8 hot and heavy, must-have dishes for the lonely, heart-broken or unsatisfied. As close to spooning as we can physically get without … you know … another human being
Cheesy Potatoes — Pig City BBQ
12003 Shelbyville Road, 244-3535, www.pigcitybbq.com
A mixture of cheese, hash-brown potatoes, cheese, sour cream, cheese, cream of chicken and cheese, cooked into a hot, sloppy mess, this Pig City side dish is worth the trip to Middletown. Especially if it’s raining. Especially if you’re sad. Especially if you just need a hug. It’s better than a letter from home with cash. If you’re lucky enough to get a burnt-corner portion, take it slow and take pleasure in every last bite. Play the lottery or hang out at Jim Porter’s.
Kate’s Stuffed Mushrooms — Rich O’s/Sportstime Pizza
3312 Plaza Dr., New Albany, (812) 949-2804, www.newalbanian.com
I once tried a “magic” mushroom in college, and they don’t even come close to Kate’s Stuffed Mushrooms at Rich O’s. The magic ones were dried up and crumbled at a touch. They left me dizzy, with a strange lusting for leprechauns. Kate’s Mushrooms, stuffed with mozzarella and cream cheese, are anything but dry, and sometimes even a fork won’t break the cap’s gooey fortress. But they did leave me dizzy … and not in a reading-in-the-back-seat-of-a-car kind of way. If you want the leprechauns, one (or six) of Rich O’s pints will do.
Mac ’n’ Cheese — Nord’s Brown Bag Pub and Deli
2100 S. Preston St., 635-6747
Soft. Succulent. Comfort food at its finest. This isn’t the radioactive-yellow-lightning-bug-smear mac that you pour water on and choke down. It’s homemade. With love. And kisses. And real milk. And real cheese. And that delicious baked-oven taste that gently burns some of the edges but leaves the center creamy and delicate. For less than 2 bucks, a nooner with Nord’s will leave you quite fulfilled. Now go wipe your face.
Brioche Stack French Toast — Toast on Market
736 E. Market St., 569-4099
A place that serves breakfast all day long — beautiful. Pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon … french toast. Ahhhh. French toast. Toast on Market doesn’t take breakfast lightly, and it shouldn’t, since its name is, well, “Toast.” It takes breakfast to a whole new level, one that I can’t quite come down from. The Brioche Stack is your standard three pieces of eggified, buttered bread, but it comes topped with a divine mixed berry sauce and … wait for it … wait for it … whipping cream. Homemade, creamy, thick, tasty, whipping cream. The kind that doesn’t disintegrate in a hot cup of cocoa. It stays put until you spoon it.
Sin Bar — Ermin’s Bakery & Café
5 locations — www.erminsbakery.com
The Sin Bar is a naughty, naughty creature. It lies still behind the bakery glass as you step up to order a minimal meal. One-third firm, semi-sweet chocolate layered on two-thirds of soft, creamy peanut butter fudge, the dessert bar then starts to croon. And swoon. It sings Barry Manilow better than Neil Diamond ever could. It shimmies and shakes. I’ve even seen it throw a few Bobby Brown squat-thrusts as I tried to avoid its seductions. Buyer beware: Devour its soul before it devours yours.
Buttermilk Crunch — Mark’s Feed Store
4 locations — www.marksfeedstore.com
Dessert can be quite a dilemma. Ice cream or pie? Chocolate or caramel? No thanks or yes more please? Mark’s Feed Store makes it easy by piling everything on their dessert menu into one succinct mug of gratification. The Buttermilk Crunch begins with a slice of Mark’s confection perfection buttermilk pie, then builds with creamy vanilla soft-serve, and finally gets topped off with caramel, nuts and, if you ask for it (and there is nothing wrong with asking for it), hot fudge that fights its way down to the pie the way a spoon just cannot. (Remember: Desserts are free on Mondays.)
Chocolate Oreo Concrete — Starlight Frozen Custard
4169 Shelbyville Road, 893-7827
How many of you know that Dairy Queen is supposed to have two flavors of ice cream — vanilla and chocolate? A majority of them do offer both options … outside the Louisville Metro, that is. Screw the Lou’s Queen! We’ve got something better. Something richer, smoother, heartier, more satisfying, and it goes by the name of custard. Oh, sweet, sweet custard.
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my insatiable appetite for chocolate and Oreos to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord open a Starlight in heaven, for Christ’s sake.
Red Velvet Raspberry Cake — Sweet Surrender
1804 Frankfort Ave., 899-2008, www.sweetsurrenderdessertcafe.com
Red hot, red hot/Baby your love’s so/Red hot, red hot/I need your love/Like a flame needs a fire … Debbie Gibson probably wasn’t talking about Sweet Surrender’s version of Red Velvet Cake when she wrote “Red Hot” at age 16, but I guarantee she’d sing the praises after one fork-full of this multi-layered, cream-cheese-and-cake fantasy cut with raspberry puree. Until I tasted it for myself, Red Velvet Raspberry Cake was tangible “Only in My Dreams.”
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