Proof on Main welcomes its new executive chef, Levon Wallace, during open house

Vegetarian tostadas at Proof on Main.

Food news doesn’t stop just because I’m tabulating survey results and trying to make the blog fancy.

Take, for instance, the invitation I got last week for a media open house at Proof on Main (the restaurant inside 21c Museum Hotel) to meet the restaurant’s new executive chef, Levon Wallace.

I could have skipped the event and used my time to finish the design of my new logo. But what fun is that?

I took a break from my computer and headed to Proof on Main. I met some fellow food writers, chatted with the former and current executive chef, and ate some tasty samples from Proof’s menu.

Chicken wings at Proof on Main.

Chef Michael Paley, who led Proof for six years, is headed to Cincinnati to be the executive chef of Metropole, the restaurant in the new 21c Museum Hotel in that city. Metropole will be centered around a hearth and have a warm, earthy vibe with food to match, Paley said. He said the atmosphere will be somewhere between Proof and Garage Bar, a wood-oven pizza joint Paley opened about a year ago in the East Market district.

Chef Levon Wallace whipped out platters of hors d’oeuvres that kept me busy munching. There were the sliders with a bacon marmalade, lamb tostadas with a cherry sauce, and fancy hushpuppies filled with fish. YUMS.

Fancy hushpuppies at Proof on Main.

Wallace was pretty busy cooking and mingling, but I got a couple of minutes with him. He said he’s excited to be in Louisville and that this is a great food city. Wallace also said he reads Ashlee Eats. When he told me that, I did a happy dance inside.

Here are some stray observations of the open house:

  • I was the first person to get to the private dining room where the event took place. As one of the 21c employees said, “Well, somebody’s gotta be first.” Indeed, sir.
  • Yesterday was the first time anyone ever asked if I preferred still or sparkling water. Fancy.
  • To be an executive chef, you need a minimum of five tattoos. Both Paley and Wallace sport extensive ink.
  • Mingling is not my strong suit. Nor is keeping my mouth closed when I chew. Sorry, fellow food media folks.

And if you want to go to Proof on Main:

Proof on Main

702 W. Main Street

Louisville, KY 40202

Save some dough at local restaurants during Fleur De Licious, May 11-20, 2012

Need lunch or dinner suggestions during the next week?

Check out Fleur De Licious, a nine-day event “that allows visitors and residents to experience some of the city’s new and exciting downtown restaurants and cuisine. Fleur De Licious is also proud to be partnering with the Hometown Tourist Celebration, in connection with National Tourism Week,” according to the event’s website.

This annual event, which takes place May 11-20, has always attracted my attention. Not only does Fleur De Licious promote local restaurants, but many of the participating eateries are offering specials and discounts. Here are some participants that have been featured in $10 Challenges (check out the full list here):

Cancel tonight’s plans and follow these 5 steps for a perfect sushi night

I had the ultimate sushi night yesterday — I saw a movie about sushi AND ate some sushi. Did I mention the movie and the food were discounted?

Read on to learn how you can do the same. 

  1. Find someone who loves sushi as much as you do. I picked The Mister.
  2. Eat a filling snack. The importance of this will be clear later. I went with an apple and two homemade oatmeal raisin cookies. The Mister ate beer cheese and pretzels.
  3. Go to Village 8 movie theater at 4014 Dutchmans Lane. Get two $4 tickets to see Jiro Dreams of Sushi*, a documentary about an 85-year-old Japanese man who runs perhaps the most revered sushi restaurant on the planet. 
  4. After about an hour and a half of watching men make delicious sushi, jump on the Watterson Expressway and head to Dragon King’s Daughter at 1126 Bardstown Road for the restaurant’s late-night happy hour.
  5. Gorge yourself on discounted delicious raw fish. We got three rolls for about $27.
*Note: Today is the last day that you can see Jiro Dreams of Sushi at Village 8. It’s a Louisville exclusive, so it’s not playing anywhere else in town. If you don’t make it to see this documentary, replace step 3 with a Village 8 movie of your choice.

Do you love bagels? Baby D’s will feed your need for this bread

That bagel at Panera Bread with the mound of brown sugar on top made me a convert to the joy of a thick bagel for breakfast.

Now I’m itching to try Baby D’s Bagel and Deli to see what a local restaurant can do with a bagel.

