Friday in Lexington

Lexington, KY

Lexington, KY: In what may be seen as the height of laziness and self-referentialism, I am turning to the mailbag for today’s post. Actually, I am hoping that it will be read as an act of utter appreciation, as I was happy to receive the comments/suggestions on yesterday’s post and want to make sure to respond to them. So, in the order in which they were received:

From John: “I love Midway and if you get a chance check out Wallace Station.” Done! We ate at the wonderful Quirk in Midway on Thursday, so Friday, following our trip to the Woodford Reserve bourbon distillery and en route to Keeneland, we detoured to Midway specifically for lunch at Wallace Station. I had one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches of my life, enhanced with hot bourbon mustard. Unfortunately, I had no room for the wonderful, locally-made Valentine’s ice cream.

From LindaVA: “The best part about the Keeneland track kitchen is all the pictures!” Well, I’d argue that the food is right up there, but I was entranced by the photos. We sat at a table right near a photo of Black Tie Affair, Evening Attire’s sire, and following our meal I wandered the whole room, looking at all of the photos. Clearly, everyone else in the place thought I was nuts.

From Tom D: “The biscuits and sausage gravy — and the photos — are worth the trip.” I hate to admit it, but I am not a biscuits and gravy fan, so I passed…but my traveling companion ordered some after being shamed into it by the woman behind the counter, and sopped up every blessed drop.

From Trip: “The pictures are a walk down memory lane of those who have run upon Keeneland’s track. That’s why when they changed from dirt to poly, I had to keep a small vial of the dirt, in their memory. It’s also a reminder to me of ‘my horses’ that I will never forget – Riva Ridge, Prairie Bayou and Alydar that left us all too soon.” I was feeling the same thing as I wandered the room: Alydar, Bayakoa, Prairie Bayou, Go for Wand…I couldn’t help but feel nostalgically sad as I looked at them in their moments of glory.

From Sue: “How does one secure a breakfast at the Keeneland track kitchen?” I too was surprised to learn that the backside is utterly open. As one drives onto the grounds, there are actually signs pointing the way to the track kitchen, and the whole barn area is open to the public. It was quiet and freezing today, so we didn’t wander around too much, but we did make our uncredentialed way through the barns to the kitchen, and perhaps the only reason people looked at us askance was because of my Yankee accent.

It was shockingly cold as we watched the horses make their way around the track Friday morning, and we were grateful to retreat to the kitchen for some coffee and a warm breakfast. I generously partook of the eggs, grits, and spiced apples; I looked longingly at the bacon, but it was Good Friday, and this Catholic Italian felt obligated to pass it up. My stomach suffered, but perhaps my soul is intact?

Kentucky readers: what’s with the spiced apples as a side? I’ve seen them in several places over the last few days, and they are my new favorite food. Is this a Kentucky tradition?


The workouts and the kitchen were the start of another wonderful day: several hours with Michael Blowen at Old Friends; a trip to a bourbon distillery, including a tasting; and a stop at The Red Mile. Today, we head north to Turfway, and on Sunday, back to Asheville. More detailed posts will follow, once I get caught up on sleep.

5 thoughts on “Friday in Lexington

  1. The spiced apples are a “southern thing” and are not really limited to Kentucky. You see them very often on menus throughout the south, or at least I do when I go “home” to Memphis. Now if you want a Kentucky “thing” you have to go to Ramsey’s and have a Kentucky Hot Brown. It is an open faced turkey and ham sandwich covered (and I mean covered) in gobs of creamy cheese sause with bacon and a tomato. It will make your ateries clog just thinking about it but it is so delicious!

  2. Don’t forget to try some good old Kentucky-style burgoo for lunch at Turfway if it’s available. And, treat yourself to some bourbon-filled chocolates, too.

  3. I hope you were able to have a Kentucky Hot Brown-awfully bad for you but good.Keeneland’s awesome but I find it bizarre. A backstretch and a track kitchen that’s the most welcoming in the US but during racing it must be the most restrictive in North America as the public can’t go into the Club House without an invitation from a Keeneland member.Hope you had a great time at Turfway

  4. No Hot Brown for me–never even saw it, and for that I am grateful!Jeremy, you make an excellent point about Keeneland. When I was there last spring, I was completely daunted by the exclusive nature of the clubhouse, and thus rather surprised by the incredibly democratic nature of the backstretch. Thanks for pointing it out.

  5. Can’t believe you missed the Hot Brown! Yum-o!And this Yankee first encountered spiced apples in college, I went home for the weekend with my very southern roommate and her mom made spiced apples and sausage. OMG is that stuff good!

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