft and have been very happy with it.
KitchenAid grinding attachmentKitchenAid grinding attachment

We grind all of our meats for fresh, smoked and cured sausages with a KitchenAid attachment.

We used to use the KitchenAid for stuffing as well, but we have since moved on to a manual Northern Industrial stuffer.


This was the book that got it all started for us. It is a great introduction into the wonderful world of all things charcuterie.
Cooking by HandCooking by Hand

Not primarily a charcuterie book, but with some great inspirations on the subject. This was our main reference when making Coppa de Testa.
Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing

An almost silly number of recipes for fresh and cured sausages.

The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating

An inspirational treatise on all things offal.