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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 Ilene Ross 03.25.2014
Posted In: Cincinnati, local restaurant, News at 12:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
cameron-serrins

Q&A with Lavomatic's New Executive Chef, Cameron Serrins

Serrins took over the OTR eatery after Josh Campbell left earlier this year

There’s a new face in the kitchen at Over-the-Rhine eatery Lavomatic. The restaurant's former executive chef, Josh Campbell, recently left to pursue another opportunity, leaving his position in the kitchen open. And Cameron Serrins — a Cincinnati native — stepped in. 

“I'm Cincy born and raised," Serrins says. "So many people close to me have left to chase dreams or look for opportunity elsewhere. The open road is beautiful and great for the mind, but so is home. I'm a lifer cook turned chef because I love to learn, share and show my work. One day Josh Campbell called me and said to come talk with (Lavomatic general manager) Brian Firth; I would like what he had to say. Josh was right, and I was welcomed to the Lavomatic team."

Now at the helm of Lavomatic, Serrins is making some very delicious changes. CityBeat's Ilene Ross recently got to chat with him via email about his background, his philosophy and what we can expect to see on his menu. (Outline lettering Serrins own.)

Ilene Ross: What’s your general food philosophy?

Cameron Serrins: A. Cook it and they will "come.” B. Think organic. C. I’m only in it for the money. D. Love what you do, do what you love.

IR: Who do you cook for; yourself, or the diner?            

CS: Both. I wouldn't be here without them and vice-versa.

IR: Who influenced you most in the kitchen?

CS: A. Anyone who has gave me tasty food is an influence. B. My mom. C. Meals with friends who introduce me to traditional dishes from their families and home. D. Girls I wanted to like me — kinda kidding, but there is some truth in it.

IR: What changes have you made to Lavomatic since taking over?

CS: A. I’ve made it more vegetarian/vegan friendly. B. I’ve added more features. C. The menu is a bit lighter and there are more snackier options. D. There’s more in-house product being made and we’re using more local meats, veggies and cheeses.

IR: Spring has finally sprung. What seasonal items can we look forward to seeing on the Lavomatic menu?

CS: A. Cadbury eggs — just kidding ... maybe. B. Shoots, sprouts and fresh greens. C. All things pea. D. Everything organic I can get my hands on.

IR: What does your day off look like?

CS: Ha ha, day off? We might not always be open for business but... I'll go skateboarding and think about food, play guitar and sing about work; I sleep and hear the ticket printer filling the rail.

IR: What tools do you find essential in the kitchen and why?

CS: Fire and knives.

IR: If you could cook for anyone in the world, who would it be?

CS: Nikola Tesla.

 

 

 

 

 
 
by Benjamin Kitchen 08.04.2014
Posted In: Food news, local restaurant, Events at 02:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
ryan talking at table

Look Who's Eating: Ryan Santos

Talking to Ryan Santos about local food

CityBeat is resurrecting our popular "Look Who's Eating" column, where we ask local chefs and food industry insiders where they've been dining and what is exciting them about Cincinnati's current culinary culture. This month, we talk to Ryan Santos. 

Chef Ryan Santos has already built a reputation as the man behind Please, a mobile dining pop-up. Having recently returned from an internship in Denmark, Santos plans to wow taste buds again with a new dinner series — and soon, Please’s very own space. 

On a remote island in the middle of the Baltic Sea, Santos learned how to utilize and preserve ingredients. He toured the Nordic Food Lab, tasting their latest experiments — everything from bee larvae and grasshopper soy sauce to six-year-old quince vinegar. 

Santos will put his food expertise to work with a dinner series at Cheapside Cafe one weekend per month. To prepare, he picks chanterelle mushrooms a few times a week, and plans to use summer produce like blackberries, blueberries, corn and summer squash.

Using commercial cooking equipment for the first time, in addition to the communal seating and four walk-in spots offered each night, Please will be accessible to more Cincinnatians than ever before — and it’s only just getting started.  

CityBeat: What was the last great meal that you ate and where did you eat it?
Ryan Santos: I spent a week dining around Copenhagen before my internship and had some amazing meals. My meals at Kadeau, Relae and Amass were all fantastic. Copenhagen is also a big supporter of natural, organic and biodynamic wines. I had some eye–opening glasses (and bottles) of wine at wine bars. 

CityBeat: Locally?
RS: I'm happy any time my meal is in the hands of Jose Salazar.

CB: What's in the future for Ryan Santos and Please? 
RS: Right now I'm helping chef John Shields do dinners at Riverstead, in Chillhowie, Virginia, one week a month, doing our Cheapside Dinners one weekend a month, and we are in the process of getting the pieces together for a place of our own open. I think the time is finally right for us to have our home base!


To learn more about RYAN SANTOS and Please or sign up for a dinner at Cheapside, visit at pleasecincinnati.com. Wanna hear what your favorite chef's favorite meal is? Email suggestions to eats@citybeat.com.

 
 
by Maija Zummo 11.26.2013
Posted In: News, local restaurant at 12:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
eats1_kaze_keithbowers3

Kaze to Expand Lunch Hours Starting Black Friday

The Japanese gastropub offers special menu for holiday shoppers and professionals

Japanese gastropub Kaze will be expanding its hours to include lunch beginning on Black Friday (Nov. 29). The restaurant will now open at 11 a.m. and stay open through their regular dinner hours ('til 1 a.m. Sunday-Thursday; 'til 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday).  

