When winter winds nip at the nose, when the clouds spit snow and puddles freeze – that is the time for comforting meals of stew in steaming bowls accompanied by chunks of crusty bread.
Stews are an elemental food, harkening back to dim times when a single earthen pot simmered over a fire, the repository for whatever was hunted and gathered that day. Most cultures that eventually coalesced from our first ancestors kept this primordial food memory, and at the heart of most cuisines are many and varied stews, whether they are called pot au feu, goulash or râgout, boeuf bourguignon, bigos or burgoo, cassoulet, cholent or cioppino, feijoada, hasenpfeffer or hot pot.
The practical value of the stew concept is neatly summarized by The Oxford Companion To Food, with a description that cuts to the heart of the ubiquity of stew in so many cultures: “The mixture of ingredients in a thick and opaque sauce casts a veil of uncertainty over the proportions of expensive ingredients to cheap ones.” Stews stretch what is available to sate many stomachs; the flexibility of the concept allows for the satisfying of varying tastes; and the use of available native ingredients permits endless variations on a theme.
Continue reading Cooking with Ron—Stews to Chase the Winter Blues
At Food & Dining we are often asked: “What is your favorite dish?”
We have the pleasure of covering one of the most robust restaurant cities in all of America with more than 1,200 restaurants at last count. It’s like asking Mother Goose’s “the old woman in a shoe” who her favorite child is.
We decided to focus on four dishes that everyone eats at least occasionally, and almost everyone has an opinion about. Not fancy preparations or exotic ingredients, but those standard dishes we can all relate to, and debate about: a good bar burger, chicken wings, a fried fish sandwich and a Hot Brown.
The Food & Dining staff got together, tossed around their ideas and, after some lively debate, came up with our choices for these four dishes. Let’s see how they stack up against your list. Continue reading STAFF PICKS
HopCat is a beer bar like the Rolling Stones are a rock band and LeBron James is a basketball player. Simple descriptions don’t always tell the whole story.
In fact, HopCat is a craft beer conundrum. It’s a growing Midwestern company boasting 12 regional locations, with more to come, and yet each one generally has more locally brewed beers on tap than nearby “indie” craft beer bars.
Uniquely tailored to their chosen neighborhoods, HopCat locations consciously seek to be as much a part of their community as the mom-and-pop joint right down the street.
HopCat garners national praise, but it soft-pedals superlatives, modestly describing itself as “a home for craft beer lovers,” as well as promoting recycling and sustainability, engaging with local breweries and beer geeks, and serving food “like mom would make if she loved craft beer.” That is, if your mom had room for an eye-popping 132 draft beers, which is HopCat’s signature.
Continue reading HopCat is the Craft Beer Lover’s Meow
Well, the restaurant growth in the Louisville area continues apace. Since the last issue in August, Food & Dining this issue is adding 33 new restaurants to its listings, a dozen of which are additional outlets of existing businesses. Only 15 restaurants have closed, or have announced that they will do so; three of those closings are businesses that are folding one of multiple locations. So, polish up those charge cards and get ready to try some new dining spots. Continue reading Coming & Goings
The local restaurant scene continues to be on a tear. In this issue, F&D is listing 30 restaurants that have opened in the last three months (or are scheduled to open by the fall) – 23 new concepts and seven new locations for businesses that have decided now is the time to open additional outlets. Continue reading Comings & Goings — Fall 2016
It is a deceptively simple notion to modify the flavor of beer by aging it in Bourbon barrels. Just as char and time transform simpler corn-based spirits into a sipper’s elixir, so a barrel’s second use with beer can create a characterful hybrid, balancing the chosen base beer with notes of vanilla and spices.
This principle holds true when using barrels previously filled with other liquors or wine, and to a more subtle extent, by exposing beer to various types of wood (most often oak) through chips or spirals. Continue reading HIP HOPS— Goodwood Brewing Co.
People who know me won’t be surprised by the analogy that came to mind as I sat down to sample Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey, a new product from a veteran of the local distilling industry. What jumped into my head was the rabbit-duck illusion, an ambiguous 19th-century German drawing depicting a rabbit that, if you look again, looks like a duck, or a duck, if you blink, that resembles a rabbit. Which creature is it? Continue reading Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey
For three years a massive project has been going on at the Speed Art Museum, a transformation of the staid 1927 Neo-classical landmark into a new space that will be a center of education, exploration and appreciation of creativity in all its forms. Along with a modern addition that invites the community in, it is also an institution alive with ideas of reaching out.
Included in the impressive new edifice at 2035 S. Third Street is a modern café, Wiltshire at the Speed, combining the creative vision of owner Susan Hershberg and Executive Chef Coby Ming to complement the museum’s mission to both invite and serve. Continue reading Wiltshire at the Speed — talents combine for artful eating
[Originally Published in the Winter 2015 issue of Food & Dining Magazine.]
I write to you today to bring your attention to a terrible plight, one that exists in plain view, yet remains unquestioned by many in our great nation. I speak to you of the AntiGluten Movement. As you may or may not be aware, a vast rightwing AntiGluten conspiracy threatens the existence of these remarkable creatures. We ask you today to do what you can to help correct this before it is too late, thereby restoring balance to the Force while simultaneously saving the polar bears. Girded with the facts below, you can make a difference. Continue reading Save the Glutens — A Public Service Announcement
Our wine panel picks good values from their favorite wine regions, explaining why and how local conditions influence the character of wine.
Often, people who want to know more about wine get befuddled because there seems to be too much to learn — grape varieties and vintages and appellations and labels that supposedly tell a lot, but appear to be written in code. One way is to sample wines of a particular region, to understand how the geography and geology and climate of a place affect the growth of grapes and determine the style of wines it produces. Continue reading Cork 101: Regional Picks — All Wine is Local