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by Staff 03.09.2015 77 days ago
 
 
girl scout cookie cake

Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend

Cauliflower Buffalo wings, Amma's Kitchen, Pelican's Reef, Girl Scout Cookies

Each week CityBeat staffers and dining writers tell you what they ate this weekend. We're not always proud — or trendy — but we definitely spend at least some money on food. 

Jac Kern: This weekend I finally tried my hand at the cauliflower Buffalo "wing" trend. There's plenty of recipes out there (and I'm incapable of following any precisely), but most of them involve taking raw cauliflower pieces, tossing them in a simple water-flour batter, baking, tossing again in sauce and baking again at high heat until crispy. They're pretty much fool-proof and the taste exceeded my expectations. These need to get added to bar menus stat.

I also went to the Cincinnati International Wine Festival Saturday. I didn't do much eating (though there were mini Graeter's cones and grilled cheese and tomato soup bites floating around) but I did taste copious amounts of reds, whites, roses and sparkling goodness. Fun fact: There's a surprising amount of wine tasting accessories out there today. Wine glass harness, anyone?

 

Ilene Ross:
There are some weekends when you’re more thankful for your stretchy pants then others. Needless to say, this was one of them. 

Friday started my marathon food-fest with not one, but two lunches. The first was at Park+Vine after a meeting in OTR. As I sat enjoying the zesty new OITNB Burger (black beans, brown rice, orange zest and cumin mayo) with a side of mac and cheese, who should walk in but super adorable CityBeat photog, Jesse Fox, carrying a box of macarons from next door’s Macaron Bar. My second lunch that day was during a meal at my favorite Chinese restaurant, Oriental Wok in Hyde Park. I had chicken Pad Thai and shrimp toast. I could eat Oriental Wok’s shrimp toast every damn day because unlike most restaurants, which only wave shrimp over limp, lifeless bread, OWok liberally covers crispy, crunchy hunks of toast with huge chunks of the seafood. It’s divine. 

Friday night I attended the Woman’s City Club of Greater Cincinnati’s 100th Anniversary Gala at the Hall of Mirrors in the Netherland Hilton with a group of friends. That place really knows how to throw a dinner. Surrounded by the splendor of the Art Deco masterpiece that is the Hall of Mirrors, we dined on marinated cucumbers and microgreens with soy sesame vinaigrette and rice crackers; grilled flank steak with Sichuan-style eggplant; and basmati rice with scallions. And for dessert, we had passion fruit cheesecake with toasted coconut. After dinner, our group headed downstairs to the Palm Court bar — easily one of the most beautiful rooms in the city — for cocktails, and proceeded to order pretty much all of the appetizers and desserts off of the bar menu. 

On Saturday, I hit Findlay Market to stock up for the week, binge-watched The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and ate nothing but popcorn. 

Sunday night was quite possibly the most fabulous birthday party I have ever had. My dear friend Summer Genetti —Pastry Chef at Lola Bistro in Cleveland — and I share March 11 as a birthday, so we decided to hold a joint birthday party at Myrtle’s Punch House to raise money for the Girl Scouts of Lower Price Hill. We had food donated from chefs Jason Louda of Meatball Kitchen, Andrew Mersmann of Django Western Taco and Jana Douglass of Happy Chicks Bakery. People showed up in droves to buy cookies, drink punch that Molly Wellmann had concocted to “coordinate” with the cookies, donate money, and eat the most spectacular birthday cake I’ve ever had in my whole life, which, of course, was baked by Summer. Best weekend ever. 

Nick Swartsell: Some friends and I went to Amma's Kitchen this weekend, which is always rad. They're a small place in Roselawn that is South Indian-style and all vegetarian, and there are a lot of dishes you can't find other places around here. Despite the lack of meat, I think they're my favorite Indian place in town. I got the Vegetable Jalfrezi — super good and spicy. One friend just chowed down on their samosas, which are some of the best around. Another got the Madras Thali, which is a crazy-huge plate full of different curries, soups, yogurts, rice and other stuff. The Rasam (a stew with tamarind juice, tomatoes and chilis) and Avial (veggies in a seemed like a coconut sauce) were both super good. There was also some kind of cilantro-y stew in the mix I didn't know the name of that was excellent.

