Saturday, June 16, 2012

Savory Snapshots (Frankfort Avenue Edition)

Feast your eyes on this

It's chicken 'n waffles y'all!! Courtesy of Silver Dollar whisky bar. Southern food is good for the soul, right? Below you will notice two beautifully refreshing beverages including my favorite on the left, the Rio Bravo. This fanciful whisky cocktail includes muddled strawberries. I'm also fond of the La Paloma in which tequila and grapefruit are combined to create a glorious union, indeed.  

Next up we have the Silver Dollar Mollette Sandwhich (basically grilled cheese topped with some peppers) it was nothing special, however their Sweet Potato Fries were enough to keep this lady smiling. Now let's hit the dusty trail.

Moving on from down home Southern food to a Mediterranean Grille called Shiraz. The mouth-watering and colorful photo below captures the full essence of the Spicy Avocado Bruschetta (my carry-out dinner from a few months ago) Zatar bread is smothered with pesto, avocado, diced tomatoes and scallions, feta, and loads of cilantro. Unfortunately this dish wasn't as spicy as I would have liked... but you know me. It's gotta be hot baby.

Speaking of hot, Osaka Sushi knows how to get the job done with their spicy rolls. Although my heart lies with Maido Sushi, I must say that Osaka is a scrumptious spot. It never lets me down in the heat department. In fact, I've often quoted it as having "The spiciest rolls in town"

A full day at the racetrack with old friends and fun led us into the evening. We ventured to a lovely spot on Frankfort called Basa - a Vietnamese fusion restaurant. My Eggplant entree below left a bit to be desired, however the overall experience including wonderful service, elegant atmosphere, and outstanding appetizers such as the crabcakes, was definitely enough to earn a second reservation.

It's time for dessert. How bout Mint Julep ice cream at Comfy Cow?! I've got it in a kiddie cup in case you're wondering... I do love to indulge but also gotta keep it tight. I just have one word (two syllables) to describe it - Yum-my!!!

Another great ice cream indulgence took place at Pie Kitchen. Sweet and salty, the Caramel Nut hit my spot for sure. That's all for now folks. Stay tuned for more summer time Savory Snapshots and platters. Until then, Live to Eat (on Frankfort Avenue)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Eiderdown: A dinner date with the Holladays

A few months ago, Michael and I ventured to Louisville's Germantown, for a delightful Friday night dinner at a restaurant called Eiderdown. This eatery is warm and inviting with understated vintage elegance. We were sat immediately, at the only high top in the place. I have to admit I felt a little special to be towering above the other tables surrounding us. Michael quickly took note of the excellent craft beer list, as I took note of the adorably tiny salt and pepper shakers, cute little flower vase, and candle-lit arrangement on our sky-high wooden table. We also quickly decided that all of the staff were good looking and we were excited to start our meal off right with an appetizer.

I highly recommend the Beer Cheese (photo above). It is with great sadness that I NEVER expect any appetizer in this day and age, to be served with an ample amount of bread, chips, crackers etc. to compliment a dipping cohort. This particular Beer Cheese appetizer, with it's insanely reasonable price of $5, included the most generous (not to mention delicious) amount of bread / cheese manifestation that I've encountered thus far. In fact, the caramel-colored cheese with its intoxicating taste, and its thick, smooth, creamy texture alone, is reason enough to go back to Eiderdown for round Zwei (2)

For my entree I went with the bacon burger (medium-well) and lightly topped with cheese. It was good. I particularly enjoyed the oh-so-soft bun that was toasted just enough, as well as the fresh mix of diced tomatoes and onions that were served on the side.

Michael went with the veggie sandwhich and smashed potatoes. He gobbled it up.
Overall, I truly enjoyed the eats at this spot and would gladly go again. So, the next time you're in Germantown, give me a call and we'll get down with intoxicating beer cheese (and regular beer) at Eiderdown!! Until then, Live to Eat.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

El Mundo: A Mexican Original

In honor of the blog's year anniversary, Beth figured it may be nice to get back to our roots for a post, which is why I'm back for a guest blog, Michael, Beth's younger bro. Remember me?

