HammerHeads & LC

I know recently I haven’t been keeping up with my posts like normal. I’ve just really been lacking any motivation with being gone so many hours with my commute/work. When I get home, all I want to do is eat dinner and sit on the couch watching Food Network with Josh. I’m hoping things will turn around soon with this amazing warm weather we’re getting!

I do not know how I haven’t written a post about HammerHeads before. It is hands down my most favorite restaurant ever! I first ate there with some girlfriends a few years ago and honestly I have no idea how we found out about it. HammerHeads is located in the Germantown neighborhood of Louisville. The restaurant itself is in the basement of a two-story house and is not at all what I expected- it’s a small/cozy space with a low ceiling and very eclectic decor and music. There is ALWAYS a line, even when we have shown up at opening time. It’s really that good. I honestly don’t know why we don’t eat there every weekend.

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We arrived slightly before they opened and thankfully (even though there was already a line) we were “early” enough to get a seat at the bar right away. For an appetizer we shared the crispy mushroom medley which is a mix of shiitake and portobello mushrooms with a sun-dried tomato aioli. The mushrooms are always so big and the breading is delicious. You don’t even need the aioli, but really neither one of us is turning down some “fancy” mayo.

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I usually always gravitate towards their dishes with pork belly, but I decided to switch it up a little and try the duck tacos. I’m so glad I did! The duck was fatty and juicy. The pico gave it a nice crunch and the jalapeño-lime aioli added a spicy element that was just right. And it was all wrapped in double corn tortillas which is the only way to eat a taco!

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Josh was adventurous too and went with the BBQ lamb ribs for dinner. The ribs were so tender and fell right off the bone.

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We couldn’t come to HammerHeads and not order some fries to share for dinner too. Of course, we had to order the Grippo fries…fried in duck fat. There really is no other way to get fries there. The Grippo seasoning is BBQy and tangy and the duck fat makes them all the more irresistible to eat.

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I know it sounds like we already ate a lot of food, but we had plenty of room to make a trip to Louisville Cream for dessert. I was super excited to try one of their newest flavors- Milk Chocolate Coffee Crunch. Even though I don’t drink coffee, this ice cream was amazing. Especially stuffed between two huge fresh chocolate chip cookies. The espresso enhanced the milk chocolate flavor and I loved the house-made dark chocolate crunch throughout. Josh had a scoop of the Coffee Crunch covered in hot fudge and vanilla bean whipped cream. Delish!

I’m already dreaming of when we can have a repeat date of this night!

good food, good times

Last weekend, Josh and I had an awesome date night in Louisville. We used to go to Indianapolis all the time, but lately we have really been loving Louisville. They’re totally killing it with the food scene. The only problem with that is there are too many choices…actually, that’s a really good problem to have! Thankfully, I have compiled a spreadsheet of restaurants (from friends’ recommendations, Food Network shows, Instagram pictures, etc) we want to try in cities around the US. If you don’t have a spreadsheet of restaurants you want to eat at, you need to get on that asap. Instead of the forever argument of “where do you want to eat?… I don’t care, where do you want to eat?” we now have a foolproof plan of picking a restaurant. After deciding what city we want to drive to (we usually stay within an hour drive), we open up the spreadsheet and (usually) select the first restaurant on the list that we haven’t eaten at yet. How easy is that?! We decided instead of trying a new restaurant, we would visit one of our favorites again- Migo. We got there pretty soon after they opened and were able to get a table right away. It’s not a huge place, so the earlier you can get there, the better. We started out with mofongo for an appetizer. The plantains and potatoes were covered in chunks of juicy roasted pork, fresh cilantro, and salty crumbly cotija cheese served in a mini cast iron skillet. So. Good.   

Migo has a lot of options for tacos, from short rib to duck to catfish to sweet potato and so many more, as well as the option of having them served Mexican or Korean style. I finally decided on a pork belly taco served Asian style and a chorizo taco served Mexican style. The chorizo was salty and full of flavor and I loved the pickled onions and fresh cilantro on top. The pork belly was melt-in-your-mouth texture, so fatty, so flavorful. The kimchi on top had a bite and mixed well with the fattiness of the pork belly. It’s going to be hard for me to try any other taco after that pork belly.

