GR running diary: Bourbon and Hot Brown on Wed.


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Here’s some (not) food for thought for you. If you’re ever invited to a party – I’ll pick something completely arbitrary like a party at the Louisville Slugger Museum on Tuesday night of PGA Championship week – and this party features a buffet, and a 25-minute tour where you will not see this buffet, here are my instructions: Eat first, people are animals. By the time you get back from this tour, there’s a good chance all of the food besides the mushrooms will be gone. Mostly because that’s not food, it’s mushrooms.

Wednesday - Grill Room goes around the town

5:55 a.m. ET – Alarm clock goes off. I hate the world slightly less today than I did yesterday. If time could be quantified into hate, then I hate the world two hours less this morning than I did yesterday. Progress.

7:20 – Arrive at Valhalla.

8:02 – Hit the media center for what one volunteer described as “The Breakfast of Champions,” coffee and Gatorade. We might have slightly different versions of “champions.”

8:23 – Make arrangements for my “Around the Town” day in Louisville.

9:05 – Leave Valhalla.

9:34 – Drive past the No. 4-ranked attraction in all of Louisville – the Cave Hill Cemetery. Place looks dead, absolutely nothing going on. I decide to continue on my way.

9:45 – Get to the Muhammad Ali Center, notice a lot of kids on day trips, possibly with camps.

10:13 – Lots of interesting info about one of the greatest athletes of all time, also lots of interesting kids with snot bubbles coming out of their noses.

11:03 – Leave the Muhammad Ali Center. Not that I wouldn’t go back there, but I’d make sure I bring my not-to-be-born-anytime-soon kids. I decide to overcompensate and act my age. Bourbon distillery, here I come. After little debate and even less convincing with myself, I decide on the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience.

11:49 – After learning plenty about bourbon that I’m glad I now know, yet not sure what to do with this newfound knowledge besides rattle it off in annoying fashion to my friends the next time they bring a bottle over, we are given some samples.

12:19 p.m. ET – Receive news about Tiger Woods being in Louisville. What a coincidence, I just found the perfect medication for his back.

12:27 – That’s it for the distillery tour, while it violated my “using my brain too much while drinking” rule, it fit in perfectly with some of my other sight-seeing ideology, like “free booze.” It gets a Grill Room recommendation, so it’s got that going for it.

12:38 – Decide it’s finally time to throw away my inhibitions and dive into this thing Louisvillians (it’s a thing, I looked it up) call a “Hot Brown.” Although it boasts one of the grossest names for anything in the history of names, and things, I’ve been told I have to try one. And since you only YOLO once, today’s the day ...

12:45 – I head down to the Hot Brown spot. I’m told this place has the best Hot Browns, as if that is somehow supposed to comfort me. The waitress asks me what I would like to drink.  I say “I’ll have a Samuel Jackson.” Somewhere in South Africa, Dave Chappelle snickers to himself. The waitress gives me a blank stare. So I just order a water and a Hot Brown, at the bargain-basement price of $16. She tells me it will be about 15 minutes.

12:47 – I notice several others in the restaurant sitting alone and eating or ordering this Hot Brown. It gives me a sense of camaraderie with the people. The guy to my left doesn’t believe the waitress when she tells him it will be 15 minutes. He decides to openly time her, leaving his smartphone on the table. It was at this moment I pretty much determined he had just ordered a side of spit.

1:02 – Hot Brown arrives. It is hot, but to my surprise not brown at all. It actually looks pretty appetizing. The best way I can describe it is an open-faced sandwich, with turkey breast, a super-rich cheesy sauce called Mornay, bacon, more cheese and some tomatoes and green seasoning on top, I guess to make it healthy.

1:03 – First bite, absolutely incredible. Cheesy, gooey, crunchy and I didn’t even get bacon on that bite.

1:04 – All the same feelings as the first, but then add bacon. Even better.

1:05 – Four bites in. I feel like I’m going to die.

1:15 – Stopped eating five minutes ago, have a strong urge to keel over and take a nap on this bench. Grill Room recommends two bites maximum of a Hot Brown. There’s a really easy joke you can make here if you so choose, but we’re above that toilet humor on this blog. (Not really).

2:00 – Fighting through my Hot Brown-induced coma, I make it to Churchill Downs, site of the Kentucky Derby and more importantly, the Dufners’ second-to-last vacation. My connection for this expedition hasn’t called me back, so I explain to the lady guarding the front entrance that I am exploring the town for the Grill Room. I’m given a free pass to anywhere but actually on the track. Our fans are the best.

2:20 – Make it up to Millionaires Row, which is where I assume the Dufners watched this year’s Derby, mostly because they’re millionaires.

3:00 – Realize I’ve been at Churchill Downs entirely too long for a place where there is absolutely nothing going on. I’d definitely recommend this place for a visit, I’d just try to time it so that there are horses there, too, and maybe a few other people. I would have to imagine that would be more fun.

3:13 – Driving back to the hotel when I happen to notice Papa John's Stadium, the 55,000-seat home of the University of Louisville Cardinals football team. Now what kind of American would I be if I didn’t stop in a football stadium on my tour of the city? I walked right in and took some pictures. They probably knew the Grill Room was coming. Sounds like everyone was put on alert today. Seems like an awesome place to take in a game.

4:05 – See a “For Escort Service Call” street sign. Had to pull over and snap a picture. Mostly to save the number in case I have to cross the street later. Why are you all giving your computers weird looks? What were you thinking it was for?

In conclusion, my day on the town in Louisville proved this city has it all. Stuff for the family. Stuff for grown-ups. Awesome and gross food at the exact same time.  Escort services. Throw in a little golf and you got yourself quite the party. Until next time … which will be tomorrow, and judging from the last couple days, I’d guess bright and early.

You can see all of Grill Room's images from around the town here, and in case you missed it, check out Tuesday's action from Louisville in the Grill Room's running diary.