Category Archives: $$ Modest ($20-$40)

Bentuhua Teahouse's Ga-li Fan

We eat 2,000 grains of rice at charming Bentuhua Teahouse

“I like rice,” the late, wacky stand-up comic Mitch Hedberg famously said. “Rice is great if you’re hungry and want 2,000 of something.”

This is funny because it’s a presumably true statement about a reality that we’ve probably never considered before, and yanks a laugh out of our bellies before we suddenly come up short with the obvious follow-up: “So what?”
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Griddled cheese at Craft House

Craft House: “You’re not really here for the food, are you, Bob?”

Remember the old joke about a hunter’s repeated efforts to bag a giant grizzly bear? It’s a little too long and risque to quote here in full, but it ends with the bear lovingly whispering, “You’re not really here for the hunting, are you, Bob?”

Craft House in Crescent Hill is kind of like that too. Continue reading

The sweet potato veggie burger at Bread and Breakfast

Can you say “Bread and Breakfast” three times fast?

Let’s head over to New Albany and get some bed and break … um … bed and break … DAMMIT! I mean BED AND BREAKFAST! No, BREAD! AND BEKKFAST! DAMMIT AGAIN!

Let’s face it. If I was mean enough to mark a place down because its name is hard to say, then this charming little bakery and b-r-e-a-k-f-a-s-t and lunch eatery at the corner of New Albany’s Main and Bank streets would be in a heap of trouble.
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Vit Phá Lau, the "real" duck at Vietnam Kitchen

Duck taunters all win at Vietnam Kitchen

Hey! Vietnamese Kitchen’s got duck! Succulent, delicious duck, fatty and rich! And they’ve got “mock duck,” too: an alternative invented by vegetarian Buddhist monks! Either way, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be … well, you know.

Naturally my mind spun a Pythonesque duck-taunting fight.
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The St Matthews at Coals Artisan Pizza

We enlist in the war for Coals. Pizza, that is.

There are just 28 days left before Election Day 2014 as you read this, and that means we must endure 672 more hours of television, radio, robo-call and Internet advertising time. In this market, a great deal of this mind-numbing noise will be devoted to Senator-since-forever Mitch McConnell and his feisty challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Okay fine, I get it, that’s how the system works in 21st century America. Well, that, and limitless contributions by anonymous corporate interests, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

I have made my decision and probably won’t stray from it, so I’m doing my best to tune out the constant drone. But sometimes it’s hard to ignore.

For instance, why in the heck do they keep talking about coal? Continue reading

The fish taco at El Mundo

El Mundo: Still a favorite after 20 years

It’s hard to believe that it has been more than 20 years since we moved back to Louisville after a sojourn in New York City. This town has changed a lot in the past two decades, and certainly the Frankfort Avenue restaurant row has evolved almost beyond recognition.

“You’ll like Frankfort Avenue,” a friend told us as we packed the moving van to head west from Gotham. “There’s a great new place called the Irish Rover!” And she was right. Along with Deitrich’s, which had been a pioneer in the neighborhood, and more recent arrivals Porcini and a local coffee shop that preceded Heine Bros’ Crescent Hill branch, the avenue was looking pretty exciting.

And then in 1995 came El Mundo, and the “new” Frankfort Avenue was on its way. Continue reading

Pad-Thai at TanThai.

It’s worth fighting the bridges to get to TanThai

The news that Thai-Siam had closed after 25 years of dishing up Thai cuisine to Louisville-area diners came with more of a sense of nostalgia than loss, I’d say.

When it opened in 1989, I was beside myself with joy. Having discovered Thai cuisine in California way back in the day, I loved it so hard, and ached for it to make its way east. Continue reading

Huevos Rancheros at El Camino

El Camino’s brunch wows us with Latino style

What? The food guy is going Mexican again? Three weeks running, he’s ricocheted from Argentine beef to taqueria offal to fancified Chicano fare in the surfer tradition? ¿Qué pasa? Or, in the Queen’s English, what’s up with that?

Hmm. I suppose I could claim that I’m dining Latino-style out of solidarity with the flood of kids from Central America who are piling up at our border. I could say I’m doing it to take a stand in a national debate that prompts some Americans to yell that Lady Liberty lifts her lamp beside the golden door only for immigrants who look like us.

And those things could be true.

But to be honest, I mainly went to El Camino this week to check out the Sunday brunch Continue reading

Oyster hushpuppies at Craft House.

Craft House packing them in on Frankfort

Folks in our Crescent Hill neighborhood have been watching with considerable anticipation as a crew associated with Louisville’s Bluegrass Brewing Co. sped through a major “gut rehab” of the old Darkstar tavern, converting what had been frankly a rather grim saloon into an airy, inviting temple to all things local beer and food.
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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