Foodie Friday. Pho Ba Luu

pho ba luu

I recently moved to the historical Butchertown in Louisville, and it is definitely everything I imagined it would be: centrally-located to the happenings of the downtown scene, yet still far enough removed that I can sit peacefully on my stoop and enjoy the silence of the day. However, even with the young and slightly eccentric individuals that seem to move into the area on an almost daily basis, and the addition of Butchertown Grocery, the neighborhood has been seriously missing the local and unique culinary establishments that other neighborhoods in the city seem to boast. 

All that recently changed though when the new Vietnamese restaurant, Pho Ba Luu, opened on East Main St this fall. 

By recreating the street fare she experienced growing up in Saigon, Jessica Mach- Pho Ba Luu’s co-owner- is bringing traditional Vietnamese cuisine to Louisville. The restaurant’s menu boasts everything from pho to spring rolls and bahn mi sandwiches, and also features a variety of rice and noodle bowls as well.

What makes Pho Ba Luu’s menu truly stand out though?

The simplicity of its dishes, which are made from scratch on a daily basis with local, seasonal ingredients.

During my last visit, I tasted the chicken Pho bowl and was completely delighted with both the broth (a key component when it comes to an exceptional bowl of pho) and the small bag of additional ingredients that accompany each bowl that you order: Thai basil, a lime slice, bean sprouts, sriracha and a jalapeño that brings all the flavors and smells together in savory unison. The spring rolls are also particularly delightful, which is probably why I order them in addition to my bowl of pho almost every time I visit the local haunt.

With it’s simple and fresh perspective on what Vietnamese food should taste like and a modern approach on how it is served, Pho Ba Luu is a delightful mainstay in Butchertown, and will hopefully serve a model for future restaurants hoping to establish themselves in this neighborhood as well. 

Eats. A Local Lunchtime Favorite

 

north end cafe

I have to be honest, the first time I tried quinoa I was completely clueless as to what it was, or even how to pronounce it (I still don’t even know if I’ve mastered the latter). However, one thing I did know was that the grain was being heralded in as the next big thing in the vegetarian world, and not being much of a carnivore myself, I had to see what all the buzz was about.

Fast-forward to now, and I not only seriously enjoy this edible seed, but I actually actively seek it out on menus. One such menu that is included in this search is the one at North End Cafe in Louisville. This restaurant boasts a variety of options for those seeking vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free plates, and my favorite menu item is the chickpea and quinoa cake.

The cake is a baked combination of chickpeas and quinoa seeds that is topped with grilled vegetables that are locally-grown, crumbled goat cheese, red pepper coulis, and a balsamic reduction that is lightly drizzled on top. The vegetables are grilled perfectly to a crisp in order to balance out the softer consistency of the cake, and the goat cheese tangos beautifully with the balsamic reduction. These elements, combined with that coveted feeling of being satisfied and not stuffed after eating, are what make this one of my favorite lunch dishes in the city.

To learn more about North End Cafe and to see there menu, click here.

Eats. The Best Coffee Companion in Louisville

 

please and thank you yogurt parfait

If you live in Louisville, or have perused any food-related magazines lately, you probably know that the local culinary scene has become a true tour de force. Every week, a new restaurant opens up, and food bloggers are often liken to local celebrities because of all the mouth-watering chatter that circulates over the next big thing to come out of the city’s restaurant scene.

Besides the fact I am a self-proclaimed “foodie” (whatever that really means), this extreme local emphasis on food is why I started this Friday addition to The Chic Street. However, instead of only writing about a restaurant as a whole, I have decided to up the ante, get more specific and start a discussion on some of my favorite local dishes as well.

This edition of Foodie Friday is focused on a classic that I indulge in almost weekly when patronizing Please and Thank You: a local coffee joint that is an absolute favorite of mine. Though minimal in its ingredients, the Granola Parfait is a constant companion to the frequent coffee and work days that are spent at this Louisville establishment. The granola is made in-house, and baked with cinnamon for a nice, crispy texture that pairs perfectly with the vanilla yogurt and layers of fresh fruit that consist of strawberries and blueberries. Fresh mint then tops off this dish, which is truly as simple as it is truly delightful.

Eats. Harvest on Market

 

harvest on market louisville

Harvest, a restaurant of many firsts, had me at one simple, yet genius idea: bourbon and coffee. (Ok, the official name of this lively concoction is actually the Kentucky Wake-Me-Up, but the premise is pretty straightforward.) No, the restaurant is not the first to mix alcohol with caffeine, and they surely will not be the last, but they were one of the firsts to truly champion the farm-to-table movement here in Louisville. They were also one of the first businesses to bring locals flocking to what was once a relatively unknown part of the city when they opened their doors in 2010 on East Market Street.

However, even with all their firsts, it is Harvest’s understated dishes and a menu that pays homage to the restaurant’s Southern roots that keep all of us coming back for more.

I have visited Harvest on many occasions, and tried several items on their menu with, but here is a rundown of some of my favorite, current dishes:

Brunch– The Grit-N-Goo (pictured above) combines a helping of three cheese grits with burgoo, chive biscuits and a sunny side egg, and tops it all off with hot sauce. Who doesn’t like all their favorite breakfast items in one bowl?

Lunch– If you want a light lunch, go for the cheese board. It boasts an impressive combination of Wabash cannonball & fuji apple mostarda, Pharoah’s reserve cheddar and country ham jam, and a serving of Tulip Tree trillium and apple butter. However, if you prefer a larger dish, try the Louismill cornmeal crusted catfish. The combination of breading and catfish leaves you feeling full, but in the best way possible. 

Dinner– If you are a cheese aficionado, the spinach ricotta tortellini with garlic chèvre soubise will be the most delectable dish you have ever devoured. Instead of overpowering its ingredients, the tortellini serves as a mere casing for the ricotta and garlic sauce, so you get a true burst of flavor with single every bite.

Now, get out there and enjoy one of Louisville’s culinary treasures, and say hello to the restaurant’s new leader, chef Patrick Roney, while you are at it.

Coffee Talk. Cecil Beaton Knows Best

iPhone Pic: My Morning View at Le Moo

This week has been quite intense with everything that is going on locally for Derby. However, even with all the social appointments, deadlines and festivities, I am learning to sit back, enjoy some coffee and be just be grateful.

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”

-Cecil Beaton

Eats. Happy Hour Edition

When it comes to winding down after a long week, I often prefer to enjoy a few libations with friends. Recently, I became acquainted with The Corner, a cozy and trendy- both of these dueling aesthetics are represented seamlessly- lounge located on the ground floor of Aloft Hotel.

The bites, such as the Crispy Brussels, are truly palatable, and the mixologists are as knowledgable in the art of drink-making as any that you would see in the competing bigger cities. Plus, on certain nights of the week, the establishment has live music to accompany your cocktail of choice, and that alone was enticing enough for me.

See their full menu here.