Rye whiskey to be focus of 2nd Village Anchor Whisk(e)y Five dinners

We love our bourbon here, but the sun doesn’t rise and set on Kentucky Nectar only.

And the folks at Village Anchor aim to continue teaching that with the second of five Whisk(e)y Five dinners set for July 6, at 6:30 p.m. On the heels of a June Scotch-paired dinner, rye whiskey is the spirit accompaniment for this meal.

Susan Reigler, whiskey writer and certified executive bourbon steward, returns as the tasting guide for the dinner that also will showcase chef Henry Wesley’s paired menu. Given that most Louisvillians are likely bourbon-first fans, Reigler starts the evening with a baseline taste of Kentucky nectar before moving on to the featured sipper.

The evening’s feast includes:

  • *Surf and turf vol-au-vent; foie gras pâté; smoked rainbow trout mousse, pickled onion, hard-boiled egg, crispy caper; paried with Jim Beam Black 86 proof (the bourbon starter), Old Overholt 80 proof and Woodford Rye 90.4 proof
  • “Composure” – summer vegetable composed salad of sweet corn and peppers in cilantro, asparagus and pearls in sage, baby carrot and baby beets in rosemary mâche in lemon; High West Double Rye 92 proof
  • Sumac-encrusted Kentucky bison strip loin, smoked sweet potato purée, roasted heirloom cauliflower, baby carrots, pomegranate molasses, vanilla expresso demi-glace; Willett Rye 100 proof
  • Guajillo-brown butter flourless chocolate torte, strawberry-peppadew compote, mint gelée, Chantilly cream; Bulleit Rye 90 proof

The cost of the rye dinner is $75. If reservations are made for more than one dinner in the series, the cost is $65 per dinner. Reservations may be made by calling 502-708-1850 or by emailing Merritt Mowery at merritt@bellenoble.com.

Upcoming Whisk(e)y Five Dinners are scheduled for:

  • July 27 – International whiskeys
  • August 17 – Irish whiskeys
  • September 7 – Bourbons from beyond Kentucky

2 food truck owners suing Louisville over anti-competitive vending rules

A pair of local food truck owners are suing the City of Louisville over a law that restricts where they can park their vehicles and conduct business.

According to a news release, local food truck owners Troy King and Robert Martin will hold a press conference with the Institute for Justice (IJ) today to discuss lawsuit, which challenges the constitutionality of the city’s “150-foot proximity ban.” The law bans food trucks from operating within 150 feet of a brick-and-mortar restaurant, even when the truck is on private property. Plaintiffs claim the law turns large swaths of the city into “no-vending” zones for food trucks. King and Martin claim the proximity ban unfairly protects restaurants from competition.

In 2014, King purchased his first food truck, Pollo, which serves chicken and waffles, fried chicken tacos, chicken gyros, and fried chicken sandwiches. A city inspector threatened to tow his truck because King was serving customers within 150 feet of Cravings ala Carte (located at 101 S. 5th St.), a restaurant that also serves chicken dishes.

Martin’s truck, Red’s Comfort Food, sells specialty gourmet hot dogs and sausages. In 2015, a city inspector cited Martin for selling food within 150 feet of Down One Bourbon Bar, located at 321 W. Main St.

According to the news release, the IJ will assist in the suit, adding that IJ has won similar court battles as part of its National Street Vending Initiative.

Royals Hot Chicken hosting Brewed Food Louisville dinner Sunday

Royals Hot Chicken (736 E Market St.) chefs Ryan Rogers and Andrew McCabe will welcome the experimental food lab, Brewed Food, and Denver-based chef and certified Cicerone, Jensen Cummings, on Sunday, June 25, at 6 p.m., for a collaborative beer dinner. According to a news release, the innovative five-course menu will be paired with beers from Goodwood and New Belgium Brewing Company and incorporate brewing ingredients from both breweries.

The dinner is part of a national tour organized by Brewed Food lab. Cummings founded the company to promote craft brewing as a culinary art and core philosophy of cooking. He utilizes beer yeast to create unique food fermentations and incorporates ingredients such as hops, wort and spent grain into dishes. The goal of the Brewed Food tour is to share these techniques with chefs across the country. Cummings will be visiting Seattle, Atlanta, and Cincinnati in addition to Louisville.

