Panclog #27: Lost in Louisville
Time with Tots
July 1-5th, 2016
I have a group of friends, yeah buddy I got friends. And not all of them are in low places. We call ourselves The Tots. We have been together for about 10 years. We try to get together at least once a year to smile at each other and talk about whale watching and pork buns. Please be jealous of us. We chose this trips destination to be close to Nashville. One of the Tots was performing in the International Barbershop Competition. Please check out his fantastic work with Central Standard.
Location/Environment: Gralehaus is located in The Highlands at 1001 Baxter Ave. Louisville, KY 40204. The Highlands was voted as the Tots favorite neighborhood. We had some amazing Asian fusion and BBQ in The Highlands. The environment in Gralehaus was just splendid. They had coffee sacks as drapes. They had beautiful wooden floors. They were playing TV show theme songs through our time there. It was enjoyable.
Wild Eggs is a chain restaurant that you can find in 5 states. We went to the Downtown Louisville location at 121 South Floyd Street. We were able to walk to Wild Eggs from our hotel. It was a beautiful morning so we all enjoyed the fresh air. The environment felt very clean in a way that you tend to see in nice chain restaurants.
Menu/Selection: The menus at these two restaurants could not be more contrasting. Wild Eggs had the standard brunch that you can find in any chain breakfast joint. Gralehaus had some of the breakfast staples but mostly with a southern twist on them. Some examples include: Lamb & Grits, Crispy Pork Hash, and Biscuit and Duck Gravy. Please feel free to peruse the menus yourself. Wild Eggs and Gralehaus.
Food: Special Guest Megan Friedlander on Louisville cuisine
Wild Eggs: This place has no iced coffee. When told they could just pour coffee over ice, they brought out what appeared to be milk over ice. It was sent back. They got it right the second time. The food was “fine.” That is, until I tried to bite into a bit of avocado that was so hard I took it off. I tried to squish it with my fingers and it didn’t even squish. It was bizarre. The inside looked like a sterilized “First Watch” but even less exciting.
Gralehaus: I love hipster yuppie stuff. But man, no need for cashiers to be so incredibly mean. Not only did they mess up the order (I didn’t get avocado or bacon) but when they poured my beer, I got three fingers worth of foam. When I said something snotty about it, they just shot me a look. It was never fixed. Food: B+, Service: D-
Loser in Louisville (Ja-Red)
Firstly, I would love to congratulate Megan Friedlander for becoming a Panclog contributor. Your check is in the mail, Friedley. Here is a very recent picture of Megan and I.
While in Louisville with your best friends is a wonderful experience, it is even more fun when you are able to try some delicious bourbon and other liquors with each other. I would love to recommend Four Roses bourbon and Copper & Kings brandy. While in Bourbon county, you will see establishments using this famous liquor to entice more sales. I fell for this approach when at Wild Eggs. I ordered the Sweet Home Apple Bourbon Crepes.
These crepes were sadly the most disappointing thing I had in Louisville. They were stuffed with simple cream cheese. I could not taste any bourbon in these crepes. The apples were in a compote form in the center of the dish. I was unimpressed with the size of this dish. I can get more satisfaction from a Quik Trip taquito. The bacon on the side was a very traditional unseasoned few strips.
Sweet Home Apple Bourbon Crepes: $9.99
Side of bacon: $3.49
Gralehaus: Biscuit & Duck Gravy and a side of Grits
Gralehaus is the epitome of what you desire from a hip bruncherie. Gralehaus was converted from an old house in The Highlands to a trendy bed and breakfast. The seating was truly difficult to maneuver with 8 guests. We had to stand around awkwardly for 8 or so minutes until we made a guest who was sitting alone at a table for 4 so embarrassed that he moved to the bar. Gralehaus does have a nice patio area in the backyard of this house. It was raining this morning so we were unable to enjoy this spacious patio area. I truly enjoyed the atmosphere of Gralehaus so much. Ordering is a lot like how it’s done in Nashville, order first than find a place to sit.
