28 September 2015

Week 4: USC vs UCF

College Gameday is coming to Clemson! College Gameday is coming to CLEMSON!

Next Saturday is going to be wild: Notre Dame, College Gameday, and ESPN Sports Center are all coming to town for an 8pm showdown.

Can't wait.

But let's get back to this past Saturday's game. Clemson had a bye week this week and USC had a home game so we headed over to Williams Brice for the day. It was my first game at USC for the season and with a noon kickoff, it only made sense to go for a breakfast tailgate theme. Bacon, sausage, and pancakes.

Patrick manned the grill for the majority of the morning. But I took over once it was time for the pancakes.

There were also bellinis and new astro turf for the tailgate.

Can't say that I'm a big fan of rainy day tailgates, but I could totally get used to them if the rain is only a drizzle and there is plenty of good food and fun friends.

You  know you've been out of college for 5+ years when... you have no idea what drinking game is being played at the tailgate next to you and you could care less about throwing on a hat for the game. We saw a whole parade of college girls while we were tailgating and y'all, there were a lot of butt cheeks. And a huge lack of underwear. And then me over at our tailgate in jeans, a rain jacket, and a hat.

This season, Patrick has some new seats in Williams Brice. Not too bad, right?

We thought they were pretty good!

& I was a big fan of how easy it was to get to the concourse for french fries {they have some seriously delicious ones} and for the dippin' dots.

It was a much closer game than any USC fan would have preferred but I know UCF fans were loving the first half of that game! In the end though, USC came away with the win.

USC vs UCF: September 26, 2015
31 - 14, USC

PS, anybody out there a Panthers fan? I have a feeling that now that I've finally moved away from Charlotte that they're going to have an awesome season, be fantastic during the playoffs, and go to the super bowl. That would be my luck. Whatever. Go Panthers!

25 September 2015

Recipe: Crockpot White Chicken Chili

The perfect Sunday for me in the fall goes a little something like this:
Wake up
Go to church
Grab some brunch
Grocery Store
Throw something in the crockpot
Lay on the couch and watch NLF games on TV for the remainder of the day
{preferably with a porch door wide open to the cool air outside}
I have a few recipes that I like to throw in the crockpot when I am able to have afternoons like this, but I think my favorite might be White Chicken Chili. I've posted this recipe here before but it's worth sharing a second time...
Crockpot White Chicken Chili

1 package of chicken
4 cups of chicken broth
1 onion, diced
2 tbsp of minced garlic
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes {if you like it hot! otherwise, leave these out}
3 cans great northern beans, rinsed & drained
1 jalapeno pepper, diced {I used 2}
Mexican cheese blend*
Sour cream*
*optional ingredients
1. Add your chicken broth, onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, and salt to your crock pot. Stir everything up.
2. Add in the chicken {make sure it's covered - add more chicken broth if necessary} and cook on low until chicken is done, about 4-5 hours.
3. Shred chicken and add back to the crockpot with the great northern beans and jalapeno pepper. Cook on high for 15-20 minutes.
4. Serve with shredded Mexican cheese blend, sour cream, and/or cilantro.
5. Enjoy!

Cannot wait for this on Sunday!

24 September 2015

Maker's Mark Distillery

Ah, Maker's Mark Distillery. The distillery of all distilleries to see in Kentucky. At least, that's how we viewed Maker's Mark. All three guys that I took this trip with love Maker's Mark so this was kind of a must do thing for us.

We decided to save Maker's Mark for the last day of our trip when we were leaving Louisville to head back home to Columbia. It's a little bit outside of Louisville so it didn't make much sense to go during the middle of our trip - way easier to stop by on the way home.

Except you don't just "stop by" this place. It's way off the interstate, up and down windy roads in the backwoods of Kentucky, and practically in the middle of nowhere. I thought they were joking on the website when they said that you could stop by anytime for a tour... if you could find them.
Heads up: not a joke.
We did find them though and we registered for our tour.

Maker's Mark is located on a piece of gorgeous property! I can only imagine how pretty this place gets in the fall when the leaves begin to change. It's very picturesque out at this distillery.

This was one place that Patrick really wanted to see so when it came time for the tour to begin, he was at the front of the line and we stayed at the front for the duration of the tour. The first question that I asked was if I could take pictures along the tour... the answer was "absolutely! Take as many as you like!"

Hello, I'm now a fan of the Maker's Mark distillery.
I had my total printing nerd moment when the tour guide mentioned that every label on their products was die cut on an old school die cutter. And we got to see it. I might have been a little bit excited about this part especially since we got to keep one of the labels.

We were able to try four Maker's Mark creations on this tour: Maker's Mark White, Maker's Mark, Maker's 46, and Maker's 46 Cask Strength.

I stayed far away from the Maker's Mark White but tried the other three. Not as terrible as the Evan William's ones were but still pretty awful. This trip to Bourbon Country did not make me a fan of the drink.

Would I recommend this tour? Absolutely. It was worth the drive!

Just stay away from the gift shop. That's where they get ya by letting you hand dip your own bottle of Maker's Mark. None of us particularly felt like buying an expensive bottle of bourbon {pricier than your local ABC store} and standing in line to dip the bottle. It was neat watching other people do it, though!


So would I go back to Louisville again?
... I don't know? I feel like we were able to do the majority of the things that we wanted to do in this town {including eating at Doc Crow's and taking a carriage ride around the city} and I'm not sure those things would be worth going to a second time.
So where are we going next football season?
Our options are:
Lexington, KY {University of Kentucky}
Gainesville, FL {University of Florida}
Starkville, MS {Mississippi State}
Where should we go?!