Josh had a chicharrón taco served Mexican style and a pork belly taco served Korean style. The chicharrón had a lot of flavor, but the texture was a little too chewy. Of course, the pork belly was amazing.

We were halfway through eating our tacos when we realized our sides- Brussels sprouts and elote- hadn’t come out yet. Our waiter had accidentally forgot to put them in with our order, but it wasn’t a big deal at all. He brought them out to us really quickly and they were so hot we had to wait a couple minutes before digging in. The Brussels sprouts were crispy, caramelized, and covered in a delicious Mexican crema, fresh cilantro, and cotija cheese served in a little cast iron pan. I’m not normally a fan of corn, but their elote is amazing- the fresh corn on the cob is slathered in this really yummy chili-lime cream sauce and sprinkled with fresh cilantro. I could eat it non-stop.    

After dinner, you know what time it was…dessert time! I’m sure there are some other really great dessert places, but we can’t stop ourselves from going to Louisville Cream every time. We really just love that they make small batch ice creams and every week there are new flavors to try. Josh had a pretzel cone with their bourbon pecan and corn flake praline ice cream. The corn flake praline was really good, there were whole pecans throughout, and the taste of bourbon came through perfectly but wasn’t overpowering.   

I had the balsamic strawberry sundae with their homemade biscuits and jam ice cream. The ice cream was served in a cute glass dish and was covered in balsamic strawberry sauce, crystallized balsamic and cinnamon brioche crunch and topped with whipped cream and a cherry. The brioche crunch was crispy on the outside, but so soft once you bit into it. The jam in the ice cream was just tart enough and the balsamic strawberry sauce was so full of flavor I could have eaten a bowl of just that.

taste of louisville

After work last Friday, Josh and I were just not feeling like going to the gym as we had originally planned. After a really stressful week of work, we just needed a few hours away from everything to just relax. So, we pulled up my list of places to eat in Louisville on Google Sheets and started checking out all the menus. We finally decided on Migo (because it was at the top of the list which obviously means we have been wanting to go there for some time…plus this saves us from the usual “I don’t care where we go, you pick” back and forth we sometimes fall into). Migo is located slightly off Bardstown Road in the Highlands Neighborhood. There is so much to see and do in that area and so many choices for great food and drinks. We chose to sit outside because the weather was perfect- there was a light breeze, it was the ideal cool fall weather temperature, and the sun was just setting below the horizon!

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For our appetizer we chose the Puerto Rican mofongo (with grilled shrimp and gravy) off of their special menu supporting hurricane relief in Puerto Rico. The mofongo was delicious- there was a nice acid to the dish which balanced well with the gravy and the shrimp.  

The main menu boasts several different options for tacos. There are options for vegetarian, surf, or turf tacos, as well as the style you would like them served. Korean style comes dressed with red kimchi, basil, and bulgogi while Mexican style comes with pico de gallo, pickled onion, cotija, tomatillo-lemon aioli, and cilantro. After much debate, we finally decided on the seared pork belly Korean style, the crispy lobster Mexican style with avocado, the local roasted duck Mexican style, and the local beef short rib Korean style. And what are tacos without a side of cilantro rice? And citrus basil broccoli? And elote? There were just too many good options to not try!

The rice was exactly what I hoped for- covered in pico de gallo, fresh cilantro, and cotija cheese. Salty cheese, crunchy veggies, just perfect. And the broccoli was even better- it came out roasted (you know how yummy broccoli is when it gets that barely burnt flavor) in a small cast iron skillet with toasted pepitas, cotija cheese, and fresh cilantro. I loved the texture and crunch the pepitas added to the broccoli.   

Neither of us had ever tried elote, so we were both really excited to see what it was all about. For someone who doesn’t love corn, I thought the elote was amazing! It was fried then covered in a tomatillo-lemon aioli, fresh cilantro, and cotija cheese. The order came with four small cobs and we were both sad to see them go so fast.

Now, for the tacos. The pork belly was both of our favorite, hands down. The meat was tender, juicy, and so fatty…how else would you want pork belly?? The kimchi added a really nice flavor and crunch to the taco too.

