Category Archives: Commentary

Robin Garr’s musings about food and restaurant matters that don’t fit neatly into the “review” category.

Dining and the Delta variant

Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

When I got my Covid vaccination a few months ago, I thought this long national nightmare was over,. Ha! The nasty Delta variant has brought Covid roaring back.

“This is the worst the pandemic has been,” a masked Gov. Andy Beshear told Kentuckians last week, as more than 4,500 new cases were reported daily, and the state’s 13.66% positivity rate set a grim new record. “Please, at least take the same precautions you did earlier in Covid,” Beshear said.

But let’s face it: It doesn’t look as if that’s going to happen. The numbers may look as bad as they did in 2020, but we aren’t all huddled in our houses, again, living on takeout and delivery. Why not? Continue reading Dining and the Delta variant

Many disability access barriers are easy to fix

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

“With today’s signing of the landmark Americans for Disabilities Act,” intoned President George H.W. Bush in March 1990, “every man, .woman, and child with a disability can now pass through once-closed doors into a bright new era of equality, independence, and freedom.” The ADA promised access for disabled people to public accommodations such as restaurants.

Now, 31 years after Bush’s glowing promise, how’s that working out for disabled diners in Louisville restaurants? Continue reading Many disability access barriers are easy to fix

Noosh Nosh satisfies at any time of day

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

Here is the eternal question about dining out: Do we want to go someplace excellent but pricey, or shall we hit an eatery with great affordable fare?

Thanks to the wit and wisdom of Chef Anoosh Shariat, you can jump in the car and hold that decision until you swing into your parking place. Continue reading Noosh Nosh satisfies at any time of day

A happy return to El Mariachi, a favorite taqueria

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

Hola! I finally got back to a favorite taqueria, El Mariachi, last week, and oh, did it make me happy.

Now I wish it hadn’t taken me so long, but I felt uneasy about the idea before I finally got fully vaccinated. There’s typically some language barrier for me at the storefront places I love best – I can read Spanish fairly well, but I’m not good with conversations en español – so I couldn’t gear up to investigate a favorite spot’s takeout and curbside delivery options.

Now that’s over, and I hope it’s over to stay. Continue reading A happy return to El Mariachi, a favorite taqueria

Pints & Union, a London pub in New Albany

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

Let’s head over to New Albany for a London pub experience at Pints & Union! It’s the real deal: They’ve got great beers, ales, porters and stouts! They’ve got that dark and cozy British pub vibe! They’ve got great fish and chips! And they’ve got Indian tikka!

Wait! What?

Yes, you heard that right: The most characteristic British pub-style dish is not the fish and chips that I can hear you assuming, but chicken tikka, the spicy chicken curry dish that Indian immigrants brought to Britain and shared with the world. Continue reading Pints & Union, a London pub in New Albany

We find our way to good eats at Joy Luck

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

It doesn’t seem reasonable to say that it’s hard to find good eats on Bardstown Road on a Sunday afternoon, but I was sure feeling that way the other day.

Trekking through this usually busy restaurant row on a sizzling afternoon, I struck out at three places before we got to Joy Luck. Success! Heck, I really wanted Chinese food anyway, or so I told my easily convinced self. Continue reading We find our way to good eats at Joy Luck

Wild Eggs scores with every plate

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

One cloudy, stormy looking March afternoon last year, when lockdown had just begun and we all were starting to reckon with the scary reality that the pandemic was here to stay for a while, I got out and walked through a completely deserted Westport Village.

I walked up to the big windows at Wild Eggs and saw an eerie scene, chairs perched upside down on tables in the empty room, and a vacant expanse of empty parking lot reflected in the big plate glass windows.

In that moment I decided to come back for a meal, or maybe a few, when things returned to normal. Continue reading Wild Eggs scores with every plate

The restaurant critic ponders the new normal

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

Slowly, gradually, with some stutter steps, Louisville’s restaurant scene, like the nation’s, is edging back toward normal, and I for one am delighted to see that.

But even with widespread vaccination and declining positivity rates that mean many of us are pocketing our masks much of the time, it’s a new kind of normal. Some restaurants have been lost. A few new ones have arrived. Takeout, delivery, even curbside service seem likely to stick as more frequent options than ever before. Continue reading The restaurant critic ponders the new normal

Clay Oven’s star shines in our Indian galaxy

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

Let us take a moment to mark the virtual extinction of the all-you-can-eat buffet. Rendered terrifying by the pandemic and images of contagious hands dipping into communal pans, the restaurant buffet has all but disappeared from our lives.

I for one won’t mourn it much, with a solitary exception: I miss Indian restaurant buffets, and you should, too. My reasoning on this is simple: A lot of people are still discovering Indian food, and the buffet makes it easy. Even if you don’t know the difference between aloo and bhindi (all right, potato and okra), you can learn a lot by grazing the buffet. Try a little taste of this, a dab of that, and before long you’ve gotten to know the cuisine. Continue reading Clay Oven’s star shines in our Indian galaxy

We scream, do you scream, for ice not-cream?

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

I’m not vegan, although I can see the argument against industrially produced dairy products, and I don’t even like milk. It would be hard for me to give up favorites like artisanal cheeses, pastured eggs, and ice cream, though.

But that ice-cream thing may be changing. The other day I noticed a case at Graeter’s promoting its new line of Graeter’s-branded Perfect Indulgence Vegan ice cream, animal free and lactose free in assorted flavors at $7.99 for a pint. Continue reading We scream, do you scream, for ice not-cream?