Tag Archives: food

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Cox’s Hot Chicken & Sports

screen-shot-2019-03-13-at-5-15-12-pmChicken, sports, beer, memories of South Side and more

BY D. TODD APPLEGATE | PHOTOS BY CHRISTIAN WATSON

Normally, I try not to set expectations when I review a restaurant, especially a new one. But with my latest assignment, Cox’s Hot Chicken & Sports in New Albany, this mindset was challenged.

First, I knew it would be a struggle to walk into an establishment that, as of November, occupies the space that was once home to the iconic South Side Inn Bar and Restaurant. Second, being a lover of fried chicken, especially hot chicken and specifically Nashville hot chicken, with “hot chicken” in Cox’s name my taste buds had some preconceived and anticipatory notions as well.

Thus, on a recent Wednesday for lunch, it was impossible to enter Cox’s without reminiscing of the great food and fond memories from the legendary South Side, a mainstay in the downtown New Albany dining scene for years. (Most recently this building housed Big Four Burgers and District 22 Pizzeria.)

Interestingly, I found that the general floor plan of South Side had been maintained as I remembered. I felt like I had stepped back in time and the large “South Side Bar and Restaurant” sign in the middle dining room was a pleasant reminder that Cox’s appreciated the history also. For those of us that exited with tray in hand to the right from the South Side cafeteria line, a full-service sports bar now occupies the back wall of the former dining room. It felt welcoming and familiar but refurbished with a new look and exciting vibe.

Pleasantly appeased of my first concern and nostalgia aside, it was time to focus on the chicken.

I love fried chicken, always have, and am constantly searching for good fried chicken. Fortunately or unfortunately, fried chicken prepared in a cast iron skillet, the ideal method, in my opinion, tends to be the barometer by which all chicken is measured.

But chicken has evolved over the years, and there are now many varieties to choose from and a plethora of restaurants offering this ever-popular item. There are fried, broasted, grilled, baked, pressure cooked, and roasted preparations, and original, spicy, hot, Nashville hot, golden, Cajun and other varieties to consider. Plus, there are sauces to evaluate in the overall equation.

I applaud Cox’s for not being “chicken,” so to speak, to put its version of the fried bird out there and provide a new niche in the ever-expanding New Albany food landscape.

After looking around, I ordered three Sticky Fingers ($7.99 with one side and choice of sauce) and three Giant Drummies ($7.99 w/side). You can order six for $13.99 or nine for $19.99 as well. I opted for Mary’s Greens as one side and Mac & Cheese as the other. For starters, Alexandra, my friendly and patient server, recommended the Fried Pickle Spears with ranch dipping sauce.

While waiting for the pickles, I perused the rest of the menu and reviewed the three-page beer menu. The dining menu is divided into five sections and has something to please just about everyone, including appetizers, sandwiches (including a Fried Cod Sandwich served fish ’n‘ chips style for $10.99), sides, burgers and salads. There also is a children’s menu.

screen-shot-2019-03-13-at-5-15-18-pmThe fried pickle spears I ordered were a home run and were as crisp and firm after frying as any pickle I have ever had. The ranch dipping sauce was a perfect complement to these crunchy and munchy gems. A cold beer and these fried pickles while watching sports is enough to keep you coming back to Cox’s.

With the taste buds tantalized, out came the chicken, sides and choice of sauces served on silver trays with red and white checkered picnic paper. I immediately went for the chicken and was not disappointed. It was “hot” chicken, meaning it was served from the fryer hot and crispy. Cox’s serves their chicken original style and provides a choice of sauces (Original, Cluck, Holy Cluck, or Clucking Scary) on the side to deliver the desired heat. For sake of completeness, I tried all of the sauce options and found that they all had a base sweetness to them and slightly different flavor profile with increasing heat level. My favorite was the Holy Cluck. The Clucking Scary was certainly hot but not inedible hot and would not completely scare the bravest away.

My side of Mary’s Greens was terrific and reminiscent of the South Side greens of yesteryear.

Cooked with bacon pieces and both sweet and tart at the same time, they were delicious. I’m still pondering the mystery flavor or secret spice. Maybe a slight splash of Asian mirin and/or flavored soy? The ample portion of the Mac & Cheese side was creamy and utilized curly cavatappi as the pasta choice.screen-shot-2019-03-13-at-5-15-31-pm

The beer menu is extensive and includes both domestic and imported draft and bottled selections and a surprisingly large number of craft beers with a focus on local breweries which was good to see. Cox’s also has plenty of bourbon, spirits and wine to choose from, in addition to nonalcoholic beverages.

