While out exploring the Bourbon Trail, like I did this past weekend, Wallace Station is a great place to stop for a fairly quick lunch. When we arrived around 1:30 there was already a line out the door. Orders are placed at the counter which is located just inside the front door.

Outside

Outside

Inside you will find plenty at least a dozen tables, which were all occupied during our visit, though they were turning over pretty quickly. The also offer a large deck out back and with the warming spring weather we decided to enjoy our lunch outdoors.

Inside

Inside

On the menu are a wide variety of sandwiches that all looked very good. Hamburgers and salads round out the menu. A few craft beer options are available in cans, most of which come from Lexington’s West Sixth Brewing.

Bourbon Trail Triple Crown

Bourbon Trail Triple Crown

For lunch I finally settled on the Bourbon Trail Triple Crown with roast turkey, cheddar, bacon, Bourbon BBQ sauce, mayo, lettuce and tomato, stacked three layers high on your choice of white, wheat, or rye toast. ($9.95). The sandwich was very large and packed full of quality ingredients. Chips and a pickle spear come served on the side.

East Hampton Hot Ham & Brie

East Hampton Hot Ham & Brie

My wife took the suggestion of our friend who had previously visited Wallace Station and ordered the East Hampton Hot Ham & Brie with city ham and Brie topped with sliced apples and honey mustard ($9.95). This sandwich stole the show and is very highly recommended! If were are ever in the area again we will definitely be back to Wallace Station.

Wallace Station Deli and Bakery on Urbanspoon

Over the weekend I spent a day down in the Lexington area exploring the Bourbon Trail for the first time. My wife and I left Cincinnati with a couple of our friends around 8:45 and arrived at our first stop, Buffalo Trace, at 10:30 in the morning. I had tried to get us on a reservation only “hard hat” tour but it was already full for the day. Fortunately one of my brother-in-laws beat us to the distillery and put our names in for the “trace tour,” which requires no reservations and is completely free.

Warehouse C at Buffalo Trace

Warehouse C at Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace offers many brands of bourbon including but not limited to Eagle Rare, Van Winkle, Stagg Jr., Blanton’s, and W.L. Weller. These are often some of the most sought after brands around. Our tour took us around and into Warehouse C, which was build in 1881. Inside there are 24,000 barrels of bourbon aging away, each one carefully placed to create a specific brand and taste profile.

Inside Warehouse C at Buffalo Trace

Inside Warehouse C at Buffalo Trace

We also go to see inside Blanton’s Bottling Hall, but unfortunately nothing was being bottled at the time. All of their premium bourbons are bottled here, with each bottle filled, corked, and sealed by hand. From there we were treated to samples of Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare 10 Year, White Dog (unaged whiskey), their newly created Wheatley Vodka, and their super tasty Bourbon Cream.

Tasting at Woodford Reserve

Tasting at Woodford Reserve

The next stop on our tour was Woodford Reserve. The wait for a tour here was roughly an hour, so we opted to take part in a 20 minute presentation and tasting with one of the tour guides for $7 each. Our small group gathered on the beautiful patio of their visitors center for a quick history lesson along with questions and answers all the while enjoying samples of their regular whiskey and the Double Oaked.

Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve

Our final stop for the day was Four Roses. Built in 1910, the unique Spanish Mission-style architecture is something rarely seen in Kentucky. Here we were able to quickly get on an hour long tour through nearly the entire site for just $5 each. The distillery operate continuously, except for the summer months when the stream water used to cool their mash isn’t cool enough to do so. This was great for us as all the equipment was in full use during our visit and we got to see it all. In fact you could even dip your finger into the open air fermenters for a taste of this so-called beer.

Fermentation Area at Four Roses

Fermentation Area at Four Roses

After their bourbons are distilled they are trucked off this site to another site near Bardstown for aging in their single story warehouses, the only distillery using single-story for minimal temperature variations. After the tour we were treated to samples of their Yellow Label, Small Batch, and Single Barrel bourbons. Plus the rocks glass that the samples were poured were ours for the keeping!

