It’s that time again. Let Them Tweet Cake, 5.7.14

I’m in the mood for some cake and some ladies.

Get your mind out of the gutter, I’m talkin’ ’bout Let Them Tweet Cake.

This event that I try to regularly attend is just a bunch of ladies (and a few gents) talking tech at a dessert shop, Sweet Surrender Dessert Café. We let our geek flags fly HIGH.

It’s been a while since the last Tweet Cake, but this tweet-up is right on time for me. I’m excited to see old friends and meet some new ones.

See you then, yes?

Let Them Tweet Cake

6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 7

Sweet Surrender Dessert Café, 1804 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, Ky.

UPDATED: The pros and cons of a Dishcrawl Louisville evening (and a giveaway)

Updated April 25: Congratulations to Anne, the winner of the $20 Dishcrawl discount! Check your email for more information about how to redeem your prize.

Blogger’s note: Interested in a $20 discount for the next Dishcrawl Louisville event (a bourbon-themed, Derby-centric crawl through Fourth Street)? Leave a comment on this post that answers the following question: “What is your favorite part of Derby?” For two extra chances to win, like Dishcrawl Louisville on Facebook and follow Dishcrawl Louisville on Twitter, then come back and tell me you did all that. You have until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, April 24. I’ll announce the winner on Thursday, April 25.

Quail egg toast, pork and pistachio galantine and grilled fennel from Rye.
Quail egg toast, pork and pistachio galantine and grilled fennel from Rye.

A new organization has arrived in Louisville to showcase some of the best food the city has to offer. 

Dishcrawl organizes events across the country that turns food lovers into tourists in their own town. For $45 per ticket, participants are guided to four restaurants within walking distance of one another to sample dishes from the businesses. The participating locations (with the exception of the starting point) are kept secret until the Dishcrawl is underway. It’s like a dinner party, social gathering and scavenger hunt all in one.

Louisville is the latest addition to the participating Dishcrawl cities. Dishcrawl Louisville’s inaugural event, a NuLu/East Market Street-based evening, took place this week, and a bourbon-themed Derby crawl will take place along 4th Street on May 1.

I got a chance to tag along for the Nulu crawl. Here is an outline of some pros and cons of the experience.

Pros

  • You will eat food and visit restaurants you might not have experienced on your own. The four stops on the Nulu crawl were Against the Grain Brewery, Taco Punk, Rye and Ghyslain, places that several of the participants told me they had never visited. Though I’d visited these restaurants before, I got to eat food I had never tried, such as Against the Grain’s seitan “chicken” wings (it did taste like chicken!) and Rye’s pork and pistachio galantine (it’s like fancy bologna!).
  • The food is tasty. Some of my favorites were the aforementioned seitan, the chorizo and potato taco from Taco Punk, and the dessert trio from Ghyslain, a bistro and chocolatier. That chocolate changed my whole world view.
  • The food will fill your belly by the end of the night. Taco Punk provided the most generous portions of the evening. All of the crawlers received three tacos and a side of chips. That, on top of the other restaurant samples, made for a filling dinner.
  • A Dishcrawl = fun date night. There were several couples at the event, and they seemed like they were having a blast. But the Dishcrawl was also fun for the groups of friends and solo attendees. Everyone mingled and got to know new people. Good times.
  • You walk off some of those calories you eat. I had walked about a mile by the time I made it back to my car. My pedometer was pleased.

Cons

  • The price is in “Treat Yo’ Self” territory. Tickets to join a Dishcrawl event are $45 per person. This is a lot of money for regular, working people.
  • Some portions are tiny. With the exception of Taco Punk, the restaurants provided food that was more amuse-bouche (thanks, Top Chef) than appetizer-sized, which was disappointing to a big-dish American like me.
  • The crawl goes on rain or shine. We managed to avoid the big torrents of rain during the Nulu crawl, but I packed an umbrella just in case. But I wasn’t looking forward to crawling in the rain, which would have made my experience soggy.

The next Dishcrawl Louisville event is Wednesday, May 1 at 7 p.m. If you have a spare $45 and are looking for something new to do around Louisville, I say go for it. If you have a spare $25 and you’d like to win a discount on the next Dishcrawl Louisville event, leave a comment, like Dishcrawl Louisville on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.

AP Crafters closes, and I weep into my wine glass

Bad things happen when I leave my phone in the car.

