Phew! Holidays are over, so back to the work at hand: Find our landing place. I guess we were on our way from Chicago to Kentucky, where I left off. Well when we arrived, we were most pleasantly surprised with what we found in Louisville….
Who would've known?? Old Lou! Got to give it to that town. Pretty awesome, if you ask me. And subtly awesome too. What I mean is, nothing's too overdone so that it's in your face. Good food? Yeah, we got that. Cool buildings? Sure do. Happening art and music scene? You betcha! Wait…. what about the booze? Oh well, there's the Bourbon Trail. So we decided to stay an extra night. Louisville has the perfect mix of urban grit and country charm. 21c in downtown Louisville is a contemporary art museum with rotating installations, all from the 21st century. Nestled in the lobby of a hotel, open 24/7, free of charge. Very cool.
21c and Old Town Liquors
Market St was a pretty built-up main street, with boutique shopping, some nice restaurants, a great coffee shop, and an okay bakery. But our favorite areas were some of the funkier, more affordable ones like Germantown (must eat: Hammerheads), Highlands (must drink: Holy Grale), Crescent Hill (must eat: Blue Dog Bakery & Cafe), and Butchertown (close enough, must drink: Apocalypse Brew Works, who were hosting a food truck meet-up the night we stopped by). All in all, Louisville is sitting pretty in our top three favorite cities. The thing is, we can see ourselves living there, but it's hard to imagine moving there. It's worth mentioning that I loathe KFC.
The most memorable food in Nashville was, hands-down, the spicy catfish sandwich from Bolton's Spicy Chicken. We weren't taken by much else, although Five Points in East Nashville has some hip factor. Wish we could've tried Mas Tacos, but I guess they keep weird hours.
The best thing about Nashville was the drive from it, to Asheville. First of all, one wrong turn down Hwy 411 and next thing we know, we're at Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams. Steve must've thought he was dreaming when I spotted it and told him, "you might want to pull a U-ey…" Mr. Benton himself showed us around his "hillbilly operation" and then sent us on our way with some great advice and a package of on-the-house prosciutto. We continued the drive towards the Smokey Mountains and took the scenic Cherohala Skyway over the border, to North Carolina.
Benton's Country Ham
I went to Asheville with high expectations and it surely lived up to all of them. I knew I would love it there, but what I didn't know, is how much Steve would like it too! It wasn't as urban as he prefers in a city but when it has EVERYTHING else, who cares? Breathtaking nature everywhere you look, unbeatable weather, suuuuuuuch nice (liberal) people, the awesome River Arts District, and although downtown Asheville is completely developed, West Asheville is just over the river, seemingly welcoming to those wanting to start a small business. We had some great food experiences, including White Duck (must try the bankok shrimp taco), the most educational chocolate tasting ever at French Broad Chocolate Factory, and the best pineapple upsidedown cake I've ever tasted from Short Street Cakes. Although timing came in between us and trying Farm and Sparrow,something tells me we would have been quite happy with his elusive, craft bread.
White Duck Tacos and Short Street Cakes
Sadly, I got sick during our stay in Charleston so our time out and about was limited. However, we did make it to Husk for supper before I caught the bug, which was a gift. We had one of the best meals of our lives and to this day, I've never seen such joy as that of Steve-o eating Sean Brock's slow smoked TN pork ribs.
Angel Oak Tree
The last stop on our road trip couldn't possibly disappoint. We stocked up on wine at the very best wine shop, Schneider's of Capitol Hill, and had a glorious dinner with some of our favorite people ever. Alas, I was still pretty sick so Steve did most of the exploring without me. I did manage to make it to Bloomingdale, the neighborhood adjacent to Le Droit Park, and it is without a doubt my favorite area in DC. Beautiful houses and I loved the small community feel.
Josh Genderson -- 4th Generation Leader at Schneider's
From DC, we came back to NY for only a few nights before hopping a flight to Cali to spend time with my family and celebrate the engagement of some dear friends. We set out with a pretty distinct plan and I think we accomplished what we aimed to do. Nothing like a month in Hawaii to mull it over... That's right! From Cali, it was straight to Hawaii with us. A blog post on that would just seem cruel. But what the heck, I figure why stop now? So I guess that's next, along with a report on our stops in Seattle and Vancouver.