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by Paloma Ianes 10.30.2014 32 hours ago
Posted In: Alcohol at 02:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
the one

Drink Directors

A Tavola's Aaron Strasser shares his favorite cocktails

A Tavola has made its mark on Over-The-Rhine with its rustic wood fired pizzas and superb flavor combinations. What you might not know about the high-end pizza joint is that its craft cocktails are one-of-a-kind. CityBeat sat down with A Tavola’s head bartender Aaron Strasser to pick his brain, and it turns out he is as personable as he is creative and stirs up one hell of a cocktail.

CityBeat: How did your career in bartending start?

Aaron Strasser: I was a history major at UC, and my favorite period of time was Prohibition. I found it very interesting that you could ban one of the greatest things in the world — the cocktail. I really got into studying that when I was in college. I also started flavor profiles. I grew up in the kitchen with my mom and she always baking stuff and I loved tasting all the flavors and figuring out, ‘Oh, you can pair this with this.’ I got my start here at A Tavola almost four years ago. I didn't know much, but what I did know is flavor profiles and combinations. So the owners gave me a chance and allowed me to make the bar what it is now.

CB: What’s your favorite spirit?

AS: I usually go with my whiskeys and bourbon. Rye whiskey for sure.

CB: What’s the strangest ingredient you’ve used in a cocktail?

AS: I have a couple. I always saw that simple syrups were being made with fruits and some herbs and spices, but I wanted to make a simple syrup out of a vegetable, so I made a red beet and ginger simple syrup, which goes great with gin. It’s very unique, it’s a beautiful color and the taste was very interesting. I didn't want to just use fruit. Another strange ingredient in our new cocktail menu is the jalapeño jam instead of a simple syrup. It’s a recipe that one of my kitchen people and I have worked on. I wanted to have something that was sweet and savory. We do a lot of that as far as combinations go — even in our food — lots of sweet and savory.

CB: Do you see a change in cocktail culture around OTR?

AS: Oh, yeah, its definitely growing. There is a lot more appreciation as far as drinks go. A lot of people are not just ordering cocktails that they know, instead they are actually looking at the cocktails and asking, ‘What does this place have to offer that I haven’t tried before?'

CB: If you had to pick one cocktail to drink for the rest of your life what would it be?

AS: An Old Fashioned.

Old Fashioned

2 Amarena cherries
1 slice of orange
1 sugar cube

1 or 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
2 oz. rye or bourbon whiskey

Club soda

Place the sugar cube in a glass and add one or two dashes of Angostura bitters and a splash of club soda. Muddle the the sugar cube. Add whiskey and ice. Stir until sugar is dissolved. With a lighter, singe a strip of orange peel and pinch the peel to release oils. Add the orange peel and the Amarena cherries to top it all off.

 
 
by Kristen Franke 10.17.2014 14 days ago
Posted In: Alcohol, Beer, Cincinnati, Events, Food news, Food art at 05:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
jose-salazar-plates-food-at-iron-fork

The Palace's Chef Joe West Wins CityBeat's Iron Fork

While attendees ate and drank at Moerlein's brewery space

Wednesday, Oct. 15, kicked off CityBeat’s maiden voyage for Iron Fork Cincinnati, a Iron Chef-esque cooking competition complete with famous chefs from around the city, closed-circuit television and, of course, plenty of food and drink to keep the attendees happy and buzzed.

The event, which raised money for local nonprofit Gabriel’s Place and its Junior Culinary Institute, took place at the Christian Moerlein brewery in Over-the-Rhine. The restaurants represented (Jimmy G's, Django Western Taco, LaLa's Blissful Bites, Invito Chef, El Rancho Grande, Huit BBQ, Redondo Taqueria, Axis Alley on the Levee, Seasons 52, Silver Ladle, Elephant Walk Injera & Curry House, Washington Platform, Swad, O'Malley's in the Alley, Mazzaro's Place, The Pub, Boswell Alley and Moerlein Lager Houseeach provided a small sample of their favorite items for attendees to nibble on, from mini-steak sandwiches to shot glass-sized pecan pie. Some of the vendors were parked in the more polished taproom, while the majority of the booths and the competition itself appeared in the “basement chic” room next door. Attendees wandered from booth to booth, balancing small plates and frothy cups of Moerlein beer as they waited for the main event to begin. Everyone looked slightly confused at first, but it didn’t take long for everyone to catch on and figure out where to go — the Four Roses bourbon cider probably helped.

