Category Archives: Baxter, Bardstown, Highlands

Zen and the art of vegetarian dining

Big Salad
Big Salad: City Café’s Jim Henry used to make this big salad for himself, but his customers at the Mid-City Mall location convinced him to add it to the menu. It’s a vegetarian meal in itself. Photos by Robin Garr.

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(City Café, Zen Garden, Shiraz)

I’m a carnivore, an obligate carnivore. I like meat and find it hard to imagine life without beefsteaks, pork chops, poultry or fish on my plate.

And yet … and yet … when I wax philosophical, I can see some strong arguments for vegetarianism.

I can see it when I think about eating for health and nutrition; and I can see it when I remember reading “Diet for a Small Planet” back in the day, and learning just how many resources are spent on getting a steak to my table.
Continue reading Zen and the art of vegetarian dining

Pizza with a New York accent at Hero’s

Pizza at Hero's
Thin and foldable, NYC-style, a cheese slice and a pepperoni slice from Hero’s in Jeffersontown. Photos by Robin Garr

(Voice-Tribune, May 10, 2007)
Pizza has become an all-American food since immigrants from Southern Italy brought it over to the United States in Ellis Island days, and particularly since its popularity exploded nationwide after World War II.

What was originally a simple way for Italian peasant families to get rid of leftovers has become a national passion, with variations that range from New York City’s thin, portable pizza by the slice to Chicago’s deep-dish, casserole-style pie, and on to some of Wolfgang Puck’s far-out California creations. Salmon and caviar pizza with creme fraiche, anyone?
Continue reading Pizza with a New York accent at Hero’s

Cravin’ Asian at Shah’s Mongolian

Two build-your-own stir-fries at Shah’s Mongolian Grill. Photo by Robin Garr

(Voice-Tribune, April 12, 2006)

I love Italian food and wine and sometimes feel that I can’t get enough of it. But after spending over two weeks in Northern Italy, enjoying the real thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I came home last week just about ready for a change of pace.

But what, exactly, would fill the bill? Instinctively, I emulated the Italian nobleman Marco Polo, who headed for the exotic East in 1266 and found all manner of good things: I headed for Louisville’s East End to check out a favorite Asian eatery that I was overdue to visit because of ownership changes and new offerings since my last review.
Continue reading Cravin’ Asian at Shah’s Mongolian

Keeping things balanced on Bardstown

Ballyhoo's Baja Grill
A fish taco (top) and a shrimp taco (with optional jalapeños) at Ballyhoo’s Baja Grill. Photo by Robin Garr.

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Ballyhoo’s Baja Grill, Just Fresh)

Bardstown Road has been established as Louisville’s primary “restaurant row” for so long now that things seem to have achieved a sort of natural balance: If one eatery closes, chances are something similar will be along soon to fill its niche.

So, when the short-lived Baja Fresh closed after only a few months of vending fast-food-style fresh burritos out of a shiny new glass building, and a similarly ephemeral branch of Bazo’s came and went from the old building that once housed Jupiter Café and is now home to Nio’s, no one really expected that Bardstown would be long bereft of fish tacos. Or, for that matter, that Qdoba and La Bamba would dominate the boulevard’s burrito market without challenge.

Sure enough, now comes Ballyhoo’s Baja Grill, a new spot that looks a lot like a franchised chain operation but that’s actually only the smallest of chains, being the third property of a Nashville-based outfit whose eateries at the other end of the old L&N line bear the trademark name “Chile Burrito Co.”
Continue reading Keeping things balanced on Bardstown

Hot, hotter, hottest

Green chicken curry
Chile flakes paint Vietnam Kitchen’s Gào xào ca ry cay (green chicken curry) a pointillist’s palette of fiery red. It is as hot as the furnaces of Hades. Photo by Robin Garr.

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Thai Smile 5, Sala Thai, Vietnam Kitchen)

A man like me who eats and drinks for a living really needs to be serious about exercise, and I’m not talking about namby-pamby exercises like golf or light jogging, where you barely break a sweat.

No, to survive in the professional dining game, you need to work out until you’re breathing hard, dripping sweat, red in the face, nose running and virtually screaming with the pain of it all. No pain, no gain, after all.

Happily, I’ve discovered an appealing way to achieve this state without having to work out: Simply include in your diet a minimum daily requirement of fiery food. Continue reading Hot, hotter, hottest

Fat Tuesday Valentine at Joe’s OK Bayou

Joe's OK Bayou
Nothing says “I love you”: like a plate of gumbo, jambalaya and fried crawfish tails from Joe’s OK Bayou. Dig in! Photo by Robin Garr.

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Joe’s OK Bayou, Ramsi’s Cafe on the World)

It’s a long way from the Louisiana bayou country to the shopping centers that are rapidly replacing forests and fields on New Albany’s far north side, but once you step into Joe’s OK Bayou, the distance seems to disappear. Or some of it, anyway.

Like its Kentucky-side counterpart in Plainview, this relatively new edition of Joe’s (it opened the autumn before last) turns bland shopping-center space into a modest replica of a Cajun-country saloon. The walls are painted to resemble a fishing shack surrounded by cypress trees and subtropical birds. Zydeco music in the background and glowing Abita beer signs complete the Acadian ambience, and the food does a reasonably good job of evoking the bayou country, too. Continue reading Fat Tuesday Valentine at Joe’s OK Bayou