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Issue 95 - A Work in Progress

Whisky Magazine Issue 95
April 2011


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A Work in Progress

Liza Weisstuch heads to Louisville to chuck out some new happenings o tickle the tastebuds

?A­ll it took was one bite of the pleasantly piquant mejillones en caldilo, a shimmering heap of mussels drenched in cilantro-flecked red chilli ginger sauce, and my bewilderment transmuted into bliss. The room, awash in turquoise blue, offers a panoramic view of Bardstown Road, a heavily trafficked boulevard in Louisville. Other Spanish influenced dishes followed and the bourbon flowed in abundance. There was not a steak strip or country ham in sight.

Given Kentucky's inextricable link with bourbon, there's an expectation that traditional, hearty Southern food is the most suitable accompaniment. But chefs in Louisville today are shattering those expectations, turning out creative, designer fare, each menu radically different from the next. Anthony Lamas, chef/owner of Seviche, created the mejillones en caldilo. He opened the restaurant six years ago and quickly became known for cuisine that unites his Puerto Rican and Spanish roots and places them squarely in a bluegrass context.

“The Latino-bourbon mix made sense,” he said. “I like to stay close to home with my cooking style but use local ingredients. We are in bourbon country, after all.” In addition to using the native spirit in Latin desserts, it plays a key role in the irresistible chipotle bourbon orange glaze he developed for the Woodford Reserve cookbook. The sauce is a finishing touch in a special involving a variation on shrimp and grits – a cake made from local grits, Indiana corn and Manchego cheese...

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