Iron Fork’s version of Kitchen Stadium was a small-ish cooking space set up at one end of the very large room. It was fully stocked with brightly colored produce from SYSCO, plenty of spices, gas burners and shiny stainless steel cookware from Cooks'Wares. Scattered across the room were large TVs (not in HD, our spoiled selves lamented) for those who may not be able to find a spot in the small area in front of the kitchen to watch the action. The three judges were perched to the left of the kitchen, presumably starving.

Frances Kroner of Sleepy Bee, Jose Salazar of Salazar and Joe West of The Palace at The Cincinnatian were the three chefs chosen to appear for the event. Each of them had one hour to create a dish using the elusive secret ingredient: figs. (Most of the crowd had left before the secret was revealed; it had to remain a secret to make the competition fair for everyone.) Each chef also had a Junior Culinary Institute student from Gabriel’s Place on their team; all three of the students, it must be said, were incredibly impressive in their professionalism and skill. 

The hour-long cooking time per chef allowed attendees to continue to wander and stuff their faces with local treats. The amount of sweet options seemed high (possibly because it was hard to locate the free water to cleanse your palate). The beer line never seemed to shorten, which was fine. If anything, it allowed for more socializing with the other food enthusiasts. Watching the cooking itself was only really entertaining near the end of the hour-long time limit — Jose Salazar straight up ran to the judges’ table with his dishes at the end, and that’s just good TV. 

Once each chef’s segment was complete and the three judges were served, a fourth dish was auctioned off to a lucky audience member. (Frances Kroner’s dish went for a whopping $150.) 

"All the chefs did a great job and we had a lot of fun sharing our thoughts and our food with the crowd," says judge and CityBeat food writer Anne Mitchell. "Frannie Kroner's lamb chop entree was wonderful, and (Ilene Ross, CityBeat food writer and judge) had a great idea — she added one of her lamb chops to the auction for Gabriel's Place." 

"I ate all three of mine and gnawed the bones clean, so that shows you where my heart resides," she continues, laughing. "Jose's appetizer, lamb tartare, was amazing. Ilene licked her plate. It was the kind of dish that separates ordinary food from art." 

The audience did not hear from the judges until the end, when they named The Palace’s Joe West as the winner for his appetizer and entree dishes. 

"Joe West's appetizer and entree blew us away," says Mitchell. "The scallop crudo was another work of art, and it was the perfect starter for Joe's main dish. I wish I could be 100 percent sure of the description but things got a little crazy at the end and we really didn't hear what Joe said, but I think it was halibut in veloute sauce with bacon crumbles for a garnish, flash-fried potato 'chips' from tiny fingerling potatoes and the figs." 

"Figs were the 'secret ingredient' that all the chefs had to incorporate into their dishes," she continues. "It would have been fun to see them utilized a little more essentially in the dishes instead of used as a (yummy) garnish, but that seems a little like splitting hairs."

Overall, the event’s first run was a success. Did I want to snag one of Kroner’s scallops or a bite of Salazar's lamb tartare right off the judges’ table? Sure. But I didn’t, and it still turned out to be a nice little Wednesday night. 


 
 
by Maija Zummo 06.30.2014 123 days ago
Posted In: Beer, Alcohol, Events at 11:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
team usa versus belgium

Taste of Belgium Clifton to Host World Cup Viewing

Root for Team USA in a Belgian restaurant

The Clifton location of Taste of Belgium — Cincinnati's only Belgian-inspired eatery — will host a World Cup viewing party for the Team USA versus Belgium game on Tuesday, July 1. (The game begins at 4 p.m.)

The Clifton locale of TOB has seven HDTVs, one large HD projector screen, a big bar and a large beer selection. Afraid of who to cheer for in the Belgian bar? Owner Jean-François Flechet, a Cincinnati resident and Belgian native says, "What better place to come watch USA vs. Belgium than at Taste of Belgium? The entire staff and all our customers have cheered for both teams so far — we hope to see some good soccer."

“I’d be happy either way for either my homeland or my adoptive land to make it to the next round,” Flechet adds

TOB will also be giving away one official Belgian and one official American soccer jersey. Patrons can enter to win the American jersey by ordering a Budweiser and the Belgian jersey by ordering a Duvel. (Those under 21 can simply enter their names.)

Parking is behind Taste of Belgium by the corner of University and Vine streets. Taste of Belgium Clifton, 2845 Vine St., Corryville, 513-394-7105, authenticwaffle.com
 
 
by Jac Kern 05.29.2014
Posted In: Alcohol, Beer at 10:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
bou3b30iqaalcop

Rhinegeist Zen Now Available in Cans

Over-the-Rhine Brewery's "session pale ale" on its way to local retailers

Rhinegeist Brewery yesterday released its third canned beer, Zen Session Pale Ale. The brew is described as "like walking barefoot through a citrus grove in the morning. Earthy and orange zest hop character permeates this Session Pale."

