The homeless need help during #LouSnow

I’ve crept out of the warmth of my apartment for two reasons this week: to walk Roscoe and make a run to Kroger for more groceries.

Winter has reared its DESPICABLE head in Louisville. It’s cold. It’s snowy. It’s about to get worse as temperatures drop to -5 degrees tonight. Reporter Jacob Ryan did a story for WFPL News about being homeless in Louisville during this bout of winter weather. With the temperature dropping below 35 degrees, Wednesday night will be a White Flag night during which homeless shelters take in everyone who needs shelter. The shelters get overcrowded, and the food can run low. Here’s a blurb from Jacob’s article:

White Flag nights bring nearly 300 more people into shelters than other nights, said Natalie Harris, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless. There are about 650 emergency shelter beds in the city… Local shelters have already used up all the funding provided by the city this year for White Flag nights, Harris said. Now, they are “operating solely on donations.”

It’s easy to complain about being cooped up in the house for a little too long, or having to dig yourself out to get to work. Yet a bunch of our neighbors are scrambling for the necessities in packed shelters. Between a third round of Scrabble and another Netflix marathon, why don’t we take a second to give a little back to our Louisville neighbors? You can donate to the Coalition for the Homeless here.

I ate all the tacos so you don’t have to (unless you’re really into that)

A sampling of tacos from El Taco Luchador on Baxter Avenue.
A sampling of tacos from El Taco Luchador on Baxter Avenue.

It was an assignment not for the weak of stomach: write about the burgeoning Louisville taco scene.

Journalism school taught me that a good reporter must do his or her research, so I embarked on a two-week taco taste test across the city. I documented some lessons learned and some stand-out taquerias in a story I wrote for the WFPL news blog. Here’s an excerpt:

The components of a taco sound simple enough—a tortilla, some meat, a few veggies, a sauce, and a wedge of lime on the side. But the best tacos in the city are thoughtfully crafted by chefs willing to explore flavor combinations that call on tradition yet seem refreshing and new. The tortilla should be soft, warm, made of corn and sturdy. The meat is best when it’s marinated and slow cooked, as evidenced by tender strips that fall apart as you chew your way through. The veggies should be crisp and handled with a light hand to not overwhelm aforementioned tortilla. And the sauce can make or break this little handheld dish—too much, and it’s sloppy and overbearing, too little, and the dish is  dry. And don’t forget to squeeze that lime, for it adds a final citrusy pop to make the tastes come alive.

Read the rest of the article here. Gluttony jokes aside, I had a fun time writing this one. Louisville has turned into a great place for tacos.

Where do you go when you need a taco fix?

What are you eating this Kentucky Derby weekend?

English: Kentucky Derby, unknown date Permissi...
 Courtesy: Kentuckytourism.com. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You smell that? That mix of horse, bourbon and funnel cake? It’s Kentucky Derby in the air.

The Derby, aka the best two minutes in sports, is tomorrow at Churchill Downs, and the phillies run today in the Kentucky Oaks. These races cap off weeks of festivities in Louisville and the surrounding area.

But enough about the races. Let’s talk food.

I wrote a piece for WFPL’s blog that outlines some tips for finding getting into restaurants during this busy weekend. And I have some plans of my own that include trips to Queen of Sheba and Wild Eggs.

I want to hear from you guys. Where and what are you eating this Derby weekend?

Bits and Pieces: Drinking ordinance, Kentucky Derby Festival and other Louisville food news from the web, 4.26.13

Louisville, Kentucky Derby
Louisville, Kentucky Derby (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Events

News

  • The Louisville Metro Council approved an ordinance that will allow liquor to be sold at restaurants starting at 10 a.m. on Sundays instead of 1 p.m. (WFPL)

Openings

  • A new restaurant called Derby City Roadhouse is set to open next week in the space that formerly housed City Café in Mid City Mall. (Insider Louisville)

Have you picked a destination for 502 Restaurant Week?

The BLT Wedge from AP Crafters Kitchen and Bar. This restaurant is a 502 Restaurant Week participant.
The BLT Wedge from AP Crafters Kitchen and Bar. This restaurant is a 502 Restaurant Week participant.

(Blogger’s note: This is a piece I originally did for WFPL. Check it out here.)

My attempts to save a little extra money for a splurge are usually half-hearted. Just check my savings account. But there’s an envelope on my kitchen table with a trio of Andrew Jacksons reserved for a night out during 502 Restaurant Week. 

City-wide restaurant weeks have cropped up in markets across the country since New York founded a lunch-only (now expanded) restaurant week in 1992. Like similar events in other cities, 502 Restaurant Week gives diners the opportunity to eat at participating upscale establishments for a discounted rate.

About 30 Louisville restaurants will offer a prix fixe three-course meal from a special menu for either $50.20 per couple or $50.20 per person, depending on the establishment. These prices don’t include tax or tip, and a beverage might be extra depending on where you visit. For places like Del Frisco’sRuth’s Chris Steak House, orGary’s on Spring, the $50.20 price tag is a significant deal on fine dining.

Organized by 502 Events, restaurant week runs through March 3. Organizers have partnered with (among others) the Louisville Downtown Management District, which previously hosted the Fleur de Licious restaurant week, says Belinda Gates, owner of 502 Events and past LDMD board member. According to a media release on their website, the downtown management district might shutter Fleur de Licious for the future in favor of throwing their support behind the 502 event.

This is 502 Restaurant Week’s first year, but Gates says she wants to see the venture become a destination event that showcases the Louisville area, including surrounding counties and southern Indiana.

