EDT Podcast: Going Old Louisville with Amici Cafe’s Don Reinhardt

We’re carbing up here on EatDrinkTalk with Amici owner Don Reinhardt. He’s got a great story, one that originates in Valley Station, detours all across the country and end up a year ago in Old Louisville, where he bought Amici Cafe. His changes include all-new marketing which puts the spotlight on Mama, and a highly-entertaining menu, with one dish described as being as white as a Donald Trump rally.

We’re strongly considering a trip to Amici this weekend, primarily because the world-famous Garvin Gate Blues Festival is happening right down the street. Then, on Sunday, the Ironman is back weaving its way through many parts of the city.

Also, we’re talking up Vegan eats with the opening of V-Grits at the old Monkey Wrench. Carolyn’s Eat of the Week is a vegan taco enjoyed at Taco Luchador, while Rick raves about the Cajun Crawfish Linguine at Cafe Lou Lou.

All this and more on the city’s best and only podcast devoted to deliciousness, EatDrinkTalk.

Eat of the Week: Cafe Lou Lou’s Cajun Crawfish Linguine

 

Rocking into October and the Eatin’ and Drinkin’ are Good

We made it to October, and that means a few things are in order — first is Strassenfest, this weekend, at Fourth Street Live!. And it’s the unofficial holiday weekend that is the St. James Court Art Fair in Old Louisville.

Carolyn and Rick offer some awesome dining suggestions in Old Lou, including the quintessential culinary experience – the cheeseburger at Burger Boy. Carolyn is preparing for her upcoming voyage to Iceland, and Rick has some advice on food options there.

Carolyn had a hankering for a hot dog, so her Eat of the Week was the Wabash Chili Dog at Lonnie’s in St. Matthews. Rick opted for a special Sunday breakfast, the Mama de Burrito at Con Huevos.

In the news, we report on the opening date for Grassa Gramma in Holiday Manor, the white nationalists who crashed a meeting at the Silver Dollar and a Butchertown Grocery expedition to find unique coffee beans in South America.

Thanks for listening to EatDrinkTalk, the city’s only podcast devoted to the city’s tremendous bars and restaurants.

EDT Podcast 82: Mixing it up with Mixologist Nic Christiansen

We’re drying out after a soggy experience at Bourbon and Beyond, but we’re confident that the sun will return. And we’ve got plenty of news about the local restaurant scene.

First, though, we spent an afternoon at Butchertown Grocery, getting to know beverage director Nic Christiansen and her stellar lineup of concoctions, including the house favorite, Lady Midnight. Listen in to our interview, which took place  upstairs at Lola’s.

Among the topics we tackle in the news segment are the new apostrophe-less ideas from Papa John(‘), the closing to Clifton’s Pizza and the sale of Joe Huber’s restaurant in Starlight, Ind.

At a star-studded VIP tent sponsored by Bardstown Bourbon Company, we ran into plenty of celebrities, and learned that our pal David Danielson is close to re-opening the Old Stone Inn in Shelbyville. We’re also ready for the new late-night spot on Main Street, Robyn’s Nest Bourbon Bistro.

Our Eat of the Week came from Cunningham’s Creekside on the River, where we tried a tasty blackened fish sandwich. Also, though, Rick tried Butchertown Grocery’s Chicken and Waffle, and a sweet beignet.

Coming soon to Fourth Street Live! is the annual Strassenfest, a family-friendly celebration of the city’s German heritage. Catch us every week at EatDrinkTalk.net and the Louisville.am network.

soggy times at Bourbon and Beyond

 

EDT Podcast Celebrates Bourbon Month

It was a rough start to the Labor Day Holiday Weekend for Carolyn and fill-in host Dan V, but we muddled through and still had a good ‘ole time celebrating September – National Bourbon Heritage Month.

This episode we celebrate our Kentucky roots and one of the ONLY bills supported by both parties in American Government. Thank God for BOURBON!

It’s also a tribute to the restaurants closing (sigh) and the ones we miss, plus we chat about the path for other restaurateurs hoping to make it here in the River City.

