Oh, friends…. After almost a week, I’ve stopped being tired, gotten back to the gym (gotta burn off the Bourbon), and had time to digest what was possibly one of the best Derby weekends ever.
Wednesday began as normal, with work taking up the morning through lunch. Family arrived in town that afternoon, and as soon as Bryan was off of work, we headed out for some local barbecue, then to the Chow Wagon for what I hoped would be frozen cheesecake on a stick (it’s a thing), but sadly, found none. Rain started coming down, so we seeked out shelter at Jimmy Can’t Dance for craft cocktails and late night jazz. Not wanting the night to end young, we met friends at the Silver Dollar
Thursday, we woke, devoured giant homemade cinnamon rolls, dressed all snazzy and headed to the track for Thurby. We met up with two of my girlfriends and one of their husbands for a day in the Turf Club. I won my first Superfecta (a ten-cent bet that paid $60), and we wandered down to the paddock to see the crowd and listen to Ralph Steadman (of Hunter S. Thompson fame) before wandering through the stands and saying hi to friends. Afterwards, we headed to Rye for a dinner of pork belly and ribeye, asparagus, and whiskey sours.
Friday morning, cinnamon rolls again made their appearance, before Bryan and I and our cousin Jeff headed to Bardstown to tour Willett Distillery and headed back downtown for lunch at Doc Crow’s before slipping into Old Forrester’s old/new space along Whiskey Row… more on that next week. Craving a low-key evening, we made our way to the Butchertown Social for beer and burgers (Benedictine burgers, to be exact…. beefy hamburgers topped with Benedictine and cucumbers!!) before meeting up with friends at Odeon for cocktails that lasted late into the night.
Saturday…. Oh, Saturday….
While I’m sure it wasn’t early at all, our Derby morning began when felt like to crack of dawn. Bryan and I dropped Jeff with his in-town buddies from undergrad and headed to the track. Excitement always begins when we park and see our friend, see the crowds, and grab a Derby day track lunch of a hot dog and a bottle of champagne. B and I were lucky that our seats were covered- rain began to pour early in the day leaving behind a very sloppy track that gave way to what was one of the oddest and most disputed finishes ever in racing… After waiting the extra half an hour at the track for a winning decision, we zipped over to Red Hog (still in full Derby attire) for a dinner of hot browns, turkey legs, and Old Fashioneds. Afterwards, I caught a second wind when we entered a party by Blade and Bow whiskey, headed by out of town bartenders whipping up their takes on juleps, bourbon punch, and some sort of boozy and floral cocktail served in a champagne coupe and topped with a sprig of lavender.
In true Joyce fashion, I spent Sunday brunch (French toast at North End Cafe) dreaming of what hats may look like next year, what parties to attend, how early to buy our seats and how to gather a crowd of friends at the track to celebrate once again… There’s something about living in Derby City. No matter how fantastic and exhausting this weekend was, I’m ready for the next go around.
** all terrible iPhone photos by yours truly **
** special thanks to The Hat Girls for the amazing headgear **