I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, ever since becoming a previously fat guy I’ve lived vicariously through FoodTV shows. One of my favourites is Diners Drive-Ins and Dives.
On a recent road trip to the US I decided to stop into a few of the places and give it a try. First stop was Cincinnati and one thing they are known for is “Cincinnati Style” chili. It is a thinner consistency chilli made with cinnamon, cloves and allspice served on top of spaghetti and topped with cheese and called a 3 way. You can add additional “ways” with beans, onions and jalapeño peppers. Skyline Chili is a local chain but DDD found a spot called Blue Ash Chili that has been serving up the stuff since 1969.
I’d give this chili a rating of 7/10. The spaghetti was cooked right, the chili itself was good and there was a ton of cheese on it. The portion was a bit small, I ordered two of them, and there wasn’t enough meat in the chili for my liking. But it did taste good and the service was the best. I’d go there again if I am ever in that area again.
The next stop on the trip was a lunch stop in Corbin, Kentucky. While not a DDD find I saw the sign from the highway and just had to make a detour. While this restaurant is located around the globe and I have eaten at it many times in the past I could not give up an opportunity to eat at the location that started it all.
It is a pretty non-descript building but this is where Kentucky Fried Chicken was invented. Funny to think that a decision on where to route a new highway is partly responsible for KFC becoming what it is today.
“In 1932 Colonel Harland Sanders bought the small restaurant near this site. Here he combined good cooking, hard work and showmanship to build regional fame for his fine food. His restaurant and a motel, now gone, flourished. This serve his patrons better Sanders constantly experimented with new recipes and cooking methods. Here he created, developed and perfected his world famous Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe. In 1956 plans were announced for a Federal highway to by-pass Corbin. Threatened with the traffic loss, Sanders, then 66, and undaunted, sold the restaurant and started travelling America selling seasoning and his recipe for fried chicken to other restaurants. His success in this effort began the world’s largest commercial food service system and made Kentucky a household word around the world.”
The final stop on the tour was in Knoxville, Tennessee. I was down there for a half iron distance triathlon and knew I would need a large post race meal. While I found a great pizza/pasta spot in town there was one that DDD visited and I went there post race. You don’t see real drive in restaurants anymore but this was a classic.
The pizza was good, not the greatest I’ve ever eaten but it did the trick. The real find here was the onion rings. I don’t have a picture of them because I ate them all in the car before I got back to the hotel. They were that good. Big, fat, hand battered and fried to perfection. If you ever get the chance to visit Pizza Palace in Knoxville I would recommend it for the rings and the experience.
After a week of “slumming it” it was time for a treat. On my way home from Tennessee I stayed at the Fairmont Pittsburgh. A fabulous hotel in downtown Pittsburgh with a great restaurant called Habitat. I had an amazing roasted chicken with asparagus and potatoes along with a celebratory drink. After finishing one of the worst races I could imagine I needed it. The drink is called an Allegheny and it was delicious!
The Allegheny Cocktail is made from Bourbon, Dry Vermouth, Blackberry Brandy and lemon juice, and served in a chilled cocktail glass. It was an appropriate choice as I was across the river from Allegheny County in Pennsylvania and it contained Woodford Reserve bourbon which I had seen being made.
1.5 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
1 oz Dry Vermouth
1 tbsp Blackberry Brandy
2 tsp Lemon Juice
Shake the bourbon, dry vermouth, blackberry brandy and lemon juice with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with blackberries.