Thursday, February 24, 2011

This just in from my field correspondent - Mr. Pollo doesn't disappoint

This just in from my field correspondent...aka, The Hubby.

"Just had an awesome chicken lunch at this Peruvian place". "The chicken was perfectly spiced and super flavorful".

Apparently Mr. Pollo knows his chicken. Nick had a quarter chicken, fries, salad and a drink for $6.99. The chicken had a semi-spicy rub on it and was roasted to perfection.

Need a break from the daily burger lunch? Perhaps looking for a quick trip to Peru? Nick recommends Mr. Pollo.

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As if they're not busy enough on a typical weekend...........

But if you're patient and only have a buck it might be worth waiting in line!
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Wild Ginger - You might come for the sushi but you'll stay for the spicy squid

A quick Google Map search for "sushi" along Bardstown Rd. in the Highlands reveals a line of red markers dotting what seems like every block from E Broadway to Trevillian. Who would have guessed that another sushi joint was needed?

I guess you can never have too many sushi joints because when Nick and I walked into the (somewhat) recently opened Wild Ginger a few weeks back, it was packed.

The interior was warm and inviting mixed with some modern touches especially around the bar and sushi bar.

The menu runs the Asian gamut from Japanese to Thai...from Korean to Chinese...there's A LOT to choose from.

When trying to order off a menu of that magnitude we decided to stick to the basics...sashimi, tempura, a "special" roll or two and something off the pan part of the pan Asian menu.

We ordered a literal boatload of sashimi and it arrived in a quirky and cute presentation. All of the usual players were accounted for in the mix and the fish was cut well. The problem we ran into was the temperature. The sashimi was partially frozen when it arrived. All of it, in fact, suffered from being too cold. I'm not sure if it was pre-frozen and not thawed properly or if they simply chilled it too much, but the tiny ice granules that dotted the fish were unfortunate.

Another sushi "special" that we had(uggg...I should have written it down because I forget what it was) was fine, and didn't suffer from the temperature issue. It wasn't all that noteworthy but it was tasty.

After the too cold sashimi we decided to order something deep fried. The tempura was of the shrimp and vegetable variety and was executed well. No problems there.

We decided on one more dish to share...something hearty to help soak up the Sapporos and Kirins we were knocking back. We decided to venture away from Japan and head over to Korea for some Korean Spicy Squid.

This dish was awesome. It was spicy, but not so much that it overpowered the squid. It was cooked well, packed with flavor and best of all, boasted a wonderful mix of textures. It made me wish we had ordered all our dishes that evening off the "Asian Entrees" section of the menu.

As for the rest of it.........service was friendly and plentiful. Empty dishes practically flew off our table the second they were completed. I really enjoyed the atmosphere as well. It was bustling enough to feel inviting but not so much that people were bumping into you all night.

In the end I guess my opinion would be that Bardstown Rd doesn't really need another sushi joint...or perhaps one isn't needed when it serves semi-frozen fish. What might be needed and welcome, however, is a joint that serves up Pan Asian food like that Korean Spicy Squid. If the rest of the hot dishes are as good as that squid, Wild Ginger will be a welcome addition to the Bardstown Rd Asian restaurant scene.

P.S. They seem to have some decent weekly specials that might be worth checking out.

Wild Ginger on Urbanspoon
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Facebook - Bringing the chalkboard menu into the 21st century

My latest post::::::::

P.S. About the Charcutepalooza mentioned in the post...I read this term seems to be the year of the hare AND the cured meat...Nick and I will be trying our hand at making homemade charcuterie...Stay tuned...It's sure to be entertaining!!
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hi folks!

Starting today I'm going to be contributing a bit to the food&dining section of

I'm doing my best to seek out noteworthy happenings in the Louisville dining scene but I can always use more help from some die hard Louisville foodies.

If you've got anything cool going on at your local watering hole or hear something through the grape vine I'd love to share it with the town. Found a cool locally made product or just excited about something? Same goes!

So please feel free to e-mail, comment, whatever.

I always love hearing from y'all!!!

P.S. I'll be linking my posts to this blog
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Monday, February 14, 2011


The hubby and I don't really "do" Valentine's Day.

I mean sure, sometimes we'll cook a nice meal together and open a decent bottle of wine, but truth be told, that happens a few times a week anyway.

Sure, we could go out to dinner, but we do that once a week as well.

Jewelry? I have one birthday a year, a wedding anniversary and Christmas.

Flowers? Ok...I kind of like them...but I'm happy with the ones from the grocery store.

Basically my theory is that you should tell the one you love that you love them more than once a overpriced card necessary.

But that doesn't mean that a nice gesture won't be appreciated on a day as over-hyped as this. My recommendation? Make your loved one something homemade...something sweet(literally)...and something easy enough that it allows you to spend a little quality time together. Make them these molten chocolate cakes(the way to ANYONE'S heart is through their stomach).

