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

The stage at the Tim Faulkner Gallery in Portland.
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

Event Alert: Take your pup to Bark Brunch at The Cafe tomorrow, 8.2.14

This is a face that deserves brunch.
This is a face that deserves brunch.

Brunch is wonderful on its own. Add pets, and we’ve achieved next-level glee.

The Café, a restaurant at 712 Brent Street in Louisville, will team up with 102.3 The Max and The Flea Off Market for a Bark Brunch this Saturday, Aug. 2. It’s your chance to bring your dog to the lovely patio of The Café for a meal.

From the folks at The Café:

Bark Brunch is for people and dogs alike. Enjoy a delicious brunch before heading to The Flea Off Market with your pooch! There is no cost to attend, but reservations are encouraged. To make a reservation at The Café, call 502.589.9191.

The event, which is sponsored by Southern Indiana Animal Rescue, Duffy’s Dog Training Center and Bluegrass Kennels, sounds like a lot of fun. Even if you and your pooch can’t get in (sorry for the short notice, y’all), I recommend checking out The Café with a two-legged friend. Have you heard about their chicken salad?

Chicken salad sandwich at The Cafe.
Chicken salad sandwich at The Cafe.

Delicious.

Bark Brunch

The Café, 712 Brent Street, Louisville, Ky.

Saturday, Aug. 2 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.

Reservations: 502.589.9191

Need a last-minute Mother’s Day gift? Go for edible gifts (with a side of flowers)

The ol' dyed pasta necklace isn't going to cut it when you become an adult. (Photo courtesy Selena N. B. H. via Flickr Creative Commons)
The ol’ dyed pasta necklace isn’t going to cut it when you become an adult. (Photo courtesy Selena N. B. H. via Flickr Creative Commons)

The horses have barely finished kicking up dirt at Churchill Downs, yet it’s time to turn around and celebrate another big occasion.

I’ve always thought that the Kentucky Derby and Mother’s Day are just a little too close together to give moms in the state proper justice. You want me to pick a horse, down a couple of mint juleps, AND plan a bomb brunch and buy a fabulous gift for my beyond-fabulous mother all in one breath?

Month of May, have mercy on me.

Since I’m a little too old to hand out pasta necklaces to the woman who co-signed on my creation, I’m searching for the perfect gift. Yes, it’s last minute. But I pray to the gods of Better Late Than Never.

Here are some great items I’ve come across in my search for the perfect Mother’s Day gift, from the traditional to practical and back again.

  • Grocery delivery.
My first bunch of produce from Green BEAN Delivery.
My first bunch of produce from Green BEAN Delivery.

Taking care of a week’s worth of groceries isn’t the most sentimental thing you can do for your mother/mother figure. But for the practical person in your life, a gift like a Green BEAN Delivery gift certificate would give a busy lady one less thing to think about. I’ve touted this organic grocery delivery service before, and the fine Green BEAN folks have a special offer if you want to treat your mom. Visit Green BEAN’s website and use the code 15AEml for $15 off your first order (for new members/reactivations only; expires a week from today).

  • Chocolate.
(Photo courtesy of EuroMagic via Flickr Creative Commons)
(Photo courtesy of EuroMagic via Flickr Creative Commons)

I’m not talking about the stuff you get at the gas station on your way to visit your mother. Stop by Cellar Door Chocolates in Butchertown Market (1201 Story Ave.) or Oxmoor Mall (near Starbucks) for some decadent, small-batch chocolate.

  • Meat.
A box of meat from Mattingly.
A box of meat from Mattingly.

Sure, you can take your mom to brunch. Just be prepared for loud crowds, long waits, and at least one unsatisfied grandma. How about getting some quality meat from Mattingly Foods – A. Thomas Meats and cook your mom a nice dinner?

  • Flowers.
(Photo courtesy julie via Flickr Creative Commons)
(Photo courtesy julie via Flickr Creative Commons)

I once got my mother flowers for the big day. Her mouth said, “Thank you.” Her eyes said, “Is this it? They’re going to die in a week.” I’ve learned that flowers are a present that serves better as a supplement to something else rather than the big sha-bang. Stop by Nanz and Kraft Florists (they make arrangements beyond the KFC corsage) to see if they can help you find something pretty to go with the “real present.”

What are you doing for your mom this Mother’s Day?

Wild Eggs has all-you-can-eat pancakes this month. Challenge accepted.

Pancakes from Wild Eggs.
Pancakes from Wild Eggs.

February is National Pancake Month. I’m not one to shrug off seemingly unnecessary proclamations such as this, and neither is Wild Eggs.

In honor of this glorious month, the breakfast/lunch/brunch restaurant will offer all-you-can-eat pancakes $4.99 through February.