The drink menu was pretty expansive. From coffee drinks to fresh juices to beers on tap. It was past 11 and I was on vacation so I enjoyed an adult beverage. I was able to delight on a Festina Peche from Dogfish Head brewing. I apologize to everyone in Kansas City who has not been able to partake in one of the more revolutionary breweries in America. Get some Dogfish Head whenever you are able. My darling bride got a Chai Tea to keep her warm from the cool summer rain outside. The Chai was wonderfully flavored with a dusting of nutmeg and cinnamon on top.
Let’s get down to brass tacks. What was for breakfast. It was Biscuit and Duck Gravy at $12 and a large side of Grits for $4.
The biscuit and duck gravy was sensational. The biscuit was just soft enough to soak in some of the gravy but sturdy enough to flake perfectly when cutting into it. There were bits of duck crackling all around the plate. This gave a nice saltiness to the dish. This was all topped with a sunny side up egg.
Grits. Have you ever enjoyed some perfect grits? I hadn’t. Not until I saw grits predominately featured on the Gralehaus menu and decided, “in the south? Try grits!” I was not let down by this decision. It was a little thicker than oatmeal. I do not know how to truly describe this fantastic side. Buttery goodness? That is probably as close I will get. TRY IT!
Panclog Co-Creator, Stephen Shaffer, on Gralehaus
Location/Environment: Gralehaus is a hipster’s paradise aesthetically, but I don’t mean that as a negative. Nothing about it read as inauthentic to me. But you will find eclectic art on the wall, cold brew coffee, and baristas with 8 o’clock shadow and skinny jeans.
Our visit featured a soundtrack of TV theme songs, which was much appreciated and quickly set the mood. Jovial and friendly. Despite the hipster factor, I felt little pretension behind it.
Service: It was your standard counter-service affair. Order, find your seat and food is brought to your table. We went during a busy brunch hour yet service was still quick and efficient. There was limited seating inside but employees were very accommodating to help customers find available seating.
Wait time for food: 11 minutes
Menu/selection: Gralehaus does not featured the biggest menu, but let’s face it, they don’t need to. Everyone in our party of eight was quick to find something to their liking. You’ll find classic items but done in a unique, memorable way. The varied drink selection was a welcoming sight as well. Standard breakfast choices, as well as a rotating bar menu. Oh yeah, also there’s ice cream ya dinkuses.
Food: I ordered the speculoos crepes with a side of bacon and an iced cold brew. Let’s start with the coffee. Iced or hot, I like my coffee like I like my death metal: black (and Norwegian?). Gralehaus offered a tight, smooth cold brew. Just enough acidity and super fresh.
Alright, those crepes. Holy. Hell. The basis of the crepes were a ricotta cheese, and I wasn’t sure how they would work with the speculoos cookie bits. In short, it worked, very well. Smooth, creamy crepes in a fluffy pillow, with crunchy highlights from the cookie bits. It was essentially a dessert for breakfast, and it was what syrup dreams are made of. The bacon was a savory accent to the crepes. Portions were fantastic; with something this sweet, I don’t think you’d want to stuff yourself.
Price: Not cheap, not expensive. For the quality of the meal, it’s certainly worth it.
Overall: I couldn’t give Gralehaus enough praise. If you’re in the Louisville area and looking for a solid, unique breakfast spot, it’s worth the visit. Our party left full and satisfied, a memorable experience.
Overall: I love to explore new cities. It gets difficult when you are judging a city by what Yelp and other travel ranking sites tell you what is best. I would strongly encourage you to find someone who is roughly in the same stage of life and coolness level as as you are and ask them what they like in their city. This will most likely not guide you to a family vacation spots and not super club-y. Enjoy your friends and be open for new experiences. Life is better when you share it with others.
As for breakfast spots. Skip Wild Eggs. Definitely hit Gralehaus.
Jared: Gralehaus A+
Wild Eggs C-
French Toast at Gralehaus
So thick and so pretty. I hear it was fantastic too.