Category Archives: Mexican, Cuban, Caribbean

Cochinita pibil at Mayan Cafe takes us straight to Yucatán

Cochinita pibil. These two Spanish words – one common, the other not so much – shine a bright light on both the Mayan cuisine of Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula and neighboring Guatemala and into one of Louisville’s favorite South-of-the-Border restaurants, Mayan Cafe.

So what’s a cochinita pibil? A little pig – that’s the easy part – long and slowly roasted in a tart, flavorful marinade of sour oranges and Mayan spices, housed in a large metal box and lowered into a pib, the traditional Mayan fire pit.

Mayan Cafe doesn’t have a giant fire-in-the-hole in the tiny kitchen of its NuLu home, but I can testify that Chef Bruce Ucán’s oven-roasted rendition is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen done to pork. Continue reading Cochinita pibil at Mayan Cafe takes us straight to Yucatán

We love tacos, and I Love Tacos does them right

I should have probably gotten out to I Love Tacos in Jeffersontown sooner. It certainly got my attention when its owners were brave enough to open up (takeout and curbside service only) on March 25, one week after Governor Andy shut down dining in across the state.

And then there’s that “I ?? Tacos” logo with an emoji heart. I don’t think I’ve ever checked in at a restaurant with an emoji in its name until now. Continue reading We love tacos, and I Love Tacos does them right

What pandemic? El Mundo Highlands is up and running

It takes a certain bold spirit and lack of risk aversion to open a new restaurant during a pandemic when, at best, restaurants face an extraordinary burden of regulation for our health and safety.

That didn’t slow down the folks at El Mundo, though. Not only did they open their second restaurant – El Mundo Highlands – last month, but they did it in the oversize (4,000 square-foot, four-levels) space that long housed Asiatique and much more briefly its successor, Flavour Restaurant. Continue reading What pandemic? El Mundo Highlands is up and running

MexA Taco deliciously satisfies our Mexican-food crave

If you haven’t been watching Padma Lakshmi’s new series, Taste the Nation, on Hulu, you really should start. The host of Bravo’s popular Top Chef moves to something completely different with this series that focuses on food culture in America through the eyes and taste buds of immigrant communities.

In Episode 1, “Burritos on the Border,” she covered restaurants and tortillas and immigration and politics in El Paso, Texas, and its neighbor Juarez, Mexico. The program was fascinating, and it made me crave tacos so hard that we headed straight for MexA Steak Tacos the very next day. Continue reading MexA Taco deliciously satisfies our Mexican-food crave

Galan’s offers a tasty oasis in a West End food desert

Many of Louisville’s West End neighborhoods are defined as food deserts, places where low-income neighbors don’t have easy access to supermarkets. But Carlos Galan is trying to do something about that.

Galan, who came to Louisville from Florida five years ago with his wife, Kim, saw potential in the West End, and he is taking practical steps to bring food to the Market Street neighborhood where Russell meets Portland. Continue reading Galan’s offers a tasty oasis in a West End food desert

Noche, the church of Mexican BBQ

The tall gray stone sanctuary of Calvary Lutheran Church was approaching its 90th anniversary when its congregation, aging and declining in numbers, regretfully decided to pack it in. “Emptying the building. Sad work,” the Rev. Austin Newberry wrote in February 2016 in the final post on Calvary’s Facebook page.

But now the lofty nave is filled with a new kind of spirit as Noche Mexican BBQ, opened early in August, settles in. Continue reading Noche, the church of Mexican BBQ