Sunday, November 30, 2008

Doesn't "Courier" Imply Some Kind of Speed or Reliability?

Pardon me for venting, but the Courier Journal website is really, truly, abominable (as is the CJ itself, but that's neither here nor there for this discussion). How is it that the CJ always manages to have the local sports scores and results updated with ambitious regularlity, but the headline news barely changes all day long???

Like, how is it that we know that WKU whupped UofL's buns in basketball a few hours ago, but we don't know that Senator Julie Denton's kid was killed in a car wreck this morning?? I'm not saying that that's news I NEED to have pronto. I'm not even saying that it's Big News, although my heart goes out to Senator Denton.

But how is it that I was able to find this out from the Page One blog and not on the website of the sole major news daily in town? I'm glad that Jake and Rick from Page One and the Ville Voice are filling a niche, but how sad is it that this niche is SO YAWNINGLY EMPTY! Shouldn't we have dozens of local news options on the interwebs? Isn't this the 21st Century?

Man, Mama is cranky tonight.

Again, priorities??? Sports scores or real news? And sincerest sympathies to Senator Denton and her family.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Buy Local First


I'm at Day's Coffee right now, and just before I sat down and read this news item from the Keep Louisville Weird folks, I did what I always do with my receipt: I chucked it.

The Louisville Independent Business Association is sponsoring a contest: save 10 receipts from any of its members between 11/7/08 and 1/5/09, bring said receipts either to the Louisville Science Center or to Wild ' Woolly, and you'll be entered into a drawing for a $1000 gift certificate good at any of the LIBA business. The first 50 entrants will receive a free tote bag.

Member list and details available here!

Shop on, Louisvillagers!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Good Folk Fest-- the more things change, the more they stay the same

There aren't many events in Loueyville that I attend every year, but the Good Folk Fest at the Mellwood Center has become one of them. I went last year and the year before; last year it was later, after Thanksgiving. For me, the calendar move was a good one; I wasn't blindly focused on buying Christmas presents for friends and fam, and that freed me up to buy a beautiful bluebird blue clay pendant (unfortunately from an artist whose name I didn't catch) for myself.
The musical headliner for this year's GFF was Daniel Johnston, the famously offbeat songwriter and artist. Kind of a big deal concert for such a low key venue, in my humble opinion. Johnston, a relatively iconic figure and subject of the 2006 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston, is just back from a European tour and "headlined" the event at 2pm today. I made the mistake of getting lost (lost! I know! silly!) and didn't get there until 210p or so, and it was impossible to get close enough to hear more than just snippets here and there, but he seemed in good form and the crowd enjoyed the show.

I did stick around to see the one-man-band who followed Johnston, and although the accoustics were such that I couldn't understand a damned word he said, I seriously dug J. Marinelli. All by his little lonesome up there he was conjuring up the sound of my youth, bands like Dinosaur Jr and Pixies and Sonic Youth. Marinelli said he just moved to Lexington, KY, so we can expect to see more of him soon. I certainly hope so. Marinelli (pictured above) was one of four one-man-bands to perform at the Good Folk Fest this year.
As tradition seems to dictate, every time I go to the Good Folk Fest, I have to stop at the art supply store on the way out to feed my own inner folk artist. No more Hobby Lobby for me. Artist & Craftsman Supply seems to have better prices than the big boxy crafty stores. And they're much more convenient!
Good times.
BTW: I've stayed true to my word and stayed local (to downtown) with my eating and drinking since Melillo's closed, but you won't see me reviewing Bistro 301 or Blue Mountain Coffee any time soon, my friends. Mama's hanging up that hat for now.
And FYI, Melillo's is closing but the Bodega is not! That's marvelous news! And based on the flow of traffic in and out of there this morning (and the yummy breakfast smells coming from their kitchen), they're doing ok. The Bodega is a good Saturday breakfast alternative to the hour waits at Toast, perhaps?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Melillo's down

Mama needs to hang up her reviewing hat. She's got some bad juju.

This was never meant to be a restaurant review blog. And Lord knows, it was never meant to be a means of cursing small businesses! I just know that I joked about damnng Melillo's by reviewing them, and just two weeks later-- WHAMMO!-- the sixth restaurant on the Market St. corridor bites the dust.

RIP: Market on Market, Primo, Brownings, Park Place, Jenicca's (not dead yet! 11-29 is the last day), and Melillo's (I said, we're not dead yet! They'll be open weekends til the end of the year.)

There's a lot of mourning in the comments over at Consuming Louisville.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Boyz

Every so often, Mama likes to check out what her brothers and sisters on the interwebs are doing, and today she stumbled across the Food Boyz, the restaurant review website created by a local optomotrist and a local podiatrist. Like Loueyville (for the most part), the Boyz (it annoys me to type that "z") acc-cen-tuate the positive in the city and post only positive reviews of the best the city has to offer.

It's a bit outdated (although who can blame them with the rate at which businesses are blipping out of existence) and still posts reviews of Lemongrass Cafe, Brownings, and Park Place-- all no longer with us, RIP. It also still lists "smoking" as an option in reviews and still answers that question with "yes" for many places (C'mon Boyz, it's been more than a year). But the reviews are very thorough and feature bios and recipes for many of the area's top chefs.

