All posts by Robin Garr

White Oak brings Kentucky’s treasures home

White Oak

LEO’s Eats with LouisvilleHotBytes
(By Paige Moore-Heavin. LEO photo by Ron Jasin)

The top current food trend can be summed up in one word: local. The Obamas have planted a garden at the White House. Farmers markets are all the rage. Even big chain groceries spotlight a bit of local produce.

In 2009, farming is cool.

“Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” Barbara Kingsolver’s account of eating homegrown and regionally produced food, has gotten me on the local bandwagon, too. Enter The White Oak, now open in the East Market Street space formerly occupied by Artemisia. Chef and co-owner Allen Heintzman (who was chef at Artemisia from 2005 to 2008) said on that the restaurant would feature “Kentucky comfort food” and “almost 100 percent local” ingredients. Locavore and progressive, like many of you, I had to check it out.

The long, narrow main dining room has undergone more than just a name change. Gone are the dark red walls, replaced with lighter colors, soft yellow and fresh green tones that complement the works of local artists on the walls. Like to eat al fresco? The shady patio remains an option.
Continue reading White Oak brings Kentucky’s treasures home

Here’s anuddah New York pie. Got a problem widdat?

Perfetto sausage pie

LEO’s Eats with LouisvilleHotBytes

Pizza originated in prehistoric times, food experts say, when Stone Age tribes pounded wheat grains into a coarse batter and baked rough rounds on hot stones. Then they would top this primitive flatbread with whatever roadkill or gleanings were available. They didn’t call it “pizza,” but we think they probably called it good.

Tomatoes and cheese weren’t added for a few millennia, but by the time pizza as we know it was created in Naples and emigrated to the New World in the Ellis Island days, aficionados were surely already fighting over whose style was best.

Locally, folks who’ve tasted the joys of New York City pizza engage in a constant quest to find something akin to the Italian-immigrant style of pie that’s sold on almost every street corner in Gotham. It’s not an easy quest, as Louisville’s own pizza form (perhaps best demonstrated in the mile-high Impellizzeri pie) has earned a strong following in its own right.

Nevertheless, the quest continues, and when I heard that Perfetto Pizzeria had recently opened in the Plainview quarters last occupied by the short-lived Slice of NY, I rushed eastward to check it out.
Continue reading Here’s anuddah New York pie. Got a problem widdat?

The eponymous pastry seals the deal at Danish Express

Brown Derby eggs

LEO’s Eats with LouisvilleHotBytes

You can, and probably do, call it a Danish pastry, but its roots lie in Vienna. Nevertheless, the Danes have made this rich and delicious pastry their own, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better one in the Old Country than you can enjoy right here in Louisville at Danish Express.

This quaint St. Matthews storefront occupies a cozy space with big plate-glass windows that make up the entire front wall, facing east to bring in bright sunlight in the morning.

It’s open from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. daily (except Sunday), offering breakfast throughout and lunch at midday. The breakfast menu – including but not limited to the rich, oversize Danish – makes it one of the city’s top spots to break a fast. At lunchtime, it’s still a decent place for a quick meal, but facing much sterner competition, it’s not quite as close to the front of the pack.

Continue reading The eponymous pastry seals the deal at Danish Express

Fried chicken? Falafels? Captain Pepper Jack’s mixes it up

LEO’s Eats with LouisvilleHotBytes
(By Paige Moore-Heavin)

When my friend Lynn suggested Captain Pepper Jack’s Aero Bistro for girls’ night out, I was a little confused. This place, which opened near Bowman Field in May, was new to me. “It’s part Southern American and part Mediterranean,” she said. Well, that’s an odd combination. But, ever the foodie, I was willing to give this culinary mash-up a try.
Continue reading Fried chicken? Falafels? Captain Pepper Jack’s mixes it up

Classy Equus drops prices and tablecloths but keeps high style

Warm sparagus salad at Equus in The Voice-Tribune

Okay, who wants organ meat? Internal organs, that is, livers, kidneys, hearts and even more unmentionable selections.

All together now: “Eeeeuuuuwwww!”

But wait! People around the world have been enjoying organ meats for millennia, and those who shun them on the basis of the “eeuuww” factor are missing something good.

This is one of the many reasons I love dining with my wife, Mary, and our good friend Lucinda. They’re adventurous foodies, and showed it the other night when we spotted sweetbreads on the menu at Equus.

“I’m having that,” Lucinda said with a happy smile. “Can we share?” asked Mary. Me, too.

What’s a sweetbread? It isn’t bread, and it’s not a dessert. It’s a calf’s thymus gland, or perhaps a bit of his pancreas. Vegetarians please look away.
Continue reading Classy Equus drops prices and tablecloths but keeps high style

Wathen’s Kentucky Bistro bounces back

Wathen's Mahi Mahi

LEO’s Eats with

Everybody loves a parade? Maybe. Let’s say that most people love most parades. But the procession of broken dreams that has recently passed through the St. Matthews space that once was home to Rick’s? That’s a parade not so easy to enjoy.

For the historical record, let’s retrace the genealogy of this spot that once housed the offices of the then-Voice of St. Matthews: Rick Dissell established the original Rick’s around 1980, and earned his popularity the old-fashioned way, with a 17-year run in that location.
Continue reading Wathen’s Kentucky Bistro bounces back