How Derby 144 Went Down with Kent Taylor, plus a Knock-Knock Joke with Emerson

We’ve finally dried out from Saturday’s wettest Derby ever, and have plenty to talk about. Rick and Carolyn broke even with an across-the-board bet on Audible, which is, well, better than losing.

Our guest, Kent Taylor, sports director at WAVE 3, spent much of the day in the paddock, and gives us some of the insider story from that vantage point, including an explanation why highly-regarded Mendelssohn, Carolyn’s pick, struggled to finish dead last in the 20-horse field. And Kent brought along his daughter Emerson, who dazzles us with her repertoire of knock-knock jokes.

In the news, we found some stories about things that were supposed to happen by Derby Day, but didn’t. That includes the promising Barret bar spot that was the Monkey Wrench, which was supposed to be a new vegan restaurant and brewery. And then there’s the much-delayed old Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, which the Martin’s Barbecue chain finally has under construction. We also go through the list of the city’s largest breweries, and tell you about a new one under construction.

Carolyn shared a great story about meeting a Derby horse owner, the man behind Vino Rosso. Meanwhile Rick found himself drenched despite having access to covered portions of the track. It was also a big and successful week for our sponsor, Fourth Street Live!, which had patrons dancing in the street for three straight nights. They have a Farmers Market opening this week.

Join us for an engaging and appetizing show with Kent Taylor, and please tell your friends to listen. You can rate us on iTunes, and check out our web site, EatDrinkTalk.net, or our Twitter feed, #eatdrinktalklou.

Kent Taylor, with Emerson

Derby Time Podcast #1: Juleps with Kerri Richardson; Hats with Jana Metcalfe

Finally, Derby Season is officially underway, and here at EatDrinkTalk, we’re on it. Do you have questions about the Mint Julep? We asked Kerri Richardson, president of the Bourbon Women Association, to come to the studio and demonstrate the proper way to make one. Hint: the key is the simple syrup.

Kerri made us two – one with Evan Williams, the other with the higher proof Knob Creek Single Barrel. She even brought pewter mugs, the best container of all. We asked Kerri about the history of the Julep and a little bit about the Bourbon Women Association.

At Derby time, the essential question for women is: Which comes first, the hat or the dress? For Jana Metcalfe, an extraordinary hatmaker, it’s the chapeau that makes the outfit. Metcalfe used to work as a clocker at the track, so she’s also got some advice on how to pick a winner.

Which brings us to Saturday, opening night at Churchill Downs, and you should listen up for some parking advice. There’s some interesting news as well — the opening of Griff’s (actually it’s a move from Cardinal Town) in the old O’Malley’s Corner is set for June, but before all that a new performance venue, Bourbon Hall, is set to open Derby Week on the same block.

And finally, we’re both excited to try the newest healthy-food restaurant – Naive, located on Washington Street near NuLu and Butchertown. Plus, we speculate about hot spots that should be in Kevin Gibson’s new book about local eateries, and congratulate Linda Ruffenach on the publication of her new book, How to Be a Bourbon Badass.

Thanks for joining us for this special Pre-Derby episode. Follow us on Twitter @EatDrinkTalkLou, and check out the EatDrinkTalk.net web site for more.

Bourbon Women Association President Kerri Richardson and Carolyn McLean

Hat Model Carolyn McLean with Jana Metcalfe

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.

Proof of Excellence with Mike Wadja; Going to (Beer) School with Nicholas Landers; and a New Year’s scoop

We’re celebrating the New Year with another great podcast focused on eating and drinking in Louisville. We start things off with a news scoop — Steve reports that the Meridian Cafe in St. Matthews is the first restaurant closure of the year. But that’s actually good news, because operator Kristin Fults is reopening in Prospect with Melrose Café, and her old spot will become an El Taco Luchador later this year. The big story last week was the closing of Hillbilly Tea downtown, which prompted a post critical of operator Karter Louis on EatDrinkTalk and prompted a deluge of feedback in social media.

We got even more response to Steve’s post about media coverage of the industry, with many nodding their heads about reporters who don’t do the research and learn the details of what they’re writing about. The bottom line, though, is that we can all improve our skills, and the first of the year is a good time to reflect and resolve to do better. The same goes for restaurateurs, who must push to provide better service to keep the city among the nation’s elite restaurant towns.

