Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Hot Brown Time in Lousiville
The Hot Brown is Louisville's famous local sandwich.  It's worth a try if you are in town but keep your expectations low and you won't be disappointed.

I just returned from 3 days in Louisville, KY, attending the largest truck show in the world.  It was an interesting experience to say the least, since my exposure to truckers has been pretty limited.  This was my fourth or fifth trip to Louisville, the previous ones many years ago to attend the Derby several times and my best friend’s wedding in 1978.  Needless to say, the trucker crowd was a bit different than the Derby crowd.  I stayed downtown and found the city to be boring, both foodwise and entertainment wise.  Cab drivers complained bitterly about the local economy, the downtown area seemed empty except for the truck show attendees, and the only sign of nightlife was in the 4th Street Live area....featuring several expected chain restaurants (Hard Rock, TGI Friday’s) as well as a few local places.  To be fair, I had some shrimp and grits at one of the local places.  Although nothing special, it was good enough.  The truckers (and those who were there to sell  stuff to them) seemed to be enjoying themselves in the bars and restaurants though.

I had heard that the famous Louisville local food was the Hot Brown, a sandwich originally developed at the Brown Hotel to help partiers absorb the alcohol after a long night of drinking.  Basically, it is an open faced turkey sandwich with bacon and tomato, drenched in Mornay sauce.  They are on menus everywhere, though, and the version I had was at the Galt House Hotel.  I was unimpressed.  The turkey was processed, the toasted bread greasy, the tomatoes tasteless winter hothouse, and the Mornay sauce gloppy with close too 1000 calories of fat.  Maybe there are better versions to be had or perhaps I should have been drunker when I tried it, but I am in no hurry to go back and have another.

To help absorb the grease after a late night of drinking or begin the morning after, nothing comes close to Mexican chilaquiles.  I have never made them myself but my housekeeper makes a killer version.  I will watch her make them and try and develop a recipe to post sometime soon.  But if you find yourself with a terrible hangover or the need to avoid one, hit the best local Mexican restaurant you can find and order them.  They are a miracle cure.  And way hotter than a Hot Brown.

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