By Allison Myers
Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza is a new fast-casual, design-your-own pizza store opening in Louisville (near Trader Joe’s) today. On Friday, I went to a meet & greet to get a sneak peek into the newest addition to the Louisville pizza scene.
Originating from California, Blaze Pizza takes the same assembly line approach of Chipotle or Subway. Blaze fast-fires its personal-sized, 11-inch pizzas in a blazing hot open-hearth oven so pies are done in just under 3 minutes. I love the idea — a fast, quality pizza made in front of you with fresh ingredients. Pizza starts at $5 for cheese and just under $8 for their specialty pies.
You walk in and are quickly greeted with a few shouts of “Welcome to Blaze!” which is a similar greeting you get at Moe’s Southwest Grill. But there's something almost annoying in the cheerfulness in Blaze's pizza-smiths. Nevertheless, they were kind and helpful when explaining the ordering process and helping you build the perfect artisanal pizza.
The inside reminded me of a Chipotle — modern, industrial and clean.
To build your own pie, you start with the crust that’s pressed out when you place your order. The crust is fresh house-made dough that’s made from scratch in a 24-hour fermentation process. There’s a gluten free option, too. Your meat and cheese options are applewood bacon, grilled chicken, Italian sausage, pepperoni, salami, crumbled meatballs, gorgonzola, mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta and vegan cheese. Sauce choices are tangy classic red tomato sauce, spicy red tomato sauce, white cream sauce, pesto and barbecue. Veggies include olives, jalapeños, banana peppers, artichokes, pineapple, tomatoes, arugula, bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, red onions and basil.
Being the want-to-be chef that I am, I had to build my own. I ordered the gluten free crust with the spicy tomato sauce topped with chicken, bacon, mushrooms, bell peppers and basil. And under three minutes my pizza was ready for consumption. It was fresh and had a great flavors. The spicy tomato sauce had a great warmth to it with just the right amount of kick. Be warned it is spicy. The gluten free crust was a bit on the limp side but tasted great. Overall, I was very impressed with my first artisan pizza made in 180 seconds.
Don’t want to build your pie? Blaze offers a variety of signature pizzas to pick from and you can add or subtract any ingredient. The signature styles range from the Meat Eater, with pepperoni, crumbled meatballs, red onion, mozzarella and red sauce, to the Veg Out, with zucchini, red peppers, mushrooms, mozzarella, crumbled gorgonzola and dollops of red sauce. The BBQ Chicken will become a customer favorite for those looking for a little more creativity in their pies.
My friend ordered The Green Stripe. It’s one of the most popular pies with chunks of grilled chicken with mozzarella, red peppers and chopped garlic. What makes it so good are the finishing touches after it’s removed from the oven. Delicious, tangy pesto is drizzled all over and topped off with arugula. The Green Stripe is the perfect example of a quick gourmet pizza. We both enjoyed it.
The Red Vine may be my favorite Blaze pizza. The pie is deliciously topped with mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, parmesan, garlic, basil and a drizzle of olive oil. Pops of flavor fill your mouth as you bite down into the crispy crust. It’s beautiful and delicious. I could eat it every day.
After test tasting many of the signature pizzas, what I love the most is the crust. It’s light. It’s crispy. It’s the perfect compromise between thick and thin. And you don’t have that heavy feeling pizza can give you because the crust is so light. It’s excellent.
Have a sweet tooth? I highly recommend the s’more pie. It’s a crisp, graham cracker cookie with marshmallow and chocolate inside. It’s heated in the pizza oven for ooey, gooey goodness. Pro-tip: Don’t order it with your pizza. Order it afterwards so it’s nice and hot when you’re ready to eat it.
You can get salads at Blaze, too. I tried the beet & goat cheese and it was fresh and good. And the blood-orange lemonade is a fun drink choice.
Wayne Albritton, Blaze Louisville’s Managing Partner, told me why Blaze Pizza stands out in a very competitive pizza market. He explained you get a different pizza and a different experience. A different pizza because Blaze Pizza is chef driven. Chef Brad Kent also known as “The Pizza Whisperer” creates all the recipes from the dough to the sauces. And on the different experience he said, “If you think about it, there really hasn’t been a good way to enjoy a quality pizza without the wait. Now there is.”
Go fire up a pizza at Blaze. Please let me know about your favorite creation or signature pie by placing a comment below.
