Category Archives: $ Budget (under $20)

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

Kingfish on Fridays

Kingfish
Hearts of oak: Faux Olde Englishe and whimsical nautical decor provide the River Road Kingfish an atmosphere surprisingly reminiscent of the Galt House. Photo by Robin Garr.

Fat Tuesday is inexorably followed by Ash Wednesday and 40 days of Lent; and even for those of us who don’t religiously adhere to the custom of fast and abstinence, enjoying a platter of sizzling fried fish is a tradition of the season that’s easy to indulge in.

The other night, rushing the season a bit, we wandered over to the Kingfish restaurant near the foot of Zorn Avenue (3021 River Road, [502] 895-0544) for a pre-Lent preview at one of Louisville’s most enduring fish restaurants, a chain founded in 1948 and named, believe it or not, after a character on the then-popular Amos and Andy radio show.
Continue reading Kingfish on Fridays

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

Travel back in time at Schuler’s

Schuler's
The crowded parking lot at Schuler’s in Henryville, Ind., signals a popular neighborhood establishment. Photo by Fred Schloemer.

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes

Imagine a world without fast-food restaurants, with no golden arches beckoning hungry travelers. It’s almost unthinkable in this day and age, but if you can do it, you’re probably at least 50. For anyone younger, fast food has always been a fact of life.

So says local free-lance writer (and psychotherapist) FRED SCHLOEMER, who favors us this week with this reminiscence of Schuler’s Family Restaurant in Henryville, Ind., a veritable gustatory time machine that can whisk us back to the days when the Beatles were young and Elvis was still alive.

Tell us about it, Fred!
Continue reading Travel back in time at Schuler’s

Coffee buzz

If we get many more coffee shops around this town, Louisville might just take over New York City’s reputation as the city that never sleeps, and the most audible Thunder Over Louisville may become a caffeine buzz.
The two latest entries – Blue Mountain Coffee House and Jackson’s Organic Coffee – both offer a truly splendid cuppa, but they differ dramatically in style.

Chris Stockton
Christopher Stockton is co-proprietor of Jackson’s Organic Coffee, a drive-through located next to the Sav-A-Step on Lexington Road near Payne Street. Photo by Robin Garr.

Jackson’s Organic Coffee is not even a coffee shop. There’s no sit-down or table service, only a drive-through window, at this little pumpkin-color building next door to the Sav-A-Step on Lexington Road near Payne Street.

Co-proprietor Christopher Stockton, an expatriate Brit, is an aggressive perfectionist about organic, sustainable and fair-trade coffees, sold through the drive-up window or canned on the premises for sale by upscale vendors like, so far, Rainbow Blossom, two of the Valu Markets and Mayan Café.

Coffee and espresso drinks range in price from $1.75 for a small drip coffee to $3.75 for a large cappuccino or latte. The drive-up window is open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays except holidays; closed weekends.

The other recent and welcome arrival is Blue Mountain Coffee House Wine & Tapas Bar (400 E. Main St., 582-3220), where host Nicholas Arno adds a Jamaican accent as he vends Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee in sleek, sophisticated new quarters. Eat ‘N’ Blog correspondent LEAH STEWART declares it her favorite caffeine dispensary, and files this report:

Blue Mountain is a treat to the senses. A curved saltwater fish tank inset into the bar greets guests with colorful fish; tempered glass countertops are the color of island waters, and artfully contemporary tables and chairs look as though they leapt from the pages of a magazine. Jamaican art adorns walls painted in a sun-kissed gold and sapphire blue.

Blue Mountain coffee is some of the most expensive in the world, and there’s a good reason for that. The Blue Mountains of Jamaica have the perfect climate, terrain and rainfall to produce coffee. It’s as if the coffee gods touched the earth at this one spot and said, “Here!”

I tried it in a drink combined with cocoa and chunks of chocolate. It was smooth, unbelievably rich and pleasantly not sweet. Some mocha coffees are sweet enough to make your teeth hurt, but Blue Mountain’s coffee drinks are decidedly adult. Our daughter’s Submarino, a sophisticated hot chocolate, was a decadent, silky chocolate experience created for sipping, not guzzling. For lunch, a Blue Mountain Cheese Platter ($9.95) consisted of three finely crafted cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, grapes and two kinds of crackers. Friends enjoyed the Southwest chicken paninis ($6.95), declaring them crispy on the outside and chock full of savory chicken on the inside.

An evening visit proved that there are people downtown at night! Several groups of friends were discussing work, sampling and choosing wine at the wine bar and enjoying coffee and tea. A basic espresso drink, a decaf latte, was dark and rich, topped by a generous head of foam. A chai tea was deliciously different: Not sweet, and without any overpowering notes of clove and cardamom, the peppery chai was spiced delicately and perfectly.

The Earl of Sandwich and his portable feast

Bootleg's Q
You can get mutton (on bun at lower right) and lots of other good Q at Bootleg Bar-B-Q. Photos by Robin Garr.

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Ole Hickory Pit, Bootleg Bar-B-Q, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches)

Let us sing the praises today of John Montagu, Fourth Earl of Sandwich, who one day in 1762 decided to place his lunch between two slices of bread, creating the portable meal that to this day bears his name. “Sandwich,” I mean. Belly up to the bar and call for a ham-and-cheese Montagu, and people will just look at you funny.
Continue reading The Earl of Sandwich and his portable feast