The Brewed Food Louisville menu includes:

Reception: Goodwood Walnut Brown Ale served with koji-aged venison tartare; plum-infused wort, chocolate meringue, porcini, Zeus hop; and New Belgium Le Terroir served with sourdough blini; hopped yogurt, malted tender belly bacon, sour mash roe

First course: New Belgium Abbey & Voodoo Ranger IPA served with wort broth ochazuke; torrified wheat, grain soy, nukazuke, shio koji sashimi

Second course: Goodwood Barrel-Aged Saison served with Cara 45 malted barley risotto; fermented corn milk, special bacon, shaved oysters, centennial hops

Third course: New Belgium 2017 La Folie served with pork char sui; lop cheong, barrel-aged hoisin, spontaneous dragon fruit

Fourth course: Goodwood Bourbon Barrel Stout served with s’mores; spent grain cracker, yeasted Simcoe Hopmallow, mushroom powder

Tickets cost $50 and can be purchased by clicking here.

Edwards’ 5-year dream opens as MozzaPi in Anchorage

To anyone who’s eaten a pizza from the mobile MozzaPi wood-fired in the past few years, last week’s opening of the brick-and-mortar pizzeria by the same name in Anchorage is a long-deferred dream come true. If you read only to the end of this paragraph, know this: The Neapolitan-Sicilian hybrid pizza is exceptional and like none other in the area. You must eat it to believe it.

Five years ago, creator, co-founder and pizzaiolo Tom Edwards had his eye on a site in the Highlands where he planned to open MozzaPi. But when the cost of turning the building into a restaurant exceeded his budget, he shelved the idea and refocused on his burgeoning grain mill, flour and bread bakery, Louismill. All the while, he sorted out where MozzaPi would go before settling on an empty lot in Anchorage where Old LaGrange Road meets Ridge Road.

Tom Edwards, creator and co-founder of MozzaPi. | Photo by Steve Coomes

Tom Edwards, creator and co-founder of MozzaPi. | Photo by Steve Coomes

“It had been so long since we started thinking about MozzaPi that I was to the point that I wasn’t going to do it unless I could walk there it from home,” said Edwards, an Anchorage resident, who’d also traveled for years as a business consultant. “I didn’t want to drive all the way to the Highlands to work every day, and I didn’t want to put it in a strip mall, either. I wanted a place with character.”

He also wanted to build it—with his own hands. Having built his current and the prior home, as well as much of the furniture inside, Edwards was joined this time by his sister, Lori Himmelsbach and her husband, to construct a building that resembles a locomotive shed in a rail yard. All the wood, concrete and masonry work was done by the trio, while outside trades managed the plumbing and electric.

“And that’s one of many reasons it took so long,” Edwards said, grinning. “But we did it.”

The sweet onion marmalade pizza with sausage, bourbon-infused cherries and fresh-chopped rosemary.

A sweet onion marmalade pizza with sausage, bourbon-infused cherries and fresh-chopped rosemary. The charred spots on the crust are intentional and called “leoparding” by pizza makers.

Edwards also build the four-ton oak-fired oven, its stone deck, masonry dome and shaped its copper exterior. He said the ideal baking temperature is around 850 F, though it could burn as hot as 1,000 F.

MozzaPi’s sour dough is made from a blend of 70 percent Italian 00 flour and 30 percent of local white winter wheat ground on location by Edwards. To speed service, personal-size dough circles are par-baked and held until orders come in. The kitchen tops the pizza to customers’ specs and brings them to the oven, where Edwards finishes them.

Using what he termed a “utility peel,” Edwards maneuvered pizzas and sandwiches deftly across the oven’s deck to toast their sides evenly next to the fire. It’s a culinary reality show guests can watch from any seat in the house.

Currently, MozzaPi is open for limited hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for coffee and baked goods (get the chocolate chip cookies made from rye flour), and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for pizza, sandwiches and salads. Beer wine and spirits are available as well. (No menu online yet.)

“We’ll add dinner when I’m confident we’re ready,” Edwards said. “We don’t want to give anything less than a great experience, so we’ll wait until we’re able to do that.”

Butchertown Pizza Hall opens today

You can tell Allan Rosenberg is happy to be back in pizza and in command of his own place. His smile is as wide as the New York-style slices he and wife, Shelly Rosenberg, began serving Monday at their new spot, Butchertown Pizza Hall, on Story Ave. in Butchertown.

Several years have passed since Rosenberg opened a trio of Papalino’s pizzerias across the city, and with their gradual demise, many bemoaned the loss of solid pies made simply and well.

