Want to learn about food writing? Join me for a workshop tomorrow at Butchertown Grocery

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.


A Writeable Feast: A Food-Writing Workshop

When: 5-7 p.m. Saturday, May 14

Where: Butchertown Grocery, 1076 E. Washington St., Louisville

Cost: $40 (includes appetizers and jokes from me!)

For more info and to sign up: Louisville Literary Arts website

Event alert: Celebrate great black women of Kentucky tonight at the Clifton Center

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.

This event is open to the public with a suggested donation of $10 to $20, which includes delicious food from Dasha Barbour’s Southern Bistro and Louisville Vegan Kitchen. There will be a cash bar and silent auction.

There’s still time to buy tickets to the event here. You can also learn more about Kentuckians for the Commonwealth here.


We Are Kentuckians: Celebrating Our Common Heritage

When: 7-10 p.m. Thursday, March 10

Where: Clifton Center, 2117 Payne St., Louisville

Cost: $10-20

For more info: We Are Kentuckians website

It’s that time of year: Join me at the Desserts First fundraiser for Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana

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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.

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10th Annual Desserts First fundraiser

When: 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24

Where: Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center, 1860 Mellwood Ave., Louisville

Cost: $65

For more info: Desserts First website, Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana

 

Come to the Moth tonight, and bring some mittens, too

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.

Where: Headliners Music Hall, 1386 Lexington Road, Louisville

Cost: $8

For more info: The Moth website

 

Event Alert: Louisville Storytellers event will be all about food on Nov. 16

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-Journal that 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 DinersIf her story is anything like our interview, everyone will be in for a good night.


Louisville Storytellers

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 16 (refreshments and cash bar available at 6 p.m.)

Where: Actors Theatre of Louisville

Cost: $10

For more information and tickets: https://tickets.courier-journal.com/e/louisville-storytellers-confessions

7 tips to get the most out of the Kentucky State Fair

ALERT: You have through Aug. 30 to visit the Kentucky State Fair.

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.
Goats and other animals track that hay all over the place.
Goats and other animals track that hay all over the place.

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.
A footlong corndog was $7, a worthwhile purchase for my yearly treat.
A footlong corndog was $7, a worthwhile purchase for my yearly treat.

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.
Some of the rabbits were for sale. I was *this close* to bringing one home.
Some of the rabbits were for sale. I was *this close* to bringing one home.

This just makes the day a lot easier.

4. Bring a water bottle.
I don't have any pictures of water bottles, but I do have a picture of a cake in the shape of a woman's behind.
I don’t have any pictures of water bottles, but I do have a picture of a cake in the shape of a woman’s behind.

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.
The dog show was packed, and it was only 1:30 p.m.
The dog show was packed, and it was only 1:30 p.m.

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.
I always include the decorative cakes and other exhibit hall entries in my fair schedule.
I always include the decorative cakes and other exhibit hall entries in my fair schedule.

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:

  • Animals
  • Lunch
  • Miller’s Border Collies
  • Exhibits
  • Flea market
  • Dessert

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.
The highlight of my visit was getting one-on-one time with Flint, one of the Miller border collies.
The highlight of my visit was getting one-on-one time with Flint, one of the Miller border collies.

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.

Join me today, Aug. 21, at the Kentucky State Fair bourbon cooking competition

Funnel cake because it's time for the Kentucky State Fair.
Funnel cake because it’s time for the Kentucky State Fair.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, guys. The Kentucky State Fair is in full swing.

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 Chopped come 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

For more information: Kentucky State Fair’s website

Event Alert: Kentucky Farm Festival, July 11-12, 2015

Photo courtesy of Kentucky Farm Festival.
The Maples in Crestwood. Photo courtesy of Kentucky Farm Festival.

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.


Kentucky Farm Festival

When: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. July 11, 2015; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. July 12

Where: The Maples Farm, 6826 W. Highway 22, Crestwood, Ky. 40014

Cost: $5

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

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.

Courtesy of giphy.com.
Courtesy of giphy.com.

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

front coverI feel equal parts jealous of and sorry for author Johnny Fugitt. Fugitt visited 365 barbecue restaurants across the country during one year to write his book, The 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in AmericaI love barbecue, hence the jealousy. But I also know what it’s like to eat for research, so I pass a bottle of Tums in solidarity.

Fugitt will be in Louisville this Friday, June 12, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for a book signing at Momma’s Mustard, Pickles & BBQ,102 Bauer Ave. Don’t forget to grab some wings while you’re there.

 

 

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:

  • Porcini
  • Varanese
  • Volare
  • Bourbon’s Bistro
  • Craft House
  • North End Café
  • Irish Rover
  • Gary’s on Spring
  • Cellar Door Chocolates
  • Silver Dollar
  • Grape Leaf
  • Caffe Classico
  • DiFabio’s Casapela
  • Homemade Ice Cream & Pie Kitchen
  • Crave Café
  • Boombozz Pizza
  • The Comfy Cow
  • Vint
  • Heine Brothers’ Coffee

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.

 

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

 

This looks heavenly. (jeffreyw, Flickr Creative Commons)
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