Next door with its own entrance is Cox’s Carry Out. It has a reduced menu featuring only chicken and sides. Incidentally, there are four tables inside the carry-out location that may be perfect for those wanting to grab a quick lunch or dinner. Both New Albany Cox’s restaurant are wheelchair accessible from the Main Street entrances.

Also, Cox’s recently opened a second location at 134 Spring St. in Jeffersonville in the former Big Four Burgers location. It will be similar to the New Albany establishment but will also feature a second-floor venture with a local brewery.

So, come meet, eat, drink, hang out, watch some sports and enjoy. It will be a party “fowl” if you don’t try it!

Tastefully, Todd


Cox’s Hot Chicken & Sports

114 East Main St.

New Albany

812.944.4032

coxshotchicken.com


Cox’s Hot Chicken

134 Spring St.

Jeffersonville

812.590.3281

coxshotchicken.com

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UP FOR DEBATE

screen-shot-2018-10-04-at-9-57-09-amPhoto by Jason Applegate

Kentucky is known for its hot brown. And fried chicken. And bourbon. In Maine, it’s all about lobsters, Maryland’s crabs and crab cakes reign supreme, Massachusetts claims the best clam chowder and you can’t beat a New York bagel or find a more flavorful green chile than you can in New Mexico. Each state clings to its claim of being known for serving up the best edible something – but what about Indiana? Spoon University and Thrillist say it’s our sugar cream pie, while Food Network and BuzzFeed maintain our breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches are the must-have dish. Help us settle the debate and tell us what is Indiana’s defining dish by sending an email to extol@extolmag.com. Just be sure to put “Extol Eats” in the subject line.

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“All Aboard” The La Pasadita Train

toddextoleatsCharlestown gem serves up authentic Mexican eats

By D. Todd Applegate

Photos by Christian Watson

As a self-professed foodie and wannabe chef ’n‘ restaurateur – and one of the Extol Team’s newest members – I am thrilled the role of food writer has been put on my plate. I am ready to dig in. At the risk of losing an audience I don’t yet have, I apologize in advance for the food puns, but hopefully you can develop a stomach for them. I look forward to extolling the virtues of the fare I find in our Southern Indiana community and will relish sharing it with you. So, please enjoy and just try and digest what I’m serving up in these pages. And if you have a place you think I should try, just send an email to extol@extolmag.com and put “Extol Eats” in the subject line. –D. Todd Applegate

I wish I had a peso for every time I’ve thought to myself, “I sure would like to find a restaurant that serves good authentic Mexican food.” If you’ve found yourself thinking the same thing, give La Pasadita a try.  Just off Highway 62 in Charlestown, the eatery is easy to get to, hard to get in (more on that in a moment) and easy to enjoy…at least once you find the entrance.

Housed in a red railroad car nestled between the “powder keg” tower and the suspended vintage Chevy on the flagpole, La Pasadita is kind of hard to miss. But getting inside the restaurant itself poses a bit of a challenge. There are three possible entrances, each with its own parking area. The key is to locate and stay to the right of the nondescript La Pasadita sign and park near there. With that accomplished and the red railroad car now in front of you, take one of the two entrances, choosing either ramp or steps, to one of two doors, each leading into the restaurant.

toddextoleats-2After what sounds like a bit of a treasure hunt to this point, you will now have even more of an appetite and as your reward, be ready to enjoy some good authentic Mexican food and in an old railroad dining car to boot. Just be sure you ask to be seated in the dining car, as the restaurant is part train car and part Mexican market and café.

With a name like La Pasadita, you might expect good Mexican food. After Isabel, my kind hostess-waitress-server-cashier, seated me, she asked, “Have you ever had authentic Mexican food before?”

Slightly taken aback I inquired: “What do you consider to be authentic Mexican food?”

Isabel replied, “The main difference between Tex-Mex, which is what most people consider Mexican food to be, is that ‘authentic’ means using traditional family recipes from the various regions of Mexico in your particular restaurant.”

As for the restaurant’s name, “There isn’t an easy translation,” Isabel admitted. The closest translation I could find for pasadita comes from the word pasar, which means “to pass” or “passage.”

While that was close, Isabel added that the word “probably translates to ‘passing by’ or ‘passing on’ when used colloquially.” That was good enough for me as I thought if I was hungry and “passing by” a place, I’d like to try some traditional Mexican recipes that had been “passed on.”

toddextoleats-11With the treasure hunt and Spanish lesson behind me, I was now seated in the stainless-steel tube of an old dining car, which was behind the big red engine of the now defunct Clark Nichols Railroad, and ready to order lunch.