First, I find out that I missed out on a sweet Craigslist deal for a set of nightstands ($75! All wood!) because I didn’t text the seller back fast enough. Then, I missed immediately seeing cute pictures of my niece (She’s cuter every day! I might miss a particularly cute moment!). But a handful of mentions on Twitter is what really cut me deep:

How I received some bad news.
How I received some bad news.

AP Crafters Kitchen and Bar is closed?

*Darth Vader voice* NOOOOOOOOOOO!

Eater Louisville had the scoop, and AP Crafters’ website just confirms this sad news.

I saw the signs, but maybe I just couldn’t admit that one of my favorite restaurants was heading for that dusty trail to Restaurant Heaven. The last time I ate there (oh, my gosh, how was I supposed to know it would be my last time?), there was only one other couple in the place, and it was a game night, so the restaurant should’ve been packed. I even saw moving trucks in the parking lot yesterday, but I thought, “Oh, look, they’re getting new furniture.”

I can’t believe AP Crafters is gone. No more pretzel breadsticks. No more gummy bears on the way out. NO MORE BEER CHEESE BURGER.

*Shakes fist toward the heavens*

If anyone has any answers for this loss or remembrances, please take it to the comments. I need to drink this wine and hold Roscoe tight. And remember, keep your phone on you at all times, or your favorite restaurant gets it.

[Giveaway] Celebrate an Ashlee Eats Facebook milestone with a chance to win a burger from Grind

Mary, one of my Moth StorySLAM buddies, getting a burger from Grind back in October.
Mary, one of my Moth StorySLAM buddies, getting a burger from Grind back in October. This could be you.

**This giveaway is closed. Thanks for commenting!**

 

Sometime around the new year, the Ashlee Eats Facebook page hit a great milestone — 100 fans, baby.

I think that calls for a giveaway.

Liz and Jesse, the couple behind the Grind gourmet burger truck and favorite of Ashlee Eats readers, have offered up two vouchers for a blog giveaway, each worth one burger from the Grind truck. These would be great to use at Truckin’ Ain’t Easy, a food truck gathering at Apocalypse Brew Works on Friday, Jan. 25 (click here for more details).

It’s easy to win. Just answer this question:

What’s your favorite burger from Grind? If you haven’t had one, what kind of Grind burger would you like to taste?

For a chance to win one of the vouchers, leave a comment on this blog post or the Ashlee Eats Facebook page. Just one comment per person, please.

Post your comment by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16. I will randomly choose two winners (one voucher each) on Thursday and post about it.

And thanks for reading and liking the Facebook page!

Grind, La Coop, Ollie’s Trolley and the best Louisville food you ate in 2012

A fine example of a Grind burger.
A fine example of a Grind burger with a cheese crisp and mustard.

I love social media.

What started as a Twitter conversation about good food Louisville folks ate in 2012 got a big enough response to be a blog post.

The following post is a round-up of what readers, Facebook fans and Twitter users said was the best Louisville food they ate in 2012, specifically, the best burger, cocktail, fries and overall dish or restaurant. I’ve identified the commenters by first name and last initial or Twitter handle.

A big thank you goes to blogger Michelle Jones of Consuming Louisville/Menu and Hours app, who started the conversation over Twitter, and everyone who responded to our questions.

  • Best Burger

    • My vote: Beer cheese burger from AP Crafters Kitchen and Bar
    • Grind, by a landslide.” Randi S.
    • @LouisvilleGrind veggie burger is my best burger this year. It is outstanding!” @TattooCharlies
    • Louisville Grind, multiple times. Proof on Main, too.” @dloehr
    • “#1 Grind #2 Jack Fry’s #3 Ollie’s Trolly” “@louisvillegrind The While You Wait is the best Burger on the Planet!” @danmen
    • “best burger, hands down, is at Holy Grale. Chef Josh Lehman is some kind of food wizard.” @GoDigaHole
    • “my two best foodie friends say lamb burger @StChrlesXchange, fries #lacoop and burger AND fries @21cLouisville” @hollygolawly
  • Best Fries
    Dueling fries at AP Crafters.
    Dueling fries at AP Crafters.
    • My vote: AP Crafters Dueling Fries
    • ollie’s. fries. drool.” @shilohwalker
    • Zaytun Tribal Fries” @HereIsMySpout
    • “… hard to beat Bank Street Brewery’s #TechnicallyNotLouisvilleButCloseEnough” @DBonifer
    • “Frites at Holy Grail.” @TeslaRuser
    • “Moules Frites at La Coop.” Christine V.
  • Best Cocktail
    • My vote: Anything at Rye on Market
    • “Oh, best cocktail I had was ‘Smoke Monster’ from @meatlouisville. It was seasonal tho. #RIPSmokeMonster” @bradluttrell
    • “Best cocktail: District 13 at Garage Bar.” Randi S.
  • Best Dish/Restaurant
    Grilled cheese and tomato bisque from The Main Eatery.
    Grilled cheese and tomato bisque from The Main Eatery.
    • My vote: Croque Monsieur at Lilly’s — a Kentucky BistroCafé Lou Lou and Wild Eggs
    • “The Kusheri at Ramsis is phenomenal! I’m calling it my favorite for the year.” @TattooCharlies
    • “sea bass w/ choco mole @TheMayanCafe, walleye w/ green chickpeas @21cCincinnati, b’nut squash salad @ryeonmarket!” @hollygolawly
    • “Can’t remember what it was called, but it was a phenomenal masterpiece from @lacoopbistro.” @jenmooreKY
    • Spring Street Cafe!” @TheBarBelle
    • “lobster bisque from bodega at felice (sadly now closed) and tomato bisque from Main Street Eatery!” @ErinEMenard