But with the closing of Hall’s Cafeteria last year, the Rosenbergs saw a chance to get back in the pizza game—literally through the window of their home, where it shares the same lane as the legendary plate lunch spot. The two buildings are so close, he could crawl if necessary and still make good time.

The dining room at Butchertown Pizza Hall.

The dining room at Butchertown Pizza Hall.

“I’m not sure if I could make it any easier,” Rosenberg joked. For several months after the 2016 closure of his last restaurant, Fontleroy’s, he worked as chef de cuisine at Anoosh Bistro and Noosh Nosh. Now he’s in command of a quartet of brand new Marsal stone deck pizza ovens. “Maybe if we lived upstairs, yeah, that would be easier.”

But that arrangement wouldn’t work for long since the Rosenbergs plan to use the current finished space for private parties and live music, and by next spring they plan have converted its roof into an outdoor lounge with a bar.

“Don’t you think that will be cool?” he asked, eyes wide. “There’s so much potential here.”

Butchertown Pizza Hall is targeted toward a wide-ranging but not terribly disparate demographic: families, shift workers at the JBS Swift plant across the street, and late-night crowds looking affordable, sharable pies and inexpensive beer. Though craft beers are on hand, the bar is out loud and proud of its low-budget, big brewery lagers like Old Milwaukee, Miller Lite and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

The bar at The Hall.

The bar at The Hall.

“When you’re drinking beers that cost $2 to $3, and having a couple of slices, you can get out of here for around $10,” he said. Spinning around to reveal the back of his standard staff T-shirt, which reads, exactly, “Great Pizza, Shi**y Beer,” he added, “We like good stuff, too, but we want this to be as relaxed as possible. There’s nothing serious about this.”

The menu is simple: a plentiful range of pizzas, wings, salads, hoagies and desserts. Pizzas are customizable with a couple dozen toppings and cheeses, and 10 signature pizzas are available. All run 14-18 inches. There are daily slice specials ($3.50), such as a $7 lunchtime deal for a slice, two garlic knots and a soft drink.

But it’s not all about eating. There’s a nice game room with old school favorites like Ms. Pacman, Mortal Kombat, air hockey and tabletop shuffleboard, as well as a full, but limited bar. No fat-washed or hopped whiskey cocktails here: just the basics.

For now, it’s open daily during the week from 10:30 a.m. to midnight, and if business warrants, 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Village Anchor launches Whisk(e)y Five exploration dinner series Thursday

The team at the Village Anchor Pub & Roost is partnering with spirits and travel writer Susan Reigler to create a dinner and whiskey exploration series dubbed Whisk(e)y Five. The goal is to expand local bourbon lovers’ knowledge of the broad whiskey spectrum by pairing international whiskeys poured neat and served alongside executive chef Henry Wesley’s food.

The first in the series is a Scotch dinner scheduled for Thursday, June 15 at 6 p.m. The meal will showcase three single malts from three different regions of Scotland and two blended whiskys (the Scotts don’t spell whiskey with an “e” like all others elsewhere do).

Reigler will set guests’ baseline with a pour of bourbon to establish a flavor contrast with the Scotches that follow. Reigler has done food and whiskey cocktail pairings, but she expects these straight whiskeys pairing will enlighten the palates of those eager to learn their virtues.

“What I’m hoping to do is help people pay attention to the flavors already in those whiskeys so they can learn how they’re amplified with food,” said Reigler, also the author of multiple books on spirits. “They’ll also see how the whiskey helps the food.”

The evening’s menu includes:

  • Smoked salmon mousse on crostini; bourbon-braised pork belly with pickled red cabbage; flight of Old Forester 86 proof, Chivas Regal 10 Year and Johnnie Walker Black
  • Arugula and watermelon salad with Laphroaig 10 Year
  • Roasted lamb chop, rosemary fingerling potatoes, poached pear and roasted broccolini with Talisker 10 Year
  • Buttermilk panna cotta with spiced apple Chantilly cream with Glenlivet 12 Year

The cost of the Scotch dinner is $75—a figure that would total less than the actual cost of tasting all those whiskeys at a bar—plus tax and gratuity. Reserve two or more dinners for a cost of $65 each, or really broaden your palate while a lot by reserving your spot for the whole series at a cost of $295—just $59 per dinner. The remaining dinners and their dates are:

  • July 6 – Rye whiskey
  • July 27 – International whiskey
  • August 17 – Irish whiskey
  • September 7 – Bourbon from states other than Kentucky

Call 502-708-1850 to reserve your spot, or email Merritt Mowery at merritt@bellenoble.com.

