Weekend road trip: The Taste is casting in Nashville this Sunday

Anthony Bourdain at Maxwell Food Centre, Singa...
Anthony Bourdain at Maxwell Food Centre, Singapore. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Listen up, Louisville chefs, cooks and food lovers.

The Taste, an ABC reality show competition, will hold auditions Sunday, July 14, right down the road in Nashville for the cast of its second season.

The show features celebrity chef Nigella Lawson and celebrity chef/bad-ass Anthony Bourdain.

Nigella Lawson at a Borders book-signing
Nigella Lawson at a Borders book-signing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s more information about the show, courtesy of the casting folks:

In each episode, competitors face team and individual challenges with a variety of culinary themes through several elimination rounds. At the end of each episode, the Mentors judge the competitors’ dishes blind, with no knowledge of whose creation they’re sampling, what they’re eating, how it was prepared or whom they could be eliminating.

Interested? Sign up for casting here. And here’s more information about the event.

Casting for The Taste

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Sunday, July 14

The Bridge Building, 2 Victory Avenue, Nashville, Tenn. 37213

[Bits and pieces] Papa John’s, Downton Abbey and other food news from the web, 1.9.12

  • Downton Abbey, my new favorite series about World War I era Britain, premiered Sunday night. Here’s an old-school garden cake recipe for my fellow Anglophiles that is appropriate for celebrating the greatness that is this show. (The Kitchn)


  • Speaking of Brits, a pub in South Gosforth, Newcastle, is serving up dog-friendly beer and a roast with cat-flavored gravy. It will do your heart good to look at these pictures. My dog, Roscoe, gives that two paws up. (Daily Mail)



  • The Girl Scouts are at it again, dominating the cookie-peddling market with a new treat called Savannah Smiles. (Huffington Post)


  • A Papa John’s employee in New York identified a customer as “lady chinky eyes.” Not the best idea. (Courier-Journal)

Man v. Food Nation to feature Louisville on tonight’s episode

I have a not-so-secret crush on Man v. Food Nation host Adam Richman. 

I mean, come on, look at this guy:

What’s not to love?

Anyway, Richman stopped in Louisville during the Kentucky Derby Festival to film an episode of the Travel Channel‘s Man v. Food Nation, the latest incarnation of the show Man v. Food. In case you haven’t checked out this show, it basically follows Richman around the country as he explores local restaurants and participates in ridiculously awesome food challenges.

The Louisville episode airs tonight at 9 p.m. on the Travel Channel. Richman lived in Louisville from 1997-1998 (too bad I was just a child at the time), so the episode is a mini homecoming for one of my favorite food stars.

During the episode, Richman visits the Brown Hotel to reveal the history of the Hot Brown, Lynn’s Paradise Café and The Comfy Cow, the Courier-Journal reports. You can check out some behind-the-scenes photos of Richman’s Derby City trip here.

Throwing an Academy Awards party? Here are some ideas for entertaining a crowd

Photo courtesy of Dave_B_ via Flickr.

The Academy Awards ceremony is my Super Bowl.

I wait all year to see overpaid celebrities in expensive clothes accept awards for movies I may or may not have seen. Why? Because it’s just so glamorous. And every once in awhile, you get a surprise (remember Oscar winners Three 6 Mafia?).

Such an extravagant event is worthy of some stellar eats.

Here’s a collection for the people who will throw Oscar viewing parties and need something to feed their guests Sunday night. But this list also works for the folks like me who will be under a Snuggie for four hours watching the awards.

  • AllRecipes never disappoints with its collections of food for various occasions, and the website has some great Oscar-night suggestions. I’d like the ham bone soup for Winter’s Bone and margaritas on the rocks for 127 Hours. (All Recipes)
  • If you’re keeping the festivities simple, here’s a guide to some of the best microwave popcorn brands on the market … (Epicurious)
  • … And here are some labels to make your popcorn a little fancy. (The Kitchn)
  • Need a laugh? The snarky website Gawker has compiled a list of tongue-in-cheek dishes to serve during the awards, including Black Forest Swan Cake (“Garnish with coconut shaving ‘cuticles.'”), Helena Bonham Tartar Sauce and Annette Beignets. (Gawker)

Bits and pieces: Starbucks’ Trenta, Flavor Flav and other food news from the web, 2.7.11

Put this in your cup and drink it. Photo courtesy of DieselDemon via Flickr.
  • Starbucks recently introduced a 31-ounce Trenta size for iced coffee. Not only is the mega-cup larger than the average human stomach, but you can fit a whole bottle of wine in there. (Eater)


  • There’s a big stink going on in Maine – and it’s all about whoopie pies. Some people want to make the whoopie pie the state’s official dessert. Others think it’s a bad idea to such a title to a dish whose main ingredient is lard, especially when obesity is prevalent throughout the state and country, and want the blueberry pie to reign. Oh, the things that divide our nation. (Boston Globe)


  • Flavor Flav is opening a fried chicken restaurant in Iowa. Ummm … yeah. (Eater)


  • Celebrity chef and author Jeff Henderson of Food Network‘s The Chef Jeff Project has written a “community cookbook” called America I Am: Pass It Down Cookbook that chronicles African-American history through cuisine. Excuse me while I add this book to my wish list. (NPR)

Holy cannoli, there’s lots of food news in Louisville this week

This is a good time to be a foodie in Louisville.