There's something very odd about this site. What first caught my eye was the fact that they cover four areas with the site: Cincy, Loueyville, Napa, and Martha's Vineyard. Huh? My family has a house in Oak Bluffs, and I try to get up there once a summer. Before you get all excited and say, "But, Lou, I thought you were from very humble beginnings! You have a rich uncle hidden away somewhere??" let it be known that it's an aunt and uncle, and they bought the house with chump change in the early 1970's before the Vineyard became all Clinton-y and Vinyard Vines-y and Black Dog-y (Black Doggy?).

Anyhoo, the site only features five MV restaurants (none of which I've ever been to) and no "alternatives" (cheap places that I probably would have been to) and further exploration of the site leads to a notice to "bring to your city" by franchising. Francising? Does this means you pay the Boyz to start your own city's Foodboyz and then try to make scratch by selling ads? It's all a little loopy. Has the MV site been franchised out? The Napa site?

Again, the reviews are wicked thorough and the site itself is snazzy as heck. Definitely check it out.

Mama's being all judge-y here, but I just can't shake that "z"...

Coming Soon: Bardstown Road Aglow!

A tip of the hat to my "real" neighborhood-- mark your calendars for December 6th. Bardstown Road Aglow is always a good time, and it's a great way to support local businesses AND land unique holiday gifts for the friends and fam.

Check out my "note to self" in my entry about last year's Aglow: wear comfy shoes.

What's Left of Downtown? Piazza di Felice: Melillo's & the Bodega

I have to admit that I've got a bit of the sweaty palm action going on while writing this, after all, Jenicca's, subject of my first real "Best of Downtown" entry, announced they were closing just a week or so after I wrote the entry. What other downtown businesses can I doom? Instead of calling this the Best of Downtown, I think I should start calling it "What's Left of Downtown?" Loyal readers, you can just assume that if I blog it, it's one of the best.

I've only been there a total of four times or so, but the whole Melillo's complex located in Piazza di Felice on Market Street between Shelby and Campbell Streets is a charming little oasis of foodie goodies.

I first stumbled upon the Piazza when looking for the Phoenix Hill Farmers' Market on a Tuesday a little while ago. This market was over for the year as of the end of October; it was on Tuesdays from 300p-6:30pm and featured your standard veggies, a butcher, and some gourmet food from the Bodega. (I love that Uncle Mayor Jerry has a whole page on his website devoted to the locations, times, and dates for the metro area farmers' markets. You can find that here.) (Correction: according to the Bodega's website, the Phoenix Hill farmers' market continues through Thanksgiving)

The Bodega, the gourmet food market, sandwich shop, and cafe on premises, offers an awesome craft beer selection at grocery store prices. I was able to find Dixie Brewing Co's Blackened Voodoo beer for merely $7.99. The store offers just about everything you'd expect a small gourment food store to offer. The first time I went there it was after work, and I watched a woman plunk down nearly $60 for all the makings for a pasta dinner: bread, cheese, pasta, tony jarred sauce, beer. I couldn't help but think, "Maybe she should just go to Melillo's; it would cost around the same, and they do the dishes." A later visit was during lunch time, and the place was booming (yay for the downtown lunch crowd). I've yet to try either their breakfast or lunch menues, but they seem reasonably priced and the sandwiches and salads looked great. Bodega brews Java coffee and makes smoothies. They offer free wifi and have lovely outdoor seating. Bodega is open 7am-7pm M-F and 8a-4pm on Saturday. Closed Sundays.

Roommate and I hit Melillo's for the first time the night of September's Friday Trolley Hop (I'm bitter that I missed last night's Trolley Hop because I was stoned out of my gourd on painkillers; September's Hop was the best night I've had since I moved downtown). It was later than they were usually open, but it was a lovely night and they had live jazz on the patio. Roommate and I ordered two glasses of wine and a small antipasto. It's $10 for the small antipasto and $16 for the large-- but the small plate was heaped with stuff that made a great "while you're drinking" snack. That stop was a highlight of a great evening overall. A few weeks later, Big Mama Lou and I went for a proper dinner the night before Lou's last chemo (whoopeeee!!) and together we ordered way more food than we could possibly consume. I consider myself something of a mussels conniseur, and Melillo's mussels appetizer was as yummy as it comes. Unfortunately, Mama Lou insisted on ordering the same thing that I ordered, so I only got a sense of one dish, but it was certainly good (and unfortunately not listed on the menu on the website, and I forget what it was... penne, chicken [although I skipped the chicken], cream sauce, something...). The best thing about Melillo's is the cozy, homey vibe. And while Melillo's is too pricey to be a regular stop for this Lou, I'll definitely keep it in mind for nice nights out and for someplace to go for a glass of wine and an appetizer.

The last component of Piazza di Felice is Felice Vineyard, which I know bupkus about. I checked out the website and am no more enlightened. Urban vineyard. There are vines out front. The website cites wines from 2003 & 2004. The website also says that they're adding a second story for apartments. Event venue. Open Fridays? I'll have to check this out-- anyone have any information on Felice Vineyards?

Anyway, Piazza di Felice-- One of the best of what's left of downtown.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jenicca's down

Today I received an email from the owners of Jenicca's that said that November was their last month. That makes it 5 restaurants within 5 blocks that have closed since we "moved" to downtown. Heartbreaking.

According to the Jenicca's folks, they wanted to "go out" before they went futher into debt, before they went out on a "bad note."

I'm heartbroken. And am wondering if NOW they will give me the recipe for the "secret sauce" behind their super yummy broccoli crunch.