Sunday, May 23, 2010

Weekend Getaway in Louisville

I love the internet. Love, love, love. You can find just about anything.

This weekend we took a little road trip to The Abbey of Gethsemani and Bernheim Forest in central Kentucky and spent the night in Louisville, which is just about 90 minutes from where we live now. I don’t know where we would have eaten if I hadn’t been able to search for good vegetarian food on the internet. We found two good meals in Louisville.

For dinner Saturday night, we wanted something simple and filling after a day sweating and hiking at Bernheim. I found the Third Avenue Cafe, read some reviews, perused the menu, and confirmed that they serve beer. There were several selections on the menu that looked promising, and they make it known that everything is homemade on the premises, and that they have a dedicated fryer for meats and a separate one for non-meat items. They also specially mark vegan items on the menu so you don't have to worry about your sauces or anything else. That's nice.

We did meet the Elvis on the bench as we walked in, but we sat outside on the patio along the sidewalk. We started with the portabella strips appetizer. This was thick strips of portabella, a whole mushroom cut into half-inch slices, then lightly battered and fried. The batter was very, very light. Lighter than the lightest tempura I’ve ever had. The mushroom was juicy and flavorful, and the horseradish sauce was a delightful touch, although giving each of us a cup of it was more than is necessary.


I considered getting the black bean burger or tofu burrito, but each of those dishes are something I can quickly get at home. Instead, I opted for the barbecue tofu sandwich and Alex got the veggie Reuben. Each comes with a choice of chips, fries, potato salad, cole slaw, soup, or soybean salad. Because I was getting barbecue, I opted for the honey mustard cashew cole slaw.

Our waitress, who attempted to memorize our orders, brought me the potato salad instead. I asked about the slaw and she blamed it on the cook (ah! we saw on the receipt that she entered potato salad). My point here is this: the potato salad is in the photo, but I didn’t eat any. The cole slaw was okay, but kind of limp and not special. The potato salad looked better, but she took it away, so there’s no sure way to tell.


As for the tofu, it was okay. The barbecue sauce was good, sweet, and sticky. And messy. The sandwich was mostly bread, and the red onion dominated the flavor. I must say, though, that the bread was good. They say it’s homemade tomato foccacia, and it was tasty. That said, I’d still rather have the yee-haw barbecue seitan sandwich at Melt.

Alex’s sandwich, on the other hand, was amazing. The marbled rye bread was toasty and tasty, and the sandwich was mostly sauerkraut. There was a flavorful, thin layer of smokey tempeh, some Thousand Island dressing, and some soy-Swiss. This sandwich was perfect. I have never had an actual Reuben, but this was a really good sandwich in itself. His chips were also good. So, there was a typo on the menu and it gave one choice as “homemade mesquite potato chops.” So he asked for the chops. The waitress giggled and said chips. These thick-cut chips were good and came with some kind of ranch-dill dipping sauce that was yummy.


So, all in all, Alex’s selections were the winners. The good news is that we now have a lunch/dinner stop for when we drive through Louisville. We were actually commenting to each other when we were driving home from Saint Louis through Louisville that we didn’t know of any good places to stop, and this could easily be a stop when we drive through on our way to Memphis. It also shows that even these small cities have gems for vegans and vegetarians.

Third Ave Cafe on Urbanspoon

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