If you’ve been reading my gustatory musings for any time, you know that I bring a strong locavore sensibility to this work. I like to eat local food, and I prefer to dine at local restaurants. When I do business with a bank, grocer, optician, investment adviser, newspaper and, most definitely, restaurant, I like to know that the owner herself is available for a conversation, will look me in the eye, shake my hand, and offer me a fair deal.
Who’s up for a steak dinner? A juicy, sizzling chunk of cow flesh, pink and rare, with all the trimmings?
The “steak” part of this equation is fairly easy to fill. Start talking about “all the trimmings,” though, and things get complicated. Head for an executive-style steak house, and you can get a slab of cow on your plate with no muss or fuss. Choose your own sides.
There are just 28 days left before Election Day 2014 as you read this, and that means we must endure 672 more hours of television, radio, robo-call and Internet advertising time. In this market, a great deal of this mind-numbing noise will be devoted to Senator-since-forever Mitch McConnell and his feisty challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Okay fine, I get it, that’s how the system works in 21st century America. Well, that, and limitless contributions by anonymous corporate interests, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.
I have made my decision and probably won’t stray from it, so I’m doing my best to tune out the constant drone. But sometimes it’s hard to ignore.
For instance, why in the heck do they keep talking about coal? Continue reading
Here’s a pro tip for restaurant servers: Don’t suck up. Even if you think you’ve spotted a food critic in the house, don’t do it. It can lead to no good end.
Or maybe you don’t reserve the obsequiousness for suspected food writers. Maybe you fawn over everyone who comes in the door, thinking that bowing and scraping like a rug merchant in a Middle Eastern bazaar will prompt everyone to shower you with big tips.
Take this clue: It doesn’t work. Or it sure as hell doesn’t work for me, anyway.
It’s hard to believe that it has been more than 20 years since we moved back to Louisville after a sojourn in New York City. This town has changed a lot in the past two decades, and certainly the Frankfort Avenue restaurant row has evolved almost beyond recognition.
“You’ll like Frankfort Avenue,” a friend told us as we packed the moving van to head west from Gotham. “There’s a great new place called the Irish Rover!” And she was right. Along with Deitrich’s, which had been a pioneer in the neighborhood, and more recent arrivals Porcini and a local coffee shop that preceded Heine Bros’ Crescent Hill branch, the avenue was looking pretty exciting.
And then in 1995 came El Mundo, and the “new” Frankfort Avenue was on its way. Continue reading
On the anniversary of 9/11 the other week, I was watching a 2002 documentary that began as a profile of a rookie firefighter in New York City and ended up as a film about the larger events of the day. There were lots of scenes from the firehouse in the weeks leading up to the attack; many were of the firehouse kitchen, where the probationary firefighters (or “probies”) were tasked with preparing the shift meal. I was instantly fascinated, but I had a lot of questions the film didn’t answer, so I wanted to ask an actual firefighter how it all goes down.
The news that Thai-Siam had closed after 25 years of dishing up Thai cuisine to Louisville-area diners came with more of a sense of nostalgia than loss, I’d say.
When it opened in 1989, I was beside myself with joy. Having discovered Thai cuisine in California way back in the day, I loved it so hard, and ached for it to make its way east. Continue reading
Everyone likes Mexican food, don’t we? But what do we mean when we say “Mexican”?
If our grandparents in Louisville knew Mexican food at all, they probably meant chili con carne, a spicy mix of beans and beef served over spaghetti.
We stepped into the high-ceilinged room that had housed De La Torre’s for so many years. It looks … different. And very cool. There’s wood all around, and glass and some brass, too, and a bar so long it goes back to there, backed by an awe-inspiring wall of wines housed in high-tech argon gas dispensers that keep the vino fresh.
Also, it’s loud, and by “loud,” I mean LOUD! as in “I can’t hear a frappin’ word you’re saying!”
What? The food guy is going Mexican again? Three weeks running, he’s ricocheted from Argentine beef to taqueria offal to fancified Chicano fare in the surfer tradition? ¿Qué pasa? Or, in the Queen’s English, what’s up with that?
Hmm. I suppose I could claim that I’m dining Latino-style out of solidarity with the flood of kids from Central America who are piling up at our border. I could say I’m doing it to take a stand in a national debate that prompts some Americans to yell that Lady Liberty lifts her lamp beside the golden door only for immigrants who look like us.
And those things could be true.
But to be honest, I mainly went to El Camino this week to check out the Sunday brunch Continue reading
Folks in our Crescent Hill neighborhood have been watching with considerable anticipation as a crew associated with Louisville’s Bluegrass Brewing Co. sped through a major “gut rehab” of the old Darkstar tavern, converting what had been frankly a rather grim saloon into an airy, inviting temple to all things local beer and food.
When you’re buying a car, a suit, a pair of shoes, a watch, or even a hamburger, quality makes a difference. Leather seats or plastic in your family limo? All-weather wool from Armani or shiny polyester from T.J.Maxx? Mephisto loafers, or sneakers from Payless? Tag Heuer or a fake Rolex?
Oh, hell, this is too complicated. Let’s go get a burger.