Louisville Magazine

JUL 2016

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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78 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 7.16 mcclaindewees.com mcclaindewees.com 6008 Brownsboro Park Blvd Suite G | Louisville, KY 40207 | (502) 589-1004 | mcclaindewees.com Mcclain DeWees, P llc attorneys at laW McClain DeWees is a multi-practice area law frm with a full-service immigration and nationality law practice, general civil litigation, landlord/ tenant, bankruptcy and family law. The frm represents private companies, individuals, non-proft organizations, and government institutions. THE SPREAD Tere is no good day to fnd out how many Hot Browns you can eat, so I choose today. Te day I have to wipe pus out of my infected cat, the day a 90-degree temperature ovens my air-conditionless car, I head to the Brown Hotel to get down. Just outside the glittering door to J. Graham's Cafe: a mirror, somehow hanging on the smooth marble walls, gold frame twisting like tree limbs around my pasty face. I look into my eyes, cold blues that have seen the destruction of a great many daunting dishes — chowders, stews, once a comical- ly made (but laboriously eaten) deep-fried Hamburger Helper burger — and mutter: I can do this. A standing banner next to the door explains what "this" is: THE Hot Brown, created right here in the '20s to sate the wee-hours hankerings of depleted dancers. Apparently they wanted a cheesy, white sauce-soaked, soggy-breaded abomination of catastrophic gastrointestinal proportions after a night of Chattanooga choo-chooing. I'm just hoping to chew through a few without melting into Mornay. Te host smiles, beige as his blazer, asks, "Breakfast or lunch?" It doesn't matter: More than nine decades after its genesis, the Hot Brown commands such a following that the Brown serves it all day. Te clock does not govern the Hot Brown. It stands strong as a statue, despite constantly melting. My brave friend Hannah agreed to accom- pany me, partly out of interest in the dish, partly out of interest in preserving my health, though I suspect the former holds more infu- ence over her decision as she orders a cofee to start. Cofee? Before a Hot Brown? I take it as a challenge and order a mug of my own, tip the little porcelain bottle of cream into the brown, white ribbons of liquid lazing into the drink like saliva into a toilet bowl. Out they come in shallow white skillets atop simple square plates, cheese sauce bubbling a color I recognize from the vet's ofce. "Tese just came from the oven," the waiter says, tapping my plate with his fngertips, "so they're probably really cold." I manage a laugh. "Real- ly," he says, "the skillet might be 400 degrees." Only two toasty triangles of bread are visible above the moat of creamy white Mornay, which glazes a tender, moist hunk of tur- key, quarters of tomatoes on either side like kidneys. Two strips of bacon form a vaulted ceiling, powdered in Parmesan snow. I put a hand on my stomach like a threat; I want to eat this, I think to my gut. But eating it proves difcult. Hannah and I knife around our plates, leaving the Hot Browns blown apart like strip-mined moun- tains. It's impossible to taste every favor in one bite, and who wants to eat tomato, just toma- to? "Tis is plated artistically to the detriment of the eating experience," Hannah says, her fork like a novice ice skater on her plate. She prefers the Hot Browns on the Brown's bufet line at lunchtime, all melted together in a big container of sauce, a cohesive dish compared to the striated mess before us. "Still," I say, "this is probably the best turkey I've ever had."

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