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by Maija Zummo 05.05.2014 85 days ago
Posted In: Food news, Events at 02:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
fig tree from natorps

From the Garden to the Kitchen at Natorp's

Fresh recipes and kitchen techniques from local chefs, culinary experts, herbalists and more

Natorp's Nursery in Mason hosts From the Garden to the Kitchen, a culinary event focusing on using plants from the garden in your own kitchen, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, May 10. 

Rita Heikenfeld, culinary expert, author and herbalist, will instruct on how to create dishes using herbs and flowers from the garden; Ron Wilson, host of "In the Garden," will share his passion for growing exotic herbs and vegetables; Kate Cook, from Carriage House Farm, will discuss organic gardening techniques; Whole Foods culinary experts will provide tastings and discuss healthy eating; and Natrop's horticulturists will share their growing knowledge.

"Most grow-your-own gardeners are barely scratching the service of what types of edibles are available now for the garden," says 

Kyle Natorp, president of Natorp's, in a recent press release. "Visitors will get to explore some great new varieties including over 150 types of herbs, 70 types of tomatoes, 60 types of peppers and extensive fruit trees and berries that are now available to the Cincinnati gardener."  



According to the same release, Natorp's extensive edible collection was a personal project for Natorp — a self-admitted foodie who has a passion for ethnic cooking and spicy food. Natorp's even has the world's hottest pepper, the Carolina Reaper, in stock for planting.

Natorp's, 8601 Snider Road, Mason, natorp.com.
 
 
by Maija Zummo 05.05.2014 85 days ago
Posted In: Food news, Events, Openings at 01:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
blaze fast fired pizza

Free Pizza!

Blaze Pizza Mason is offering free pizza to its Facebook fans on Saturday, May 10

To commemorate the grand opening of its Mason location, Blaze Pizza will be offering free pizzas all day Saturday to its social media fans. Try Blaze's custom-built, 11-inch individual pizzas — no strings attached. Fans of Blaze on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook get free pizza 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, May 10.

9341 Mason-Montgomery Road, Mason, blazepizza.com/locations/mason.

Instagram: Blazepizza
 
 
by Judy George 05.05.2014 85 days ago
Posted In: City Roots at 11:42 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
500gardens_steverock and volunteers

City Roots: An Urban Agriculture Blog

500 Gardens in Madisonville

For his 66th birthday last month, Larry Williams gave himself a gift that linked his future with his past: a vegetable garden.

Williams, who has lived in Madisonville since 1994, wants to grow food sustainably like his family before him. "When I grew up, my daddy and granddaddy grew all sorts of vegetables," Williams says. "My job was to collect horse manure so I could fertilize the garden."

Williams now has his own food-producing plot — a raised bed filled with manure, compost and topsoil built by the Madisonville 500 Gardens program.

Launched by local nonprofit Sidestreams Foundation, 500 Gardens aims to put a food-producing garden in every Madisonville household that wants one. To date, more than 150 families have signed up.

Food production has long been a part of Madisonville's history, says Steve Rock, volunteer director at the Lighthouse Community School in Madisonville. "At one point, there were big agricultural swaths in this region," he says.

Several years ago, Rock started teaching students to raise vegetables. When he saw how much food neighbors harvested from the school gardens each night, he realized how valuable fresh, ripe vegetables were. 

"This is a community that knew what to do with good produce," Rock says. "They knew how to cook and use vegetables." 

What also was clear, Rock says, was that they did not have easy access to fresh food.

Rock looked at old gardens in Madisonville covered in weeds. He studied productive patches and failed plots and talked to residents. He concluded they needed simple solutions: a small vegetable garden in their yard, a little education and some guidance to help them succeed.

Each resident who participates in the 500 Gardens program pays $50 and agrees to attend a one-hour course about planting, fertilizing and protecting crops. About a week later, Rock and a crew of volunteers arrive.

"We build a 4-by-8-foot raised bed in each yard and fill it with about 35 cubic feet of good soil, " Rock says. "We then match each resident with a mentor who offers coaching and support during the growing season."

Every Saturday and Sunday, Rock and his crew meet at Ward and Chandler, a corner embedded in Madisonville's history. It's here that the Joseph Ward family, Madisonville's first settlers, built three log cabins in 1797 along a Native American trail. Today, volunteers pile dirt and lumber into pickup trucks and move through the streets of Madisonville, building as many as 20 raised beds in a day.