Hang with us for 30-minutes and celebrate our culinary and spirits industry with two hosts who embody the Louisville lifestyle.

 

EDT Podcast: Jared Matthews on Diamonds, Cafe Lou Lou and Jack’s

Since Carolyn got called out of town, Rick is flying solo at the EatDrinkTalk studio on Episode 73.
The show includes an interesting interview with Jared Matthews, who finds himself in charge of three distinctly different, but geographically aligned, neighborhood establishments.

Matthews originally became a partner in Diamonds Pub and Billiards, then bought Cafe Lou Lou just over a year ago. More recently, he brokered a deal with Chef Dean Corbett to take over the operation of Equus and Jack’s Lounge. And he’s the father of a new baby. All of his operations are close by the studio, so it was easy to come in and talk. Caroline Knop, another St. Matthews regular and a PR powerhouse, joins Rick in the interview.

Rick’s Eat of the Week, in addition to several choice samples at Apron’s Taste of Independents, was a blackened mahi mahi fish taco from LouVino, prepared by last week’s guest, Chef Bill Jennings. We’re looking forward to the August 9 Margarita in the ‘Ville contest at Captain’s Quarters, in which our guest Jared Matthews will have an entry for each of this three restaurants.

And at Fourth Street Live!, this weekend is the exciting Vault in the ‘Ville competition, which features pole vaulters doing their thing on Fourth. Next week is Danny and the Homewreckers, plus the big Nelly show. Thanks for joining us, and check out more at EatDrinkTalk.net.

 

Fourth Street Live Welcomes the Family, and Pets, and More

There’s plenty of exciting attractions coming to Fourth Street Live!, including events for fans of basketball, country music, and healthy eating.

FAMILY FUN DAY

Bring the whole family, including those with four legs, to Fourth Street Live! on June 30 for the first-ever Family Fun Day. There will be a full schedule of activities suitable for little ones and furry friends alike.

It’s always fun to bring the family pet to a big event, especially with the opportunity to interact with other animals.

For $5, guests get an all-access wrist band. Proceeds benefit The Arrow Fund, a non-profit with a mission to provide veterinary care and support to animals who have been victims of extreme torture, abuse, and neglect.
From 1:00 through 5:00, activities include a magic show, balloon animals, a bounce house, face painting, a photo booth, Sno-cones and yes, even a doggie kissing booth. Bunny the Fortune Teller will be there to entertain, brought to the Family Fun Day festivities by Rudy Green’s Doggy Cuisine.

Make a day of it by planning a visit to a Fourth Street Live! restaurant before or after the Family Fun Day.

HOT COUNTRY NIGHTS

You can’t listen to a country music station long without hearing a Billy Currington hit, and the Georgia native will play them all in the middle of Fourth Street on Friday, June 22. His string of #1 hits includes “We Are Tonight,” “Hey Girl, “Good Directions,” “Must Be Doin’ Something Right” and “People Are Crazy.”

His most recent record, Summer Forever, was released in 2015 and includes the hits “Don’t it”, “Drinkin’ Town with a Football Problem”, “It Don’t Hurt Like it Used To”, and “Do I Make You Wanna”. That song reached #1 on the Country Airplay chart last August.

The opening act is Wild Feathers, a Nashville-based country rock band that released the album “Lonely is a Lifetime” in 2016. Tickets to the show are $20 in advance through Ticketfly.

On August 10, Grainger Smith will perform hits from his 2017 record “When the Good Guys Win.” Smith gained additional fame recently when he performed his hit “Happens Like That” on the TV series “The Bachelorette.” Tickets to Grainger Smith are available on Ticketfly for $11.

RISE ABOVE

Cardinal basketball fans have a special place in their heart for Russ Smith, Peyton Siva, Luke Hancock and other members of the contingent that beat Michigan in the 2013 NCAA Tournament championship game.

On June 29, many of these players will return to Fourth Street Live! to celebrate the team’s accomplishments with fans, sharing their stories of a magical season in which the Cards won the Big East Tournament and finished with a 35-5 record.