Heck. Yeah.

I’m a frequent Wild Eggs patron on lazy Sunday afternoons. I tried their pancakes for the first time a few weeks ago, and I was smitten. I’ve been on a pancake kick ever since. I’ll even order a pancake as a side dish — I’m not ashamed. Wild Eggs serves their hot cakes big, buttery and fluffy. I agree with Michelle at Consuming Louisville — it’s hard to finish a regular order, let alone an unlimited supply.

That doesn’t mean I won’t try.

Check out Wild Eggs’ Facebook page or website for more details. In the meantime, I’ll be practicing some pancake-eatin’ for my next visit.

The baby fist pump meme plus pancakes equals triumph.
The baby fist pump meme plus pancakes equals triumph.

The $10 Challenge: Terri Ann’s

Biscuit and gravy from Terri Ann's
Biscuit and gravy from Terri Ann’s

A restaurant like Theresa’s doesn’t come along all the time. Neither does its breakfast special.

Theresa’s is a diner in Bowling Green that serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday; Sundays are reserved for the staff to spend time with “the Lord and their families,” the menu says. The smoking section takes up the majority of the restaurant, but the cloud of secondhand smoke inevitably wafts over to a non-smoker’s table as waitresses hustle by with full trays of orders. Because the doors close at 3 in the afternoon, the booths and tables are full of blue-collar workers still in cover-alls looking for breakfast after the first and third shifts.

Breakfast was my favorite thing about Theresa’s. They had this incredible breakfast special that I ordered every time I visited as a Western Kentucky University student. For four dollars and some change, you get biscuits and gravy or toast (but seriously, who chooses toast when biscuits and gravy is an option), your choice of a meat, two eggs any way you want them, and hash browns.

I’ve spent three years trying to find a dinner in Louisville that I love as much as Theresa’s.

Terri Ann’s is pretty close. It’s a diner in southwest Louisville, just down the street from the beauty shop my parents own. Terri Ann’s offers a hearty line-up of meat-centric Southern diner fare that will set you back well less than $10.

My dad comes in most Saturdays with a carry-out box filled to the edges with some kind of breakfast combo he’s picked up from Terri Ann’s.

“You want some of this?” he asks, mouth full of egg and potato.

Yes, Daddy, I indeed want some Terri Ann’s, I decided one Saturday.

Instead of picking out of my dad’s to-go box, I went down to the restaurant after my shampoo and set to enjoy an early lunch with Rob.

The diner lacks some of the charm of Theresa’s (the city’s smoking ban probably has a lot to do with that), but it’s just as unpretentious. Guests seat themselves in vinyl booths or small tables under the dull glow of fluorescent lights. Waitresses don’t wear uniforms – just T-shirts, jeans and a smile.

We started with a couple of mismatched mugs of coffee ($1.50). I wasn’t expecting Starbucks, but I wasn’t expecting the thin beverage I sipped. Even though it was the cheapest coffee I had in weeks, I quickly decided I would stick with just water the next time.

Terri Ann’s food is more robust than its drinks, but take note: this is a restaurant where New Year’s resolutions come to die. All of the appetizers ($3.25-$4.95) are fried or covered in cheese. The only vegetarian option on the lunch sandwich menu is the grilled cheese on Texas toast (served with fries, $3.50). And don’t get me started on the country fried steak. But there’s a certain charm to this disregard providing healthful options. This isn’t a place to count Weight Watchers points. Terri Ann’s is a place to fill your belly on the cheap with some good, greasy, cheap food.

My general rule is to order breakfast whenever a restaurant serves the most important meal of the day all day. Unless you had your heart set on waffles, which aren’t on the menu, Terri Ann’s has just about everything I could ask for in a breakfast menu. I could be full for hours with one of the egg plates, which come with fried potatoes, a biscuit, two eggs and one of seven different meats (ranging from $5.95 for smoked sausage and eggs to $9.95 for steak and eggs). The short stack with meat ($5.35 for two “hot cakes” and your choice of meat) and old-time French toast ($3.50 for three piece made with Texas toast) would satisfy my sweet tooth. And if all else fails, there’s always biscuits and gravy ($3 for two biscuits).

To get a little taste of a lot of food, I ordered the “Two Egg’s & Taters” (sic) that came with two eggs cooked to order (over medium for me), fried potatoes, country gravy and a biscuit ($3.95). Rob went with the Traditional Western omelet and fried potatoes ($8.70).

Biscuit and gravy, fried potatoes and eggs over medium from Terri Ann's.
Biscuit and gravy, fried potatoes and eggs over medium from Terri Ann’s.

The meal made up for my earlier disappointment with the coffee.

