Aldi comes to the East End, so use these tips to get ready

This is going to sound like poppycock, but I don’t care. I might not ever leave the East End of Louisville. The grocery stores on this end of town keep me in their orbit, and now my favorite is setting up shop.

Aldi will open at Westport Road on March 5, according to Business First of LouisvilleFor those who haven’t been blessed with an Aldi in their vicinity, this European discount grocery store chain is Trader Joe’s brother in price, operations and origin. I’m a huge fan, as I’ve written about on the blog here, here and here.

My fellow East Enders need to check out my blog post about navigating Aldi for the first time. Your grocery budget will thank you for visiting a grocery store with inexpensive cooking staples and so much more.

Don’t sleep on Aldi for your holiday baking needs

Pineapple thumbprints were the first cookies of this holiday season in the Thompson house.
Pineapple thumbprints were the first cookies of this holiday season in the Thompson house.

Three years ago, I started a Christmas tradition by accident.

It was a bittersweet holiday season. I had just started a new day job, but the first paycheck hadn’t come in yet. I was also freshly married, so my family tripled in size. I didn’t have a lot of money, but I wanted to do something nice for my relatives.

That November and December, I baked and baked and baked. Batches upon batches of sugar cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate chip cookies and double-chocolate cookies filled my freezer. Cookie sheets and parchment paper were my faithful companions, along with a dog eager to catch batter that flew out of the mixing bowl. And bless my poor oven’s heart — that thing really earned its keep that winter.

Fortunately, the cookies were a hit. And to keep up with my annual holiday baking, I’ve turned to one of my favorite retailers — Aldi.

I’ve shouted my love of this bargain grocery store on the blog before. This year, I realized Aldi is the perfect place to stock up on baking essentials at low prices. The center aisle at the Dixie Highway location was filled with Christmas goodies and odds and ends, like a bag of teeny Andes Mints for cookies or a whole pumpkin pie kit.

Here’s a look at some of the baking goodies I snagged on my last visit:

  • Molasses for my gingerbread men*: $1.99
  • A four-pound bag of sugar: $1.39
  • A bag of pecans for my shortbread cookies: $2.99
  • A tube of Betty Crocker icing for aforementioned gingerbread men: $1.99

Now that I have all of my ingredients, it’s time to get back to baking. If you’re interested in hitting up Aldi’s baking supplies, Aldi is located at 3442 Preston Hwy., 5109 Dixie Hwy. and 4301 Bardstown Rd. in Louisville. There are also southern Indiana locations at 3131 E. 10th St. in Jeffersonville and 3118 Grant Line Rd. in New Albany.

Just remember to bring your quarter.

*Gingerbread people? I’ve watched all of Transparent on Amazon Prime, so I want to use the preferred gender identity of my cookies.

Got 10 bucks? Check out the Tuesday chicken-and-grits special at the Monkey Wrench

 

Fried chicken and grits. Photo courtesy Alexander + Hughes Advertising & Marketing
Fried chicken and grits. Photo courtesy Alexander + Hughes Advertising & Marketing

The Monkey Wrench has changed its game up this year. A new chef and new outlook means this bar, once known mostly for burgers, is putting more of a Southern flair into its menu.

This month, the restaurant/bar has started to offer chicken and grits for $10 on Tuesdays from 4 to 10 p.m. From their fine PR folks:

This isn’t just any friend chicken & grits though; this is butter and flour basted, cast-iron fried chicken and Kenny’s White Cheddar Weisenberger grits.

Ten bucks for a plate full of chicken and grits? Sounds pretty good to me.

The Monkey Wrench

1025 Barret Avenue, Louisville

More info: The Monkey Wrench’s Facebook page

Save your quarters for 25-cent scoops at Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen

Gadzooks, that's a lot of chocolate.
Gadzooks, that’s a lot of chocolate.

The mosquitoes are humming, the air has grown stagnant and the sweat has stopped evaporating from my brow.

Yep, it’s almost summer in the Ohio Valley.

Now, we all promised that we wouldn’t complain about the heat after such a long, dreary winter (I wasn’t complaining in the opening — those were scientific observations). Instead, let’s cool off with the Ninth Annual 25¢ Ice Cream Social at Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen.

From noon to 5 p.m. this Saturday, May 31, all single scoops of ice cream are 25 cents at any of the 10 Pie Kitchen locations. There is some fine print: waffle cones and all other scoops such as doubles and triples are normal price.

So go forth with your change, friends, and treat yo’ self to a scoop. Just don’t complain about the heat.

Got six bucks? La Que has a lunch for you.

Chicken lo mein from La Que.
Shrimp lo mein from La Que.

By 3:30 p.m., the paltry lunch I ate at noon had vanished from my system. A snack just wasn’t going to hold me over until dinner.

I walked into La Que ready for an early-bird special. I stumbled into the tail-end of the Asian restaurant’s lunch hours and received a meal that not only filled my belly for the rest of the day, but cost less than $6.

At many restaurants, lunch menus are less expensive, adapted versions of dinner entrees. But La Que, a tiny restaurant next to Wild and Woolly Video on Bardstown Road, is almost giving the food away. La Que’s main menu is filled with Thai and Vietnamese dishes, but the lunch deal lies in the Chinese dishes. For $5.95, you get the following:

  1. A beverage
  2. Soup, an egg roll or another similar side dish
  3. An entree with choice of rice on the side
A sample of the lunch Rob and I ordered.
A sample of the lunch Rob and I ordered.