Lots of good things are happening in the area. Here’s a peek at the latest news out of the Derby City food scene.



  • State and federal government officials recognized 77 Jefferson County elementary schools for excellence in school nutrition. (Courier-Journal)


  • A new Heine Brothers’ Coffee will open in mid-March on the corner of Eastern Parkway and Shelby Street in Schnitzelburg. Don’t be surprised if you see me there one day. (Consuming Louisville)

Santa Baby, I could really use these food books for Christmas

Are you there, Santa? It’s me, Ashlee.

I have been pretty good this year. I’m eating my vegetables. I’m working out again. And I started a new job that allows me to give back to the people of my hometown.

If you are willing to overlook a couple of things (like the times I gave my dog, Roscoe, people food) I hope you can find it in that big heart of yours to give me a few books about food for Christmas. I know you’re too busy to guess what I want, so I took the liberty of making a list of the books I would like so your day will run a little easier.

  • America the Edible: A Hungry History, From Sea to Dining Sea by Adam Richman. The author is the host of one of my favorite shows, Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food. Richman travels around the country visiting homegrown restaurants and undertaking epic eating challenges. In his book, Richman explores the history of some of America’s favorite dishes. If the book is half as interesting as Richman, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it. I also have a bit of a crush on this chubby Yale grad, but I digress.




I think that’s it for now, Santa. Thanks for listening. I’ll ask my roommates to leave a baked good out for you on Dec. 24.

Hugs and kisses,


Thank you for being a friend, supporter and/or provider of great food

The turkey is sitting heavy in my belly, as is sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing and other goodness straight from my mother’s oven.

While I wait for the tryptophan to take its hold, there are a few people I’d like to thank for being amazing, thoughtful and kind to me as I’ve developed the Ashlee Eats blog.

  • My boyfriend, Rob. He loves food as much as I do. He puts up with me writing notes during dinner dates. Simply, he’s an amazing person.
  • My roommates, Susie and Samantha. They join me on $10 Challenges and share a love of Snuggies and Glee. And did I mention that they’ve taken up baking … from scratch? Take a gander at Sam’s homemade apple pie:

  • Mama Eats. See above. My mother knows her way around a kitchen.
  • My dog, Roscoe. He’s always willing to sample my dishes, even if I don’t want him to.
  • Waiters and waitresses. I’ve met so many servers who are patient while I study the menu and offer good advice on what I should order.
  • Michelle from the Consuming Louisville blog. She barely knew me before offering to publish my $10 Challenges on her blog. What a big heart.
  • Josie from the blog Yum Yucky. She was the first blogger whom I ever reached out to for advice. She was so helpful, and her blog is great.
  • All the readers. You guys are awesome. Thanks for reading, subscribing and commenting.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

Bits and pieces: Carnival Splendor Spam, Martha Stewart and other food news from the web, 11.15.10

  • It’s been a few days since the Carnival Splendor cruise ship stuck at sea was towed into San Diego. But did the cruise line offer Spam to its stranded passengers? The company says no, but passengers disagree, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times. Whatever the case, lots of cruise guests were peeved during their 72 hours stranded off the coast of Mexico following a fire in the ship’s engine room. Some passengers reported waiting in food lines for two hours for delicacies such as hot dog salad, green bean sandwiches and Pop-Tarts.


  • A nutrition professor at Kansas State University ate only convenience food items for two months – and lost 27 pounds in the process, according a piece by NPR. Mark Haub limited his intake to 1,800 calories a day, which is why he lost weight despite downing a diet of Doritos, Twinkies and Little Debbie Snacks. From NPR:

“I kind of took the stance that … let’s say we reduce obesity, reduce body weight, move somebody — me — from overweight to healthy weight, but we do that with foods that aren’t recommended,” (Haub) says. “Is that healthy?”


  • The hottest class at Harvard this semester is Science of the Physical Universe 27, also known as Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science, according to an article in the Boston Globe. According to the newspaper, the class “uses the culinary arts as a way to explore phases of matter, electrostatics, and other scientific concepts” and is taught by Harvard professors and renowned chefs. I know I’ve graduated, and I’ve never applied to go to Harvard, but can I take this class via satellite?


  • Martha Stewart slaughters her own turkeys for Thanksgiving – but she gets the birds sauced on mini bottles of alcohol first. Check out this clip of Her Majesty Stewart cuttin’ it up with Stephen Colbert during a segment on The Colbert Report.

$10 Challenge news and other tidbits on life

I’ve been posting the $10 Challenge on Mondays lately, mainly because that’s all I’ve had time for.

But honestly? Mondays blow.

So this week, the $10 Challenge will return to Fridays. Spoiler alert: I visited El Mundo for this week’s Challenge.

Life continues to be a little crazy. Mad Men has ended for the season, Conan’s back on … oh, yeah, and I’m applying for every job I can find in preparation for my AmeriCorps VISTA year ending in February. Wish me luck.