Category Archives: LEO’s Eats

Echoes of Bakersfield at The Silver Dollar

Back in the day, when I was young and stupid, I would often make the long drive down California’s agricultural Central Valley, burning up the Golden State Highway to visit a girlfriend at UCLA.

When I hit the dusty town of Bakersfield, surrounded by oil rigs and potato fields, I knew I was within 100 miles and a couple of fast-driving hours over the Santa Monica Mountains to my destination. Sometimes I would reward myself with a pit stop and a cold beer at some dark and noisy honky-tonk, where the dominant sound was invariably loud country music.
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Road trip to Rick’s White Light pays off in good eats

I settled in, craving a po’boy, and asked the gent behind the counter what seemed like a simple question: “This month doesn’t have an ‘R’ in it. How are the oysters?” The raspy-voiced guy in the ball cap shot me a grin. “Are you kidding? You’re thinking about Gulf oysters. These are from Chesapeake Bay, and they’re good all year ’round.”
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We chew on the year in eats

It’s been a decent year in Louisville dining, as most years are in this burg where we love our food and drink. A few regrettable losses have been balanced by a squadron of appetizing new arrivals. New and old, Louisville’s restaurants seem to be holding their own in the face of ongoing economic hard times.

Let’s take a quick, hungry look at some of my favorite restaurant arrivals of the past year:

GASTROPUBBERY

What in the heck is a gastropub? Bank Street Brewhouse previewed the genre with its 2009 arrival in New Albany (415 Bank St., 812-725-9585). The top new spot of 2010: The Blind Pig in Butchertown (1078 E. Washington St., 618-0600), which lured The New York Times to town to check out its snout-to-tail homage to pork. Village Anchor Pub & Roost (11507 Park Road, 708-1850), Anchorage’s memorable new gastropub, packs them in by dishing out “comfort food with a twist.” Eiderdown (983 Goss Ave., 290-2390) fits the niche with German-Southern cuisine and well-chosen libations. Dish on Market (434 W. Market St., 315-0669) earns a spot in this category, too, particularly after lunch, when its menu changes to an array of small plates.

PIZZA

Did someone say pizza? New pizzerias have been popping up all over. Chef Allen Rosenberg’s Papalino’s NY Pizzeria (947 Baxter Ave., 749-8525) puts together a mighty fine New York-style pie with creative flair. Other recent arrivals include Naked Pizza (135 Breckenridge Lane, 410-2211), where they make it healthy; DiOrio’s Pizza & Pub (310 Wallace Ave., 618-3424); and Danny Mac’s, now sharing space with Amvets Post 9 (1567 S. Shelby St., 635-7994). Watch out for Coals Artisan Pizza and its Brooklyn-style coal oven, coming to the Vogue complex.

NEW FAVES

There’s no theme here. Some of these spots are ethnic. I like ethnic. Others are down-home, and I like that, too. (Listed alphabetically.)

• DiFabio’s Casapela (2311 Frankfort Ave., 891-0411)

• El Rumbon Cuban Trailer (210-9087)

• Hillbilly Tea (120 S. First St., 587-7350)

• Istanbul Palace (2840 Goose Creek Road, 425-6060)

• Joe Davola’s (901 Barret Ave., 690-5377)

• La Colombiana (808 Lyndon Lane, Suite 105, 742-1179)

• Little India Café (3099 Breckenridge Lane, Suite 101, 479-3353)

• Michele’s on Goss (946 Goss Ave., 409-5909)

• Mozz Mozzarella Bar & Enoteca (445 E. Market St., 690-6699)

• Mr. Pollo Restaurant (3606 1/2 Klondike Lane, 618-2280)

• Peking City Bistro (12412 Shelbyville Road, 253-6777)

• Wild Ginger Sushi Bistro (1700 Bardstown Road, 384-9252)

• Zen Tea House (2246 Frankfort Ave., 618-0878)

WATCH OUT FOR . . .

Perhaps the biggest new deal is Majid Ghawami’s Majid’s, a major reworking of the Chenoweth Square space that hasn’t found a solid tenant since Rick’s moved out. Ghawami, who will keep one foot in Volare and the other here, turning over Saffron’s to a new proprietor, promises a mix of American small plates and the cuisine of the Persian Empire. The bar’s open now; the dining room is coming soon.

We’ve also got our eyes on the aforementioned Coals Pizza, Hammerheads (821 Swan St., 365-1112) and, later this year, the Comfy Cow’s arrival in the steam-cleaned and power-washed Genny’s. Watch out for Gary’s on Spring, Harvest on Market and NA Exchange in New Albany in the new year.

Breakfast, tapas? Have it your way at North End

North End breakfast

Where is it written that eggs must be reserved for breakfast? In my culinary Day Timer, an omelet makes a splendid date for dinner. Scrambled eggs go down well anytime. And bacon! There’s no hour of the day or night when the thought of smoky, salty bacon won’t inspire a hunger pang.
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