Tonight, my sweet, loving, redneck husband took me out for an early Birthday present. My birthday is the 20th and due to various reasons, we will not be able to celebrate much next week or weekend. The first leg of our journey was a distillery tour at Heaven Hill. Living only 20 miles from the "Bourbon trail", it is surprising that I have only toured a distillery once and that was when I was Seven. My precious devout Christian grandparents took my cousin and I to Barton distilleries. Now that I think about it, the trip was strange.....enjoyable, but strange. I really don't know why they saw fit to take us there, but I have never forgotten the smell of cooking mash, the yeasty aroma and the feeling of wanting to taste the forbidden end result. My husband has mentioned several times that he would like to take a tour, so today was the day. We were able to take a deluxe tour that lasted over an hour and it was wonderful. We were given the history by a knowledgeable member of the Beam family (huge in bourbon) while walking down a path lined in glorious butterfly bushes. The smells of the flowers overwhelmed our senses while butterflies swirled around our heads. As we made our trek to a warehouse, the scent of bourbon and charred oak became stronger and stronger. After touring the warehouse, we were invited back to a private tasting. It was a perfect adventure! NOTE: I did not partake of the tasting as we had our Five year old with us and we were not allowed to enter the tasting room with her. That is okay by me and I have decided the smell of bourbon is MUCH better than the taste. Blech!
After our distillery tour, we were starving. Bardstown is VERY familiar to us as are the restaurants. We were hoping for something different and relaxed with an inventive menu. If I'm being honest, hubby was looking for quiet and relaxed and I was looking for inventive cuisine!! We stumbled upon a new restaurant called Circa and it looked perfect. The restaurant is located in a quaint two story home full of character and southern charm. The grounds were well landscaped and the outdoor terrace looked very inviting. We knew we had to give the restaurant a try. Upon stepping inside, I knew we were in good hands. The restaurant was classy, but not overly done and I felt very comfortable. My redneck hubby wasn't as enthused as I, but was very pleased with the menu. I wanted to try EVERYTHING. From the beingnets made from pulled pork and makers mark barbecue sauce to the caprese salad with fresh pesto. Heaven forbid I forget to mention the braised rabbit with mushroom ragu served over homemade gnocci. Wow is all I can say. I cannot wait to go back and try something new and enjoy a lovely glass of wine. This restaurant is huge for a girl who has always had to travel over an hour one way for a decent food experience. Woohoo!