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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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 7.16 79 "Yeah," Hannah says. She peers into her food. "What I love about the Hot Brown is the slow mush into the bread." Tat mush is a divisive attribute. Everyone I talk to about this story either lights up, makes recommendations — make sure it's real bacon, real tomatoes, real turkey — or audibly gags. My closest guess at what divides people on Hot Browns is the texture: Some of us like to sop things up with bread; some of us think sop is a word best regulated to kitchen sanitization. We fork up our last bites of turkey. My stomach broods at this frst meal of the day but remains dormant. A crooner pipes through an unseen speaker: Love, love, love. Martini glasses hang from the bar like bats, distort- ing the faces of the fve or six men clustered around the corner, laughing at one another in their matching bowties and vests, clinking futes of champagne together, tipping them back to drink. Wild Eggs downtown is like a joke that goes on too long. Te shelves topped with eggs up front: fne. Te wide-open indus- trial space, windows huge enough to hang- glide through, brick walls pastel yellow: fne. Te round lights hanging, glowing golden or- ange; the egg-shaped salt and pepper shakers; the photos on the walls of eggs arranged into fowers, eggs with orange peels, eggs on eggs on eggs: Come on. It's beautiful; it's annoying. Hannah and I wonder how in the hell this yolk of a restaurant had a two-hour wait for brunch earlier, the line snaking halfway down the block one Saturday. It's 1:51, only a couple hours from close, and still most tables seat young professionals, women in leopard-print dresses, men with satchels. But the Kelsey Kentucky Brown is so damn good I forget where I am, who I am, how much I can conceivably eat in one day. Te layering perfect: bread on bottom, then bacon, then several slices of turkey seared at the edges, then a sizzling coating of Mornay and cheese, then the only egg here I can stand, over-easy and gorgeous beneath a confetti of diced tomatoes and paprika. When I cut into it, yolk butters down the sandwich. Hannah says she wishes she'd ordered one, fngers up some cheese. Our skepticism of the dish that recently won best Hot Brown from a USA Today readers' poll steams away. Inside me, sauce rises. By the time we get to the Bristol on Bardstown Road, I'm certain vultures are following me. Sweat runs into my eyes, my stomach inspires the word "curdled," but I say nothing to Hannah, afraid I'm just delirious. After all, Hot Browns inspire delirium. What else could lead to more than 40 restaurants serving Hot Browns? To mini-Hot Browns at every single Derby party? To four or fve local joints slinging Hot Brown pizza? To recipes for Hot Brown quiche in Garden & Gun? To "Ital- ian" Hot Browns smothered in Alfredo sauce at the Come Back Inn in Germantown? To an horrifc list of online recipes for Hot Brown casserole? Call it a fun twist on tradition. I call it crazy that anyone would want a Hot Brown pizza. But probably not as crazy as a third Hot Brown in one day, this one served in a gravy boat, completely submerged in Mornay, God help me. An old record of baritone saxo- phonist Gerry Mulligan blows a cool lament through the dark restaurant. Black walls so full

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