The ruby trout at Anoosh Bistro.

Anoosh is back! Now, what is he going to do?

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.
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The fish taco at El Mundo

El Mundo: Still a favorite after 20 years

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

Marsha Lynch

On feeding firefighters

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.
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Pad-Thai at TanThai.

It’s worth fighting the bridges to get to TanThai

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

Fish taco at The Ville Taqueria.

Ville Taqueria brings St. Matthews an alternative to pizza

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.
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Grilled oysters at LouVino

LouVino? LOUVINO? What? I can’t heeeaaarrr you!

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!”
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Huevos Rancheros at El Camino

El Camino’s brunch wows us with Latino style

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

Oyster hushpuppies at Craft House.

Craft House packing them in on Frankfort

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.
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The Grind burger

Quality counts at Grind Burger Kitchen

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.

?Or not.
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Lengua tacos at El Molcajete

Feeling offal? Check out your local taqueria

Menudo, the fabulously strong flavored and fiery Mexican stew made from pork chitlins (“chitterlings,” to the prissy, or, if you insist on a definition in English, pork intestines) is one of the world’s most trusted hangover cures.

This may relate to the truth that, no matter how bad you feel, if you can hold down a stenchy ration of menudo, you can probably hold down just about anything.
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Soup Dumplings at The Joy Luck

Soup dumplings? Soup in dumplings wins at The Joy Luck

When I was a child, country-style chicken and dumplings wasn’t a thing in my citified family, but I wanted them to be. I would read about dumplings in children’s books and dream of tasting these succulent-sounding goodies.

“You wouldn’t like them,” my mother said, declining to make some for the family table.

Eventually I got to try some, and sure enough, Mom was right as usual. Thick rectangles of flabby dough, floating in chicken stew? Meh.

But that was before most folks in these parts knew of Chinese dumplings. Continue reading

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