When Beth posted about some of our favorite Mexican places -- a testament to just how much us Holladays love our Mexican; we could eat it for every platter! -- some born and bred Louisvillians may have noticed the big elephant in the blog: El Mundo! This one of a kind Frankfort restaurant offers Mexican fare like no other in town. You won't find your standard Vegetarian E with re-fried bean burritos on the menu. The recipes are based on authentic cuisine, but they put a spin on it by using fresh ingredients. No canned diced tomatoes here. For example, they will use black beans instead of mushy re-fried, red instead of white rice, and greens instead of iceberg lettuce. Or they will include ingredients not usually found in Mexican food. You may walk in and find the special incorporates a surprising ingredient. Portabella mushroom, goat cheese, or calamari, oh my!

The downstairs self serve section with the open kitchen
 While a bit small, the spot is sectioned off in three areas. The front downstairs is a self serve deal where customers can order from the cashier, choose a table for themselves, and pick up their food when ready from the kitchen's counter. Upstairs, you can see the hostess to get waited on by a server. Both have decorative lights splayed along the brightly painted walls. You can go for the casual atmosphere downstairs or spring for a bit fancier upstairs. I've eaten in both areas, and my choice has always depended on what seating is available. It fills up fast, especially anytime after 7 on a Friday or Saturday, so plan accordingly. I've known of people getting turned away because the place was too busy to take anyone else. Beth and I went on Saint Patrick's Day, and plenty tables were available. I've never had an issue when going between 5 or 7. The best was when my roommate and I went during the UofL/UK game, and it was so deserted we had our pick of practically anywhere in the restaurant. Available seating depends on time and also other potential events. And, extra spots are open in the Spring, Summer, and Fall when their patio in the back is an option for outdoor Margarita buzz enjoyment.

Speaking of booze, their margs are the best in town. They use blue agave tequila for a smooth taste. And, I can't speak with 100% accuracy to this, but it seems like their lime mix doesn't have any corn syrup, so the finish on them is purer. Of course, frozen or rocks. I always do rocks, because I believe the general rule that they tend to be stronger. Not that it matters at Mundo. These margs are strooong. Just two will getcha! depending on your tolerance. Their house marg does me just fine, but if you want an upgrade, they have a top shelf choice too. Or, go ahead and chuck the pretense of the lime mix and get a tequila flights to sample from the 40 types.

The Nacho Mountain of Yum
After a few marg sips -- or sucking down a full one within 5 minutes like us Holladays roll -- the food does not disappoint. They have a healthy offering of burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and more. The best part is that each item comes with your choice of filling to customize it to your liking. The options are shredded chicken, pulled pork, ground bison straight from the KY heartland, black beans, and sauteed vegetables. Most entrees are lathered with either their signature red or green chile sauce and served with salsa fresca. A good standby and favorite among many I know is the quesadilla. This large, round tortilla is pan fried to a mild crisp and delicately drizzled with sour cream, which melts on top and into your mouth. No grease. The last time I went I got the Chile Relleno, which is topped with the green chile sauce and stuffed with Jack cheese. It was baked perfectly -- not overly done to make it soggy, but just soft enough. I got it with the veggies, which are seasonal, a rotation they've implemented far longer than the Market and Germantown hipsters! Another favorite -- what Beth got when we went the last time -- is the Nachos. Simple, I know. But, these aren't the ones you made in 6th grade after school in the microwave with Velveeta and Santinas. It's a mountain of delectable ingredients -- black beans, Jack cheese, jalapenos, tomato, guacamole, salsa casa, and sour cream -- piled on crispy corn chips that never turn soggy. I think the key is that they bake them. The only criticism is the spice level. I am my sister's brother, and love the heat. Not many of the options are spicy, even the Chile Relleno. At times, maybe a little bland compared to the Mexican food I'm used to. My roommate and I have a plan to keep asking them if they can make our meals spicy, and maybe they'll take the hint. The only exception is when I had one gloriously spicy burrito there on a lovely patio visit last year. The Garden Burrito with fresh chopped jalapenos and a spicy salsa. But, this was a special. Their specials change frequently, so if you try a new item, be sure to savor it, because it may only be available for a week. I have eaten that burrito over and over in my head ever since, it was so good.

Some may criticize and say this isn't truly authentic, but come on. Really, what is these days? Then again, this is coming from a guy who eats a Qdoba burrito at least once a week, although I can promise El Mundo is much more true to a Mexican mother's recipe than a chicken queso burrito from the Q.

