Saturday, November 12, 2011

Wild Eggs

I savor rare moments when I am allowed a chance to catch up with my crazy busy friends who are almost all married, working full time, and chasing around their little ones. I like to pretend that I am busy too but seriously, I have more free time and hobbies than anyone should ...hence this food blog. But anyway, like I was saying, I relish the chance to catch up with friends and even more so when I get to meet them out to eat.

Lindsey and I decided to meet at Wild Eggs. I had dined here on two occasions a few years ago and I  recall going bonkers for the "Surfer Girl" - fresh spinach, mushrooms and tomato, adding a little bit of healthy goodness, along with the oddly enjoyable taste of alfalfa sprouts, all mixed in with my favorites - avo, pico, sour cream, and cream cheese baby, yeah. I went in with my mind set on ordering this for the third time. However, I had to change up my plan fast when I realized that Lindsey, who was about 7 months preggers at this time, was game for a gluttonous feast! See photo below.

Now keep in mind that she is a very thin gal and you can hardly tell that she's with child. I am not skinny by any means but I think most people would consider me a smaller woman. So you can only imagine the looks we got from surrounding tables. The two of us, feasting on a platter that could easily feed three hungry was pretty funny

Lindsey started things off right when she ordered an enormous cappuccino with whip cream. She immediately informed me that she wanted to order two entrees for herself and baby. She chose the Kelsey KY Brown (their verson of a hot brown) It sizzles with applewood bacon, creamy white cheddar cheese, and savory turkey, all piled on sourdough bread, and topped with fried eggs and diced tomato. Her second pick was the Rasberries and Lemon Oh My! This buttermilk cake is filled with tangy lemon curd, fresh rasberries, along with a heavenly rasberry sauce, powdered sugar, and topped with whipped cream of course. I sampled a lot of this baby and could not get enough of the rasberry sauce...oh, so fresh and so sweet!

I pondered over ordering one of their decadent crepes, the Sweet Home Apple Bourbon. But I found myself going with a hearty breakfast instead, the Kalamity Katie's Border Benedict. This bad daddy included two eggs over medium - just a little runny in the middle, which was nice - tasty chorizo, creamy fundido cheese, along with my favs - pico, fresh avo, and cream cheese. I didn't care for the green chili cheddar corn cake. It was just like dry corn bread. My dish came with a huge side of standard skillet potoatos and a muffin. However, I opted for the nicely toasted wheat bread instead - my only healthy choice at this platter. Needless to say, we had one hell of a feast. And don't worry, we did take home some boxes.

Wild Eggs is a great spot and definitely earns my recommendation. There are now three locations in Louisville and they are almost always packed for breakfast, brunch, and lunch. You should expect a longish wait on the weekends for breakfast and brunch. But also expect wonderful food and service.

The next time you wanna catch up and celebrate a meal with a good friend, don't hold back. Have yourself a Wild Eggs platter for 2 or better yet, for 3...and Live to Eat !!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cafe Lou Lou

Back in my mid-twenties, I often found myself heading out for drinks and dinner in the Clifton Area of Louisville. My "Bicardi and Diet"-loving roomies introduced me to a cozy little spot called Cafe Lou Lou. The atmosphere had me under it's spell immediately with funky Pop Art, bold colored walls, and a wait staff that were hip in a non-pretentious way. These were the days when I went to dinner for the drinks and the gossip. Great food was just an added bonus - a far cry from my current foodie state. I was a little baffled by the menu selections that feature Italian-Mediterranean-NOLA style cuisine. However, I fell in love with the first thing I ordered here. Simply, the Grilled Chicken Roll, which includes fresh greenes and tomatoes, pesto aioli, roasted red peppers, and feta cheese, all wrapped in lovely lavish bread. I would kill for it! With a choice of spicy Cajun Crisps (fries), Mediterranean pasta salad, or sauteed veggies, this roll has and will always be my Lou Lou favorite. My roomies had their order down to a science - Hummus appetizer, split the Four Cheese Calzone with a side Caesar Salad and keep the Bicardi and Diets coming...

Our hearts were shattered when we heard the news that Cafe Lou Lou was moving to the St. Matthews area. While I dearly adore this part of town, I was scared that Lou Lou would change it's ways in order to cater to a BMW driving crowd. Fortunately this has not been the case at all. My beloved Lou Lou remained much the same. In fact the decor, menu, and wait staff didn't change at all! When it first opended, the old roomies and I headed to new Lou Lou on a few Wednesdays for half-priced wine bottles. About a year later we moved to the Highlands and were elated to learn that a second location was opening. And even better...they deliver!! God knows how many Chicken Rolls were delivered to that address.

Over the past few years, I have sampled a handful of other menu options. You can't go wrong with any of their specialty Gourmet Pizzas such as Smoked Salmon, Buffalo Chicken, Mediterranean, and Hot Brown. There is also a "Build your Own" pizza option, several other types of Rolls, Sandwhiches, Pastas, Soups, and Salads. The prices are so reasonable that the dinner menu almost seems like lunch prices. I am not familiar with their beer menu but have heard it's good, offering a handful of options from BBC - a great local brewery, and some other micro-brews nearby. I might have to check out the beer next time I go, along with the  Black Bean Lasagna or perhaps the Jambalaya, both are known to be convicted killers. What can I say? I like to live dangerously. Until next time, Live to eat Cafe Lou Lou!! 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Destin Seafood Extravaganza... A Happy Holladay

Nothing is better than a beach vacation, especially one that is filled with loads upon loads of fresh seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. It's been about two weeks since I returned from paradise, aka Fort Walton Beach, and I am still coming down from my seafood high. Let's re-live my wonderful seafood extravaganza!

My brother Michael and I hopped a flight on Thursday evening and took off for a long weekend vacation with our parents in Florida. We were tickled to see Judi and Steve waiting for us at the gate, decked out in full beach gear. They had driven down five days prior and were already looking like locals. Mom's skin was glowing with a tan, dad was sporting a scruffy "beach bum" beard, and they were both grinning from ear to ear. I was absolutely famished and could not wait to chow on an early seafood dinner. We headed to a casual ocean-side restaurant called Floyd's Shrimp House Luckily we didn't have to deal with a crowd and we were happy to sit near the beach volleyball courts that were still filled with players. The food at Floyd's can best be described as seafood bar food. My shrimp tacos were spiced just right and were sprinkled with a tangy sauce. I was a little envious of Micheal's grilled Mahi Mahi, which was much better than mom's Grouper. The Shrimp Queso app was a little weird but I kept eating it so I guess it wasn't bad and the Fried Pickles were super salty but I kept eating them too. I was feeling really tired and spaced out due to the long day of work and travel, so my recollection of this place is somewhat jaded. I will simply say that I liked everything just fine.

