Saturday, May 5, 2012

Scenic Drive

It may seem like it’s in the middle of nowhere but the little town of Wilmore, Kentucky is perfectly situated as a jumping off point for a drive through some of the prettiest country you’ll find.
Positioned about a half hour south west of Lexington it is surrounded on the west and north by horse racing and bourbon country. Large scale and craft distilleries offer tours and samples. The horse farms are nothing to sneeze at either. Millions of equine dollars are poured into the region. To the south is the Kentucky River with it’s steep palisades and thick forest. The meandering roads through here make for a drive so hair raising you’re hard pressed to catch up with the speed limit. There’s also some beautiful views of the historic High Bridge. Added to the list of Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks (#123) in 1985. Originally designed by John Roebling of the Brooklyn Bridge fame, it’s been reworked a few times over the years. It was the highest railroad bridge in the world when it opened and is still the highest over a navigable waterway in North America.

While in Wilmore a stay at the beautifully restored Potters Inn provides quaint comfort. This Victorian era farm house was saved from the wrecking ball and relocated to its current spot in 2005. Of course, you’ll need to eat and your best bet is at Tastebuds. The soda fountain come lunch counter in Sim’s Drugs on East Main Street.
Wilmore’s E. Main Street has be honoured in the National Regerster of Historic Places. The Sim’s Store dates back over 100 years as do many of the store fronts on E. Main.
Inside, the store still operates as a pharmacy to serve the community. The lunch counter takes up perhaps a third of the store if you include the few booths. There’s some leftover products from the apothecary on display and some of the old soda fountain items still decorate the place. They really don’t have a kitchen. There’s a counter with sinks, food prep stations and a small storage area with a residential fridge. I would love to tell you that they painstakingly craft their sauces, doughs and, what the heck, make their own mozzarella but sadly, they don’t. As much as they’d like to, they just don’t have the space. Heck, they don’t even have an oven. Other than the table top pizza oven that is. That’s not to say that they just run down to the local Quick-E-Mart and grab whatever’s on sale though. They try to source out the best tasting pre made food items and local ingredients which makes them Kentucky Proud. So no, this is not Pilsbury pizza dough with Ragu sauce and other cheap ingredients. What they do make, rest assured, they make very well. Things like chicken salad, pesto, pies, and pimento cheese are all scratch made.
The staff were very friendly and of course, we talked food as much as anything.

The house specialty is pizza and that’s where we started.

 I ordered a fairly standard pie. Pepperoni, bacon and mushroom. It’s a thin crust pizza and too many toppings can really screw up the balance. So keeping it pretty simple was the way to go. There was a nice crunch to the dough with a pretty mild taste. The sauce, while out of a jar was pretty tasty. The toppings worked really well. All in all, a really good pizza.
Their most popular pizza is the Spinach. I watched as piles of spinach and fresh chopped mushrooms were placed atop pesto and feta cheese. I wondered where all the water that’ll leach out would go but figured they knew what they were doing. It was just as cripsy as the other pie. I wasn’t sure how much I’d like it but it was fantastic. All the ingredients played nicely together and the bacon on top gave it a bit of crunch and and that great, salty, bacon-y goodness.
We, of course, couldn’t resist a pimento cheese sandwich. This was easily the best specimen I’ve had. I say that only because it’s very close the recipe we’ve been playing around with at home. Ours has a bit more of a cayenne hit but it had the same creaminess and pimento pepper flavour on which we’ve been zeroing in.
After complementing them about the pimento cheese I was offered a sample of their chicken salad. It was terrific. Finely chopped chicken mixed with mayo, green onion, garlic powder and, in a nice twist, red grapes. They give it a bit of a unique taste. They also have toasted almond slivers in there as well. Something I add to mine at home. Very nice.
Mrs. Sippi’s chocolate, caramel shake was excellent. I opted for a chocolate, peanut butter malted, shown here on the left. Again excellent. They’re made with real milk and Blue Bell ice cream and are blended in an old fashioned shake blender.

So there you have it. Some really terrific food served up from a small lunch counter in the middle of nowhere.

You can find Tastebuds inside Sim’s Drug Store at 319 East Main St, Wilmore, Ky.

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You can also find on the web and facebook.
Tastebuds of Wilmore on Urbanspoon
Tastebuds of Wilmore Inc on Foodio54

Well that’s all for now, see ya next time in the Food Court. 

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