Louisville’s own Courier-Journal likens the coziness of J. Harrod’s Restaurant to that of an “old-school suburban sanctuary”—an apt description, though the upscale eatery sidesteps clichéd décor for an elegant dining room that refuses to pander to nostalgia. Like the green plaid wallpaper and other subtle touches of décor, chef Jenny Ballard’s menu reflects a refined simplicity with its comforting dishes of boneless fried chicken, center-cut pork chops, and veal marsala. The kitchen’s five house-made dressings spruce up salads with recipes that represent America’s diverse culinary traditions, from a zesty peppercorn ranch to a dressing that boasts ingredients from each of our country’s 1,000 island territories. Waiters whisk dishes from the kitchen to large tables, whose polished surfaces are illuminated by the glow that emanates from a wood-paneled fireplace.
Helmed by Connie Young and her two daughters, Lori and Kelly, Sisters Tea Parlor Boutique transports visitors to simpler times, when taking tea was a daily ritual. Before settling at tables for afternoon tea, guests are invited to visit the boutique's dress-up vanity area and don festive hats, wraps, costume jewelry, and gloves. Traditional tea service includes scones with tart lemon curd, tea sandwiches, and a sweets tray lined with decadent desserts?plus, of course, bottomless pots of loose-leaf tea.
Justin and Kristin Gilbert spent three years in Italy, visiting gelaterie in more than 20 cities to mine artisanal secrets before opening their own shop. In choreographed musical numbers, the duo handcraft dense, flavor-packed gelato in small batches using local milk and fresh fruit. From a repertoire of more than 100 recipes, Justin and Kristin curate 20 flavors at a time. Past and present flavors include poached-pear zinfandel, orange-ginger dairy-free sorbetto, and chocolate orange?one of Justin's favorites, according to a feature in Louisville Magazine. Delicate cr?pes conceal Nutella or lemon and sugar. The cozy shop also sends forth its mobile cart to cater office snack breaks, weddings with as many as 2000 guests, and Roman legions on the march.
Burning Bush's menu takes tongues on a trip to Greece without them having to endure endless views of ancient ruins. Vegetarians will salivate over falafel ($4.01) and quinoa lavanini, lavash bread topped with pepper-jack cheese, avocado, and quinoa ($5.42). Meat junkies and professional bodybuilders can choose bison kebabs cooked over an oak charcoal fire, a gyro ($5.66+), or a Balkan burger ($5.89), which blends beef, pork, and lamb into an unholy union of succulence. Youngsters under 10 can order off the kids' menu or nag their parents for one of the restaurant's thin-crust pizzas. Burning Bush also serves sweet, creamy meal endings from Gelato Gilberto, a local gelateria in Norton Commons.
Nicolette Spears used to think green tea tasted like bad, stale grass-clippings. So when she began studying the importance of brewing temperature, it was a revelation. ?Green tea is like a vegetable: if you burn the leaves, it tastes really bitter. That was sort of an eye-opener to me.?
Now, at Louisville Tea Company, Ms. Spears brews more than a hundred tea varieties according to strict standards, paying attention to each brew?s optimal brewing temperature, steep time, and leaf-to-water ratio. She also considers her tea?s origins: she sources Japanese green tea directly from a small tea farm in Japan, and the Kenyan Ajiri Tea employs Kenyan women and funds orphan education in West Kenya.
Additionally, Ms. Spears strives to educate newbies about tea. At the tasting bar, she brews fresh pots of the shop?s tea of the day. During the shop?s classes and tea tastings, tea experts delve not only into tea origins and flavors, but the positive effects on human health and boring water.