The fried potatoes were like the fat cousin of hash browns. The heftier hunks had the crispy edges that I like but more of the potato’s “meat.”

The eggs and biscuit were very good, nothing out of the ordinary, but tasty nonetheless. The country gravy, however, was some of the thickest I had ever had. I only needed to plop couple of heaping spoonfuls onto my biscuit. The gravy was a day away from being the consistency of a Jell-O mold.

A bite of Western omelet from Terri Ann's.
A bite of Western omelet from Terri Ann’s.

If I ever go to Terri Ann’s on an empty stomach, I will get the Western omelet that Rob ordered. The three-egg dish includes bacon, sausage, ham onion, tomato, mushrooms, green peppers and cheddar cheese. It was like someone dumped the toppings of a supreme pizza onto a pile of eggs. This dish is guaranteed to give you a severe case of the itis that you can only remedy with a nap.

Terri Ann’s won’t have the nostalgia that I’ve attached to Theresa’s any time soon. But it is a restaurant where I can afford to make plenty of new memories.

Terri Ann’s, 2605 Rockford Lane, Louisville

Coffee: $1.50
Two eggs, fried potatoes and a biscuit with gravy: $3.95
Total (with tax): $5.78

Mission: Accomplished

Treat Yo’ Self: Brunch at BLU Italian Grille (and a giveaway)

(Blogger’s note: I’m giving away a brunch for two at BLU. Read this post for more info.)
A portion of the brunch buffet at BLU.

I got the chance to celebrate brunch last week at BLU Italian Grille in the Marriott in downtown Louisville. The restaurant is promoting its new brunch concept and invited me to try it out on the house.

The brunch buffet at BLU is $22.95 per person, which puts the BLU buffet firmly in Treat Yo’ Self territory. But the upscale atmosphere, attentive wait staff and wide variety of delicious food choices are worth scrimping during the week to have a nice Sunday brunch, especially if you have some hard-to-please guests to entertain.

BLU offers a variety of dishes to satisfy urges for breakfast, lunch or both. The buffet provides a satisfying preview of what the regular BLU menu offers. Here are some of the foods that were available during my visit:

  • Omelet station
  • Egg benedict station
  • Carving station (a chef carved slices of beef at your request)
  • Antipasto platters
  • Selection of fresh fruit
  • Continental breakfast selections (yogurt, cereal, pastries, etc.)
  • Hot breakfast offerings (eggs, sausage, bacon, waffles, etc.)
  • Premium entreés
  • Desserts
My first two plates at the BLU buffet.

In about an hour, I had sampled from three plates full of food (I was researching for this blog, so I absolve myself of guilt). Some of my favorite selections were the beef filet and scalloped potatoes from the entreé section of the buffet, the scrambled eggs and the fresh fruit. A slice of moist carrot cake was a good cap to my meal.

But it wasn’t just the food that made my experience at BLU enjoyable. A jazz trio played upbeat tunes throughout the afternoon. Our waitress, Mei, was never more than a step or two away with fresh coffee or cold water. These little extras made my brunch a little more classy than what I’m used to, and I’m OK with that.

BLU Italian Grille, 280 W. Jefferson Street, Louisville

Brunch buffet, $22.95 per person

10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sundays

BLU would like to offer a brunch for two to one Ashlee Eats reader. Just answer the following question in the comments between now and next Thursday, 10.25.12, for your chance to win:

What is your favorite brunch food?

Eat your heart out at the Wild Eggs Pancake Eating Championship

Photo courtesy of smittenkittenorig via Flickr.

Any competitive eaters in the audience?

Wild Eggs, a brunch restaurant based in Louisville, is having its first National Championship Pancake Eating Championship Sept. 29. Applications to enter the contest are available at all Wild Eggs locations.

Laugh if you want, but I got a little giddy when I saw the flier for this event because:

  1. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day
  2. Wild Eggs is my favorite place to get breakfast
  3. I love Man vs. Food, a show that features a host competing in eating challenges at local restaurants

Even if you’re not that into the gluttony of eating challenges, visit Wild Eggs anyway. It’s tasty and $10-Challenge friendly.

Wild Eggs National Pancake Eating Championship

Competition at 2 p.m., family activities from noon to 3 p.m., Sept. 29

Wild Eggs at Westport Village, 1211 Herr Lane, Louisville

Happy Valentine’s Day, and a foodie’s musings on love

My Valentines.

I’ve griped about Valentine’s Day, but I’m really nothing but a big sap with a caramel center. 

I’m blessed to spend today with not only my new husband, but a supportive family, fun-loving friends, and a dog who is never short on kisses.