The new lunch menu will include some dinner favorites plus a bento box or a sashimi lunch plate with Chef Hideki's freshest seafood and rice. All items range between $8-$23, with cheaper starters and cups of soup. And the restaurant will also be offering the option of lunch reservations plus outdoor winter seating in their heated garden patio.

For those of you who don't need a cocktail at lunch, Kaze will also be offering a selection of "mocktails," mixtures of their regular cocktails sans booze, along with their regular full-service bar.

Kaze is located at 1400 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine. More info at kazeotr.com 

Menu:

 

 

 
 
by Maija Zummo 03.26.2014
Posted In: Cincinnati, Events, local restaurant at 02:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
oysters

Washington Platform's 28th Annual Oyster Festival Starts Friday

Shuck 'em, suck 'em, eat 'em raw

Washington Platform kicks off its 28th annual Oyster Festival Friday, March 28. Enjoy more than 40 fresh oyster dishes, including smoked oyster salad, oyster-stuffed jalapenos, fresh-shucked oysters on the half-shell and more, through May 3.

And, like any good food festival, Washington Platform will also be hosting oyster-related contests and events, including a pearl count contest and trivia. (All special event donations go to the Saint Francis Soup Kitchen in Over-the-Rhine.) Check your shells for a "Big Red 28," and win $28 in Washington Platform gift certificates. 

Or get in on one of their oyster specials. For $28, sample any three dishes from their "Oyster Munchies" menu after 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday. And from 4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, enjoy a buck-a-shuck. Get fresh-shucked oysters for $1, along with happy hour drink prices.

Download the Oyster Festival menu here.

Washington Platform, 1000 Elm St., Downtown, 513-421-0110, washingtonplatform.com.

 
 
by Maija Zummo 01.06.2014
Posted In: News, local restaurant at 12:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
chez nora

Chez Nora Has Closed

Owners Jimmy and Pati Gilliece shutter the restaurant after nearly 20 years

After nearly 20 years under its current ownership, popular MainStrasse restaurant and rooftop Jazz club Chez Nora (530 Main St., Covington) shuttered its doors for good yesterday. Despite having a loyal following, owners Jimmy and Patti Gilliece cited not having enough customers as the reason for the close. 

Their official Facebook page says: 

"Chez Nora 

Has Closed

Thank You for nearly Twenty Years!

God Bless You!

'Far better it is do dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checked by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in that gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.' -

T. Roosevelt"

The couple purchased the restaurant from restauranteur Nora Dempsey — the Nora in Chez Nora — in 1994. Since then, they updated the multi-level restaurant adding an outdoor patio, expanded kitchen and menu and purchased the adjoining building to add a 60-person dining room and banquet room. One of their big draws, the rooftop patio overlooking downtown Cincinnati, is part of the original building and was the site of five nights of live Jazz a week. 

Those looking for live Jazz nearby have several options, including Dee Felice Cafe (529 Main St., Covington, deefelice.com) or the Blue Wisp (700 Race St., Downtown, thebluewisp.com) over the river. As far as their famous crab cakes are concerned, Main Bite (522 Main St., Covington, mainbiterestaurant.com) in MainStrasse offers a crab cake appetizer with remoulade and lemon greens.

The couple hopes to partner with other MainStrasse restaurants to honor any remaining Chez Nora gift certificates. The 11,750-square-foot building is listed with Huff Commercial Real Estate for $1.2 million.


 
 
by Jac Kern 01.15.2014
Posted In: local restaurant at 01:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Gold Star Chili Now Serves Doritos Nachos

Your move, Deadspin

Move over, Taco Bell. Deadspin, brace your taste buds and typin’ fingers for a twist on Cincy’s “abominable garbage-gravy.” Gold Star Chili now serves Doritos nachos.

Arriving just in time to sabotage your New Year’s health resolutions, Gold Star has added a Nacho Cheese Dorito-based dish to its menu. The nachos feature Gold Star's signature Cincinnati-style chili atop a mountain of orange-dusted tortilla chips, complete with all the fixins: tomatoes, jalapenos, black olives, a heap of cheddar, sour cream and chipotle ranch dressing. No word yet on a Cooler Ranch version.

The specialty nachos are available through Feb. 23 — Gold Star even has a countdown on its new specialty site, cincinnacho.com.

Patrons are encouraged to snap a nacho selfie with the dish and post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #cincinnacho for a chance to win an Xbox One, iPhone or iPad Mini, airline tickets, concert tickets, a smart TV or, best of all, more free Doritos nachos!

Related:

 

 
 
by Maija Zummo 03.27.2014
Posted In: Cincinnati, Events, local restaurant, News, Openings at 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
blaze fast fired pizza

Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza Coming to Mason

Build your own pizza

Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza, a fast-casual build-your-own pizza restaurant, is coming to Mason mid-May.

Using the assembly-line format (similar to Chipotle, Fusian, etc.), each guest can walk down the counter and create their own custom-built pizza, fired in a blazing oven and ready in 180 seconds. Each customer starts with a house-made 11-inch crust and then selects toppings — either from existing menu options or customized. Housemade sauces include classic red and white cream plus unique choices like barbecue or pesto. Toppings range from grilled chicken and crumbled meatballs to standard veggies plus arugula, pineapple and several cheeses, including vegan.

Every Blaze Pizza restaurant makes its own dough from scratch, using a recipe that requires a 24-hour fermentation period. But if you don't want that crust, they also offer a gluten-free choice. The menu also features fresh salads, signature lemonades and house-made S’more Pies. 

Order online or head to the 73-seat restaurant.

Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza, 9341 Mason-Montgomery Road, Mason, blazepizza.com.
 
 
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 05.02.2014
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.


 
 

 

 

 
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