Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Blind Pig

The Blind Pig
1076 E. Washington St.

Sorry for the elapsed time between posts. We don’t want to disappoint our followers. All 35 of you! The Lunch Pail Gang has been awfully busy with other projects in our lives, but we found time to visit a relatively new and exciting eatery. Blind Pig was established in March of 2010 in Butchertown near Downtown Louisville. The restaurant’s owners proclaim it to be a “premier swine dining establishment”. I must say excellent choice of words. The architectural layout of Blind Pig will keep your eyes busy while you wait for your meal. With the open-air kitchen and exposed brick. The different art work and a vintage looking bar only add to what the food can’t offer in a dining experience.
For an appetizer the gang dived into the oyster fritters in champagne batter. I personally never had oysters before. I assume like most people I thought they didn’t look appetizing, but if you aren’t sure about a food, the best way to try something for the first time is eat it fried. The light batter does allow you to actually taste the oyster though. I was expecting a rubbery texture, but it wasn’t. Cooked to perfection that it melted in your mouth and the lemon aioli sauce it came with for dipping was superb.
For our main course, I enjoyed the special of the day. It may have been the best Rueben I have ever eaten. It had a healthy choice of pastrami and it wasn’t too salty which I prefer. Plus the homemade Thousand Island dressing was delicious. Chickadoo and Man 2 both devoured their sausage sandwiches on Blue Dog bread (best way I can describe this bread – thick and chewy…very good.)  Chickadoo had the chorizo sausage with swiss and dijon mustard.  Man 2 had the “Ivory Bacon” which is Boudin Blanc sausage, bacon, munster cheese and aioli. Both sandwiches looked the same in size and stature but had different tastes. I think I should point something out for our readers. We share our food with the rest of the gang, so when we go back and blog about our experience it’s our own account of how the food taste. Take a bite and pass around the table. Just because Man 2 liked his sandwich doesn’t mean I did, so when I say both sandwiches had different tastes I am speaking from my own taste buds perspective. Ok now that that’s cleared up, I have to mention the fresh cut fries that came with every sandwich, except if you get a salad like Chickadoo which she didn’t even eat. I think it’s because she saw how good our orders of fries were and it made her salad taste like crap (No offense to Blind Pig, the side salad looked just fine.)
To end this sure to be most interesting lunch yet, we decided to get a couple desserts. Not just any desserts either - a chocolate crème brulee with a slice of bacon on top and butter pecan bacon brittle ice cream. If I had to recommend one it would be the ice cream which was very good. Not to be dramatic, but the crème brulee took me on a rollercoaster of emotions. It might be the first time I started out loving something after the first bite and by the last bite hating it. Chocolate and bacon do go together, but in moderation. Not that the dish was big, but after two bites my brain and stomach was on overload. Proceed with caution. I would definitely recommend trying it, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
All in all, a must visit on Louisville’s places to eat.  I give it a $$$ rating on the gang’s $$$$ scale. A bit pricey for lunch, but it was worth it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cliftons Pizza

Clifton's Pizza
2230 Frankfort Ave.

The mention of Clifton's Pizza takes me all the way back to my early high school years - showing up for pizza and drinks on any given night to watch the Juggernaut Jug Band, or if memory serves me right, the Java Men put on quite a few great shows here!  Clifton's, for my crew, was one of our mainstays - you could never go wrong with the food, the music, or the atmosphere.  Though I hadn't been in some time it was obvious that the tradition has been maintained!
Every once in a while we throw the rest of the office a bone and mention our draw for the day - they can do one of two things:  (a) Join us on our epic culinary quest, or (b) suck it.  The majority of the time they choose (b) - but on this rainy day, it being very close to the day of that wild lush Patrick, a few decided to ride along, devour some grub, and celebrate the March Madness that had recently ensued. 

Almost everyone had been to Clifton's before and knew how spectacular their Calzones are - as a result - we all had one....This ain't no overgrown hotpocket...
If you dont like food that is larger than your head - don't get a Calzone at Clifton's.  These things are massive AND delicious! Most of the time when you get something of such great size, the flavors are bland or lacking -  This Calzone slaps that notion (pimp hand strong) right in the mouth.  Lets quickly go through the basics of Calzonium - Make medium pizza -  Take said pizza and fold in half - Bake - Serve to one unsuspecting party. 
I had mine with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, and bannana peppers, but Clifton's will let you pick up to SIX toppings to stuff into your beautiful pocket of love. 