The dry hopped brew promises to be a perfect summer companion with notes of grapefruit and pine. Zen features Golden Promise malt and Citra, Mosaic and Cascade hops with a 4.8 percent ABV, all making for a bright and drinkable ale.

You can find canned Zen, along with Cougar Golden Ale and Truth IPA (released in cans earlier this year), at several area retailers. Find one close to you here. Zen and other core and rotating beers are also available on tap at the Rhinegeist Brewery on Elm Street.

Rhinegeist brewed its first batch just under one year ago.

 
 
by Maija Zummo 05.28.2014
Posted In: Alcohol, Beer, Events at 12:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
hofbrauhaus keg tapping

Hofbräuhaus Keg Tapping Tonight

Newport location taps seasonal Marzen

Hofbräuhaus Newport taps their seasonal June selection tonight — their summer Marzen. The amber-colored beer offers a rich, malty character with a hint of hops and a 5.8 percent ABV. 

The beer will be paired with Ofenfrischer Leberkase, a grilled pork and beef loaf featuring Munich-style finely textured sausage topped with a sunny side up egg and served with German potato salad.

The evening's festivities kick off at 7 p.m. with a tapping followed by German entertainment, jugglers, magicians and a ceremonial keg tapping parade. 

Free. Hofbräuhaus Newport, 200 E. Third St., Newport, Ky., 859-491-7200, hofbrauhausnewport.com.


 
 
by Maija Zummo 05.07.2014
Posted In: Food news, Alcohol, Beer, Events at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
izzys mex sandwich

Fort Wright Izzy's Hosts Beer Dinner

The SweetWater Brewing Company pairs brews with corned beef

Atlanta-based SweetWater Brewing Company is heading North to the Fort Wright, Ky., location of Izzy's (1965 Highland Park., izzys.com) for an evening of brews paired with the restaurant's famous corned beef at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 8.

The paired three-course beer dinner will include an appetizer (grilled bacon-wrapped onion rings with Sriracha dipping sauce), entree (Izzy's Mex corned beef with a potato pancake), and dessert (fried ice cream sandwich with raspberry drizzle) with SweetWater's LowRYEder rye IPA, 420 extra pale ale and SweetWater IPA. 

Cost is $25 per person and includes a complimentary beer glass. Reserve a spot by calling 859-331-4999 or emailing jjbent@izzys.com.
 
 
by Maija Zummo 04.24.2014
Posted In: Beer, Alcohol, Events at 03:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
cbevents_thetapthatbrewtour_full

Tap That Brew Tour

CityBeat to host a bussed brewery tour this Sunday

CityBeat hosts an afternoon of drinking and not driving. Start at one of the participating breweries — Rhinegeist, Listermann Brewing Company, Ei8ht Ball Brewing, Christian Moerlein or MadTree — and then hop on a shuttle to the next one. After you’ve visited each, hop back on the shuttle to be driven to your starting location. Tickets include beer at each brewery, a custom CityBeat Tap That growler, lunch from Tom+Chee and shuttle rides. 


Noon-6 p.m. $40. citybeat.com
 
 
by Jessica Baltzersen 04.17.2014
Posted In: Alcohol, Beer, Food news, Cincinnati, News, Openings at 11:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
_over the mountain_ wall by the frameshop

HalfCut Beer Cafe Grand Opening Friday

HalfCut pours its first beers for the public tomorrow

HalfCut Beer Café invites beer lovers to take their taste buds on an explosive journey as they celebrate their opening to the public April 18th.

The cafe — on Walnut Street in Over-the-Rhine, attached to the new taco shop Gomez Salsa — will offer growlers to-go plus beers to sample and drink in-store. Customers walk up to the counter to chat with a knowledgeable beer-ista and then choose the style and flavor of beer they want to indulge in. Then, they have the option of choosing to enjoy their beverage either at the bar or to-go in one a HalfCut growlers. For those in a super hurry, they also have a to-go only window on 12th street.


The interior of the cafe was inspired by a cross-country road trip. HalfCut wants to instill a sense of adventure in its customers via wall artwork by local store Frameshop and a 20-foot mural stretching across their exposed brick wall by Neltner Small Batch that pays homage to beer and the beer-making process telling the story of how beer got from the farm to your hands.