If you're tired of the same old El Nopal burrito or Los Aztecas quesadilla, keep El Mundo in mind for a unique take on "authentic". And for those in L-ville who love Mexican and have never been, you are crazy and need to go NOW. Until then, this is that other Holladay saying, live to eat!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Hot(-lanta) Platter

In my opinion, the only thing better than dining out at a hot new restaurant, is dining out at a hot new restaurant on a weekend getaway. And what better place to check out hot new eats than Hot-lanta?! A great friend of mine lives there and was kind enough to take a pal and I out for a few tasty eats and treats. Our Friday evening dinner at Antico Pizza definitely didn't let me down. J.V. talked it up big time. In fact, he referred to it as "The Best Pizza in the UNIVERSE!!!" I was curious to see if it would live up to the his hype. When it comes to pizza, I am no critic. I pretty much love it all, with the exception of Louisville's Mr Gatti's and Little Caesars (excuse me as I gag a little just thinking of them). These two are not even in the same galaxy as the authentically celestial pizza at Antico.

We all shared two large pizzas. The Diavola (photo below) - topped with supremely spicy Italian peppers, pepperoni, and mozzarella. I must confess that this one made me sweat, and I liked it (you know I like it hot).

The other pizza was a sauce-less one called the Pomporini (see photo below). It included cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, garlic, and basil,. The tomatoes were gigantic and juicy, just the way God intended them to be. As I took a bite into one of these little darlings, it almost tasted like there was sauce on the pizza. The fresh and light taste of tomatos was a lovely compliment to the spiciness of the Diavolo.

FYI: Antico is BYOB. You can order your food at the counter upon entering and then find a spot to sit. There are two dining rooms with large wooden picnic style tables, so be prepared to possibly make a new friend or two as you dine among strangers. We found a spot at a table in the larger room which was next to the kitchen and we were able to watch the cooks hard at work, tossing the dough etc.

Overall this was a very cool choice for dining out with a few friends and it got me excited for my upcoming trip to Italia. That's right, the Holladay Platter will be heading across the Atlantic for a two week adventure this coming Fall!! Antico felt like a little preview of the pizza that I'm sure to taste in the Eternal City (please allow me to daydream for a moment...). Okay now back to Atlanta, not only was the pizza  Uh-Mah-Zing, it was ready in a flash. The next day we were delighted for leftovers (toaster oven style), along with a few other gluttonous meals.

When people ask me what inspires me to write this blog, I always answer by saying, "The Sun in my Belly". Just kidding, that's actually what Picasso said when asked what inspired him to paint. It's also the clever name of our Saturday brunch spot. This artsy neighborhood cafe has an edgy rustic atmosphere with a very casual and comfortable vibe. Unfortunately, the wait on our food order was quite long. Fortunately the wait staff and management were very apologetic. I went for "The Hangover" breakfast. Even though I didn't actually have a hangover, this platter was right up my alley. The cheesy potatoes were my favorite part. I also adored the Sriracha chili sauce and avocado topping on the fried egg. The sausage and biscuits were okay. I would've liked the biscuits with cheddar cheddar cheese, but they were a bit cold.
J.V. enjoyed his breakfast panini as he informed us that Atlanta is known for having the best Pimento Cheese. I've never been a big fan of pimento, but I got the chance to try the pimento on Kristen's breakfast sandwhich and I have to say that it was my favorite part of all three platters!! It was extremely creamy and tangy with just a bit of sweetness.

Overall we were happy with our brunch and left the table with bellies full of the sun!! Saturday evening entailed a full on food fest. With a list of "Tapas Tips" that we got from a friend, we headed to Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant.

It was a chilly and rainy night. Barcelona was offering covered outdoor seating on their front patio with no wait, so we went for it. This might not sound very appealing but it was actually a delightfully cozy and intimate atmosphere. The lighting was nice and soft. There were blankets available for use at each table and heat lamps around as well. It sounds like the perfect setting for a romantic dinner for two. Leave it to my crowd to shake things up. We started by ordering a pitcher of champagne sangria. Why not?

Next, we ordered about six different tapas. My favs were the crispy and creamy Empanadas, the savory and spicy Patatas Bravas, and the mouth-watering Hanger Steak, which included a truffle sauce I would gladly die for. As for our other selections, I had mixed feelings  I liked everything just fine, at first bite, but felt like the seasoning was a bit overdone on many of the tapas. For example, the mushrooms were cooked great and had a nice goat cheese topping, but someone must have stubbed there toe while adding the sage because it completely overpowered the other flavors. I noticed the same issue with our Chorizo with Figs plate. I really liked the chorizo but the balsamic and sherry glaze was waaay overdone.