The menu items were primarily in Spanish but with informative descriptions in English of what you were ordering.  In addition to many recognizable offerings, the menu also included chicharrones (pork rings), flautas (deep fried chicken tacos), huaraches (shaped masa cakes), and the atypical Tacos De Tripitas, Chorizo, and Lingua (tripe, chorizo and tongue tacos). There were plenty of huevos (egg) offerings and tortas (Mexican sandwiches) as well.

Incidentally, there is one menu for both lunch and dinner, and specials for each. On the day of my visit, the lunch special ($5) included two tacos (either Mexican style or deluxe with choice of meat ) with rice and beans.

That was my starter, along with a lime Jarritos ($1.50) to drink. There are a variety of Mexican beverages both on the menu and in the cooler to purchase in the market. You can even get a Mexican Coca Cola should you choose. There are three Mexican beers ($3/each) and three domestics in bottles ($3) on the menu. And bottled water, too ($1.)

Soon, out came the salsa and chips and the Jarritos, followed by my tacos. A Mexican Taco here is a small, flat, corn tortilla with choice of meat, chopped onions and fresh cilantro. A Deluxe Taco includes the above plus lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream. I had ordered a deluxe with chicken and a Mexican with beef. Both were extremely tasty. The meat was tender, marinated and spiced – but not spicy. I drizzled salsa on both, which was interesting as the sauce was thinner versus chunky, but full of flavor, with onion, cilantro and a notable citrus kick. The chips were crunchy with the right amount of salt. You can get a hotter version of the salsa upon request. It is thicker and amped up with habanero, but not too amped up.

I asked Isabel what was La Pasadita’s signature dish.  She seemed to lean toward the beef choices and cited Carne Asada (grilled skirt steak; $8.99) as her choice. I have had Carne Asada elsewhere, so I opted for something different and selected the Guisado De Puerco (pork stew in green sauce) while Extol photographer Christian Watson – who’d just arrived – ordered the Quesadilla Con Carne (translation: beef quesadilla; $8.99) and a mango Jarritos. Both of our meals came with refried pinto beans and rice, tortillas and a small salad comprised of lettuce, tomato and avocado.

The tortillas, which have great flavor and are specially made for the restaurant, are soft corn tortillas served hot off the grill. You’ll notice big corn flavor in this simple little gem. However, be prepared for the texture change of this corn tortilla versus the flour tortilla that most of us are used to, thanks to the Tex-Mex options in this area.

My Guisado De Puerco was served with chunks of tender marinated pork in a delicious green sauce that was more like gravy. An ample portion for sure, as are most things here, but I still wanted more. Like the tortillas, the refried pintos and the rice were really flavorful sides. And did I detect a hint of adobo or secret spice in the recipe?

It was consistently busy at lunch on this day, and Isabel was in constant motion and multitasking. But she seemed to manage and no one seemed bothered. I just would not have wanted or needed to be in a hurry that day.

I didn’t see desserts on the menu but did notice a small case with fresh pastries (Tortas y Dulces) in the market. Just before paying my bill, I ordered a side of guacamole ($1.50) to go. At restaurants, I sometimes look at a single item that can represent the overall quality of the food across similar restaurants, almost like a standard. Guacamole or a cheese enchilada with red sauce are normally my Mexican go-to barometers. Later that night, I tried the guacamole and as expected, it did not disappoint. Simple but good, it was fresh and creamy with chunks of avocado throughout and a noticeable citrus kick, like the salsa. My wife sampled it as well and voiced her approval.

Even though a unique part of La Pasadita and the floor plan, the Mexican market is small and somewhat out of place. But as I walked around and explored, I realized there was everything one would expect in keeping with the overall authenticity of La Pasadita.  The market offered all things Goya and La Preferida brands. There were spices, canned goods, sauces, snacks, cookies and candy to choose from as well as drinks and an assortment of Mexican cheeses and chorizo in the cooler.

toddextoleats-7I plan to make a return trip soon and advise you to climb aboard the train at La Pasadita, too.

Until next time.

Tastefully, Todd


Las Pasadita

1041 IN-62

Charlestown

812.256.7918

Open 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday-Sunday

Carryout available

Family friendly; handicap accessible

Alcohol served

 

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Roadrunner Kitchen

acr5516202132275258219BY ANGIE FENTON

My husband and I were in downtown New Albany and had exactly 30 minutes to find a place for lunch, park, eat and get back on the road to an appointment 5 minutes away. Fast food wasn’t an option (if you read our last issue, you’ll know I’ve lost 50 pounds and have worked too hard for my health gains). While there are numerous options in the heart of the city, we needed speedy service and craved food that was tasty and healthy, too.