For our next seafood dinner, we headed to a Destin hot spot called Pampano Joe's. This neighborhood beach house is located along the scenic old Highway 98. It provides both outdoor patio seating with live music and indoor/outdoor ocean-side seating. We chose the latter. Beloved for it's bustling and down-to-earth atmosphere, you can't help but feel positive energy here, which is probably due to the lively wait staff and sing-along music. It has a Caribbean flair that is displayed in the general decor and the unique style of seafood. I went with one of the Caribbean entrees. The Island Shrimp were deliciously grilled and skewered, plump and juicy, ranking about a 6.5 on my spicy scale. I did not care for the jerk flavoring of my side of Chutney. It seemed too similiar to traditional BBQ sauce, which I don't care for. Poor Micheal was struggling with a sun burn this night. However, his frosty Pina Colada and scrumptuous Swordfish alleviated the pain. Light and airy in taste, with a firm texture and creamy to the maximum level, I was utterly envious of his meal. There were four artichokes and scallops engulfing the fish, all topped with fresh tomato and greatly enhancing the flavor of the fish. I guess I worked really hard at laying around on the beach all day, because I was the first to finish my plate. I happily sipped my beachy cocktail and helped everyone finish their meal. More happiness entailed when dad ordered a piece of Key Lime pie. Finger-lickin whipped cream on top of the rich and tangy lime, left us in awe. And please don't let me forget about the sinfully buttered, graham cracker, crust!

The next night we headed to another seafood joint on old 98 called The Crab Trap. This quaint, ocean-side restaurant won me over with it's elegant yet casual atmosphere, impeccable service, and the best shrimp I've had in years. While I enjoyed the spicy kick of Pampano's shrimp, they just couldn't measure up to the plump, buttery, goodness of what I found at the Crab Trap. And speaking of Crab, it needs to be mentioned that this was my first experience cracking crab legs! That's right dear readers, I lost my crab cracking virginity on this special night. And stangely my mom was there to coach me along. Mom, Dad and Michael have been crab leg lovers for several years now, so they were more than happy to show me the way. I enjoyed every bit of the tasty legs. However, I must say that they wore me out...

The next night my family was ready for round two of crab legging at The Old Bay Steamer, but I chose to opt out and went with the Mahi Mahi special instead. This fish was A-MA-ZING. It was served on top of a beautiful tomato based linguini with a bit of wine flavoring .A great move on my part, as everyone tasted and immediately coveted my special meal. This place is a little more "under the radar". It sits a block or two from Fort Walton Beach and I am sure it has it's fair share of tourists, but it doesn't seem to be heavily marketed, as I was not able to find a website. The decor here is very colorful and jazzy, with a bit of a NOLA vibe. And the atmosphere is busy and energetic while keeping it's cool. The Old Bay Steamer definitely earns my recommendation, along with the other places.

We hit one more restaurant before flying out. However this unique, Irish brewery and pub is in a league of it's own and will be posted at a later date in time. Until next time, live to eat....SEAFOOD!!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Comfy Cow

Well it's officially Fall, and even though it's my favorite season, I am feeling a little sad to see the Summer go. It was such a hot one that I often felt it necessary to cool off with a little ice cream indulgence. I discovered The Comfy Cow one weekend night, after I finished getting my weekly fix of Mexican food with my friend, Patrick. He had spoken highly of it a few times and even though I was super full and trying to keep the body swimsuit worthy, I went in for the kill. The line was literally out the door and down the sidewalk! Fortunately, the line moved fast and it was nice to have a little time to let my quesedilla digest. I would normally go straight for anything chocolate, but decided on the interesting flavor of Watermelon Mint. The watermelon was highly refreshing and the mint was subtle. Both of these together added a light amount of lingering sweetness. Patrick enjoyed the Dolce de Leche, one of the Comfy Cow favorites that presents a creamy caramel flavor along with a pinch of seasalt.

It was not very crowded on my second trip here, so I was able to take my time and sample a handful of flavors. I also asked the attendant which flavor she liked best and she did not hesitate to suggest the Dolce de Leche. The Cake Batter Up was a unique palate pleaser that reminded me of the yellow cake you'd relish with a glass of cold milk in grandma's kitchen.  I felt it was too rich for an entire scoop though. I also really enjoyed the Bourbon Ball flavor, as it provided a distinct bourbon flavor that was not too overpowering. However, I ended up ordering a cup of the attendant's second favorite, the Peanut Butter and Chocolate.

(Please take note that if you are with me and I start to order an ice cream cone, you must talk me off the ledge...I can't do cones! It is a long and horrifying story. Let's just say the result will be catastrophic).

Back to my story... If peanut butter and chocolate were to have a love child, it would come out tasting just like this flavor. The peanut butter based cream and thick chunks of rich chocolate, produced a mixture with the best traits from both parents. I would babysit for this child any night of the week and I would probably even let it stay up past it's bedtime.

Visit number three came after a tough workout at the gym. I was ready to get my chocolate on once again. First I sampled a Hazelnut Chocolate, which was good but didn't knock my socks off. I am a fan of hazelnut, especially with chocolate. But the hazelnut flavor in this mixture was a bit weak for my tastebuds. So I moved on to my next sampling selection, the S'more. This one proved to be a winner. I was expecting it to have a chocolately base, but was actually delighted to find the mushy graham cracker stood out, along with chunks of chocolate of course. Unfortunately there was only a little bit of marshmallow goodness. The more ewey, gooey marshmallow, the better right? Overall, I was happy with my choice and would gladly ask for S'more!

The Comfy Cow's micro creamery has developed around 70 different flavors including the "Signature" options and others that are rotated throughout the year. They are also well known for their amazing array of specialty sundaes and ice cream pies, whose cookie crusts are made from scratch. Yum, yum. This local biz currently has two locations, in the east end at Westport Village and near the University of Louisville at Cardinal Towne. And I don't want to get too excited, but I have heard a buzz that there might be a store opening in my neck of the woods, off Frankfort Avenue. I truly appreciate that there is a "Foodie Flavor" featured every week and I am hoping to return soon to sample some Fall flavored creations.

