J.R. Tolkien

"Not all those who wander are lost." - J.R. Tolkien

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Hanging Out with Shakespeare in Central Park

Shakespeare in Central Park
William Shakespeare was one funny dude!  A Midsummer Night’s Dream had me laughing so hard I had to wipe away tears by the end of the night.  My video-game- enthusiast-and-action-movie-loving husband enjoyed it as well.  So Shakespeare fan or not, everyone should try to catch at least a showing before the end of the season.

Like many, hanging out at Central Park and watching a Shakespeare production is really not our idea of fun. But this months’ Yelp event took place at the Old Louisville’s Visitor Center, free picnic food provided by Earth Friends CafĂ©, snacks from Louisville Local Market and Shakespeare Play afterwards (I’ll have to write about how to become a Yelp Elite and attend some fun free parties on a later post).  We only intended to a little bit for the play but enjoyed it so much the first half we stayed late into the night for the entire show.

This particular production is set in Victorian Era, fitting since Central Park is located in one of the largest collection of Victorian houses in the U.S. Shakespearean language is not easy to understand but be patient, the more you listen the more you become familiar with the old English language.  I suggest you read a short synopsis of what the play is about first.  Gestures, movement, and interaction between the actors help. The play has magic, fairies, love, and lots of humor (this part, anyone can understand!)

The last production of MND in June is Sunday 6/22/2014. July: 7/6 , 7/19, 7/24.  Click here for show times and other productions this summer season.  Each play runs for 2 weeks before a new one starts.

General Information

  • Time: Pre-show, 7:15 PM; Performance: 8:00 PM.
  • Location: Central Park – Magnolia & 4th Street |1340 S. Fourth Street
  • Seating: First come first serve, benches, Adirondack chairs, bring your own chairs or picnic blanket.  Bring cushions or pillows for extra comfort.
  • Concession: Several food options provided by the Food Truck Association; Will’s Bar, full service drink and alcohol.
  • Restroom: Plenty of restroom attached to the Visitor’s Center.
  • Cost: FREE

    Food, desserts and drinks
    Yelp indoor picnic and some cool swags

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Smokin' on the River BBQ, Blues and Brew Festival

If you're free this weekend, cross the bridge over to downtown Jeffersonville, IN (Riverstage) for the Sixth Annual BBQ Competition.  Come for the lively and festive atmosphere.  Lots of competitors camp out with their trailers/RV ready to show off their best bbq-ing skill.  Beautiful soulful, rock and country music plays on by the river with breathtaking view of the Ohio, the bridges and the Louisville skyline.  Bring your picnic blanket or chairs and enjoy the breeze from the river, the greasy food (try the fried chicken if bbq is not your thing), and some good company.

The BBQ was a bit lacking for me, there were only a few vendors selling bbq.  In the taster's tent, the $5 bbq taster ticket only allows you to try 3 bbq stations.  The $5 beer ticket comes with a 4 oz mug and access to 14 beer stations.  I heard the beer was amazing, but the bbq should be  a skip.

Also, instead of driving and fighting to find a parking spot, part on the Louisville side and walk the 4th street bridge, your cholesterol level will thank you for it!
Beautiful spot by the river for a festival
$10 for the delicious chicken tenders basket, $8 loaded potato ribbons

Vendors selling all kinds of bbq goodies

Thursday, June 12, 2014

How to get into 19 Louisville area attractions for free....

Have you heard? The Mayor's Office just introduced an innovative Cultural Pass that will allow free access to 19 local cultural organizations for children/students ages 0 to college.  If you're a chaperone to someone under 16, you also get in free!  What a great way to introduce arts and culture to our youth early. Click here for the official announcement.
The condensed version (Official Rules):

  • Free access to these institutions:

American Printing House for the Blind Museum
Bernheim Arboretum
Carnegie Center for Art & History
Crane House - Asia Institute
Filson Historical Society
Frazier History Museum (M-TH only)
Historic Locust Grove
Kentucky Derby Museum
Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft
Kentucky Science Center (M-TH only)
Kentucky Shakespeare (Shakespeare in the Park @ Central Park)
Local Speed
Louisville Ballet (Pass valid for Youth Ages 15 and over)
Louisville Youth Choir
Louisville Zoo (Monday Only – Does not include parking)
Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing
Stage One Family Theatre (6/7, 7/12, 8/9 @ 10 am, Main Branch Library, 301 York)
Yew Dell Botanical Gardens
21c Museum

  • Where to pick it up:Louisville Free Public Library branch or Metro Parks Community Center
  • Dates: Available starting June 9. The pass is good through August 13.
  • Bonus: Children who get their pass stamped by at least eight different institutions this summer will be eligible a family package of tickets to the Lion King Broadway musical. There is also a draw for first prize, Mayor Fischer's suite at Louisville Slugger Field for one game.
  • Restrictions: Only one visit per pass per institution will be allowed. Special exhibits and programs are not included with the pass.