Four Roses Distillery

Four Roses Distillery

Each distillery that we visited had its own unique thing that I enjoyed. I loved seeing the inside of the warehouse at Buffalo Trace. I thought that Woodford Reserve had the prettiest location. And the tour at Four Roses was very thorough and hands on. I hope to visit some of the other distilleries in the future and maybe one day I’ll have my passport complete.

We opened up our Williamstown Lake house this past weekend. To help kick off another summer of fun my in-laws purchased an inflatable Sea Eagle NeedleNose Stand-Up Paddleboard. This board has the performance of a rigid board with the convenience of an inflatable.

NeedleNose Touring Stand-Up Paddleboard

NeedleNose Touring Stand-Up Paddleboard

Though it was fairly warm outside, the lake was still super cold. That didn’t stop a few from our family from giving the paddleboard a try. Most got back to land mostly dry but we did have one younger victim take a quick dip into the lake.

Chip Staying Dry

Chip Staying Dry

I did not give it a try this time but I will definitely be giving it a go once the weather really starts to heat up. Check out this video to see the board in action!

With no posts last week it may have looked like I was on vacation. The truth is that I was just a little busy with St. Patrick’s Day (parade and beer events), March Madness bracket failures, and life in general. Though it would have been nice to have a week off around my birthday, I’m saving my time off for some good trips later this year. I’ll have more on that later and more regular posting too.

The craft brewery drought on the west side of town is now over. Tap & Screw Brewery opened their doors late last year in the spot formerly occupied by Tom and Jerry’s. The ownership is still the same, but the food menu has changed, and the beer selection is much improved.

Inside

Inside

In addition to six of their own Tap & Screw brews, there were six other offerings with half of them coming from other local breweries. My wife and I split a couple of flights ($6 each) to sample most of the offerings. Their own beers were pretty good, with the Jacked Porter serving as the real standout.

Beer Flight

Beer Flight

On the food front we started with an order of southwest egg rolls which included their own white chicken chili on the inside ($6.99). These were very good, with the chicken chili adding interesting flavors to the standard corn and bean southwestern flavors.

Southwest Egg Rolls

Southwest Egg Rolls

My wife had the portobello burger with bell peppers ($8.99) and she was very pleased with her selection. This included a side of saratoga chips and BBQ sauce.

Portobello Burger

Portobello Burger

I had the special of the day, which was a chicken philly ($6.99) and also had chips on the side. The sandwich was good and should probably be made a permanent part of the menu. Children’s options are available including grilled cheese ($3.99) with fries.

Chicken Philly

Chicken Philly

Overall Tap & Screw Brewery is off to a good start with some solid beer choices and nice selection of homemade food. This could be a regular stop for my family when visiting my in-laws on the other side of town.

Tap & Screw Brewery on Urbanspoon

Late last year national sandwich chain Which Wich? opened a location close to my house, their fourth location in the area. I’ve had their sandwiches a handful of times before, but I was always on the run and never took the time to review.

Outside

Outside

The first thing you’ll see when you walk into any Which Wich? location is the menu board along with their unique ordering system. Customers first select from one of 10 sandwich categories (think turkey, chicken, etc.) and grab a brown paper bag for that category. On each category bag there are a handful of sandwich options (like club and turkey Reuben for turkey) and customers make their selection using a red sharpie marker. From there you can select your cheeses, mustard, mayo, dressings, veggies, and more. The ordering process is a little complex but it is nice as the sandwich options are near limitless.

Inside

Inside

On this visit I ordered the club with turkey, ham, and bacon ($5.50 for small 7″) and a side of house chips ($1.25). Most sandwiches are all the same price and can be ordered in three sizes on white or wheat, plus bowlwich (salad) and lettucewich (wrap) option exist too.

Club

Club

The club was great, the Dijon mustard had a very nice spice level to it, and the veggies were fresh and crisp. The small was definitely enough for a solid lunch, and I would have to think the large 14″ would be a great option to split with another. There is a location that we visit in northern Kentucky on the way to the lake. Orders can be placed online for any location for a super speedy pickup.

Which Wich on Urbanspoon

Over the weekend my family and I headed down to the Cincinnati Gardens for the Royal Hanneford Circus. This traveling circus is often called the oldest in the world. Included in the two set performance were tigers, high wire acrobats, dancing camels, elephants, trapeze, and my personal favorite the performing bears.

