Going Beyond Bourbon with Fred Minnick

Bourbon historian and journalist Fred Minnick stops by the studio to talk about his role in September’s Bourbon and Beyond Festival, which features a lineup of master distillers, chefs and musicians that makes the second festival one of the best in the country. Minnick is the author of seven books, mostly about drinking, and is the curator of all things bourbon at the upcoming fest.

Carolyn and Rick were inspired by last week’s appearance on the show by Anoosh Shariat to make our Eat of the Week choices at his two establishments. Carolyn and friends spent a night at Anoosh Bistro, and she raved about the Shrimp Scampi. Across the parking lot, Rick broke free, sort of, from his diet to try a veggie pizza at Noosh Nosh.

We noticed the LEO Weekly story on restaurant noise, and agreed that some of our local hotspots are just too darn loud. Out in the East End, we learned that a favorite haunt, Brownie’s the Shed, is shutting down. Carolyn talked with the owner, who said Brownie’s will continue in the East End, but wouldn’t reveal the location.

Our sponsor, Fourth Street Live!, is revving up for a big concert this weekend, and for the June 30 Family Fun Day, when you’re encouraged to bring your pet to the entertainment venue. Thanks for listening, and check our site out anytime at www.EatDrinkTalk.net.

A Candid Conversation with Anoosh Shariat, And Special Eats of the Week

On the EatDrinkTalk podcast, join us for a candid, heartfelt conversation with culinary legend Anoosh Shariat about his battle with Cancer and what that means for his restaurants and staff.

Shariat said his main concern is making sure his staff at both restaurants (Anoosh Bistro and Noosh Nosh) understand that even though he’s undergoing treatment, the restaurants are operating and their jobs are safe. In fact, he recently brought in Chef Mark Ford to help continue his culinary tradition, with an emphasis on healthy eating.

Carolyn nearly forgot her Eat of the Week choice, but came through to describe some delish dishes at Naive. Rick ventured west to Porkland, a community restaurant that’s making new in Portland.

It’s a bit of a slow news week, but we noticed the new bar in Butchertown, ALEX&NDER, in the Copper & Kings building. We also  speculate about the chances of the region’s 2nd Ax-Throwing concept, opening soon in Clarksville.

We’ve got more tickets to the Russell Dickerson show coming Friday to Fourth Street Live!, so listen in to learn how to win.

 

Anoosh with his beloved oven, Maria

at Porkland, in Portland

 

Uniquely the ‘Ville with Kevin Gibson – and We’re Giving Away Russell Dickerson tickets

We’re continuing to eat and drink our way through the city, and talking about her on the city’s only podcast devoted to the ‘Ville’s culinary scene. And this week, listen to the show to learn how to get FREE, yes, FREE, tickets to the Russell Dickerson concert at Fourth Street Live!

Our guest this week is an expert on the city’s unique eateries. In fact, Kevin Gibson wrote a book about it. In the studio, he talks about some of his old favorites, like Ollie’s Trolley, and a new one, Oskar’s. Then there’s Rick’s old haunt, Angilo’s Pizza on Berry Boulevard. Kevin has three books about Louisville to his credit, and writes frequently about food and beer for Insider Louisville, LEO Weekly and others.

Our Eat of the Week segement includes Carolyn’s visit to the Kentucky Taco Co., near the U of L campus, where she and her husband tried one of about everything on the menu. Rick got special treatment at Hull and Hi

Eat of the Week – El Taco Luchador

gh Water in New Albany for a blackened grouper, a dish that fits with his healthy diet.

Around town, there’s plenty going on, including the opening of 80/20 Kaelin’s, and a steak and sushi spot on Brownsboro. And we let you know where a restaurant called Fort Knockers, not kidding, is going to be. For bourbon lovers, the Kentucky Bourbon Affair has events scheduled all around town this week, and the opening of the Old Forester Distillery downtown is just around the corner.

Remember to listen to the show to learn how to get your FREE tickets to Russell Dickerson. Join us for more at EatDrinkTalk.net, on Twitter (@eatdrinktalklou) and on Facebook at eatdrinktalk.

 

Sippin’ Forever in Blue Jeans, with Jason Smith and Paul Tuell

There’s plenty of eatin’ and drinkin’ to talk about in Louisville, and Washington, so let’s get right to it. Carolyn traveled to our nation’s Capitol on business, and feasted at Succotash, owned and operated by our own Edward Lee. At another stop, she came face to eye with a fish, she ordered the catch of the day, and was a bit uncomfortable with its presentation.

