WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
Home - Blogs - Staff Blogs - Latest Blogs
Food & Drink
 
by Kristen Franke 10.17.2014 7 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 08.19.2014 67 days ago
Posted In: Cincinnati, Food news, Openings at 09:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
macaron bar

Macaron Bar Coming to OTR

A strictly macaron bakery for Francophiles and sweet tooths

Macarons. You can't walk a block in Paris without seeing boulangerie windows lined with the colorful, little cookies — even McDonald's McCafe has a selection: pistachio, raspberry, chocolate. And while a couple of local bakeries specialize in the treat (pastry of merengue and almond flour sandwiching a filling of buttercream, jam or ganache), like Frieda's Desserts in Madeira, helmed by fourth-generation, certified master pasty chef Armin Hack, Macaron Bar will be the only bakery in Cincinnati devoted strictly to macarons.

The brain-child of former P&G brand manager Patrick Moloughney and Nathan Sivitz — who studied pastry with a focus on macarons at The Gourmandise School in Santa Monica, Calif., and has taken a macaron master class at Ecole Lenôtre in Paris — Macaron Bar is slated to open in November.

They plan to offer core macaron flavors, complemented by seasonal selections, as well as a selection of coffees and teas from local partners Deeper Roots Coffee and Essencha Tea House. 

Their building on Main Street is right next to Park + Vine. Stay tuned to their social media — twitter and Facebook — for updates. 

1206 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, macaron-bar.com.

 
 
by Maija Zummo 08.04.2014 82 days ago
 
 
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 06.09.2014 138 days ago
Posted In: Cincinnati, Events at 02:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
meatball kitchen

Father's Day Dining Specials

Meals and meal deals for the dads in your life

Father's Day is equally as important at Mother's Day. And so, on Sunday, June 15, area restaurants are offering specials meals and deals for dads.

BrewRiver GastroPub — Traditional brunch menu items including beer-inspired cocktails. All Dads receive free bacon-infused donuts, while supplies last. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 2062 Riverside Drive, East End, 513-861-2484, brewrivergastropub.com.

King's Island — Dad's eat free on Father's Day with the purchase of another ticket. The park offers up a special barbecue cookout and family activities 11 a.m.-2 p.m. June 15 in the picnic grove. The all-you-can-eat buffet includes grilled baby-back ribs, all-beef hotdogs, fresh-grilled burgers, mac and cheese, baked beans, sliced watermelon, ice cream treats, iced tea and assorted Coke beverages. $15.99 adults; $11.99 juniors and seniors; park admission required. 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason, visitkingsisland.com.  

Meatball Kitchen — Offering a special Father's Day takeout deal: from-scratch spaghetti with tomato sauce, a dozen meatballs, house salad, homemade garlic bread and four pieces of spumoni cannoli. $50. 2912 Vine St., Corryville, facebook.com/meatballkitchenusa.

Mitchell's Fish Market — A 14-ounce char grilled ribeye served with cold water lobster tail, smashed redskins and sautéed asparagus. $34.99. Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., mitchellsfishmarket.com.

Summit Restaurant at the Midwest Culinary Institute — On Friday (June 13) and Saturday (June 14), The Summit is offering a steak dinner for dads. Along with their regular dinner menu, they'll be offering a 14-ounce chipotle-rubbed sirloin, sea salted baked potato, baby carrots and a red-wine demi-glace. $27. 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton, culinary.cincinnatistate.edu/eat-create-enjoy/the-summit/the-summit

 
 
by Maija Zummo 06.09.2014 138 days ago
Posted In: Cincinnati, Events at 02:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
graeters

Graeter's "Official Ice Cream" of the Western & Southern Open

Makes sense

Graeter's has been named the official ice cream of the annual Western & Southern Open (Aug. 9-17) tennis tournament — which makes sense because Cincinnatians love Greater's and the W&S Open is in Cincinnati ... well, technically Mason.

Cincinnatians and W&S Open out-of-towners (nearly 200,000 fans from 50 states and 30 countries) alike will enjoy the ice-cold and creamy Oprah favorite in two full-service custom ice cream parlors at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. (Last year, the event sold more than 25,000 scoops, bars and shakes.)

The custom W&S Open menu will feature Graeter's French Pot ice cream, their new gelato, other confections and a custom flavor made for the event. Graeter's will unveil the brand new flavor, designed specifically for the W&S Open to be served both at the tournament and in their 31 family-owned stores, in early August.  

"The off-court food, drink and entertainment options have become a strong attraction of the event," tournament director and COO Vince Cicero says in a recent press release. "Graeter's Ice Cream is a world-class product that pairs well with the world-class talent on the courts."  

And both are a celebration of Cincinnati: The W&S Open, which was first played in 1899 at the Avondale Athletic Club, is the nation's oldest professional tennis tournament still played in its city of origin, and Graeter's was first established in Cincinnati by Bavarian immigrants in 1870 and has grown ever since.   

Visit graeters.com or cincytennis.com for more.
 
 
by Maija Zummo 06.09.2014 138 days ago
Posted In: Cincinnati, Contest, Events at 02:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
camp washington chili contest

Camp Washington Coney Eating Challenge

All the coneys you can eat in 3 minutes

Fountain Square's Freaky Friday Series gets meaty during the Camp Washington Chili Coney Eating Challenge (Friday, June 13).

This chili-crazy city has more chili parlors per capita and square mile than any other city in the United States, eating more than 2 million pounds of chili each year ... topped with 850,000 pounds of shredded cheese. If you're one of Cincinnati's chili freaks and enjoy speed eating, this contest is for you. In the contest, 12 people compete against each other in a timed event. The object is to eat as many cheese coneys as possible in three minutes.

