If you’re a foodie, Cincinnati is a good place to live and a great place to visit. We have an incredibly diverse and plentiful dining scene, with local eateries seeming to outnumber chain restaurants. We have Findlay Market and countless smaller neighborhood farmers’ markets where we can obtain locally produced goods. Vegetarians aren’t second-class citizens in the Queen City, but omnivores can always find something delicious at strictly vegetarian restaurants. It’s a pretty safe bet that if you live in Cincinnati and you have out-of-town guests, you’re going to want to take them (or they’ll want to be taken) to some rather famous Cincinnati establishments. Jean-Robert’s Table, Skyline, and Graeter’s all have national cache, and with good reason. But how about you surprise your guests (and maybe yourself?) with something a little different?
Aglamesis Brothers is run by the third generation of Aglamesis family, and they make wonderful ice creams and chocolates. The lovely little ice cream parlor in Oakley, built in 1913, is a throwback to another time. Little has changed since it was built, including the ice cream and chocolates. If you arrive at lunch time, sit at the counter and order a deli sandwich before you dive into the ice cream. Aglamesis ice cream is made the French way, with egg yolks, which produces a dense, sweet product. The silver serving dishes only add to the charm.
Findlay Market is always a fantastic place to find something delicious. In addition to the various fresh produce, meats, spices and other goods, head over to Taste of Belgium for a sweet treat.
Taste of Belgium serves up delectable, addictive Liège waffles that will have you swooning. The waffle has a distinctive vanilla flavor and the pockets of caramelized sugar give it a sweetness that isn’t too cloying. It’s perfect to eat on the go.
Can we call food pushcarts the little brother of food trucks? The pushcarts don’t steal your diary or rat you out to mom, but they’re little and cute, and these particular versions are delightful. Dojo Gelato has a storefront at Findlay Market and, to the joy of many, can be found at various celebrations/festivals about town with their pushcart full of homemade gelato and sorbetto. Michael Christner makes 12 flavors of gelato and sorbetto in small batches, with flavors changing seasonally. Dojo can always be found at Findlay Market, but if there’s a cool event going on in the city you can check Dojo’s blog (dojoblogato.wordpress.com) to see if the cart will be there (it probably will).
Continuing with the frozen foods love, let’s talk about StreetPops. Eating popsicles is fun. Making them is even more fun. But I’d bet that you can’t come up with some of the concoctions that Sara Bornick dreams up: cucumber jalapeno, kettle corn and ginger peach lambic, to name a very few. For the less adventurous among us, StreetPops also offers up “safer” bets, like strawberry mint, chocolate sea salt and raspberry lemonade. Bornick started selling the delectable pops out of a pushcart at Findlay Market and discovered that the response to the pops was big enough to warrant opening a storefront. You can now find StreetPops not only at a local festival or event near you (check the website, streetpops.com, to see where) but in Over-the-Rhine at their store on Vine Street.
If you’re not a frozen treats fan, how about some cookies? Queen City Cookies is the brainchild of Peggy Shannon. She started the business a bit less than three years ago and is already expanding into a new retail space and rolled out a food truck in April this year. You’ll still be able to find Queen City Cookies in its space at Findlay Market and on its website (queencitycookies.com). The original Queen City cookie is made from shortbread and is light and airy, but that’s not the only thing you can get from the truck. They’ll be offering schnecken, pig-shaped popovers, donut toast (you have to try it to believe it) and frittata, just to name a few.
This is a wonderful time to live and eat in Cincinnati. We’ve just barely scraped the surface here. Cincinnati foodies have herb and spice stores, ethnic markets, ethnic restaurants, supper clubs and more to choose from. As a final note, we have a lovely new park on the river: Smale Riverfront Park. What better place to take that out-of-towner after picking up some of these local faves and heading to the Moerlein Lager House’s carryout window to enjoy a beer on the grass while your kids play? Eat well, Cincinnati!