The entrees are similar to what you would find at Chinese restaurants (General Tso, chicken and broccoli, etc.). The portion you receive is generous and will hold you through your next meal. And it doesn’t hurt that the food is pretty darn good. I’ve been on a lo mein kick lately, and I recommend the shrimp version La Que offers.

La Que

1019 Bardstown Road

Louisville, Ky.

A 5-minute survey helps save money on Kroger gas

Kroger sign at North High Street and West Nort...
Kroger sign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Blogger’s note: I don’t have the actual survey on this blog. You can find the survey printed occasionally at the bottom of your Kroger receipt. I’m just sharing the info that it’s worth taking the survey to get fuel points. For more information from Kroger, click here.)

The Hubs and I have been on our grown-up game. We’ve spent the past several months developing a budget for our household, which means a heck of a lot of staring at receipts. And I’ve discovered gold in these slips of paper.

At the bottom of most receipts, there’s a web address that customers can visit to fill out a survey about their experience. Most retailers, such as Target and Dollar General, will enter you for the chance to win a gift card to the store. But Kroger, dears, offers something a little more tangible — fuel points.

Kroger Plus Card members get 50 fuel points for filling out the survey at the bottom of the Kroger receipt. These fuel points translate into discounts on Kroger gas. You also get fuel points every time you make a Kroger purchase, so filling out the survey gives you a double helping of discounts on gas.

I know this is a ploy by an Evil Corporate Empire to get me to shop at their store. And I have had some legitimate beef with Kroger’s prices. HOWEVA, if I have to shop there for certain items, why not take an extra five minutes to get a discount on gas?

Cheap date idea: Thursday night tastings at Westport Whiskey & Wine

Sipping on vino at Westport Whiskey and Wine.
Sipping on vino at Westport Whiskey and Wine.

Wine tastings are an untapped resource for cheap entertainment. Think about the concept — you pay one low price and get to sample several varieties of vino and munch on unlimited cheese and crackers. Wine, cheese and crackers (separately or together) are three of my favorite things, which is why I enjoy the tastings at Westport Whiskey & Wine.

This small liquor store in Westport Village hosts wine tastings on Thursday nights. For $5 per person, guests get six drink tickets to exchange for samples of the night’s selection of wines. Liquor samples of a featured brand are also included in the event.

The aftermath of a night of wine, cheese and crackers.
The aftermath of a night of wine, cheese and crackers.

Rob and I stumbled across a tasting during our first week living near Westport Village in the East End. We happened to walk into the cozy liquor store on a Thursday, asked a few questions about the huge “Wine Tastings” sign hanging outside and quickly decided we wanted in on what was going on in the tasting room.

We paid for the event and took our tickets and wine glasses to a back room reserved for tasting events. With only a couple of tables and a healthy crowd, the tasting was standing room only, which could make for some awkward standing around and mingling if you’re by yourself. There were about eight different types of wine to try that night along with a bourbon called Larceny. I can’t tell you the types of wine we tried — I blame that on the generous pours.

Westport Whiskey & Wine also offers special tastings throughout the week that are a little more expensive ($10-15) and require reservations. But the Thursday tastings don’t usually require reservations — Rob and I have since popped over there when we have some free time.

Here is some information about tonight’s tasting from the Westport Whiskey & Wine weekly newsletter:

Open Bottle Night Wine & Spirit Tasting

Thursday, July 25 6:30 – 8:00 PM

Join us for our weekly tasting of wines, this week’s wines will feature Thorny Rose from Washington state. Our gins this week will be those featuring big botanical styles. We will also be featuring El Jimador margaritas! $5 per person.

Visit the store’s website for more information about future tastings.

It’s that time again – 25-cent ice cream scoops at Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen, 6.22.13

Gadzooks, that's a lot of chocolate.
Mr. Ashlee Eats enjoying the 25-cent ice cream social.

The temperature has climbed, and the humidity has settled over the Ohio Valley. A scoop of ice cream sure sounds delightful right about now.

Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen will offer ice cream scoops for 25 cents each tomorrow, June 22. The offer is good at all 10 Pie Kitchen locations from noon to 5 p.m.

Plan your day accordingly.

Enjoy sweet discounts during the final stretch of Hometown Tourist Celebration Month

The Kentucky Derby feels like it happened yesterday, but somehow we made it in spitting distance of June. Where did May go? Did we do a time warp?

Louisville, Kentucky Derby
I feel like the horses just raced last weekend. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fortunately, the month isn’t quite over, so we still have time to enjoy some of the perks of the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Hometown Tourist Celebration. The purpose of the festivities is to get folks like me away from the computer and into the wilds of Kentuckiana to enjoy the local food and fun in our area. Plus, a lot of participating businesses will give you substantial discounts when you show your Kentucky, Indiana, local student or military ID.

Here are some of my favorite deals. Click here for a complete list of discounts.

What’s your favorite Hometown Tourist destination?

Jimmy John’s has $1 sandwiches today, 11 am – 3 pm

Live in Louisville, New Albany or Clarksville? Like sub sandwiches? Then today is your day, friends.
Jimmy John’s, the “freaky fast” sandwich delivery company, will celebrate Customer Appreciation Day today, April 17, by offering $1 sandwiches at its Kentuckiana locations. 
Here is the fine print: the offer only applies to sandwiches 1-6, and you have to order in store. Also, you have to buy your sandwich between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Click here to find more about this deal.