For a change of pace this week, let’s start with a rant. A political rant! A rant about food politics!
I don’t want to say Michael Pollan or Mark Bittman are latecomers to the party. But I’m sure I’m not the only Boomer who woke up to the issues of food justice a generation earlier when I read Frankie Moore Lappé’s “Diet for a Small Planet” and “Food First” back in the ’70s, when being a “foodie” -a name not yet invented -was just becoming a thing.
The idea that there was a connection between stuffing our faces, feeding hungry people locally, fighting hunger around the world and pushing back against the food industry’s excesses from Frankenfood chemistry to horrific concentrated animal feeding operations came as a new and exciting notion back then.
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.
You don’t need to know nearly as much French as you used to do in order to enjoy dinner without assistance at La Coop. Well, you don’t need a French dictionary much, anyway, once you translate the moniker “Bistro à Vins” to discover that it means something like “unpretentious eatery and wines.” Continue reading
If you grew up in Louisville and have roots here more than three or four generations deep, it’s likely you have more than a few Germans perched on the branches of your family tree. Indeed, Louisville’s identity is shaped in substantial part by a German heritage that dates back to the 1840s, when a tide of German refugees from political and religious persecution came over to America in search of freedom.
Few of us speak German now; and if we do, we probably learned it in school, not at home. But when we think of comfort food, chances are that our family favorites have German roots. Continue reading
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
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
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
“Oh, times, oh customs.” as the ancient Roman philosopher-politician Marcus Tullius Cicero said. (Well, okay, actually, Cicero said “O tempora O mores” in the original Latin, but that’s another story for another day.) Cicero’s ringing phrase tells us, simply, that as time passes, things change. Continue reading
How good is Exchange Pub + Kitchen? Why, it’s a Pillar of its community.
I mean that literally: This month the popular spot in New Albany’s buzzing downtown dining scene won one of the city’s Pillar Awards, which recognize contributors to downtown restoration and renovation. Exchange Pub won the Horizon Award, honoring co-owners Ian and Nikki Hall for their 2012 move from the Grant Line Road area into the historic 1875-era Shrader Stables building downtown, the New Albany Tribune reported.
All right, boys and girls, it’s time for our French lesson!
First, let’s review: “Bonjour” … “Merci!” … “S’il vous plaît” … “Je voudrais un verre de vin rouge.”
Today, let us consider the incredible egg: a gift of nature that’s supremely edible when we handle it right, but when it’s raw or overcooked, not so much.
You see, eggs coagulate, a process the American Egg Board explains as “the denaturation of protein, which is when proteins lose their native, water-soluble structure and become insoluble. … The change of state — from liquid to solid or semi-solid, known as coagulation or gelation — results when the egg protein structure is altered from its native form by whipping or heating, or both.”
Yeah, right, OK, so what? Well, as it happens, this process can be both a blessing and a curse for those who love eggs and the chefs who cook them. Continue reading
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