“Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast.” Or maybe “beast.” Everybody thinks the Bard wrote this, but it was actually William Congreve, a decidedly lesser poet who lived a century or so after Bill Shakspear trod the boards.
My breast was savage, and so was my beast, the other day. I was crabby. I’ll admit it. And I showed few signs of getting better. What was gnawing at my liver? Let me count the ways. (The Bard really did say that.)
If you’ve been reading my gustatory musings for any time, you know that I bring a strong locavore sensibility to this work. I like to eat local food, and I prefer to dine at local restaurants. When I do business with a bank, grocer, optician, investment adviser, newspaper and, most definitely, restaurant, I like to know that the owner herself is available for a conversation, will look me in the eye, shake my hand, and offer me a fair deal.
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
Just weeks after smacking a home run with El Taco Luchador, their tiny taqueria-style eatery in the midst of the Baxter Avenue fun zone, the team of Fernando and Christina Martinez and Fernando’s cousin Yaniel Martinez have slammed another rocketing blast high over the left field bleachers with The Place Downstairs. The place, specifically, is downstairs (via a quick elevator ride) within Mussel & Burger Bar, another of the Martinez’s growing list of restaurant success stories. Continue reading
As the signature upscale shopping district in Tokyo, Ginza is a landmark akin to Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, Miraflores in Lima or Chicago’s purportedly magnificent Michigan Avenue. Which suggests that Ginza Asian Bistro, a newish suburban eatery in Louisville, has set itself to a mighty high standard with its choice of moniker.
When you first step through the door of this flashy spot on Shelbyville Road near Hurstbourne, with its pools of translucent blue, green and red lights marking out space on the ceilings and walls, lots of mirrors and an oversize lighted fish tank, you might feel a flash of high color and high tech that could make you think, “Ginza, yeah!” Continue reading
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
“Je vais avoir le canard,” said my friend Anne, summoning a French teacher and one-time expat’s easy fluency.
Our server looked puzzled, though. “Maybe you could point it out on the menu,” he said, blushing a little. “I’m still learning the dishes.”
I’m not picking on the guy, though. He showed Hemingway-esque grace under fire as our party of four spent the evening on a lavish meal at Brasserie Provence. We enjoyed his service, a fine Loire Cabernet Franc and an excellent, mostly authentic Provencal meal while allowing plenty of slack for a kitchen slammed by capacity crowds on its first full weekend. Continue reading
Okay, I have to admit, I was dubious at first about the idea of this new place in J’town bringing together mussels and burgers as its signature dishes.
When I heard that Cristina and Fernando Martinez and his cousin, Yaniel, were going to build a bill of fare around two such disparate edibles, my imagination pushed back: “One of these things is not like the other.”
My friend Anne and I wanted to catch a quick lunch close to the office the other day, so we wheeled down the way just a mile or two and cut into a gritty little strip center with a Mexican grocery and taqueria on one end and an Iranian grocery and shawarma shop on the other.
Downtown? Nope! This little center of international good eats sits on the south side of suburban Westport Road about halfway between Westport Village and Springhurst, but its culinary offerings differ mightily from the modern delights of the more traditional suburban centers. Continue reading
Okay, let’s review the geography of pizza, nature’s most nearly perfect food.
Born in Naples, Italy, it came to the United States with Italian immigrants and soon became a favorite in New York City and the urban Northeast.
Like so many other things, this deliciously cheesy, tangy, salty supper on a plate went national with the Baby Boom. And as it grew, it evolved, taking on regional differences as cities made it their own.
Who doesn’t like a good, juicy burger? It’s ground bliss on a bun, and if you pair it with something else delicious and it gets even better. Burgers and cheese! Burgers and onions! Burgers and fries! Burgers and onion rings, oh my!
But “let’s go get some burgers and mussels” said no person ever. Until the recent arrival of Mussel & Burger Bar, that is, which suddenly has us musing about combinations of artistic dishes never tasted before.
Some guacamole walked into a bar, and the bartender said, “Hey! There’s a restaurant named after you.” “What? There’s a restaurant named Wilbur?”
Well, no. And my career as a stand-up comedian should probably end right there. After all, guacamole is nothing to joke about, or at least not much. And if you think guacamole is just some boring green stuff that you use as a dip at cheap Mexican restaurants, you might want to re-think that, too.