In our favorites segment, Rick raves about the baked ziti at Silvio’s in St. Matthews, while Steve recommends marinated, pan-seared octopus served at La Chasse. He said the Normandy Jam cocktail there was complex and satisfying, while Rick kept with tradition and sipped champagne at midnight on New Year’s Eve at Loui Loui’s in J-Town.

The show has two great interviews. Mike Wajda, the executive chef at Proof on Main, has made his mark on that legendary restaurant. A genuinely nice guy, he was happy to show off the charcuterie and fermented pepper hot sauce tucked away in the 21C basement. Nicholas Landers, the top brewer at Gordon Biersch at Fourth Street Live!, knows beer. A chemistry major from Cincinnati, Landers played tube in a beer band there before heading to Chicago for beer school. Listen in to hear about the national chain’s involvement in local charities and events.

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Mike Wadja

Nicholas Landers

Nicholas Landers

 

Looking Back at a Delicious 2016

As we prepare to celebrate New Year’s Eve, Rick and Steve take a look back at an exciting 2016 in the local restaurant and spirits scene.

First up, we discuss some openings, closings and issues that mattered in the first half of the year, leading up to the exciting launch of our EatDrinkTalk web site and podcast in May. Highlights include the openings of Royal’s Hot Chicken, The Hub, Citizen 7 and River House, plus an ongoing discussion of whether or not restaurants should serve cheap drinks to attract brunch crowds.

The ‘Ville’s diverse and interesting collection of entrepreneurs, chefs and spirit masters highlighted our weekly podcasts, and we reminisce about some of the most memorable interviews on the show — from our launch with Castle & Key’s Marianne Barnes and to an eye-opening talk with Fernando and Yaniel Martinez about their journey to Louisville from Cuba.

Of course, we spent plenty of time in the second half of the year telling you about our travels to various local events, from soft openings to chefs’ tables to festivals celebrating beer and bourbon. We were first on the scene at Pho Ba Luu, Red Hog, Red Barn Kitchen, Total Wine & More, Scene, Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen, Slice and Lola, just to mention a few. Plus, we showed up for a flurry of distillery and brewery openings, from Angel’s Envy and Mile Wide Brewery downtown to the new Maker’s Mark cave in Loretto.

It’s been a ball for us, and we hope you’ll enjoy this look in the rear view mirror as we gear up for an even better 2017.

Special Episode: Cuba’s Gift to Local Dining, plus Plenty of News

Welcome to a special episode of EatDrinkTalk as we head into the holidays with plenty of news to report. First, news of the surprising closing of the Germantown Craft House is working its way around town, with some servers being  let go on Monday. Another of our favorite restaurants, Bistro 1860, is changing hands and the new owner is familiar to EDT listeners. Down in Butchertown, we learned that the opening of Hi-Five Donuts is imminent, with a new Red Hot Roasters coming next month. We learned that Andy Blieden expects to close on the Hall’s Cafeteria space, and we’re hoping a cool new operator comes into the former cafeteria.

Steve stocked up on Booker’s Bourbon, and you should too, because a dramatic price increase is coming soon. For fans of locally based Texas Roadhouse, we learned this week that the steak house is taking over the spot once occupied by former steak chain Logan’s Roadhouse near the Mall St. Matthews on Shelbyville Road.

In our Favorites segment, Steve raves about the visit he got from Jay Denham, who brought along Charcuterie from the Red Hog Butcher Cafe. Rick’s top bite was the shrimp served by Chef Shawn Ward at a Prohibition Party on Frankfort Avenue. Speaking of which, at a Repeal Day party Steve sampled bourbon from the distilling line of Rabbit Hole. Rick opted for the Beer of the Month at Drake’s, a Goodwood Brewing Brandy Barrel Honey Ale.

Steve has a special two-part interview with Fernando and Yaniel Martinez, Cuban refugees responsible for some of our favorite local dining options.

Because Fidel Castro was such an awful dictator, and because so many Cubans wanted freedom so badly that they fled to the U.S., Louisville has a small Cuban restaurant community. The Martinez cousins are but two examples of many who fled on a raft and through Mexico (respectively) to come here pursue their dreams. Think Fidel Castro’s socialist government has any redeeming qualities? You won’t after you hear their stories.

