Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Caipirinha Chronicles

Speaking of overeating and Underberging, I've been doing a lot of that lately, thanks to my newfound obsessions with steak chimichurri and the Caipirinha.

I'd previously eaten at Louisville's El Mundo, an authentic Latin restaurant which didn't really thrill me. (Also, their website has the world's worst online menu - it makes you scroll through each menu item one at a time, one item per page. Argh!) However, I did love the hip ambience of their upstairs room, and will return again just for that, even though the Mojito I had there was adequate but not pants-removingly good.

At the time I was at El Mundo, I'd never heard of the Caipirinha, and if they do indeed serve them, I will imbibe them there and report back later. I discovered the Caipirinha one fateful night at the Highlands Seviche and never looked back. At this moment, my kitchen cabinet, fridge and freezer are filled with bottles of past obsessions like Stellar gin, Ciroc, Duvel, and Danska vodka , but now I can't even look at the stuff because I'm so fixated on the Caipirinha, and more specifically, Cachaca, its key ingredient.

Adam, bartender at the Highlands Seviche, told me the other night that they use two different brands of cachaca: Ypioca and Pitu, both of them solid, kick-ass potions fermented to the point of being psychoactive. The other Seviche branch is on Goose Creek Road in Louisville. Presumably they use the same brands there, but I can't remember because the bartender there, Kyra, is so beautiful that I wasn't paying attention to much else.

Havana Rumba, which is my favorite Cuban restaurant in Louisville, surprisingly served me a sub-par Caipirinha. I'm hoping that I just caught them on an off day. Their mojitos, however, are flawless, the best in town, as is their food. A close second is their similar-but-different sister restaurant called Mojito's Tapas. Here the steak chimichurri comes in cheaper, smaller Tapas-sized portions and the mojitos come in giant pitchers. Of all the great eateries in Louisville, it's damn hard for me to not just keep ping-ponging back and forth between these same two places every night.

The Goose Creek Seviche's steak chimichurri was also delicious, but the skirt steak was much thicker cut (I prefer it wafer-thin) and served in a rather unnecessary frou-frou manner, rolled up in an artsy coil in the center of the plate. I mainly just go there to drink that tasty Cachaca and bask in the glow of Kyra's smiles.

- - JSH

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