“I know where we’re going,” said my hubby, as he maneuvered into an open spot on Bank Street. A few moments later, we were inside Roadrunner Kitchen.

Co-owned by Sarah Hastings and Stacie Henehan Bale, the restaurant has a zillion “grab and go” options that include wraps, sandwiches, sides and salads.

Despite our hurry, we opted to order from the kitchen anyway and were so glad we did.

The husband, who had eaten breakfast only a couple hours before, opted for a side of made-to-order Hummus and Warm Pita ($3.50) with a fragrant cup of Curried Lentil Soup ($3.25). I chose an RK Gyro ($7.50), featuring local steak, crunchy romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber and house-made tzatziki sauce on a warm pita with a cup of Farmer’s Market Vegetable Soup ($3.25). Yes, the contents had been purchased at the famed New Albany Farmers Market.

Within minutes, our orders were served. Because the husband and I were soon headed to a meeting, we’d both buried our heads in our phones and laptop (his) and iPad (mine) to bone up on talking points. But once the delicious dishes were served, we set the electronics aside and – eyeing the lack of time we had – ate, smiled as we indulged, shared and enjoyed.

And we’ll do it again soon, whether our schedules are frenetic or not. Roadrunner Kitchen is doing it right. Grab and go or go enjoy, but go.


ROADRUNNER KITCHEN

145 E. Main St.

New Albany

Open 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday

www.roadrunnerkitchen.com

@roadrunnerkitchen on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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HELPING HANDS

screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-11-22-06-amPhoto by Angie Fenton

      Just before Derby, a great group of volunteers of all ages joined the Extol Team to provide dinner to those who are served by Exit 0, a homeless outreach based in Southern Indiana that was founded by Paul and Michele Stensrud. If you’re interested in joining us – we’ll serve again soon and on Thanksgiving and Christmas – send an email to angie@extolmag.com. Learn more about Exit 0 atjesuscaresatexit0.org or follow @jesuscaresatexit0 on Facebook.


TIP: EVEN THOUGH IT’S BASED IN LOUISVILLE, METRO UNITED WAY ALSO BENEFITS SOUTHERN INDIANA – AND THEY NEED YOUR HELP TO CONTINUE THEIR WORK. THERE ARE NUMEROUS WAYS TO GIVE, ADVOCATE OR VOLUNTEER. GO TO METROUNITEDWAY.ORG TO LEARN HOW.

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THEY HAVE THE MEATS – AND MORE

screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-11-44-10-amPhoto by Christian Watson

     Fans of Preferred Meats in Sellersburg swear by the shop’s fresh, hand-cut selection – but they also know the local establishment carries far more. In addition to meats for every taste, this family-owned business also has everything from vegetables to spices, sides, sauces, craft beer ’n‘ wine and charcoal, too. It’s become one of the Extol Team’s go-to places for deli meat and anything you’d want to throw on the grill. Preferred Meats is located at 7617 Old Hwy 60 #3 in Sellersburg. The one-stop-shop is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Follow @preferredmeatsinc on Facebook.


TIP: WANT TO KNOW IF THE SLAB OF MEAT YOU THREW ON THE GRILL IS DONE? TRY A COOKING THERMOMETER FOR A NO-FAIL TECHNIQUE YOU CAN TRUST.

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Cabin Grill

BY ANGIE FENTON

PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN WATSON

Fans of Cabin Grill swear the restaurant on wheels has earned its tagline – “Southern Indiana’s favorite food truck” – and then some. And they are absolutely right. The food is fresh, the service super friendly and the prices just right.

Owner Summer Guthrie is known for turning local ingredients into quick, delicious dishes for lunch and a menu that varies based on her whims. Popular items include quesadillas, club wraps, potato salad and an array of desserts (Summer’s turtle sea salt cashew cookie bars and cherry cheesecake are unforgettable).

Cabin Grill is open 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Friday and 5 to 7 p.m. on Taco Tuesday (Note: That’s pretty much every Tuesday for us taco lovers). But, it’s best to check the food truck’s Facebook page – @summerlovetruck – for daily updates. While you’re at it, take a peek at the 50+ 5-star reviews Cabin Grill has earned from happy customers. That’s almost as impressive as the food.


