I’m back!… and my belly is bigger

Whew! It’s good to be home. I was gone for 10 days on a work / visit old friends trip. My mom made me get on speakerphone to talk to Deogi twice in that time to talk to him because she said the poor dog was starting to mope around and worry that I would never come back. When I walked in the door, he was wagging his tail so hard that I thought he was going to turn himself inside out. This morning we resumed our routine of his morning belly rubs and right now, he’s laying at my feet on the floor. Like I said, it’s good to be home.

I can’t write about the work that I did because it requires a pretty hefty confidentiality agreement when it comes to blogs. No, I’m not a spy. That would be cool except for the part where I could be tortured for the info that I know or shot. Ok, maybe being a spy would not be cool. If I were a spy, I probably wouldn’t even mention the word on my blog. At any rate, like a spy, I can’t go into specifics about what I did for 7 days, but I can tell you that I was in Louisville, and I thought it would be fun to tell you where I ate since the goal this year was to get a little bit off the beaten path for dinner.

Franklin Avenue Beer Depot – Anyone who knows me knows that I wouldn’t naturally gravitate towards any establishment with beer depot in its name, but my roommate accompanied me for dinner each night, and she was in charge of using Yelp to locate the restaurant and navigate us this evening. I just knew we were seeking out Louisville BBQ because when in Louisville people must eat BBQ.

Side note: I’ll eat BBQ where ever I go. It’s might even be the way to my heart. No, wait, the way to my heart is chocolate. But, feeding me BBQ will put someone on my good side.

The best part of FABD was the hole-in-the-wall atmosphere. We were going for something off the beaten path for tourists, and this fit the bill. Locals were out front eating at picnic tables, and we ate on the back patio where cornhole, a bowed ping pong table, and mini-golf were all options for entertainment while awaiting dinner. The giant BBQ smoker was in back of the restaurant. How do you make BBQ better? You smell it cooking. The wafting smoke was so aromatic that I couldn’t rewear my sweatshirt for two days after eating at FABD because it was permeated with BBQ smoke goodness. The BBQ was good too though the roomie and I both made it hotter than we meant too because we grabbed the plastic squeeze bottle of sauce out of the tin bucket in the center of the table. After squeezing the sauce liberally on our BBQ and setting our sinus cavities on fire, we noticed that the HOT warning scrawled in Sharpie was mostly faded. Oops.

Caffe Classico – My top secret job reimbursed us for two of the weekly dinners, so the roomie and I splurged on some Italian food. An actual guitar player sat in the corner strumming all through dinner with his long hair, a soul patch, a black shirt undone down to the third button so his feather tattoo could peek out, and his Italian leather shoes. I hardly ever eat steak, but I had been craving some for awhile. I decided to take the plunge. Oh. my. goodness. If steak always tasted like that, I would eat steak way more often.

I almost refused to eat here because when we first parked, I thought the restaurant was in the building across the street — a closed up used car dealership. I only mention this because we definitely wound up eating at an unusual location later in the week – at my bidding.

Havana Rumba – We drove through a ridiculously cute neighborhood to get to Havana Rumba for some Cuban food – my first ever. You can visit their website for some spirited music and their restaurant for some good tres leches cake. Our waiter was even kind enough to not smirk at my butchering of the names of the menu items. In keeping with various ethnic cuisines, we also ate at Simply Thai. Patrons can choose a spice level from 1-5. Learning my lesson from the rubbed off Sharpie at FABD, I went for a 2, and that was smart. My shrimp fried rice still wound up having a kick to it.

I wanted to eat at Game, a restaurant that serves wild boar, antelope, elk, venison, and kangaroo among other types of burgers, but my roomie shot that idea down. I’ve put this place on my Louisville bucket list.

Instead, I sought out some authentic Southern cooking by using my trusty Urban Spoon app, which is the new shining star of my tablet. I landed on Big Momma’s Soul Kitchen. As we read reviews, we established that there was no place to eat at Big Momma’s. Basically, it’s a converted house/ garage. My roomie who is from Orange County, CA had never quite experienced the mixed zoning set-ups of East Coast inner cities, so I had to convince her that it was perfectly safe to traipse across a front yard made into parking lot to get some grub. Inside was hilarious. The customer side of the restaurant didn’t seem much bigger than my living room, which is to say, not very large. Two or three people we taking up the four or five available bar stools, and as we walked in the door, the cashier shouted, “Next person order at the microphone.” Totally in sensory overload at that point, it took me a minute to get my bearings. The “menus” were simply sheets of paper — one for each day of the week listing the foods available on that day. No prices. No indication of main dishes and sides.

After a helpful patron noticed our confusion, she helped us figure out that everything was a la carte and directed us towards microphones. I kid you not. The mics were 1980s contraptions hanging in front of a glass wall that separatesd patrons from the cafeteria line of Big Momma’s food. I bent over to the mic (though I’m not sure why since it was at face level) and uncertainly said, “Um…I’ll have some meatloaf, green beans, and mac n’ cheese.”

The woman behind the glass yelled through, “Did you say meatloaf and green beans?!?”

Debating whether I should yell through the glass since that seemed to work or follow the protocol of the mic, I eventually scrunched back over the mic and said, “Yeah, and mac n’ cheese….please.” The entire experience was hilarious…and more than a little awkward. However, Big Momma’s definitely fit the bill of unique experiences. I leave you with a glimpse of what must have been 3/4 of a pound of meatloaf and my mini-jug of Big Momma’s Sweet tea.

meatloaf and sweet tea