Meridian Cafe, 112 Meridian Ave., has updated its menu with more locally sourced meats, making nearly all its meat locally farmed, according to chef/owner Mike Ross.
His use of local meat “started seven years ago trying to feed my kids better,” Ross says. “If I’m doing it at home, I figure I have to do it at the restaurant. I really enjoy eating local stuff — it tastes better, and, if nothing else, I feel better about it.” The only meat on the menu that’s not local, according to Ross, is the salmon.
The updated menu is now 100 percent trans-fat-free, too, Ross says, since he eliminated the last item with any trans fats, a spinach wrap. “We’d been working toward that for a while. We don’t use cooking spray; Cake Flour makes all our breads.”
He replaced the wrap with a new corn tortilla made by an employee from Oaxaca, Mexico. And, “with the addition of the homemade corn tortilla, it is a nice option for people who want gluten-free options,” Ross says.
Another addition to the menu is a line of smoothies, including vegan options. “We tried to hit as many diets as possible,” Ross explains.
More national recognition for Louisville
Louisville’s culinary scene continues to draw national attention. Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia is a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award Best Chef: Southeast (one of five chefs on the short list for Georgia, Kentucky, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia). The 2013 JBF Awards will be held May 3 and 6 in New York City.
Anthony Lamas is featured in the premiere episode of “America’s Best Bites” on the Cooking Channel, set to air April 20 at 4:30 p.m. Host Natalie Forte “discovers what happens when a chef from California marries a girl from Kentucky and opens a restaurant in Louisville.” The episode features several of Lamas’ dishes at Seviche, including empanadas, duck and tiradito.
Zagat named Louisville one of its “7 Up-and-Coming Food Cities Around the U.S.” earlier this month.
Wheatley plans group trips to Italy
Local chef and educator Mary Wheatley, of Cooking With Mary and manager of Winston’s Restaurant, is planning two culinary group trips to Italy this fall. The first will take in northern Italy, Cinque Terre, Piedmont and the Italian lakes region Sept. 23-Oct. 2, with an optional three-day extension to Venice. A second trip featuring Venice, Florence and Rome will run Oct. 1-10.
“The areas are so concise ... the cultures cross over the border a lot, and you’re seeing a lot of influence and that’s always fascinating to me,” says Wheatley.
The first trip will feature cooking classes, wine tastings, tours of Parmigiano-Reggiano and prosciutto production facilities. The second trip will introduce travelers to traditional balsamic vinegar in Modena and also includes olive oil and wine tastings, and cooking classes.
“On my trips we spend several months ahead getting to know the travelers so when we leave it’s like traveling with a troupe of your friends,” Wheatley says. “Every month we’ll do something to give everyone a great sense of who they’re traveling with and prepare them for the experience.” In April Wheatley will hold a pasta-making class, and in May the group will dine at Amici Cafe.
Bistro 301 (301 W. Market St.) is now offering an $8 lunch feature including a non-alcoholic beverage and a different dish each day Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
The Frankfort Avenue location of North End Cafe will celebrate its 10th birthday on April 3. Watch its Facebook (www.facebook.com/TheNorthEndCafe) for surprises and specials.
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