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.
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Café Glacé opens for business

Cafe Glace

I’m updating this report with the happy news that Café Glacé has quietly opened its doors in a “soft opening” this week, looking to a more formal “grand opening” (and, with any luck, the arrival of its sign) next Friday.

We spotted activity in there today, popped in and found the genial proprietor, Aziz Ghazipour, in attendance with his staff (including his brother and partner Azim and his wife), and a dozen gelato pans all filled brimful with seductively rich Italian ice cream made in a fancy, imported-from-Italy Carpigiani gelato machine. (Pink grapefruit was a grown-up ice cream, more tangy than sweet; mocha was gently coffee-and-cream, a great match with an iced lattè from Heine Bros. next door. They’re $2.35 for a small cup.)
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The deep, dark secret of Danish

Danish Express

Here’s one of those dark secrets that culinary experts usually speak of only in muted tones: You know the classic Danish pastry, the delight of pastry lovers and brunch fanciers for nearly two centuries? Listen close, I’m going to whisper: It isn’t really Danish. It’s Viennese.

Depending on which story you prefer, it’s either a matter of corporate spying (Danish Royal baker Christian Ludvig Olsen “borrowed” the recipe from an Austrian baker he met in Germany in 1834 and brought it home), or of management union-busting (the Danish King summoned “replacement workers” from Vienna when his bakers went out on strike, and the strike-breakers brought the secret of this tasty delight along).

Either way, the Danes have made this succulent pastry their own, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better model in the Old Country today than you can have right here in the Derby City at Danish Express, (102½ Cannons Lane, [502] 895-2863).
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A bouquet for La Rosita

La Rosita

Again today I forge into Southern Indiana, following where a fellow foodie has led. This time I’m indebted to LEO’s erudite Marty Rosen for the published pointer to La Rosita Taqueria (2535 Charlestown Road in New Albany, [812] 948-0401), which jumps into a dead heat with, Rosticeria Luna (5213B Preston Highway, [502] 962-8898), as my favorite 100 percent authentic Mexican eatery in town.
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A.J.’s coffee, cream and gyros

A.J's

I have to give the credit to Lisa Hornung of Gannett’s Velocity weekly for blazing the trail to this funny little roadside spot in rural Southern Indiana with its sign that proudly proclaims “4,081 GYROS SOLD” (as of Oct. 18, 2005), but I headed on over to A.J.’s Coffee ‘n’ Cream as soon as I found out about it, and the short journey led to a memorable lunch.

Just a couple of miles from the landmark Polly’s Freeze (in fact, it’s at the same I-64 exit, going the other way), A.J’s bears a marked resemblance to Polly’s. It’s a small, free-standing white cottage just large enough to hold a kitchen and a couple of people working inside, with hand-written menus plastered all across the sides and front of the building. Walk up, call your order through the screen window, and hang around. Continue reading A.J.’s coffee, cream and gyros

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