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

 

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

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: 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: Today’s PechaKucha Night presentations focus on food

pechakucha

I get to participate in a great event tonight, and I’m still struggling with the proper pronunciation. 

PechaKucha Night will take place from 8-10 p.m. today, April 14, at the Tim Faulkner Gallery in Portland. PechaKucha Nights, which take place in more than 700 cities in the world, are “informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, holiday snaps — just about anything, really — in the PechaKucha 20×20 format,” according to the PechaKucha website. That format is a presentation of 20 images for 20 seconds each.

Tonight’s theme is “Food for Thought.” The line up is impressive, and I’m not just saying that because I’m one of the presenters. Scheduled speakers include Karter Louis of Hillbilly Tea, Edgardo Mansilla of the Americana Community Center, and Erika Chavez-Graziano of Cellar Door Chocolates.

I’m excited to participate in this event. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll be talking about one of the reasons while diners are important to the Louisville community (hint: there are sporks involved). I expect a lot of thought-provoking discussion about food this evening, which is right up my alley. Now, excuse me while I practice my pronunciation.


PechaKucha Night

When: TONIGHT, April 14, 8 p.m. (doors open at 7)

Where: Tim Faulkner Gallery, 1512 Portland Ave., Louisville

Cost: $5 suggested donation

For more information: PechaKucha Louisville’s website

Celebrate Clifton’s Pizza’s 25th birthday with discounts on pies

Pizza is the perfect food. Think about it. You have some carbs, a tomato sauce, dairy and a medley of meat and vegetables to top it all off. The food pyramid should have been a pizza, I tell ya.

A sample of Clifton's Pizza's product.
A sample of Clifton’s Pizza’s product.

If you appreciate pizza as much as I do, make a stop at Clifton’s Pizza this weekend. The restaurant, which is located at 2230 Frankfort Avenue, is celebrating 25 years in business from March 20-22. Owner Mark Langley tells me that festivities will include giveaways and discounts, like 25 percent off large pizzas. That means you could get a large, one-topping pizza for $13.31, which is $3.33/person for a party of four. Pretty good deal, if you ask me. Very $10 Challenge friendly.


Clifton’s Pizza’s 25th Anniversary Weekend

When: March 20-22, 2015

Where: 2230 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville

For more information: Clifton’s Pizza’s menu

Desserts First event belongs in my life’s highlight reel

Delicious treats from Bluegrass Brewing Company at Desserts First, a fundraiser for Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana.
Delicious triple cookie peanut butter square from Bluegrass Brewing Company at Desserts First, a fundraiser for Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana.

Last week was a whirlwind of wonderful. Between hosting two events (the University of Louisville’s Fryberger Greek Sing and The Moth StorySLAM), I was a judge at Desserts First, a fundraiser for the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana that took place at the Mellwood Arts Center last week. I’m pretty sure my participation as a judge ranks in the top five best experiences of my life.

A view of the judges' table. I was super official with a score sheet and everything.
A view of the judges’ table. I was super official with a score sheet and everything.

More than 20 restaurants, caterers, bakeries and coffee shops made appetizers, desserts and drinks with at least one type of Girl Scout cookie as the main ingredient. The creativity levels were up to 11 when it came to incorporating Girl Scout cookies. There was a Trefoil-crusted lamb shank, Samoa cookie butter ice cream and a Savannah Smile poundcake, just to name a few that I still dream about. I was super impressed with Bristol Bar & Grille’s Tagalong chicken mole on top of a Trefoil-cornbread waffle. *insert wide-eyed emoji*

Chicken and waffles with two types of Girl Scout cookies from Bristol. Crazy idea, fantastic execution.
Chicken and waffles with two types of Girl Scout cookies from Bristol. Crazy idea, fantastic execution.

Flour de Lis Bakery took home the big prize for best dessert. The bakery killed it with a peanut butter chocolate stout pie. I did not get a picture because I ate my sample super fast. It was that tasty.

My buddy/fellow Girl Scout troop leader/fellow judge Christine and I had a great time judging. I hit my sugar high about an hour after this picture.
My buddy/fellow Girl Scout troop leader/fellow judge Christine and I had a great time judging. I hit my sugar high about an hour after this picture.

Being a judge was an honor, not just because I’m a Girl Scout volunteer, but because there are very few opportunities in life in which an organization sanctions you to judge others. It was like Cupcake Wars, except I didn’t have to endure catastrophes like the grits cupcake with a collard green filling (don’t even get me started on that episode). So thank you, Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana, for a valid reason to eat too many sweets and be judgmental.

Event Alert: Moth GrandSLAM, Friday, Feb. 27 (PS, I’m co-hosting)

That one time I hosted The Moth StorySlam at Headliners.
That one time I hosted The Moth StorySlam at Headliners.

