Tag Archives: Meat

  1. Review: Premium meat from Mattingly worth the investment

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    December 3, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    Let’s get the tough part out of the way. This blog post is going to feature expensive meats firmly settled in Treat Yo’ Self territory.
    Yet, I was torn. The selection of meat from Mattingly is of premium quality with prices that reflect that commitment. Of the meat I sampled, the New York Strip is $13.75 a pound, pork chops are $5.50 per pound, and the hamburger patties are $3.50 per pound.

    We’re all regular folks, here. You know and I know that the prices made us gulp. But if you’re going to go big, go with Mattingly.

    Bringing home Mattingly Meat was like sneaking into the kitchen of my favorite steakhouse, clunking the chef over the head, and stealing slabs of beef from the fridge. My galley kitchen was instantly upgraded when I cooked a New York strip.

  2. The $10 Challenge: Mussel & Burger Bar

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    October 21, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    (Here’s the first winner of the Readers’ Choice $10 Challenge poll. Since there was a tie for first place, the second location will be featured in two weeks.)

    I’ve thrown in a couple of extra bucks when a $10 Challenge isn’t going my way. Sometimes, the food is just so good, and the prices teeter just a smidge above my self-imposed limit, that I’ll fail a Challenge on purpose.

    In returning to my frugal roots, I decided to adhere more closely to the terms of the $10 Challenge with one of my favorite restaurants, Mussel & Burger Bar.

    Man, was that tough.

    Mussel & Burger Bar has been open for less than a year. Yet the same folks who have injected flavor into the Louisville dining scene (think Guaca Mole Cocina Mexicana, Mojito and Havana Rumba) have created a concept around its titular offerings that have garnered much-deserved praise for this Jefferstown restaurant. The mussels are served in sauces such as curry cream or blue cheese beer pancetta that make this seafood more interesting than I thought possible. And the burgers would make the Hamburglar rip off his mask and weep tears of joy. The combinations of toppings transport me across the world and back again:

    • Spanish Blue: La Peral Spanish blue cheese and fig marmalade
    • Mediterranean: Ground lamb, quince marmalade, tzatziki sauce
    • Argentinean: Chorizo Argentino, provaletta, chimichurri sauce
    • Southern Bell: Fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese

    These are masterpieces presented on wooden cutting boards and wax paper.

    The ingredients are house-made and high quality, and the prices reflect these premium ingredients. An appetizer portion of mussels is $9, and an entrée size is $12. And the burgers, including one vegetarian option, start at about $11 (includes fries). For me, this has been fine and dandy. I expect to spend at least $20 on an entrée and cocktail when I visit Mussel & Burger Bar, and I’m treated to a meal and experience well worth the price.

    When I limited myself to just spending 10 bucks, I was in a pickle. I had to take to the robust appetizer and side items menus to craft a meal that would fall beneath my price threshold. I had my mind set on the sweet potato fries ($4), but I made a mental note to try the duck fat potatoes (also $4) during my next visit. Choosing an accompaniment to the fries was tricky. Sliders made of either chorizo, Angus beef or soft crab were $8 and would have catapulted me past $10. At that point, it would have made more sense to just order an entrée that would have been about the same price. I also considered the short rib nachos ($8), an appetizer I’ve shared on date night. This dish, served in a small cast iron skillet, is made up of a layer of house-cut, crisp potato chips topped with slow-cooked beef short rib, cheese and guacamole. It’s a little bit of heaven that, unfortunately, would be a little too much money if I paired it with the sweet potato fries.

    Since I was sticking to my guns about those fries, I only had two options to fit my budget – beef ($5 for five) or salmon tartare ($6 for five) taquitos. I went with the beef.

    Did I squeal with glee when I saw this cute little presentation? YES. I love tiny versions of anything.

    The taquitoes are bite-sized, hard-shelled tacos filled (well, as much as you can fill a tiny taco) with ground beef and black bean puree and sprinkled with queso fresco and pickled sweet peppers. The shells were nice and crisp even though a little beef grease had trickled out of the filling. The beef and bean combination was mild and slightly smoky.

    I knew that the sweet potato fries would be fantastic, and Mussel & Burger Bar didn’t let me down. Each fry is crisp and peppery on the outside with a healthy filling of sweet potato on the inside. And the accompanying smoky pineapple dipping sauce made me wonder why we, as a nation, haven’t explored more pineapple and sweet potato pairings.