500 Gardens is about more than building beds, Rock says. It's about building community resilience and giving multiple generations of Madisonville residents the skills to grow food.

"We want people to connect with their neighbors, to talk over the fence about their tomatoes, to share meals and swap vegetables," he says.  

It's also about making lasting changes in the local landscape. Madisonville has about 5,000 houses. To Rock, 500 food-producing plots are significant. "If one family in 10 participates," he says, "that's a cultural shift."

On the City Roots calendar:

May 8: Farmland

A new documentary by James Moll features five farmers in their twenties: a rancher, chicken farmer, pig farmer, organic crop grower and a CSA vegetable farmer. Since the average age of farmers is nearing 60, Farmland focuses on the renewed attention in the U.S. on young farmers. The movie will be shown at one time only — Thursday, May 8 at 7:30 pm — at the Esquire Theatre.  A panel discussion with young local farmers follows the show. esquiretheatre.com

May 10: Shiitake Madness

This hands-on workshop with mycologist Romaine Picasso demonstrates how to grow and harvest abundant mushroom crops on logs. Students will prepare a log for mushroom cultivation and take it home. Saturday, May 10, 2-4 pm at the Civic Garden Center, 2715 Reading Road, $30. civicgardencenter.org

May 10-June 27: Growing Value

Everyone can have a food forest in his or her backyard, says local permaculture nonprofit This-Land. For a few weekends each year, This-Land sells more than 100 edible perennials — herbs, fruit trees, berry bushes and nut trees — in its Growing Value Nursery in Northside. The pop-up nursery, located next to the Building Value parking lot on Spring Grove Avenue, is open Saturdays only from May 10 to June 27, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or by appointment. this-land.org

May 22: Fabulous Containers: Edible and Ornamental

If you don't have a yard, you still can have a garden — on your rooftop, porch, balcony or even in your driveway. Horticulturalists Bennett Dowling and Ali Burns teach how to grow fresh food and flowers in containers. Jointly sponsored by Park + Vine and the Civic Garden Center, the class will be at Park + Vine, 1202 Main St. on Thursday, May 22 from 6-8 p.m. Cost is $10; free to CGC volunteers. parkandvine.com.


CITY ROOTS is a recurring monthly blog about local urban agriculture issues.


 

 

 

 

 
 
by Maija Zummo 05.05.2014 85 days ago
Posted In: Food news, Events at 11:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
eats_sleepybee_peanutbutterpancakes_provided

Brunch for Mom

A list of some (not all) local restaurants offering Mother’s Day brunch specials

Mother’s Day is May 11 — a day to celebrate moms and motherhood in all its forms, because none of us would be here if it weren’t for moms. It’s an easy holiday to forget — the date of “the second Sunday in May” changes every year — so we’ve compiled a list of some (not all) local restaurants offering Mother’s Day brunch specials, with enough advance notice to actually book a reservation. So, don’t be a dick, book brunch for your mom; she deserves it.


BB Riverboats — A Mother’s Day brunch (eggs, biscuits, bacon, etc.) or dinner cruise (carved strip loin, three-cheese macaroni, grilled chicken, etc.). 1-3 p.m. or 5:30-7:30 p.m. $40; $20 children. 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., bbriverboats.com.


Blinkers Tavern — Buffet with breakfast and lunch including top round, BBQ ribs, fried chicken and more. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. $19.95; $8.95 kids. 318 Greenup St., Covington, Ky., 859-360-0840, blinkerstavern.com.


Crave — Grand buffet with hot and cold options, meat carving stations, pastry table, kid-friendly options and more. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. $29.95; $12.95 children. 175 Joe Nuxhall Way, The Banks, Downtown, cravecincinnati.com. 


Essencha Tea House — Mother's Day tea featuring scones, soup, sorbet, sandwiches, salad, desert, tea and a swag bag for moms. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. with an additional seating at 4 p.m. $21; $15.95 ages 11 and younger. 3212 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-533-4832, essencha.com.


Jag’s Steak & Seafood — A full menu of choices plus drink specials including white sangria, kir royal and a Tito’s bloody mary. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Assorted prices. 5980 West Chester Road, West Chester, 513-860-5353, jags.com.


