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.
Connected by an asphalt web of highways, state roads, and thoroughfares, blocky yellow signs gleam nonstop, casting a dandelion glow from the words “Waffle House.” The booths at the eateries fill 24 hours each day with the aromas of sizzling pork chops, Jimmy Dean sausage, and endless mugs of coffee. Line cooks brown shredded potatoes on a grill as waiters shout back in a language all their own for hash browns “smothered,” “covered,” or “topped”—served with onions, cheese, or chili, respectively. Angus burgers and steak melts share space on the rippling-hot surface at all times of day, allowing tired drivers to stop for food when they are on a long journey or just listening to an 11-hour drum solo on the radio. The first Waffle House switched on its lights in 1955, and some menu items still bear the names of Waffle House staff of the past, including Bert's chili from Dallas and Alice's iced tea.
Zaxby's defines comfort with a single word: chicken. However, that one word is hardly limiting. The casual restaurant?which can be found in 15 states?transforms poultry into salads, sandwiches, wings, chicken fingers, and more. Their most popular item remains the chicken finger plate, which comes with crinkle fries, Texas toast, cole slaw, and Zaxby's own signature sauce.
Sauce is the second pillar of Zaxby's cooking philosophy. Their cooks make nine different varieties for dipping, drizzling, and coating crispy eats. These sauces go from mild buffalo all the way up to "insane," which pushes the mouth's central air-conditioner to its limits. Other options break from buffalo into teriyaki and BBQ territory, incorporating a touch of hickory flavor. And for dessert, there's always chocolate syrup, poured liberally over signature milkshakes such as the chocolate cookie.
The spirited tunes of live mariachi music occasionally float through the dining room at Sierra Fria, fostering a fitting atmosphere for the menu of authentic Mexican cuisine. Chefs embellish traditional recipes with fresh toppings of avocado and pico de gallo to beget an extensive roster of classic fare, such as burritos, enchiladas, and fajitas. They construct an ample array of seafood dishes with shrimp, salmon, and tilapia alongside steak and chicken specialties blanketed in a rainbow of spicy sauces, while bartenders mix fruity margaritas and dole out domestic and imported brews. At the West Tiverton Way location, exposed-brick walls neighbor colorful murals of matadors and pastoral scenes which spill onto booths, tabletops, and plates' dreams.
For owner Kelly Harris, every pound of pulled pork and beef brisket sandwich served at Wagon Bones Grill is a step toward helping the community. In a profile for WKYT News, she explained the profits of each sale go toward building a million-dollar community-service center she hopes to one day open in Lexington.
She works toward her goal, plate by plate, with tender beef, pork, and chicken slowly cooked according to her special recipes. The proteins are first rubbed with a Western Kentucky spice blend and smoked over an open fire pit for 3–15 hours. Chefs finish off the tender meats with a healthy splash of tangy and sweet barbecue sauce made in-house to keep the recipe secret from those who would use it only for evil.