Bits and pieces: Starbucks, honey buns and other food news from the web, 1.10.11

 

This is worth gold – at least in jail. Photo courtesy of Collin Anderson via Flickr.
  • You can always count on the St. Petersburg Times for a great story, but I never expected to find such a gripping narrative about honey buns. In the prison system, honey buns are a substitute for addictions, an effective bartering tool and, in some cases, a motive for murder.

 

  • Paul Mason, who was once the world’s heaviest man, has filed a lawsuit against Britain’s health system for sending him to dietitians who did not diagnose his eating disorder, according to an article from the New York Daily News.

 

  • I love sushi, but I’m not shelling out 250,000 pounds for a tuna fish like this wholesaler did at a recent Toyko auction.

 

  • Residents of the Highlands in Louisville will be welcoming a new neighbor soon. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will erect a 5-foot 6-inch tall crippled chicken statue at 1578 Bardstown Road, according to an article in LEO Weekly. Here’s what PETA Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement:

Our chicken statue will remind Louisville residents that KFC’s suppliers break chickens’ bones and often scald birds to death as a result of KFC’s refusal to implement the animal welfare standards recommended by members of its own advisory council

 

  • Words – who needs them? Starbucks is streamlining its logo by eliminating the company’s name and the word “coffee,” according to Reuters. Check out the logo here. What do you think?

The $10 Challenge: China Inn

Ever heard the phrase, “Sex is like pizza – even when it is bad, it is still pretty good”?

I’d like to replace “pizza” with “Chinese food.”

Crowded buffets and hipster delivery guys have provided me with a steady stream of greasy, fatty, Americanized Chinese food for years. But each dish, no matter how mediocre, has satisfied my craving for something foreign enough to be exciting, yet familiar enough to be comforting.

China Inn manages to quell the need for Chinese food and go above the minimum expectations for this style of food. I’ve spent the past several hours trying to think of something witty to say about China Inn, but really, it comes down to this: China Inn is pretty darn good.

Continue reading “The $10 Challenge: China Inn”

The $10 Challenge: Mark’s Feed Store

I lived in Louisville for 17 years, but there was a lot of stuff I missed.

I didn’t discover all the shops along Bardstown Road until freshman year of college. I didn’t go to the Kentucky Derby until I was assigned to cover the event for the Lexington Herald-Leader two years ago. And I drove on Frankfort Avenue for the first time in February.

But the latest $10 Challenge made me hang my head in shame.

How could I spend the most formidable years of my life in Louisville, yet miss out on the greatness that is Mark’s Feed Store?

Sure, I had heard of Mark’s Feed Store. But for the longest time, I thought the business was a livestock supply company. So color me surprised when a friend told me about the great and inexpensive barbecue on which she feasted at Mark’s Feed Store. Those context clues were enough to inform me that:

  1. Mark’s Feed Store feeds people, not animals.
  2. The restaurant was ripe for a $10 Challenge.

Continue reading “The $10 Challenge: Mark’s Feed Store”

Bits and pieces: Thanksgiving news from the web, 11.24.10

    Gobble gobble, y'all. Photo courtesy of Alan Vernon via Flickr.
  • Each year, one lucky turkey escapes the dinner table, receives a Presidential pardon and lives a pretty cushy life in the process. The Food Network put together a fun slideshow about the process, and the Washington Post profiled the chosen bird, Courage, and his alternate, Carolina, last year.
  • This Thanksgiving, more folks in Louisville (and the rest of the country, from what I’ve read) need help, but donations have fallen flat, according to an article in the Courier-Journal. From the story:

“What I’ve been really amazed by is the number of people who come in and feel somewhat ashamed because they say, ‘I’ve never been in this situation before,’” said George Sanders, executive director of West Louisville Community Ministries. “They’re almost apologetic.”

  • I’ve never had the urge to try the abomination that is turducken (a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken stuffed with … stuffing), but in case you’re interested, here’s a recipe. Somebody should stuff some Tums in there as well.

 

  • Some calls to the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line prove that there are such things as stupid questions, according to a piece from Reuters. The story lists some real questions that have been posed to the turkey experts throughout the years, including my favorite: “Is it okay to thaw my turkey in the bathtub while bathing my kids?”

 

  • Need something to talk about at the Thanksgiving table? The good people of Smithsonian.com have compiled a list of science trivia about common Thanksgiving foods.

The $10 Challenge: El Mundo

When the people talk, I listen.

And all the folks who have e-mailed, commented or tweeted about El Mundo had a clear message: this Mexican restaurant is the perfect destination for a $10 Challenge.

So I used my birthday and my roommates’ big hearts (and wallets) as excuses to visit the Frankfort Avenue restaurant.

El Mundo isn’t like most Americanized Mexican places that I’m used to visiting. Gone are the bad murals of haciendas and medleys of Spanish singing over the speakers. Same goes for the identical menus and indistinguishable dishes covered in melted cheese. This restaurant takes traditional Mexican dishes and shakes them down Kentucky-style by infusing food with local ingredients and giving the finger to what people expect from a Mexican restaurant.

Continue reading “The $10 Challenge: El Mundo”

The $10 Challenge: Dish on Market

I’m a sucker for a nice font and a catchy logo.

 

Take Dish on Market, for instance.


The restaurant’s lime green and black sign with a sans serif font has screamed at me for weeks: “Hey, I’m my modern, yet simple logo is just a preview of my modern, yet simple menu.”

 

Dish on Market’s food lived up to its logo. The restaurant provides simple food with a pop of something special to keep diners interested.

Continue reading “The $10 Challenge: Dish on Market”

The $10 Challenge: Carly Rae’s

“Don’t call it a comeback – I’ve been here for years…” – LL Cool J


I’ve had my eye on Carly Rae’s since I moved to Old Louisville a few months ago. Unfortunately, the restaurant at First and Oak streets had been shuttered since my arrival.