I am the worst tooter of my own horn. It would be more noble to say it’s because I am modest. Really, it’s because I’m forgetful. I get so caught up in living that I forget to share the love with friends and family. My bad, guys.

Anyhoozers, here is an attempt to remedy that.

I’m co-hosting The Moth GrandSlam at 7 p.m. this Friday at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. I’m usually at the merch table at the Moth StorySlams at Headliners Music Hall, which usually take place on the last Tuesday of every month. I hosted one show in December, and the crowd was great, so I’m thrilled to have a chance to emcee the big event.

Where you can usually find me during a StorySlam.
Where you can usually find me during a StorySlam.

 

For those new to The Moth, a StorySlam is a show in which regular folks from the audience are picked at random (they volunteer to have their name in the bag, so you can exhale) to tell a five-minute story based on a theme in front of an audience. The stories can be funny, scary, weird, heartbreaking or all of the above. More than anything, however, is that the night’s stories are always unpredictable.

This week’s GrandSlam gathers up the winners of the past year’s monthly StorySlams for a battle royale. And by battle royale, I mean they tell new stories about a new theme, which is “Once in a Blue Moon.” But still, INTENSE.

If I’m not enough to bring you out to the Kentucky Center, the delightful Erin Keane (formerly the arts and culture reporter with WFPL, currently a writer for Salon.com) will co-host with me. I predict good times with a healthy dose of feminist humor.

Tickets are on sale now, and you better hurry – the past two GrandSlams have sold out.

Is that enough horn tooting?


The Moth GrandSLAM

  • 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27 (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
  • Kentucky Center for the Arts, 501 W. Main St., Louisville
  • Tickets: $23; click here to buy tickets
  • For more information on The Moth and StorySlams: themoth.org or Headliners Music Hall

Join me at the Girl Scouts fundraiser Desserts First, Feb. 25

Brownies from Girl Scout troop 628 work on their painting badge. Their self-portrait game is on point.
Brownies from Girl Scout Troop 628 work on their painting badge. Their self-portrait game is on point.

Volunteering with the Girl Scouts for the past year and a half has given me the chance to help girls grow into independent thinkers and leaders. To help empower these young ladies, I’ve had to put on my big-girl pants and take chances.

I camped for the first time in my life last year (it was in a lodge, BUT STILL). I learned how to build a fire so I could teach second graders about fire safety. And I’ve learned how to lead and cooperate with the eight wonderful women who co-lead our colossal troop of 45 girls. At some point between mediating a cheating allegation during a tense game of Marco Polo and holding my breath as I showed a timid girl how to light a match, I became a stronger woman along with my girls. So when the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana asked me to be a guest judge at their annual foodie fundraiser, a resounding “YAAAAAS” was the only suitable response.

An entry in last year's Desserts First competition.
An entry in last year’s Desserts First competition.

Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana’s ninth-annual Desserts First event is a culinary competition to raise money for the non-profit organization. The event will feature local chefs, bakers and bartenders slinging out dishes that include Girl Scout cookies as a key ingredient. Think the TV show Chopped, but with a Girl Scouts theme. Desserts First takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Mellwood Arts and Entertainment Center. This year’s theme is “The Technology of Cooking,” so I’m expecting to see (and taste) some neat uses of tech in the kitchen.

Tickets for the event are $55 apiece. HOWEVA, there’s currently a special going on now through Feb. 24 where you can buy two tickets for the price of one. That’s BOGO, people. A small price to pay for the empowerment of young girls.

Samoas have never looked so good.
Samoas have never looked so good.

Still not convinced? Check out the lineup of this year’s Desserts First restaurant competitors:

Adrienne & Co., Bake My Day, Bill’s Famous Spreads, Bluegrass Brewing Company, Bristol Bar & Grille, Cake Flour, Cellar Door Chocolates, Comfy Cow, Crescent Hill Craft House, Desserts by Debbie, Feast BBQ, Flour de Lis Bakery, Galt House Hotel, Gary’s on Spring, Highlands Tap Room, Hillbilly Tea, John Conti Coffee, Lady Fingers, Mango’s Mexican Grill, Melting Pot, Q&A Sweet Treats, Red Hot Roasters, Roux, Varanese, Vincenzo’s

And did I mention that there’s a killer group of judges that you might know from their blogs, Twitter and the rest of the interwebs? Me (yep, I’m calling myself killer because I’m leaning in), @CHRISTINEinLOU (a fellow Troop 628 co-leader), @BellaPortaro, @AllisonRMyers and @louisvillenoms are going to have a great time judging. Meet us there, won’t you?


Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana’s Desserts First fundraiser

  • 6-8 p.m., Feb. 25
  • Mellwood Arts Center, 1860 Mellwood Avenue, Louisville
  • Tickets: $55 (or BOGO if you buy now!); click here to buy tickets
  • For more information: Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana website or event page

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