A few wishes on this Kentucky Derby Day

A view of the paddock from the fifth-floor balcony of Churchill Downs.
A view of the paddock from the fifth-floor balcony of Churchill Downs.

Happy Derby Day, readers. I hope you have fun, whether you’re at Churchill Downs or chilling in a patio chair in front of a grill (which I will be doing shortly). But first, a poem:

May you skip the mint juleps and go for straight bourbon.

May your benedictine sandwiches be especially verdant.

May you wear seersucker proudly and carry a Tide pen.

May you enjoy ribs, baked beans and coleslaw on a plate that doesn’t bend.

May you avoid smelling like smoke when you stand near the grill.

May you treat yourself to two slices of Derby pie, but only the real deal.

But here’s what matters most on this special day,

May your 140th Kentucky Derby be decadent and depraved.

 

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?

What are you eating this Kentucky Derby weekend?

English: Kentucky Derby, unknown date Permissi...
 Courtesy: Kentuckytourism.com. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You smell that? That mix of horse, bourbon and funnel cake? It’s Kentucky Derby in the air.

The Derby, aka the best two minutes in sports, is tomorrow at Churchill Downs, and the phillies run today in the Kentucky Oaks. These races cap off weeks of festivities in Louisville and the surrounding area.

But enough about the races. Let’s talk food.

I wrote a piece for WFPL’s blog that outlines some tips for finding getting into restaurants during this busy weekend. And I have some plans of my own that include trips to Queen of Sheba and Wild Eggs.

I want to hear from you guys. Where and what are you eating this Derby weekend?

Bits and Pieces: Drinking ordinance, Kentucky Derby Festival and other Louisville food news from the web, 4.26.13

Louisville, Kentucky Derby
Louisville, Kentucky Derby (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Events

News

  • The Louisville Metro Council approved an ordinance that will allow liquor to be sold at restaurants starting at 10 a.m. on Sundays instead of 1 p.m. (WFPL)

Openings

  • A new restaurant called Derby City Roadhouse is set to open next week in the space that formerly housed City Café in Mid City Mall. (Insider Louisville)

For love of the Kentucky Derby: New takes on classic Derby dishes

This Saturday, Louisville will be the hot spot for horse racing with the running of the Kentucky Derby.

I love this time of the year. The city puts on its pretty face for the world. We host some (B-, C- and D-list) celebrities. And everyone just seems so excited to be a Louisvillian. That is, until you’re stuck in traffic because of road closings necessary for the Pegasus Parade.

In honor of the best two (or is it three?) minutes in sports, here are a few classic Kentucky recipes and some new takes on the originals. Enjoy, and happy Derby.

Everything is better in tiny portions.

Holy heck, they’ve made a cocktail into a cupcake. This restores my faith in humanity.

This is probably a lot lighter on the belly than a sandwich covered in Mornay sauce.

Kentucky’s homegrown soft drink gets an adult upgrade.

Bits and pieces: Starbucks thefts, celebrity cookbooks and other food news from the web, 5.3.11

Whoa, guys. This has been a busy few days, and it’s just going to get worse.

A prince got married. Obama delivered some good zingers at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. A bad guy got killed.

And this week, the Kentucky Derby will cap off three weeks of celebrations in just two minutes. Mother’s Day is creeping up, and I don’t have a present. And between all this, I’m in a hurricane of wedding crafts from which I will not emerge until October.

So here’s some fun food news to keep us all entertained and maybe a little distracted.

Ahhh, Starbucks. Hold onto your wallets, folks. Photo courtesy of re_ality via Flickr.
  • Starbucks coffee shops across New York City (and no doubt the rest of the world) are hot spots for thieves. People let their guards down, leave their stuff at a table while they buy a latte, and boom — no more laptop. (New York Times)
  • The hot new celebrity trend? Cookbooks. Here’s a rundown of five actors, reality stars and singers who have ventured into cookbooks. (Washington Post)
  • Want to toast to the death of aforementioned bad guy? Here’s a list of places across the country with Osama bin Laden related drink specials. (Eater)

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”

Emeril Lagasse loves Louisville, and so should you

Chef Emeril Lagasse cooks some pork chops, potato salad and cucumber cocktails during a demonstration Sunday during the Fork, Cork & Style festival at Churchill Downs.

Emeril Lagasse’s history with Louisville is as rich as the cherry cornbread pudding he created during his visit to Derby City.

The chef, TV host and creator of kickin’ it up a notch was in town Sunday for the inaugural Fork, Cork & Style festival at Churchill Downs. I had the opportunity to ask Emeril a few questions before his first cooking demonstration at the finish line of the Churchill Downs track.

In person, Emeril is more toned down than what viewers saw on Emeril Live, the show that catapulted the chef into superstardom. Instead, the Emeril I met reminded me of the man I watch on Essence of Emeril – passionate about food, but more approachable and subdued.

During my few minutes with the chef, I learned a lot about his relationship with Louisville, his charitable works and his desire to promote more farm-to-fork eating:

Emeril’s connection with Louisville goes way back. Emeril said he was on the board of Sullivan University “back in the day” (a gentleman never reveals his age, I guess). At the time, Lilly’s Bistro was the go-to spot for culinary innovation. Since then …

“Louisville has just evolved tremendously as an American city,” Emeril said. The chef, who has 12 restaurants of his own, said he is impressed with the gastronomic presence that has emerged in Louisville. The night before Fork, Cork & Style, Emeril had a meal at Proof on Main. “I felt like I was in SoHo,” he said of the restaurant.”It’s incredible what’s going on in town. There’s a lot of exciting things happening in Louisville.”

He’s never been to a Kentucky Derby. Emeril hasn’t witnessed the most exciting two minutes in sports because the race takes place during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. He’s lived in New Orleans for 28 years, so I understand his allegiance.

Emeril’s favorite Kentucky dishes? Spoonbread and trout. Emeril is also a fan of bourbon, which he said he poured on his French toast that morning (just joking, right?).

Anyone can be a good cook. For chefs-in-the-making, Emeril said it is important to find a mentor, listen to their advice and taste everything you cook. Follow these tips, and “you might be able to whip up a sandwich,” he said.

Between building a cooking empire, Emeril gives back to the community. The Emeril Lagasse Foundation “supports non-profit organizations that provide educational programs, life skills development, culinary training and cultural enrichment, creating opportunities in the communities where Emeril’s restaurants operate,” according to the foundation’s website. Emeril said the foundation is in the process of buying a farm to teach kids about where their food comes from and the importance of local agriculture. “They have to know that orange juice doesn’t come from a carton, it comes from a tree,” he said.

The chef promoted farm-to-fork eating before it was trendy. Emeril said he has always been passionate about using seasonal, local ingredients at his restaurants. “If you have great ingredients, you have great food,” he said. His latest book, Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh, is a testament to his work.