All these people have showed me what love really is:

  • Coffee in bed
  • Catching up over Sunday brunch
  • Washing the dishes, even when it’s not your turn
  • Homemade chicken soup when you’re sick (or feeling fine)
  • Potlucks
  • Giving up the last piece of cake
  • Your favorite meal for your birthday
  • Birthday trips to Huber’s
  • Breakfast for dinner
  • Homemade cookies with Ghirardelli chocolate chips
  • Packed lunch boxes with love notes inside
  • Splitting a pizza
  • Table scraps*

*Roscoe’s idea of love

Happy V-Day. Share it someone (or some animal) you love.

 

The Waffle & Crepe Co. needs your help to bring European-style street food to Louisville

Remember that time when we as Louisvillians united and exclaimed to the world, “We want a vegan food truck, dangit!” and shelled out some money to prove it?

It’s time to do it again.

The Waffle & Crepe Co., which has made appearances at events such as the St. Matthews Farmers’ Market and Buy Local Fair, is using Kickstarter to raise money to expand the business. Creator Natasha Krider wants to establish a permanent location to serve sweet and savory waffles and crepes at the building that houses Moby Dick at 1500 Mellwood Avenue.

Here’s where you guys come in. Natasha needs to raise $12,000 by July 3. Here’s a blurb from a press release about what the money will go toward:

The funds will be used to refresh the former neighborhood icon by painting the exterior of the building to include a mural inspired by Alice Waters, replacing the roof, adding landscaping and a garden, creating new signage, and establishing more usable patio space.

And here’s some info about what the eatery will serve:

The Waffle & Crepe Co.’s local-centric, seasonal menu will showcase Kentucky Proud products and bring the taste of European street food to Louisville. Along with crepes and waffles, the restaurant will feature smoothies, coffee from Red Hot Roasters, and gelato.

Natasha is using Kickstarter to raise money, much like Stanley did with Morels Food Truck. As of Friday, she had raised $2,970, and she’s trying to raise $12,000 by July 3.

We don’t have much time, folks, so head on over to Kickstarter and donate money to Natasha’s cause. She’ll also through in some pretty nice gifts for your contribution (chocolate-dipped waffle crisps, anyone?). And just like other Kickstarter projects, money won’t come out of your account until the goal is met.

If we can bring a vegan food truck to Louisville, surely we can help get this waffle and crepe business a home.

McDonald’s has made oatmeal a hot topic. Here’s how to make your own.

Photo courtesy of nate steiner via Flickr.

It took two minutes and three ingredients for my fiancé to change the way I look at breakfast.

It was a cool February morning. We were hungry and chilly and needed some food that would stick to our bones.

Rob removed a carton of Aldi-brand oatmeal from my cabinet. Then he showed me how real grown ups eat a proper breakfast.

Oatmeal has had its place on my kitchen shelves in every apartment in which I’ve lived. But oatmeal was just an item I needed on hand to whip up a batch of oatmeal-raisin cookies when the mood struck me. Occasionally I would by bags of the pre-flavored oatmeal that’s quick and easy to prepare when you’re in a hurry. But I never looked at those rolled oats in the cardboard carton as food with which I could satisfy my urges to get creative in the kitchen.

Rob got to pouring and measuring and stirring. Less than five minutes later, I was eating a bowl of hot oatmeal with raisins, cinnamon and brown sugar. This humble bowl of oatmeal was the beginning of my adoration of this bastion of fiber.

Oatmeal has become my go-to breakfast. It’s a blank canvas that waits for your personal touches. It’s easy, quick and cheap. It keeps you full until lunch. In a word, oatmeal is wonderful.

Recently, McDonald’s and a couple of oat-loving food writers have brought oatmeal to the front of internet food conversation.

Food columnist Mark Bittman just wrote a widely read article for the New York Times condemning McDonald’s oatmeal, which he said has been altered so much by the fast-food giant that the dish has more sugar than a Snickers candy bar. Bittman’s piece prompted a response from Tom Chiarella at Esquire Magazine based on his own experiences at the restaurant that defends the chain’s oatmeal.

While you decide if McDonald’s has bastardized oatmeal or brought a healthier option to the masses, why not make your own? It takes only two steps:

  1. Follow the directions on the carton of oatmeal. If you use milk instead of water (which is what I do), watch your oatmeal closely and stir often because it can easily bubble over the pot or bowl.
  2. Add your favorite ingredients.

Here’s a breakdown of some possible additions to oatmeal. Choose something from each category and make your own combinations.

  • Something sweet: Sugar, brown sugar, sugar substitute, honey, syrup
  • Something crunchy: Nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc.)
  • Something fruity: Dried fruit (raisins, golden raisins, Craisins, etc.), mashed banana, chopped apple, applesauce
  • Something flavorful: Cinnamon, nutmeg

Do you have your own oatmeal combination? Share the knowledge in the comments.