Saturday, February 25, 2012

Amuse Bouche from Last Weekend in Louisville

I'm still full from my food-centric visit last weekend to Louisville, but here's a taste . . . as I scramble to pack for yet another travelin' weekend.

The tongue salad with mustard ice cream above was one of the highlights in an across-the-board fascinating dinner last Friday at 610 Magnolia. I'd wanted to see what this restaurant had in store long before chef Edward Lee became a contestant on Top Chef. Full report to come here or on the "other" blog I write for, AllTopChef. Or both. Stay tuned.

My Saturday lunch choice was new-ish Taco Punk in NULU on Louisville's East Market Street (an area full of interesting locally focused restaurants, shops, and galleries). The grass-fed beef, Amish chicken mole, and Lucky Duck tacos from chef-owner Gabe Sowder, formerly of 610 Magnolia, did not disappoint!

I've recently rediscovered my love of chocolate and confections of all ilks (quality makes indulgence worthwhile!). Ghyslain, which offers some of the most gorgeous desserts I've ever seen or tasted, turned out to be right across the street from Taco Punk. In addition to offering delectable sweets, Ghyslain is a bustling French-inflected cafe with two more locations in Indiana and online ordering through their website.

As I walked into Ghyslain, two women emerged and sat down at an outdoor table that unseasonably warm winter afternoon. I had an inkling they might be the folks who were kind enough to accept my invitation to dinner at Harvest, just down the block, after friend Cindie wasn't able to accompany me on this trip after all.

With nothing more to go on than a facebook picture, I kinda thought that might be Joyce Pinson (food blogger at Friends Drift Inn and columnist for the Appalachian News-Express), with whom I've struck up an online friendship. But I wasn't sure, and didn't want to be too forward. When I walked back outside, emboldened by the purchase of chocolate, I ventured my guess: "Pardon me, but would you by any chance be Joyce Pinson?" Joyce and her sweet friend Rhoda laughed. They thought I might be me too, and had been looking for an online pic of me on Rhoda's phone to confirm.

We got to talkin' on the Ghyslain patio until I remembered the time on my parking meter might run out and Rhoda confessed to being chilly outdoors (yep, it's still winter).

The three of us rendezvoused for dinner at Harvest (another fine Louisville farm-to-fork restaurant, which has made it into the James Beard Award semi-finals!) and got lost in conversation before we had to scurry to the Anthony Bourdain/Eric Ripert show (and compete for parking with the Van Halen and Farm Machinery Show fans in town that night).

I'll try to get more specific posts up about the great restaurants I visited in Louisville this trip, including my brunch the following morning at Garage Bar, the newest venture from Michael Paley, chef at Proof/21C, which is coming to Cincy across from the Aronoff later this year. Hangtown fry with house-cured bacon, anyone?

I'll have a house-made bialy from Garage Bar's wood-fired pizza oven and a side of whimsy, thank you.

I had one more stop to make Sunday afternoon before I-71 with its rolling rural hills merged with I-75 and dumped me back into city traffic, the Napoleon Grocery and Deli.

After tasting this ginormous BBQ pork sandwich on ciabatta from Napoleon Ridge Farm (they supply to Local 127 and Bouquet restaurants) and proprietor Tricia Houston's homemade cherry crisp and Boston Cream cupcake, there is no doubt in my mind. Further research is in order.

A quick shout-out to any bloggers in the area who might be interested. Jen of Our Good Food Life has taken the lead and started a Southwest Ohio Food Bloggers Association facebook page, which you can also follow on Twitter at @swohiofba, inspired by the Kentucky Food Bloggers Association, whose founders we met at the #5B blog conference earlier this month.The aim is to connect with other food bloggers in the region, including Northern Kentucky and as wide a swath of Ohio as people are interested in. Please feel welcome to join, post links to your blog posts on the SWOFBA wall, and share in the conversation.
Off to throw some clothes in my bag and head north for a change. Because the February birthdays just keep on comin' and I'm not passing up an opportunity to celebrate with dear friends.


Candy said...

Great write up! As a Lexingtonian, there is a bit of a rivalry between us and Louisville but in the past couple of years I have come to appreciate what a lovely, diverse city it is. I've noted several of the places you visited as must sees on my next trip up the road.

moi said...

Wow! What fun!

Tongue, by the way, is highly underrated as far as I'm concerned. Here in NM, it's a mainstay of many Hispanic families' tables. Lengua tacos are my favorite: marinated chopped tongue, diced onions and cilantro, a little salsa, squeeze of lime, drizzle of yogurt. I buy them from a food truck in the next village over at least twice a month. Yum!