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    As someone who is new to the city, there is nothing better than a collective Smorgasbord of foods to introduce you to what Louisville has to offer. Last night, I attended the 37th Annual Taste of Louisville, held at the Crowne Plaza Ballroom put on by the Kentucky Restaurant Association. It was a last minute decision to go, but I was extremely happy that I went.

    I have frequented both the Taste of Chicago and the Taste of Buffalo, and was surprised that, unlike the other Taste's I have been to, the Taste of Louisville is a one-evening event held inside. I am more accustomed to Taste's being a outdoor carnival-like experience where you buy multiple tickets and wander around in the sweltering summer heat agonizing over which foods to taste (each food item being worth a certain amount of tickets). I really enjoyed the more elegant feel of the Taste of Louisville where there was just one ticket for admission and then unlimited tastings inside.

    The tickets were $55 a person of $75 for the VIP. The VIP had a separate wine and bourbon tasting bar featuring Maker's Mark 46 and Lover's Leap Winery from Lawrenceburg, KY. Also, there was a cigar rolling station featuring Kentucky Gentlemen. The VIP lounge was a nice touch, but personally I did not think it was worth the extra money.

    The Taste of Louisville kept things interactive by giving each guest a voting ballot. You chose your favorites and then and the end of the night watched to see who won. The winner's were:

    Best Appetizer or Soup - Mitchell's Fish Market
    Best Beverage - Maker's Mark
    Best Entree - Bonefish Grill
    Best Dessert - The Melting Pot
    Best Decorations - Rivue
    Best of the Best - Maker's Mark

    Personally, I was a bit disappointed with the results. Most of the winner's are chain restaurants and that is exactly the opposite of what the food culture in Louisville is all about. Louisville Foodies want original, unique, and out-of-the-box restaurants and foods. Fun side note: Bon Appetit just named Louisville, KY #6 of Foodiest Towns in America!

    My favorite of the night? I was obsessed with Rivue's dessert; a simple dried piece of pineapple dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled lightly with sea salt. I'm not going to lie, some left in my purse.

    I really enjoyed myself and all the gluttony. I left feeling very full and moderately buzzed from all the food and alcohol. At the end of a night, how can that be bad?

    If you're curious, here's the list of all the participating vendors that had samples:
    Beef ‘O’ Brady’s
    Bluebell Creameries
    Bonefish Grill
    Brix Wine Bar & Bistro
    The Brown Hotel
    Buckhead Mountain Grill
    Consumers Choice Coffee
    Dumante Verdonece
    E&J Gallo Winery
    Eqqus & Jack’s Lounge
    It’s All Greek To Me
    john conti coffee
    Kern’s Kitchen
    Makers Mark Distillery
    Mark’s Feed Store
    Mitchell’s Fish Market
    Oxmoor Country Club
    Republic National
    River Bend Winery
    St. Matthews Catering
    Varanese
    Wallingford Coffee Mills
    60 West Bistro and Martini Bar
    Coca-Cola Enterprises
    Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport
    Lovers Leap Vineyards and Winery
    Martini Italian Bistro
    McAlister’s Deli
    The Melting Pot
    RIVUE
    Southern Wine & Spirits
    TGI Friday’s @ 4th Street LIVE
     

    Maggie moved to Louisville from Buffalo, NY in Dec. 2009. She has also lived in London, Chicago, and Louisiana.  Find out more about her business Weekend Wedding Warrior, LLC and her private counseling practice.

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    About Maggie Heely

    Maggie is the owner of Weekend Wedding Warrior, LLC specializing in Wedding Day Coordination. She is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in St. Matthews. She moved to Louisville from Buffalo, NY in December 2009. She's lived in NY, Chicago, London, and Louisiana before coming to Louisville.

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