By: Sammy Harris
Hello again! I cannot believe that the last time I wrote a Friday Foodie Feature was back in November/December; time flies when you are having fun, but I wish that life could just slow down a little bit. Anyways, I am SO SO excited to have my first Foodie Feature of 2020 to be all about Louisville, Kentucky, a super cool and underrated city that my older sister resides in.
My family has to get annoyed with me because every time we are in Louisville to visit my sister, I insist on a meal at Naive, which is located just outside of downtown where the NuLu business district meets the Butchertown area. The area is predominantly young adults, with a lot of unique, trendy shops and restaurants: a mini version of Chicago’s Wicker or Lincoln Park.
This vibrant and energizing restaurant has a diverse menu, consisting of several delicious vegan options, that changes seasonally according to what is in season. Beginning in 2018, they even started farming their own food. What stands out to me most about Naive though is the emphasis they put on sustainability in every component of the restaurant. For example, the space is entirely made of sustainable building materials, and follows LEED standards for construction. In addition, at the end of each night, the staff divides the waste into three different categories: compost, recycle, and waste. This allows them to throw away one bag of trash a night. I don’t know about you, but I am constantly saddened when I see workers throwing away trash bag after trash bag into the dumpster behind the restaurant building.
The last weekend of J-Term before going back to school, I had the flu, but still demanded we get Sunday Brunch here on the way out. My mom, sister and I began with the Seasonal Nachos (DF/GF/V) that entailed vegan cashew queso, congri, pepper coulis, corn salsa & pickled onions. I went simple with the Avocado Blue Dog Toast (avocado, radishes, hemp hearts, Duncan Farm egg), while my sister got the Chorizo Bowl (local farm eggs, chorizo, quinoa, crispy hash, cashew queso), and my mom ordered the Mediterranean Chicken Wrap (local chicken, tomato & cucumber salad, beet hummus, goat cheese, tzatziki) with delicious sweet potato fries on the side. We each also got an oat milk latte, because what’s a solid brunch without the fancy drinks, too?!
Louisville never fails to make for a great weekend trip, so my parents and I try to visit my sister a couple times each year. In early August this past summer, as my return to Miami was approaching, I started to get stir crazy, so my mom and I decided to visit my sister for the weekend. Maybe I should act like I am stir crazy all the time!
After an uncomfortably hot July, this weekend surprised us with very comfortable, nice weather that made it necessary to have dinner outside. One of my favorite things about summer is eating on outdoor patios; whether it’s at my house on the Fourth of July or a restaurant in the city, being outside (when it is nice weather of course) always makes me a happier person. So on Saturday evening, it was only fitting that we ate outside, with a beautiful view of the river, at the Portage House: Louisville.
The restaurant is technically in Indiana, located on the other side of the river from Louisville, but I think the owners there are on the Louisville wave like me.
We began the evening with Roasted Brussels Sprouts (maple balsamic, cherry pistachio crumble, chives) and Baked Goat Cheese (toasted pita, cherry pistachio crumble, sumac). For entrees, my mom got the Seared Duck Breast (whipped chive potatoes, kale & caramelized onions, cherry pistachio crumble, cherry hoisin, dressed greens), while my sister chose the Cornmeal Fried Catfish (creamy polenta, spicy mayo, dressed greens, sriracha powder). I decided on the Crispy Black Bean Fritters (creamy polenta, honey chipotle sauce, red cabbage). Now let me tell ya, that creamy polenta was tasty!!! Again, what is a fabulous dinner without some fun drinks, too? We ordered seasonal cocktails and mocktails with real fruit in them– very refreshing!
The Louisville adventures photographed to the right took place the same weekend as our Portage House dinner– I was not lying when I said it was PERFECT weather. My sister has a psychotic (in the best way possible) puppy that needs to be walked every day; otherwise, her entire apartment would be chewed up and spit out. Because of that, we went on at least 4-mile walks every day. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to simply get out there and move; it does not matter what you do, but just moving enough each day will make a world of a difference in your mental and physical health.
It definitely makes it easier to go on long walks with a Starbucks nitro in your hand and 70 degree weather, but what makes walking effortless is when you have multiple stops and rewards on the way. Some of these stops are people-watching stops, as I have met some of the most interesting individuals in this city, like the very outspoken, intelligent, and hilarious man in the bottom right. Louisville also has so many neat stores throughout the different neighborhoods that serve as great walking breaks: record shops, thrift clothing stores, boutiques, etc.
As a matter of fact, so many of the stores were secondhand or had sustainable components to their products. To be honest, we all need to thrift a bit more because 1) whenever I thrift, I find the cutest items that nobody else is likely to have and 2) it’s better for the earth because you are not contributing to factories and mass production continuing to do harm and pollute the environment. Also, if you are ever in Louisville on a Saturday afternoon, definitely make it to the flea market in the Highlands area because the thrift pop-ups there BOMB.
When I said rewards along the way on walks, you definitely know I meant yummy food stops as well! After exploring until we were delirious and yelling at each other, we made our way over to Taco City Louisville. Here, we definitely treated ourselves to Pescado & Tinga Tacos, Veggie & Shrimp Tacos, Chips & Homemade Guac, Cod al Pastor Tacos, and of course, Sweet Potato Fries!!!
Again, please feel free to reach out to me (Via my Instagram) and/or GreenHawks Media with any suggestions, requests, questions, etc. I cannot wait to keep sharing my love for whole, organic, mostly plant-based foods that make us feel good while helping out the environment A LOT!
All photos courtesy of Sammy Harris