Clifton's..... It's me.....   Sorry it's been so long.  I've meant to stop by, but you know how it just gets in the way...hope your not too mad at me.  I just wanted to write and tell you that I still love you and I would like to start a sordid affair  - Please don't tell my wife...
Indisputably Yours,
Man 2

Even the fro'd leprechaun attended and grabbed a pizza to take home to the little lepers.
  Bet you didn't know something this delicous would be at the end of the rainbow!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Proof on Main

Proof on Main
702 W. Main St.

I was super excited to draw Proof on Main from our trusty lunch box.  While I had been to Proof on numerous occasions for late night drinks, I had yet to actually try the food.  For those of you who are not familiar with Proof, it is the nationally acclaimed restaurant & bar inside the trendy boutique hotel 21C on West Main Street (the building with the red penguins).  In my opinion it is one of coolest spots in this fine city and one of the few places in Louisville that can lure me outside the boundaries my beloved Germantown.
The lunch menu, although small, offers a wide variety of items.  Even the pickiest of eaters could find something to eat here from soup and salad to bison and seafood.  Man 1 and I both decided fairly quickly that we would have the bison burger, while Man 2 went out on a limb with the bison Reuben.    

While we waiting for our food our server noticed us checking out the six large canvases hanging in the restaurant each depicting a woman or women in six very different situations.  He immediately came to discuss the art with us.  He explained that the artist, Monica Mahoney, created this series called “Women Walking” using images she had seen in obscure independent and foreign films.  He then encouraged us to create stories about the women in the pictures.  Of course we filled the time until our food arrived concocting various twisted and bizarre stories about these women in the paintings.  It was definitely a creative way for us to entertain our selves at lunch.
Anyway, enough about art, back to the food… 
The bison burger was so good that I I didn’t even need to add any condiments and coming from a gal who loves her sauces that is saying something.  The burger was served with a side of a heavenly sauce that I used to dip my fries in.  I recall the server telling us something about apricot jelly being a main ingredient in the Jezebel sauce, but I am fairly certain that the secret ingredient must have been angel tears. 
The real surprise of the lunch was the bison Reuben.  Now, by no means am I a Reuben connoisseur so I cannot attest to the comparison of this bison version to an actual Reuben, but I can say this sandwich was amazing.  Layers of thin sliced bison meat topped with a faux sour kraut made of squash and a traditional sauce, sandwiched between two slices of hearty toasted rye bread.  I traded Man 2 half of my burger for half of his sandwich and had no post lunch regrets about that.  I feel like the Reuben was so rich and savory that it would have been a challenge for anyone to finish the entire enteree, including Man2!

*LPG lunch Tip* Find a lunch buddy to share lunches with.  Man 2 and I usually trade sandwich halves this way we can try a variety of things. I probably would not have been drawn to the Reuben, but now it is what I will order when I return
It seems that whenever I draw a restaurant I make it my mission to get dessert at lunch.  I was really excited to draw Proof because I have been longing for their gelato ever since I first heard about their summer gelato cart. I chose the caramel and sea salt gelato and I must say it was well worth the wait.  In three words it was DEE LISH OUS!  If you go to Proof DO NOT leave without trying one of their gelati you will not regret it.
Overall, this is kind of an expensive lunch but for the price it is great food and a great atmosphere.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

WW. Cousins: Celebrity Hangout?

WW Cousins
Breckenridge Ln.

WILD CARD! I drew a wild card out of the pail this week, but with the wild card comes a lot of pressure. I have to choose, on my own, where the gang goes for lunch and Man 2 and Chickadoo have no say. They don’t even know ahead of time where we are going. Luckily, I had the weekend to think it over. So why did I choose WW. Cousins you might ask? One word…Toppings.

