Katrina Mincy, also known as Aunt Flora, the chef and owner of Aunt Flora’s House of Soul, has been selected by Oprah Winfrey as one of 10 finalists for a new reality show, Your OWN Show: Oprah’s Search for America’s Next TV Star, which is set to debut next week on the new Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
Aunt Flora beat more than 9,500 other entrants who submitted online audition tapes, as well as thousands more who applied at open auditions across the nation, to be selected as one of the finalists. Oprah introduced the finalists today on her syndicated daytime talk show, seen locally on WCPO-TV (Channel 9).
Local. Organic. Sustainable. Memo to self: Head to Findlay Market for gourmet “green” prepared dishes from Fresh Table, the new stand across from Busch’s Country Corner.
Fresh Table is the brainchild of first-time business owners Meredith Trombly and Louis Snowden. They spent the past five years with bigg’s, Trombly as the organic buyer and Snowden as the corporate chef.
All the while, however, they had dreams of something else.
"What came first were our values," Trombly says. "Keep it green, sustainable and rely on organic and sustainable foods."
I just got an email reminding me that July 19th is “National Daiquiri Day.”
Now, a cursory search of the Big Box of All Knowledge (i.e., the Internet) doesn’t turn up any reference to this so-called “holiday” before 2007. Neither does it easily dig up any indication as to who actually granted it status, though my guess is that it’s likely somehow tied to the marketing arm of the “world’s best-selling premium spirit” – Bacardi Rum.
When we were in Puerto Rico a couple of years ago, we dragged our kids along on the Bacardi factory tour outside of San Juan, which was not so much a “tour of the factory” as it was a “tour of Bacardi” conducted in the general vicinity of their factory.
The big draw for most tourists is the free drink coupons, but those who make their way out to the facility also learn about the history of rum and get to hear some great (and possibly apocryphal) stories – including the old Aesop’s Fable about “How the Daiquiri Got its Name.”
There are two main versions of this story floating around, and both trace the origin of the cocktail to the period following the Spanish American War in 1898.
Some say the drink was first concocted around 1905 by an American engineer named Jennings Stockton Cox who worked for the mines near a small beach village called Daiquiri just east of Santiago, Cuba. When Cox ran out of ingredients to entertain guests with more traditional cocktails, he was forced to innovate using what he had on hand – local Bacardi rum, limes and sugar. The mixture was an instant success.
An alternative version is immortalized in a Miami Herald article promoting Puerto Rican tourism published on March 14, 1937. It says that an engineer named Cox and his co-workers frequented Santiago’s Venus Bar in their off hours, imbibing an unnamed cocktail composed of fresh lime juice, sugar and locally made Bacardi rum. In this version, Cox merely helps coin the name in honor of the local Daiquiri mines where they all worked.
However it got its stripes, the Daiquiri is a refreshing cocktail – especially when it’s as hot as it is in Santiago, where average highs never drop below 80 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you choose to celebrate, go with a traditional version and resist the urge to add strawberries, bananas, or (yuck) avocado. In a cocktail shaker, combine cracked ice, a teaspoon of sugar, the juice of two limes and two ounces of rum. Shake vigorously, then strain into a chilled glass.
And remember to toast Jennings Cox, who likely had something to do with the cocktail’s popularization, though we may never know precisely what.
Did you know that the word “symposia” comes from the ancient Greeks, who used the root word sympotein, which means "to drink together"? At these ritualized drinking parties, men would recline on pillows in the andron (i.e, ancient Greek man cave) while getting plastered on resinated wine and arguing over whether the Trojans could beat the Spartans. (It’s surprising how little has changed in a couple of thousand years, isn’t it?)
So while it may not have been the “scholarly conference” we now use the word for, it’s a particularly apt description for an event happening in Hyde Park next Monday.
Spoiler alert! You won’t really be able to taste any Duveneck at the 20th annual food and wine fundraiser for the Cincinnati Art Museum (953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams). In fact, experts generally agree that no one has ever been served a dish prepared with Duveneck.
This weekend (May 14, 15 and 16) historic Glendale Square will be the site of the town’s first-ever Wine, Beer and Food Festival. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Harry Whiting Brown Community Center, which supports community cultural and artistic activities and programs.
Second Sunday on Main is now called Second Sunday OTR. I guess they’re making the point that there are shops and galleries open and participating throughout the downtown neighborhood, even beyond the confines of Main Street where specialty vendors and entertainment attractions set up monthly for the hip, eclectic Street Fair.
The event kicks off its fifth season this Sunday and continues throughout the summer on the second Sunday of every month (through Sept. 12) from noon-5 p.m. in historic Over-the-Rhine on Main Street between 13th and Liberty streets. The event is free and open to the public.
Have you ever felt like Monty Python’s Mr. Creosote, the bloated epicurean who explodes in a gory mess when he surrenders to the inducements of an evil maitre d’ offering him a “wafer-thin mint” after a laughably enormous feast? Well, that’s how I feel right now. Don’t move me; I might burst. Why? Well, let me explain….
I was excited last week when Anne Mitchell, CityBeat’s eminent dining editor, asked me if I was available to help judge the Best of Taste food competition this morning at the giant Sysco facility in Glendale. As a judge, you get to sample food items that will be featured at the Taste of Cincinnati, the Queen City’s signature spring food fest (Memorial Day weekend, May 29-31). This year, there were over 100 dishes entered in competition by nearly 40 vendors.
When Sam Calagione opened Dogfish Head in 1995, it was the smallest commercial brewery in America, making just 10 gallons of beer at a time. Today, Dogfish Head is among the fastest growing breweries in the country and known for their strong, exotic beers.
On Friday, May 7, at 6 p.m., Morton’s (441 Vine Street in Carew Tower) will offer Queen City beer lovers a unique tasting experience featuring four different and uniquely crafted Dogfish Head brews, each paired with a selection of cheeses and accompanied by petite filet mignon sandwiches, tuna tartare canapés, smoked salmon wedges and lamb chops with brie.
Sherry (the topic of this week’s Fermentations column) is probably the most overlooked major wine category in the U.S. today. Part of the reason, I think, is that Americans generally seem to prefer fruit-driven, plush, simple wines that tend toward the sweet end of the spectrum. Lighter-styled, more-complex dry Sherries that pair well with food can therefore be quite a shock to the palate for many consumers.