The gourmands at Mermaids Bar and Bistro present a menu full of rich New American fare and southern-inspired cuisine against a cozy bistro backdrop replete with partially bricked walls and small, homey tables. Duos and quartets inaugurate feasts with starters including fried green tomatoes (an $8 value) and JR’s tempura cocktail (a $12 value)—jumbo shrimp flanked by sweet thai sauce and spicy wasabi. Popular entrees, such as the seared Atlantic salmon fillet (a $20 value) or the chorizo-anchored creole risotto (a $17 value) tastily exercise long-dormant mouth muscles and heirloom forks brought from home.
Kentucky Wine Tours' knowledgeable guides open eyes and palates to the birthplaces of Kentucky's distinct wines and whiskeys, from the sun-kissed vineyards to the cellars stocked with oak barrels. Continuing a proud tradition begun during Prohibition, when bootleggers offered illegal tours of their moonshine-filled bathtubs, the all-inclusive excursions wend through everything from award-winning wineries to such famous distilleries as Wild Turkey and Maker's Mark. Named one of the 10 "classic American experiences" by CNN.com, bourbon tours travel along the historic Kentucky Bourbon Trail, surrounded by the historic buildings and limestone-rich rivers that lend the state's bourbons their distinct citrusy flavor.
LuLu's Tavern, located within an inviting two-story edifice in downtown Danville, serves up comfort food in an appropriately comfortable atmosphere. In the winter, warmth emanates from brick fireplaces while diners at nearby tables enjoy specialties such as Cajun risotto or Kentucky-sourced steak. In the summer, groups can head outdoors to dine on an enclosed porch. A full bar, sports games on TVs, and live music are a few other reasons to visit.
First, chefs spread sour cream over the crust. They top that with sliced potatoes, green onions, bacon, and cheddar cheese; then, it’s ready for the oven. The potato pizza at Partners II Pizza combines two classic comfort foods: baked spuds and Italian pies. Despite the popularity of the potato pie, this restaurant is no one-trick pony. The menu sprawls with more specialty pizza options—It's Greek to Me, barbecue chicken, the Texas Pete–infused Blue Buffalo—as well as classic pies, calzones, and sandwiches. They even layer cheese and meat sauce to make lasagna and hold empty pasta shells to their ears to hear the sounds of Trevi Fountain for inspiration.
Overlooking 400 acres of farmland and vineyards, the Acres of Land restaurant pairs well-crafted wine with hearty dishes that fuse fine dining and traditional country fare. Seasoned crab cakes seared in pans and dipped in roasted-red-pepper rémoulade prove just as amenable to new mouth and stomach habitats ($10). Dinner debaters can point to hand-cut, bacon-wrapped filet mignon topped with garlic-herb butter to show that beef, like monumental architecture, tastes better when enveloped in bacon ($26).