One might think that we stopped there. No sir / mam. We continued our platter by adding on succulent garlic Gambas al Ajillo (shrimp), as well as a few forgettable tapas, and some pretty good cheeses (with bread of course). Overall, we enjoyed our experience here. I'm not raving about it, but I'd recommend trying it out if you're in the area. The service was good and the atmosphere was cool. Then again, take a pitcher of champagne sangrias and a few old friends with stories to share, and you'll have an amazing dinner anywhere you go. The rest of our night can be summed up with two words "Bourbon Slushi". That's all you need to know.

(Aww, my bourbon baby... I'm such a proud mother)

Before hitting the dusty trail, we saddled up and headed down the road to a charming little market and eatery called La Petit Marche, which means "The Little Market". They have a variety of breakfast and lunch options which you can order at the counter. I pondered over a breakfast sandwhich or pancakes that JV gushed about, but ended up with a Basil Chicken and Pesto Panini. It was perfectly crispy yet soft with just enough basil seasoning. The pesto was also right on the money, not overpowering the taste of the plentiful chicken. I tried a bite of Kristen's Veggie Panini that was filled with beautiful sun dried tomatoes, shrooms, tofu, and cheeses. The side of pasta salad was actually my favorite part. In fact, it might be the best I've ever had... the balsamic dressing included a sesame ginger zeal that perfectly complemented the fresh feta cheese, plump cranberries, and scallions that were mixed about. This gourmet deli boasts locally sourced ingredients with grocer gift items and cheeses lining the shelves. The atomsphere has a quaint country feel with a bit of an international vibe, evident in the menu as well. I would love to hit this spot again on my next trip down.

The next time you want to enjoy a hot new restaurant in a hot city, take my tips and head to Hot-lanta. Until next time, LIVE TO EAT!!

P.S. The Holladay Platter will be celebrating it's one year anniversary next week. Can you believe it's been a whole year?! Where does the crazy time go??? Anyway, watch out for a few special guest bloggers in the next few weeks and please, try to contain your excitement.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Savory Snapshots (Highlands Edition)

Ladies night at Avalon features select $5 apps, martinis, and wines. Oh what a night! We started off with the Mushroom and Spinach Flat Bread. I'd definitely get this one again.

Not pictured: The delicious goat cheese app... I meant to take a pic, but we had the platter licked clean before I could even reach for my camera.

The Sicilian Manhattan (AKA bourbon martini). It was a bit too strong for me. I had to call for backup from Jules, who finished it off right.

Jules went for the Double Espresso Martini, let me rephrase, she tried to go for it. But I got it! Yuuuu-mee - a creamy treat indeed. We pretty much switched martinis.

My second drink of choice - The Lavender Blue. Blueberry vodka mixed with lavender lemonade. It was soft, smooth and just sweet enough for my palate.

Not pictured- The French Nouveau - vanilla vodka mixed with pineapple, chambord, and champagne. I had this on another Ladies Night and felt it to be too sweet. However, it should be noted that I'm not keen on pineapple flavor in cocktails.

Moving on to another fun dinner with Jules which entailed devouring of the plate above and a few others at Wild Ginger. It was deep fried sushi goodness, stuffed with spicy crab and topped with STEAK! That's right, steak. She loved it. I thought it was bizarre yet tasty. You will notice yet another martini... extra dirty, just the way Jules' likes it.

Next up, Mediterranean cuisine with Michael and Liz at The Falafel House. Above you will notice the Beef Schwarma with hummus and rice. This was Michael's pick. He was pleased and noted that the beef was very well seasoned.

My platter of choice was the Atomic Falafel. The falafel was accompanied by hummus, lettuce, tomato, and tiziki sauce, as well as a triple kick of spiciness from banana peppers, jalepeno peppers, and a unidentified red sauce, all wrapped up in pita bread. The side of fries were pretty standard.

Not pictured: Liz' Veggie Plate, featuring a variety of Mediterranean cuisine, which she raved about. I tried some of a grape leaf for the first time and thought it was salty but not bad. I also tried some of the baba ganoush - a dip that is made with eggplant (similiar to hummus). I love the name "baba ganoush" but did not care for the taste.