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A Pearl of Dive Bar Wisdom, and the Search for Jerky, plus Matthew McConaughey’s New Gig

After a a full week of eatin’ and drinkin’, Rick and Steve and are back for a podcast to talk about those adventures. First up are our impressions of the massive new HopCat bar on Bardstown Road, where we both went to the soft opening last Friday. Our thoughts — if size does matter, this is the place. The huge space has a cool vibe with a rock and roll theme (and loud music), a broad selection of beer and whiskey, and fine, if not cutting-edge, food. Also, we love the shrewd marketing move unveiled this week by Wild Turkey — launching a short movie starring Matthew McConaughey, who will play a creative director’s role in the company’s future. Steve calls it a home run for the brand and its signature Wild Turkey 101 bourbon, known by some as the Kickin’ Chicken.

While enjoying all the new restaurant openings, we’re concerned about national reports of a looming restaurant recession. Steve examined the Texas Roadhouse earnings report, which was positive overall, but did include some signs that the analysts may be correct.

Rick’s interview with Louisville Vegan Jerky founder Stanley Chase is highly entertaining and a great business story, including the tale of a Canadian rock and roll band that insisted on meeting his crew while in town for a show. While jerky may not be a staple in our diet, you can’t help but be impressed with the company’s production — from 100 bags per month to 20,000 per month in just four years. Steve’s visit to the newest dive bar in Germantown, The Pearl, reveals the strategy behind Larry Rice’s decision to open in what’s becoming a thriving bar and restaurant scene on Goss Avenue.

In what’s become a staple of the show — our favorite eats and drinks, Steve raves about a Sidebar burger and the perfect summer drink, while Rick talks about his experience with Vegan Jerky and the beer at HopCat. You can find more on these topics, as always, at the EatDrinkTalk.net web site, where we have news every day.

More of the New, Plus Chats with Copper & Kings entrepreneur Joe Heron and Brown Hotel Chef Josh Bettis

Of course there are plenty of restaurants opening in town, again, and Steve and Rick take a look at  few more. We start with the new Louvino in Middletown, the 502 Bar & Bistro in Norton Commons, and then we run through a few more that illustrate the diversity of the ‘Ville’s dining scene, both geographically and by cuisine. For some, the big news in restaurants this week was the publication of health inspection grades, so we talk about how important they are and how the inspections are done.

Steve is still licking his lips after having a grilled Berkshire pork chop at the 502, and he talks about fitting in at the Nachbar, where he sipped an Obsidian Stout Beer, and you should listen closely for an explanation of what “nitro” is as it relates to beer. Rick was looking forward to a Chef’s Table event at the Brown Hotel Thursday night with Chef Josh Bettis.

Chef Josh Bettis

Chef Josh Bettis

Bettis has been in charge for the Brown’s food operations for three years now, and tells Rick in his interview about his excitement over a few new members of his team. Steve interviews Joe Heron, an entrepreneur extraordinaire who has done pharmaceutical sales in South Africa, Europe and the U.S. Of course, that’s not all, as Joe and his wife Lesley created and sold Nutrisoda, then created and sold Crispin Hard Cider, all before creating the fabulous Copper & Kings brandy distillery in Butchertown. As you may recall, we sampled the meat pies there for last week’s show.

There’s plenty more eatin’ and drinkin’ to talk about, so join us for a fun-filled episode of EatDrinkTalk, and check out the EatDrinkTalk.net web site.

WedNEWSday – We’ve Got Your Week All Planned For You

With a flurry of award-ing going on in Louisville recently, we get to puff our own chest out for Steve Coomes, who was recognized twice at the Society of Professional Journalist awards last week. A judge wrote that Steve’s first-place restaurant pieces (for Insider Louisville) were “thoughtful, fun, smart reviews that really express the flavor of the local food scene.”

Got that right. It’s Steve’s second SPJ first-place award for restaurant writing. Plus, he got a 2nd place for Editorial Writing. Many years ago, I won several of these for my work at Business First and LEO, so there. Next year, watch out for EatDrinkTalk to take home some trophies.

More Prizes: While we’re at it, congratulations to Adrienne Holland, the owner of Adrienne & Co., for her selection as the Most Admired Woman in Food/Entertainment from Today’s Woman magazine. You need a cake, she can make it.

