I’ve been writing about food for six years and counting. Now, it’s time to pay it forward.
I’m co-leading a food-writing workshop sponsored by Louisville Literary Arts (I’m on the board of this great non-profit) from 5 to 7 p.m. tomorrow, May 14 at the restaurant Butchertown Grocery. Author David Domine and I will teach participants about what makes good food writing and how to improve your own skills. There’s also some hands-on (read: EDIBLE) writing activities.
There are a few spots left, but hurry because we’re keeping the workshop small and intimate. I’d love to see you there.
It’s way past my bedtime, but I wanted to get something up quick about an event from Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, a social justice organization that’s doing good work for folks in the state.
Tonight is the third annual We Are Kentuckians: Celebrating Our Common Heritage, a bash that brings together art, music and food in celebration of the people of the Commonwealth. This year’s gathering specifically focuses on lifting up black women in Kentucky (*clears throat* YAAAAAAS).
Here’s a blurb from Kentuckians for the Commonwealth:
We Are Kentuckians honors Black women in Kentucky through music, dance, spoken word, and storytelling. The evening lineup includes: musicians Committed, Cynthia Fletcher, and DJ Alli; dancers Dionne Griffiths and Cynthia Brown; poets Hannah Drake and Robin Garner; and storytellers Kristen Williams, Taylor Little, and Andrea Massey.
It’s that magical time of year when Girl Scout cookies and top Louisville chefs come together for Desserts First, an annual fundraiser for the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana. At the event, which takes place this Wednesday, chefs have to create appetizers, drinks and desserts that incorporate Girl Scout cookies. This year’s participants include:
Arctic Scoop | Bake My Day | Bernoulli Small Batch Ice Cream | Bill’s Famous Spreads | Bristol Bar & Grille | Cellar Door Chocolates | Corbett’s: An American Place | Feast BBQ | Flour de Lis Bakery | Four Roses Bourbon | Gary’s on Spring | Jack Fry’s | Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon | Ladyfingers Catering | Louisville Cream | The Melting Pot | RedHot Roasters | Roux | Scarlet’s Bakery | Teacups & Bombshells Cafe | Terri Lynn’s Catering by Design | Varanese | Vincenzo’s | Ward 426
Winner gets glory and maybe a little indigestion from all those cookies.
I love Desserts First for a couple of reasons. I’ve volunteered with Girl Scouts since my boisterous Brownies were dainty Daisies (about three years in non-Scouting terms) AND I get to be a judge at the event for the second year in a row. Wait, one more reason – tasty treats.
There’s still time to buy tickets to the event online. If $65 isn’t in your pre-income tax return budget, consider buying a box from the next Girl Scout you see stationed around town.
10th Annual Desserts First fundraiser
When: 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24
Where: Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center, 1860 Mellwood Ave., Louisville
I’ve been involved with Moth StorySLAM events at Headliners Music Hall for about four years, and one thing that’s kept me around is the sense of community among the storytellers and attendees. There are the folks I can always count on seeing on the last Tuesday of every month, the newbies who leave gushing about how much fun they’ve had, and the storytellers who impress me with their honesty and bravery to tell their own stories to a room full of strangers.
Tonight, it’s time for our Moth family to come together and give back. We’re collecting clean, gently used (or new!) children’s clothing for the JCPS Clothing Assistance Program. Here’s a blurb about the program, courtesy of Louisville Moth producer Tara Anderson:
The CAP helps make sure families get clothing they need, especially during the cold winter months. Sweaters, pants, hats and gloves are especially appreciated.
Worthy cause, yes? Then bring that sweater that’s two sizes too small and join me tonight for some good stories. I’ll be holding down the mic as host, so I’d love to see you there.
The Moth StorySLAM
When: Tonight, Dec. 29; doors open at 7 p.m., stories begin at 8 p.m.
Food and good stories complement one another like Nutella and pretzels (just try it if you don’t believe me). And later this month, the first-ever Louisville Storytellers event will turn the spotlight on this entertaining combination.
Louisville Storytellers is a quarterly event from the Courier-Journalthat will showcase people telling stories around a particular theme. It’s reminiscent of The Moth StorySlam, a monthly storytelling competition that I host ever other month at Headliners Music Hall. But rather than randomly drawing participants from an NPR-friendly tote bag, the Louisville Storytellers show will feature pre-selected storytellers.
Anyhoodles, the first Louisville Storytellers will take place Nov. 16 at Actors Theatre of Louisville. The theme of the night is “Confessions from the Kitchen: Stories from the world of restaurants and food.” It’s an exciting bunch of storytellers:
I’m excited about the diverse lineup for Louisville Storytellers. It’s good to see a group of restaurant owners, chefs and cooks that isn’t just made up of folks from white-tablecloth establishments. I’m also super-pumped to see Miss Shirley Mae Beard, who I interviewed for Louisville Diners. If her story is anything like our interview, everyone will be in for a good night.
When: 7 p.m. Nov. 16 (refreshments and cash bar available at 6 p.m.)