I've kept this recipe a secret for some time now. Ok, it's not exactly "mine" to keep. I ripped it out of a very well known cooking magazine, but I'm the only one I know who makes it, and if I found it first then "finder's keepers" right?

It is, honestly, the best dessert I've ever made...and quite possibly the easiest. I've served it at many a dinner party to rave reviews...I guarantee success.

Molten Spiced Chocolate Cabernet Cakes


4 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 tablespoon Cabernet Sauvignon or other red wine
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
6 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Butter 4 (6-ounce) custard cups or soufflĂ© dishes(I've made these in coffee mugs when I didn't have custard cups). Place on baking sheet.

2. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwavable bowl on HIGH 1 minute or until butter is melted. Stir with wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in wine, vanilla and confectioners' sugar until well blended. Stir in eggs and yolk. Stir in flour, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Pour batter evenly into prepared custard cups.

3. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until sides are firm but centers are soft. Let stand 1 minute. Carefully loosen edges with small knife. Invert cakes onto serving plates. Sprinkle with additional confectioners' sugar. Serve immediately.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Holy Grale - The beer was heavenly...the food wasn't

It was our last Friday night at our house off Bardstown Rd. We would be moving the next Wednesday(aka the day before yesterday) to a place where stepping out your back door and into the front door of a bar wasn't going to be feasible. We decided to find a walkable place to dine that evening, and finish off our Highlands stay with some good 'ol fashioned bar hopping.

I was looking for a fun place to eat. I was looking for quirky and interesting food. Having just bought a house, the hubby was looking for cheap. Holy Grale looked to be a good choice. The website boasted a good beer selection and unique(and inexpensive) bar bites.

We arrived at an extremely nondescript location. It was a building like many on Bardstown, and I would not have known it was a dining/bar establishment had I not street-viewed it on Google-maps earlier that day.

Inside, the place was bustling. Every bar stool was filled. Every two top was taken. We ordered two beers from the "order here" section of the bar and although we feared we might have to start bar hopping on empty stomachs, we were able to swoop in and grab some seats. Note: there are no reservations and tables are first come first serve

The beer selection was, as I stated in the title, quite heavenly. The variety was wonderful. The prices were fair. Each beer was served in it's appropriate glass.

We perused the menu while we enjoyed our beer.

I shouldn't go any further without mentioning that there really isn't wait service "proper" here. If you want to order anything(beer, food) you have to do so at that "order here" section of the bar. So every time you want a new beer or snack you have to get up and wait in line. Then you sit down and wait for them to bring it to you. Perhaps in theory this was a good idea, but in practice all you get is a group of people standing in the middle of the restaurant waiting in "line" to order. From what I could tell, many others shared my dislike for this process.

For the food....First things first...we had to order the poutine. Nick and I have had some damn good poutine in our day. In Montreal poutine is a celebrated dish, and let me tell you, good poutine is certainly something worth celebrating. Perfectly crispy fries topped with a mound of cheese curd and bathed in brown gravy. The texture/flavor combo is amazing........if done right that is.

At Holy Grale the poutine($6) was simply not done right. The fries were disappointingly un-crispy. The "gravy" was alright, certainly not traditional, but alright, if not a bit overpowering. The thing that really killed the dish was the cheese. Shredded Mozzarella? Really Holy Grale? It made the dish feel like something that was created out of leftovers. Poutine is made with cheese curd for a reason. I mean, I typically have no problem with artistic license if it works, but taking the cheese curd out of this dish and replacing it with flavorless shredded cheese(that didn't even melt properly) did not work.

Next we tried the Fiedler Farm Beer Brat($5). It was served with sauerkraut and mustard on a pretzel bun. The brat itself was tasty. Putting it on an over-salted pretzel bun is where they went wrong. The salt just killed the dish. And this time it's not just my opinion. While waiting in line to pay I saw two other people at separate tables scraping the salt off their pretzel bun. Over-salting something sounds minor, but it can ruin a dish.

Last AND certainly least we ordered a daily special. Chorizo, beef and goat cheese meatballs($4) in a spicy sauce. In my experience you can almost never go wrong by ordering the special...almost.

The meatballs were over-seasoned to the point of almost being inedible. Nick and I went back and forth trying to figure out where it all went wrong. We came to the conclusion that they were 1.) Too greasy from the chorizo, and so, unable to stay together without crumbling 2.) Over-seasoned with clashing flavors 3.) Spicy for the sake of being spicy...basically the spice didn't add flavor, it just burned your mouth.

At this point we threw in the towel. Though we would have loved to keep eating we weren't about to do it there.

The beer was a different story.

I have to say that each and every beer we had was amazing. I even took notes on them because they were, well, literally noteworthy.