WW. Cousins is best known for their topping bar supplied with over 40 different toppings. They have all the usual condiments plus the not so usual (i.e. chipotle ranch sauce).  Now, WW. Cousins claims that they have over a trillion different combinations of toppings which is true but that’s only if you are willing to pile 40 different toppings on your buns. So let’s be more realistic and say the average person puts six on their hamburger. Take Man 2 for example. He had cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, ketchup, and jalapenos.  Man 2 would have to come back over 4 billion times to try every combination (Yeah I was a math major in college. When I say I was a math major I found a calculator on internet that computed the equation for me). I normally wouldn’t put any food challenge past Man 2, but this one has even him beat. So you catch my drift, right? Cousins has something to suit any hamburger’s liking. And it’s all fresh. And it’s all goooooood.

I’ve been to Cousins before so I knew what to expect. I knew to expect their signature buns that are baked in house daily. I knew to expect their homemade pies and cookies. What I didn’t expect was to dine with some of Louisville’s most famous for lunch. Mohammed Ali, Diane Sawyer and Patrick Hallahan were all topping their burgers at Cousins that day. Ok, Ok Ali and Diane were not there, but Patrick Hallahan was. “Who’s he???” He is the drummer for My Morning Jacket (look them up if you’ve never heard of them). Chickadoo noticed him in line for the topping bar and struck up a conversation. I think he took a liking to her and her well constructed tower of toppings. I mean who wouldn’t be intrigued by a woman who puts mustard, mayo, relish, sweet & sour sauce, two different types of lettuce, two different types of onions and green peppers on their burger. Anyway, he sat and talked with us as we ate. He was cool enough to answer our questions and tell us stories about life touring with the band…Sorry I get carried away sometimes. We didn’t talk to him. He sat a few tables down from us and we spent half the time arguing who was going to ask him for an autograph. Disappointing, I know. We did get a picture of him as we were leaving though (see below).  It is neat to think that this famous rock star could go anywhere in the world he wants and eat a cheeseburger, but he chose WW. Cousins.  I wonder what combination he had.

(see...told you he was there!)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Vietnam Kitchen

Vietnam Kitchen

5339 Mitscher Ave
Iroquois Manor

The entrance is a bit scary – the décor, pedestrian - the menu, crusty and illegible – the food, stupefying!  Vietnam Kitchen is everything I love about a restaurant.  Unassuming and quietly doing what they do best – no frills, nothing fancy….just damn good food.  I think I may have skipped a full loop around the office after LPG pulled it from the lunch pail.  This place has been on my list of favorites for some time, but I rarely get the chance to venture out to the Beechmont/Iroquois area to take in a lunch there. 

There is a large Vietnamese and Korean population out in this area of town – enough to tout quite a few great restaurants and some specialized grocery stores.  There are 80+ million people in the world who speak Vietnamese… I’m not one of them…. so instead of having a middle aged Vietnamese woman cackle at a lame attempt to pronounce what I was ordering, I said what any other decent American would say…. "I’ll take the K-8 with chicken."  sidebar - I always chuckle to myself…that’s awfully close to K-9, and I sure as hell am not going to order K-9 -  Everyone else put in their letter-number sequence, J-4, K-6,  another K-8 w/ beef, F-5, and how could we go without a couple of orders of A-2 ….we patiently waited to wolf on our monstrous bowls of amazing. 

It took a little while for them to put together our order, but while we waited we were able to look around the establishment and make an interesting observation.  The place was was noon and there were no tables open - typical of this eatery during the lunch hour.  Businessmen.  Everywhere you looked.  At every table sat a crew of middle aged men in shirts and ties, some had navy blazers with brass buttons draped over the backs of their chairs.  Mortgage brokers, software engineers,  hospital administrators tending to important business with napkins tucked into their collars.  It was obvious we were in the midst of a full scale sweaty forehead business operation.  This was important business.  We laughed because we had the only table that included patrons of the effeminate persuasion.  I told Chickadoo, Candypants, and J-Lust that they were hard-core chicks that could handle the heat.  They agreed and out came the goods.

Please - if and when you go to Vietnam Kitchen, get the spring rolls.  They are a delightful start to a great experience.  Everyone was all smiles as we attacked our main courses.  I was an oily mess by the time I was nearing my fill... Man 1 had to slap the bowl out of my hands as I was working up the nerve and the gastro-capacity to slurp the K-8 sauce that remained after the noodles, broccoli, and chicken had met their end...the sauce is that good.  
Almost every time I've been to VK, I end up with the K-8...I swore that I would branch out this time. I asked the waitress what she recommended - I was looking for something spicy and noodley and delicious.  She recommended the K-8.... by god I saw it as fate!  I had to re-indulge, and I'll probably do it again next time.  We all left happy and stuffed.