Blaze Pizza is located at 4600 Shelbyville Rd. Louisville, KY 40207. The Louisville Blaze Pizza will be operated by The Millennial Restaurant Group, which plans on developing restaurants in Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida. The partnership consists of James Patterson Sr, Jim Patterson II, Ulysses (Junior) Bridgeman, Wayne Albritton and Collins Cogan. The partners have decades of owning and operating numerous successful restaurants in the Louisville and Kentucky markets.
By EMILY FAWBUSH
I am not at all surprised that I spend most of my waking hours around animals. I work with them, I live with them and I spend most of my free time fighting for them. Even the hours I spend sleeping I have an 8-pound ball of fur curled up under my chin. The reason I am not surprised is because when I was a kid I didn’t have imaginary friends, I had imaginary dogs. I also had real dogs but I guess that wasn’t enough. Little Emily wanted all the dogs. I guess some things never change. I remember one imaginary dog friend was a yellow lab named Darlin. After fostering a yellow lab puppy I wondered what the hell I was thinking, then again I ate Play-Doh so I probably wasn’t thinking much.
The non-imaginary dog I am introducing ya’ll to this week is Orion! Orion is a 2-3 year old neutered male that is currently in foster with Saving Sunny and looking for a forever home. Orion came from a shelter and previously had a broken rear leg that was repaired. His foster mom says this does not slow him down though.
Orion would be a great addition to a family that already has a dog. His foster parents have other dogs and Orion gets along great with them! He can be energetic and loves to play but would also be a chill dude to hangout with and take to a coffee shop. The great thing about adopting a foster dog (besides saving a life!) is the foster parents have already done all the dirty work. Orion is housebroken, knows sit, stay, and down. If you would like more information on Orion or to set up a time to meet him you can email email@example.com.
By ROCKO JEROME
There's no place in the world where more truths are readily apparent than the stage of a karaoke bar. It's a leap of faith and a baring of the soul to pick a song and step up before a crowd of friends and strangers alike, standing and delivering with your voice in the words of others. You want to be someplace comfortable and inviting, because who knows where the night may take you?
The proverbial Groucho (he told me the name his parents gave him when I met him, but I soon forgot it – everyone I know calls him Groucho, so that's good enough for me) filled a need when he opened his spot a few years ago. Until then, Akiko's was the place you would find yourself, but it was often a drag. It could become a jam packed nexus point for frat dudes, wannabe gangstas, and the types of girls who get dressed to the nines to go out and flail and fail stupendously to hold their liquor. Their reputation was finally soiled forever when a fight inside led to a shooting right out in front.
It's hard to imagine Groucho's as a place where anything like that would go down. There's a magic to it, just something that makes you feel like you're a guest in the home of a friend and not some shithouse-dive set up for a quick buck like so many other karaoke bars.
When I thought of doing interviews with important Louisvillians, this was the first name I thought of ... Groucho P. Trout, in his own words:
When do you recall first becoming aware of karaoke?
That was such a long time ago ... I suppose I was first exposed to karaoke by a friend who fancied himself a potential rock star. He was one of those karaokers who took it a bit too seriously. He would boo people who he thought weren't good singers and boo people based on their song selections, so for a while that was my perception of karaoke. That coupled with the fact that I thought I was "too cool" to do karaoke kept me from doing it for a while, but once I made the leap ... well we see where that's lead me.
At what point did you decide that opening a bar and hosting karaoke was a thing for you?
The opportunity to start my own business just kind of presented itself and at the time there wasn't as much karaoke around as there is now and being a fan myself, I decided to open the kind of bar I would like to hang out at. I just applied that advice you hear for writers, "Write what you want to read." I figured, as weird as I think am, if I make a place I would like to hang out at, surely there must be others. Luckily, I was right.
Do you ever do karaoke yourself?
Indeed I do. I tend not to karaoke when there's a lot of people, only because I want them to have a chance to sing, but sometimes people will request that I sing a song. And do. Immediately.
I used to rap and do spoken word type stuff so I already had a thing for performing, but ironically that's what kept me off the karaoke stage - this idea that I was a "real" performer. I was pretty dumb back then. These days, I will belt out the theme from "The Never Ending Story" with tears in my eyes and without an ounce of shame.
There's more to your place than karaoke. Do you have a particular mission statement?
Why would you ever think that? Are you implying I have some sort of ulterior motive? It's not like there's secret Illuminati meetings going on after hours just because there's an eye in a triangle on the sign.