The picture above is just a little preview from my next post that will feature some great eats and treats in Atlanta. The adorable little mason jar is filled with a bourbon and coke slushi that we discovered at a serious Hipster bar. Stay tuned for more mouth-watering pics from this fun weekend trip. Until then, LIVE TO EAT!!!!!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

McGuire's Irish Pub - Destin, Florida

 In honor of St. Paddy's Day today, the Holladay Platter would like to recognize one of the best Irish pubs I've ever visited. There are many great ones in Louisville, especially the Irish Rover, O'Shea's family of pubs, and Molly Malone's, who will all be doing it up big with green beer and Guinness flowing all day and night. I plan on stopping by one of these spots at some point. But for now let's talk about my great experience at McGuires Irish Pub in Destin, Florida (also located in Pensacola, FL) If you keep up with this blog, then you know the Holladay family enjoyed a heavenly beach vacation in September...ahh, to be back there again (sigh). Anyway, we had some spectacular seafood which I revealed in a post a few months ago. At the end of the vacation, we happened upon this fun Irish brew pub and steak house. After maxing out on seafood all week, McGuire's was a nice change of pace and is a definite must-do-again.

You might be wondering what's up with the dollar bill photo? Well, the entire pub is covered in dollar bills from floor to ceiling!! The servers even provide you with a marker to sign and a stapler to post it up. Another unique thing about the place is the bathrooms... they are purposely labeled to confuse drunk patrons, possibly leading them to the wrong one. For example, the women's bathroom has a huge "Men" sign with further explanation below for men to stop because it's the womens restroom!!". The writing below is much smaller and less noticeable. Leave it to Michael and I, to not only go in the wrong bathrooms, we used them too. In our defense, we each had one round of McGuire's Irish Stout.

The brewery features Ales, Stouts, and Porters and currently offers five regular selections along with a rotating seasonal beer. I really enjoyed the Irish stout that was robust, yet smooth and creamy. In addition to the brewery, they also have a tremendous wine cellar that is said to be one of the largest in the world!

We ordered from the lunch menu. Mom went for the traditional Shepherd's Pie with ground steak, veggies, Irish smashed potatoes, and cheddar cheese all baked into a golden brown casserole. It was piping hot. I'm not normally a fan of this but I must say, it was delicious. The rest of us dined on black angus steak burgers. They are enormous!! I was so sad to see my left-overs go to waste, since we had to go straight to the airport afterward. We easily could have split a burger. Guess, we'll know better next time. I did manage to eat nearly all of the thick and crispy Irish Potato Fries. They were so good in fact, I literally had to tell myself to stop eating them and try a bite of the burger. There are several angus burger styles to choose from. I enjoyed the guac and monteray jack burger, while dad feasted on the black and bleu cheese, and Michael savored the smoked gouda.

As, for the wait staff, they couldn't have been any friendlier or more attentive. Hopefully on our next visit, we can try out their dinner menu and catch some live music, along with more Irish brews of course. And hopefully we will make it into the appropriate bathrooms... but let's face it, we probably won't. Just remember, the next time you're staying on the amazing Emerald Coast, you must stop by McGuires Irish Pub for great steak burgers, brews, and fun... Live to Eat an Irish Platter!!! HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Single Platter

As a single lady, I have the opportunity to dine whenever, wherever, and however my heart desires. I feel blessed that I'm able to spend time on weekends breaking bread with family, close friends, interesting new acquaintances, and even the occasional date. However, when it comes to dinner on weeknights, it's just me, myself, and I - a single platter. I am not much of a cook and as some of you can relate, cooking for one is no picnic. Sometimes I get really excited to make a casserole on Sunday evening, with the idea of eating leftovers for lunch or dinner throughout the week. This plan hardly ever works and I'm left throwing out over half and feeling wasteful. Even when I discover a new dish that seems super easy to make, I rarely follow through. Honestly, cooking is the last thing I want to do after a long day at work, especially since I am the only one to feed. So I usually find myself popping in a frozen meal, snacking, or drinking a glass of wine for dinner (bad, I know).