The next time you want to indulge and cool off with an ice cream, don't hesitate to ask me to join you at the Comfy Cow. Just remember, I don't do cones. Don't even mention them around me. But on a lighter note, live to eat!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hillbilly Tea

Imagine yourself enjoying a chilly mason jar of organic iced tea with your favorite little brother on a blazing hot day. Add to this scenario a trendy, low key, and ecclectic atmosphere with wholesome Appalachian inspired cuisine, and you might just have the perfect Sunday afternoon. We sat in one of the wooden booths and were given both breakfast and tea menus as our server listed off the daily specials. I went for the classic peach tea and Michael chose a green tea with ginger and jasmine.We noted the cool wall decor which includes colorful, abstract artwork that is framed along a brick wall and painted onto a fabric, hung at the far end of the room. There are many other pieces that tie into the mountain theme such as a rocking chair with a country quilt laid on top. Upon entering the room, you will see a counter to the left that features a multitude of teas and desserts. There is a shovel and a wicker kitchen chair that hang from the side walls, a wagonwheel sitting on top an old kitchen cupboard, and a few mini schoolhouse chairs scattered about. Ironically this "Hillbilly"cafe is situated in the heart of downtown. Sitting at 120 First Street (in between Main and Market Street), I think it brings the best of the "backwoods" - cuisine and culture, to my beloved Louisville.

I was so caught up in this fun and relaxing atmosphere, that I wasn't even a little prepared to place my order when the server arrived with our teas. However Michael, always the decisive one, announced he was all set on the Hillbilly Breakfast Platter. I looked at the menu over and over and considered options such as the Moonshine Breakfast with bourbon pork chop and eggs, the Skillet Pancake, and Poached Eggs on a Buttermilk Biscuit. I finally decided on the Hillbilly Nola - granola made from scratch with housemade yogurt. Unfortunately, we arrived after the breakfast rush hour that left them with no granola! So with pressure building on me to decide, I changed my game a little, and in the heat of the moment, I blurted out "Scrambled Eggs with Succotash". Both Michael and our fun server gave their approval with a nod stating, "Nicely Done ".

Speaking of nice, the teas tasted so incredibly pure that there was no need to alter the flavor by adding any sugar. As we waited for our food, I told Michael about the uniquely refreshing bubblegum iced tea that I purchased a few weeks prior from the Hillbilly Tea tent at a local festival. I highly recommend it. My succotash included a mix of white and pinto beans with some corn, a little tomato, and an amazing array of herbal flavoring that was tough to pinpoint. I definitely tasted hints of basil which is my favorite. This flavor was present in the scrambled eggs too. I felt the corn and tomatoes could  have made more of an appearance but I was satisfied overall and would order this comforting dish again. Michael's platter included scrambled eggs and two toast sticks which he said were borderline burnt. However, he relished the crispy potato cake draped with a light cheese and the petite, yet succulent bison patties. He also appreciated the orange slice and single strawberry that added some sweetness to the platter.

One might expect to walk away from a hearty breakfast table feeling bloated from an overabundance of grease and salt. Fortunately that is not the case at this establishment as the chef takes great pride in using the most simple and fresh ingredients that are sourced locally. The portion sizes were big enough to fill our stomachs but not bust our buttons open like any gluttonous breakfast diner or even some other trendy brunch cafes would surely do. I mean don't get me wrong, I love to pig out every now and then but I've got to keep my buttons in place if I want to keep my body rockin.

As for service, it was prompt and all the wait staff were very attending. We particularly enjoyed our down-to-earth server who was quite chatty. He was full of compliments and he even apologized for not delivering our food personally due to his serving a big party of tourists. We will definitely be dining here again and plan to check out the lunch menu and the new upstairs area that is in the works.  

So the next time you are craving an organic tea or a "backwoods" brunch platter that won't bust your buttons or your bank, I suggest you head downtown to Hillbilly Tea. It's where the Holladays like to have their tea parties. Live to eat!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bourbons Bistro

This Louisville original restaurant is located in a historic building off Frankfort Avenue in the quaint and charming Clifton area. With 130 or so different bourbons to choose from, including several that are very rare and unique, and a seasonally changing "bourbon inspired" menu, you cannot help but feel the owner's Kentucky pride. About four years ago, an old friend and I wandered into this casually elegant setting for drinks in the bar area. I recall being highly impressed by the bar and the embience of the place but also disappointed that we didn't get to eat there. Since then, I have heard nothing but great things about the food. So when my friend Kristen aka "The Groupon Queen", mentioned she had purchased a groupon for Bourbons, you better believe I was all over it!! We arrived around 9 on Friday night, passing through the lovely patio area which features a fireplace, we entered through the side door. I immediately noticed how chilly it was but was smitten by the cozy aroma of cinnamon. We were quickly greeted by a hostess, who gave us a choice of where to sit and then led us through the bar, towards a sidewalk table for two.

To kick off our big night out, we decided to share a few bourbon cocktails including the "Cobbler" with vanilla, turbinado simple syrup, lemon juice, and soda; and the "Fleur de Leis" with rasberry liquor and cranberry. They were both a great treat however we preferred and highly suggest the Cobbler between the two. Kristen and I adored every inch of our appetizer, the Duck Confit Strudel...that's right, duck strudel. We are fancy ladies. It was a little spicy, which you know I like, with chilis and carmelized onions mixed among delicious goat cheese and shredded duck that was stuffed into a pastry along with baby arugala. We felt the arugala added a wonderful contrasting crunch to the soft texture of the other ingredients, all drizzled with a sherry cream sauce. I would order this app again in a heartbeat. We shared the Bourbons Baked Salmon for an entree and were both more than satisfied. It was rubbed with a bourbon orange molasses glaze that added a great citrus flavor to the dijon mustard and pecans, served with a roasted asparagus risotto. This chef was not messing around.

We really enjoyed sitting outside and noted there was a pretty good bar crowd arriving between 10 and 11. Our only complaint was that our server seemed disinterested, as if we were his last table of the night and he was not eager to please. He didn't care to entice us with lavish descriptions or any upsales. However he did suggest the Cobbler as a favorite after we practically pinned him up against the wall with questions on cocktails. Frankly, he just seemed to be a bit of an odd guy. Fortunately, there were a few servers who happened to be outside and checked on us a few times. So overall, service was not bad. Everything arrived in a timely manner which is always a plus. We wouldn't let one server's lack of interest deter anyone from enjoying this amazing Louisville original.