But seriously, maybe it had something to do with growing up multi-racial in a nearly all white school (there were two black siblings and my sister and I) – I'm not sure. I know that I've met lots of people from all walks of life and I always give a stranger an honest chance without prejudice. I've learned that you can't always judge people by how they look, or how they talk or even what kind of music they listen to. I always try to find the similarities, the common ground that connects us all, and not what divides us. That's really what I'm trying to do with Groucho's, bring people together who would never be together so they can see that they're really not that different after all. We might express ourselves differently, but at the end of the day, we all really want the same things. Also I want to be filthy rich. Like Bill Gates rich.
You also do things like host movie premieres, comedy nights, spoken word – your place is a place where many things happen.
It was always my intent to use the place to help promote local artists. I'm a big proponent of keeping everything local and I believe that's what makes a place unique. I've never understood the this corporate homogenization thing. If every city has the same stuff, why would I want to go there? I've had everything from experimental noise bands to pop art shows and local film screenings and it makes me feel good to be able to provide an opportunity for people to have a place to express themselves. We also do an open-mic comedy show, "Comedy Attack!" twice a month.
What's the thing you wish more people understood about what you're doing?
Karaoke is about having fun and blowing off some steam. If you're gonna be all butthurt and cursing because you have to wait to sing (even though you came in at 3 a.m. on a packed Friday night) you're missing the point. There are twelve year olds running around in jungles killing each other with AK-47s. Your Friday night could be a hell of a lot worse.Groucho's Bar and Karaoke is located at 935 Goss Ave. if you're too chicken to sing, you can play the 90's X-Men arcade game that was originally at Kentucky Kingdom and still see the stage.
By ALLISON MYERS
Let me tell you a secret about all the foodies I know including myself. We keep a list of local area eateries and restaurants that we want to try. And it's a bit embarrassing when one of our friends have been to a place that we haven't. Truth be told I hate it.
This recently happened to me when I was having a conversation with a friend about the best burgers in Louisville. He mentioned Bunz Burgerz as one of his favorites. Bunz has been on my list to try for a while but I just ended that extra kick in the "Bunz" to get me through the door.
On National Hamburger Day, I decided it was the perfect day to take my first trip to Bunz. I took an early lunch with a friend to avoid the crowd and scope out the space.
Bunz is one of the places that you right look right past. It's a place that might even be too small for Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives to visit. The decor is a mix of a small diner and a bit of funky, alternative flare. I was a bit bothered by the disarray but keep telling myself the food will be worth it. Also, it reminded me of walking up to a food truck. There's one grill master, a grill, four high top tables, a few window seats and a couple of tables outside. Space is limited. So be aware, you might be waiting awhile and a seat might not be available. No worries if not, you can take your Bunz to go.
What Bunz lacks in space and decor it makes up for it in its burgers -- big time.
Let’s talk about the menu. It isn’t expansive but it’s everything you need. Burger, fries and shakes oh my! Pricing ranges for Single Bunz at $4 to $8 for the Signature Gourmet Bunz. All the burgers are fresh certified Angus ¼ lb. beef patties.
Don’t feel like Angus? No problem -- Bunz has a variety of options including veggie, bison, turkey, grilled chicken, salmon and even portobello if you’d like. You can build your own with several different toppings available.
Sides for your Bunz include regular fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings and cheezy bacon friez, ranging in price from about $2 to $4. And for your sweet tooth, they have amazing gourmet shakes.
Pro tip: The first time I go anywhere I always try their signature dishes and take a friend so I can try double the entrees and sides.
Bunz signature burgers are the Baxter Ave Bunz (a double burger, fried egg, cheddar cheese, bacon, onion with Bunz sauce) and the Lexington Roadhouse Bunz (a single burger, cheddar cheese, pepper-jack cheese, onion ring, and BBQ sauce). My friend and I ordered one of each along with sweet potato fries and onion rings to share. Take note that was a lot of food for the two of us.
Being the meat eater that I am, I tried the massive Baxter Ave Bunz first. My first though was, "Mmmm, that's a tasty burger!" to quote Samuel Jackson. It was packed with flavor from the combination of the bacon, fried egg, cheddar and special sauce. The only downside it was a bit salty for my taste but it didn’t stop me for devouring it.
The Lexington Roadhouse Bunz was equally as delicious. The sweet and savory flavors from the BBQ sauce, cheese and the onion ring were the perfect match. And the not-so-secret behind Bunz yummy goodness is the buttery toasted bun. It’s pure perfection. No wonder they call the place Bunz.
The sweet potato fries had the right amount of crispiness. They weren’t soggy like fries can get and I enjoyed the crinkled texture. Ask for honey to dip them in and it takes the fries to the next level. So good.