There will be opportunities for autographs and photos during the event, and prizes available include championship and team memorabilia.

Ticketholders also will be eligible for prize drawings that include championship and team memorabilia. General admission tickets to the team’s Five-Year Reunion Celebration are $20, and there are VIP and sponsorship opportunities available.

FARMERS MARKET

The first year of Fourth Street Live’s Farmer’s Market is already a big hit with downtown workers. There’s no better way to make good use of the lunch hour than by shopping for fresh and vegetables at what has become the city’s favorite mid-week market.

Every Wednesday, through Oct. 11, local farmers bring their best produce to the Fourth Street Live! Farmer’s Market. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the venue offers free parking for shoppers.

There’s no need to wait for the weekend, or to head for the suburbs, to find fresh vegetables and fruits. You’ll find everything you need for a salad, snack or side dish, and can even take a piece of fruit to enjoy back at the office.

The Fourth Street Live! Farmer’s Market has become increasingly popular among downtown workers and visitors alike. And it’s easy to stop for a quick bite at any of Fourth Street’s restaurants.

Kentucky Double Dollars and SNAP are accepted.

 

New Higher Proof Expo offers hands-on learning at Kentucky Bourbon Affair

The 2017 Kentucky Bourbon Affair, dubbed a whiskey fan’s “fantasy camp,” has added a new day-long workshop packed with unique educational and tasting sessions led by top industry professionals, capped with a vintage spirits appraisal from one of the country’s top collectors.

According to a news release, the Higher Proof Expo will be held on Saturday, June 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Louisville Marriott East, the official host hotel for the annual Kentucky Bourbon Affair showcase.

The Expo features 18 exclusive learning sessions, lunch and pop-up experiences with the best of Louisville and Kentucky’s food, drink and retail for the Bourbon aficionado. The one-day pass is $99 with access to four sessions. Seating is limited.

“Higher Proof is a deep dive into the history, techniques, science and lore of Kentucky Bourbon culture,” said Adam Johnson, senior director with the Kentucky Distillers’ Association that coordinates the KBA. “The whiskey you’ll be tasting is alone worth the ticket.”

Tickets are on sale at www.kybourbonaffair.com.

Sessions include:

  • A breakdown and sampling of the four unique recipes that Four Roses Distillery used this year to craft its Limited Edition Small Batch honoring brand ambassador Al Young’s 50thanniversary, hosted by master distiller Brent Elliott.
  • Diageo’s Orphan Barrel program shares barrels of delicious and rare whiskey, hidden away and nearly forgotten in the back of rickhouses. Diageo’s master whiskey educator Doug Kragel will take you behind the scenes at this private tasting with the tales and secrets of these rare selections.
  • Experience the bold flavors and discover the subtle notes of country ham through whiskey as Andrea Wilson of Michter’s Distillery and Steve Coomes, author of “Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke,” team up to take your flavor detectors to the next level. Learn the art of complementing and enhancing flavors through pairings of whiskeys, cocktails, cured American hams and Art Eatables chocolates in this delicious and fun seminar.
  • Join Heaven Hill’s national whiskey brand ambassador, Bernie Lubbers, as he reviews the origins and history of the acclaimed Parker’s Heritage annual series of American Whiskey, including samples of the 24-year-old Bottled-In-Bond offering and three no longer available prior editions.
  • Discover the secrets and science of MB Roland’s dark-fired whiskey with co-owners Paul and Merry Beth Tomaszewski. Taste and compare samples of fired and non-dark fired distillate to gain a real appreciation for how this smoking process influences MB Roland’s products.
There will be no shortage of whiskey to taste at the Higher Proof Expo. | Image courtesy of Kentucky Bourbon Affair

There will be no shortage of whiskey to taste at the Higher Proof Expo. | Image courtesy of Kentucky Bourbon Affair

“With all the classes offered, I don’t know how people will be able to choose,” Johnson said. “Luckily, you can’t go wrong. Every one of these sessions is top-notch.”

View the full lineup by clicking here.

