Lucy Blue in Mt. Lookout has closed, and Bub’s Pizza Bar has opened in its place. The late night hours that made Lucy Blue a popular spot will be maintained (until 3:30 on Friday and Saturday) but the pizza has changed considerably. Bub’s features a stone fired crust and a big selection of specialty pizzas. Plus they offer local delivery, which my wife and I were happy to use recently.

Half Pesto & Goat Cheese / Half Coetta & Onion

Half Pesto & Goat Cheese / Half Coetta & Onion

We couldn’t settle on just one of their specialty pizzas so we got half and half. My choice was the goetta and onion while she wanted the pesto and goat cheese. Two sizes are offered, the 16 inch regular and a large 24 inch. The 16 was plenty for the two of us with leftovers for the next day. I’ve been waiting for a restaurant to offer a goetta pizza and this one did not disappoint. I will definitely order this again!

In the middle of our Lexington brewery crawl a few weekends ago we stumbled upon The Gastro Gnomes food truck outside of Blue Stallion Brewing Company. On the menu for the day was a Philly cheese-steak burrito, open-faced ham sandwich, brie burger, grilled cheese, and bread pudding for desert.

Placing Orders

Placing Orders

Of the limited menu offerings, my wife and I could only agree on the “Road to the Final Four Cheese” Grilled Cheese with provolone, Muenster, mozzarella, and cheddar on Texas toast with a smoked tomato soup dunker and gold-fish crackers ($10). Since we wanted to split something to eat this is exactly what we ordered.

"We're in the Final Four Cheese" Grilled Cheese

“We’re in the Final Four Cheese” Grilled Cheese

Our small group of six placed three separate orders. The two grilled cheese sandwiches were delivered first after a five or ten minute wait. The open-faced ham sandwich took a few minutes longer to be delivered. Overall the food tasted good, though even with the expected higher prices from a food truck I felt that the price tag for a fairly standard grilled cheese was too high. The ham sandwich was a dollar cheaper and seemed to offer a better value. I would skip the grilled cheese and look for other options on the menu.

The Gastro Gnomes on Urbanspoon

Two weekends ago I attended the Queen City Survival benefit for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This event was held at the newly opened Columbia Community Center in Columbia-Tusculum. This beautiful event center and music hall was renovated and is owned by the same man who brought us Eli’s BBQ, which is conveniently located just down the road.

Nicholas & The Pessimistics

Nicholas & The Pessimistics

During the few hours I was there I saw a few of the musical acts perform and the sound inside was really great. The event featured many local artists and there were a couple of dozen raffle items including Red’s tickets and items from some of the bands.

The Almighty Get Down

The Almighty Get Down

I hope more concerts are held at the Columbia Community Center. I missed Al Scorch at a recent show but would happily go back to see him perform if/when he returns.

Last week I found myself in White Oak with no plans for lunch. The second I drove past Mad Mike’s I knew this would be the place, so I quickly turned around and parked my car. The Reds mural on the side of the building is very eye-catching from Cheviot Rd just before intersecting with Blue Rock Rd.

Outside

Outside

Mad Mike’s is a small chain of restaurants around the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area that specializes in burgers. However they also offer chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, and a small selection of other sandwiches.

Inside

Inside

Just one employee was working during my visit, alternating between taking orders and cooking the food. I was shocked when he dropped off my food as quickly as he did. I went with a “what the cluck” chicken sandwich with cilantro mayo, avocado slices, bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, and tomato ($6.99).

What The Cluck

What The Cluck

The chicken is hand pattied all white meat and was stacked two high on the bun, which was nice as it was not very thick. The avocado was fresh and abundant. The flavor of the sandwich was very good. The fries (regular size for $2.19) reminded me a lot of Penn Station. In fact vinegar was offered as a condiment making them nearly identical. I wouldn’t go out-of-the-way for Mad Mike’s but you could certainly do much worse.

Mad Mike's Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

Yesterday was opening day for the Reds. My parents joined my family for the opening day parade and then kept the kids for a few hours so Kim and I could go to the game. This was my first time attending the opening day game but definitely not the last. We had a great time at the park, despite the often rainy weather, and the Reds did their part by bringing home an exciting winner.

After a few hours touring distilleries on the Bourbon Trail this past Saturday, it was time to head into Lexington to check out some of their breweries. After checking into our hotel near the University of Kentucky, we took an Uber to West Sixth Brewing. Our visit happened to coincide with their 3rd anniversary party which featured all sorts of specialty beers and infused firkins. Apparently I was having too much fun to remember to take any photos.

Blue Stallion Brewing Company Bar

Blue Stallion Brewing Company Bar

Something else even bigger was taking place in Lexington during our visit, UK basketball was playing Notre Dame for a spot in the final four. At times it seemed like our group was the only one in town not wearing blue. This also caused Uber fares to skyrocket. Fortunately the weather was pretty nice, so we decided to walk to our next destination, Blue Stallion Brewing Company.

Blue Stallion Brewing Company Brewery

Blue Stallion Brewing Company Brewery

Blue Stallion specializes in authentic German lagers and British ales, boldly traditional craft beer as they say. On tap was roughly a dozen of their own beers such as Weizenbock, Schwarzbier, and Doppelbock plus a handful of guest beers. I was told by one of the bartenders that an IPA is in the works, though it seems they will still primarily focus on these traditional styles.

Chase Brewing Taps

Chase Brewing Taps

From there we walked to Chase Brewing Co., which has been opened for a couple of years but looks to be just starting their brewery operation. Out of the sixteen taps only two were created in-house, but there were plenty of good-looking options. Unfortunately we never got to sample any of the beer as the crowd gathered to watch the basketball game had completely overwhelmed the wait staff.

Chase Brewing Brewery

Chase Brewing Brewery

We quickly continued our brewery crawl with a decent hike out to Country Boy Brewing, which has been operating for roughly the same amount of time as West Sixth, since early 2012. The crowd was definitely glued to the TV’s, including the bartenders from time to time, but we didn’t have any problems getting some beers to drink.

Country Boy Brewing Taproom

Country Boy Brewing Taproom

I really enjoyed the beers here, probably my favorites of the day. Their cliff jumper IPA was a very solid choice, and they also had a couple of double IPA’s on tap that I enjoyed very much as well. The crowd eventually thinned out after the game was over and our group was able to claim a table and enjoy a couple of beers before closing time.

Country Boy Brewing Taps

Country Boy Brewing Taps

We tried to get a ride back to our hotel but in the end found it easiest to just walk back to our hotel. It was just over a 5K route and would only have been two miles without the last leg to the hotel. It’s nice that there are numerous breweries within walking distance of downtown. Now that Taft’s Ale House is open in Cincinnati, plus Braxton in Covington, we also have a nice brewery crawl route with Moerlein (both locations) and Rhinegeist included. I may have to give that a try sometime in the future. Anyone want to join me?

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.