If you still need some convincing, here are 30 reasons why you should visit the fair, also known as the most exciting event of the year. And once you make the correct decision to go to the fair, here are some tips to make the most of your visit:
1. Wear closed-toe shoes.
Owners walk their animals in, out and around the expo center throughout the fair, which tracks straw, dirt and, ummm, organic material everywhere. You don’t want to step in something gross with just a $5 flip flop protecting you.
2. Bring cash.
I’ve seen more vendors accept debit and credit cards over the years, but the majority of business at the fair is cash only.
3. Wear a crossbody bag.
This just makes the day a lot easier.
4. Bring a water bottle.
There are water fountains throughout the the expo center to fill up your water bottle. This is a lot better than paying $2 every time you’re thirsty. And that saves more money for ice cream.
5. Get to the fair early.
Traffic has been horrendous to get into the fairgrounds. If you’re going on the weekend, aim to leave the house by 10:30 a.m. to avoid afternoon traffic. And try to enter through one of the gates off Crittenden Drive rather than the big entrance off Phillips Lane. The traffic volunteers still might send you far away to park, but at least you’ll get in relatively quickly.
6. Map your route.
You have to have a plan of attack to make sure you see all of your favorite sights. Here’s the routine I’ve perfected over five years of fairing:
Miller’s Border Collies
Notice I don’t have the midway on my list. That’s not an integral part of my fair experience, so I don’t try to squeeze in rides to an already full schedule. Decide what’s important to you and your family and friends, and go with that. You don’t have to make time to see the miniature Christmas tree decorating entries if that’s not your jam.
7. Make time to see the Miller border collies. This is not optional.
I love my dog, Roscoe. I really do. But the Miller border collies put my pooch to shame. These dogs put on demonstrations at the fair to show off their herding capabilities. Their owner uses whistles and voice commands to get the dogs to herd a group of unhappy ducks around a show ring and into a cage. It is AMAZING to watch. And you never know if the ducks will cooperate; this year, they exhibited some civil disobedience and wouldn’t get into that cage. Get to the show ring a half hour early to get a good seat to watch the herding.
This year’s fair runs Aug. 20 through 30. Find out all the info about admission and hours here. I’ve documented my love affair with the fair for the past five years, so I won’t waste time running my list of reasons why you need to set aside some time to make it out to the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center. But I will mention one event that’s worth making a trip to the fairgrounds this evening.
I will be one of a great group of judges at this year’s 30th annual Evan Williams Cooking Contest, at 6 p.m. today, Aug. 21, on the Gourmet Garden culinary stage in South Wing Lobby A of the expo center. The competition pits amateur and professional chefs against one another to find out who can prepare the best entree, soup, stew, barbecue or casserole that features Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The Courier-Journal reports that there will be more than 80 dishes entered in the competition. That’s a lot of eatin’, friends. But someone has to judge these dishes, and I’m the lady for it. And you know I love judging a cooking competition — it’s like Choppedcome to life.
Evan Williams Cooking Competition at the Kentucky State Fair
When: 6 p.m. today, Aug. 21
Where: South Wing Lobby A, Kentucky State Fair and Exposition Center
I appreciate agriculture. It’s hard not to when you love food as much as I do. Sure, there’s the food stuff that’s scientifically modified and pushed down an assembly line that’s engineered to be DELICIOUS (Oreos, I can’t seem to quit you). But there’s nothing quite like a bite of fresh produce from a farmer, especially if s/he is close enough to call “neighbor.”
If you share my appreciation or just want to learn more about local farming, Oldham County’s tourism and convention board will host Kentucky Farm Fest this weekend, July 11-12 in Crestwood at a farm called The Maples (because all good farms have names, dontchaknow). The Kentucky Department of Agriculture and Kentucky Proud are also sponsoring the event with the goal of celebrating agriculture.
Some of the Kentucky Farm Festival’s activities will include animal demonstrations about shearing and milking, cooking demos, and workshops from chefs, distillers and farmers. You can take a look at the impressive lineup here. I’m pretty excited about the products that will be at the Foodie Market.
Admission to the Kentucky Farm Festival is $5. For more information about getting there and where to park, visit the event’s website.
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.
Anyhoodles, I have a steaming cup of the good stuff right here so I can let you in on some events coming up this weekend. Let’s do this.
Barbecue critic to sign books at Momma’s Mustard, Pickles & BBQ
Taste of Frankfort Avenue to raise money for the Clifton Center
Food and fundraising go hand in hand, like almond butter and banana (trust me on this one). Enjoy both at the 23rd annual Taste of Frankfort Avenue event at the Clifton Center, 2117 Payne Street, this Sunday, June 14 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $45, and all of the proceeds benefit the Clifton Center, a venue that hosts cultural and community events. Here is a peek at some of the restaurants that will participating in the event:
These are my favorite kinds of fundraisers. So many options under one roof AND you get to support a cool facility that promotes the arts? I’m down. For more information and to buy a ticket, visit the Clifton Center’s website.
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