The Bar Brainpower of Josh Durr; Before and After Fest of Ale Prep with Todd Antz and Eric Morris

Our plate is full of news here at EatDrinkTalk, home of the city’s finest restaurant and bar podcast. First up we have two ice cream items. We’re pulling for the guys at Comfy Cow, who have been experiencing mechanical problems at their commissary, leading to shortages at their local shops.

Of course, they’ll soon have ice cream competition in Nulu when the Louisville Cream store opens next month. Owner and ice cream maker Darryl Goodner’s product just received Southern Living Magazine’s “Best Southern Made Products” award.

News that River House and Levee have opened their dock service means that a whole lot more people can enjoy the scenery there, including those arriving by boat. Entrepreneurs Scott and Jennifer Benningfield have signed an agreement with Fourth Street Live! that will give their Thirsty Pedaler 16-passenger bikes a prominent storefront and parking space.

There’s a special farm-to-table dinner coming up at the Jeptha Creed Distillery May 30. It will be hosted by Volare’s Josh Moore, who will be serving food directly from his farm.

Our first guest is mixologist Josh Durr, who Steve points out is one of the smartest bar experts in town. To celebrate the Fest of Ale event coming to New Albany June 3, Rick sat down with founder Todd Antz and Gospel Bird chef-owner Eric Morris to talk about the one of the largest local beer fests and the after-party.

In our Copper & Kings favorites segment, Rick tried a vegetarian omelet at the always-reliable North End Cafe. Steve’s choice was a spicy beef dish from Nam Nam in St. Matthews. His drink preference was a recently re-released Bulleit Bourbon Barrel Strength whiskey. And at Bonefish Grill, Rick tried a Wild Orchid Hawaiian Martini.

EDT56JoshDurr

Josh Durr

EDT56AntzMorris

Todd Antz and Eric Morris at the Gospel Bird

Podcast 55 WITH Coffee King Leo Fante, and Bringing Bravazzi to the ‘Ville with Sarah Ross

The best restaurant and bar podcast in the city is back with a refreshing serving of news and personalities. First up, be on the lookout for mushroom-blended burgers at your favorite restaurants. Last week, Rick sampled four of them at Harvest, which hosted the kickoff for a nationwide James Beard Foundation sustainability initiative to reduce meat consumption by adding ground mushrooms to ground meats.

Steve reports that a new national study shows indie restaurants gaining market share vs. chains, though he suspects those operations aren’t making more profits because there are so many new players.

Watch for Highland Morning in St. Matthews to expand, and after years of planning the owners of Mozza Pi are planning a June opening in Anchorage. Last weekend, the Buy Local Fair was planned for Sunday, but on Friday, organizers listened to weather forecasts and canceled the event over severe weather concerns. As you’d expect, Sunday afternoon turned out gorgeous.

Rick’s guest is local coffee legend Leo Fante, who opened his unusual coffee shop on Grinstead Drive 11 weeks ago. The shop is a coffee lover’s dream, with special roasts made in-house, a nice menu and, yes, alcohol.

Steve calls the Bravazzi Hard Italian Soda he sampled “the best adult soda I’ve ever had.” So he talks with Sarah Ross, the company’s co-founder, who was in town promoting helping launch the product here. Tune in to hear all this and more on EatDrinkTalk.

EDT55LeoFante

Leo Fante

EDT55SarahRoss

Sarah Ross

Local Chefs Join in on National Blended Burger Project

Judging by the number of the city’s top chefs in attendance, expect to see plenty of “blended burgers” popping up on local restaurant menus beginning May 31.

The event was the kickoff of the James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project, held in NuLu at Harvest Restaurant, attended by at least a dozen local chefs and several media members. Chefs Patrick Roney of Harvest, Michael Crouch of Bistro 1860, Jon Sanning of Lexington’s Smithtown Seafood, and Dallas McGarity of the Fat Lamb offered up their versions of blended burgers — defined as patties with a blend of at least 25 percent finely chopped mushrooms, along with meat.

Eric Davis, representing the Mushroom Council, stressed the sustainability of mushrooms vs. meat.

“The blend is an idea, not a product,” he said. He added that growing a pound of mushrooms requires just 1.8 gallons of water, and a million pounds can be produced from a single acre.

