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Luscious, Luxurious Louisville



The Belle of Louisville is the oldest, operating, Mississippi-style steamboat in the U.S.

You Know The Old Joke, “How Do You Pronounce The Capital Of Kentucky? Louie-ville Or Lou-a-vul?” The Answer Is, Of Course, “Frankfort.” Louisville May Not Be The State Capital, But It Is The State’s Largest City. Situated On The Ohio River And Noted For The Kentucky Derby And The Louisville Slugger, It’s A Capital Destination.

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Churchill Downs, home to horse racing’s most exciting two minutes, also hosts hundreds of other races during its season. Although racing in Louisville dates back to the 1780s, the first official race day here was May 17, 1875 and was the debut of the Kentucky Derby.

On the property, the Kentucky Derby Museum covers the history and color of the event with exhibits on clothing, famous horses, trophies and legends. The fun begins with a 360˚ film of Derby Day from dawn to dusk. Kids, and adults with few inhibitions, enjoy mounting a horse to participate in a video race.

Several tours of the racing facilities are offered, including a historic walking tour that includes trackside, paddocks and the Barn and Backside Tour (racing season only). Book an early a.m. tour to see morning workouts. Racing season is March-June and September-November with 76 days of live racing. Simulcasting goes on Wednesday-Sunday year ’round.

The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory takes you from the tree to finished product, and the museum features famous baseball players and their equipment along with a number of interactive features. And you get a mini-bat of your own. You can’t miss this place on Main Street; just look for the big bat – all 120 feet of it.

The 120-foot bat outside the Louisville Slugger Museum weighs 68,000 pounds.

Bourbon – oh, yes. The Evan Williams Experience on Main Street offers an excellent tour of its artisanal distillery ending with a tasting. My favorite part – a chocolate bourbon ball at the finish!

The Belle of Louisville and its little sister the Spirit of Jefferson take guests cruising on the Ohio River.

The Louisville Zoo is worth a visit, especially its award-winning Glacier Run, a loose re-creation of Churchill, Canada. The polar bears are the star attractions, but the grizzlies, snow owls and Steller’s sea eagles are also cool.

Take a walking tour with Louisville Historic Tours. Not much for ghost tours, I chose an afternoon tour through one of Louisville’s most elegant and architecturally diverse neighborhoods with author David Dominé.

The 1923 Brown Hotel, like the Skirvin, has its own resurrection story. Once a social center of the city, the hotel weathered the rigors of the Depression and even a flood that had boats rowing through the lobby. Expressways and businesses’ exodus to the suburbs sealed its demise. After a 21-year hotel hiatus, the Brown re-opened, restored to its former glory.

The Muhammad Ali Suite courtesy Brown Hotel

The soaring lobby features a coffered ceiling and elaborate ornamentation – a grand hotel, indeed. The hotel has hosted royalty, presidents and celebrities. I stayed in a suite named after hometown hero Muhammad Ali. His autographed boxing gloves and other memorabilia were on display in a massive breakfront in the dining room. You know you’re living the life of luxury when your room has a doorbell!

Named one of Southern Living’s “Ten Tastiest Towns of 2013,” Louisville has too many good restaurants for one writer to survey on a three-day trip. But I tried. Here are some of my favorites:

Decca, a two-family-owned eatery, was inspired by the owners’ love of vinyl records and features a small shop upstairs with books, vinyl and vintage gear and a basement bar with a combination of live music and vinyl. The main floor restaurant prides itself on local-sourcing and innovative menu items – so innovative I had to ask for definitions of at least five ingredients.

Wild Shrimp a la Plancha on couscous at Decca

Proof on Main, in the wildly modern 21C Hotel/art museum, has a small but challenging menu. I wasn’t intrepid enough to try the charred octopus but went with the safe-sounding roast chicken served with savoy cabbage, garlic scape, yuzu and panzanella. I couldn’t figure out which was what – but it was all good!

Jack Fry’s has been a local favorite since the ’30s. Shrimp and grits is a signature dish but, wanting something light, I had a wonderful Chicken Cobb Salad.

Cutting-edge French cuisine was featured at La Coop, a tiny and charming eatery in NuLu, a hot and hip area on the east side of downtown. Gobs of goodies here, but my favorite was a salad with farm greens, pear, red onion and candied pecans dressed with a praline vinaigrette and topped with a scoop of bleu cheese ice cream – I could have licked the plate!

When the Twenties were roaring, over a thousand guests would gather at the Brown Hotel to dance the night away. Hunger would hit in the wee hours and the chef, tired of serving ham and eggs, invented a new dish – the Hot Brown. You can get this dish in many local restaurants but you really need to have it at the Brown Hotel. An open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon, sliced tomatoes and Mornay sauce, this is comfort food at its best.

Evan Williams artisan distillery in downtown Louisville

Looking for local souvenirs? Consider a hat or fascinator at the Kentucky Derby Museum gift shop. The gift shop at the Brown carries authentic Hot Brown pans. Louisville Stoneware has a 200-year heritage of fine stoneware; shop here for beautiful gift and utilitarian pieces. Chocolate bourbon balls also make a nice gift – but they may not make it to your destination. Like potato chips, it’s hard to stop with just one.