CoversEDTThe Best?  We had some fun a few weeks back on the EDT podcast making snarky comments about the popularity contest known as the Best of Louisville awards. The list of winners is now out, and some of our faves came out on top — like River House, Jack Fry’s, August Moon, Joella’s, Brasserie Provance and Volare. Plus it was great to see that the coolest international shrine to brew – Sergio’s World of Beers, receive the coveted “Best Beer-on-Tap” prize. The party for the winners is Thursday at 6 at the Kentucky Center for the Arts.

My snark comment on the Media Awards: Louisville Mag chose not to create, despite my suggestion a year ago, a new category for podcasts. But now that they’re finally doing their own podcast, maybe it’ll happen next year.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 11.16.11 AMFor NFocus, the End is Near: NFocus magazine, which featured coverage of plenty of local charity and celebrity parties, announced last week that its July issue will be its last. With the idea of going out with a bang, the Nashville-based publication is throwing a farewell party that was first promoted as an issue launch party. It’s at Volare.

Cocktail Thursday: Check out the new cocktail menu at La Chasse Thursday night. The Summer Craft Cocktail Menu Launch Party features specialty cocktails for $7, including a Mango Mojito and Grandma’s Smash. There are 30 to choose from.

Independence SunDAY and Apron: What better way to spend a Sunday Afternoon than with samples from 30 of Louisville’s top chefs. The Taste of Independents benefits Apron, the wonderful charity that helps industry workers. It features music, adult beverages and a silent auction at the Olmsted. Hear more about it on this week’s podcast in Steve’s interview with Gary Fox.

Foretelling – Forecastle, Beer: We all know that the Forecastle Festival is here next week, with its famed music lineup, but it’s also one excuse for Harvest to host its Sierra Nevada Beer Dinner, with four food and brew pairings. Leeanne Porter (perfect name) of Sierra Nevada will be speaking at the July 11 event. Listen for more on Forecastle from Liquor Barn’s Brad Williams on this week’s podcast, online Friday.

Anthony Lamas at Seviche

Anthony Lamas at Seviche

Stories Worth Checking Out: In the C-J, Seviche’s Anthony Lamas is featured as the man behind many of the area’s top chefs, many of whom attended an alumni dinner recently. Lamas credits his decision to quit drinking two years ago for increased clarity. . .The Lane Report just published a pretty comprehensive round-up of the city’s food and restaurant scene, acknowledging Louisville’s growing national reputation, and pointing out that 15,000 people here work in the industry. . . If Edward Lee is into it, it must be something, right? WFPL investigated the phenomenon of Appalachian food as a booming business in coal country…Finally, our story yesterday on the seven, no, eight new restaurants opening soon got plenty of attention on the site. Check it out here.

 

A Charming Third Time with El Camino’s Larry Rice and Todd Antz of Fest of Ale

EatDrinkTalk enters its third week as Louisville’s go-to source for restaurant and drinks news. Episode 3 begins with the news that co-host Steve Coomes has left Insider Louisville after a 70-month stretch that saw him write 882 stories. The great news is now all that accumulated food and drink knowledge will be devoted to EDT!

Rick and Steve then weigh in on the restaurant finalists chosen in Louisville magazine’s annual Best of Louisville Awards. Some they liked, some they didn’t, and their opinions about both are strong. The guys also talked about two amazing multicourse dinners they enjoyed this week: Rick’s five-course feed at Buck’s, and Steve’s 11-course death row dinner at Bistro 1860.

One of the biggest news items of the week—that El Camino is moving from the Highlands to Germantown—set the stage for Steve’s interview with Larry Rice, operating partner of El Camino. Rice discussed why he and his partners kept the move off the radar as long as possible. Rick’s interview with Keg Liquors owner Todd Antz is all about craft beer, specifically Antz’s annual Keg Liquors Fest of Ale on June 4. If you’ve never been, know it’s one of the area’s best, and the selection of beers is phenomenal. Click here for tickets. It always sells out.

Let us know what you think of the show by emailing Steve@eatdrinktalk.net or Rick@eatdrinktalk.net. And while you’re at it, sends us tips and tidbits about restaurant and bar news items, really cool restaurant personalities we should interview or your favorite places to eat and drink in Louisville!