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.