Kingsgate Marriott — A roast beef and smoked turkey carving station, made-to-order omelets and lots of pastries. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. $28.95; $20.95 seniors; $13.95 children. Kingsgate Marriott Conference Center, 151 Goodman Drive, Clifton, 513-487-3835.


L Petite France — French cuisine for mom featuring crepe and omelet stations, appetizers, entrees and desserts. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. $32.95; $16.95 for ages 5012; free for ages 4 and younger. 3177 Glendale Milford Road, Evendale, 513-733-8383, lapetitefrance.biz.


La Poste — Upscale brunch with banana cheesecake French toast, grilled Verlasso salmon, goetta poutine and more. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. $8-$14. 3410 Telford St., Clifton, laposteeatery.com.


Maury's Tiny Cove — A prix fixe brunch menu. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. $13.95; $6.95 children. 3908 Harrison Ave., Cheviot, maurys-steakhouse.com.


The Palace — A traditional brunch buffet with carving and crepe stations, plus desserts ranging from chocolate cake to fruit cobbler. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $42.95; $32.95 seniors; $22.95 children. The Cincinnatian Hotel, 601 Vine St., Downtown, palacecincinnati.com.


Palomino — Brunch or dinner for mom. Moms who dine Mother’s Day weekend (May 10 or 11) will receive a $15 dining card good for a future visit and be entered to win a Queen for a Day pampering package. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. or 4-9 p.m. Assorted prices. 505 Vine St., Downtown, 513-381-1300, palomino.com


Sleepy Bee Café — Brunch and lunch featuring Banoffee baked French toast, bee cakes (gluten-free pancakes), vegetable quiche, buzzy grilled cheese and more plus a kids menu. 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Assorted prices. 3098 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-533-2339, sleepybeecafe.com.


Straits of Malacca — Two separate Mother’s Day menus. Family-style features fishball and spinach soup, chicken rendang, shrimp and asparagus and shiitake and bok choy. The four-course menu features sambal shrimp cocktail, sup ayam, Portugese baked fish or chicken and mango crème brulee. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Four-course: $25 per person; family style: $15 per person. 202 W. Main St., Mason, 513-492-7656, straitsofmalacca.com.


The Summit Restaurant — Eggs Benedict, five-herbed ravioli, assorted pastries, Southern-style breakfast, bloody mary bar and more. 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. $25; $12.50 child. Summit Restaurant, Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State, 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton, 513-569-4980.


Trio — Omelets, Scottish salmon, filet mignon, bacon, waffles, ham and more. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $28.95; $14.95 kids (5-12); $7.95 (4 and younger). 7565 Kenwood Road, Kenwood, 513-984-1905, triobistro.com.


Via Vite — An Italian buffet featuring New York strip and pork loin carving stations, pasta and traditional brunch favorites. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. $45; $15 children. 520 Vine St., Downtown, 513-721-8489, viaviterestaurant.com.


Washington Platform — A Jazz buffet brunch featuring live music by the Mike Sharfe Trio. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. $24.95; $20.95 seniors; $16.95 children. 1000 Elm St., Downtown, 513-421-0110, washingtonplatform.com.


 
 
by Maija Zummo 05.02.2014 88 days ago
Posted In: Food news, Events, local restaurant at 02:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
big boy

Dress Like Big Boy; Get a Free Sandwich

Frisch's celebrates its Founder's Day with free food

Local Frisch's restaurants are celebrating the birthday of founder David Frisch with a day of free food on May 3. Frisch opened The Mainliner in 1939, the area's first year-round, drive-in restaurant. Nine years later, he opened Big Boy on Central Parkway. To honor his birthday, dress up like Big Boy — checkered pants/overalls and all — and get a free Big Boy platter; come partially dressed, get a Big Boy sandwich. The offer is only available for dine-in customers. A printable costume is available here.


 
 
by Rick Pender 05.02.2014 88 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 09:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
lynn meyers copy

Ensemble Theatre Announces 2014-15 Season

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati's artistic director D. Lynn Meyers has assembled another set of intriguing productions for 2014-15, opening with the musical Hands on a Hardbody (September), a Tony-nominated 2013 musical with a book by Doug Wright, the playwright of I Am My Own Wife and bookwriter for Grey Gardens, both hits for past ETC seasons. This one is based on a 1997 documentary about a Texas contest to win a new truck by being the last person to keep at least one hand on the new vehicle. 

