Category Archives: Mexican & Southwestern

Seviche's Churrascos de Argentina.

Seviche remains No. 1 even when the chef’s away

This time it was special. A birthday, an anniversary, and I wanted to treat my bride to the city’s best. So who’s No. 1? It’s gotta be Seviche.

We all know that this city is blessed with a grand buffet of great restaurants, with 20 or more that can dominate on any given day. But Chef Anthony Lamas’ pan-Latino gastronomic temple on Bardstown Road rings my chimes consistently loud and clear.
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Chile Relleno and a burrito at Mango's

On the Mexican road again …

“On the road again” … “En la carretera nuevamente …” Hmm. Willie Nelson’s classic ballad doesn’t translate very well, rhythmically speaking. You just can’t make the syllables fit the notes. But that’s not important right now. What’s important right now is Mexican food, because it’s filling and spicy and delicious.

I like Mexican food, and I like languages, and I’ve still got a lot to learn about both things. But there’s always room for more learning, both in the food department and the linguistic department. Like most Americans — er, Norteamericanos, that is — my language skills are weak.

“Eureka,” I said, an exclamation that works in English, Spanish and Greek. “Why don’t I go eat at some Mexican restaurants? I can practice my Spanish on the servers!”
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TropiCuba's Lechon Asado

We celebrate Cuba at TropiCuba

After 50 years of nutty national policy toward Cuba, our president, giving the finger to a recalcitrant congress, has shifted foreign-policy gears, reaching out to our island neighbor just south of Florida, demonstrating to our joy that Obama’s just another name for nothing left to lose.
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The Ville Taqueria's Veggie Taco

The cat ate my review. No, really!

After quite a few years writing a weekly column about food, I’ve learned a thing or two. For instance:
* When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
* That which does not kill us makes us strong.
* The deadline monster must be fed.
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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

Fish taco at The Ville Taqueria.

Ville Taqueria brings St. Matthews an alternative to pizza

Everyone likes Mexican food, don’t we? But what do we mean when we say “Mexican”?

If our grandparents in Louisville knew Mexican food at all, they probably meant chili con carne, a spicy mix of beans and beef served over spaghetti.
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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

Lengua tacos at El Molcajete

Feeling offal? Check out your local taqueria

Menudo, the fabulously strong flavored and fiery Mexican stew made from pork chitlins (“chitterlings,” to the prissy, or, if you insist on a definition in English, pork intestines) is one of the world’s most trusted hangover cures.

This may relate to the truth that, no matter how bad you feel, if you can hold down a stenchy ration of menudo, you can probably hold down just about anything.
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Tacos and a house margarita at Wild Rita's. LEO photo by Frankie Steele.

The ‘ritas are the wildest thing at Wild Rita’s

So, just how wild are the ‘ritas at Wild Rita’s?

Well, this new spot just east of downtown, within the noise penumbra and particulates shadow of the Great Bridge Boondoggle, offers 10, count ‘em 10, variations on the margarita, not to mention tequila cocktails, tequila tastings and nearly 100 fine tequilas by the bottle or drink. It would take more effort than I’m willing to expend to answer this question definitively. Continue reading

Spinach empanada at Gara Empanadas

Dashboard Dining With Latin flavor At Gara Empanadas

Wow! I’ve got to tell you about the cozy little place where we ate on a trip out to Oldham County the other day.

It was a small space, intimate but surprisingly comfortable as we sat surrounded by walls of glass that let in plenty of sunlight and the suburban view. The colors were muted, almost spartan, wsoft upholstery and crisp edges in shades of gray. The seating was most comfortable of all, form-fitting and even adjustable; and we could take our pick among scores of entertainment channels. Really, about the only downside I could see was the the big steering wheel in my lap that made it kind of hard to get at my food.

Yep, we were dashboard dining! Continue reading