The Hot Brown at J. Graham’s Cafe

Another lunch in Louisville, and I’m at The Brown Hotel. Some come to admire the stately lobby. I enjoy it, but it’s really just passage to J. Graham’s Cafe, where some come for the bountiful lunch buffet. I enjoy a look at it, but I’m here for one thing: The Hot Brown (worthy of its own Wiki entry).

There are many variations of this sandwich served throughout Louisville and beyond, but The Hot Brown ($14) originated at The Brown Hotel in 1923. It’s basically an open-face roasted turkey sandwich with Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, bacon, and mornay sauce baked and served in a little skillet. It’s, um, filling. The recipe shows the turkey, which is lean, but then a healthy (or not-so-healthy?) amount of bacon. And for dairy fans (and the lactose-intolerant), note the butter, milk, egg, Parmesan and whipped cream.

This is one of those foods that’s simply fun to try while traveling. Did I like it? Well, it had that ooey-gooey likeability factor that was comforting for the first few bites. And then alarming when realizing that some people eat dishes like this on a daily basis – particularly in the South.

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