May 13, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
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.
April 23, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
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 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
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April 17, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
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.
When: Sunday, April 19, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Tim Faulkner Gallery, 1512 Portland Ave., Louisville
April 14, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
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.
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
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March 31, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
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.
March 23, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
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March 19, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
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.
March 16, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
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.
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March 11, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
I’ll never forget that moment. The Food Literacy Project had just blown past its goal of meeting a $5,000 challenge grant from Kosair Charities after a raucous 20-minute reverse auction during our major fundraising event last September, the Field-to-Fork Dinner.
In retrospect, it wasn’t surprising. We’d had the Mayor speak, shown an incredibly impactful short video of our work with area children, and had a young man who’d participated the last two years say a few words about his experience to a packed room of 150 generous foodies. Then, as I struggled to keep up with calling out the flood of bid cards during the auction, Malcolm ran all around the room pointing out other cards I hadn’t noticed and earnestly thanking these generous donors for their support. When we learned that we’d raised more than $20,000, I made a beeline straight to him and his mother to say that he should be very proud of the role he played ensuring that his experience will be available to thousands of kids next year and into the future.
The Food Literacy Project does great work improving the lives of kids in our city by teaching them about fresh food, how to cook and eat it, and the benefits of getting your hands dirty growing it.
As you may have heard in a recent WFPL news story, the pilot year of the Farm to Family initiative at Hazelwood and Wellington Elementary Schools (made possible through a partnership with KentuckyOne Health, the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, and Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health) is showing promising results. Our intervention nearly doubled the number of kids who reported eating five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, from 23% to 41%. We also increased the number of kids who have eaten a vegetable they grew themselves from 59% to 91% and who know a healthy recipe from 63% to 93%. These are staggeringly successful numbers that are undoubtedly changing the lives of children and their families in our great city. More importantly, we’re empowering a new generation of kids, like Malcolm, by giving them a skill set that goes far beyond growing vegetables and cooking them.
Brackets for Good is a fun new fundraising competition in its first year in Louisville. It started when a group of people in Indianapolis realized they knew only a few non-profits to which they could donate. They decided to play on their city’s love of basketball and created a unique way for deserving programs to “compete” to raise funds, while also making it easy to learn about organizations doing good work in the area.
(Donors visit the Louisville Brackets for Good page, select the organization they want to support, and enter a points/dollar value for a donation. The winning organization receives an extra $10,000.)
The Food Literacy Project is honored to have been selected to participate in this year’s event. Even though we’re a lot smaller than some of the other organizations taking part, we’re confident that the more people hear about us, the more they want to support what we do.
So we’re planning to win the whole thing.
As a sign of our confidence, the Board of Directors has committed to dropping a $1,000 money bomb on the first day of round three of the tournament, which is this Saturday, March 14. But we need your help more than ever to make sure we win the second round. Please consider going to the Brackets for Good website to learn more about us and the other fine organizations taking part. Also please take a moment to “like” us on Facebook and to follow us on Twitter and Instagram so you can know about all the ways we’re inspiring a new generation to build healthy relationships with food, farming, and the land.
As for that moment I’ll never forget, it was the look of pride and achievement on Malcolm’s face when he realized what he’d helped accomplish. We at the Food Literacy Project are fond of saying that while we grow vegetables on the farm, it’s thoughtful, intelligent, caring, (and, yes) healthy kids like Malcolm that are the real fruits of our labor.
March 9, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
The Us Weekly was enough to make my Saturday a little brighter. Then I made it up the steps with my mail in one hand, my Chinese takeout in the other, when I saw a History Press/Arcadia Publishing box at my apartment door.
I’ve spent the past few weeks handling the business side of the publication of my first-ever book entitled Louisville Diners (brace yourselves, this is the first of many mentions of the book title). The work isn’t as sexy as you’d think. Writing is easy, but I’ve learned that you also have to handle your business like a boss.
So anyhoodles, a March 16 publication date had been floating around for a few weeks, but the arrival of my first copies from the publisher and confirmation of that date put everything into place. If I hadn’t been so hungry for Chinese and celebrity gossip, I might’ve dropped everything in my arms and ripped open the box right at my threshold. There was also an 18-pound
terrorterrier waiting for me who was more worried about a potty break than my debut into the publishing world. Eventually, I ripped through the box with my car key, jumped up and down without shaking anything to the ground, and shed a couple of happy tears as Roscoe gave me the stink eye for not leashing him up fast enough. I didn’t care about his judgement — a hard copy of my first-ever book was in my hands.