With all of the business they do, it's obvious they have the means to update their digs, but that may just diminish some of the charm of the place.  Everyone owes it to themselves to hit up this spot - and I know that a lot of people have - but if you are one of the few Louisvillians yet to embark on this Vietnamese culinary journey, please do so with extreme urgency.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Toast to "Toast...on Market"

Toast on Market
736 E. Market Street (Louisville)
141 E. Market Street (New Albany)

Here's to breakfast for lunch. A concept many don't practice anymore...
But a concept that left the Gang smiling that's for sure.
Here's to Toast on Market, where breakfast is served all day...
Their hours are 7-2 and 7-3 on Saturday and Sunday.
But it's already twelve-thirty, no time for eggs and bacon...
Who cares?! There's no rule against breakfast for lunch, so come on down to Toast
and see what they're makin'.
Here's to Chickapoo and her BLT scramble..
Breakfast for lunch is no gamble.
Especially with a side of the Gang's favorite hashbrown casserole...
BREAKFAST FOR LUNCH! Tell one, tell all, tell every soul.
Here's to Man 2, always lookin' for the meal that's just right...
Only the Cliffie's Plate would fill his hearty appetite.
It comes with eggs, meat, pancakes and more...
Exactly what Man 2 was looking for.
Last but not least Man 1 and his mountain of french toast.
'The Classic' is it's true name...
with fruit and whipped cream, it will put any stomach to shame.
So raise your cups of coffee and glasses of OJ...
And give thanks to Toast on Market for serving breakfast all day.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Queenie's Soul Cuisine

Queenie’s Soul Cuisine

2956 Richland Ave.
Hikes Point

LPG was eager to draw one of the few soul food locals in our pail – and we did just that preceding our most recent adventure.  We came across Queenie’s Soul Cuisine doing a search online for soul food back when we were initially filling our lunch pail with options….it looked cool, it is locally owned, and we all love some good down-home cookin’- so we put it in.  Not knowing what to expect, we left the confines of our office on a road trip to Hikes Point. 

Tucked back behind the Baskin Robins in a strip mall off of Taylorsville Road stood our destination.  We walked into a very clean, nicely decorated space that smelled of fried food and cornbread – not too shabby!  We were immediately seated in a large dining area – probably 30 tables total, 5 or 6 of them were occupied by 11:30 when we arrived….promising!   Our waitress came by to take our drink orders, and let me tell you, she was the best part of our experience at Queenie’s. Sarcastic and sassy, she fit right in w/ the gang – we got along splendidly.  After bringing a round of water, tea, and grape Kool-aid, she presented us with a basket of warm cornbread to help subside the yearning of our imploding stomachs.  This cornbread was remarkable – sweet, moist, w/ a hint of what we decided was cinnamon…but we’re probably wrong…   

The lunch menu gives you a choice of a meat w/ 2 sides – dinner is the same, but double the portion of meat.  I went with the smothered pork chop, greens, and mac-n-cheese. Others in the party got salmon croquettes, fried chicken, and smothered chicken…sides varied, but primarily mashed pertaters, green beans, black eyed peas…etc.

I think I had worked myself up and expected a whole lot from Queenie’s – especially the sides.  Could be that I used to work with a lot of wonderful ladies who would bring in hot water cornbread, greens, mac-n-cheese, chicken, and other deliciocities that make my mouth water, still, just thinking of them…

Our wonderful waitress brought out our lunch pretty quickly and we all started to dig in.  I grabbed my fork and went right for the mac….ouch….not gonna say much about the mac – 'cause I’m not mean, but lets consolidate what could be a lengthy description to just “bland”.   So…I went for the greens – the greens lacked seasoning…Lets move on to the good stuff – the “smothered” part –  the gravy that coated my bone in pork chop was delicious!  So delicious that I sopped it up with the some of the 2nd basket of cornbread that had graced our table – all the way to clean plate status!   The consensus among the attendees was consistent – sides need some work, but the main dishes were right on point!  Man 1 and Otis loved the seasoning on the fried chicken, Chickadoo liked her Salmon Croquettes, and Candypants was impressed with her smothered chicken!