The event is curated by Stave & Thief Society, the official Bourbon Certification Program of the KDA, which sifted through dozens of submitted presentations to select the most exclusive experiences for attendees.

The Expo also is offering a vintage spirits appraisal from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. with Bill Thomas, owner of the Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Washington, D.C., one of the country’s foremost experts on dusty bottles and Bourbon memorabilia.

KDA President Eric Gregory said vintage spirits are a hot topic right now, with Kentucky leading the way. The state legislature passed a new law this year that allows consumers to sell vintage unopened bottles to licensed retailers beginning Jan. 1.

“We’ve had so many calls from people who have found full, antique bottles or Bourbon paraphernalia in their grandmother’s attic and want to know what it’s worth,” Gregory said. “This is the perfect opportunity to learn the history and value from the experts themselves.”

Tickets are still available to several events at this year’s Kentucky Bourbon Affair, which runs from June 6-11 in Louisville, the official host city. Events include behind-the-scenes access at the world’s most iconic distilleries, nightcap events featuring top chefs, bourbon barons and master distillers, rare tastings, souvenir bottles, and much more.

But wait, there’s more! Make a day of it at the Marriott East by attending Whisky Live, starting one hour after the Higher Proof Expo. In addition to an ample supply of bourbon, this extensive international whiskey tasting event, sponsored by Whisky magazine, will feature a wide array of Scotch, Irish and Asian whiskeys for sampling. Want your palate and whiskey knowledge expanded? Don’t miss this. Find ticket information by clicking here.

Forecastle Bourbon Lodge Rarities Bar to include some scarce selections

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The Forecastle Bourbon Lodge, Forecastle Festival’s acclaimed Kentucky Bourbon Trail outpost, will give Bourbon fans exclusive access to some rare sips this year when the three-day July music festival is held July 14-16.

According to a news release, Forecastle’s new Rarities Bar, presented by Liquor Barn and curated by category director Brad Williams, will feature some of the most sought-after, limited release Kentucky Bourbon expressions, many of which are exclusive to Forecastle.

In addition, the Rarities Bar will debut unique, one-of-a-kind blends, crafted by Williams and Forecastle Founder JK McKnight, available for sample only at Forecastle and purchase at select Liquor Barn locations.

The Rarities Bar will include the following Kentucky Bourbon Trail offerings and Liquor Barn Private Barrel Selections:

  • Four Roses Al Young “50th Anniversary” Small Batch
  • Four Roses Elliott’s Select 2016 Limited Edition Single Barrel
  • Four Roses 2016 Limited Edition Small Batch
  • Four Roses 2015 Limited Edition Small Batch
  • Four Roses 2014 Limited Edition Small Batch
  • Four Roses 2013 Limited Edition Small Batch
  • Michter’s 10-Year Old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
  • Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2016
  • Old Forester “The Statesman”
  • Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 23-Year Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
  • Orphan Barrel Barterhouse 20-Year Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
  • Whiskey Barons Collection Bond & Lillard
  • Whiskey Barons Collection Old Ripy
  • Wild Turkey Decades
  • Wild Turkey 17-Year Master’s Keep
  • Woodford Reserve Double Double Oaked

Liquor Barn Private Barrel Selections include:

  • Elijah Craig 12-Year-Old Single Barrel
  • Four Roses Barrel Proof Single Barrel (multiple selections)
  • Knob Creek 14-Year-Old Single Barrel – Forecastle Selection
  • Maker’s Mark Private Select Cask Strength, Forecastle Selection

All Rarities Bar offerings will be released at specific times throughout the festival, and will be available until limited quantities are depleted. A full schedule of releases will be shared prior to the festival and those with Bourbon Lodge memberships, currently available at ForecastleFest.com, will have exclusive early access to the release schedule.

The Bourbon Cares program returns in 2017 to further its aim of matching distillers with Kentucky conservation partners. This year’s program will pair Forecastle Bourbon brands with Forecastle Foundation conservation partners to support numerous Kentucky-based projects, including the Green River and Pine Mountain Wildlife Corridor initiatives. Forecastle attendees can purchase the single-barrel private selections by the drink in the Forecastle Bourbon Lodge or by the bottle at select Liquor Barn locations.