“We are a foodie town, and here’s the restaurant week to prove it,” says Gates.

The line-up for 502 Restaurant Week is a sample of the best of Louisville’s culinary scene. Review the list of participating restaurants here. You can also download a 502 Restaurant Week app to guide you. In the meantime, here are some of my top picks for the week:

Rye on Market: Some of the most inventive cocktails I’ve ever sipped came from Rye. Other than a few nibbles of appetizers, I haven’t had a meal to accompany my drinks at this East Market Street restaurant.

Blu Italian Grille in the Marriot Downtown: This is one of a handful of participating restaurants located in a hotel. “Local diners don’t always think of going to a hotel to eat,” Gates says. If Blu’s dinner is anything like their weekend brunch, I’m game to take advantage of the restaurant week menu.

Napa River Grill: I’ve visited all of this eatery’s neighbors in Westport Village, but I’ve yet to sample this restaurant’s Northern California/Pacific Rim fusion dishes.

Bits and Pieces: Maker’s Mark (again), The Next Great Baker and other Louisville food news from the web, 2.18.13

Blogger’s note: I’ve managed to pick up the pieces after last night’s devastating Downton Abbey season finale to write this post — barely.

Closings

News

Openings

Down One Bourbon Bar at 321 W. Main Street.
Down One Bourbon Bar at 321 W. Main Street.

You don’t have to be Catholic to enjoy Louisville-area Lenten fish fries

Fried fish and chips with lemon, ketchup, and ...
Fried fish and chips with lemon, ketchup, and tartar sauce as served in San Diego. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s not use this blog to talk religion. Instead, let’s rejoice in fried fish.

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, which kicks off the six-week season of Lent. From now to Easter, Catholic churches in the area will offer weekly fish fry events (read more about this practice here).

The Archdiocese of Louisville released their schedule of fish fry events, which you can view here. You can look find your nearest Catholic church by searching by zip code. The document also lists the times you can pick up your meal.

Kudos to Erin Keane at WFPL for pointing me in the archdiocese’s direction.

Bits and Pieces: Maker’s Mark, Taco Bell and other food news from the web, 2.11.13

Events

News

  • In news of the sad, Maker’s Mark will dilute the alcohol content in its bourbon to help meet growing worldwide demand. So help me, if it tastes different … (WFPL)
  • Louisville-based Yum! Brands will introduce Cool Ranch-flavored Doritos Locos Tacos at Taco Bell in March. This was my favorite flavor as a kid, so two thumbs up from me. (Business First of Louisville)

Openings

  • Falls City Brewing Co. will open a brewery at 545 E. Barret Ave., between Broadway and Baxter Avenue by mid-March. The company currently brews its beer in Nashville. (Business First of Louisville)
  • Remember the Vint Coffee on Brownsboro Road? It’s now a Heine Brothers’. (Business First of Louisville)

Bits and Pieces: Burger’s Market, Havana Rumba and other Louisville food news from the web, 1.7.13

Blogger’s note: Am I the only one who still hasn’t gotten back into the swing of a regular work week? Lagging after a long vacation = first world problem

Changes

  • Earth Friends Cafe will move its main location from New Albany to East Market in Louisville in the former Bodega location. (Consuming Louisville)

Closings

  • Burger’s Market on Grinstead Drive will close in March. The same family has run the grocery store since 1958. (WFPL)
  • The Great Harvest Bread Co. location in New Albany closed at the end of December. (News and Tribune)

Openings

  • Chef Maria’s Greek Deli, a carry-out “Mediterranean cuisine to go” spot, recently opened in St. Matthews. Creator Maria Bell was previously with Greek Paradise Cafe and It’s All Greek to Me, and she the chef behind the Gyros Express food truck. (Courier-Journal)
  • Havana Rumba will open a fast-casual restaurant location called Havana Rumba Express. The location is still to be determined, but lots of fans have left comments on the restaurant’s Facebook page. (Consuming Louisville)

Etc.

  • There’s a kerfuffle on the Louisville interwebs that involves Lynn’s Paradise Cafe and a former waitress. Yikes. (Eater Louisville)

Want to talk to me on the phone? You’ll have to donate to Louisville Public Media first

I’ve recently made one of the best purchases of my adult life.

I donated money to Louisville Public Media, the fine folks that bring us NPR programming, music and local news on WFPL News, Classical 90.5 and 91.9 WFPK. 

Louisville Public Media is holding its spring pledge drive through Friday to raise $600,000. This money helps the three stations give listeners like me the content that we love and need.

During the past year, I have become an NPR junkie. My radio is always on 89.3 WFPL, where I can listen to some of my favorite shows, including All Things Considered, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, Car Talk, This American Life and my favorite game show, Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell MeIf I’m not listening to these national shows, then I’m getting the latest news about the Louisville area from the team of WFPL local reporters. What’s not to like?

Here are just a few of the many reasons why you should consider making a pledge and becoming a member of Louisville Public Media:

  • For every donation that comes in through this year’s pledge drive, Green BEAN Delivery is donating two pounds of food to Dare to Care Food Bank.
  • WFPL broadcasts a great food program called The Splendid Table. It comes on at 11 a.m. on Sundays, which makes it the perfect soundtrack when I’m cooking brunch.
  • If you call today between 8 and 11 p.m. to make a pledge, you might get me on the line. The wonderful Louisville blogger Loueyville, aka Melissa Chipman, organized a group of folks to man the phones during the pledge drive.

Learn more about Louisville Public Media and the pledge drive here. If you have a couple of bucks, think about throwing it their way. Trust me, it’s worth it.