The $10 Challenge in which I become a legit food writer (sort of)

Photo courtesy of The Grape Leaf.

I got to see my name in print almost daily during the years I worked at a newspaper.

But there’s something different about seeing your byline in a glossy magazine.

Maybe it’s the thicker paper. Maybe it’s the higher price tag. Either way, the new summer issue of Food and Dining Magazine is out, and there is a $10 Challenge column with my name on it – literally.

I visited The Grape Leaf, a pan-Mediterranean restaurant on Frankfort Avenue, for this $10 Challenge. In a nutshell, it was delicious and affordable.

Here’s an excerpt:

Stuffing my mouth with slices of lamb meat slathered with tzatziki sauce is the closest I’ve ever come to a trip to the Mediterranean.

But an afternoon eating at The Grape Leaf was a wonderful way to get a taste of a more exotic locale while my wallet keeps me grounded in Louisville.

This pan-Mediterranean restaurant recognizes that good, international food shouldn’t be limited to the people riding out the recession on a stable income stream. Forget assembling a meal of appetizers – The Grape Leaf’s menu offers a wide variety of entrees with prices that appeal to all budgets.

The Grape Leaf, which is located in the thriving food corridor of Frankfort Avenue, specializes in cuisine that samples from the entire Mediterranean region. This broad category translates into a menu that travels from Spain to Greece with stops in the Middle East and northern Africa and everywhere in between. The restaurant celebrates each culture within this large geographical area without simplifying dishes to please a fearful customer. The Grape Leaf successfully marries very different dishes such as burritos, cous cous and moussaka onto one menu that offers customers a great variety while retaining the flavors that make the region great.

To read more, pick up a copy of Food and Dining Magazine at one of these locations. I appreciate the support.

Bits and pieces: Wisconsin protest pizza, cafeteria trays and other food news from the web, 2.22.11

Pizza - the official food of protest.
  • Is Madison, Wisconsin the next Cairo, Egypt? Maybe not, but protestors in the Middle East and others from across the world are reaching out to demonstrators in Madison by buying pizza for protesters at the state Capitol. The protesters are about to enter their second week of demonstrating their opposition to the Wisconsin governor’s plan to cut benefits and change collective bargaining rules for most state public employees. (Politico, Reuters)


  • I’m not a fan of  loud chewers, but this is extreme. A man in Latvia was shot to death for eating his popcorn too loudly while watching the movie Black Swan. (The Telegraph)


  • Here’s one from Jenna Johnson, a reporter with whom I interned with at the Washington Post: Colleges are starting to get rid of cafeteria trays in an effort to cut back on the amount of food that co-eds are wasting. (Washington Post)


  • Get to know the folks who deliver your food. They could save your life. (Gawker, WMCTV)


  • In international news, the people of North Korea are starving, but there is serious international concern that aid is not reaching the people who need it most. How should other countries help? Or should they help at all? (Washington Post)