Category Archives: Commentary

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

We hablamos a little Spanglish at La Perla del Pacifico

Eat'n'Blog
Illustration by Gina Moeller

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes

It’s a good thing to have at least one really authentic, Spanish-speaking eatery in the East End – it’s a long ride out Preston to the Metro’s more concentrated Latino-eats zone when you’ve got a hankering for something more real than Taco Bell or even the gently Anglicized Mexicano of the more bilingual Mexican eateries, as fine as they can be.

Setting aside the urbanite’s prejudice that there’s nothing of interest east of the Watterson, we recently ventured out to tract mansion country to try the new La Perla del Pacifico (“The Pearl of the Pacific”), and were so impressed by its simpatico combination of fine food, friendly service and fair prices that we’ve gone back again and again.
Continue reading We hablamos a little Spanglish at La Perla del Pacifico

Time for Thai

Lemongrass

(Lemongrass, Thai Taste, Thai Café, Thai-Siam, Voice-Tribune, June 28, 2006)

I’ve never quite understood why lemongrass isn’t more widely popular in Western cuisines. A key ingredient in Southeast Asian cookery, this fragrant herb imparts a lovely lemony perfume with a mellow and tangy complexity that mere lemon juice can’t match.

Bold, bright and crisp flavors like lemongrass inform the delicious dishes of Vietnam and Thailand, in the tropical region that we once called “Indo-China” to signal its location between India and China. It’s no coincidence that the fare of this part of the world derives its character from both of its larger neighbors, melding the light, colorful stir-fries and rice and noodle dishes of East Asia with the spicy and aromatic flavors of South Asia.

The combination rarely fails to delight, and I’m never loath to head out to any of the region’s Vietnamese or Thai eateries when I need a culinary mood-lifter. And now we’ve got one more appetizing option with the arrival of a new branch of Lemongrass Café in the heart of St. Matthews.
Continue reading Time for Thai

A Brown Cow for Daddy and other food weirdness

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Bourbon Stout Float at Jazz Factory, Bubble Tea at TaiPei Café, and more)

Eat'n'Blog
Illustration by Gina Moeller

Last week, when we spent a good deal of our Eat ‘N’ Blog efforts on a wide-ranging survey of the region’s ice creams and related dairy treats, let’s face it, we did it mostly for the kids. Ice cream, after all, is for youngsters … not excluding the inner child who resides within us all.

But ice cream doesn’t have to be a kiddie treat. Consider the remarkable new summer confection that’s drawing oohs and aahs (and yes, the occasional snicker) in the friendly confines of Louisville’s Jazz Factory. The Bourbon Stout Float is a Brown Cow for grown-ups, no mere root beer float but a robust, creamy cooler that substitutes real beer – rich, dark Bourbon Barrel Stout from Browning’s – for the namby-pamby soft drink of childhood.

To embrace the concept of beer and ice cream requires a serious paradigm shift, and even some of my more adventurous foodie friends reject the very notion with a high-pitched, wailing “Eeeeuuuwwww.” Wimps! Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it, I say; and Jazz Factory makes it easy, whipping up a Bourbon Stout Float in a hefty pint glass for $6.50, no more than you’d pay for a 32-ounce The Hulk Chocolate Smoothie at Smoothie King, where you’ll get no alcohol in your 1,300-calorie concoction.
Continue reading A Brown Cow for Daddy and other food weirdness

Stalking the Dairy Dozen

Eat'n'Blog
Illustration by Gina Moeller

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(A dozen ice-cream delights, and we beef it up at Palermo Viejo)

When summer comes and the days turn us into overheated crankpots (pun intended), says Eat ‘N’ Blog correspondent ANDREA ESSENPREIS, she knows what to do: “We need to go out for ice cream. The simple act of sharing a scoop brings back memories of laughter, sticky chins and endless possibilities – which flavor will it be tonight? Cup or cone? Sundae or scoop?”

With Independence Day coming up and July designated as National Ice Cream month, it seemed only right to take on a simple but decidedly appealing challenge: Present a creamy, ice-cold and delicious overview of many things sweet and frozen in the Metro (and a few delights beyond the city limits). Essenpreis was delighted to volunteer for the duty, and I had no qualms about pulling a share of the load. Off we went, in quest of ice cream, and in no particular order, we now present … the Dairy Dozen.
Continue reading Stalking the Dairy Dozen

Finding a deal of a deli in Louisville

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Herman’s Deli, Stevens & Stevens and an Omega My Oh quest for salmon)

Eat'n'Blog
Illustration by Gina Moeller

Here’s something I’ve never quite understood: The word delicatessen, from the German delikatessen, which the Teutons borrowed in turn from the Italian and French words delicatezza and delicatesse, means, well, delicacies or maybe delicate eats.

Delicate? What in the heck is delicate about fatty meats like pastrami, corned beef, tongue and chopped chicken liver, piled high on thick rye bread with mustard and onions and dill pickles? Or, depending on your ethnic preference, an antipasto on a bun, salami and capicola and sopressata and mortadella and maybe a little prosciut’ and some peperoncini peppers on a crusty hero loaf?

Let’s face it: Deli fare is European po’ folks’ comfort food, filling and fatty, designed to fill and fuel the inner person for a hard day’s work.
Continue reading Finding a deal of a deli in Louisville

Big Bubba’s smokin’

Eat'n'Blog
Illustration by Gina Moeller

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Scotty’s BBQ, Heady’z, Gelato Gilberto, Westport General Store)

Yes, we’re talking barbecue again, all right? Get used to it. Properly smoked meat is one of nature’s most perfect foods. Get yourself outside of a rack of juicy, smoky ribs, and you really don’t need much of anything else.

Way out on the far east end of town, a gent who calls himself Big Bubba has been dispensing excellent ribs, with no extra charge for homespun commentary, since back in the day when there wasn’t much else around this tract-mansion-riddled region but corn and potato fields. Eat ‘N’ Blog correspondent DAN FARLEY says it just doesn’t get much better than this:

Let me say this right off the top: If you like barbecued ribs better than I do, you’re one sick puppy. I love them; I can’t do without them; I believe I can tell you where to get the best ribs in the Louisville area: Scotty’s, located at the end of a little strip mall on Shelbyville Road across from Copperfield, is the place.
Continue reading Big Bubba’s smokin’