Baby D’s is in the Highlands and serves an extensive menu of (you guessed it) bagel sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even fourth meal. Here’s what you’ll learn from a quick glance at the menu:

  • 14 types of bagels
  • At least 30 types of sandwiches with names like the Rick Pitino, Hangover Cure and Young Cheezy
  • Heine Brothers’ coffee
  • Late-night weekend hours
  • All sandwiches less than $10

That Panera bagel may have turned me out to bagels, but I think Baby D’s will feed my new love for this breakfast bread.

Baby D’s Bagel and Deli

2009 Highland Ave., Louisville, Ky. 40204

Treat yo’self and others at Ghyslain on Market’s first anniversary celebration

Chicken curry naan and a side of fruit from Ghyslain on Market.

I love being frugal, but occasionally, you have to treat yo’self and others. 

Ghyslain on Market is a good place to do so.

This French bistro on East Market Street in NuLu has delicious sandwiches, pastries and other sweets that are perfect for a midday pick-me-up.

And next month, Ghyslain on Market will celebrate a year in Louisville by sponsoring a supply drive for Mayor Greg Fischer’s Give a Day, a city-wide service initiative that helps kick off the Kentucky Derby Festival.

On Sunday, April 15, 2012, patrons can receive a free Vanilla Crème Brûlée with the purchase of entrée when they bring in a donation for St. Joseph Children’s Home. Did you read that, people? FREE FANCY DESSERT. Sandwiches and entrees start at $10, and it’s worth every buck.

Here are some of the items that St. Joseph Children’s Home needs:

  • Nightlights
  • Beach towels
  • Wrapping paper and gift bags
  • Adult-size socks
  • Individually-sized snacks

For more info, visit the websites of Ghyslain, St. Joseph Children’s Home, or Give a Day.

Eco-chef/activist/author Bryant Terry to speak at University of Louisville Thursday

I hadn’t heard of Chef Bryant Terry before I learned he was coming to speak at University of Louisville this week.

His interests and beliefs are impressive enough to make me want to learn more.

He calls himself an eco-chef, meaning he believes in sustainability and universal access to sustainable food. He created a non-profit to help young people learn and develop healthy eating habits. And he has a couple of cookbooks under his belt.

As I mentioned earlier, Terry will discuss access to healthful foods and how to eat well at the Student Activities Center at University of Louisville this Thursday, March 1. This event is part of U of L’s Body Appreciation, Body Awareness Week. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. with music and information tables. Terry’s talk (and cooking demonstration) starts at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $10, but you get in free if you’re a U of L student (lucky!). Learn more about the event and get your tickets here.

Chef Bryant Terry speech and cooking demonstration

When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 1, 2012

Where: Multipurpose Room, Student Activities Center, University of Louisville

Cost: $10 general admission, U of L students get in free



Help a sister out and tell your favorite restaurant about Menu and Hours

Good news: Michelle Jones got the funding she needed to get the Menu and Hours app up and running.

Less-than-good news: Some restaurants don’t understand why they should have their information on this app.

Let’s do a quick recap: Michelle, aka the mind behind Consuming Louisville, Let Them Tweet Cake and just about anything else awesome, raised money through the website Kickstarter to start development of an iPhone app called Menu and Hours. The name says it all — this app will provide the menu, hours, contact information and location for Louisville restaurants (read more about it here).

But some restaurant owners don’t quite get Menu and Hours, Michelle says.

It seems like there is a bit of suspicion about new technologies and a bit of disbelief that I’m not trying to charge them to participate. When I go in to speak to a restaurant owner that I don’t know there is a wall that comes up. I’m sure they get pitched by salespeople all the time, so their uneasiness speaking to me (not to mention I’m interrupting their already busy day) makes sense but sometimes it’s really hard to breach that wall.

For you supporters who want to see Menu and Hours up and running, don’t get huffy at these restaurants — get friendly. Go to your favorite restaurant and tell them why they should have their menu and hours on a legit app. Send them to this website so they can be included in an app that I strongly believe will help steer Louisville eaters to the best local joints in the city.

Get out there. Make your voices heard. Occupy a table or two. But be nice about it.

It’s that time again — Let Them Tweet Cake, 6:30 p.m. today, 1.25.12

You’ve missed the boat if you haven’t come to a Let Them Tweet Cake tweet-up yet.

There’s lots of ladies and a few gents, eating cake, drinking coffee, and talking about the latest technology news.

I’ve been to several of these informal meet ups and met a lot of great people. Plus, the event takes place at Sweet Surrender Dessert Cafe, a delicious bakery on Frankfort Avenue. And since friend of the blog Michelle Jones is the organizer, you know it’s going to be fun.

