Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What's Your Game Plan?

Sometimes, there are just those gut reactions that you must not ignore. When I heard the co-owners of Hammerheads were working on a new restaurant project that specialized in exotic-game burgers, my gut's words to me were, "If you don't feed me there immediately, you will truly come to know irritable bowel syndrome." Tonight a friend and I followed our guts to Louisville's newest kitchen, Game. Opened by Adam Burress and Chase Mucerino, owners of the brilliant establishment known as Hammerheads (check out a cool review here), Game is yet another reason why Louisville legitimately has one of the top restaurant scenes in the country. Here's why:

So, you walk in. With a glass exterior, low-lit red lighting, and the aroma of protein in the air, I was transported to a mountainous lodge where I felt like I should be hanging up my crossbow and heading to the restroom to wash the dirt and blood from my face. Instead, I reached a freshly Purelled hand into my hoodie for my iPhone and started taking pics. Regardless, the vibe is very manly. My pal and I sat at the bar and were served by Chris, whom I recognized from Hammerheads. Dude was great.

Wild Boar, Antelope, Lamb, Ostrich meatballs at Game
The basic idea behind Game is to offer exotic meats--ostrich, kangaroo, antelope, wild boar, duck, etc.--in the form of burgers and/or meatballs. So brilliant. Like Hammerheads, there are a few additional options in terms of appetizers and samplers, but this joint is about the art of burger. You have the audacious option to build your own burger with an assortment of bread (brioche, pretzel, focaccia, pumpernickel, etc.), cheese (herbed goat, brie, gorgonzola, swiss, and the like.), and sauce (roasted habanero ranch, tomato jam, bone marrow mayo, smoked truffle mayo, and such) or you can be smart, flip the menu, and go with the chef's recommended combos.

Duck Burger at Game
We each ordered a Delirium Tremens on draft and started agreeing on our game plan. We started out with meatballs and grilled fennel. Ostrich, lamb, antelope, wagyu, and wild boar meatballs to be exact. One meatball is big enough for two to share. The ostrich and lamb were the standouts. We then ordered our burgers. Mine, the duck burger on focaccia with an egg; my fellow hunter-gatherer, kangaroo on pretzel with tomato jam. Served on a wooden plank, we portioned our catch sagittally and then swapped. So frickin good! Every bite. I declared the kangaroo the victor of this boxing round.

Kangaroo Burger at Game
So, yeah, this place is for real. Though I'm not sure it'll surpass Hammerheads' more varietal menu and eclectic vibe, Game has taken the burger to the next level, period. There is no better place to have your foodie horizons expanded than to bite into an ostrich, kangaroo, and antelope in one setting. Definitely a great place for dudes to hang out who are serious about meat. Ladies, next to Holy Grale, Feast BBQ, and Meat, this is a place to earn some major girlfriend points for your man. Treat him like the man that he is by feeding him things lions eat in the wild. Still, it'll take a bit to see how this place does. I'm eager to see how this place fairs in the summer when the burger is more in season. Either way, plan to visit this place and get your predator on soon.

Game on, people. Game on.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Venti, Decaf, Non-Fat, No Foam, 4 S&L, Love You A Latte!

You just need to hear this story:

While working at the Starbucks in the Seelbach Hotel today, in walked a runner from our room service department. He had an order for someone ordering drink from their room. As you would expect from someone too...unable to endure the smooth elevator ride down from their room to our cozy Starbucks, this order was very high-maintenance.

The runner said, "So, this is for someone in the hotel. Ok, it's pretty specific." He then lumbered through, as if he'd never seen anything remotely close to a Star or a Buck, what ended up being this drink to your right: a Venti, decaf, non-fat, no-foam, four Sweet & Low, latte. After my Sharpie ran out of ink, I proceeded to craft this highly nuanced beverage. With the delicious concoction in hand, off the runner went. The time was around 5:35.

Somewhere around 5:50, in walked a middle-aged lady thankful that we were still open. Out of breath, she greeted us and proceeded to order, "Can I please get a Venti, decaf, non-fat, no foam, 4 S&L, latte?" I paused for a second, looked at my fellow barista extraordinaire, Mary-Ellen, and said, "That's interesting. I just made that exact drink about 15 min ago. Same size, same milk, same no-foam, same everything. I made one for room service a few minutes ago. Is this your second one?" Confused, she said, "No, it's my first. That's really strange." We laughed, curiously. Mary-Ellen asked, "So, you didn't order one from your room?"

Then it dawned on her. She smiled one of the sweetest smiles I've ever seen, looks away and then back, and says, "That's my drink. He ordered me my drink! He told me to be in my room at 6." She then explains to us how she missed her flight and, as it turned out, her boyfriend had called the hotel from out of state, and ordered her drink from effing memory, then he called her and told her where to be. "He wanted me to feel better about missing my flight, so he ordered me my drink." Things like this happen when badasses fall in love.

Props, my man. Cupid would be proud.

With the missed flight nowhere in her memory, her day was, in a word, made. My day was made. Mary-Ellen's day was made. In that moment, I felt like I did at the end of Crazy, Stupid, Love (long story) and was almost teary eyed at how this woman was just loved. I immediately extended a high-five, said, "Wow! Tell you're boyfriend that I am impressed! Props to him! Amazing. Now get to your room!" After she frolicked out of the store, Mary-Ellen and I looked at each other and just shook our heads. So sweet. We couldn't stop talking about it.

 A Latte? Shoot, more like, I love you a...latte, baybay!

I took time out of my busy schedule to let you know about this. Probably my favorite Starbucks experience thus far.

Happy early Valentines.