So the next time you are in the mood for a bourbon cocktail or duck strudel or you simply want to share a delicious meal with your groupon addicted friend, I suggest you head over to Bourbons Bistro....because who doesn't love a good bourbon inspired platter? Until next time, Live to eat!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rich O's Public House and Sportstime Pizza / New Albanian Brewing Company

Michael and I recently ventured over the bridge to meet some friends in New Albany, Indiana for great pizza and brews at Rich O's public house and Sportstime Pizza. This establishment is also home to the well-known New Albanian Brewing Company which was once rated sixth best microbrewery in the world, according to There are about 650 beers to choose from including it's own brews such as "Hoptimus". This beer is wildly popular among beer-drinkers like Michael, who prefer insane amounts of hops. To give you some idea of just how "hoppy" Michael likes it, the amount of hops in a beer is usually indicated by the IBU or International Bitterness Unit of which Hoptimus has IBU 100. I don't like my beer incredibly hoppy, so I usually look for one with an IBU in the 24-45 range or even lower. I went with one of the guest beers, the St. Bernardus Abt 12, a dark Belgian that has an aroma of malt and caramel and tastes of plum, raisins, caramel, and dried fruits. I normally go for a stout but in the middle of the Summer heat, it was nice to lighten things up with the fruity flavor. I had this St. Bernardus once before at Sergios World Beers, located on Story Avenue in Louisville  which is another great establishment intent on serving quality beer. New Albanian prides itself on brewing "real beer." You won't find any mass-marketed, domestic, and light beer here. Some beer snobs (clearing my throat, Michael) might joke that if you order a Bud Light, the server might as well bring you a water or show you immediately to the restroom!! HaHa. All joking aside, this brewery considers its work to be a form of art and beer to be "the mysterious, glorious union, of grain, hops, water, and yeast". And the Holladays consider it to be quite a glorious union indeed!

When it came to service, we found our experience to be a bit mysterious, wondering from time to time where our server had ran off too. Unfortunately, service was on the slow side, however she was accommodating when it came to check separation, which can be a headache in a large group. We were super pumped to be dining among another food blogger, Claire,
and we can only hope our testimonies in the world of food and dining are half as amazing as hers. We shared queso and stuffed mushrooms which were both crowd-pleasers. I particularly enjoyed the fresh spinach and tomatoes that were mixed throughout the queso. Michael, Claire, and I all commented on the amazingly creamy and cheesy stuffed mushrooms. These shrooms definitely hit the spot as we all enjoyed our beers with delightful conversation while waiting for the pizza to arrive. Michael and I ordered an "Upside Down" style pizza. I adored the crispy crust, along with the crazy good banana peppers, and spinach that was scattered about quite nicely. The cheese was pretty good too. My only complaint was that the sauce, which was served on top of the cheese, seemed to be sort of bland. Obviously the sauce was good enough considering that we devoured every single piece! Michael was not driving so he decided to order a second beer, this time opting for the Jaxon. It was delightfully hoppy for a Barleywine with citrusy hops balanced nicely with hints of cherry and chocolate. And, the mouthfeel was surprisingly syrupy, allowing the flavors to linger on the palate. After finishing this beer, everyone decided to call it a night. I can't wait to venture here again, perhaps with Michael as my designated driver.

So the next time you wanna get your buzz on quality beer, food, and friends; the Holladays suggest you venture to New Albanian Brewing Company at Rich O's. You will find it to be a glorious union indeed!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Selenas at Willow Lake Tavern

Fresh fish and seafood are flown in daily from the East Coast to this delightful restaurant that resides in the legendary Willow Lake Tavern building in Anchorage, KY. Serving up a fusion of Creole and Sicilian cuisine, Selenas creates many original seafood platters that will leave you begging for more. As a huge fan of anything cajun and any kind of seafood, I requested to eat here for my family birthday dinner and was particularly excited that our brother, Matt Holladay, was in town and able to join us. I had a wonderful dining experience at Selenas almost a year ago when a friend suggested it for a girls night dinner. The girls and I were able to sit outside on the gorgeous patio that features a coy fish pond and attractive tree lights, providing a quaint and cozy atmosphere. I recall everyone raving about the Praline Brie appetizer which includes pecan praline sauce, drizzled over creamy danish brie that was served with apples and grapes. I also enjoyed a refreshing yet spicy Shrimp Remoulade salad. I highly suggest both of these options if you are wanting to keep it on the light side. However, on my birthday dinner night, I was more than ready to splurge on a rich and sinfully decadent meal. I met my family for dinner around 6pm on a Thursday and we were sat immediately, as "Holladay, party of five". We opted for indoor seating due to the extreme heat. I am a July birthday baby and my mom likes to remind me almost every year that "It was 100 degrees the day you were born!"...what can I say, I guess I like it hot! 

I was hoping the Fried Green Tomatoes we ordered for an appetizer would have a hot and spicy kick, unfortunately the sauce served along with them was bland for my taste. Otherwise, I thought they were pretty good with just enough breading. The Spinach and Artichoke appetizer did not let me down. It was super creamy and I just adored the bite-sized toasted cheesy breads that accompained. I swear I thought dad might lick the platter clean! For my entree, I chose the Seafood Scampi. It was just what I was hoping for, rich and decadent with lots of flavor including mucho garlic, butter, and lemon, topped with a layer of bread crumbs. The seafood was very tasty and plentiful and my only complaint was that it was too "peppery" or as my grandmother might say "The chef stumped his toe on the pepper" The rest of the family feasted on their favorite seafood. Mom always goes for fish, so she chose one of the daily specials including grouper fish that was served in a light wine sauce with dirty rice and veggies. Dad always like to mix things up so he chose the NOLA medley with the classic red beans and rice, jambalaya, and the shrimp and crawfish etoufee. I was utterly jealous of his choice, particularly the spicy jambalaya that had everything but the kitchen sink thrown in...sausage, chicken, ham, crawfish, and shrimp. Michael and I both adored the robust flavoring and plumpy shrimp and crawfish included in the etoufee, which he chose as an entree. Our brother Matt went with the fried shrimp platter and chose sweet potato fries that I was more than happy to help him devour. 