Recently it occurred to me that I don't need a dining companion to enjoy a meal from one of my fav local restaurants. So I've started doing carry-out orders once or twice per week and now I live to eat a single platter!! Allow me to share a few spots that are fairly new on my radar.
Nam Nam Cafe serves up phenomenal Vietnamese cuisine. Located in the heart of St. Matthews, this is a tiny spot with friendly wait staff and affordable prices (and when I say affordable I mean nothing over $10, with most options around $7). I went for the Vietnamese Tacos with lemongrass chicken. If you like spicy, you will love their Sriacha aioli sauce, complemented by the pickled carrots, refreshing cucumbers, and cilantro, all wrapped in a corn tortilla. I added a veggie Imperial Roll for an extra buck fifty and could not get enough of the Nuoc Mam sauce which was sweet and savory. The roll was similar to a Chinese Egg Roll but better. I've heard great things about the Crepe and plan on trying it next time.
Note: There is a ten dollar minimum for carry-outs which I was unaware of until I went to pay. The staff were gracious enough to let me off the hook though.

Another spot I've discovered is Chicago Gyros It's located off Brownsboro Road, adjacent to the "Dirty Kroger" and conveniently down the road from my crib. Try not to be deceived by it's shady appearance including the poster signs which display menu items. This place is the real deal when it comes to their specialty, The Mediterranean Gyro!!! I made the mistake of ordering it with chicken once and although it wasn't bad, the lamb in the Med Gyro holds the key. It comes with banana peppers, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, feta cheese, and homemade Tziki Sauce. I tried a side of their hummus of a recent jaunt and would say it's pretty standard, nothing special. Then again, when it comes to hummus I have been spoiled by another great spot near my workplace called the Burning Bush Grille This Mediterranean cafe is in Oldham County and I highly suggest trying it if you are venturing out that way. I am in love with their flavorful hummus that I believe to be the best in town. Service at both of these spots is very personable and attending and has drawn me as a loyal customer.
So remember the next time you are popping in a frozen meal, whipping out a bag of chips, or about to throw in the towel and drink your dinner, just call up one of these great spots for a delicious carry-out meal . Hopefully by this time next year, I will have someone to carry-out with but in the mean time I will live to eat a single platter!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Mexican Platter

It's fiesta time!!! I honestly can't believe that I haven't written up a post about my most favorite platter of them all. Now is the time. And, I hope you're super excited because I am laying them all on you at once. As a budding foodie, I try not to discriminate against any type of cuisine. I honestly haven't met many platters I don't like. But, when it comes to true and unconditional love, my heart lies with the Mexican platter.

Mexican food is like home. I go there when I wanna kick back, relax, and not worry about a damn thing. Much like family, I often take it for granted, thinking that there will always be a chicken burrito or quesadilla around when I need one. If you keep up with my blog then you know that I love dining with my favorite little bro, Michael, but I must say that my mom and dad make excellent dining companions as well. They're always game for a margarita or two (actually mom prefers white zin) but regardless of the drink choice, the Holladay family loves a  Mexican platter.

Our Holladay go-to platter is the Texas Fajitas at Fiesta Time  The order for two is so big that it actually feeds three of us easily with occasional leftovers. Shrimp, steak, and chicken with onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers create a glorious union. Throw in the divine queso, sour cream and guacamole, and you have yourself a little taste of heaven. Throw in a few margaritas and you might be headed in the other direction... Let's hope not! Fiesta Time is cozy little spot in the East End of Louisville that is always bright, bustling, and filled with families. Beware there is almost always a wait on Friday and Saturday nights but that's a good thing, because it means great food.

The Holladay's second choice is El Nopal. Similiar to Fiesta, El Nopal is very inviting with great service. The two things that make it stand apart for me is the live music (which mom also loves) and the delicious chicken Floutas. Floutas are long tortillas stuffed with meat and cheese, and should I dare mention that they're deep fried!?! These babies are rich like a sugar daddy and that's why I love them. Another thing about this place is that its everywhere in Louisville. Its like being a Louisville native, you can't go anywhere in town without seeing a familiar face... you can't go anywhere in town without seeing an El Nopal.

Next up is Los Aztecas Honestly I think I've frequented this spot more than any considering my VIP status. Yup, that's right, I've got the members only jacket here. Unfortunately my 15% discount doesn't apply to alcohol, however it does apply to food at all locations around town. Normally I make it easy and go for a simple chicken quesadilla or I share the delicious fajitas with a friend. But when I really wanna shake it up, I order the Enchiladas de Mole. The mole sauce is dark and thick. With hints of chocolate, chili pepper, and clove, this sauce makes the meal and hits the spot every time.

