1. Let’s take a break from food to talk about race

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    June 19, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    What is the word to express how I felt when I opened my laptop to see that nine people were killed at a Wednesday night Bible study? What word can describe the sorrow that washed over me as I saw the release of the victims’ names and thought about the lives that hate cut short? Is there a word better than unsurprised? Frustrated that hate once again rears its ugly head? Angry that I live in a country where someone can harbor and act upon racist ideology with lethal force in a sacred place?

    Weary.

    I am weary.

    I’m weary because I am black, I am an American and I’m a human being who is tired of seeing a world in which other humans harbor inexplicable anger toward a group of people for looking different.

    I spent a lot of Thursday on Twitter retweeting folks who captured the frustration I felt after the church massacre in Charleston, S.C. late Wednesday night. I didn’t know what to say. Do I have a place to say anything? I’m just a food writer and oven reviewer, for crying out loud. But I’m a human. And I have a platform. And this is the time for the weary among us to step up for Clementa, Sharonda, Cynthia, Susie, Ethel, DePayne, Tywanza, Myra and Daniel.

    Racism is real. It is both subtle and overwhelming. It’s hiring managers passing you up for jobs because of the “ethnic-sounding” name on your resume. It’s store managers following you around their business because of the color of your skin. It’s strangers assuming that you are an unwed mother. It’s sitting by as someone tells a racist joke. It’s not telling authorities that your roommate is planning a shooting spree on a group of innocent people. Racism ranges from inconvenient to deadly with lots of gray areas in between.

    For my white allies: Recognize racism. Call it by its name. Acknowledge that racism and unequal treatment didn’t end with the Civil Rights Movement. Identify your own prejudices and ask yourself why they exist. Stop accepting casual racism by remaining silent. Have the tough conversations with your kids about how adults can hate other adults just because they look different. Empathize with someone who doesn’t look like you. Try to imagine the pain and frustration and weariness, and feel all of that, too. Use those feelings to propel you to take action.

    For my black folks: We can’t just survive. We must thrive in the face of domestic terrorism. We might be weary, but we are resilient, too. Centuries of struggle have taught us to keep pushing. We must succeed in spite of hate. And we can’t let hate build and fester in ourselves.

    I’m tired of being weary. You should be, too.

  2. Event Alert: BBQ book signing, Taste of Frankfort Avenue coming up this weekend

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    June 12, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    front cover

    I’m beginning to think I have a problem with filling my agenda. That is, I fill it too much.

    Along with the new job (hey, CNET!), I’ve also returned to grad school this semester. And I’m still promoting Louisville Diners. And I still write on this blog. And somewhere in the middle, a husband, a dog, friends and family. So you know what that means.

  3. When a new job gives you biscuits, make a breakfast casserole

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    May 13, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    Cut the biscuits into cubes for the recipe.

    A dream job seemed like a fantasy. For the past few years, I’ve assumed that a job was something I had to tolerate for eight hours a day so I would have enough money to pursue the activities about which I was really passionate. I was lucky enough to land somewhere that wasn’t too bad. My co-workers were fun. The work was new. I gave up the idea of earning a paycheck from doing what I love and loving what I do (a first-world mantra that glosses over things like taxes, rent and savings accounts) and settled into a content cubicle life.

    Then my dream job showed up, slapped me in the face and reminded me that you can do what you love and get paid for it.

    Last week, I began working at the technology and review website CNET as a senior associate editor. I test and review ovens for a living. Seriously. I can’t make this up. A food writer landed in a job that requires boiling water, broiling burgers and baking biscuits in order to recommend which ranges are a good fit in consumers’ homes.

    Y’all, I’m living the dream. Let’s pause for a praise break.

  4. Event Alert: TropiCuba celebrates opening with specials, live music Friday, 4.24.15

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    April 23, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    This looks heavenly. (jeffreyw, Flickr Creative Commons)

    A sandwich becomes a work of art when it’s made Cuban-style. A cross-section of a Cuban sandwich looks like a delicious landscape — layers of ham, pork, cheese, mustard and pickles compressed between two dense, toasted slices of bread. So I’m pleased as punch that a new Cuban restaurant has opened in Louisville so I continue to admire and eat one of my favorite types of sandwiches.

    TropiCuba Restaurant and Bar has been open for a few weeks on Frankfort Avenue, but the restaurant will celebrate its grand opening this Friday, April 24, along with the regularly scheduled Frankfort Avenue Trolley Hop. Appetizers will be half price, happy hours specials will last all night long and there will be live music.

    tropicuba

    TropiCuba serves traditional Cuban food such as ropa vieja (shredded beef pan-fried with green pepper, paprika and red onions, $12.99), lechón asado (slow-roasted pork marinated in citrus juices and spices, $13.99) and the Cubano sandwich ($8.99). I’m pretty interested in the spaghetti portion of the menu, specifically the spaghetti con jamón with ham and mozzarella cheese ($8.99). I hope this dish comes with a history lesson about how spaghetti ended up in Cuban cuisine, because I sure couldn’t find anything.