Samantha Gellin: I ate at Pelican's Reef in Anderson. It's a seafood place tucked away in a strip mall and it's what I'd call a hidden gem. (Don't let the strip mall exterior scare you. The food is fresh and delicious.) We went on Saturday night and it was packed; there was a 30 minute wait. But it was well worth it: the warm bacon vinaigrette salad with grilled scallops I ordered was really, really good. The scallops were very tender and buttery, and the salad came with five or six, so no skimping here. My husband got a tuna steak "Oscar" style with grilled asparagus. That was also seriously delicious; very flavorful and cooked just right. The place is pricy (fish platters or specials can run you $16-$20) but the menu is large and does have other, less expensive options, like po'boys, non-fish sandwiches and burgers. It's a cozy and casual place but with upscale food. I'd definitely recommended it if you're craving really fresh, flavorful seafood or want to go out for a special occasion.

Maija Zummo: I went to Sotto Friday night for a friend's birthday party. As always, it was delicious. But instead of ordering my usual tonnarelli cacio e pepe, I shared an order of penne with vodka sauce and the tagliolini con tartufo with a friend (as well as some of their cost-effective house wine). The ribbon pasta was flavored with black truffle and truffle shavings and was amazing. I'm like a little truffle pig, so I feel like the pasta was relatively worth the $27 price tag. (I buy into the whole exaggerated-cost truffle economy, and truffle is a special treat on pasta if you don't eat meat.) Add in the quality of service at the restaurant, and I'll pretty much pay whatever. It's of the best places to dine in the city.

Garin Pirnia: Friday night the boyfriend and I braved the Bockfest crowd at Arnold's. We got there right after the parade ended, and it was packed to the gills. We were able to push our way up to the bar and order a couple of their 16 bocks on draft: a Warped Wing Abominator doppelbock and a Weihenstephaner Korbinian doppelbock. After, we somehow miraculously got a table in their upstairs section. We sat at a table next to a bathtub, and my boyfriend, who regularly eats food in the bath at home, joked, "I've never dined next to a tub before." I told him he should feel right at home. Their menu for that night was bock-centric and included a lot of weird foods such as camel nachos, goat (!) and elk meatballs. We both eschewed the exotic meats, and he ordered a bock Hot Brown and I ordered the wild mushroom ragout. It had mushrooms and shallots cooked in a creamy and spicy red wine reduction and beer sauce, and was mixed with bock beer grits. His sausage had fries on it, bock cheese and mustard. Note: Everything should be doused and cooked with beer. While we were dining, some guy in the nearby restroom kept cursing about something, and when he came out, he was chagrined to find out the entire upper floor heard him yelling. He apologized, saying he was jokingly yelling at his friend and didn't think anyone else could hear him. Ah, gotta love Bockfest! Go home, you're drunk.


 
 
by Maija Zummo 08.04.2014
 
 
off the vine cold press

New Cold-Press Juice Bar Coming to OTR

Off the Vine will feature cold-press juice made from fresh produce and herbs

Big news for local juice fans. Cold-press juice bars are a new staple in most big cities — follow any model, actress or fashion blogger on instagram and you'll see oodles of the stuff from places like Venice Beach's juice bar Moon Juice. 

Now, locals Annie McKinney, Cydney Rabe and Steve Vickers are bringing the trend to Cincinnati with their new OTR juice bar Off the Vine (1218 Vine St., OTR, facebook.com/otvcincy).

"Cydney, Steve, and myself firmly believe that healthy eating is vital to a healthy and happy life," says McKinney. "Juicing is such a fantastic way to easily absorb important nutrients — nutrients that the vast majority of Americans lack from their diet." 

Off The Vine will offer cold-press juices made from fresh produce and herbs. Cold-pressing is a form of juicing that basically uses extreme pressure to juice produce, without adding heat. Heat possibly denatures the enzymes, vitamins and minerals in the vegetables; cold pressing preserves the health benefits while also squeezing out more juice than traditional methods. Off the Vine juices will range from $8-$11, a pretty standard price for cold-press. They'll also be making their own vanilla cashew milk.

"We have three different 'levels' of green juice," McKinney says, "from a basic spinach and apple to a hardcore, all-vegetable juice. Something to please the person who has never tried a green juice before to those who are looking for an intense blend of greens."  

Off the Vine will also be offering juices cleanses with a daily series of five juices and one meal-replacement nut milk as a "kick start for people looking to rid their bodies of the toxins that build up from poor eating habits," McKinney says. The group will also offer support for those looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

They plan to open this fall, possibly in September. Follow their progress at facebook.com/otvcincy.

