Go west for meat-and-three at Irma Dee’s

We’ve got a great idea to restore vibrant commerce to Louisville’s West End, and it doesn’t have anything to do with Walmart or a hip food park.

No, our plan is much simpler: We start by erasing that infamous and wholly imaginary wall along Ninth Street. We go to the West End. We make friends. Then we give our business to the local institutions that are already serving the community with pride.

I can’t think of a better place to begin than Irma Dee’s, a charming, bright little cafe that opened a few weeks ago on a main street in the city’s Parkland neighborhood. Continue reading Go west for meat-and-three at Irma Dee’s

Funmi’s favors us with Nigerian flavors

What do Americans know about Nigeria? Not much, to be frank, and sadly enough, a lot of what it isn’t good. Beyond Internet scammers with wacky schemes and Boko Haram terrorists, what do we know?

The most populous country in Africa, whose Yoruba culture goes back more than 1,000 years, and one of the world’s top producers of oil, Nigeria boasts coastal cities with glittering office towers and luxury living for the 1 percent. On the other hand, about 70 percent of Nigerians live in extreme poverty.

In other words, it sounds a little bit like Trump’s America! But let’s not go there today. Let’s focus instead on the warm and friendly people of a tropical nation with a hearty cuisine that’s well worth discovering. Continue reading Funmi’s favors us with Nigerian flavors

Arepas y mas! Nahyla’s brings us Venezuelan delights

Our immigrant neighbors have taught us to love tacos. They’ve introduced us to gorditas, and roti, chapatis and naan, bao and banh mi and pitas and lavash and much, much more; and for all these carb-loaded delights we are much in their debt.

Now say hello to the Venezuelan arepa, yet another appealing way to enclose something good to eat within a tasty wrapper, a hand-held treat that long pre-dates the invention of Lord John Montagu, fourth Earl of Sandwich. Continue reading Arepas y mas! Nahyla’s brings us Venezuelan delights

A Tribe Called Us

Recently, I got a call about a memorial wake for a fellow industry worker who had died unexpectedly while working at a city he’d moved to out west. The man who died wasn’t elderly, but he had been feeling poorly in the weeks leading up to his death. He didn’t seek medical help because he didn’t have health insurance. Continue reading A Tribe Called Us

Guaca Mole soars over all walls with Mexican delights

Here’s a memorable twist on an immigrant story: Havana-born Fernando Martinez has tried to get to America three times and made it twice. First, in the mid-1990s, he and his mother and a few friends tried to make their way from their native Cuba to the U.S. in a hand-built raft. Continue reading Guaca Mole soars over all walls with Mexican delights

Mayan Cafe conquers boundaries with a world of good flavor

It has been 30 years since Bruce Ucán came to Louisville from the Yucatan region of Southern Mexico, home of the ancient Mayan culture. For just about all of that time, Ucán has been cooking for us, to our great delight. Continue reading Mayan Cafe conquers boundaries with a world of good flavor

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