    I can’t make it to TropiCuba’s opening, but I’m eager to try Louisville’s latest Cuban fare. If any of you guys go, please report back.


    TropiCuba Grand Opening Celebration

    When: 6-10 p.m. Friday, April 24

    Where: TropiCuba Restaurant and Bar, 2206 Frankfort Ave, Louisville

    For more information: TropiCuba’s website and Facebook page

     

  5. Event Alert: Vinyl Brunch at the Tim Faulkner Gallery, 4.19.15

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    April 17, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    The stage at the Tim Faulkner Gallery in Portland.

    I’ve been spending a lot of time at the Tim Faulkner Gallery, a cool art gallery and event space in Portland.

    The lovely folks at the McQuixote Books & Coffee inside the gallery hosted my first Louisville Diners book signing. Then I was back this week for PechaKucha Night. And it looks like I need to make it back to the gallery for their monthly Vinyl Brunch series.

    The concept is borderline genius. For just $5, you get to eat breakfast and lunch items that Trevor of McQuixote Books & Coffee cooks. Plus, the gallery will play the vinyl records that brunch attendees bring. Bacon, eggs and a little Carpenters on deck? Yes, please.


    Vinyl Brunch

    When: Sunday, April 19, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

    Where: Tim Faulkner Gallery, 1512 Portland Ave., Louisville

    Cost: $5

     

     

  6. Event Alert: Today’s PechaKucha Night presentations focus on food

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    April 14, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    pechakucha

    I get to participate in a great event tonight, and I’m still struggling with the proper pronunciation. 

    PechaKucha Night will take place from 8-10 p.m. today, April 14, at the Tim Faulkner Gallery in Portland. PechaKucha Nights, which take place in more than 700 cities in the world, are “informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, holiday snaps — just about anything, really — in the PechaKucha 20×20 format,” according to the PechaKucha website. That format is a presentation of 20 images for 20 seconds each.

    Tonight’s theme is “Food for Thought.” The line up is impressive, and I’m not just saying that because I’m one of the presenters. Scheduled speakers include Karter Louis of Hillbilly Tea, Edgardo Mansilla of the Americana Community Center, and Erika Chavez-Graziano of Cellar Door Chocolates.

    I’m excited to participate in this event. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll be talking about one of the reasons while diners are important to the Louisville community (hint: there are sporks involved). I expect a lot of thought-provoking discussion about food this evening, which is right up my alley. Now, excuse me while I practice my pronunciation.


     

    PechaKucha Night

    When: TONIGHT, April 14, 8 p.m. (doors open at 7)

    Where: Tim Faulkner Gallery, 1512 Portland Ave., Louisville

    Cost: $5 suggested donation

    For more information: PechaKucha Louisville’s website

     

     

  7. The Post livens up Germantown with quality pizza

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    March 31, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    The Post in Germantown.

    The Post is the latest addition to the Germantown dining scene. This restaurant serves New York-style pizza with an array of thoughtful topping combos on top of a crisp yet bendable crust. There are also subs, salads and calzones if you want something a little different. And if you’re into grown-up drinks, there’s a full bar with a robust selection of drafts.

  8. And the winner of a signed copy of #LouisvilleDiners is …

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    March 23, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    Thank you to everyone who entered to win a copy of my first book, Louisville Diners (I’ve mentioned the title a time or two).

    Anyhoodles, the person who will receive a copy is…

    giveawayscreengrab

     

    Commenter number 1, handmadejoy! I’ll send you an email so I can get you a copy ASAP.

  9. Celebrate Clifton’s Pizza’s 25th birthday with discounts on pies

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    March 19, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    A sample of Clifton's Pizza's product.

    If you appreciate pizza as much as I do, make a stop at Clifton’s Pizza this weekend. The restaurant, which is located at 2230 Frankfort Avenue, is celebrating 25 years in business from March 20-22. Owner Mark Langley tells me that festivities will include giveaways and discounts, like 25 percent off large pizzas. That means you could get a large, one-topping pizza for $13.31, which is $3.33/person for a party of four. Pretty good deal, if you ask me. Very $10 Challenge friendly.

  10. Louisville Diners is out TODAY!

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    March 16, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    The first copies of my first book have arrived. Excuse me while I throw confetti around the house.

    To commemorate today’s book release, here’s an excerpt AND a chance to win a book!

    I’m giving away a signed copy of Louisville Diners. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post that answers the following question: What is your favorite diner and why?

    You have until Saturday, March 21 at 12:01 a.m. to leave a comment. I’ll announce a winner Monday, March 23.

    Good luck!

Louisville Diners

My first book with the publisher History Press is available now!

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