As much as it pains me (please understand, it’s necessary for me to remain in good order with the gods of the food blogosphere) it is my duty to give a somewhat stale review.  If it wasn’t for the sides, I’d go back in a heartbeat – if not just to visit with our waitress!  We also found out that Queenie’s has breakfast on Saturday’s – Chicken and Waffles anyone?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Spread the Jelly

We would like to give a big shout out to for sharing a link and helping spread The Gangs jelly!  Go check out her site if you haven't seen it yet.  It contains a great deal of information regarding some of the best things happening in our remarkable city!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hillbilly Tea

Hillbilly Tea
120 South 1st Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Today’s adventure was just a hop, skip and a jump away from our home base to Hillbilly Tea (HT). A few of us had been before, but for the rest of the gang this would be their first experience with this unassuming downtown eatery. With so many interesting things to share about HT this entry will be broken down into 3 parts; tea, entrees, and last but certainly not least, desserts!!!
Considering that “tea” is included in the name of the place, one would expect nothing less than to have a great glass (in this case jar) of ice tea or cup of hot tea. HT certainly did not disappoint on this front. They have an eclectic selection of teas and in addition to those listed on the website there are a number of other specialty teas that vary daily. I ordered traditional sweet tea, Man 1 & 2 ordered the lemon basil tea, and our co-worker (Candypants) ordered the jasmine green tea. As I have come to find restaurants that make sweet tea as good as mom’s are few and far between, but HT may have actually done it! Of course, if you happen to share this comment with my mom I will certainly deny it! The lemon basil tea, the overall group favorite, had just the right amount of lemon and was a perfect complement to our desserts (more about those tasty treats later). Candypants, a jasmine tea connoisseur, felt the jasmine tea needed more jasmine and less sugar and in a word was “disappointed”

HT has a seasonal menu consisting of a small but diverse collection of down home favorites with an unexpected twist. Vegetarians & vegans need not shy away from HT as it as has several vegetarian and vegan options (even a vegan dessert of the day) to satisfy your non-carnivorous dining needs.
After much discussion, Man 2 and I decided on The Appalachian Trail Tea Platter, served in a wooden box, came with a sampling of fried frog legs, braised greens, chow chow (a sweet, pickled relish traditionally made in the south that utilizes vegetables left over at the end of the summer's harvest), a cup of bison chili, corn pone (corn bread), and a hillbilly dessert. At $28 for two, including tea The Appalachian Platter may seem a bit pricey for lunch, but it was well worth the cost. The platter offered a way for us to try many of the menu items that we may have otherwise overlooked and in this case introduced us to some new favorites, especially the hillbilly desserts!!
Please note: the tea platter for two is served in two separate boxes. Man 2 nearly had a panic attack when our server presented us with one box of food and explained that this WAS the platter for 2. In the few minutes before our server returned to straighten this out, I watched the fear/anxiety build in Man 2’s eyes while he contemplated two things: 1) How in the world could they charge us $28 for this and 2) How can I convince Chickadoo that she would be much happier walking across the street for a delicious sack of White Castles, so that I can have this platter all to myself. Luckily the server returned just in time to save me from a trip across the street!
Once we were able to each enjoy our own box of food, both of us agreed that the frog leg was our least favorite. The batter was too thick, but on the bright side the sauce that was served with it was great. The greens were perfectly cooked until just wilted with tiny bits of bacon, mmmmm bacon. The corn pone and chow chow were equally as good, but by far the best of the Appalachian Trail Tea Platter was the bison chili. Thoughts of enjoying more of this amazing chili have eased my longing for the warm sunny days of spring. Everyone in our group excluding our vegetarian friend, who for obvious reasons did not try the chili, loved it.

