Category Archives: Baxter, Bardstown, Highlands

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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Lamb in a sweet potato basket at Asiatique.

Asiatique does fusion even when fusion isn’t a thing

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

Rotisserie duck at Loop 22. LEO photo by Frankie Steele.

Loop 22 is a fine addition to the Highlands restaurant scene

When baby boomers were kids, our parents overcooked our veggies until they were mushy and bland. A generation later, baby millennials got their veggies crisp and barely cooked, reflecting the then-trendy restaurant style. You’d think that by 2014, some kind of balance might have been achieved between the extremes of ’70s mush and ’90s crunch, but noooo … Continue reading

Bowl o' Pho at Roots. LEO photo by Frankie Steele

No meat, no booze, no matter at Roots

Roots, with its next-door companion Heart & Soy, is coming up on its third anniversary this summer, and both spots appear to be going strong, filled with happy diners nightly.

So how does that work, when neither upscale Roots nor street-food Heart & Soy offer so much as a bite of meat or a sip of booze? I think it has something to do with what restaurateur Huong “Coco” Tran calls Roots’ “mindful, compassionate cooking,” a plant-based cuisine so good that even the most obligate carnivore can chow down without even missing animal flesh. Continue reading

Black raspberry chip ice cream at the Comfy Cow.

Comfy Cow growing into a herd

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.” Once a popular ditty of the “Roaring Twenties,” this folk wisdom has grown into a simple truth.

Who doesn’t like ice cream? As Mary’s father used to say, even after an ample meal, “There is always room for ice cream.” And with Spring belatedly breaking after one of the most relentless Winters in recent memory, the signs of the season include, in addition to green buds, bright flowers and insane allergy-pollen levels, long lines of hungry supplicants forming around just about every ice-cream shop in town. Even the perennial ice cream trucks have brought their clangy rendition of “Camptown Races” back to the streets of our fair city. Continue reading

Mushroom and artichoke pizza slice at Papalino's Springhurst.

Papalino’s Settles in at Springhurst

After nearly four years serving its gigantic New York-style pizza and other goodies to hungry hordes on the Baxter Avenue night-life strip, Papalino’s NY Pizzeria opened its second location in the somewhat less frenzied environs of the sprawling Springhurst center out in the East End.
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Tacos at El Taco Luchador. LEO photo by Frankie Steele.

We wrestle and win at El Taco Luchador

Okay, Taco Luchador, we get the “taco” part. But what the heck is a “luchador”?

Simple, señoras y señores! The luchador is a skilled artisan, a practitioner of lucha libre (“free fight”), the manly art of self-defense. In other words, luchadores are Mexican pro wrestlers. But trust me on this, lucha libre makes the overweight, steroid-pumped thespians of the WWE look like a bunch of slow-moving sissies. Continue reading

Sausage pizza at Jet's

Jet’s Takes Off With Detroit-Style Pizza

If there was ever any doubt that pizza has truly become an all-American treat, it was surely put to rest with Pizzagate this week, when New York City’s new mayor Bill de Blasio provoked screams of outrage when he attacked a gooey pie at a Gotham pizzeria with – the horror – a knife and fork. “Blasphemy! No one would ever do such a thing in Italy,” the angry hordes shrieked.

Actually, that’s not really true. Continue reading

Birria de borrego (pork shoulder) at El Camino. LEO photo by Frankie Steele.

No, Bar Belle! El Camino is surfin’ good

My pal the Bar Belle is also the boss of me when it comes to this column, but that sure doesn’t stop me from calling Bullwinkle when I just have to. So, yo, Bar Belle! You’ve got it all wrong when you go hatin’ on El Camino! How did this debate work out? Well, our conversation went something like this:

Your Humble Critic: We checked out El Camino the other night. It’s the new place with the Cali-Mex surfer/tiki-bar vibe that’s run by the Silver Dollar peeps in the old Avalon space on Bardstown. It is truly awesome.

The Bar Belle: I went the other night and wasn’t impressed.

Critic: Whaaa? Continue reading

Fried chicken at the Coach Lamp

Food Network loves The Coach Lamp, but who loves Food Network?

Okay, I am just going to come right out and say it: I am so over Food Network. Have been for years, really.

She’s like an old flame, full of bad memories of a romance that I try to suppress now that I’m no longer quite so young and stupid. Oh, I loved her back then, I truly did. It was late coming to Louisville, and I lusted after it in my heart when I read my friends’ stories online about her seductive wiles. And when she finally came to town, sometime around the turn of the millennium, as I recall, I was smitten, so smitten. Continue reading

The quinoa-chickpea cake at North End Cafe.

North End Cafe: Now a local institution

North End Cafe has just about become a Louisville institution, and it didn’t take all that long to do so. Co-owner and Chef Christopher Seckman celebrated the 10th anniversary of the original North End Cafe on lower Frankfort Avenue last spring – it’s a place of enduring popularity. Now the second North End Cafe, located at the Douglass Loop in the former Club Grotto location, appears to be going strong after a year and a half.
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S'more on a donut at Tom+Chee. LEO photo by Ron Jasin

Tom+Chee does it on a donut … or not

What doesn’t go better on a donut?

As I write this, I am still faintly aquiver with the sensory memory of a childhood pleasure, the s’more — that classic combination of crisp, slightly sweet graham cracker set with a couple squares of Hershey bar, topped with the melty, sugary, caramelized joy of a fire-roasted marshmallow just hot enough to melt the milky chocolate … and then, the pièce de résistance, the crème de la crème, all this goodness squished between halves of a sizzling, seductively greasy grilled donut. Mmmmm, dooooonuts.

I bet you think I’m at the State Fair.
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