23 September 2015

Downtown Distilleries

To answer everyone's question: yes, I drank bourbon on this trip.
Am I now a fan of bourbon?
Absolutely not. That stuff is disgusting and y'all should have seen the faces that I was making after each sample. Gross.
But I am a fan of taking a distillery tour. We were able to visit three distilleries and I was surprised by how different each tour was. You would think that if you're touring three distilleries that all make a similar product that you'd get bored after awhile listening to the same information. Nope. Not even close.
The first distillery we visited was actually in downtown Louisville and only a six block walk from our hotel.

Kentucky Pearless Distilling
This distillery was actually the 50th distillery in Kentucky. They shut down operations for awhile but now the family is opening back up for business. They were even able to get back their original number (50) which is a pretty big deal. But it meant that because they had just started back up again, they don't have any bourbon or whiskey ready yet. They've got at least 3.5 more years to go.
Peerless is a small, local craft distillery so we were able to get a great tour due to our tiny tour group.
We toured around with the assistant distiller and the master distiller. The master distiller? He's only 23. They both were a wealth of information and you could tell how vested they were in this distillery based on the way they were talking about it. I was told at the beginning of the tour that no pictures were allowed {dude, Louisville, seriously have got to stop it with the no picture thing!} so I had my camera stashed away for most of the tour.
I am not one to pass up the perfect photographing opportunity and I wanted a picture with their first ever barrel of bourbon when we got to that part of the tour. I asked and the master distiller looked at me like I was crazy. Of course I could take a picture. Pictures are totally allowed. Snap away!

... so naturally, I asked if I could go back and tour again to take pictures of all of the things that I missed. He was more than happy to walk me around again.


{fill date: August 29, 2015... the day we got engaged. So yes, had to take a picture of this one}

At the conclusion of our tour, we were able to sample some of their Kentucky Lucky Moonshine. I went for the Green Apple Pie and the Peach. I loved the Peach, but wasn't a huge fan of the Green Apple Pie. The boys all loved the Chocolate one {which you all know I didn't go anywhere near trying}.

We all love, love, loved this tour. It was personable and extremely informing. If you're in Louisville, we all highly recommend this one.

Evan Williams Bourbon Experience

I believe one person described this as the Disneyworld of bourbon tours. Accurate statement.

I didn't enjoy this one as much because the tour groups were large and it was very commercialized, but I did enjoy the emphasis on the history of bourbon rather than the distilling process.

I tried three different types of bourbon here and thoroughly disliked each and every one of them. Credit for trying them at least, right? Plus, Patrick, Chris, and John enjoyed the expressions I had on my face after each taste.
Don't let the smile fool you. Still not a fan of bourbon.
Would I recommend this tour to someone? Maybe, you know, if you had time or something. It wouldn't be on my must do list because I think you can find better tours elsewhere.
Check back tomorrow for the granddaddy tour of them all - Maker's Mark. You know, if you can find the distillery among the back country, windy, one lane roads of Kentucky that is.

22 September 2015

Being a Tourist in Louisville

Easiest way to spot a tourist in Louisville?
They're the ones carrying around the mini baseball bat that comes with the tour of the Louisville Slugger Museum. Dead giveaway. And yes, we were those tourists toting around our mini baseball bats for most of the day on Thursday when we visited Louisville.
Our first stop on Thursday, as I mentioned yesterday, was to the Louisville Slugger Museum.
They were super welcoming to the influx of Tiger fans and offered a deal: if you wore orange, you got 2 tickets for the price of one. Score!
The tour itself was pretty neat {even if I wasn't allowed to take any pictures}. We were able to walk around their production floor and see how bats were made from start to finish. It was a short tour {about half an hour} and included videos in addition to the things that the tour guide had to say. I'm not sure how any of the employees work there - it would get really annoying, really quick, with tour groups floating through every fifteen minutes.
At the end of the tour, we all received our mini bats, and proceeded to take a few more mandatory, cliché pictures around the museum. You know. Things like this.
Patrick's favorite part of the museum was seeing Babe Ruth's actual bat.
My favorite part? Finding new ways to act like a five year old.
If you're ever in Louisville, you kind of have to go here and do the tour and get your mini baseball bat. And you're pretty much required to take a picture with the giant bat outside of the museum.
You're also required to go to Churchill Downs when you're in Louisville. Going here has been on my bucket list since before I even knew what a bucket list was. I blame that on my cousin handing down an old book series to me {The Thoroughbred Series} when I was in elementary school and living next door to two horse-obsessed sisters. Even if it isn't on your bucket list {and I don't know why it wouldn't be}, you've got to go here.
This whole town is horse racing obsessed. In our hotel alone there was a Jockey Silks Bourbon Bar and this statue located just outside of the front doors.
We visited Louisville right in the middle of their fall racing season. This meant that we couldn't take a tour of the track {boo!} but we were able to see live racing instead. They had a deal going on where you could park for free, get into general admission for $3, and buy beer for $1. Deal, deal, and deal. It was also located directly across the street from the football stadium.
Tailgate at Churchill Downs? I'm ok with that. As was everyone else in orange.
Our tickets may have been for general admission, but it wasn't super crowded so the security there didn't really care where you chose to sit. We chose to sit up in the shaded area where the box seats are... if only it were that easy to get into a box seat during the Kentucky Derby!
This view. Totally worth it.


Although seeing the people down front makes me wish we had gone down there for at least one of the races to see it super close up. Oh well. We had fun in our box seats.

At the end of the day, we had all thoroughly enjoyed the races, Patrick had made $5 off a bet on the winning horse, and I was more than happy to have finally visited Churchill Downs. Maybe next time it will be for the Derby??

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