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    The Taste of Louisville
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    In movies and in stories, certain moments rise above the rest to impact our lives. There are of course the commonplace instances that you should still appreciate for their wistful, daily chronicle. But in the midst of the grind, there come along those rare experiences in life that will knock your socks off. Just like in a sea of calamitous dates, the paramount ones will have a happy bookmark in your mental scrapbook of recollections.

    The Taste of Louisville Executive Aviation

    One year ago, I discovered my enthusiasm for foodie events when I walked into the Louisville Executive Aviation building for my first Taste of Louisville. Thoughtfully invited as a date, I was brimming with anticipation to see whether a “tasting” of Louisville could be everything I hoped it would be. To this date, it still ranks as one of the greatest dates.

    The Taste of Louisville Louisville Executive Aviation

    Fast forward to one year later of extensive indulging in the ‘ville’s cuisine. From themed tasting events in all kinds of locales to relishing many a Louisville original bistro to bar, I could never shake the tremendously high expectations set by my first introduction, The Taste of Louisville.

    I returned to the 41st Taste of Louisville wiser, delighted to see if I could top last year’s giddy recollection.

    If there was any doubt that I was romanticizing the memory in my mind, it was thoroughly eliminated yesterday night in Bowman Field. The Taste of Louisville, Louisville’s ORIGINAL taste event, was even better than remembered. And that’s saying a lot.

    The Taste of Louisville Executive Aviation

    This is a drinker's foodie event! Every booth offered more adult beverages that heightened the positive ambiance floating in Louisville Executive Aviation. Everyone was joyfully imbibing between devouring the next decadent culinary creation.

    The Taste of Louisville Executive Aviation

    Cattleman's Roadhouse

    The Taste of Louisville Executive Aviation Blue Bell Ice Cream

    I knew I was in "trouble," when one of the initial booths was offering Blue Bell Butter Crunch: Tasty vanilla ice cream loaded with chunks of crunchy chocolate peanut butter candy. I mean, hello October mother load. My strategy for foodie events is typically to restrain myself from finishing a sample in its entirety to save room for the rest. But this ice cream was so sinfully crunchy, sweet, and rich, I couldn't help but gobble it up in total "3 cheers for ice cream!" fashion.

    The Taste of Louisville Executive Aviation 60W

    The Taste of Louisville Executive Aviation 60W

    Next up: My favorite classy bar in town with the most delicious-tasting martinis! Seeing 60 West was like seeing an old best friend, where no matter how many times you reunite, the elation never abates. I opted for Lego my Mango, which was a sweet meets citrus martini tailored to make any inner alchie happy. Extra points for the stylishly cut pineapple that soaked up the mango martini goodness.

    The Taste of Louisville Bourbon Barrel

    Bourbon Barrel Foods

    The Taste of Louisville Ei8ht Up

    Ei8ht Up's veal meatball on a bed of polenta with tomato basil sauce= perfection

    Let's give a huge Southern hospitality-filled warm welcome to Ei8ght Up, Louisville's first and only rooftop restaurant bar that will be opening in November! Take my word for it- you simply can't wait.

    The Taste of Louisville Wick's Pizza

    The Taste of Louisville Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt

    Sweet Frog's Frozen Yogurt: I couldn't resist the Fall-friendly Caramel Apple! It was a nostalgic-infused treat, with each bite bringing me back to my childlike self contentedly sharing a caramel apple with my grandmother.

    The Taste of Louisville Captains Quarters

    The Taste of Louisville Captain's Quarters

    One of my favorites of the night: Captain’s Quarters barbecue pork taco with cabbage slaw. The cabbage slaw kicked the deliciousness factor up about ten notches.

    The Taste of Louisville Dish on Market

    Dish on Market: Bourbon-marinated beef tenderloin with onion and cilantro.

    Dish knows how to get it right. Simple, and yet packed with flavor.