CABIN GRILL

Exit 19 off I-65; food truck is set up across from the Shell station

Henryville

@summerlovetruck on Facebook

www.cabingrilltruck.com

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Floyds Knobs Field Trip

By JD Dotson

The mid-March day was mild in

temperature but gray and drizzling

early. My husband and I wanted to have

a good day together, lunch and time

spent outside, maybe coffee and share

a dessert later, but decided to just

grab a bite as the weather was against

us. Today would definitely be a day of

pleasant surprises.


aWe started our day with lunch at Sam’s Tavern

at Highlander Point. We’ve been to Sam’s in the

past and have always enjoyed our meals there, but

today I wondered what I could find to eat. Summer

is coming, so I am being careful with my diet, and

I am always looking for a healthy option. Sam’s has

a pretty great lunch menu with $8 and $9 options

as well as the full restaurant menu. Mostly filled

with salads and sandwiches, the lunch menu had

a variety of options to pick from, including fried

fish and clams with French fries and broiled lemon

pepper cod with rice and broccoli. As much as I love

a fried anything, I chose the chopped kale salad

with salmon. My other half went with a light lunch

of pot roast and mashed potatoes with a cup of the

most delicious broccoli cheddar soup I’ve had in

a long time. My salad was really beautiful, and if

I wasn’t writing about it for this story, I would’ve

taken a picture of it anyway. Topped with carrots,

purple cabbage, red onion, edamame, sunflower

seeds, cashews, blueberries and dried cranberries

with kale, I opted for blackened salmon and finished

it off with balsamic vinaigrette. This was a huge

salad with just the right proportion of everything

on it and plenty left over to take home for later.

What a great surprise finding so many healthy

options. Jonny loved his pot roast as well. The

lunch menu is available 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday

through Saturday. We had a great lunch, fantastic

service and noted on the way out that Sam’s has

a pet-friendly front porch. Our pups are coming

along on the next trip.

Sam’s Tavern

702 Highlander Point Drive

Floyds Knobs

812.923.2323

www.samstavern.com


bThe drizzle had fizzled by the time lunch was

done, so we headed up to the Mount St Francis.

It has been a few years since I had been there,

so I was looking forward to walking the grounds

and paths. I was worried about the gray day and

the lack of color in the woods, just a few weeks

shy of trees blooming, but again was surprised

after getting out of the car and being greeted by

vibrant, yellow Easter lilies and beautiful, dusty

pink Lenten roses. The Cordelier Park Stations of

the Cross and Grotto path right off the parking lot

was sprinkled with the yellow lilies standing out

amongst the gray and brown. Along the path to the

stations of the cross were charming, flat tableau

sculptures done by school children cast in bronze,

and the stations were marked with large wooden

signs, bridges and statues of St Francis of Assisi.

Just off the stations’ path and down in a gulley,

we come across a beautiful sight of a reclining St.

Francis, sandals a few feet away, gazing at a spring.

The bronze statue by Guy Tedesco is surrounded

by lilies and, despite the sound of traffic on the

road across the hill, gives this feeling of quiet and

peace and contemplation. After a few moments

of reflection, we head back toward the parking

lot to take Peggy’s Path. Paved and winding, the

trail leads down to the lake with decks and docks

reaching over the water, a huge fire pit and shelter

house, and rows of canoes. The lake and path

were quiet today, though the water was like glass.

Behind us, the buildings and field looked like a

Wyeth painting, the wind moving the yellow grass

and the buildings off in the distance. We made

our way back toward the main campus, peeked

in the windows of the ceramics studio and Mary

Anderson Center, which offers pottery classes on

Mondays and Wednesdays, and headed to the car.

101 St Anthony Drive

Mt St Francis

812.923.8817


cWe deserved a bit of a treat after all that walking,

and even though I am trying to watch what I eat, I

like to make deals with myself. I just walked a couple

of hilly miles, and I ate really good at lunch, so if

I share something sweet it doesn’t really count –

right? We found Hob Knob Coffee at the bottom of

the hill and ordered in-house roasted coffees and

a delicious cheese Danish. The place was homey,

and the huge coffee grinder is an impressive piece

of machinery. The owners were super friendly, and

our coffees were perfectly brewed. Both were a

great caffeinated and sugar-high ending to a day

we thought would be a wash. We love surprises

like that!

3700 Paoli Pike #12

Floyds Knobs

812.728.8239

www.hobknobcoffeeco.com

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MESA Hosts Bake-Off Contest for Kids

1Photo by Jose Morones Vergara

MESA, A Collaborative Kitchen, recently hosted the Kids Baking

Championship at its New Albany location. Kids 8 to 13 years old

brought their best baking skills to the competition, which featured

three rounds, including a cupcake bake-off for the finale. The winner

will be featured on the cover of the June issue of Extol. For more

information about MESA, go to mesachefs.com.