Saturday, May 24, 2014

Blog on hiatus

FYI, because of competing priorities, I don't plan to update this blog in the near future. Since nobody loves a blog that just sputters out without a word of farewell, I wanted to put this up to let folks know that the lights are out and the doors locked for a while.  I might resume it again in a while when other chores slow down a bit.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Cottage Cafe Shines on Middletown's Old Main Street

Meatloaf plate at Cottage Cafe in Middletown.
Voice-Tribune review by Robin Garr

Middletown's Main Street, a quaint strip of Victorian houses, steepled churches and storefront shops, served as the suburban community's main drag for many years as its commercial center and a slow-down, look-around opportunity for traffic on the old U.S. 60.

Then came the age of the suburb. Middletown got a four-lane "bypass" that sped traffic around the old town center and that quickly sprouted with shopping centers and strip malls, and Main Street settled into a quieter, gentler place.

It was a perfect setting for boutiques and consignment stores and lots of antique shops, and like nature abhorring a vacuum, in they came.

For intensity, try Alsacity

Okay, I'm busted. "Alsacity" isn't really a word. But I'm making one up now, because it seems only fair that "the character that sets apart many of the fascinatingly intense wines from Alsace" is so memorable that it deserves its own dictionary entry.

Riesling may be the dominant grape of Alsace, and it's a memorable variety indeed, widely considered one of the world's greatest white grapes.  Gewurztraminer is also hailed as a characteristic Alsatian grape, but Pinot Blanc has its fans, and Alsatian Pinot Noir has grown from an offbeat experiment to a worthy (albeit often expensive) addition to the world's Pinot population.

What makes the wines of Alsace special?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The 'ritas are the wildest thing at Wild Rita's

Tacos and a margarita at Wild Rita's.
LEO photo by Frankie Steele.
So, just how wild are the 'ritas at Wild Rita's?

Well, this new spot just east of downtown, within the noise penumbra and particulates shadow of the Great Bridge Boondoggle, offers 10, count 'em 10, variations on the margarita, not to mention tequila cocktails, tequila tastings and nearly 100 fine tequilas by the bottle or drink. It would take more effort than I'm willing to expend to answer this question definitively.

But I'm willing to bet that my pal the Bar Belle figured it out with her report on the eponymous signature cocktail, the Wild Rita. It's made with a blend of Maestro Dobel (a fancy clear blend of Reposado, Añejo and extra Añejo tequilas aged in oak) with orange-scented Grand Marnier liqueur, grain alcohol infused with lime, and sweet agave nectar. And then, ay carumba, they set it on fire!

We didn't succumb to its fiery delights, but did sample a decent if rather sweet straight-up casa (house) margarita ($7, but you can get it for $4 during Wild Rita's happy hours, which are 4-7 p.m. weekdays in the bar and lounge sections only).

You can also get a full liter of the Casa Rita - that's a quart plus, for the metric-impaired - for $18, but thank you, no, I'm still a little wary of tequila after that unfortunate youthful experience. (Don't we all have one of those hiding in our Scare Closets?)

Read my full review on LouisvilleHotBytes, or click to it in this week's LEO Weekly.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

No meat, no booze, no matter at Roots

Bowl o' Pho at Roots. LEO photo by Frankie Steele.
Roots, with its next-door companion Heart & Soy, is coming up on its third anniversary this summer, and both spots appear to be going strong, filled with happy diners nightly.

So how does that work, when neither upscale Roots nor street-food Heart & Soy offer so much as a bite of meat or a sip of booze? I think it has something to do with what restaurateur Huong "Coco" Tran calls Roots' "mindful, compassionate cooking," a plant-based cuisine so good that even the most obligate carnivore can chow down without even missing animal flesh.