Louisville Science Center

Crawfish Boil for Cheap in Your Own Backyard

*Updated 3/16/2018*

We just had our largest and best tasting crawfish boil a few weeks back, more than 90 lbs all together. It only took us 5 years to get it right!  A few friends asked for the recipe so I’m updating this post with a new recipe and a few techniques we picked up along the way. 

Buying crawfish.  Crawfish season runs from mid-January to July, so plan accordingly.  Asians love crawfish, therefore for non-coastal cities, the best place to pick up reasonably priced live crawfish is from an Asian grocery store.  The crawfish are larger in size and the price tend to be better mid to late season, averaging around $3.50/lb. 

In Louisville, call or stop by to order the crawfish on Sunday (especially if you want a large amount).  Shipment comes on Wednesday evening.  So the best time to have your boil is Thursday when the crawfish is at its freshest.  My grocery store of choice is A Chau Grocery (5107 S. 3rd St, 366-9830).  Other ones to consider are Viet Hoa (on Preston Hwy), Vietnam Oriental Market (on S. 3rd St), or Binh Phuoc (S. 3rd & Southside Dr). 

Cleaning crawfish.  This is the worst part! Crawfish are mud dwelling creatures so they’re full of dirt.  You’ll need to clean it well before boiling.  We got two large tubs from Walmart, $5 each.  One to dump all the crawfish in (since they come in a mesh bag) and one to put in cleaned crawfish.  Clean them by putting a small batch in a large laundry basket at a time (my husband drilled holes at the bottom) then use a garden hose to hose down the crawfish until the water runs clear. Make sure to pick out any dead crawfish and throw them away.

Gather your ingredients (for 35 lbs).  I rather have more ingredients than less, so this is on the higher side.  Adjust the corn, potatoes and sausage depending on your preference.  You can definitely tell I love corn:

  • 2 bags of baby red or golden potatoes: cut into halves 
  • 6 packages of Hillshire Farm sausages: cut into bite size chunks (this is very popular)
  • 20 ears of corn: cut into thirds
  • 2 bags of Louisiana crawfish boil seasoning (16 oz)
  • 4 bags of garlic: smash 1 bag, chop the rest
  • 10 -12 sticks of butter
  • 8 to 10 lemons: cut into halves
  • 5 limes: cut into halves
  • 2 bags of oranges (or orange juice): cut into halves 
  • 1 bag of white onions: cut into smaller sections
  • Cajun Asian sauce, 2 tbsp of: Louisiana crawfish boil seasoning, sugar, lemon pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, Old Bay seasoning, Knorr chicken bouillon, fish sauce (optional), crush red pepper

    Cooking.  Use your turkey fryer with the basket for easy cooking.  I recommend doing it outside.

  • Make the broth: 
    Fill the pot 1/2 way with water, bring to boil.  Add: 1.5 bags of Louisiana seasoning (2 bags if you like it super spicy), 2 sticks of butter, a handful of smash garlic cloves and onion.  Squeeze the juice of a few: oranges, limes, and lemon into the pot.  After you squeeze the juice, put the rinds into the pot.  We didn't measure how much, so depending how much citrus you want in your broth, adjust it to your taste.  I like mine a bit on the citrusy side.  Boil the broth for 30 - 45 minutes.

    Cooking your fillers: Put sausages, corn, and potatoes in the broth.  You can cook these in small batches or all depending on the size of your pot.  Cook these for an additional 15 minutes, take out and put in a container.

    Cook the crawfish
    Bring the pot back to a boil.  Fill your basket 3/4 full of crawfish, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.  Cut off the heat and let the crawfish soak for 30 minutes, this way it won't be overcooked. Lift the basket of crawfish out and put in a large container.  Add the precooked corn, sausages, and potatoes to the crawfish container.

    Asian Cajun.  You can eat the crawfish right after you cook it, but this Cajun Asian sauce makes it extra special and delicious.

    To prepare the sauce (for 10 - 15 lbs): melt 8 sticks of butter, add in 1/2+ cup of garlic and saute in butter until fragrance.  Then add in the list of seasonings mentioned above.  Squeeze in 1 lime, 1 lemon and 1 orange (add more to your taste).  Leave rinds in the mixture.  Mix everything together well on the stove and let it cook for 5 minutes.  Then, pour the sauce over your crawfish.  Mix with crawfish and serve!

    The recipe is similar to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKxlnzR67dg

    Batches. You'll probably cook more than one batch.  Between every 2 batches or so, adjust the broth by adding in more Louisiana seasoning, onions, oranges, limes and lemons.

    Clean Up. Make sure you seal trash bags and clean up everything well.  Crawfish shells and dead ones can be smelly and lead to maggots in your trash cans.

    We had a great time at our crawfish boil, hope your will be a success too!

    *Thanks Mom Doanh and Tam for the photos!
    If you want to skip the cooking, the University of Louisville has their annual craw fish boil for $5, all you can eat. Here for details.