Man 1 was a fan of the bison burger and our vegetarian friend was equally pleased with her marinated portabella mushroom sandwich. Both commented that the biscuit on which their sandwiches were served was a nice touch. Sandwiches come with sweet potato chips which were also very good. Vegetarian friend subbed her chips for pit roasted sweet potatoes. I did not get to try those but I definitely have my eye on them for my next visit. Candypants had the smoked chicken salad on a bed of greens with apple and stale bread, and added a side of corn pone. The chicken salad looked great and I heard no complaints.
It takes a very special place to get the Lunch Pail Gang to do its first dessert review, but try as we might there was really no avoiding those tasty treats that HT had to offer. Walking into HT your eye is instantly drawn to the counter where the desserts of the day are charmingly displayed in various glass containers. When you place your order at the counter you can hear them calling out to you, begging you to take them home. As mentioned earlier the Appalachian Platter included dessert, so Man 2 and I had no choice but to get dessert. I had my eyes on a lemon sandwich cookie, but was informed that the platter included any dessert except for that cookie because it was the vegan dessert. Disappointed, I “settled” for the chocolate torte. Man 2 went with the apple pie. Once settled into our seats and while waiting for our food I was happy, in fact may have even squealed with delight, when I found out that Man 1 had ordered the hillbilly tea cookies. An order of cookies includes 6 cookies, 2 of each of the cookies of the day. On this day the cookies were a peanut butter no bake cookie, a chocolate brownie cookie, and a shortbread cookie with strawberry preserves. Although, Man 1 initially did not want to share his cookies, he eventually gave in and let us all try a bite of each. All of the cookies were fantastic and each of us had our own personal favorite. I do not have words to describe the deliciousness that was the chocolate torte; perhaps life changing is too strong. The apple pie was good but serving it warm would have been a game changer. As we were enjoying all of our tasty treats and thinking that things could not possibly get any better, our server mistakenly brought us over a lemon sandwich cookie (yes, the same lemon sandwich cookie I had pined for earlier). We explained that we did not order it but he left it for us anyway. The lemon cookie was as good as the rest of the treats, but may get extra props for being delicious and VEGAN!

Obviously, The Lunch Pail Gang thoroughly enjoyed our lunch at Hillbilly Tea, and I know that you will too. Just remember to save room for dessert or two or three!

- Chickadoo

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Queen of Sheba: Wet Naps Included

Queen of Sheba
2804 Taylorsville Rd.

This was the most anxious the Lunch Pail Gang had been to date. I use the word "anxious" because we were unsure of what to expect. Ethiopian cuisine was uncharted territory, but nothing will stop us from diving in feet first...or should I say fingers first! Queen of Sheba offers an authentic Ethiopian experience where all your party's food is served together on one large platter. Each platter comes with rolls of flat bread called Injera. Ethiopian food is commonly eaten with your fingers by taking a piece of the Injera, scooping up your food, and shoving it all in your mouth.  Ethiopian food is actually quite healthy and the bread is low in carbohydrates. Queen of Sheba stands by their tradition of using zero canned or frozen foods. All veggies are fresh and all meat is USDA approved.

We started our meal with two orders of Sambussa, fried pastry shells filled with your choice of Beef or chicken mixed with peppers, garlic and Ethiopian Spices. The pastry shell had the perfect crunch of crispiness and the filling was packed with so much flavor we were all very satisfied. To be honest, the sambussa made us feel more comfortable about the mystery of the meal of which we were about to indulge.

After a short wait, our lovely waitress (who by the way was very helpful in our selections since we had no idea what we were ordering) laid in front of us the platter of assorted meats and side salads. We decided, with the help of our waitress, that we should try a little of everything. Our meal included an order of lamb tips, beef tips, and the traditional chicken stew. Each order came with fresh salad and lentil stew called Kik Wot. At first glance one might second guess themselves. It's not what most Americans are used to, but once you breathe in the aroma and notice the preparation that goes into the display of the food you can't wait to get a taste.

The gang enjoyed it all very much. Chickadoo was the most skeptical, but once she got over the spongy texture of the bread I think she was satisfied. Man 2 loved it to the very last bite...literally. And I will be going back that's for sure. Overall, we would say the lamb was the best and a must try to any newcomer. Queen of Sheeba also offers a wide menu for vegans. A friendly vegetarian couple allowed us to take a picture of their platter (see below). They ordered collard greens and mushrooms.

