The Phantom of the Opera at Stevens & Stevens.

We Get Our Deli on at Stevens & Stevens

Mary took a bite of her sandwich – no easy task considering its oversize girth. She chewed gently, looked thoughtful, then firmly opined: “This is almost too much meat.”

Yes, this is one of those things that no one said, ever … until someone said it.

And it betrayed a basic failure to comprehend the simple reality of delicatessen tradition: “Too much meat,” meaning “generously, gloriously piled high,” is just what delis do.
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Marsha Lynch

I should have asked

I’ll call him Doug in this story, since that was his name. Doug was a young man of 24, a co-worker at the restaurant where I work. He’d been hired a few months previously as a delivery driver with some other duties: light prep work, food running when not out on deliveries, expediting the pass. Not rocket science, but a job certainly requiring more brainpower than “just” being a delivery driver.
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Stir-fry of broccoli, tofu and black beans over tender rice noodles.

Thai Cafe: Not Quite “Consummate,” But Fun

Well, hey now. What’s this? A new restaurant reviewer at The Courier-Journal? How about that! This sort of thing fascinates me because I used to occupy that pulpit myself, as dining critic for the late, great Louisville Times (and, after its death, The CJ) until I left the building in 1990.
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Veggie pizza at Harvest. LEO photo by Frankie Steele.

Harvest inspires our critic’s rant

For a change of pace this week, let’s start with a rant. A political rant! A rant about food politics!

I don’t want to say Michael Pollan or Mark Bittman are latecomers to the party. But I’m sure I’m not the only Boomer who woke up to the issues of food justice a generation earlier when I read Frankie Moore Lappé’s “Diet for a Small Planet” and “Food First” back in the ’70s, when being a “foodie” -a name not yet invented -was just becoming a thing.

The idea that there was a connection between stuffing our faces, feeding hungry people locally, fighting hunger around the world and pushing back against the food industry’s excesses from Frankenfood chemistry to horrific concentrated animal feeding operations came as a new and exciting notion back then.
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Eggs in a hole and cheese grits at Eggs Over Frankfort.

Eggs Over Frankfort Rings Diner-Style Breakfast Bell

Frankfort Avenue – or just plain “The Avenue,” as its neighborhood business association likes to call it – has come a mighty long way in the generation since the late, lamented Deitrich’s started serving creative cuisine in an upscale environment in the old Crescent Theater, a place that at the time had seen considerably better days.
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Seared snapper at The Brewery. LEO photo by Frankie Steele.

We study Reinheitsgebot and good eats at The Brewery

I like to think I’m a bit of a beer geek, but our friend Don puts me in the shade when it comes to knowledge of things malty and hoppy. I’ll bet he could recite the rules of the ancient Reinheitsgebot beer laws forwards and backwards, and our multilingual pal Anne could help us do it in the original German.
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Butts at Vint

Smoke gets in our eyes? Not necessarily …

Sometimes it is good to be wrong.

Consider, for example, this prophecy I uttered in 2010: “Since the passage of Louisville’s no-smoking law for restaurants and bars, the patios have become the de facto smoking section. If this doesn’t bother you, great! But to be blunt, it makes most patios no-go zones for me.”

That forecast made sense at the time Continue reading

Veggie pot pie at La Coop.

You Don’t Have To Speak French To Love La Coop

You don’t need to know nearly as much French as you used to do in order to enjoy dinner without assistance at La Coop. Well, you don’t need a French dictionary much, anyway, once you translate the moniker “Bistro à Vins” to discover that it means something like “unpretentious eatery and wines.” Continue reading

Jäger Schnitzel at Gasthaus.

Real German comfort food at Gasthaus

If you grew up in Louisville and have roots here more than three or four generations deep, it’s likely you have more than a few Germans perched on the branches of your family tree. Indeed, Louisville’s identity is shaped in substantial part by a German heritage that dates back to the 1840s, when a tide of German refugees from political and religious persecution came over to America in search of freedom.

Few of us speak German now; and if we do, we probably learned it in school, not at home. But when we think of comfort food, chances are that our family favorites have German roots. Continue reading

Gorgonzola ravioli with beef tips at Corner Cafe.

Corner Café, dishing up comfort food for 20 years

Think of a quintessential Louisville neighborhood, and chances are your thoughts will turn to Germantown or Clifton, the Highlands or Crescent Hill.

“That stretch out past Lyndon where Whipps Mill twists around the railroad tracks and tangles with Lagrange Road,” not so much. Continue reading

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