“A ‘Blended Burger’ is a much more sustainable and plant-forward opportunity for chefs to menu the iconic burger,” said the James Beard Foundation’s Kris Moon. “Producing one pound of mushrooms requires less than two gallons of water, making them one of the most sustainably produced foods.”

Any chef can enter the contest by creating a blended burger, adding it to their menu and persuading diners to vote for it online at this site. The hashtag #BlendedBurgerProject was created so that restaurateurs can promote the contest online. The five chefs who receive the most votes will be invited to New York’s James Beard House, where they will prepare their burger at an event next January.

Last year, 350 restaurants participated, and Davis said the goal for this year is 500. The voting ends July 31.

Among the Harvest event attendees were Butchertown Grocery’s Bobby Benjamin, Ward 426’s Shawn Ward, Anoosh Bistro’s Anoosh Shariat and the Red Herring’s Jacob Coronado.

Local restaurant supplier Superior Meats is also participating in the project by creating its own blend and offering it to local restaurants.

Here are the blends presented at Harvest:

Harvest Louisville
Chef Patrick Roney
2017-05-16 12.30.43

Harvest’s Blended Burger with rabbit

Rivercrest Rabbit and Sysbee Farms Lions Mane Mushroom Slider. Country Ham and Cottage Cheese Biscuit. Red Eye Aioli. Broccoli stem and Black Eyed Pea slaw.

Bistro 1860
Chef Michael Crouch
The Lambda Lambda Omega Moo Burger- 40% lamb-40% cow,20% Frondosa Farms blue oyster mushroom- pickled mustard seed-pickle, harissa mayo-tri onion mix-poppyseed brioche.
2017-05-16 12.51.35

Jon Sanning’s blended burger

Chef Jon Sanning
Smithtown Seafood

Huit-a-burger: Chorizo-spiced blended KYP beef patty on lime cabbage with huitlacoche-queso fresco, avocado cream, crispy potatoes, cilantro & onions on a Dutch’s Bake Shop Cuban bun.
Fat Lamb Louisville
Chef Dallas McGarity
Dallas McGarity's entry

Dallas McGarity’s entry

Local Black Hawk Farms beef double cheeseburger blended with 40% local crimini mushrooms. It is on a poppy seed brioche bun with Dukes mayo and a horseradish pickle served with a Tuscan kale and pickled beet salad with goat cheese and toasted pistachios.

Jim McArthur’s Downtown Vision; Jason Smith’s Fight Against Parkinson’s

The best bar and restaurant podcast in the ‘Ville is back with more news and conversations sure to tingle your taste buds. We’ve got a report on the new Cuvee Wine Bar, a great new spot in the East End opened by one of the few Master Sommeliers in the region.

And remember that you heard it here first — Tony Palombino will convert the Boombozz Tap House in St. Matthews to a new concept called Waylon’s Feed and Firewater, a close cousin to his Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen downtown. We’re also seeing signs, including one that reads “Now Hiring” at the Mission Barbecue in St. Matthews, one of a projected 50 new restaurants scheduled to open in the city in 2017.

We’re looking forward to the Highlands Beer Fest behind the Mid-City Mall on Saturday. (Did you know it was the first modern-day brewfest in the city?) On Sunday, two of our favorite chefs — Harvest’s Patrick Roney and Jacob Coronado of the Red Herring — will face off in an Iron Chef-like competition at the Louisville Independent Business Association’s Buy Local Fair at the Water Tower.

Steve’s guest this week is Harvest Restaurant co-owner Jim McArthur, who has some unique insight into downtown’s changes, and how good it will be for business, when the Convention Center and other construction projects are complete in 2018. Rick sat down with veteran restaurant operator Jason Smith at Gordon Biersch to talk about one of Jason’s pet projects — the Denim & Diamonds fundraiser for Parkinson’s disease. Smith has early onset Parkinson’s, and talks about how he’s affected by the disease and why he’s so passionate about raising money for treatment.

In our Copper & Kings favorites segment, Steve chose to sample fried oysters at La Chasse, while Rick picked the eggplant Parmesan from the menu at Ciao, where he also enjoyed a memorable Old Fashioned. With many to choose from, Steve selected the Chateau de Puligny he tried during a press event at the new Cuvee Wine Table.

EDT54JasonSmith

Jason Smith at Gordon Biersch

EDT54JimMcArthur