After your meal, and if you are a coffee consumer, we suggest trying some of Sheba's authentic Ethiopian coffee. It wasn't like anything I have tried before so the best way I can describe it is by calling it very rich and full of flavor - a hint of clove. Just trust me and try it! If anything, the pot it comes in can act as a great center piece for the table.

Step out of your comfort zone of cheesburgers or sandwiches for lunch and step into Queen of Sheba...Try something new.

Melkam Megeb! (enjoy your meal)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

T-H-O and Good Slaw

3rd Avenue Cafe
1164 S. 3rd St.
Old Louisville

Bring your electric blankets, one and all, to 3rd Avenue Cafe in charming Old Louisville!  As we stepped into the familiar kitschy dining room LPG stated, in unison, "cold in here!"  I think the Elvis maniquin by the front door had a frozen booger hanging from his nose.... it may have just been a paint chip or something, I'm not really sure.  Regardless of the climate, we were all excited to hit up this popular local lunch spot. 

Chickadoo ordered the black bean burger and homemade mesquite potato chips.
I tried it - it was tasty.....tasty for something that doesn't have meat in it.... I remember Chickadoo saying "this tastes know, just like mashed up beans."  The homemade chips were great - kindof reminded me of Grippos without the sweetness.  I really enjoyed the Foccacia bread that this was served on...better than a traditional bun would have been.

Man 1 and I both got the same thing....something that we swore never to do, but did anyway.  Shows you where we draw the line on formality...stand strong LPG, stand strong.... The Jerk Pork Sandwich and Honey Mustard Cashew Cole Slaw.

Our food had arrived after I consumed 2 ice waters and developed a mean case of THO  - I was hoping for a hot n' spicy meal to warm my chilled bones.  The pork was okay....served as a boneless butterflied chop on a bun with some great hot sauce concoction on the side...I don't think they put much jerk seasoning on the pork - didn't get much of that sweet/hot flavor I was looking for.  But the cole slaw....ahhhh, the cole slaw.  I think it might be my favorite slaw of all time....well, almost - there is an old place called The Log Inn near Evansville that my lovely wife grew up frequenting - and they have great slaw...but still, this slaw was the shizzle. 

The grub was tasty - but unfortunately, I think the frostbite that was forming on my toes distracted me from enjoying this place as much as I think I would/could have...This was my 2nd encounter with 3rd Avenue Cafe and I may wait until the summertime to have another. 

The Sauce is the Boss

La Rosita
336 Pearl St.
New Albany, IN

Today the luck of the draw took the Lunch Pail gang on an adventure north of the border (southern Indiana) to La Rosita for a little south of the border flavor. This was my first time at the new location on Pearl Street. Although, it was lacking some of the charm of the original location, the new space was nice and large enough to accommodate bigger groups and most importantly now has a fully stocked bar.

The Lunch Pail Gang (LPG) started with and order of chips and salsa. The chips at La Rosita are not complementary, but at a mere $2.50 it is definitely a must! The chips arrived quickly and were light, crispy, and perfectly seasoned. The real star here, though, was the sauce. With an order of chips you receive your choice of 4 sauces; guacamole, mild salsa, a chipotle barbeque salsa, and habanero salsa.

I spent most of the rest of the lunch trying to figure out how I was going to sneak these four bottles of deliciousness out of there in my small clutch purse, but had a change of heart when realized this is definitely a place I would want to return to.

My entrée was the La Rosita Burrito which was filled with rice, whole black beans, cilantro, sour cream, and a choice of chicken or steak. I opted for the chicken while Man 2 went for the steak. The burrito was massive, and as much I wanted to finish every bite I was only able to finish half, Man 2 powered through, but we both agreed that next time we should probably share a burrito. Man 1, however, was not on board with this plan because he was the one who got to take the other half of my burrito home for dinner.