We were pleased with our service that was prompt and gracious and we all left with full hearts and stomachs, taking note of Selenas special events for future dining or drinking adventures. There are $3 Margarita Mondays, half price on any bottle of wine on Tuesdays and Sundays, not one but TWO daily happy hours in the casual bar area, as well as a Sunday brunch and even a weekly crawfish and shrimp boil. You can contact Selenas for catering or private party dining that allows you to create a specific menu for your lovely guests.

So remember, the next time you are feeling a bit jazzy and want to let the good times roll, just roll into Selenas at Willow Lake tavern for some tasty creole cuisine and scrumptuous seafood platters. It's a Holladay family favorite for sure!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cafe Fraiche

It was a hot and sunny Saturday afternoon, mom and I (Beth) were tired and hungry after a long morning of antique shopping, so she suggested we grab a bite for lunch. We stumbled upon a quaint little luncheonette, called Cafe Fraiche, tucked in the corner of Chenoweth Plaza at 3642 Brownsboro Road. We sat in the back at one of the comfy black tables surrounded by vibrant orange walls and black and white tiled floors. There is a shelf lining the entire room that includes greenery and other various decor and many lovely paintings for sale by Louisville artists. The vibe is very much of a French cafe, which is appropriate given the name "Fraiche", that is French for "Fresh". The owner bases her culinary art style on French cuisine and offers catering for casual lunches, private parties, and even personal chef services that can be prepared
in your own kitchen

Mom and I perused the menu and pondered a few different choices including quiche, salad, and soup. However we went in the other direction with mom ordering the benedictine sandwhich with a side of avocado and myself, a hummus wrap with a side of fruit. A fun fact for those of you who might not know about benedictine, it's a combination of cucumber and cream cheese and it was created in the late 1800's by a Louisvillian with the last name of Benedict. It is often paired with bacon and was originally served on a sandwhich. However it has become popular as a dip in recent years.

Our lovely server was quick to bring out the food and I immediately commented on the size of my big wrap, which was overly stuffed full of hummus, fresh spinach leaves, and tomatoes. I did not care for the hummus one bit. It was incredibly bland to say the least. I suppose I have been spoiled by the flavorful hummus at my favorite mediterranean eatery which I will reveal at a later date. I am cursing myself for not ordeing the quiche instead. Perhaps this feeling could best be described as diner's remorse. At any rate, mom's benedictine sandwhich made up for my hummus. In fact, you could even say the benedictine was so good, it spanked the hummus and made it say it's name! Served on toasted honey wheat bread, this benedictine was the perfect consistency, just a bit tangy and very creamy with bacon, need I say more?

I am almost embarrassed to admit how much better mom's amazing avocado side outranked my sweet, yet boring fruit. Let's get into details here. Avocado was mixed in a sauce of ketchup and mayonaise which mom kept comparing to Thousand Island salad dressing. This divine mixture also included celery, almonds, and tomatoes. It was so good that mom is planning on making her own version of it at home and she kept grilling the server on exactly how it was prepared. I can't wait to try mom's version. She is also quite the culinary artist in her kitchen. Despite the hummus, I was very pleased with my experience at Cafe Fraiche. Everything else was exquisite and I will mostly definitely suggest it for your next lunch or even catering for your Holiday platter. Just remember, no one can place a great order like Judi Holladay. Until next time, Live to Eat!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


We both agree that DakShin is hands down the best Indian Restaurant in Louisville. Believe us, we have taken our adventurous palates to several others around town and to put it simply, nothing compares. Located in the Eastland Plaza at 4772 Bardstown Road, we consider it to be the hidden gem of Indian food lovers. We entered into the bar area and were greeted by a smiling hostess who sat us immediately in the dining room that can best be described as cozy and rustic. It almost gives off a log cabin vibe with unfinished oak walls and booths. Despite the dim lighting, our eyes were mezmerized by bold colors and images of "Bollywood" music videos playing on two televisions, and the colorful fabrics worn by the female wait staff, who sported the traditional Indian style of dress. The insane amount of curry filling the air was almost intoxicating. With coriander, cumin, cloves, and dozens of chillies enticing us in their aroma, we were so ready to have an Indian platter!

Unlike most Indian restaurants around town that only feature Northern cuisine options, the menu at DakShin uniquely offers both Northern and Southern, as well as "Indo Chinese"cuisine. Word on the street is that all the chefs are from South India, so it is not surprising that southern culture is reflected in the atmosphere and that southern cuisine is the specialty. In fact the word "DakShin" means "The South". However, there is a multitude of menu choices that represent other parts of India. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the enormous menu, we were relieved to find a list of food descriptions. We dined with two other pals that gave us the chance to sample and share several dishes. For appetizers we indulged in a couple of "palate safe" preparations including the Gobi Manchurian, which is listed on the "Indo Chinese" category of the menu. The Indo Chinese is great for the timid diner who prefers a suble amount of spices. A Ginger, garlic, and onion sauce was cast over fried and battered cauliflower, a great start. Next, we tried a northern app called Samosa, a delicious stuffed pastry filled with herb pototoes, this was truly a treat. At some point we were given a tray of various dipping sauces such as a sweet Chutney, citrisy Tamirind, and mild Peanut sauce.

A southern dish called Chicken Madras was our favorite by far. It was moderately spicy and creamy with captivating coconut milk mixed among other nameless spices, and tempered with curry leaves. Our friend's entree was good but seemed weak in comparison to the powerful flavors in the Madras. They ordered Chana Masala, a vegan dish that featured chic peas with a blend of subtle northern spices. This choice would also be considered "palate safe". Both entres were served with a portion of white rice and we tried a few of the southern signature sides including Dosai, a thin rice and lentil crepe stuffed with potatoes, onions, and mouth-watering spices, "This thing is freakin huge!" said Michael (see picture below). And Oothappamas, a thick rice and lentil pancake, great for dipping in sauces. We noted that several vegetarian and vegan dishes are offered. Portions are adequate and the prices are generally under $10 for dinner.

