Category Archives: QuickBytes

Short, conversational mini-reviews that report on new sightings, updates on previously reviewed restaurants or other restaurant reports that may not fit the full-scale review format.

Fast food follies

Corn dog nuggets
How does A&W get those little dogs to roll around in corn? Photos by Robin Garr

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(A&W’s corn dog nuggets, White Castle’s chicken rings; also Primo and more)

The life of a food critic is not all white tablecloths and fawning service and foie gras for breakfast. Take it from me, folks, sometimes I do these things so you won’t have to.

Occasionally it becomes necessary to follow a food trend wherever it takes us, even when it takes us down a road that I would just as soon avoid.

Let us consider, then, the corn dog nugget.

As I reported in our State Fair feature in August, I feel a once-a-year craving for corn dogs that can only be satisfied with one, annual dog-on-a-stick. OK, maybe two.

But what if these crunchy, fatty delights were available year-round, as close as a familiar fast-food spot?
Continue reading Fast food follies

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

La Rosita: A second bouquet

La Rosita

For some time now, since a growing number of Latino immigrants has joined the tide of diversity that adds a healthy variety of ethnic accents to our region, it has become necessary for serious lovers of South-of-the-Border cuisine to subdivide this dining niche into categories.

No longer can we define “Mexican” in terms of Tumbleweed and Chi-Chi’s; not when we can choose among a delicious array of Latino eateries that range across the stylistic spectrum from upscale sit-down dining rooms to lovable “hole-in-the-wall” taquerias where English-speaking monophones are welcome but may be well advised to bring along a Spanish dictionary.

Now something new and delicious has been added: Just over the bridge in New Albany, Israel and Lidia Landin, the proud owners of La Rosita on Charlestown Road, one of the newest and best of the taquerias, have opened a second location in the Southern Indiana suburb. This one’s no mere taqueria, though. Call it “crossover” or “breakout” Mexican, it brings the Landins’ fully authentic (and delicious) native cuisine out of the taqueria category and presents it, in fluent if slightly accented English, in the bistro-style setting of a prettily renovated New Albany building that once housed a 19th century general store.

Continue reading La Rosita: A second bouquet

Tube steak extraordinaire

Zap's

I have a new favorite steak house. That’s tube steak, I mean, a.k.a. the humble hot dog. For perfection in the art of the dog, you just can’t beat Zap’s Gourmet Hotdogs, 423 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd., (502) 587-0251.

This delightful new downtown lunch spot specializes in this simple fare, and does so with a flair that has made it a midday attraction for growing hordes of downtown workers, along with a few gourmands like me who can’t resist making the trek in from Crescent Hill and other places to catch a Zapernak Dog and a mound of the world’s crispiest homemade potato chips.

Housed in the storefront quarters in the old Molee Building that briefly was home to Chutnee’s, a short-lived Indian buffet, Zap’s management has pretty much got the curry scent out of the fixtures. Continue reading Tube steak extraordinaire

Saffron’s, Part Deux

Saffron's

Springing back into action after way too long a break (forced by the demands of my WineLoversPage.com website and wine-related travel to Portugal early in the holiday season), I resume this journal with excellent news for local fanciers of good things to eat: Saffron’s, veteran restaurateur Majid Ghavami’s classy Persian spot that I rank among the city’s best places to dine, is about to open a second downtown location.

Saffron’s Buffet will open soon in the space at 558 S. Fifth St., just north of Chestnut Street, that had housed Manoosh’s until the latter put up the shutters last autumn. (It was originally scheduled for opening in January, but significant renovation needs have prompted some delay. Watch this space for more news.)

Saffron’s Buffet will feature many of Saffron’s popular Persian dishes, styled for buffet service and priced to enjoy at $7.95 for all you can eat. Continue reading Saffron’s, Part Deux

Jay’s is back, better than ever

Jay's

Kevin Nelson, the new executive chef at the just-reopened Jay’s Cafeteria, got a few chuckles when he told a Courier-Journal business reporter, “My goal here is to make it the African-American Vincenzo’s.”

I’ve got news, folks: Based on the polished and professional service we received when we dined here at midday today, Vincenzo’s might just want to start thinking about trying to be the Italian-American Jay’s. The food was excellent, too: Urban soul food, served cafeteria-style – at least for now, it’s an all-you-can-eat deal at $10.99 a person for adults and teen-agers on Sundays – very well prepared by skilled chefs, several of whom I noticed proudly wear the Sullivan University culinary school logo on their whites.
Continue reading Jay’s is back, better than ever