My (long-suffering) fiancé, John, had a celebratory dinner with workmates scheduled last Saturday for 7 p.m. at a popular sushi-hibachi restaurant in Fern Creek. At 7:45, he texted me: Still waiting for a table.
Sure, it was Saturday night, and the place was packed, but that seemed a little bit too much of a delay. I replied: Lordy. Didn’t you have a res?
After quite a few years writing a weekly column about food, I’ve learned a thing or two. For instance:
* When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
* That which does not kill us makes us strong.
* The deadline monster must be fed.
Warmed by the delights of four big bowls of steaming ramen at Rumplings in five day’s time, I asked my baby boomer pals on Facebook a simple question this week: When did you first encounter instant ramen? What did you think of it when you did?
What’s a gastropub, anyway? This culinary neologism has been floating around since the middle of the last decade, and some say it cries out for mockery. “Gastropub”? It sounds, a bit unnervingly, like some kind of medical condition afflicting the digestive system.
What’s more, plenty of the more pompous food scribes decry the term. I still remember an odd analysis by one local food reviewer, who dismissed “gastropub” as an annoying label, misused and meaningless, reserved for bars that wanted to serve house-made ketchup.
What warms an icy winter morning better than a hot, freshly made donut? Are you with me? Then you’ll want to Schoolhouse Rock right over to LowBrow across from Kroger, where a charming little donut shop run by a friendly Cambodian immigrant family recently opened in the tiny building that recently housed Chicago Gyros.
If you can’t wait to get them home or scarf them in your car, you can settle right down at either of two cozy tables. Go. You’ll be glad.
2317 Brownsboro Road
It’s irresistible, isn’t it? The thought of an officially sanctioned day of playing hooky, all safe and warm with your kids and your dogs, snuggled up at home with a full pantry, three hundred cable channels and a bottle of wine for later. The oven’s cranking a pot roast and dough’s rising underneath a gingham tea towel in a ceramic bowl on the counter. It’s like a Norman Rockwell painting up in here!
Who’d like to get in on a caper? I’m not talking about a hilariously wacky criminal plot. Even if it were victimless and presumably foolproof, I’m naturally nervous about activities that could land me behind bars. Nor an ancient Celtic jumping and bounding dance, either. I’ll take my exercise in milder doses, thanks!
No, I’m mentally munching into an edible caper, those little green BB-shaped things made from the pickled bud of a Mediterranean lily-like flower, an item that most of us buy in little briny jars from Lotsa Pasta and stash on a refrigerator shelf, never to be seen again.
“I like rice,” the late, wacky stand-up comic Mitch Hedberg famously said. “Rice is great if you’re hungry and want 2,000 of something.”
This is funny because it’s a presumably true statement about a reality that we’ve probably never considered before, and yanks a laugh out of our bellies before we suddenly come up short with the obvious follow-up: “So what?”
Even after many years of wisecracking about food, I have to doff my toque to Calvin Trillin, whose culinary scribblings in The New Yorker and elsewhere surely qualify him as the funniest food writer ever.
So, upon my recent visit to 8UP, the self-described “Elevated Drinkery and Kitchen” atop the new downtown Hilton Garden Inn, it was with great glee that I went a’Googling in search of my favorite Trillin quote about rooftop eateries.
Savvy restaurant patrons have heard of the practice of bringing your own bottle of wine to a restaurant and paying a “corkage” fee to have it poured and served for you and your guests. But some folks take things a hair too far in this area. Let’s play a game about dining out. A game I like to call “Okay or Not?”
Quick! Can you find the Mediterranean Sea on a map?
This should be easy. It’s that long body of water that stretches from the Straits of Gibraltar at the far end of Spain, all the way over past Italy and Greece Continue reading
Remember the old joke about a hunter’s repeated efforts to bag a giant grizzly bear? It’s a little too long and risque to quote here in full, but it ends with the bear lovingly whispering, “You’re not really here for the hunting, are you, Bob?”
Craft House in Crescent Hill is kind of like that too. Continue reading