    The Taste of Louisville Crowne Plaza

    The Taste of Louisville Crowne Plaza

    Blue Horse Crowne Plaza (Blue Horse Restaurant & Bar) (Louisville Airport Hotel-but don't let the location mislead you): Smoked Gouda shrimp and grits with a Cajun cream sauce, and all sorts of wonderful!

    A favorite for sure.

    The Taste of Louisville Crowne Plaza

    Executive Chef Paul was so nice to take this #TasteofLou selfie with me! The Crowne Plaza was well-awarded Best Appetizer last night.

    The Taste of Louisville Volare

    Taste of Louisville Volare

    Chef Joshua Moore of Volare was excited to present veal meatballs in a green peppercorn demi as Volare's savory choice.

    Taste of Louisville Volare

    I love it most at foodie events when restaurants offer more than one selection! The best kind of taste is one of variety. Volare paired yum-tastic meatballs with pannacotta, an eggless custard thickened with gellatin. The berries were in a sweet balsamic sauce.

    Taste of Louisville Kern's Kitchen Derby Pie

    Kern's Kitchen: Your Derby Pie is the bad boy of desserts that no one can resist.

    Taste of Louisville Falls City

    Taste of Louisville Falls City Beer

    Falls City: Beer makers with a sense of humor!

    Taste of Louisville Old 502 Winery

    Old 502: Kentucky's only urban winery

    Taste of Louisville Old 502

    Taste of Louisville The Melting Pot

    Taste of Louisville The Melting Pot

    The Melting Pot had a dipping white chocolate sauce that was out-of-this-world. Made with a shot of Woodford, Bourbon Barrel sugar shards, and then flambeed. My rice krispie was all over it.

    Taste of Louisville Selena's

    Selena’s at Willow Lake Tavern

    Taste of Louisville Selena's at Willow Lake's Tavern

    Selena's: Blackened chicken and andouille sausage gumbo

    Taste of Louisville Charr'd Bourbon Lounge

    Charr'd Bourbon Lounge had 3 selections! Basically, I loved them. Blackberry Manhattans, plus they served bread pudding in a white chocolate sauce.

    Taste of Louisville Charr'd Bourbon Lounge

    But my love for them really began when this fried chicken came out piping hot. I'm not even that much into fried chicken (I know, I know, I'm from Kentucky- please don't judge me), but this converted me over to the dark side.

    Taste of Louisville Executive Aviation

    Taste of Louisville Manny & Merle

    Manny & Merle's green chili pork tacos had even a non-spicy fan like myself savoring!

    Taste of Louisville Tony Boombozz

    Tony Boombozz never disappoints.

    Taste of Louisville

    Apron had a contest and everyone was cheering. They provide financial relief to food and beverage industry workers.

    Taste of Louisville

    Taste of Louisville Aspen Creek

    Aspen Creek had some amazing pasta, made with chicken, bacon, green onion, and Asiago cream.

    Aspen Creek is currently located in Fern Creek, but will be opening up another location in Oxmoor Mall in the near future! I hope there is more pasta in that location as well.

    Taste of Louisville Bombay Sapphire

    Bombay Sapphire Gin: with fresh snap peas, fresh squeezed lemon juice, Kaffir and mint syrup, celery bitters, and club soda.

    Taste of Louisville Mark's Feed Store

    Mark’s Feed Store: You and your glorious buttermilk pie and I have got to stop meeting at only foodie events. I need more of this pie in my life!

    Taste of Louisville Varanese

    Varanese: Bourbon barrel smoked pork chop with apple-bacon chutney. So good!

    I appreciated that Varanese also had a candied almond and arugula salad with honey bourbon vinaigrette option for the vegetarians.

    Taste of Louisville Barefoot

    Taste of Louisville Barefoot

    Barefoot: Peach-infused wine made with natural fruits

    Taste of Louisville Roux

    Roux: Bottling NOLA for the ville!