But this month, the restaurant made a comeback – and it’s like Carly Rae’s had never been closed.

Continue reading “The $10 Challenge: Carly Rae’s”

Original KFC in Corbin to close, turn into hunger relief kitchen

 

A view of Sanders Cafe, the original KFC.

It’s a good thing I visited the first KFC in Corbin, Ky., last week.

Yum! Brands, the parent company of the fried-chicken chain, will close the Corbin restaurant, according to Business First of Louisville.

But Yum! plans to turn the Corbin location along with the first KFC franchise in Salt Lake City into “World Hunger Relief Kitchens” that will serve free meals to residents of local shelters, the Business First article said.

Yum! sponsors the World Hunger Relief campaign “to raise awareness, volunteerism and funds for the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) and other hunger relief agencies,” according to the campaign’s website.

Full disclosure: Today, I will see the campaign firsthand – representatives from Yum!, KFC and the World Hunger Relief campaign will visit Neighborhood House and serve food to our kids and their families.

World Chicken Festival 2010: Light on the chicken, heavy on the history

Me + 6 Colonel Sanders lookalikes = epic encounter

It’s hard to escape the KFC connection when people learn of my Kentucky roots.

On a trip to England, most Brits I met said they only knew two things about Kentucky: the Queen has some horses here, and it’s where Kentucky Fried Chicken comes from.

Last weekend, I embraced my ties to this iconic brand and wound up in Laurel County, Ky., the birthplace of KFC, for the 21st Annual World Chicken Festival.

The festival celebrates Laurel County’s heritage and the area’s most famous exports – KFC and its creator, Colonel Harland Sanders, the county’s white-suit-wearing, goatee-sporting native son whose face is one of the most recognizable in the world. (Interestingly, many people don’t realize that he was a real person).

I didn’t come across a lot of chicken at this celebration of poultry. But I returned to Louisville with an appreciation for the tiny diner that became a fast-food giant.

Chicken Fest, which takes place in London, is a street fair full of vendors, live Bluegrass music, midway rides and, of course, chicken. The big draw of the event was the chance to eat chicken cooked in the world’s largest skillet. But instead of being a huge cast iron skillet like I pictured, the pan was an industrial steel tub split into four sections.

The world's largest frying pan. Cue the Debbie Downer music.

I didn’t try any of the chicken from this record-breaking skillet on the recommendation of a friend who is from London and attends the festival each year. She compared the chicken to cafeteria food. Yikes.

Instead, I bought a $3 bowl of chicken and dumplings. I only came across one shred of chicken meat, but the dumplings were well-flavored, thick and doughy.

Lots of dough. Little chicken.

But the highlight of my trip to southeastern Kentucky took place after I left Chicken Fest (and after my encounter with six Colonel Sanders lookalikes). Two friends and I drove down the road to North Corbin to Sanders’ Café, the diner that was the precursor to Kentucky Fried Chicken.

A view of Sanders Cafe, the original KFC.

Visiting Sanders’ Café was a welcome reminder of KFC’s humble heritage as a restaurant attached to a motel. The lobby features a model of the original motel and restaurant, along with cases of memorabilia such as recipe cards, the barrels that held those 11 secret herbs and spices, and pictures of the Colonel before he became, well, the Colonel (FYI – he was a brunette). The displays taught me a lot about the man behind the brand. For example, Sanders arguably ignited the fast-food revolution by reducing the time it took to fry chicken from more than 30 minutes to just 13. And who knew he ran for state senate in 1951?

The building has been restored to its 1940s luster that allows visitors to eat in the original wood-paneled dining room. There are also recreations of the Colonel’s kitchen and motel room in the dining area.

But with all that history, visitors are smacked with the reality of what Kentucky Fried Chicken has become – a fast-food behemoth.

I thought the café would offer up some original-recipe chicken cooked in small batches and served diner-style. Instead, the historical building is home to the same KFC that is available worldwide.

Original recipe chicken breast with green beans, corn and a biscuit.

The food was tasty, but I couldn’t help but ponder how KFC catapulted from a small business to an enormous chain. Would the Colonel be happy with KFC’s current menu? Would he be happy with he comparably limited selections? Could honestly stand behind the Double Down?

Despite the questions, I had a great time at Sanders’ Café. This should be a stop on every Kentucky road trip. Sure, you’ll get the same food available at your neighborhood KFC, but there are some hefty bragging rights that come with eating where it all began.

Heading to St. Joseph Orphan’s Picnic, 8.14.10

I missed a lot of things in the 17 years I lived in Louisville before college.

St. Joseph Children’s Home’s annual picnic is one of them.

The Orphan’s Picnic has been a fixture in the Crescent Hill neighborhood since 1850. According to the home’s website, “what started out as a small picnic run primarily by a group of Ursuline nuns trying to raise funds for the orphaned children in their care has become Kentucky’s biggest picnic of its kind.”

St. Joseph provides some great reasons to brave the humidity to take part in the event:

  • “All proceeds that are raised with the … the annual Orphans’ Picnic go directly back into the Home to support the children’s programs.”
  • “The Picnic averages 63 booths, which include, games of chance, raffles and food and beverage.”
  • “Our famous home cooked chicken dinner is always a family favorite.”

I’ll be at the picnic sometime in the afternoon. Say hi if you spot me searching for this famous chicken. And please tell me if I have crumbs around my mouth.

The Stats:

  • St. Joseph Orphans’ Picnic
  • Noon-midnight, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2010
  • 2823 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, Ky.

*Check out this article on Louisville.com that provides some great tips for navigating the event. Do you know of a special food-related event? Contact me and I can blog about it.