Last night’s 1920s-themed event, the 39th Annual ORIGINAL Taste of Louisville 2012 at the Mellwood Arts Center, was a blast! In addition to unlimited samples from local vendors, there was a great live jazz swing band (Billy Goat Strut Revue), a beer and wine garden, a cocktail competition, and a silent auction. Proceeds will benefit Community Health Charities, as well as the Kentucky Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.
For the Bombay Sapphire “Speakeasy” cocktail competition, Varanese, Marketplace, Napa River Grill, and Martini’s Bistro selected their best bartenders to compete. Gary Gruver from Martini’s won with his “Speakeasy Bluegrass”, a delightful combination of Bombay Sapphire gin, West Indian orange bitters, sweet vermouth, lemongrass, lemon juice, egg white, and thyme. It was refreshing, light, and definitely fit the Prohibition era theme.
As for beer, Against the Grain had some delicious products with fun names, such as the “Mockless Lobster”, “Whamstein”, and “Chamomile Tow”. Also, West 6 Brewery had a fruity IPA that was bright and fantastic, and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout tasted like whiskey and beer made a delicious baby. My favorite was New Albanian Brewing Co.’s “Black Bluegrass”, which is made of lemongrass, blue agave nectar, and black pepper. [Black + Blue + (Lemon)grass = Black Bluegrass]. It was intriguing and delicious. Also, “Hoptimus”, their double IPA with lots of hops (hence the name), was wonderful.
Inside, Dumante served an Italian pistachio liqueur. It was remarkably good and my vote for Best Beverage. Mostly because the lady behind the table gave me extra when I mentioned that it had been a long day.
Now, it would be incredibly boring for me to list and describe all of the offerings from this evening, so I’d like to mention the highlights. Everything I tasted this evening was good, but these bites truly shined in that dimly-lit room by offering something surprising, exciting, new, and/or technically sound. If I didn’t mention you, please don’t be offended – I see and appreciate all of your hard work. Also, these are just the opinions of a strange little lady. Here are my favorites:
Now, there weren’t many desserts, but they were all wonderful! (If I left someone out, please let me know!!)
Upon entry into the festivities, guests were given small cards with categories on them (ie. Best Entrée, Best Dessert, Best Beverage, Best Appetizer, Best Overall) for voting. After making the rounds, these cards were dropped appropriately into fish bowls positioned at the front of each exhibitor’s table. At the end of the night, winners were announced. Here are the results:
+ Best Appetizer – Zanzabar
+ Best Entrée – Bristol Bar & Grille
+ Best Overall – Crowne Plaza
+ Best Beverage – Wild Africa Creme Liqueur
+ Best Dessert - Blue Bell Creameries
Congratulations to the winners! Everything I ate was delicious, and you should all be proud. Can’t wait until next year!