Marc and I took a week off and went to Louisville and Nashville. We packed quite a bit into our vacation, so this will be a multi-part series. I’ll attach links to each post and on the final post, I’ll attach every link for easy reference. I’ll also include the great city guides I referred to that might be helpful to you if you’re planning your own trip.
Louisville is a pretty place and one look around reveals it’s really growing. We learned through Uber drivers that the downtown area didn’t used to be a destination, but now there is lots to see and do. I was really impressed by all of the great restaurants that work with farms for fresh dishes with a southern twist. It also wasn’t hard to find a healthy salad, which was really nice in between indulgences.
We stayed at the 21 C Museum Hotel. It’s the top-rated hotel in the city and its modern atmosphere was something we really appreciated. Kasey + Matt stayed there a few years back with baby Neko and recommended it. It was a bit of a splurge, because there weren’t really any special deals due to a huge convention in town. There are lots of lovely Airbnb homes, too. If you have a car, there is a fee for valet service each day of your stay at the hotel. The men and women that monitored the door were super friendly and helpful. Will was our favorite, offering recommendations for food and how he likes to bet on horses at Churchill Downs.
Our room was a nice size and had a cozy king bed with white linens. The bathroom had a switch for black light, which was great at night and the room was spotless. Each night we received some Tcho chocolate on our pillow and fresh ice. This was great for sipping ice water at night while relaxing before bed.
Some reviewers of the hotel expressed concern about some of the art being inappropriate for children. We weren’t offended at all, but there was nudity in some of the art. The museum is open 24 hours to the public and is essentially the lobby and the area down the stairs.
After the long car ride, I convinced Marc to walk a few miles to dinner. He was anxious to start using Uber, but I needed to stretch my legs. The evening was perfect with a cool breeze. Apparently we had hit it just right and the humidity and temperatures had lowered that week. Just a short walk from our hotel, we could see the sun setting over the Ohio River.
Then we continued on to Market Street to try Rye on Market for dinner. We passed by a mix of old and new buildings, some of which had art painted on the side. It was a nice way to get acquainted with the city.
Rye on Market was on the top of our list after seeing the menu. Everything is fresh and seasonal. The menu was seriously dreamy and I had a really hard time deciding what to have.
The inside of the restaurant is really charming with exposed brick, wood floors and a huge bar area. There was another room beyond the room we were seated in that looked nice, too.
I was looking at the drink menu and the names were starting to form a pattern in my brain and then I realized they were named after Mario Brother’s characters! I ordered the Bowser’s Castle which had rye, creme de cassis, ramazzotti and a pickled strawberry. It had deep berry flavor, but wasn’t too sweet. Marc ordered the Yoshi Valley Cocktail with bourbon, green chartreuse, lemon, basil and egg white. The bartender knew what she was doing. They have a nice bar area if you just want to come in for the drinks and they have a drink menu that doesn’t refer to Nintendo characters, too.
Marc ordered the charcuterie and cheese board which was full of the best stuff! It had pork terrine, chicken liver mousse, head cheese croquettes, Kentucky smoked ham, Saint Andre triple cream brie, aged gouda, Maytag blue cheese, pickled strawberries, pickled ramps, mustard and local honey. I stole a few bites of brie/Kentucky ham/pickled strawberry/honey – such a good combo.
I ordered the spring gnocchi with spring peas, asparagus and ramps in a light broth and sprinkled with chive blossoms. Each bite melted in my mouth and tasted so fresh for spring. I also had a bowl of broccoli soup with tahini, crispy quinoa, sunflower seeds and lemon. The best soup I’ve ever had. Something I noticed on the menu was that you could buy the kitchen staff a round of drinks, which was pretty cool.
The meal at Rye was so good, I was afraid we had peaked too soon. How could that meal be topped? Fortunately, though, there was more great food to discover. Come back here tomorrow for Day 2 of Louisville, a tour of 3 bourbon distilleries and that time I had to pee on the side of the road and then admitted it on the internet.
21 C Museum Hotel 700 W. Main Street Louisville, KY
Rye on Market 900 E. Market Street Louisville, KY
Look out over the Ohio River