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
Gourmet Provisions! You might think this is an upscale grocery, or maybe a shop with fancy pots and pans and kitchen equipment. But you’d be wrong: It’s a new restaurant, and a very good one, too. Continue reading Gourmet Provisions provides tasty fare
I’ve been doing my small part to keep local restaurants alive during the pandemic by giving them my takeout business, but there’s a problem with that: I really hate eating lunch on my lap in the car.
I want to take the food home, dammit! I want to plate it nicely and enjoy it in a relaxed setting. But I can’t keep hot food hot and the cold food cold for very long. I’m still trying to figure this out. The best I’ve come up with so far is either to order dishes that are good at room temperature, or fare that takes well to reheating.
Then it hit me: Pizza! Continue reading Parlour’s pizzas hold up all the way home
If you like to eat Ethiopian food the traditional way, you’ll eat with your hands, tearing off pieces of tangy, tan injera flatbread and using it to grab morsels from the common plate while your friends are doing the same.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has put an end to that practice at Queen of Sheba restaurant for now. Dine-in service will be on individual plates only for now, the popular Ethiopian restaurant tells us on its online ordering page. Following standard protocols, customers must wear face masks when away from the table, and everyone is expected to practice social distancing. Continue reading Queen of Sheba offers an Ethiopian feast
Following on his success with vegan takes on popular fast-food dishes like the Farby, an Arby’s knockoff made without a molecule of meat, Morels Cafe’s proprietor Stanley Chase has now turned his attention to a seemingly even more impossible task.
Behold, Morels Vegan BBQ Smokehouse, where Chase is creating vegetarian barbecued pulled “pork” and meat-free sausages that one could easily mistake for the real thing. Chase says vegetarian barbecue is a new concept, with similar restaurants in only two other places in the U.S. that he knows of, both very popular on their home ground: Homegrown Smoker in Portland, Oregon, and Monk’s Vegan Smokehouse in Brooklyn. Continue reading Morels smokes serious ‘que … without meat
Since the pandemic started, I’ve been focusing on how we can enjoy local eateries and support the restaurant business while still assuring ourselves maximum protection against the pandemic. That approach consistently leads me to places that make it easy to order and pay online and pick up my food via no-touch curbside delivery.
But it crossed my mind the other day that this method rules out a lot of the little storefront shops that often present the world cuisines that I love. Many of them simply don’t have the resources to set up fancy online ordering systems or spare staff to run bags out to your car.
So, craving delicious fare from some storefront Asian spot or gyros house or taqueria or something, I set about finding out how I could do this safely. I ended up at Thai Cafe in Holiday Manor, a longtime favorite, and walked out with an outstanding meal in a bag, feeling completely safe. Continue reading Tiny Thai Cafe ranks as a favorite
It takes a certain bold spirit and lack of risk aversion to open a new restaurant during a pandemic when, at best, restaurants face an extraordinary burden of regulation for our health and safety.
That didn’t slow down the folks at El Mundo, though. Not only did they open their second restaurant – El Mundo Highlands – last month, but they did it in the oversize (4,000 square-foot, four-levels) space that long housed Asiatique and much more briefly its successor, Flavour Restaurant. Continue reading What pandemic? El Mundo Highlands is up and running
One of the great pleasures of sushi for me is the opportunity to sit down at the sushi bar, admire the artfully arranged rows of beautifully cut seafood and fish, and talk with the chef about what’s interesting and good.
But I have to be honest: During the pandemic, the idea of joining a few neighbors and a chef or two in such close quarters does not appeal, not even with masks and social distancing in play.
Happily, many of the city’s sushi bars offer a takeout option. But one stands out: ToGo Sushi, as its name implies, does most of its business – you guessed it – to go. Continue reading Get your sushi on the go from ToGo Sushi
Some days you feel like a burger. Some days you feel like a steak. But let’s make one thing perfectly clear: This is not a matter of better and best. The simple, honest burger in no way takes second place to the faux nobility of the tenderloin, rib eye, strip, or porterhouse. Sometimes, when you’re in a certain mood, nothing but a burger will do.
Feeling like a burger and having a burger on your plate can be two different things, though. Do you get out and buy dinner, or do you make your own? There’s a lot to be said for making your own: You save costs, and you control the ingredients, the preparation, the heat, the toppings, even the decision whether to add a slice or two of cheese.
But how do you make your burger as good as it can be? To find out, we asked for advice from a half-dozen local burger experts, restaurant chefs who’ve earned the people’s ovation and fame forever for the quality of their grilled ground-beef patties. Continue reading Secrets of the burger chefs
It’s easy to overlook NamNam Café. It’s tiny, you don’t hear a lot about it, and it’s off on a St. Matthews side street.
But you really shouldn’t miss it. It’s one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants, even among a dozen strong competitors.
[During the Covid-19 closure of dine-in restaurants, NamNam is offering carryout and curbside pickup for phone orders. Diners may also arrange delivery via Postmates or DoorDash.] Continue reading You can’t beat the pho at NamNam Café