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.
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.
“My name is Robin, and I am a pizza snob.”
There. I said it, and I’m not even sorry.
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.
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.
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
A recent spate of chef-memes posted on Facebook has me thinking. These lists probably seem harsh to diners who have never worked in a restaurant kitchen, but if you work in one for a couple of weeks, you’ll encounter all these things.
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
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
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
Has Louisville reached the saturation point for pizza? Some of my foodie friends are aghast at the seemingly endless march of pizzerias that keep arriving in town. The Baxter Avenue/Bardstown Road and St. Matthews strips are particularly pizza-rich environments, but they’re everywhere – even, in today’s excursion, the far East End. Continue reading
Hey, when did fusion cuisine stop being a thing? It seems like only yesterday – well, OK, maybe it was the ’80s and ’90s – when top chefs had everyone oohing and aahing over such multicultural goodies as Wolfie Puck’s smoked salmon and caviar pizza at Beverly Hills’ Ma Maison or Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s pricey Thai-French mash-ups at his almost-eponymous Vong restaurant in New York City. Continue reading