Bourbon Cares Private Barrel Selections include:

  • Woodford Reserve Double Oaked
  • Four Roses Single Barrel 100 Proof
  • Old Forester Single Barrel
  • Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel

According to the release, the sale of these private barrel selections will benefit some of the richest and highly threatened regions of biodiversity left in Kentucky, ranging from endangered shrimp and mussel-filled watersheds in Central Kentucky, to old-growth forests in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky.

Fireside Chats will return to Bourbon Lodge and offer an intimate living room setting for educational panels, speakers and demonstrations with industry experts, retailers, mixologists and master distillers. The full schedule and programming for Fireside Chats is coming soon.

To get tickets to the festival, as well as Bourbon Lodge memberships, visit ForecastleFest.com.

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.

St. Matthews Boombozz site to become Waylon’s Feed & Fire Water

Boombozz Craft Pizza & Taphouse owner EAP Restaurant Concepts will close that location of the mini-pizza chain at 3939 Shelbyville Rd. this weekend and change it into Waylon’s Feed and Fire Water, a whiskey and taco-centered restaurant by mid-June.

The new concept is a riff on EAP’s Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen, a restaurant, bar and live music venue on Whiskey Row downtown. Beyond some changes to bar offerings, EAP founder Tony Palombino said Waylon’s will be highly similar to Merle’s, adding that a few new offerings to appear in Waylon’s lineup were tested recently at Merle’s.

Palombino said the shift from pizza to whiskey and tacos is a move designed to adjust to the evolution of St. Matthews’ entertainment district. The upcoming addition of El Taco Luchador, Steel City Pops and Quill’s Coffee is adding momentum to the already busy Shelbyville Road segment bookended by Breckenridge Ln. and St. Matthews Ave. Venues already operating there include Drake’s, Tin Roof, Molly Malone’s Irish Bar and Sullivan’s Tap House, which opened in late April.

An architect's rendering of Waylon's future exterior.

An architect’s rendering of Waylon’s future exterior.

“I think Waylon’s coming in is the perfect fit for the future of this area,” Palombino said. No other restaurant or bar option, he added, includes a 100-plus-bottle whiskey selection. “It just mixes it up a little bit for the neighborhood.”

Palombino insists Waylon’s will be more restaurant than bar due to lessons he learned operating Manny & Merle’s, the original iteration of Merle’s Kitchen. At its launch, M&M’s was skewed more toward drinking, but when that formula didn’t meet expectations, Palombino added more food offerings and sales responded.

“Now our food sales outpace the bar at Merle’s,” he said. “That 55 percent food and 45 percent bar mix is the sweet spot for a restaurateur like me.

“Sprinkle in some regional live music and you have the perfect fit for St. Matthews—but not a nightclub.”

Palombino expects to spend $350,000 converting the longstanding pizzeria to Waylon’s. He said physical changes to fixtures and equipment will account for about $275,000 of that amount, and that the balance will be spent on soft costs such as training, rent and utilities. Restaurant seating will remain at 165.

“It’s a little bit more than just lipstick and makeup,” he joked. Though Boombozz’s large pizza oven will be removed, he said the kitchen will remain largely the same.

Referring to the rapid changeover of a Middletown Boombozz to Joella’s Hot Chicken, another EAP concept, Palombino said his firm is getting pretty good at redos.

“You can’t be afraid to change and adapt,” Palombino said. “That’s what we’re doing here, and I’m really excited about that.”

Drinkers can expect some new twists at the bar, including some whiskeys and cocktails poured on tap. Such novelties do attract attention, Palombino said, but that speed of service is the biggest reason for employing them.

Palombino, who informed employees of the change on May 15, said staff reception of the idea was positive. Those who want to work at Waylon’s when it opens in mid-June can be added to the roster at other EAP concepts until that time. And in a tight labor market, that’s what Palombino hopes happens.

“The next few days will tell” whether many want to say, he said.