I have mixed feelings about the Sol Aztecas in Louisville. I really love the Frankfort Avenue location. I think the chef there is fond of garlic and that is more than fine by me. My platter of choice is usually the Shrimp Quesadilla which is always bubbling hot with loads of cheese. I have often gushed over the chicken Fajita Nachos as well.  As for the other locations in town, Bardstown Road and Main Street have treated me well. However, I am not a fan of Fourth Street. The food and service miss the mark for my Mexican expectations. 

I wish I could shed some light on Ernestos but I haven't been there in almost a decade. And I would love to tell you about El Mundo but if you've ever been there, you know that it's in a special league of its own and I think it deserves its own post in the future. I've been told that La Rosita and Lolitas are great ones too and I have added them to my endless list of places to dine...

Mexican food is like family. We often take it for granted and don't give it the love it deserves. So grab your family and take them out for a Mexican platter tonight. And as always, you better live to eat!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Happy New Year readers!!! It's been awhile....I know you are terribly heart-broken that I failed to post any of my wonderful "Holiday" platters. I sincerely apologize. Time was not on my side last month. Allow me to start the new year off right by sharing a subject that is near and dear to my heart. Sushi!!! There are a lot of great spots for Sushi in Louisville, especially in the Highlands. That area just can't seem to get enough of it. I like Sapporo. I like Wild Ginger. I even like Oishii. But when it comes to love, I've gotta give it to my Maido. 

Located on Frankfort Avenue in the Clifton Area, this sushi spot is unique because it doesn't have an actual sushi bar like the other restaurants around town. The sushi at Maido is made back in the kitchen. It's considered an "Izakaya" or Sake Pub, known in Osaka, Japan to be popular with business people. And in the 'Ville it's known to have the very best sake in town.

Shame on me for never having tried their sake. I've dined here about a billion times and my drink choice is always the same, the Kasteel Rouge - a Belgian brown ale. It's super sweet cherry flavor calls out to me as soon as I enter the door. I'm not sure how I started the tradition of ordering the Kasteel with my Maido sushi. It doesn't make much sense because I normally don't go for sweet beer or wine and I've never ordered a Kasteel anywhere else. I guess it's just one of my weird dining quirks, kind of similar to when I was a kid at the movies, I would always order a Cherry Coke with my popcorn, but never with anything else.

Anyway, when it comes to the eats, an Izakaya style restaurant is similiar to Spanish tapas, serving up small affordable plates for everyone to share. Sharing is caring, and I always care to try as many dishes as possible. Maido knows what's up. In fact, the name Maido actually means "What's Up?!" I have been happy to share many apps with friends here, notably the Shumai - a dumpling filled with either pork or crab, gouda and mozzarella cheese wontons - deep fried to perfection and smothered in wasabi honey, a yummy oyster mushroom with sinfully sauteed spinach, asparagus, and garlic.
This past Summer my pal Jules and I enjoyed a few plates outside on the spacious front patio. We shared the delightfully simple Bagel Roll with garlic and salmon and then splurged on the insanely delicious Buike Monster - white tuna with avocado, scallions, garlic, and chili sauce. Yum. Some other fun rolls I've shared include: the Nemo's Revenge - red snapper and octupus along with garlic (of course) , the Citrus Heat -a unique combo of red tuna with jalepenos and shaved lime, the Serendipity - spicy crab.. need I say more? and the Nirvana...this roll is drizzled with truffle oil for God's sake!!

The atmosphere at Maido can't be beat. It's a low-key establishment that is comfortable and cool, with funky art decor that is subtle in the dimmed lighting. Housed in an old shot-gun style building, it has a wooden bar near the front entrance, with black and white tiles leading to ample table seating. My experience with the service has always been excellent. I am convinced that being cool and having at least one visible tattoo is a requirement to work here.

So remember, the next time you want to take some shots of sake and share some sushi, gimme a call. I will share an Izakaya platter with you all night long! Until next time, live to eat Japanese.

MAIDO UPDATE: I had the great pleasure of dining at Maido last night and thought I should mention here that they are now taking reservations for their digital karaoke party room. My friend works there and introduced me to looks awesome!

I also had the pleasure of trying a tofu roll this time around. I normally don't go for tofu with anything but decided to give it a whirl and was blown away. The Tofu Katsu Roll includes deep fried and breaded tofu topped with slices of avocado and was served with a thick brown sauce (can't remember the name) that enhanced the roll with a bit of a ginger and cinnamon flavor. My lovely dining companion strangely thought it brought out a chipoltle taste, whatever the ingredients... you should know that we devoured it!!! That's all.