Louisville Magazine

AUG 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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126 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 8.18 FOOD FIX NIBBLES NEAT Michelle Mandro is the founder and president of Wine Country Women, an event and entertainment brand. She splits her time between Napa in California and Louisville, where she lives in Indian Hills. Last year she published a Napa Valley lifestyle cookbook that shares her company name. What'd you eat for dinner last night? "Inspired by my cookbook: smoked salmon 'candy' appetizer, a beet and leek rice salad, pork shoulder ragù and pear pie." What's in your freezer right now? "Chicken breasts, Kona coffee beans and a pint of Häagen-Dazs raspberry sorbet." What ingredient do you use more than any other? "Round Pond Estate olive oils. My favorites are Meyer lemon and blood orange, but all of them are wonderful. The Rattlesnake Hill Farm bourbon-smoked garlic salt is a close second." What closed Louisville restaurant do you miss the most? "Timothy's on Broadway. It was a great meeting place, and I loved their white chili." What's always in your refrigerator? "Champagne and rosé. They pair with everything!" What's on your weekly grocery list? "The staples right now: eggs, fresh produce, hummus, Délice de Bourgogne triple cream cheese, 'everything' crackers and sparkling pink lemonade." Favorite cereal? "If I broke down and ate cereal, it would be Cinnamon Toast Crunch." If you were a vegetable, what would you be? "Japanese eggplant, because I love color and texture." If you were a fruit, what would you be? "Star fruit, because they are visually appealing, firm and sweet." A kitchen tool you couldn't live without? "Corkscrew." Favorite snack? "French fries." What dish do you make at home most often? "During this time of the year, shrimp capellini." Last drink you had? "Mint julep." First drink you ever had? "A strawberry daiquiri during spring break in Florida. I thought it was easy to drink but didn't care for the brain freeze." When do you know to cut yourself off? "When I agree to sing karaoke!" Favorite cheap beer? "I never drink anything cheap." When the cameras cut off, Padma Lakshmi took a seat in a foldout chair next to an open box of Nord's dough- nuts, and three report- ers leaned in close to speak to her over the din of the film crew, probably more than a hundred of them clamoring around. Without a word, a man squatted next to her and replaced her heels with flip-flops. Lakshmi, a host/judge on Top Chef, was in town filming season 16 of the cooking competition. She wore a sleek, slim dress, sunflower-yellow, and heels, her dark hair down. The soaring kitchen set, built in a warehouse-style office building, looked a little like a rickhouse, with bourbon barrels from show sponsor Maker's Mark stacked in the back. More Whole Foods ingredients than any chef could think to use filled shelves — Ale-8-One and Goodwood Brewing made appearanc- es — and every appliance known to man waited to serve, the ovens and grills emanating heat, though no one was cooking at the moment. Details beyond that — the number and names of contestants, the outcomes of challenges, the identity of a cer- tain guest judge — would get me sued to Kingdom Come, so you'll have to wait to watch on Bravo this December. (Top Chef filmed in Kentucky for about 10 weeks beginning in mid-May.) Lakshmi said she had eaten at Royals and Feast (yes, she's a fan of the bourbon slushy), visited some vintage stores, checked out the androgynous fashion at BLoFISH in NuLu, tried Comfy Cow. She had a Hot Brown from the Brown Hotel, though she thinks it was on-set, "just for logistics reasons." Someone had told her about Kentucky Refugee Ministries, which she hoped to visit. Some of the crew enjoyed running the Big Four Bridge. More recommendations poured in through social media. "Enough suggestions to write my own guide- book," she said. Oh, and she went zip-lining at the Mega Cavern. "I didn't tell anyone here, because I don't think they could insure me," she said. On the drive back from visiting bourbon distilleries, Lakshmi soaked in the scenery. "It sounds corny, but when I was having that drive…I could see…into people's windows, because they had their lights on. They were just sitting down to dinner, or they were working on their driveway or their garage," she said. "And I kept getting — like, in my head, I kept getting the national anthem. It really felt like that — the rolling hills, these beautiful people who were just going about their lives." — Dylon Jones

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