Category Archives: Commentary

Robin Garr’s musings about food and restaurant matters that don’t fit neatly into the “review” category.

When bad things happen to good food

By Robin Garr

Your steak is too well-done for your liking. It’s dry, tough, and leathery. Your partner’s tenderloin is too rare for their liking. It’s dripping bloody juices that make them go “ick.” You find dirt in your dish. Mold in your dish. A hair, or several!

Grossed out by now? You haven’t heard anything yet. You find a dead cockroach in your potatoes. Or even a live parasite squirming in your swordfish.

And how about that time you told the server about your kid’s allergy and got a dish that triggered it anyway?

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Blue Dog’s new owner keeps on keeping on

By Robin Garr

It was a chilly, cloudy Saturday morning in January. The temperature was hovering around 37º. Even so, the sidewalk tables in front of Frankfort Avenue’s beloved Blue Dog Bakery & Café were filling up just the same, hungry travelers clad in parkas and mittens, eagerly awaiting a steaming coffee drink and pastry treat.

Inside Blue Dog’s warm, cozy space was jammed with more eager supplicants. Counter service would begin any moment, and they were ready.

“It’s always like this,” Blue Dog’s new owner Libbie Ackerman Loeser said with a smile.

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El Mundo’s new brunch warms and satisfies

By Robin Garr

I felt pretty sad last month when I read El Mundo’s social-media post announcing management’s decision to “put the original, quirky, tiny Frankfort Avenue location on pause until the Spring.”

The good news was that El Mundo’s newer, larger Highlands shop, which opened during the Covid-19 pandemic, remains open. It has expanded service to seven days a week, and recently launched an impressive Saturday, Sunday, and Monday brunch.

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Let’s improve the restaurant menu!

By Robin Garr

Menus: Can’t live with ‘em. Can’t live without ‘em! You step into a restaurant, take your seat, and pick up the menu. How does this make you feel? Joy at anticipating a tasty meal, or fear that something is about to make you crabby?

Why must menus disappoint us in so many ways, from look and feel to organization and design to the way they communicate? The menu has just one job, and sadly, it doesn’t always get that job done.

Continue reading Let’s improve the restaurant menu!

Here come 2024’s restaurant trends, like ‘em or not!

By Robin Garr

Well, here we are. It’s 2024, another year has gone into the history books. We’re at that annual point when we talk about New Year’s resolutions (and how quickly we break them).

This is also when we fondly remember that jolly old Roman deity Janus. whose name gave us “January” because he bears a face on both sides of his head: One to look forward and one to look back.

Continue reading Here come 2024’s restaurant trends, like ‘em or not!

Whoa, 2023! What was the big hurry?

By Robin Garr

What? another year has gone by already!? How in the heck did that even happen?

We’re another year away from the Covid-19 pandemic that came out of nowhere to scare the hell out of us, and we’ve become so blasé that only a tiny fraction of Americans have even bothered to get the updated and curated 2023-2024 vaccine. (It’s your call, but I’ve got mine.)

Moreover, a year later, the restaurant industry continues to grapple with business issues that the pandemic brought into clear sight …

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C-c-c-cold? Crank up the warmth at favorite eateries

By Robin Garr

Today: Cloudy, gradually becoming overcast, with a high near 34. Gusty and variable winds, with rain, sleet, and snow showers through the period.

That’s the kind of dismal forecast that just shouts “Louisville Winter!” Blustery weather like thismakes me crave warm, consoling comfort food … and a warm, consoling comfort restaurant to enjoy it in.

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Healthy dining out? Yes, it is possible

By Robin Garr

Restaurant food is delicious. We all know that. This is why we love to eat out. But is it healthy? Well …Chances are that your wondrous repast is loaded with butter, weighed down with carbs, blown up into portion sizes big enough for three. Hell, that’s what makes it so good!

But sometimes, perhaps after looking at the scales or eyeing our next health checkup, we wonder: Is there any way to enjoy restaurant fare without setting out on a slow path to an early demise?

Well, maybe.

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Feed Louisville’s food rescue grows

Homelessness – or houselessness, as many advocates prefer to call it since even a tent is still a person’s home – is an ongoing crisis.

The Coalition for the Homeless declared homelessness “one of the most pressing crises facing Louisville today” in a 2021 report that found 10,640 people without housing in the city in 2021.

Continue reading Feed Louisville’s food rescue grows