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

Feeling the harmonious vibes

Jerusalem Cafe
Jerusalem Café, which opened in July near U of L, is the most recent entry in Louisville’s eclectic and growing collection of Middle Eastern eateries. Photo by Robin Garr

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Jerusalem Café, Kim’s no-beef burger tour)

One of the world’s most historic cities, Jerusalem is sacred to three major religions. It seems kind of pitiful that they’ve spent much of the last couple of millennia fighting over it.

Happily, though, there doesn’t seem to be any conflict about Jerusalem Cafe, the most recent entry in Louisville’s eclectic and growing collection of Middle Eastern eateries: Just about everybody agrees it’s really good. (NOTE: Sammy Barghouthi, who was chef at the time of this review in September 2006, moved to Saffron’s Buffet under its new ownership in January 2007.)

Located in the short strip shopping center just west of the University of Louisville’s Belknap Campus, Jerusalem Cafe speaks Middle Eastern with a Palestinian accent. It adds a hint of the Levant to the storefront space that used to house a branch of City Cafe, an impression not diminished by a couple of good Persian carpets spread on the white tile floor and, of course, an appetizing scent of grilling kebabs.
Continue reading Feeling the harmonious vibes

Drop your Kentucky prejudice and head to Bistro New Albany

Bluegrass Bistro
Bistro New Albany occupies much of the ground floor of the old New Albany Inn. Photo by Robin Garr

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes

I always feel a little like I’m traveling to another country when I cross the river into Indiana. Maybe it’s just guilt over having told so many bad Hoosier jokes, but I get this uneasy feeling that someone is going to stand up, point an angry finger in my general direction, and yell “Kentuckian! J’accuse!” Or the Indiana equivalent.

So, I hope all my Hoosier friends won’t be offended when I admit that just about every time I visit downtown New Albany, I feel some sense of surprise when I look around and realize, for the umpteenth time, “Hey, this place is really nice.”

With its intact blocks of sturdy, historic office buildings and its lovely rows of stately Victorian mansions, N’Albany seems to have just about everything a city could want – with the possible exception, unfortunately, of a busy, vibrant street scene after the sun goes down.
Continue reading Drop your Kentucky prejudice and head to Bistro New Albany

Asian “fusion” at Kimis

Kayrouz

(Kimis Asian Bistro, Voice-Tribune, Sept. 13, 2006)

In physics, “fusion” refers to the nuclear process that occurs within stars, where atoms are forced together under high temperature and pressure until they merge, releasing a tremendous amount of energy.

In jazz, fusion is a genre that merges the music with other styles, from rock to rhythm and blues.

And in dining out, fusion represents a creative blend of cuisines that aren’t usually seen on the same plate. At its best, fusion cuisine can be a delight, as pretty as a jazz riff and as energetic as sunlight.

Now restaurateur John Chung brings his gentle brand of fusion to the far East End with Kimis Asian Bistro, offering an easy blend of Japanese dishes accented with Korean and Thai flavors.

Kimis, pronounced “Kim-eez,” represents two Chinese characters that mean “Abundant purity.” It’s independent and locally owned, although stylish modern graphics – and displays of sample bottles of sauces bearing the Kimis brand name, still under development – hint at larger dreams for a chain-to-be.
Continue reading Asian “fusion” at Kimis

Dining among the antiques

Bluegrass Bistro
The Bluegrass Bistro recently opened inside the Derby City Antique Mall in Buechel. Photos by Robin Garr

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Bluegrass Bistro, Hippo Wings, WingZone)

If you want to find a really good lunch in Louisville for a really good price, go shopping for antiques.

Here’s my theory: People who enjoy the hunt for serious antiques and who know how to distinguish the good stuff from junque are also likely to have a well-honed skill at scouting out lunch.

Evidence abounds. One of the best lunch spots in town is The Cafe at the Louisville Antique Mall on Goss Avenue. Shelbyville’s august Wakefield-Scearce Galleries boast the memorable Science Hill dining room. Middletown’s old Main Street, a major destination for antique-hunters, is well served by the estimable Alley Cat Cafe, and the new A Little Peace Cafe is earning good reviews at the Mellwood Arts Center. East Market and Main streets and Frankfort Avenue and Bardstown Road are all famous for both their antiques and their eateries.

Now add Bluegrass Bistro to the mix. Continue reading Dining among the antiques

We chow down (and pig out) at WorldFeast

WorldFeast
Hungry festival-goers congregated in the Kentucky Center lobby last Thursday for WorldFeast. Photos by Robin Garr

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Walking-around bites from 30 Louisville Originals)

It’s not every weekend that you can enjoy the fine fare of a few dozen of the city’s most interesting eateries and wash it all down with an enticing selection of beverages from around the world, for not much more than the price of dinner at a random Bardstown Road bistro.

But this past week, thanks to the one-two combination of WorldFeast in the Kentucky Center Thursday evening and WorldFest on the Belvedere on Friday and Saturday, it was possible to do just that thing, with a world of ethnic music and dancing as a bonus attraction.

WorldFeast, a new venture this year, filled the Main Street performing-arts center’s lofty lobby with tables occupied by more than two dozen restaurant members of the Louisville Originals group, an association of independent, locally owned restaurants, along with a dozen drink companies ranging from microbreweries to coffee companies to importers of fine wines and liquors. Proceeds of the $50 admission tickets went to benefit Louisville Originals, the Kentucky Center’s international programs and the metro Office for International Affairs, which organizes the two-day WorldFest outdoor carnival that followed.

I assume it goes without saying that with this much good food from local restaurants, Eat’N’Blog was THERE. Continue reading We chow down (and pig out) at WorldFeast

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