Castle’s Bears

Castle’s Bears

The bears can walk on a large ball, ride bicycles, and even a motorcycle. It is the only act of its type in the show world today.

Bear Riding A Motorcycle

Bear Riding A Motorcycle

During intermission various animals were available for rides and photos, including elephants and camels. My almost two-year-old daughter loved her ride on a camel. The rides were not cheap though, $10 per person.

Camel Ride

Camel Ride

We were able to get excellent seats in the first five rows for just $17 a ticket. This is a steal compared to what seats you would get at Ringling Brothers, something in the upper sections for sure. Plus the acts were just as good as what you see at Ringling Brothers for at least half the price. The Royal Hanneford’s have already left town, but something to keep in mind for next year.

Prior to catching a performance at music hall a couple of weeks back, my wife and I joined my brother and his girlfriend for dinner at Zula. I’ve been to Zula a few times before, but just for drinks at the bar. As the hostess showed us to our table, I was amazed at how big the dining space is. I had no idea that there were more than the few tables you can see from the bar.

Eggplant Fries

Eggplant Fries

We started with eggplant fries topped with confectioner sugar ($8.75) and arancini filled with rice along with bits of braised pork and cheese ($10.50 for 3). The eggplant fries were served with an amazing spicy-sour dipping sauce, which mixed well with the sweetness of the fries. The serving size was large and easily enough for our party of four to share.

Arancini

Arancini

Our server kindly let us know that the arancini was just an order of three and asked if we wanted to add another fried ball to the order so everyone in our party could try them. I’m glad we did as these were very good, though the pork was a little scarce on the inside.

Baby Kale Salad

Baby Kale Salad

We also sampled the baby kale salad with radicchio, goat cheese, and walnuts ($9.50). Again this was more than enough for two and probably could serve four. The goat cheese was especially tasty, but nothing else stood out much.

Brussels Sprout Leaves Flat Bread

Brussels Sprout Leaves Flat Bread

Finally we ordered the Brussels sprout leaves flat bread with fresh mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, hickory smoked bacon lardons, and extra virgin olive oil ($15). I’m glad we had a small group with us, as again the flat bread was large and my wife and I needed help finishing it off. This was a tasty dish with plenty of toppings on a perfectly cooked crust.

Others in our party sampled the New Orléans mussels as well as the beef carpaccio, which both received high marks. Our service was outstanding and the the flow of food was very well paced throughout our visit. I will definitely return to Zula whether it be for a date night or for a group get together.

Zula on Urbanspoon

A new craft beer bar has opened up near my house in East Walnut Hills. The Growler House name makes the location sound like a grab and go place, but the inside is setup well for visitors to leisurely enjoy several rounds. On my visit during Cincinnati Beer Week, more than half of the 30 taps were dedicated to local beer, which I’m hoping is a trend that continues. Beers are served by the pint (or snifter) as well as in a 5 oz “bencher” for easy flight tastings. Obviously growler fills are also available plus wine by the glass too.

Growler House Bar

Growler House Bar

The inside is very spacious, though only a dozen or so stools are available. Snacks can be bought at the bar and a TV in the corner will likely have your favorite game on. Packaged beer options are also available for purchase and again a solid lineup of locals was available during my visit. During the week they open at 3 (closed on Mondays) and on the weekend it’s noon. From what the bartender says, the closing time is a little flexible based on the crowd.

The Growler House on Urbanspoon

Gomez Salsa is a taco window in Over-the-Rhine directly next to Half Cut. The real beauty is that the food can be delivered to your inside Half Cut while enjoying their sixteen craft beer choices. You can also wait on the sidewalk for your order, but wouldn’t you rather be out of the elements and enjoying a nice beer?

Turtle Shell

Turtle Shell

The most popular thing to order from Gomez is the “turtle shell”, which they call a hybrid burrito ($8). Think of it similar to the Taco Bell’s crunchwrap, with a hard tostado shell inside a soft burrito sized tortilla. The inside is stuffed with rice, beans, sour cream, lettuce, salsa, cheese, and your choice of meats or sautéed veggies. It’s a quick and delicious meal to enjoy on the go or with a few pints.

Gomez Salsa on Urbanspoon