What’s cooking in December? For a start, there’s the new cookbook from Chef Todd Kelly of Orchids at Palm Court. Kelly, the American Culinary Federation’s 2011 Chef of the Year, teamed up with local food blogger/Midwest Culinary Institute graduate Courtney Tsitouris of Epi-ventures to share recipes from one of my favorite restaurants in the city, scaled down to prepare at home.
Kelly is quick to point out that this isn’t a “learn to cook” book. It’s designed for the experienced home cook who’d like to wow their guests with something transcendent. The photos are great — among the drool-worthy food shots are friendly, candid shots of Kelly shopping at Findlay Market and of Orchids’ kitchen and floor staff at work. The dessert section features the artistry of the Palm Court’s Pastry Chef Megan Ketover, whose work is every bit as delicious as it is beautiful. Her sophisticated S’mores with Warm Chocolate Custard sound divine.
This book would make a great Christmas gift for someone who loves Cincinnati history, someone who was married at the Netherland Hilton or someone who appreciates celebrity chefs with a local angle. Or, if you’ve ever blissed out while tasting Kelly’s Blue Cheese Beignets or Seared Duck with Fois Gras Flan, then put this on your wish list. The dish I think I might try sounds a little like it was written on a day when Sesame Street was brought to you by the Letter P: Roasted Quail with Spiced Pumpkin Puree, Pepitas, Pomegranates and Port Wine.
Other news: 435 Elm Street is the new home of Jimmy G’s, which opened this week under the ownership of Chef Jimmy Gibson. Gibson’s been cooking for Jeff Ruby and others locally and nationally for decades, and Jimmy G’s will spotlight cocktails, steaks and “some of the “modern culinary creations” which Gibson has earned a reputation for in Cincinnati to date.” According to the press release, plate prices range from $14 to $60, with many under $20, and the décor will be Mad Men-esque. There will be updates on Jimmy G’s Twitter and Facebook pages this week.
Afternoon tea is a nice December tradition for shoppers who want to take a break from the holiday hustle and bustle. At Findlay Market, Churchill’s Fine Teas and Skirtz and Johnston Bakery are serving Christmas tea on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons from 2-5 p.m. in the Skirtz and Johnston dining room at the Market until Jan. 5.
After tea, get ready for some beer drinkin’: the fifth annual Cincy Winter Beerfest will be held at the Duke Energy Convention Center Feb. 10-11. The fest, which benefits the Big Joe Duskin Music Foundation, is expected to be one the 10 largest beer festivals in the country. Tickets, which have sold out every year so far, are on sale now — so what are you waiting for? And if you purchase tickets before Dec. 25, you will receive VIP access for the price of general admission.
And, speaking of beer, food that goes with beer and people who have been known to drink a beer or two: great cook and nice guy Elias Leisring has found a home for his fabulous pulled-pork sandwiches. Eli’s BBQ, which originated as a food stand at Fountain Square, is now open in the East End at 3313 Riverside Drive, near Delta Avenue. I am actually not happy to report this news, since when Eli’s was at the Square I ate there practically every damned day, and since they have been gone I just put my head down on my desk and weep during lunch hours. But I guess I need to suck up my personal tragedy and cheer for these guys’ success, right? So go try a sandwich of perfectly cooked pork, chopped up with Eli’s pizza cutter and crisped up on the grill, glazed with the best barbecue sauce in town. Have some macaroni and cheese, my favorite dish. I’ll just be here whining, but with love.
CONTACT ANNE MITCHELL: firstname.lastname@example.org