1128 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine, halfcut.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
by Kelsey Kennedy 04.16.2014
Posted In: Alcohol, News, Events at 11:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
arnolds2_jilliantellep

Arnold's Taps Great Lakes Cherry Vanilla Edmund Fitzgerald for Autism

Great Lakes Brewing Company and #BeerAutismHope partner for an autism fundraiser

Arnold’s has partnered with Great Lakes Brewing Company and Neltner Small Batch to host a fundraiser for autism, #BeerAutismHope. Great Lakes will be tapping a cask-conditioned firkin of their fabled, impossible-to-find and extremely delicious Cherry Vanilla Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. For each pint sold, a dollar will be donated to Lance’s Room, a charity to fund scholarships for people with autism. In addition to the beer, local artist Keith Neltner will be designing a limited edition, multi-layer Great Lakes Brewing Company art print, released exclusively for the event. A portion of those proceeds will also be donated to Lances’s Room. The Hot Magnolias will perform. 

9 p.m. Friday. Free. 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown, 513-421-6234, arnoldsbarandgrill.com.

 
 
by Maija Zummo 03.14.2014
Posted In: Alcohol, Events, Cincinnati at 10:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
mecklenburg-gardens

Upcoming Beer and Wine Dinners

Booze + food = awesome

Here's a list of upcoming curated wine and beer dinners: 

Experience the Dynamic Flavors of Wines from Argentina at Blinker's Tavern: Robb Rapp of Cutting Edge Selections brings dynamic wines from Argentina to Blinker's Tavern for a four-course dinner. Reservations required. 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 20. $65 plus tax and gratuity. Blinker's Tavern, 318 Greenup St., Covington, Ky., 859-360-0840, blinkerstavern.com.

Summit Wine Dinner: Clay Shelton, wine educator and district manager of Excelsior Wines, will bring an informed selection of wine from Chile and Argentina to pair with a multi-course dinner. The Gran Reserva Serie Riberas and Trivento wines have been chosen to complement the five-course dinner prepared by Summit's executive chef Sean Kagy and his team of Midwest Culinary Institute students. The greeting course will feature Concha Y Toro Sauvignon Blanc with scallop, puff pastry, truffle and butter; the first course will pair Marques de Casa Concha Pinot Noir with potato-wrapped salmon, wilted greens and Pinot Noir sauce; the second course will pair Serie Riberas Gran Reserva Malbec with short rib empanadas and vegetable hash; the third course will pair Marques de Casa Concha Carmenere with lamb chops and sweet potato and rosemary demi-glace; and the fourth course pairs Concha y Toro Late Harvest with cheesecake and Apricots. 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 20. $60 per person plus gratuity. The Summit, 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton, 513-569-4980, cincinnatistate.edu.

Italian Food and Cocktail Pairing Event at Barresi's: Three courses of Italian food paired with vodkas from Columbus, Ohio's OYO vodka. First course pairs blue crab and gorgonzola fritters with spiced pecans, sugar-roasted pear and citrus-dressed field greens with a dirty martini. The second course pairs fingerling potatoes, fried pearl onions, fava beans, caramelized prosciutto and smoked sundried cherry demi glace with an OYO stonefruit vodka margarita. The final course pairs a chocolate pate with OYO vanilla bean vodka fresh espresso, brown sugar and simple syrup. Limited seating; reservations required. 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 20. Barresi's Italian Restaurant, 4111 Webster Ave., Deer Park, 513-793-2540, barresis.com

Vine & Dine at the Art of Entertaining: Vine & Dine is a new Friday event series at O'Bryonville's Art of Entertaining featuring food and wine pairings and live music. Michael and Jill Denton perform March 21 and 28; Burton Story on April 4; Tery Metcalf with special guest Kelly Richey on April 11; The Billy Rock band on April 25; and Burton Story again on May 2. Reservations are not required, but are recommended. No refunds or cancelations. 5:30-8:30 p.m. $30 for pre-registered guests; $35 at the door. Art of Entertaining, 2019 Madison Road, O'Bryonville, 513-871-5170, cincyartofentertaining.com.

Mad Tree Brewing Beer Dinner at Mecklenburg Gardens: Mecklenburg Gardens hosts local brewery Mad Tree Brewing for a bier dinner on Saturday, March 22. The evening starts at 6:30 p.m. with a Mad Tree keg tapping at 7 p.m. and continues with a German buffet featuring German sausages, sides, salad and dessert. There will also be live music from Alpen Echoes. 6:30 p.m. $20. Mecklenburg Gardens, 302 E. University Ave., Corryville, reservations at 513-221-5353.

The Wines of Jean Luc Columbo at 20 Brix: Ryan Oliver joins to discuss finer points of this South American producer. Pairings by Chef Paul. 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 22. $50. 20 Brix, 101 Main St., Milford, 513-831-2749, 20brix.com.

 
 

 

 

 
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