Posts Tagged ‘Southern food’

Travelogue: MilkWood restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky

Toy Tiger cocktail at MilkWood restaurant

Toy Tiger cocktail at MilkWood restaurant

When I saw Chef Edward Lee on “Top Chef: Texas” cut his hand, pull on a glove and keep cooking while the blood pooled in it, I thought, now that’s a badass. So when I last visited my husband’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, I knew I had to see if Lee’s food tasted as powerful as he cooked on the show. So of course I had dinner at MilkWood restaurant.

Lee’s MilkWood restaurant, located on the lower level of the Actors Theatre of Louisville, recently celebrated its second anniversary. I visited last spring, and the menu, a melange of Southern and Asian influences with some classic French thrown in for good measure, has helped to elevate the local restaurant scene, which has lately experienced a boom in artisanal cuisine.

A Brooklyn native of Korean descent, Lee also owns 610 Magnolia, an upscale contemporary Southern restaurant. Together with Chef Kevin Ashworth, Lee has taken his more refined tastes found at 610 Magnolia and punched them up with bolder flavors at MilkWood.

The pork burger on a pretzel bun, with napa kimchi, cracklins, havarti cheese, remoulade and cilantro, is just an example — rich and flavorful.

MilkWood pork burger

MilkWood pork burger

The seasonal fish and pork dishes I tried, as well as a spicy preparation of sunchokes, were also bold in flavor. MilkWood is not a place for the faint of heart.

MilkWood sunchokes

MilkWood sunchokes

The cocktail menu is equally forward. The Toy Tiger, with Old Forrester bourbon, vermouth and bitter orange, is a potent take on the traditional Manhattan — just how I like my drinks.

I look forward to going back to MilkWood restaurant, this time for the bowls of ramen. The one featuring pork belly and country ham follows Lee’s lead, but the Mazeman Ramen with egg yolk, parmesan cheese, roasted garlic, pancetta and uni butter is the one that intrigues me more. I hope Lee keeps doing what he’s doing.

Further reading:

Fork in the Road: A Top Chef’s Next Course by Garden & Gun


03 2015

Ring in the New Year with Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Shrimp n' grits

Shrimp n’ grits

The pop-up-turned-brick-and-mortar Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, helmed by Chef Kevin Kathman (Gramercy Tavern, French Laundry), is offering a special New Year’s Eve four-course prix fixe meal for $75. The Venice restaurant, which just opened in October, offers all kinds of Southern foods, and this holiday menu is no exception.

For the table:
Complimentary black eyed peas (a Southern good luck charm!)
Jalapeño cheddar cornbread with pear butter

First course, choice of:
Cauliflower soup, almond, gruyere and brown butter
Smoked trout salad, Meyer lemon, potato, fennel, horseradish and caviar
Kumamoto oysters, lime, cucumber and cilantro

Second course, choice of:
Braised pork belly, chicories, pickled watermelon and spicy mustard
Shrimp ‘n grits, garlic, bacon, shallot and cheddar grits (pictured above)
Caramelized salsify, and roasted, puréed and raw sun chokes

Third course, choice of:
Pan seared venison chop, huckleberries, turnip, onion and potato
Halibut, Maine lobster hash, pickled herbs and root vegetables
Dry aged New York strip steak, mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, shallot and bourbon béarnaise sauce

Dessert, choice of:
Sweet potato pie, cinnamon cream and candied pecans
Warm chocolate cake, vanilla bean ice cream and salty bourbon caramel
Passion fruit panna cotta, blueberry, grapefruit and basil
Plus ginger cookies for the table

Monday, Dec. 31, 2012
Reservations available from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
(310) 392-2425

Daniel Nelson, head mixologist at the Writer’s Room in Hollywood, designed the restaurant’s cocktail program, so you know the special New Year’s Eve drink, the Louisiana Purchase Champagne Cocktail ($12) with Peychaud’s bitters, brown sugar and praline liqueur, will hit the spot. The Car Car, with gin, jicama, ginger, apple, kaffir lime leaf and anise seed, is interestingly tasty, too.

Car Car

Car Car

If you can’t make it to WiSC for New Year’s Eve, then weekend brunch is another good option. The shrimp n’ grits are available then, and don’t miss the pancakes topped with candied pecans, bourbon roasted bananas and maple cream.


Pancakes with candied pecans, bourbon roasted bananas and maple cream

Note: A brunch meal was complimentary.

Further reading:

Good Morning Eats: Brunch at Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by LAist



12 2012

Where California cuisine meets Southern comfort: L.A. Market

L.A. Market, Chef Kerry Simon’s restaurant at the JW Marriott hotel at L.A. Live, is now being helmed by Chef de Cuisine Nona Sivley of Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen” fame. The restaurant’s menu reflects Sivley’s Southern roots with a California flair, ending up with mixed results. There were some dishes here that I loved, but there were also some that missed its mark.

What I loved:

This gnocchi and lump crab appetizer was unique and absolutely delicious. The gnocchi was pillowy, and the addition of kumquat and micro basil was a pleasant surprise and nicely complemented the truffle parmesan cream sauce.


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04 2011

Food and drink with a view: Vu Restaurant

Let me preface this post with this statement: This restaurant is in Marina del Rey. Unless you live in Marina del Rey or really close to it, you probably don’t frequent the area much. I know I don’t. But I may start now that Vu Restaurant has opened at the waterfront Jamaica Bay Inn, which just underwent an extensive makeover.

Vu (pronounced “view”), which just opened this month, turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me, despite some hiccups at the bar (make sure head mixologist Jolie Klein makes your drinks, and you’ll be golden). The food’s origins are all over the map, literally — there’s Asian, Italian and good old American, among others — and even some molecular gastronomy thrown in. A bit confusing, but somehow it works. Here are some of the highlights from my dinner there last week.

The pork belly sitting on a crispy cake of grits and topped with root beer gelée was my favorite bite of the night. As Lindsay William-Ross, editor of LAist, noted, the flavors were reminiscent of chicken and waffles. I liked this because the root beer wasn’t overpowering but lent just the right amount of subtle sweetness to complement the dish.

Pork belly on crispy grits topped with root beer gelée

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12 2010

Battle fried chicken: Ludo v. Greenspan

Allez cuisine!

That’s kind of how I pictured the special appearance of Ludovic Lefebvre at The Foundry on Melrose‘s Bluesy Tuesday Southern food night last week — a battle of Iron Chefs duking it out over gourmet fried chicken, Ludo v. The Foundry’s Eric Greenspan, who was in fact a contestant on Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef. What we diners got was more of a delicious pairing of two very different styles of fried chicken that complemented each other rather than threw down against each other. Though both Ludo and Greenspan brought it, as they say…in the parlance of our times.

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03 2010