But the surprise of the day were the onion rings. The red rings which you can’t find many places were phenomenal. My friend and I started fighting over them. An onion ring that you can bite into without the entire onion sliding out, has a great flavor and is crispy as well -- gold in my book. And the dipping sauce was a delicious complement.
What I loved about my experience at Bunz is that everything is cooked to order and is so fresh. Next time I think I’ll try building my own for a little less heavy option.
Bottom line is this foodie is hot for Bunz and suggest you take your bunz for your next burger fix.
Bunz is located at 969 Baxter Ave. Louisville, Ky., 502.632.1132.
By ALLISON MYERS
“People who love to eat are always the best people.” – Julia Child
This has to be one of my favorite quotes, which will probably give you a sense of my priorities in life. My best friends are those who love food as much as I do.
I’m happy to share with you my passion for food on Share Louisville! I love living, cycling and eating in our beautiful city of Louisville, Kentucky.
Any given day there's something you can learn about the place you live that you didn't know before. My goal is to uncover those things, especially the ones related to the food scene.
Louisville is truly a foodie’s paradise. We have an impressive amount of local top-notch restaurants, cafes and dives. Food excites and inspires me, and I find myself more excited and inspired with the discovery of another must try place.
My food philosophy: Food that's fresh and local is best. I believe that food worth eating should taste delicious and nourish your body. I don’t believe in deprivation or eliminating any food group. If I want macaroni and cheese, I will eat a proper portion and savor every bite.
Dining out should be an experience and event. And yes, I’m the obnoxious person who won’t let anyone touch her food until I get an Instagram picture of it first. A good meal is meant to be shared, and how can I share it if there is no proof?
I’m an Instagram fanatic. My feed is my visual blog. It’s a great representation of my loves (family, friends, cycling, fashion, food and Louisville) and shows what I’m up to, what I like, what I’m eating and where I’m traveling.
Some of my favorite things to do in Louisville include running and walking at The Parklands of Floyd's Fork, attending boot camp classes at HomeFit and cycling the Louisville Loop. I'm training for my second century ride for Bike to Beat Cancer. It's a charity event near and dear to my heart. And I've got to burn off those calories from my food adventures somehow.
If you see me out, please stop by and say hello. Smiles and hugs are free. And I give both.
When you bring people together at one table and feed them well, there are always things that they can agree on. In some small way, I want to help others find happiness and harmony in food.
By ROCKO JEROME
Fandomfest. Derby City Comic Con. Wizard World Louisville. They're all babies compared to the one that came before them all-
25 years ago, a few local geeks (a term I use with the greatest sense of endearment) decided to build a beacon to their Sci-Fi obsessed brethren, an annual gathering time and place for those knocked out by stop motion special effects, fantasy literature, comic books and the like.
Over the years, the show brought to town the likes of Ray Harryhausen, George Romero, trailblazers in their field. A place where giants walked with men, told their stories, signed their autographs. A place of nothing less than worship for the fans who put their heroes where they were.
Are there bigger conventions? In terms of attendance and "star power," yes.
In terms of true reverence for those who built the figurative bridges so widely traversed in Pop Culture today? In terms of time and tradition?
In terms of heart?
WonderFest is the King of them all.
Wonderfest 25 is this weekend at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. You can meet prop designers from things like the original Star Trek and Jaws. No cast members of The Walking Dead are scheduled to appear.
By EMILY FAWBUSH
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to write for Share Louisville and I thought how hard could it be? I get to write about my two favorite things – my city that I love and the animals in it. Once I actually sat down to write my first post I realized I haven’t done any formal writing since college, unless dating website bios and Facebook statuses count. After a few Google searches and a couple deep breaths this is what I’ve come up with.
My name is Emily and I have worked for Louisville Metro Animal Services for almost four years now. I consider myself very lucky to have found my calling in life so young. When I was 20 I graduated with a degree in veterinary sciences on a Monday night and started fulltime that Wednesday. Since then my house has been a revolving door for animals that are old, sick, slightly combative, or have one foot in the grave. My dog and cats are not always happy with my foster choices but they have learned to adapt and are always good sports about sharing their home.
I recently started volunteering for an organization called Saving Sunny. They are doing amazing things for the animals in our community, take for instance – Isis. The day Isis came into Metro Animal Services is a day I will never forget. Dispatch called over the radio to have vet staff prepare for animal control officers bringing in a group of Pit Bulls that had been confiscated from what was believed to be a fighting ring. Twenty minutes later I was helping unload two litters of puppies, the two moms, and two male dogs.