At the end of our feast, the server brought a bowl with warm lemon water for hand cleansing and a tray of fennel seeds and cardamom pods to aid in digestion. Beth was not feeling the licorice taste but forced herself to take a handful anyway. Despite having a "Stomach of Steel", she worried about the aftermath of digesting a meal with such exotic spices. Don't worry, the seeds and pods did their job well. Our server was super helpful with check separation and the other wait staff were very attending throuhgout the meal. They are no doubt, professionals when it comes to private parties and catering events, which DakShin does as well. This was an incredible Indian dining experience and we cannot wait to go back for more!

Just remember the next time your palate is feeling a bit adventurous and you wanna spice it up, you can always call your pals and head to's where the Holladays prefer their Indian platter. Until then, live to eat!!  

Monday, July 11, 2011

"The Original Impellizzeri's Pizza"

Benny Impellizzeri opened his pizza business on Bardstown Road in the Louisville Highlands in 1979. Sharing the space with his father who ran a butcher shop, Benny made and sold his pizzas at night. His pizza biz became so successful that when his father retired, Benny took over and Impellizzeri's Pizza became a full time endeavor. Since then he has expanded with two other locations, in the East End on Brownsboro Road and Downtown on Main Street. The good people of Louisville adore his recipes so much that you might hear it called "Louisville Style Pizza". Characterized by two layers of cheese and two layers of toppings, you can easily guess that we Holladays go "Banana Peppers!" for every single layer.

We recently dined at the East End location with Steve and Judi Holladay (aka, our parents). We beat the crowd, arriving at 5pm on a Saturday and were sat immediately. For starters, we decided on the home-made dough "Bread-Stix". You absolutely cannot go wrong with these babies. They are long, like 6-8 inches long! Drenched in a savory garlic butter sauce that acts as an aphrodisiac to your taste buds and served on an ewey, gooey butter-filled platter, they are soft, yet toasted on the outside and are absolutely to die for. "I would literally take a bullet for one" said Beth. The menu offers a handful of other appetizers such as "Cheesestix" and wings, as well as a nice selection of salads. You can choose from regular crust, Sicilian style (deep dish), or thin and crispy (their version of NY style pizza). Several specialty pizzas are offered too. With all of these wonderful choices, the Holladays were, no doubt, on the verge of a family war in agreeing on a pizza. Which style and size would we share? Which toppings would we choose?

We finally decided civilly on a medium 14 inch pizza with regular crust, which normally feeds three to four people. Topped with spices and stringy cheese galore, peace was restored to the Holladay family as we savored each bite. The cheesiness was great but did not override the ample amount of marinara sauce that mom summed up by simply stating "I am in love with this sauce." The lovable sauce was among banana peppers that were scattered generously. Beth's only complaint was the sausage. She prefers bigger chunks versus the ground up style. Michael was fine with the sausage and mentioned that he liked the spiciness. Judi and Steve's half of the pizza was covered in onions and mushrooms Their taste buds were utterly pleased. The service was pleasant and quick and we enjoyed the classic rock music along with the local art decor. Overall, this was a great dining experience. Fortunately, with the combination of breadsticks and pizza, we were left with plenty to take home. 

The next time your family is thinking of ordering pizza and someone wants to take the cheap way out by ordering Little Caesars or God forbid, taking everyone to Mr. Gatti's buffet, just remember where the Holladays like to get their pizza. Live to eat Impellizzeri's!! Your taste buds will thank you. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sari Sari

We have nothing but wonderful things to say about Sari Sari, located at 2339 Frankfort Avenue, it is quite possibly one of the smallest restaurants in Louisville. However, this family owned Filipino cuisine has incredibly enormous taste! Everything is great: food, prices, portions, and atmosphere. Let us begin with the latter. Bright eclectic artwork and Filipino flags surround you, along with colorful Chinese lanterns hanging form the ceiling, and even a few children’s drawings which are most likely kin to the owning family. We adored the checkered tables, which charmingly included a tin of colored straws, and we also noted the relaxing music of Earth, Wind, and Fire. It is obvious that this business is family owned with the mix of various dinnerware, it almost reminded us of being at a friend’s house, a very cool, Filipino friend, that is.

With word that there is not usually more than one server and cook present at a time and knowing that it is a small place, we weren’t sure how the wait would be before arriving. We delightfully discovered that there were only two other parties dining around 6pm on Saturday. The server was prompt and friendly. He greeted us immediately with menus as well as a list of three dinner specials ranging from $11 to $15. The regular menu prices are mostly under $10 which was a welcomed relief as well as the $2 Corona special that night. Beth ordered the Chicken Coconut Curry, a regular entre, which came with red beans and sticky Jasmine rice. The chicken was insanely tender and was cast among a few green onions and basil leaves which all soaked in the heavenly sauce. The coconut flavor added a creamy smoothness to the curry sauce, leaving Beth in a state of euphoria with every bite. She ranks this dish a medium on her spiciness scale.
Michael also went with a regular menu item, the Pancit Canton, a vegetarian noodle dish, with the option of adding meat. He chose to add pork and was highly pleased. He noted the freshness of the veggies, including zucchini, carrots, and squash, and he picked up on a welcomed peppery flavor along with a bit of lime in the rice. We both agreed that these Filipino dishes included influences from other lovely cuisines such as Spanish, Asian, and Indian. As much as we both wanted to devour our meals right there, we were
psyched to have such generous portions that allowed us to box up some for later. As we walked out with feelings of satisfaction, we saw a sign advertising daily lunch specials and a buffet on Friday, a must do in the near future.

And now after eating left-overs for lunch today, we have both decided to take this time to give Sari Sari the credit it deserves by giving an official Holladay recommendation: we think everyone should try this. Word is the chef is the matriarch of the family, which we think is awesome. She can come to our Holladay platter any day, as long as she brings a dish of course! Until next time, Live to Eat.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Toast on Market

Everyone is saying that Toast on Market is the place to go for brunch, and we Holladays have to agree that "Everyone" is so right . We would like to take this time to raise our glasses and toast to Toast! Sitting at 736 East Market Street, you can expect friendly smiles and prompt service. The specialty you ask? Take a guess genius, it’s Toast!

Beth and Toast go way back to the beginning of April when she and a dining companion happened upon the casual yet chic breakfast/lunch destination. They were sat immediately on a Friday morning and were satisfied with their server who was more than happy to share the daily specials. Beth observed the walls adored with bold colored paintings of familiar faces and she felt the atmosphere was busy yet relaxing at the same time. They immediately noted that the table for two was a bit small, even without their food in front of them. However, the chairs were comfortable and tables spaced out well so they did not feel cramped.