And did I mention there will be free cake? You read it write. The Small Business Shamen Conference is sponsoring Let Them Tweet Cake this month, so it’s time to get your complimentary grub on.

Let Them Tweet Cake

6:30 p.m. today, Jan. 25, 2012

Sweet Surrender, 1804 Frankfort Ave., Louisville, Ky.

Cost: FREE

Time to vote for the best of Derby City in Metromix Louisville’s annual poll

I love a good poll. I like to take the pulse of my peers and see what they are into.

The website Metromix Louisville is holding its Best of Metromix poll through Jan. 29. There are tons of categories to vote in. Here are some awards that I’m especially excited to vote for:

  • Best Brunch — it’s the best meal of the day
  • Best Cheap Eats — the whole reason I started this blog
  • Best Farm-to-Table Restaurant
  • Best Food Truck
  • Best Worth a Drive — with gas at a premium, a restaurant has to be top-notch

Want to have your say? Vote here. Maybe I’ll even divulge my own votes …

[Review] Middle-class dreams of healthy eating come true with Green BEAN Delivery

My bounty from Green BEAN Delivery.

(Blogger’s note: For one week, Green BEAN Delivery is offering Ashlee Eats readers 50 percent off the price of a produce bin for new and reactivating customers. Just type in ACLapc in the promo code area. The deal doesn’t include grocery add-ins.)

I keep my life goals realistic. So realistic, in fact, that I don’t even call them “goals.”

I have “Middle-Class Dreams.”

My top Middle-Class Dream? To be the weekly recipient of a CSA bin.

Community Supported Agriculture, aka CSA, is a way to buy local, seasonal and/or organic food directly from your friendly neighborhood farmer. Here are the basics of the idea, courtesy of

A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

Sounds nice, right? But the price point of the CSAs I have come in contact with have kept me from signing up. So I was thrilled when Green BEAN Delivery contacted me to review their program because of my appreciation of CSA and similar programs and my love of free stuff.

Green BEAN (not a CSA, buy similar) serves Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio participants with bins of (mostly) organic produce, much of which is from local farms, and natural food. It’s easy to get started with the program. You pick which size bin you would like to receive (ranging from a $35 small bin to a $49 large bin) and the frequency you would like to receive your bin. You can also select certain natural food brands to add to your bin.

For my review, I signed up for the small produce bin that the Green BEAN website said is “perfect for 2-3 people.” The picture at the top of the page is everything that came in the bin, and here’s the list:

  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 1 bunch of carrots
  • 1 red onion
  • 24 oz. klamath pearl potatoes
  • 1 lb. green beans (the only non-organic item)
  • 4 bosc pears
  • 4 gala apples
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 3 tangerines
  • 1 head of bibb lettuce

The produce comes in an insulated bin complete with a cold pack, so everything arrived looking fresh out of the farmer’s market. Just opening the lid was like walking down the first aisle of the supermarket.

As soon as I washed and stored all the food, I peeled right into one of the deep-orange tangerines. It was juicy and tangy, a nice preview for the rest of the produce I would eat.

I spent the next week experimenting with all fresh food that packed the shelves of my fridge. Much like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get in the CSA bin each week, so a little research and flexibility are key.

After a call to my mom, I threw the green beans in a slow cooker with some bacon, onion, salt and pepper for a delicious side dish:

I also referred to my favorite cookbook and a recent issue of Better Homes and Gardens to create this dish of herb-roasted root vegetables that used the potatoes, carrots, red onion and a few sweet potatoes already in my house:

My husband and I ate the rest of the items in the bin straight out of the refrigerator in salads or just by themselves. Each piece of fruit or hunk of vegetable tasted better than the previous. Everything was fresh and fragrant, crisp and cool. Not a brown spot in the bunch.

The small bin is a great size for an adult couple and could last two weeks if you supplement your produce with other groceries. I also ate more fruits and vegetables during my time with the bin because I couldn’t escape all of the produce in my face.

The small $35 bin received on a bi-weekly basis is an expense I’m willing to work into my family’s grocery budget in exchange for healthier, fresher, more seasonal eating. There is enough variety and surprise in your selection to keep things interesting. I could easily seeing myself getting the majority of my produce from Green BEAN and The Root Cellar, another excellent resource for local, seasonal food.

The only thing left of my Green BEAN bin is the broccoli, and I don’t want my glimpse at achieving a Middle-Class Dream fade to black.