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Both the roasted duck and beef short rib were so moist and tender, the meat just melted in your mouth. With the crispy corn tortilla and all the toppings, it was so yummy.

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The lobster was deep fried to a golden brown and worked so well with all that creamy sliced avocado on top.

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We couldn’t possibly make a trip down to Louisville and not stop at Louisville Cream, our favorite little scoop shop down there. I know, I know, we were just down there last weekend, but it is really that good! I was craving fall flavors, so I opted for a scoop of the Autumn Apple (caramelized bourbon and duck fat oatmeal cookies) with salted caramel sauce and a snickerdoodle cookie on top. Josh got a scoop of the Coffee and Chocolate Ganache (Quills Coffee Blacksmith Espresso cold steeped in cream and speckled with salted chocolate ganache) in a pretzel cone dipped in the house made magic shell with a giant animal cracker cookie on the side. My ice cream was so creamy and I loved the chunks of apple and oatmeal cookie throughout especially with the gooey hot salted caramel sauce. Josh’s ice cream was really yummy too- the salt from the pretzel cone worked so good with the creaminess of the ice cream and the chocolate magic shell.  

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While we were making our way back to the car, I noticed a cute little shop called Macaron Bar across the street from where we were standing. You know we couldn’t pass that up, especially since Josh had never had a macaron before! When you walk in, all the bright, colorful macarons are on display for you to choose from. And there were so many great flavors! We finally narrowed it down to our top 6 choices- salted chocolate bourbon, spiced pumpkin, Earl Grey tea, amaretto cheesecake, black raspberry chocolate, and lemon lavender. We had so much fun trying each one of these flavors! The first flavor we tried was the Earl Grey tea which tasted surprisingly like Fruit Loops! Next, was the black raspberry chocolate which had a quick burst of raspberry flavor followed by the taste of sweet chocolate from the shell itself. The amaretto cheesecake was hands down both of our favorites. It was so rich and full of that wonderful almond flavor from the amaretto. I could have eaten at least ten more. Next up was the spiced pumpkin which was so “fall”, full of flavors of pumpkin and nutmeg. The salted chocolate bourbon had a wonderful fudgy chocolate brownie texture and flavor with just a hint of bourbon on the back end. The last flavor we tried was the lemon lavender which was fresh, citrusy, and very lemony (which I love) with just a slight flowery lavender flavor.    

 

Cured & Crafted

After a wonderful Palm Sunday service at church, Josh and I headed down to Copper & Kings brandy distillery for their Cured & Crafted event. Copper & Kings is the only brandy distillery in Kentucky, set up right in the heart of Butchertown.

The Cured & Crafted event featured a bunch of local restaurants and businesses set up in the courtyard. With the sun shining down and a playlist ranging from Elvis to Bob Dylan blasting through the speakers, we sampled lots of yummy food including local grass fed ham from Red Hog, tangy Kentucky bleu and creamy Awe brie from Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese, and Copper & Kings brandy truffles from ArtEatables. From Butchertown Pie Co., we split the handmade lamb and beef stew pie. The buttery crunchy pastry shell was filled with lamb, beef, apricots, and fresh peas and carrots. The perfect pastry to share. We jumped in on a free tour of the Copper & Kings distillery where we learned about their copper pot-stills, distillation process, and their use of good ole American music to mature their brandy through sonic aging. At the end of the tour, Josh was able to sample both the American craft and apple brandies. One of my personal favorites was the Hi-Five Doughnut truck where we got a warm mini doughnut dipped in sinnamon glaze with mini chocolate chips and one with a Copper & Kings brandied cherry glaze and a sugared orange peel. Dem doughnuts dough!

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Of course, we couldn’t pass by the Louisville Cream booth without stopping. I got a scoop of the Camp Marshmallow, a creamy marshmallow ice cream with swirls of candied rice cereal throughout while Josh enjoyed a scoop of the Salted Chocolate Brie in a crunchy pretzel cone.

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Should you ever be in the Butchertown neighborhood, I highly suggest stopping in to visit Copper & Kings for a tour and drink or for a fresh glazed doughnut from Hi Five.