    Even though I didn’t have mussels or a burger, I was satisfied with my meal — until I watched my husband, Rob, enjoy his order. I had some extreme burger envy as Rob ate his BBB (Bacon Breakfast Burger, $14), an Angus beef patty topped with white cheddar, caramelized onions, pork belly, a fried egg, and maple-infused aioli. My taquitos seemed abysmal in comparison to that work of culinary art dripping on the butcher’s paper that served as the tablecloth.

    It’s possible to finagle the appetizer and side menus to create a few combinations that will leave you with a $10 tab at Mussel & Burger Bar. The entrees, however, are well worth breaking this Challenge’s threshold. Control your spending by ordering just an entrée without an appetizer (portions are generous enough to keep you satisfied) or finding a few friends with whom you can split some dishes. Just don’t leave without at least trying a slider.

    Mussel & Burger Bar, 9200 Taylorsville Road, Louisville

    Five beef taquitos: $5

    Sweet potato fries: $4

    Total (without tax and tip): $9

    Mission: Accomplished

  3. Event alert: Butchertown Porktoberfest, Oct. 11, 2013

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    September 11, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    If you have an aversion to swine, look away.
    Still on board? Then you might be interested in the first-ever Butchertown Porktoberfest from 5-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at The Pointe, 1205 East Washington Street.

     

    Here’s a blurb about the event from the Butchertown Neighborhood Association:

     

    This barbeque and pork inspired culinary competition will feature live music by Hog Operation and Johnny Berry, local brew from Apocalypse Brewery and food samples from more than 15 of Louisville’s finest restaurants. …

    Participating restaurants include Atria, Cellar Door Chocolates, Decca, Farm to Fork, Harvest, Holy Grale, Jack Knife, Momma’s Pickles Mustard and BBQ, Monkey Wrench, Morels, RYE, St. Charles Exchange, Stellar Sweets, The Bristol and Wiltshire.

    Don’t fret, vegheads (I say that term lovingly) — there will be vegetarian options at the event.

    Admission is free, but bring some cash to buy samples, proceeds from which will benefit the Butchertown Neighborhood Association.

     

    Butchertown Porktoberfest

    5-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11

    The Pointe, 1205 East Washington Street

    For more information: http://www.butchertown.blogspot.com/

     

     

     

  4. The $10 Challenge: Addis Bar and Grill

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    August 26, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    I’ve embraced the “if not now, when?” motto in 2013. But all this change calls for some things to stay the same. I guess that’s why I refuse to order something new from Addis Bar and Grill.

    Maybe the sweet sting of curry I smell when I enter the restaurant puts me into a trance. Maybe the wealth of options makes me panic and I choose something familiar and safe. Or maybe I’ve just found one dish at one restaurant that makes me happy enough to never branch out.

    Addis Grill is an Ethiopian and Mediterranean restaurant on Fourth Street about a half a block south of Main Street in downtown Louisville. If provoked, I could probably give exact latitude and longitude coordinates — my day job is within spitting distance to Addis. Yet, it took me more than a year to stop in and try this eatery that is tucked away in the shadows behind concrete pillars. I ignored Addis as I walked several times a week to the more bustling food corridors of downtown Louisville for lunch.

    One day, I got sick of the usual line-up of sandwiches, salads, and Mexican-inspired fare that I usually turned to for lunch. A co-worker recommended Addis, a more international option than my usual standbys that was less than a five-minute walk from the office.

  5. *UPDATE WITH WINNER* The $10 Challenge: The Irish Rover (and an app giveaway)

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    April 1, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    Two things to remember before you visit The Irish Rover:

        1. Ten dollars will take you a long way at this Louisville Original, but $15 goes so much further.
        2. Don’t wear Spanx during your meal.

    The Irish Rover delivers food hearty enough to stretch your waistline while your budget remains fairly intact. I say “fairly” because it’s hard not to sample a variety of dishes from a menu bursting with descriptions that make everything sound delicious. And the good (and bad) part about it is that everything lives up to its introductory prose.

    The restaurant’s atmosphere is well-worn and humble, thanks in part to its location in a 150-year-old building on Frankfort Avenue. The entrance thrusts patrons directly into the bar area where drinkers mingle with folks just waiting for their table. It got a little cramped during my weeknight visit, but Rob and I were rewarded for our brief wait with a quaint table for two in a dim section of the restaurant. Lots of hardwood? Low lighting? A handsome date? I was a fan.

