In a city with real neighborhoody charms, the Nulu area holds lots of old and new food lovers' gems.

Muth's Candies is one of the old ones, and its vintage sign testifies to its place in local history. Muth's is filled with cases and cases of great-looking homemade candies bearing eccentric names, and it's particularly popular around Easter time (choco bunnies/ eggs/"cream-filled crosses"...Louisville's French roots mean lots of Catholic traditions persist).

These "Modjeskas" (named after a 19th-century Polish opera star) are fabulously buttery caramels enveloping marshmallow middles--totally addictive!

Wiltshire on Market and The White Oak Restaurant at Artemisia Gallery and The Mayan Cafe are all sophisticated nearby eateries in this art gallery filled neighborhood that make exciting food.

Toast on Market is a newer breakfast place--and a very good one. These "drowned eggs" (poachers dunked in a fragrant sort of tomato and cilantro soup) were unusually delicious.

And you can't beat a great bowl of homey oatmeal tricked out with toasted nuts, bananas and whipped cream (not pictured--rockin' hot Jalapeno Bloody Marys).

Sharing the very same "green building" with Toast is 732 Social, which is currently the hottest restaurant in town. It's a loud, crowded and rowdy place with locally sourced goodies and many cheffy flourishes. The food is bold, contemporary American with classic Euro techniques--and dinner there, which was in part fueled by the best cocktails I've had outside of New York City, was outrageously fun! Here's a taste:

Pendennis cocktail

Death Becomes You

Preserved Apple, Brussels Sprout and Candied Black Walnut

Roasted Fall Harvest Tomatoes with Chicken Liver and Crimini (mostly liver in multiple guises--like battered & fried, it was INSANELY DELICIOUS!!)

A study of duck (topped with foie gras), and a dish I'm still dreaming about was this knockout simply called Duck Breast, Liver and Leg

Deer Isle Scallops were deeply seared, stunningly fresh tasting, enrobed in a rich sauce, placed above intensely roasted cauliflower and an absolute delight

Steak Frites and Castello Blue Cheese--this picture speaks for itself, I think

This is what two hours of sheer happiness eventually look like.