La Rosita is hands down one of the best authentic Mexican restaurants I’ve been too and it is definitely worth a trip across the river. We are already planning another trip for happy hour to determine if the Margaritas are as good as the food.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ollie's Trolley

978 S 3rd St
Louisville, KY 40203
(502) 583-5214

Rumor has it that the trolley seen in the picture to the left has an interesting story on how it ended up on the corner of 3rd and Kentucky. It all started with the great power outage of 1979. Downtown Louisville went dark for four whole days after a ice storm moved through the Ohio Valley. Power was out, the city's trolley system was at a stand still and that included everyone's favorite traveling food car, Ollie's Trolley. Before I go on with the story and tell you why the trolley still resides there today, you must know a little background of who Ollie was. Ollie (last name unknown) self started this food chain in the early 70's from the ground up. He was a retired Trolley operator for the city, so naturally he came up with the idea to have a burger joint on wheels or rails to be more specific. As time went on the company expanded to surrounding cities, but Ollie's business wasn't the only thing growing. Ollie himself had grown to over 600 lbs. with his diet consisting solely of Ollie burgers and signature fries. You see, he spent all day and night grilling burgers on this trolley that eventually he became too large to ever fit through the trolley's doors. So that's where Ollie lived, right there on the food car. Doing the two things he loved most...eating and trolley operating.
Back to the story - So there Ollie was out of power, out of food, and freezing. He was able to keep warm by the hot friers for a day and half before they went cold, but by that third day Ollie was forced to bust out of there. With the doors to small to fit through, he came up with the idea to jump up and down on the wooden emergency hatch until he broke through. He busted through with ease but not without getting stuck. So now there he was, lodged in the floor of his own trolley car. Can't go up, can't go down, just stuck. After about an hour of planning he rocked that trolley side to side trying to dislodge it from the rails thinking he could walk it down the street like Fred Flintsone. Can you believe that this 600+ pound-man got enough momentum he succeeded and rocked that trolley loose. However he only made it about 40 yards before he died from heart failure. He was eventually removed from his resting place but the trolley remained. Of course none of that story is true or makes much sense for that matter, but it's better than the real reason for its odd location whatever that may be.

Now on to the food. Not much to say really. The picture below speaks for itself. Nothing but meat, grease and Ollie's special sauce. I felt 600 lbs. myself after eating that.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Kayrouz Cafe

Kayrouz Cafe
127 Wiltshire Ave
St. Matty's

The Lunch Pail Gang stepped into Kayrouz Cafe at around 11:30 on the first Monday of 2011.  Though they had no clue, I would hope that they feel privileged given that theirs was the pioneer restaurant on our gastric journey through the Louisville metropolitan area.  Early birds, as always (seeing as our stomachs consistently start talking shit at 10:30am or so), it looked like we were the first patrons of the day.  The restaurant was nice…small and quaint.  Attentive and chipper, a lovely young waitress came promptly to take our drink orders…waters all around - with lemon, please.  I had started stalking the menu by 10am that morning and had a good idea of what I was going to order, as did the rest of LPG.  We quickly picked our poison and watched as more and more people piled into the small dining area (seats 30, give or take, indoors).  Mixed bag of clientele – from the informal home refinance meeting, mother daughter lunch outing, to, what I can only assume is the geriatric version of our own fine club.  We were sardines by noon and people started walking in and turning to leave after they’d seen the packed house.   

I had ordered the Crabby Joe – explained to be an 8oz fresh ground sirloin burger that’s smothered w/ lump crab, sundried tomatoes, garlic, blue cheese, spicy mayo, and the other typical burger fixens.  I opted for the regular fries though they offered the ever so trendy sweet potato variety.  Another member also got a burger and fries, though his was topped with pepper-jack, bacon, and homemade aioli.  He ordered it sans bacon…..wierd I know.  I felt I should inform him that bacon is a gift from God that should be consumed at any and all opportunities you find yourself lucky enough to be in its presence, but decided to keep myself quiet not to ruin our inaugural outing.  Chickadoo ordered what was titled the B-Nally.  Picture a grilled cheese on the juice – veins popping and muscles twitching…that is the B-Nally - and I must say, it sounded delicious. 

Our food arrived and the consumption began.  I was impressed with the quality of the burger – cooked to a nice medium, as I had ordered.  The crab concoction that topped my patty was good…not great…but good.  I felt like the crab should have played a bigger role in the production, but was left in the background of the bold flavor of the beef.  The fries were batter dipped and deep fried – I especially liked the “crispies”.  The quality of a restaurants pickle spear weighs in heavily for me – and they had a pretty nice pickle.

I’ll go back – the menu had nice variation and I’m excited to try out some other stuff. 


Crabby Joe