By Robin Garr
Covid-19 has been rough for NuLu restaurants. The pandemic has taken at least partial blame for the loss of Harvest, Rye, and most recently, Decca.
For the Martinez family’s Olé restaurant group, though, challenges create opportunities. They opened the Cuban restaurant La Bodeguita de Mamá in July 2020, early in the pandemic, in the former headquarters of Creation Gardens at 725 E. Market St.
Señora Arepa came next, opening in the spring of 2021, serving Venezuelan street food in the smaller building behind Bodeguita at 721 E. Market St., once the home of Ghislain on Market. Continue reading Señora Arepa serves delicious Venezuelan street food
By Robin Garr
I hate to say that my food cravings are easily influenced what I see and hear. It’s true, though. All it takes is a tempting phrase in a cooking article or an attractive food photo in a culinary video, and I’ve got to have it right now.
This time it was The New York Times that sent me out looking for Mexican food thanks to a lyrical dissertation, “All Enchiladas Are Perfect. But These Are My Favorite,” in the April 27 edition.
Oh! Yes! I had to have enchiladas, and I needed them right now. I’d been meaning to check La Cocina de Mamá for quite a while, anyway. “Mom’s Cooking,” what could be more lovable than that? Continue reading Yen for enchiladas lures us to La Cocina de Mama
By Robin Garr
My friend Erica posted a Facebook challenge: “Y’all…look. This place. These wings. Go. Robin Garr, have you been here yet?” It came with a photo of a succulent golden brown chicken wing the size of a turkey wing, a tantalizing treat from Eden & Kissi.
That was last September, and I really meant to get right out to this little takeout spot in Buechel. But one thing after another got in the way. So here we are, 4 1/2 months later, and suddenly, with the Omicron variant hanging around, great Jamaican takeout sounded good. Continue reading A trip to Jamaica in a takeout box from Eden & Kissi
By Robin Garr
Hola! I finally got back to a favorite taqueria, El Mariachi, last week, and oh, did it make me happy.
Now I wish it hadn’t taken me so long, but I felt uneasy about the idea before I finally got fully vaccinated. There’s typically some language barrier for me at the storefront places I love best – I can read Spanish fairly well, but I’m not good with conversations en español – so I couldn’t gear up to investigate a favorite spot’s takeout and curbside delivery options.
Now that’s over, and I hope it’s over to stay. Continue reading A happy return to El Mariachi, a favorite taqueria
By Robin Garr
In the joy of this almost post-pandemic summer, diners are rushing back to local restaurants. But servers, line cooks and other restaurant workers aren’t in such a hurry, so if you’re dining out in Louisville these days, you may encounter a wait.
You’ve heard the stories: A three-hour delay at a popular riverside fried-fish eatery. Two hours for seating at a popular watering hole, with many open tables in sight. Kitchens so backed up that you can’t even place an order. Harried staffers pulling multiple duty as greeter, server, cook, and cashier.
Indeed, a host warned of a “15-minute hold” at La Suerte recently, when the brunch crowd was apparently slamming the kitchen and slowing the pace of orders coming out. Continue reading La Suerte serves a fine Latin-style brunch
By Robin Garr
Bam! The notification popped up on the top of my screen with an attention-getting tone: “Louisville Taco Week,” it read. “Because Taco Tuesday isn’t enough! We’re bringing you $2 tacos from some of Louisville’s most popular taco joints.”
What’s not to like about that? Who doesn’t love tacos? It got my attention anyway, and sent me on a taco quest that ended up at the suburban Mexican eatery Limón y Sal. (I’m sorry to have to tell you that the April 12-18 feature ended before you saw this, but hey, tacos are good cheap eats even when they’re not on sale.) Continue reading Taco Week lures us to Limón y Sal
Brunch is one of my favorite meals. It’s right up there with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and, of course, breakfast for dinner. Notice how breakfast keeps coming up?
But I’ve had a problem with brunch since the pandemic has wiped out my enthusiasm for dining inside a local eatery, no matter how carefully socially distanced: I love brunch dishes that feature soft fried eggs or poached eggs, ready to deliver their custardy yolk as a flavor booster to whatever they’re served on. Like the huevos rancheros at Con Huevos, for example. Continue reading Con Huevos makes takeout brunch work
Imagine yourself with a burrito on your plate. A hefty El Compadre burrito from Taco Choza, that’s a good one. Are you getting hungry? I sure am! Lift it, feel its weight, admire the tasty char marks on its textured wheaten surface. Mmm, mmm, good.
This is what I love about a burrito: When you bite through that tasty flour-tortilla wrapper, your first mouthful incorporates a collection of goodies. With Taco Choza’s signature El Compadre that’s going to be meat, reddish-tinted Mexican rice, two kinds of beans, some salad greens, a dash of pico de gallo, a taste of guacamole, a bit of sour cream, a drizzle of queso, all coming together in one symphonic gulp. Continue reading Taco Choza’s burrito is bigger than your sled. Well, almost.
Cochinita pibil. These two Spanish words – one common, the other not so much – shine a bright light on both the Mayan cuisine of Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula and neighboring Guatemala and into one of Louisville’s favorite South-of-the-Border restaurants, Mayan Cafe.
So what’s a cochinita pibil? A little pig – that’s the easy part – long and slowly roasted in a tart, flavorful marinade of sour oranges and Mayan spices, housed in a large metal box and lowered into a pib, the traditional Mayan fire pit.
Mayan Cafe doesn’t have a giant fire-in-the-hole in the tiny kitchen of its NuLu home, but I can testify that Chef Bruce Ucán’s oven-roasted rendition is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen done to pork. Continue reading Cochinita pibil at Mayan Cafe takes us straight to Yucatán
I should have probably gotten out to I Love Tacos in Jeffersontown sooner. It certainly got my attention when its owners were brave enough to open up (takeout and curbside service only) on March 25, one week after Governor Andy shut down dining in across the state.
And then there’s that “I ?? Tacos” logo with an emoji heart. I don’t think I’ve ever checked in at a restaurant with an emoji in its name until now. Continue reading We love tacos, and I Love Tacos does them right