In October-November it will be An Iliad, adapted from Homer's classic Greek epic of the Trojan War by Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare. This one-man show will be staged by Michael Evan Haney, always a good bet for a fine production, and feature veteran actor Bruce Cromer as the many characters in the story.

For the holidays, ETC will bring back Sleeping Beauty, another of its smart fairytale adaptations that entertain kids and make adults smile.

To kick off 2015, ETC will offer Sharr White's drama The Other Place, a gripping psychological thriller. The March-April slot has not been filled yet. In May, former Cincinnati Playhouse artistic director Ed Stern will work with popular stage veterans Dale Hodges and Joneal Joplin to present the regional premiere of Outside Mullingar, a romantic comedy by John Patrick Shanley, winner of the Pulitzer, Oscar and Tony awards. (He's the writer of Doubt and Moonstruck.) They'll play the parents of the show's shy central character, Anthony, who lives on an Irish cattle farm, next door to Rosemary, who has pined for him for years. This one just had a Broadway production, so ETC's production will be one of its first on a regional stage.

Subscriptions are on sale now. For the coming season, ETC will offer a five-show Tuesday preview subscription, as well as Sunday evening subscriptions. The preview package provides the first chance to see productions (and at $125 price, considerably below the regular subscription rate), and the Sunday evenings have great seating availability. You can order a subscription by calling 513-421-3555.
 
 
by Rick Pender 05.02.2014 88 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 09:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
stage door 5-2 - venus in fur @ cincy playhouse - photo sandy underwood

Stage Door: Rare Shakespeare, Romance and More

If you're looking for a show that will get things going romantically, I'll point you to the Cincinnati Playhouse's production of Venus in Fur (onstage through May 17). But be careful what you wish for: You might end up like playwright/director Thomas with your hands full of more than you wanted to take on. He's seeking an actress to play the central role in his adaptation of an erotic Victorian novel. Vanda shows up for an audition, none too promising at first, but the tables turn very quickly. This is a funny and provocative script, and Greta Wohlrabe's performance as Vanda is masterful and highly entertaining. I gave it a Critic's Pick. Tickets ($30-$75): 513-421-3888.

For something completely different — and in a venue I bet you've never visited — head to Bellevue, Ky., to St. John United Church of Christ (520 Fairfield Ave.) for a bare-bones, church-basement production of Joe Calarco's Walter Cronkite Is Dead by WIT-Women in Theatre. The group is focused on plays for and about women, and this one touches on a lot of issues when two women without much in common end up spending an unwilling evening together, stuck in an airport lounge due to bad weather. They cover a lot of territory — imperfect marriages, ungrateful children, fears, beliefs and politics (they're at opposite ends of the spectrum). Their ups and downs are a bit forced, but actresses Cat Cook and Cate White do solid jobs portraying two very different women. It's a tad like a movie of the week on the Lifetime channel, but there's some entertaining writing. This is the second and final weekend. Word has it that Friday night is pretty full, but Saturday (thanks to the Kentucky Derby) has plenty of seats available. Tickets ($15, discounted by $5 if you bring a piece of luggage bigger than a carry-on): 859-441-6882.

If you've seen Shakespeare's 37 other plays, tonight is the night for you to catch the one you've missed: The Two Noble Kinsmen opens at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, the final script by the Bard that gives the company bragging rights to be one of only five theaters in the U.S. to stage every one of his plays. You can read more about this one, as well as Cincy Shakes, which is marking its 20th anniversary in my cover story in this week's issue. See it before it closes on May 25: Two Noble Kinsmen is rarely onstage, and Shakespeare fans are coming from all over North America to see this production. Tickets ($22-$35): 513-381-2273, x1.

Finishing up this weekend are runs of the musical Gypsy at the Covedale (513-241-6550) and Know Theatre's production of The Twentieth-Century Way (513-300-5669).
 
 
by Maija Zummo 04.30.2014 90 days ago
at 01:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
drinking_neons

Derby Day Parties

Celebrate the 140th running of the roses with mint juleps and hat contests around town

The 140th annual Kentucky Derby "running of the roses" is deemed "the most exciting two minutes in sports" — the Thoroughbreds at Churchill Downs only run 2 km. This year's horse contenders include fantastic names like Dance with Fate, Vicar's in Trouble and Candy Boy, almost as creative as some of the derby hats ladies wear to the festivities. Luckily, you don't have to go to Louisville for fun. Local bars and restaurants are celebrating this Kentucky tradition with viewing parties, bourbon and flowing mint juleps. 