    I quickly snapped out of my romantic lull when the waitress handed me the menu. This is when things got real.

    I don’t know much about Irish cooking. But if I use The Irish Rover as my definitive guide, I would say the diet of our friends across the pond is filled with lamb, fish, potatoes and cabbage. In short, stick-to-your-ribs food.

    Irish food is more than just Guinness Beef Stew ($6.95), fish and chips (market price) and bangers and mash ($6.95). The Irish Rover takes (what I assume are) traditional Irish ingredients like fish and rabbit and presents it in dishes that make the ingredients more accessible to those not used to this genre of food. For example, the Welsh Rabbit sandwich slides this meat into a grilled cheddar cheese sandwich on sourdough bread (with Irish chips, $6.95); salmon is presented in casserole form with potatoes, cream and Swiss and Parmesan cheeses (smoked salmon and potato gratin, $8.95); prawn are paired with cashews in a light salad ($9.95). I wish I could say something more poetic than, “Everything looked good.” But it was true. Everything on the menu did look good, from the appetizers to the desserts.

    I wanted a little taste of everything. We started with the Cordon Bleu Fritters ($4.95), little balls of ham, chicken and Swiss cheese batter and deep fried. They were crunchy, gooey and delightful. I followed with a cup of leek and potato soup ($2.95), a rich soup that was a soothing chaser to the sharpness of the fritters.

    I was all set to order the lamb-stuffed cabbage ($12.95) until our nice waitress began to list the evening’s specials. I heard the words “meatloaf,” “stuffed with bleu cheese” and “brown gravy” before I blacked out from disbelief that such flavors could exist in one dish. When I came to, I ordered the bleu-cheese stuff meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy ($12.95).

    At this point, my abdomen was screaming at the Spanx that was supposed to hold me into my date-night dress. I couldn’t possibly dive into this plate of deliciousness, could I? Oh, yes, I could.

    This was a meal for the record books. A rich brown gravy covered two thick slices of meatloaf and hid the mixture of bleu cheese and mushrooms stuffed in the center. The creamy gravy and moist beef balanced the tanginess of the bleu cheese, a wonderful combination I would have never considered without The Irish Rover.

    The mashed potatoes were lumpy and filled with onion and hunks of potatoes that escaped the masher. The mashed potatoes’ thick consistency was perfect for constant dipping in the gravy sliding along the edges of my place.

    The steamed vegetables were the Michelle Williams of this Destiny’s Child of a dish — an ingredient that rounds out the trio, but you could honestly do without it. But I dutifully ate my vegetables to help balance all the meat and potatoes I put back in the course of my meal.

    By the end of the night, I wasn’t sure what I was more excited to do — eat the slice of meatloaf and hunk of potatoes in my to-go box or change into more bloat-friendly sweatpants. I may have regretted my choice in foundation undergarments that evening, but I was happy I went over my $10 benchmark. I left with a second meal that reheated wonderfully and a taste of Ireland.

    The Irish Rover, 2319 Frankfort Ave., Louisville

    Cordon Bleu Fritters: $4.95

    Leek and Potato Soup: $2.95

    Bleu Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Vegetables: $12.95

    Total (without tax and tip): $20.85

    Mission: Failed

  6. Downtown Louisville is about to get Smashed

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    March 16, 2012 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    Remember this? That’s a close-up from Smashburger, a new-to-Louisville burger chain that I reviewed in September. On Wednesday, March 21, …
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  7. Garage Bar opens tonight in NuLu on East Market Street, features pizza, ham bar

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    July 12, 2011 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    The chef behind Proof on Main in the swanky 21c Museum Hotel will debut a new restaurant in NuLu at 5 p.m. …
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  8. Visit The Root Cellar for some great fresh, local groceries

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    July 7, 2011 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    I’ve only been out of Old Louisville for a couple of weeks, but there’s a lot I miss already. Pizza …
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  9. The $10 Challenge: Bunz Burgerz

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    June 28, 2011 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    The only thing more aggravating than replacing a perfectly good “s” with a “z” in a restaurant name is waiting …
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  10. The $10 Challenge: FireFresh BBQ

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    April 8, 2011 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    I try to be a leader. But when it comes to food, I am just a sheep following something shiny. …
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