 
 
by Maija Zummo 03.21.2014
Posted In: Food news, Cincinnati, National food, News at 10:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
senate hot dogs_photo gina weathersby

USA Today Names Cincinnati a Top "Small City" with a "Big Food Scene"

Along with Asheville, N.C., Pittsburgh, Boulder, Colo., and St. Louis

For those of us lucky enough to call Cincinnati home, we know you don't have to travel to either one of the coasts to get some of the best food in the nation. And USA Today agrees. 

They recently named Cincinnati one of the nation's top six small cities with big food scenes. We probably wouldn't call ourselves small, per se — we are home to more than a handful of Fortune 500 companies and the 25th largest city in America — but any additional recognition of our food scene is most welcome.

The article, which also recognizes Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Asheville, N.C., and Boulder, Colo., name-drops David Falk of Boca, Sotto and Nada; Dan Wright of Abigail Street, Senate and the future Pontiac BBQ; and newly opened downtown bar Obscura.

Here's the entire write-up on Cincy: "Ohio is rarely thought of as a food destination. But thanks to explosive growth in its restaurant scene (nearly 200 restaurants have opened downtown in the past 10 years), Cincinnati has lots of great dining options. After honing his skills in Rome, Chicago, and Florence, Ohio native chef David Falk moved back to Cincinnati in 2001 to contribute to the food scene in his home state. Falk now runs three restaurants — Sotta, Boca and Nada — each of which reflect his international cooking experience and Midwestern upbringing in different ways. At Senate Pub, critically acclaimed chef Dan Wright offers an explosion of taste in his gourmet hog dogs. Try the Dan Korman 2.0, with spicy black bean-lentil sausage, mushroom pico de gallo, avocado, chipotle mayo, and pickled jalapeño. If you're looking for an upscale watering hole, Obscura offers the best in craft cocktails, pressed coffees, and loose leaf teas. Don't miss the Cosmowobbleton, a jellied version of the classic Cosmopolitan."

Read the whole article here.




 
 
by Maija Zummo 02.26.2014
 
 
mcd1

Cincinnati-Based McDonald's Franchisee Invented Filet-O-Fish

Otherwise, you'd be eating a Hula Burger (cold pineapple and cheese...)

According to an article in LA Weekly, Cincinnati-based McDonald's franchisee Lou Groen invented the Filet-O-Fish sandwich in 1962. Apparently, he was having an issue selling his burgers to our huge Catholic population during Lent.

So he called up McDonald's founder Ray Kroc and explained his dilemma, suggesting they try selling a fish sandwich instead. Kroc said OK, but only if they also tested his invention: the Hula Burger, a slab of grilled pineapple and cheese on a cold bun. Kroc and Groen had a contest to see which would sell better. The fish sandwich won and fast-food fish sandwiches were born to the happiness of pescetarians, Catholics and cows nationwide. Wonder what would have happened if the pineapple burger won?

Read the whole article here

 
 
by Maija Zummo 01.13.2014
Posted In: National food at 03:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
onflict kitchen

Conflict Kitchen Serves Food from U.S. Geopolitical Enemies

Pittsburgh, Pa. take-out serves cuisine from countries with which America is in conflict

Pittsburgh, Pa.'s Conflict Kitchen (221 Schenley Drive, Pittsburgh, Pa., conflictkitchen.org) is a new kind of "pop-up" dining experience. The restaurant serves only cuisine from countries with which the United States is in conflict, according to their website, and rotates the country of food based on current geopolitical events. 

Each iteration of the kitchen is complemented by events, performances and discussions seeking to expand the public's engagement with the culture, politics and issues of the current "conflict" country. Their mission, according to their site, is to use "the social relations of food and economic exchange to engage the general public in discussions about countries, cultures, and people that they might know little about outside of the polarizing rhetoric of governmental politics and the narrow lens of media headlines."

The kitchen is currently focusing on North Korea. In concert with the menu — which features items like Bibimbop (seasoned veggies on rice), Manduguk (vegetable dumpling soup), Haemul Pajeon (seafood and scallion pancake), Kimchi and more — they recently passed out candy on Kim Jong-Un's birthday (Jan. 8), the same free candy the dictator passes out to children under the age of 10 in North Korea on his birthday. Their food wrappers (it's take-out only) also feature interviews with North Korean defectors of varying viewpoints. The website also offers additional educational resources about the country in question.

They have previously featured food from Iran, Afghanistan, Cuba and Venezuela. Upcoming versions will feature food from Palestine/Israel.

Read more on locally based roadtrip planning website Roadtrippers' blog. Or visit conflictkitchen.org.


 
 

 

 

 
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