Tracy Monson is the kind of person who gets an idea into her head and then goes for it. In college, she dreamed of seeing the world, then spent two and half years visiting places like Morocco and Sri Lanka. She speaks almost reverently of her time in Japan, where she learned to appreciate the importance of tea to one’s physical and mental well-being.
The popularity of cupcake bakeries has swept the nation, and Cincinnati is no exception. Nathan and Andrea Thompson, owners of local cupcakery Abby Girl Sweets, both admit that when you make "every batch from scratch," you never know what might come out of the oven, which, in their case, has resulted in some curious and creative flavors.
John Caulfield, the owner and chef at Knotty Pine on the Bayou has been serving up Cajun-influenced classics for 16 years. John and his wife have just come back from New Orleans where their son will begin his freshman year at Tulane. After a visit to such a dining mecca, I expected his last great meal to involve some sort of delicious NOLA offering, but this family man covets local food cooked on the family grill.
The Southern-sophisticated style and flavor of Sean Daly's restaurant Hugo (3235 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-321-4846) stem from the time he spent in Charleston, S.C., attending Johnson & Wales University. "It was either there or Rhode Island, so I picked the one with the better beach," he says.
Paula Kirk, owner of Downtown's Paula's Cafe since 1989, is loyal to her fellow chefs. When I tell her that Jean Robert de Cavel honked angrily at me for jaywalking at lunchtime, she rushes to defend him and eventually makes me feel grateful that he taught me a lesson in good citizenship. Hey, wait a minute, here! Well … maybe she's right.
Dan Listermann's supply shop near Xavier University has been a mecca for beer and wine "do-it-yourselfers" since 1995. In fact, he's like a pied piper of home brewing and many of his customers are in the vanguard of Cincinnati's craft brew renaissance, including Mt. Carmel and Rivertown.
Meet Dan Korman. You might have seen him at his general store on Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine or at the Northside Farmer's Market. His store, Park and Vine, focuses on green living: vegan food staples, green cleaning products and environmentally mindful apparel and furniture.
When the thermometer hovers in the mid-'90s for nearly a week straight, you might expect to find the CEO of one of Cincinnati's oldest brewing names escaping the heat by cooling off with a frosty beer at the oldest continually operated bar in the city. You might not expect Christian Moerlein CEO Greg Hardman to be engaged in a Bobby Flay-esque meatball throw-down with the owner, however.
Robin Wood was the silken voice of WEBN's Dawn Patrol and 25-year radio/TV veteran until 2000, when she retired to pursue a more genteel life as a florist, a second career that she's enjoying even more than her first. Wood dines out on weekdays, not weekends, because her husband, Lee Ferguson, is a weekend cook.
The Mercantile Library is turning 175 years old, and Albert Pyle, director for 16 years, has kept her in pristine shape. This downtown gem is a place where members can relax, eat, write and wander the stacks of books housed on the original library shelves. Pyle works Downtown, lives Downtown and eats Downtown. Where exactly does this man-about-town love to dine?
"I'm a vegetarian," Krista Tevar explains, "and I didn't want to feed my 2-year-old son junk. So we decided there was probably a market for a healthier alternative to other sweets." Last year, she and her sister opened Sugar Cupcakery, featuring delicious organic, gluten-free and vegan cupcakes.
Molly Wellmann's research into classic cocktails from the 1700s through the 1950s, as well as the great chefs she works with, inspire her craft cocktails made with her own handmade bitters, liqueurs, juices and simple syrups. Lately, the completely self-taught mixologist and bartender has been making the rounds at private parties and events all over town.
Celebrating 90 years of extraordinary performances, Cincinnati Opera is poised for an incredible anniversary year. While there will be no shortage of opportunities to be a part of the magic, carving out time to chat with acclaimed bassbaritone Thomas Hammons is a rare occurrence.
Marvin Smith, owner of Ollie’s Trolley in the West End and inventor of the Ollie Burger, has been known to eat an occasional Burrito Bowl at Chipotle — vegetarian style, with loads of veggies, black beans and a side of guacamole. As he enters the busy outdoor barbecue season, it’s a little break from smoky grills full of beautiful, meaty, basted ribs. Me? I’ll take Ollie’s ribs any day!
These days, if you happen to get an unsolicited job offer just as you're starting to worry because your current gig is coming to an unexpected end, you have good luck. That or you've impressed the right person somewhere along the way. That's what happened to Chef Michael Peterson of The White House Inn upon the closing of NuVo.