Monday, May 14, 2007

Derby Hats, Eats and Blue Bloods?

Ok, I promised some of you Kentucky Derby photos. Between my new website (still polishing it), creating a Signature Preggatini for a baby shower in LA, and a zillion other projects, I'm a bit behind on posts again!

(Sneak Preview of other Upcoming Coverage: "Vegas in 24 Hours," and a special wine tasting with Winemaker, Philip Shaw)

So, back to the Kentucky Derby, which was not entirely what I expected...

Wading around the stadim in ankle-high trash - cups, beer cans, stray julep glasses - surrounded by rowdy drunks felt more like being at a football game than the esteemed Kentucky Derby.

I had envisioned genteel Southern civility and high-brow folk. Something like Scarlett O'Hara goes to the races. Instead I'd describe it this way:

The Derby Cocktail
One Part Fun-Lovin' America
n Tradition
One Part Blue Blood Pow-Wow
One Part Drunken College Kids Who'll Party Anywhere
One Part White Trash in Sundresses

Shake and Spill into overflowing slop bucket.
ish with a glimpse of the most beautiful horses in the world running by, from time to time.

I have no idea where the Queen and celebs hang out. There must be some secret luxury chamber...

Anyway, upside were the hats AND the flutter in my heart everytime the horses ran by! The magnificent Street Sense won - and would you believe that two people I was with bet on that very horse!

Overall, Louisville is a friendly place, and has some bubbles of hot spots. Definitely check out Bardstown Road for shopping and dining. And, I recommend the two restaurants I visited while there:

Bourbons Bistro is nestled into an historic building and features more than 130 whiskey and bourbons - with bourbon flights available. Brilliant idea! I wanted to taste test three of the current leading luxury brands side-by-side, so I had Woodford Reserve, Knob Creek and Bulleit, with my personal preference in that order.

The dining area felt a bit like a wedding reception where extra guests suddenly showed up. I'm sure the Derby weekend is their busiest time of year, and taking the service into account, I'd say they hired a few "extra" servers who may not work there year 'round. Also, I'd say the exposed-brick bar would be more fun as it seemed pretty happening with the 25 -40 crowd.

What Club Grotto lacked in ability to
honor reservation times, made up for in wine selection. The steak was good, too. I'd like to go back sometime when it isn't Derby time, as I imagine it would be a more relaxing experience.

In any case, enjoy these hat photos! I know there are some fashion mavens out there... These will surely get your tongues a-waggin'!


Alison Santighian said...

Oh, dear! You and H (who's so in love with you) could've met up - he was at Derby, too!

Shawn said...

Your impression of the Derby sounds...just about right! While nothing can match the Dery experience, one of the upsides of having your own Derby Party is that you get to pass over the undesirables (ahem, OJ, K-Fed...) and at least some of the debris.

In your bourbon tastings, did you have any Blanton's or Booker's? Those are a couple of my favorites. I'll always have a soft spot for Maker's (my father and my grandfather drank it). Woodford Reserve and Knob Creek are real contenders too. I also received a nice bottle of Russell's Reserve as a gift from a guest at my Derby Party this year. I've had a few nips so far -- very smooth, especially when neat.