    Taste of Louisville Roux

    Roux: Red beans and rice with andouille sausage

    Taste of Louisville John conti coffee

    John conti coffee: Harvest Spice coffee with butterscotch rum and hints of caramel; medium roast

    John conti coffee, you always satisfy my inner caffeine addict at foodie events, for which I am eternally grateful. Even the Gilmore Girls would be impressed!

    Taste of Louisville Petar Mandic Music

    Petar Mandic Music rocking out to a cover of a favorite Jason Mraz song, "I'm Yours"

    Taste of Louisville Papalino's Pizza

    Taste of Louisville Papalinos

    Taste of Louisville Papalinos Pizza

    Papalinos Pizza, making me remember every time why I love pizza endlessly. Loved the inspired take on a classic BLT, except revamped with pizza swag! Made with house-cured bacon, mini heirloom tomatoes, mixed rainbow greens, and Papalinos housemade dough (you just can't beat it). So sad that the Baxter location is closed (still one in Springhurst), and eagerly awaiting the undisclosed new location! Louisville needs you in its life. John Legend, "All of You" style.

    Taste of Louisville Sway

    Sway: Shrimp and grits! And determined to redefine what hotel dining can truly be: Luxuriously tasty.

    Taste of Louisville Martini Italian Bistro

    Martini Italian Bistro: Shredded carrots, peas, prosciutto ham, oven roasted tomato, and pesto white wine garlic sauce.

    Martini: Love at first pasta.

    Taste of Louisville Fireball

    Fireball + apple cider= BFFS

    Taste of Louisville Sidebar

    Sidebar at Whiskey Row: Chopped Kale Salad, made with raw kale, toasted almonds, macerated cherries, and parmesan cheese, tossed in a citrus vinaigrette.

    Delightful salad that will have me ordering a veggie entree when my friends and I go out to Sidebar for drinks in the future.

    Taste of Louisville Drake's

    Are you even aware of how great Drakes sushi is? I frolicked over to this table just from the sheer memory of last year's Taste of Louisville.

    Taste of Louisville Edible Arrangements

    Chocolate-covered Granny Smith apples from Edible Arrangements was a stellar combo of sweet and sour. Chocolate and fruit are clearly meant to be.

    Taste of Louisville Come Back Inn

    1. Gorgonzola pasta with chicken, mushrooms, and *pistachios*! 2. Italian hot brown (YUM) with ciabatta bread, turkey, pancetta, mozzarella, and tomato 3. Cheese tortolini with homemade marinara sauce 4. Homemade meatballs

    Come Back Inn, you really impressed me. Not only did you have a wealth of options, but you were so friendly in making sure I had all the samplings at the ideal temperatures even when I made it to your table by the end of the night. You are one of the reasons I love Taste of Louisville. Discovering new places that make me smile! Favorites: Tie between the Italian hot brown and homemade meatballs. Whatever you put in your marinara sauce is pure foodie magic.

    Taste of Louisville Ghyslain

    Taste of Louisville Ghyslain

    The shoe and piano are all made of chocolate! This is why Ghyslain ranks at bombdotcom status.

    Taste of Louisville Ghyslain

    If you know me at all, you know I am a diehard Ghyslain fan. I love how artistic they make their chocolates look. Food deserves to be beautiful! It's an indulgence for a reason. With Ghyslain, the celestial tastes match the lovely handmade aesthetic. The Caramel Oval oozes with a buttery caramel layer with milk chocolate toffee ganache that reminds you of all the reasons life is joyful.

    Thank you, Taste of Louisville, for making this such a great foodie city in which to live. Looking forward to next year!

    Cover Photo: Courtesy of The Taste of Louisville's facebook page; All Other Photos: Courtesy of Julie Lamb

    Julie Lamb's picture

    About Julie Lamb

    Curly-haired owner of one massive sweet tooth, believer of Harry Potter and Disney fairytales, and a fierce lover of all things literary and the arts.

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