Stop by #FaceTimeLou at The Silver Dollar to meet new friends

My social circle was teeny when I moved back to Louisville two years ago. I had my friends from high school, my family and my then-boyfriend (now husband). 

I branched out and attended “Tweet-ups” like Let Them Tweet Cake. I met a lot of new people and have since made some great friends. A similar event will take place this Thursday.

#FaceTimeLou, a chance to meet Louisville and southern Indiana folks you might know from Twitter, will happen at 6 p.m. at The Silver Dollar. Here’s some info from one of the organizers, Alex Porter:

We started this as a fun, laid back way to meet and put a face to a name.

I didn’t know if anybody would even show up but they have been.

We had our first one in February, second in May and the third is on Thursday.

It’s been a big hit and I think one of the main reasons is because there isn’t any strings attached. We aren’t selling anything, no boring powerpoint to sit through.

Also, our core value is to not leave anybody out, so everyone is invited.

Here’s a poster of some people you might know from Twitter who will be hanging out. Stop by and say hi.

 

Read the results of the Ashlee Eats survey

Thank you to everyone who took the time to take the Ashlee Eats Improvement Survey.

Forty-eight people participated and left thoughtful feedback. I am sincerely touched by the kind, honest responses I received. You guys are awesome.

I randomly selected a winner (I used random.org, very scientific) who will receive two mugs courtesy of Sunergos Coffee. I just heard back from her — congratulations, Rachel of Iroquois Park!

Here is a breakdown of the questions and the top two responses for each (results provided by SurveyMonkey):

1. How did you first learn about the blog Ashlee Eats?

Another blog — 39.6%

Twitter — 20.8%

2. How often do you read Ashlee Eats in a typical week?

1-2 — 66.7%

3-4 — 16.7%

3. When do you typically read Ashlee Eats?

Varies — 45.8%

During work — 25% (Aww, I’m telling your boss!)

4. How do you get to the blog?

Google Reader or other aggregator — 43.8%

Links on Twitter — 22.9%

5. What is your favorite regular feature on Ashlee Eats?

$10 Challenge — 76.1% (I hear you loud and clear on this one, folks.)

Reviews — 19.6%

6. What features would you like to see more of on the blog? (You can pick more than one answer) (I’ll list the top four responses since there were so many choices.)

More restaurant reviews/$10 Challenges — 78.3%

News about Louisville restaurants — 50%

Posts about sales, discounts and food specials in Louisville — 47.8%

More pictures — 21.7%

7. Why do you read Ashlee Eats? (You can pick more than one answer)

To learn more about Louisville restaurants — 80.4%

To get tips about eating out on a budget — 60.9%

To get the latest Louisville restaurant/food news — 60.9% (A tie for second. This would never happen in the Olympics.)

8. What’s your favorite Louisville restaurant? (Lots of responses, so here are the restaurants that showed up more than once.)

Papalino’s Pizza

Simply Thai

Mayan Cafe

WW Cousins

La Que

Ramsi’s

9. Any additional suggestions/feedback for Ashlee Eats that you’d like to share? (Lots of responses, so here is just a taste of the feedback.)

More blog posts!

Maybe search out the overlooked gems in the city which I think you have had some in the past like the Vietnam Kitchen.

I like the blog posts that provide a narrative as much as they do tips or tricks to navigating the Louisville food scene. The $10 Challenge is my favorite staple of the blog because it tells the story of the restaurant and the experience, as well as information about the menu, cost, location, etc. It has a bit of everything!