Blinkers Tavern — A viewing party with mint juleps and bourbon slush. Wear derby attire. 4 p.m. 318 Greenup St., Covington, Ky., blinkerstavern.com

College Hill Communitiy Urban Redevelopment Corporation Derby Party — The CHCURC's fourth annual Derby Day party and fundraiser will be held at historic Laurel Court, a gilded age beaux-arts estate in College Hill. Modeled after the Petit Trianon in Versailles, Laurel Court sits on 7.5 acres of land, with a French garden, a Japanese garden, statues and more. Admission includes a mint julep reception with live entertainment, open wine and beer bar, catered Derby food, a viewing and a party to follow. The party inside the historic mansion includes a silent auction, live music, raffles, hat contests and a cash bar. Attire is dressy casual. 5 p.m. $75; $85 at the door. Laurel Court, 5870 Belmont Ave., College Hill, chcurc.com.

The Famous Neons Unplugged — Sponsored by Kentucky's Old Forester. Molly Wellmann will be serving up her own mint juleps in an official, 140th annual Kentucky Derby commemorative glass. (Get the mint julep and the glass for $10; $7 refills all day.) Taste 513 will be serving classic country food while Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Hustle play. Day includes a Fancy Derby Hat Contest and Dapper Dude Contest, judged by Julie Nieson (Wine Me, Dine Me), Kenneth Wright (Events at Cincinnati CityBeat) and Ilene Ross, (513{Eats}/CityBeat). Watch the official race at 6:30. 2-7 p.m. Free. The Famous Neons Unplugged, 208 E. 12th St., Downtown, facebook.com/neonsunplugged.

Kolping Society Derby Day Party — Family-friendly event sponsored by the Kolping Society of Cincinnati. Catch the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby on the big screen in the pavilion and wagers on Kolping's own "night at the races" broadcasts. Blue Caboose Band will provide the sounds and Wiedemann Brewing will be introducing a special lager and seasonal brew. Food includes an $8 Kentucky-style chicken buffet, beginning at 7 p.m. Free snacks provided at tables. Free hot dogs and soda for kids 12 and younger. 5 p.m. $5; $10 family. Kolping Center Outdoor Pavilion and Biergarten, 10235 Mill Road, Mt. Healthy, kolpingcenter.com.
 
 
by Maija Zummo 04.25.2014 95 days ago
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.

 
 
by Maija Zummo 04.25.2014 95 days ago
 
 
tom+chee

Tom+Chee Newport on the Levee Grand Reopening

Saturday celebration to benefit Awesome Fathers Taking Roles

Purveyors of delicious grilled cheese and grilled cheese donuts Tom+Chee are hosting a grand reopening celebration at their Newport on the Levee location. 

The all-day Saturday affair (10 a.m.-10 p.m.) will feature family-friendly entertainment; a raffle benefiting Awesome Fathers Taking Roles, a nonprofit dedicated to educating fathers and role models in homes of children with special needs; and the unveiling of Tom+Chee's latest grilled cheese donut creation, the Choco Bacon Bliss, which features bacon, chocolate, mozzarella and chocolate mascarpone cheese on a donut. 

When owners Corey Ward and Trew Quackenbush opened their flagship Levee location in 2011 in a former burrito joint, they did little more than clean and paint the space. Now, they've completely reconfigured the location to increase seating, update custom tables and flooring, added side panels to the patio and redesigned the kitchen to increase speed.

Grand Reopening Schedule of Events:
  • 10 a.m. Ribbon cutting
  • 11 a.m. Give away/prizes/games all day
  • 3-5 p.m. Tableside magic shoes by Wizardz Magic Theater
  • 5:30 p.m. Thank yous
  • 5:55 p.m. Raffle Grand Prize Drawing (grand prize is a hotel stay at Comfort Suites in Newport, tickets to the Newport Aquarium and gift cards to Tom+Chee)
  • 6-7:30 p.m. Performances by Circus Mojo

 

 
 

 

 

 
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