Beth’s pick was also the staff favorite, simply the Toast and Eggs. This dish however, far exceeds anything that could be described as simple. Eggs over medium draped on toasted brioche and cloaked in the signature “harissa” hot sauce, Beth was sure that her heart must have skipped a beat a time or two. She also swears that the toast was hands down the best she’s ever had. This French bread with incredibly high egg and butter content was so rich that it almost has a pastry like aspect despite the lack of sweetness. The golden, flaky crust was perfectly complimented by the harissa sauce which is Tunisian hot chili sauce commonly used in North Africa. Moderately spicy and insanely flavorful, you must have a brave palate for this one. Her friend opted for the decadent buttermilk pancakes with blueberries which, he noted were spaced out well and were just enough. The hash brown casserole is absolutely amazing. In general, portions at Toast are ample, but this casserole will definitely leave you begging for more with it’s incredibly creamy, cheesy, crispy allure. Let’s face it, hash brown casserole is almost always good but it can be a little dry, leaving you with a parched palate. You will not find that to be the case at Toast. Smitten by the moistness of the heavenly hash and brilliant toasted brioche, Beth just had to take her favorite little bro back for a bite!

We made the smart move to call ahead to make a reservation, since the wait can get pretty long for a Sunday. However, we were surprised we only had to call ahead about fifteen minutes before a 12:30 reservation and were seated within minutes. Beth picked the “South of the Border” omelette, which was extremely fluffy and featured chorizo that was nicely ground. The white cheddar was present yet slightly overshadowed by the spiciness of the chorizo. Perhaps sharp cheddar could’ve given the chorizo a run for it’s money. It was served with medium spicy salsa and sour cream which was not enough for her taste. She opted for wheat bread, delightfully buttered, and no doubt had to go with the hash browns again. She enjoyed this dish but had to say that her heart lies with the brioche toast and eggs. Michael totally agreed that the hash brown casserole was great, not even a little dry like most. He took advantage of the build-your-own omelette option and picked mushroom, avocado, and feta cheese. He noted the eggs to be light and fluffy and was impressed by the nicely ground feta chunks that blended well with the smooth, fresh avocado. He ate half of the omelette, and then, with the other half, he made a sandwich using his sourdough bread, which was equal parts sweet and tart.

The server was not as friendly this time around, although the other staff’s help kept us pleased along with a visit from the manager who asked us how we liked our meal and thanked us for coming in. Hmm... we wonder if word is getting out about this dynamic food blogging duo. Next time we go, we'll have to try out the lunch menu, which consists of not-your-average deli sandwiches (mustard aoili, tangy apple mustard, ciabatta, sourdough, Fontina cheeses, and fresh basil, yes please!) The prices are quite reasonable for brunch with no meal exceeding $10. And, we'll also have to get some mimosas, since we all know that's what a good brunch needs.

Just remember at your next holiday platter, when you are expected to give a toast to a family member’s good fortune and are wondering when the hell it will ever be your turn to receive a toast, you can always slip out with your favorite brother or sister and get your toast at Toast on Market. Until then…Live to eat!

Friday, May 27, 2011

North End Cafe

Hip is the perfect word to describe this café which is situated at 1722 Frankfort Avenue at the north end, as the name obviously suggests. After opening in April 2003,  it has become well known by Louisvillians for a killer spread of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, which greatly caters to those who prefer vegetarian and even vegan options.

When it comes to the greatly popular weekend brunch, expect a 30 to 40 minute wait unless you have a reservation. And once you are seated, expect a 30 minute wait or so until food is served. However, like Michael says, you should be willing to wait for good food, and boy is this food good. In fact, it's great! So let the wait begin. You will no doubt be pleased by the impeccable service and an atmosphere that is boisterous and bustling with a modern, fresh appeal, much enhanced by the trendiness of the wait staff. Though, this café is not overly pretentious or trying too hard. The food pretty much says it all.

We were seated on the covered patio for Sunday brunch on Mother’s Day. Our table for four was big and comfortable and we were delightfully pleased that they cranked up the fans on this hot afternoon. Mom enjoyed her garden burger that she described to be freshly ground, a far cry from the imitation meat-like patties that she has had elsewhere. She thought the Swiss cheese enhanced the flavors of her veggies, and she raved about her side salad that included several types of greens, romaine, spinach, arugala, topped with cherry tomatoes, and a unique champagne vinaigrette. Mom was happy and therefore, we were all happy! The daily omelette specials included both a vegetarian and meat option. Michael went with the vegetarian omelette filled with mushrooms, spinach, and Gouda cheese mixed with a white wine cream sauce. He loved it. The spinach was fresh, not soggy in the mixture, and the mushrooms were plentiful. Dad ordered the hearty breakfast which includes two eggs cooked to order, two pancakes, bacon, sausage, home fries, grits, and choice of bread. A truly dad dish. He was satisfied, save for the pancakes that were whole grain. "These pancakes suck. They taste too healthy," he grumbled. Oh, Dad. His down home fried in butter-lovin' food preferences aside, the best part of his meal was the sausage. We all sampled it and agreed it was uniquely spiced and smoked to perfection, much different from the average "breakfast platter" sausage. Beth got the Migas, which include three eggs scrambled with blue corn tortilla chips layered within jalapenos and cheddar cheese. She noted the eggs were very fluffy and the salsa complimented the dish well. 

The menu features a half a dozen choices drastically ranging in price. For example, if you're on a budget, you can get the Basic Breakfast for $5.50, reasonably priced Tapas, Sandwiches, and Salads, or if you're feeling more lavish you can select from several diverse entrees such as Grilled Ribeye or even Scallops and Grits, the most expensive menu item at $22.50.