Noon-1 p.m. Friday, June 13. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown. Register here.
 
 
by Maija Zummo 06.09.2014 138 days ago
Posted In: Cincinnati, Events, Food news at 02:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
bengals logo

12th Annual Taste of the NFL Tackles Hunger

The Cincinnati Bengals celebrity dinner benefits the Freestore Foodbank

The Cincinnati Bengals host the 12th annual Taste of the NFL, a celebrity dinner, to benefit the Freestore Foodbank. 

The dinner-by-the-bite event combines food, football and fun at Paul Brown Stadium. Hosted by Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (#42) and chef Stephen Williams of Covington, Ky.'s Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar, the event pairs chefs from more than 40 area restaurants with Bengals players, coaches and alumni. The evening will also include a silent auction of sports themed items, a live auction of dinners and other Bengals experiences and a raffle featuring gift certificates to favorite Cincinnati eateries.

6:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 11. $150 individual ticket. Paul Brown Stadium, Club Lounge West, Downtown, freestorefoodbank.com


 
 
by Maija Zummo 05.30.2014
Posted In: Cincinnati, Events at 04:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
todo_park and vine

Park + Vine Celebrates Seven Years

... With a party

Local green general store Park + Vine is celebrating seven years in Over-the-Rhine with a party.

This family-friendly party will feature live music, food, a phototbooth and a DJ — all coinciding with OTR's Final Friday gallery walk. The celebration, officially titled the "Seven Year Itch," starts at 7 p.m.

“Seven years seems like a very long time and at the same time, not long at all,” says shop owner Dan Korman in a recent press release. “When we opened on Vine Street, we were one of the very first merchants. Main Street is reemerging. We’re ready for more. Like most people, I appreciate the creative and independent spirit of Main Street, so it makes so much sense to celebrate on Final Friday.”

Music kicks off with Roots rockers Pike 27 in front of the shop at 7 p.m. and the fun continues inside, throughout the store and into Goetz Alley outside. Inside, there will be food samples from local foodie friends and a vegan anniversary cake from Happy Chicks Bakery. MadTree Brewing and Rhinegeist will both be on hand to pour beer. And artist Derek Scacchetti’s latest installation BUILDINGS will be on display. As an added bonus, Queen City Bike will be offering free bike valet.

Donations to the Lily Mulberry Fund will also be accepted. (Mulberry, founder of 1305 Gallery, recently passed away. The closing reception for Thank You Lily, Part II will be on view at 1305 Gallery on Main Street tonight.)

7 p.m.-midnight Friday, May 30. 1202 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, parkandvine.com.

(P+V will also be hosting a three-day anniversary sale 10 a.m. to midnight May 30; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 31; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 1. Take 25 percent (with cash or check) or 20 percent (with credit card) off everything from cleaning and gardening supplies to baby items and books. Excludes beer, lunch and brunch purchases, bumGenius diapers, Cincy Rain Barrels, Inspired by Finn amber jewelry, and groceries. Applies to in-stock items only, not special orders. No refunds, returns, exchanges. Not combined with other offers. No coupon necessary.)
 
 
by Maija Zummo 05.28.2014
Posted In: Cincinnati, Indian, local restaurant, News, Openings at 12:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
swad indian

Former Dusmesh Owners Open New Indian Restaurant

Swad North Indian cuisine open six days a week, with lunch buffet

For die-hard Dusmesh fans, the former owners of Dusmesh Indian in Northside have opened a new Indian restaurant in North College Hill called Swad. 

After seven years of ownership, the family sold Dusmesh to new owners in July 2013 and have recently opened Swad — which translates to "tasty" —  a 110-seat dining establishment with 16-seat patio in the old Van Zant building. The menu focuses on North Indian cuisine with options for vegetarians, vegans and non-vegetarians alike, including their Thali, three special different curries and a creamy raita. They are currently in the process of obtaining their liquor license, so the restaurant is BYOB (with no corking fee). Free parking is available out front and in back.

The restaurant is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday with a lunch buffet from 11 a.m-2:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.1810 W. Galbraith Road, North College Hill, 513-522-5900.


 
 
by Maija Zummo 04.25.2014
Posted In: Food news, Events, Cincinnati at 09:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
exemplar

Great Food for a Great Cause

National Exemplar dinner is head and neck cancer benefit

The National Exemplar, a restaurant located in the historic Mariemont Inn, is hosting their second annual Great Food for a Great Cause fundraiser and dinner to benefit research for head and neck cancers via the The Brandon C. Gromada Head & Neck Cancer Foundation.

The Brandon C. Gromada Head & Neck Cancer Foundation was founded after lifelong Cincinnatian and former Exemplar employee lost his battle to squamous cell carcinoma in 2010. 

“Brandon inspired us all,” Mike Pardo, chief operating officer at The Phoenix Restaurant Group (which runs The National Exemplar), said in a press release. “We're proud to be participating in Great Food for a Great Cause and hope we can make a difference in the fight against head and neck cancer.”

All net proceeds from dine-in and carry out orders from the Exemplar's new dinner menu on Monday, April 28, will go to the foundation. 

“Great Food for a Great Cause is timely as April is Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month. We’re working hard to shine a light on this terrible disease,” Karen Gromada, Brandon’s mother and chair of the board of his foundation, said in the same press release. “We're thrilled The National Exemplar continues to honor Brandon's memory by raising funds to fight head and neck cancer.”

5-9 p.m. Monday, April 28. The National Exemplar, 6880 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, 513-271-2103, nationalexemplar.com.

 
 

 

 

 
Close
Close
Close