The Mellwood Art Center  depicted the affairs of a swanky 1920’s speakeasy Wednesday, October 17 as the venue hosted The 39th Annual Taste of Louisville. The Taste celebrated the best of Louisville’s food and beverage industry with vendors from Brown-Forman, Seviche, Taco Punk , Zanzabar , Tony Boombozz Pizzeria , August Moon , Bluegrass Brewing Company , Havana Rumba , The Village Anchor, and many more.
Every salted chip, slice of pork, sip of wine, sweetened sweet potato, BBQ sauce, and guzzle of brew made this Taste – tantalizingly tasty.
My friend, Mallory Hilbert, and I dressed in our best flapper wear (hem-lines rising, textures and trinkets contrasting) and took our empty stomachs to the Roaring Twenties. Billy Goat Strut Revue, the seven piece band for the evening, filled the event with upbeat-jazz music which had me attempting to do the Charleston… failing miserably as I seemed akin to a chicken clucking along. Thank goodness this did not stop a few other talented couples who gracefully quick-stepped to the Ragtime music.
Not having an assured plan to conquering The Taste, we went in knowing we were ready to try anything and everything. These are just a few of my crème de la crème.
We started at the entrance with an appetizer from Against the Grain , where the house made barbecue sauce and eclectic names (Shallot Bee, Foxy Brown) had us hooked before anything charmed our palettes. We met with Sous chef, Jordan DeLewis, who introduced us to “Old Hickory Nachos.” This smoked, pulled-pork nacho appetizer with the Grain’s house made barbecue sauce was a unique spin on beef, cheese and barbecue itself. These guys liked their food, but their welcoming nature hooked us into venturing further into the event.
Zanzabar  had me at bacon. They served a bacon wrapped date dipped in beer batter with a balsamic-molasses reduction, so sweet and flavorsome we voted this as the best appetizer at The Taste.
Paul Sant from the Crowne Plaza Hotel was charismatic while sampling his five cheese lobster macaroni that had Mallory coining it the best macaroni she has had to date.
I would imagine everyone has a dish they eat that overwhelms them with reminiscence. Mine would be the lobster bisque from Mitchell’s Fish Market. This bisque is creamy with a postponed lobster flavor punch surmounting me with none other than a feeling of nostalgia. On a dinner date my dad and I had last year, I honestly fell hard for the lobster bisque paired with a glass of Chardonnay. I highly recommend this dish for those who enjoy a warm soup and are seafood fans. This bisque was a bittersweet surprise at the event.
The Brix Wine Bar  sampled pulled-pork on house bread with bleu cheese coleslaw topped off with a mango barbecue sauce. Hands down, this was my favorite entrée. The shock of flavors blended together delectably.
The Village Anchor sampled flank steak with roasted garlic mashed potatoes dressed in a brandy cream sauce. The restaurant promoted its deal of the week – Tuesday’s $10 entrée with one side and a glass of wine or Falls City draft. No strings attached.
The beer garden outside was lively with the music from the speakeasy still vibin’ through the speakers. There were samples from several vendors, but Against the Grain’s “Mockless Lobster”, a Scotch ale, was my favorite brew. While inside, Dumante won my tastebuds over with its Italian Pistachio liqueur in a chocolate cup.
Gary Gruver won the bartender cocktail Competition hosted by Bombay Sapphire, creating the Speakeasy Bluegrass cocktail- a blend of Bombay Sapphire Gin, West Indian orange bitters, sweet vermouth, lemongrass, lemon juice, egg white, and thyme. Not too sweet, a hint of alcohol, and a surprise herb – cheers to that.
The entire event was bursting with charisma, class, flavor and the ragtime essence of a speakeasy. Every chef was excited to share their recipes and creations, and no one turned me down when it looked like my zipper was about to give up...