Needless to say, all the Holladays enjoyed their platters at North End Café. So just remember when you are looking to take your mom somewhere special on her special day, look no further. Plus it’s where all the hipsters take their hip moms. Until next time... Live to Eat!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dragon King's Daughter

The Dragon King's Daughter from the parable in the Lotus Sutra is the first woman in Buddhism to attain enlightenment, and it's no surprise Toki Masubuchi picked it as the name of the restaurant she opened to serve as the international cousin to Maido, which has sushi only. She was seeking to open a spot with international offerings set off by a Japanese flare. We went tonight and were greeted by pleasant staff who seated us immediately, as it wasn't very crowded at 5 o'clock on a Sunday for an early dinner. Our waiter let us choose where to sit, and we opted for a table by the large open windows. We thought about sitting outside at one of the two patio tables on the sidewalk but wanted to get a good feel for the ambiance of the restaurant. We immediately agreed the atmosphere is relaxed and super-cool. Our server provided great, friendly service throughout. First, he brought us a bottle of water for the table with no ice, which Beth noted gave off a European feel. This impression also carries with it a pub-like vibe. With an array of boldly colored walls and a mix of different chairs, the decor was trendy without being pretentious. A series by a local artist was featured across the restaurant and was quite striking (see the photo). Our chairs were wooden and could have been a bit more comfortable, however, we noticed other tables had ones with cushioned seats. We should've traded up.

Michael was up for tacos, so that was a must, and we decided on the Ginger Chicken kind, which came with three soft corn tortillas filled with ginger sauteed chicken, diced and topped with green onions. Michael thought the green onions were a little scarce, but Beth had no complaints. A waitress Beth had there prior to tonight was very enthusiastic about suggesting the wasabi sour cream to go along with them. We were happy we took her tip, because we agreed this added the perfect blend of flavor, an overt spiced up kick to go along with the ginger. In fact, one might say this sauce will "knock your socks off"... or your pants, if you're feeling extra excited. It literally opened Beth's sinuses!! We had to get sushi too, because it's us, and we're the Holladays who need their sushi fix. We chose the Dippity, which included eight rolls of salmon topped with avocado and spicy crab and roasted garlic inside. Michael felt the garlic was a great flavor not found in most rolls and is just the right amount to provide a nice zest without assaulting the palate. We also ordered the Ace roll, a basic salmon, avocado, and cucumber mix. Light and cheap at only $6. And with 8 pieces! We specifically picked this to counteract all of the other spicy stuff we ordered, and this roll did the trick.

In our sushi experience in Louisville, we've both gathered that Maido and DKD feature rolls that are a bit different than the standard at other places. Seemingly fresher and lighter, the rolls that are the signatures of these two restaurants are simple rolls done right without all the fancy trappings other spots try to employ. We picked this spot for tonight, because of its unique diversity not found at any other Japanese place in town that we know of. If you want not only sushi, you can also get flat breads, quesidillas, and tacos.

The prices are pretty standard for a sushi place -- far cheaper than Sapporo and a little more expensive than Oishii -- with a range of $5 to $14, and the other meals don't exceed $10. The seasonal beer list is typical in terms of size, but provides a diverse selection, and some good craft local options too. Michael got a glass of wine, and the list is also good. He got the Seven Deadly Zins, an excellent Zinfandel he's been meaning to try. Other notably good brands were also included. Overall, we highly recommend the Dragon King's Daughter for those looking for some sushi and more!

Just remember at your next Holladay Platter, when you are being cornered by three of your great aunts who are hounding you with personal questions like, "Why are you still single?!?" and the only wine they have to take the edge off is white zin, you can always make a hasty escape with your bro/sis and enjoy a great meal. Until next time... live to eat!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Baxter Station

This past Saturday, we ventured to the Baxter Avenue area for a meal at Baxter Station. Located on 1201 Payne Street in a 100 year old tavern in historic Irish Hill, this cozy and eclectic bistro is truly one of Louisville's hidden gems. Upon entering, you might notice the black and white tiled floor, reminiscent of a 1950's diner seeming to immediately invite you in. The restaurant doesn't fail to live up to its title with a railway theme featuring an antique train whizzing around the edge of the ceiling. We requested a patio table, the waitress proceeded to lead us past the front dining room to a similar back dining area adorned with train photographs against choo choo train red walls, however in the narrow hallway in between, the tables featured quirky lounge-like chairs out of place with the other rustic wooden chairs and tables. She brought us to our table on the enclosed patio that rolls back for the warmer months. We agreed the patio offers a down home ambiance of Southern charm. Our good friend Meg who joined us shared that she felt like she was dining out in a friend's back yard. 

The atmosphere is so comfortable and saloon-like that one may think the menu would be limited to pub fare, when, in fact, it offers a much more gourmet selection. We thought about ordering the specials, which included the catch of the day, a grilled salmon fillet in a bourbon glaze or a cup of butternut and squash soup but decided against it. Instead, we were between the potato cakes, mussels, or shrimp and grits. Beth had previously sampled the shrimp and grits, and she liked what she tasted so much, she was tempted to give it another go. With a touch of jalapeno juices, she felt it offered just the right amount of spice with a great creamy texture to cool it down. We decided, instead, on the mussels, which was a mistake. All three of us agreed they were a bit mushy instead of steamed to a firmness, however the garlic-wine sauce soaking them provided a decent flavor. Meg went for her favorite there, the red beans and rice, which she whole-heatedly claims to be Louisville's best. They are unique in that the beans and rice are accompanied by a mix of zucchini and celery with the option of adding Andoli sausage for an even spicier kick. We split the Bourbon Fried Chicken and agreed the chicken breast was perfectly breaded. The juiciness of the chicken was present in every bite along with just enough of that crunch necessary in every fried chicken dish. The light bourbon glaze accented the tenderness of the meat well. It came with a side of mashed potatoes and vegetables, which were nothing special. Michael even poured some of the Bourbon glaze over to liven them up. 

Baxter Station offers quite an extensive Bourbon menu, as it is a member of the Urban Bourbon Trail. They run a special on Mondays for Bourbon flights, which Michael is tempted to hit up. Their tap offers 24 beers. The wine list offers 30 for under $30 and is much more helpful than most, denoting more descriptive categories ranging from "Rich and Full Bodied" to "Crisp and Refreshing," even recommending certain wines that go well with spicy foods or ones that are more supple. 

The menu is affordable enough if you're on a budget with prices ranging from $8 for appetizers and sandwiches to up to $20 for entrees with service that was, at times, on the slower end in our experience.  

And remember for your next Holladay platter, when Uncle Allen starts bringing up those awkward adolescent years when you still wanted to be the lead singer of [insert any embarassing 80's or 90's band here] in front of your new love interest, and all you want to do is grab a heaping glass of bourbon and egg nog and crawl under the table... there's always the option of dining out with your brother or sister. That's what we prefer. Until next time... live to eat!