Around here we noticed that the new version of the old Kaelin’s on Newburg Road is now hiring, the last step before the new 80/20 Kaelin’s opens there. Flavour is the new restaurant in the Highlands, a Caribbean/Creole spot, taking the place of Asiatique, which closed just a few weeks ago. Rick visited a one-year-old restaurant on West Broadway, Angie’s Home Cooking, which is where you would go if you were looking for good meat loaf.

Our guests made us a succulent sipper – the “Forever in Blue Jeans” special in honor of the Denim & Diamonds fundraiser, coming June 1. Paul Tuell used his Boubon Ball Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey, with a blueberry sauce and ginger beer, to make the special concoction. Jason Smith, the GM at Gordon Biersch, explains how his work for the Parkinson’s Support Center is a chance to give back to the organization that helps those with Parkinson’s. Jason, who has Parkinson’s himself, recruits some of the city’s top chefs to donate their time for the event.

Paul Tuell, Jason Smith, Carolyn McLean and Rick Redding

Bobby Benjamin’s Approach is Perfection; and more in Podcast #58

Of course it’s one of our favorite restaurants, precisely because of the time and attention Chef Bobby Benjamin takes to prepare the great food at Butchertown Grocery and Lola’s, the bar upstairs. Benjamin joined Rick and Carolyn in the studio for a lively conversation about his approach — which includes insisting on fresh ingredients and making sure his staff is properly trained.

Meanwhile, there’s a lot going on locally, including three restaurant openings – Couvillon in Germantown, the BBC in Theatre Square and a new Con Huevos in Holiday Manor. Carolyn recounts her Staycation at the Omni Hotel. We reminisce about our history with the Ehrler’s brand, which may make a comeback as part of an ice cream/drinks bar.

Carolyn has a positive movie review of the film A Quiet Place. At Ditto’s, Rick had the Heuser Special experience – an amazing Blackened Cod. And one of our favorite attractions, the Skystar Wheel, had a glitch which shut it down briefly. Plus we both spent Sunday watching the Masters.

Thanks for downloading the show. And please tell your friends – we’ll have all the scoop on Derby and springtime in the ‘Ville in the next few weeks.

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.

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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.

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Leo Fante

EDT55SarahRoss

Sarah Ross

La Chasse chef, Dulaney, headed to Maker’s Mark’s Star Hill Provisions

A year and a half after helping La Chasse become one of Louisville’s best regarded restaurants, executive chef Alex Dulaney is leaving his post June 7 to become chef de cuisine at Star Hill Provisions, the recently opened restaurant and catering venue on the campus of Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, Ky.

Delany will join owners Newman and Rachel Miller, who operate the business, and who also own the Harrison-Smith House in Bardstown. The restaurant, which went on hiatus last fall, has since become a busy private event venue catering to bourbon tourism and business crowds. Dulaney’s help at that venue will also be essential, said Newman Miller.

“We knew Star Hill Provisions would become busy, but we never imagined it would be as busy as it’s become,” said Miller, who is chef at both venues. His wife manages front-of-the-house teams at each place. “Private events at Harrison-Smith have taken off, too, and we really needed the help. So I’ve been after Alex a long time to come down here.”

Prior to joining La Chasse owner Isaac Fox, Dulaney logged several years as chef at Le Relais. Together, he and Fox created the menu for the rustic French country restaurant which has garnered rave reviews for its exceptional food and imaginative cocktails.

Leaving the restaurant is bittersweet, Dulaney said, but the opportunity to be nearer the countryside and work with Miller, an esteemed Kentucky chef, was too hard to pass up.

“It’s really hard to step away from La Chasse; I’ve loved it here,” said Dulaney. “I feel like I’m at the top of my game in Louisville, business on Bardstown Road is doing really well, our reservations are always filling up—there are so many good reasons to stay.”

But when he lived in Santa Fe, N.M., 14 years ago, he was close to the wilderness where he could leave the city and wind down.

“Working with Newman also gives me the opportunity to work with the distillery, and to get back to some great basics of cooking,” Dulaney said. “The other day I had his biscuits and sausage gravy, and I realized how I’d forgotten how good that was because I’ve been so absorbed in making beef Bourgogne so long.”

While the Millers own the Star Hill Provisions business, Maker’s Mark Distillery owns the facility, and bourbon producer spared no expense in buying top-of-the-line Jade and Winston Industries equipment for the new enterprise. Harrison-Smith House’s kitchen also is well equipped, but nowhere as spacious as Star Hill Provisions, yet Dulaney said both kitchens will be exciting to use.

“Newman devotes a lot of attention to detail, and I thrive on that,” Dulaney said.

Miller called Dulaney “a chef who actually reads and likes numbers, which is essential in this business. We can’t wait to get him down here.”

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.