Louisville’s Centennial Festival of Riverboats runs from October 14 through 19 and celebrates the 100th birthday of the Belle of Louisville, the oldest operating Mississippi-style steamboat in the nation. Celebrations include visiting steamboats, steamboat races, steamboat cruises, lots of local food, libations and art, balloon glows, a boat parade and a giant fireworks display. Come sing “Happy Birthday” to the grand old gal. P.S. That song was written right here in Louisville by two sisters, Patty and Mildred Hill! 

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The Hot Brown, a yummy open-faced creation that originated at the Brown Hotel

The Hot Brown Was Created By Chef Fred K. Schmidt In 1926. It Has Been Featured In Publications From Southern Living To The Wall Street Journal And On TV From The “Today Show” To “Man v. Food,” And Is Printed Here Courtesy Of The Brown Hotel.

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The Original Hot Brown Recipe (makes two)

• In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and a thick sauce (roux) forms. Continue to cook the roux for two minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

• For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven-safe dish and cover with seven ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and set them alongside the base of the turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce in to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley and serve immediately.

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For More Information Visit:

gotolouisville.com // festivalofriverboats.com // louisvillehistorictours.com

 

Photo Credits:

Belle Steamboat courtesy Centennial Festival of Riverboats // Wild Shrimp a la Plancha by Elaine Warner // The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory by Thinkstock // Evan Williams artisan distillery by Elaine Warner // The Hot Brown by Elaine Warner

 

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Calendar

April 2019

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
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Celebrate Easter with a trip to Andy Alligator’s Fun Park! On Saturday and Sunday, get $5 off an All-Day Pass with our Eggcellent Easter Special. All-Day Passes include Go-Karts,...

Cost: $23.95

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Pl
Norman, OK  73072
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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
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Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The OSU Symphony Orchestra will conclude the 2018-19 season with Schubert's monumental and majestic Symphony No. 9 in C ("The Great"). The concert opens with The European Anthem,...

Cost: General Admission: $10; Students & Seniors: $7

Where:
Oklahoma State University Department of Music
132 Seretean Ctr
Stillwater, OK  74078
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Sponsor: Oklahoma State University Department of Music
Telephone: 405.744.6133
Contact Name: Dr. Thomas Dickey
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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Potbelly Sandwich Shop is giving back to the local neighborhood with Feed Your Smile, a fundraiser supporting Concordia Life Care Community.  Show this flyer on your smartphone or...

Cost: Free

Where:
Potbelly Sandwich Shop
8500 N Rockwell Ave
OKC, OK  73132
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Sponsor: Potbelly Sandwich Shop
Telephone: 405-792-5112
Contact Name: Katy Fabrie
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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

"Deliberately silencing the internal chatter and not overthinking. Conscious, but not over-trying. With this approach, things just seem to happen—it’s where all the substance is...

Cost: Free

Where:
Individual Artists of Oklahoma
706 W. Sheridan Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Individual Artists of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.412.2541
Contact Name: David Smith

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Shop over 200 vendors at this indoor event with everything from vintage furniture, retro and mid-century decor to handmade goods, antiques, industrial finds and architectural salvage!

Cost: $5 at the door, 13 and under free

Where:
Heritage Place
2829 S. MacArthur
Oklahoma City, OK  73128
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Sponsor: Junk Hippy
Contact Name: Kristen Grandi
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A Sporting Chance will host the 25th annual Track and Field Meet at Branson Junior High in Branson, Missouri. A Sporting Chance provides year-round sports and recreation programs designed for those...

Where:
Branson Junior High
263 Buccaneer Boulevard
Branson, MO  65616
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Sponsor: A Sporting Chance
Telephone: 404-314-2188
Contact Name: Hannah Schachinger

More information

RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

This one-day festival is rooted in the printing of large-scale woodblocks carved by local Oklahoma artists. We bring in a 5-ton steamroller and print pre-carved blocks throughout the day on Tyvek...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Contact Name: Evan
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Andy Alligator's is celebrating teachers! On Saturday and Sunday, teachers with a valid ID will receive a FREE All-Day Pass and $5 off for each family member! An All-Day Pass includes...

Cost: Teachers receive a FREE All-Day Pass; family members get $5 off

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Pl
Norman, OK  73072
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America’s largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: $59.95

Where:
The Skirvin Hilton
1 Park Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
Website »

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Get a sample of the nightlife of Spain at Tulsa Botanic Garden's "Viva La Vida." The Garden is bringing star chef Jamie Bissonnette (Toro restaurants in Boston, NYC, Bangkok and...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Dr
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

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2nd annual gathering of "The Big Lebowksi" fans at The Dude Abides OKC All Oklahoma City Urban Achievers, Abiders and Coen Brothers fans are invited to join us at Fassler Hall OKC and...

Cost: Free, contests have entry fee

Where:
Fassler Hall
421 NW 10th
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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Sponsor: Revolve Productions
Telephone: 405.810.6977
Contact Name: Tobi Coleman
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