Keep up the good work and make sure you’re having fun. When you stop having fun is when it’s not fun for us.

Make this work, so I can prove that it’s possible to be a local blogger and be super-successful.

Guest contributors, I’d be glad to pipe in with reviews…probably others would too…

[Recipes] Cauliflower and other foods I’d never eat without Green BEAN Delivery

Photo courtesy of Horia Varlan via Flickr.

It’s been a couple of months since I started receiving a Green BEAN produce bin every other week.

The organic fruits and vegetables we receive at our home have been a hit. The Mister and I have been eating a lot healthier because there’s always an orange or lettuce ready for us to eat.

My favorite part of our produce bin, however, is discovering new foods.

Here are some foods that I had never eaten before our Green BEAN delivery began. A special thanks goes to Pinterest, Twitter, my mom, The Kitchn and The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook for giving me ideas on how to cook these foreign foods.

  • Cauliflower

This vegetable never looked appetizing to me. Maybe because it looked eerily similar to a brain. Or maybe it was how hard the florets were. Either way, I managed to avoid cauliflower until it stared up at me from my green produce bin.

A co-worker passed along some links to encourage me to explore cauliflower. I decided to roast the head of cauliflower with some fingerling potatoes that also came that week. I used a recipe for roasted root vegetables from The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook. I tossed the vegetables and an onion with a mixture of olive oil, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic, dumped everything on a rimmed baking sheet, and roasted at 450 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Roasting the cauliflower softened the florets and gave the edges a little crispiness, or, as we say in my house, it put some stank on it. The fragrant thyme brought married the potatoes and cauliflower nicely. This side dish has entered the regular rotation of Ashlee Eats HQ.

  • Kale Greens

I grew up eating mixed greens from a can. I had never seen greens in their pure form, when they look just like, well, greens. My Twitter buddies advised that kale greens hold up well in soups, so I threw half of my week’s bunch into a navy bean soup recipe from The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook. The greens bulked up the soup and transformed it from a side dish to a main course. Kale was indeed slower to wilt and wither in the hot soup than other leafy greens, and it froze well, too.

With the other half of the bunch, I made this quick and easy salad. As I said on Pinterest, this was an easy way to eat some veggies without pulling out a pot.

  • Squash

I never understood how something that starts like this:

Photo courtesy adactio via Flickr.

Can end up like this:

Photo courtesy of Vidya Crawley via Flickr.

I learned that it’s actually pretty easy to do this transformation. I peeled the butternut squash I had received and cut it in half lengthwise. I scooped out the seeds, then rubbed both halves in olive oil. I sprinkled the squash with some sea salt and roasted it in the oven at about 400 degrees until it was tender. The squash was savory and hearty. The pile of orange cubes also brightened up my plate at every meal.

I’m eager to discover more new fruits and vegetables. Have any suggestions on what to try next?

Visit The Root Cellar for some great fresh, local groceries

Don't let the garage-like appearance deceive you. There's awesomeness inside.

I’ve only been out of Old Louisville for a couple of weeks, but there’s a lot I miss already.

Pizza night with my roommates. Burger Boy right down the street. The beautiful scenery that made my walks with Roscoe pleasant.

But a relatively new local produce market will keep me coming back to my old neighborhood.

The Root Cellar opened this May at the corner of Third and Hill streets in what appears to be a former garage or gas station. The business’ aim is simple – provide only locally raised food to a section of Louisville missing a retail outlet for fresh, local produce.

Here’s a blurb from The Root Cellar’s website:

The idea for The Root Cellar was born out of a desire to be part of the local food chain in an environmentally positive and socially conscientious way … The neighborhood of Old Louisville has been in need of a small, Mom and Pop retail store for many years.  The people have longed for just such an new idea in retailing that The Root Cellar provides.  We also are anxious to reach out to the other surrounding neighborhoods like California, Park Hill, Algonquin, Smoketown, Shelby Park, Limerick and Germantown, as well as, serve the University of Louisville and its unique blend of faculty, staff and students.

The Root Cellar provides a generous variety of local food that extends beyond fruits and vegetables. On a couple of recent visits, the shelves and refrigerators have been stocked with items such as milk, honey, bison meat and yogurt. I am a big fan of the eggs that The Root Cellar offers.

It’s wonderful to have this market in this part of town. I hope that kids and adults without regular exposure to the joys of local eating will benefit from The Root Cellar’s presence. Find out more about The Root Cellar on Facebook and Twitter.