Category Archives: Baxter, Bardstown, Highlands

Soup Dumplings at The Joy Luck

Soup dumplings? Soup in dumplings wins at The Joy Luck

When I was a child, country-style chicken and dumplings wasn’t a thing in my citified family, but I wanted them to be. I would read about dumplings in children’s books and dream of tasting these succulent-sounding goodies.

“You wouldn’t like them,” my mother said, declining to make some for the family table.

Eventually I got to try some, and sure enough, Mom was right as usual. Thick rectangles of flabby dough, floating in chicken stew? Meh.

But that was before most folks in these parts knew of Chinese dumplings. Continue reading

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La Parrillada at Palermo Viejo

Please your palate, polish your Spanish with Palermo’s Parrillada

Psst! Señoras y Señores! Want to practice your Spanish? Here’s a tip: Go to Palermo Viejo and order the classic Argentine meat platter, La Parrillada.

The name of this dish (literally “The Grill Platter”) offers the Spanish-impaired student a double challenge, as it mashes up two of the toughest consonant pairs in Español: double-r and double-l.
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Polenta Pave at Jack Fry's. Photo by Robin Garr.

The more Jack Fry’s changes, the more it stays the same

Jack Fry’s! The very name of this Highlands landmark makes many of us smile. Fry’s feels like an enduring landmark, a piece of Louisville culinary history that always stays the same. Which is kind of funny when you consider that it has changed both owner and chef since my last review.
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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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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