I had a Bells Lager of the Lake($5.50) and a Chateau Rogue Dirtoir black lager($6). Both were excellent...the Bells lager was light and refreshing...the black lager was my, nutty, almost chocolate like.

Nick had the Monks Cafe Flemish red($6.75) and the Blaugies Moneuse($6.75). Both were excellent as well...the red was sour, as many Flemish reds are, with a refreshing bite...the Blaugies was a strong Belgian ale and was packed with flavor

To me, Holy Grale looks good on paper but fails to execute. The idea of a great beer-centric bar with inventive and affordable bar snacks is a great one. But when the place is packed and the only chef is also the waiter, you're going to have some issues. When the bartenders(2 of them) are also working the "order here" station, pouring beer, delivering beer, trying to answer questions about beer, ringing up tabs, hopping on one foot, patting their heads and rubbing their're going to have some issues.

I'd like to believe that the chef could deliver better food if he had some help. The menu looked interesting and beer friendly.

I'd also like to believe that they can iron out the front of house issues and start running like a well oiled machine. The decor was inviting and the staff was as friendly as could be expected considering they were in the weeds for what seemed like the entire night.

I'm not, however, going to return to see if either of these things can be fixed. Dining out shouldn't be exhausting. Standing in a packed line every time you want a bite to eat or a beer isn't my idea of a good time.

Louisville diners might disagree with me. I can see how the place could be charming to some. It's new and different. But for me, personally, that just doesn't cut it.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Super bowl...of matzo ball soup - Stevens & Stevens Deli - The sandwiches are amazing too

"I could go for a sandwich", I say to my husband, when he asks what I'm in the mood for.

"You can always go for a sandwich", Nick says, eyes rolling, as he realizes how ridiculous it was for him to even ask.

The answer for me, is almost always, "a sandwich".

It doesn't really matter what the question is either.

"What's the best cure for a hangover?".......A sandwich(turkey)
"What do you want for Christmas?".............A sandwich(roast beef with horseradish)
"What should I do when I'm in Philly?".......(eat)A sandwich(roast pork with broccoli rabe)

I'm no Nobel Peace prize winner but I'm pretty sure strategic distribution of the right kind of sandwiches between waring nations could do some real good.

That being said I'm sure it goes without saying that I like me a good sandwich. Are you looking for a good sandwich? How about a really good bowl of matzo ball soup on the side? My recommendation would be to head to Stevens & Stevens. Good sandwiches? Yup. They got 'em.

Sandwiches are engineering marvels of the culinary world. They're built level by level from the ground up, combining texture and flavor in a fantastic hand held package. And as any good architect will tell you...a good foundation is key. Enter...the bread.

Stevens & Stevens makes their own rye bread in-house. I really don't need to say more.

Now for the guts of sandwich.......

If you're typically an indecisive person you may want to just close your eyes and point to something on the menu because the choices here are staggering. They run the gamut from traditional NY style deli sandwiches to French inspired creations.

And if you can't decide whether you want a sandwich, soup or a salad do what I did and order half of two. At $6.25 you really can't go wrong.

On this particular day I chose a bowl of matzo ball soup(a favorite of mine for sure) and The French Connection sandwich. The sandwich was hot roast beef with melted brie, dijon, greens and onions...all on a foccacia roll.

The sandwich was good, but the star of the show for me was the matzo ball soup. A bowl of rich, flavorful chicken broth caressing a fist-size matzo ball. The matzo ball was fantastic. It was moist and tender yet firm enough to stand up to being submerged in broth. Great flavor and texture rounded out this ball. Sometimes on a cold day I think of making a big 'ol batch of matzo ball soup...but why go through the hassle if you can get a really good quality soup here?

The winning sandwich that day has to go to Nick's. He ordered the Phantom of the Opera and I was jealous. This puppy had hot corned beef and pastrami WITH chopped liver, Russian slaw and some Jarlsburg cheese to add a layer of gooey goodness. He got it on the house made rye(but of course), and it was delicious.

When in a NY deli I can never decide between pastrami and chopped liver. Here they don't make you decide. You can have your pastrami and liver too.

I didn't try any of the salads, although I've heard good things about the Isabella Tortellini.

I would have loved to see a smoked white fish option on the menu but was happy to see a bagel and lox option.

The service was prompt and friendly. The prices were reasonable for what they were offering. I mean, pastrami, corned beef AND chopped liver? $7.95 seems about right.

The best part for me was that Stevens & Stevens offers a little taste of the Tri-State area, here in Louisville. I have yet to find a truly good bagel in town, and I'm still searching for that perfect piece of pizza...but at least I know where I can get some damn good pastrami on rye with a side of matzo ball soup.

Stevens & Stevens Deli on Urbanspoon
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