One in particular caught my eye – a tan and white female with a horrible crop job on her ears, over 100 scars, and her tail between her legs. Upon further medical examination we found deep wounds under both armpits and what appeared to be duck tape residue around her mouth. I didn’t even realize I was crying until my supervisor pulled me aside and I asked if I was okay. From that moment on that dog had my heart. For the duration of her stay at Metro, which was over a year, I spent my lunch breaks taking her into the play yard and trying to make her time at the shelter as pleasant as possible.
The day Saving Sunny pulled Isis I cried like a little baby. It was a long wait due to the owner having to go to court and Metro not being able to place the dogs into homes or find rescue commitments until everything was finished on the legal end, but it was the best possible outcome for Isis. They worked with her and helped rehabilitate her into a structured and loving environment, one she was definitely not used to given her past. Isis is now a happy and healthy dog available for adoption. Isis cohabitates well with dogs and cats, but might do best being the only lady dog around, it just has to be the right match. To set up a time to meet Isis you can fill out the adoption application on the Saving Sunny website, www.savingsunny.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org! There are also volunteer and foster opportunities if you wan to get involved but not able to have a dog!
Looking for some free entertainment this summer? Check out the Free Summer Movie Series at Iroquois Amphitheater. Starting May 24 with "Planes" and ending September 12 with "42," the series is a great way to enjoy one of our Metro Parks while enjoying a free flick.
All show times are 8 p.m. Concessions will be available.
The Iroquois Amphitheater is located at 1080 Amphitheater Road, off New Cut Road.
2014 FREE SUMMER MOVIES
May 24: “Planes”
June 2: “We Are Marshall”
June 9: “Diamonds are Forever”
June 16: “The Little Mermaid”
June 21: Monsters University”
June 23: “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”
June 30: “Finding Nemo”
July 7: “Back to the Future”
July 14: “Gravity"
July 19: “The Butler”
July 21: “Man of Steel”
July 28: “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”
Aug. 9: “Despicable Me”
Sept. 12: “42″
For more information visit www.iroquoisamphitheater.com.
The Book of Mormon, winner of nine Tony Awards including Best Musical, is pleased to announce a lottery ticket policy for the National Tour, which begins May 27 at The Kentucky Center in Louisville and plays a limited two-week engagement through June 8. In Louisville, the production will conduct a pre-show lottery at the box office, making a limited number of tickets available. Entries will be accepted at the box office beginning two and a half hours prior to each performance; each person will print their name and the number of tickets (1 or 2) they wish to purchase on a card that is provided. Two hours before curtain, names will be drawn at random for a limited number of tickets priced at $25 each.
Only one entry is allowed per person. Cards are checked for duplication prior to drawing. Winners must be present at the time of the drawing and show valid ID to purchase tickets. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner. Tickets are subject to availability.
By ROCKO JEROME
I'm going to give a cloth bag. Every time you come through and bring any sort of bag, no matter what it is or where it came from, so long as you're reusing it, we'll give you what's called a 'wooden dime.' A 'wooden dime' is good for a ten cent donation to a charity of your choice."
I repeat these words at least 100 times a day. It's not a script, and no one has told me to say it. But every word of it is true, and when I lock eyes with someone and lay it out, I'm letting them know that, had they not already noticed, they're not at just any grocery store.
Lucky's is a very special place.
After I left Barnes & Noble about a year ago, I wrote a resume. I didn't send it out or do anything with it, it was my Plan B. The thing I would resort to if my writing projects didn't bare fruit. I have a friend who professionally advises people on getting jobs. He told me that words like "salesman seeking work representing a reputable product that improves the quality of life in the world" wouldn't get me any gigs. I really didn't want to change it, so I forgot about it.
I had a fun summer, then wrote frequently on a few projects through a busy fall, laid low through a brutal winter, and as spring sprang, I found myself longing for interaction with the public again, for some sort of structure to my life. I'm self employed as a writer. The only problem is, I don't always get along so well with my boss. I need to go to a place and do a thing. Of all the places I could've gone and things I could be doing, I chose this, because I know the people I work for understand improving lives and the quality of the world.
Lucky's exists because someone with the means felt that the world would be a better place with a store like Lucky's in it. A place where a simple principle is believed and put into practical application:
It is a basic human right to eat nutritious, quality food. Everyone should be able to afford to do that, and kindness is a simple gift that costs nothing to give, but is priceless nonetheless.
Lucky's Market is located at 200 N. Hurstbourne Pkwy, Louisville, KY. Stop by and try some things. Say hello.