The grilled cheese-n-tomato soup gods at Tom + Chee are no strangers to the spotlight. Since its inception in 2009 as a food tent on Fountain Square, the comfort food joint has gone on to expand to two permanent locations and has been featured on Man vs. Food Nation and Amazing Eats. They even boast a food challenge called The Baker's Dozen: a mad dash to consume a tray full of their famous grilled cheese donuts. So what's next for Tom + Chee? A reality show, apparently.
The restaurant has been teasing the idea via social media and today released a video previewing the show:
Sure, it's a little cheesy (but what else would you expect from a restaurant with the diary ingredient in its name?) and lacking in the production/sound department, but I'm admittedly an automatic fan of all things T+C.
It's a great message to share — small-time businesses really can become successful even in a crappy economy. And with fun characters like Andre, it certainly won't be a boring show. Speaking of, did we just discover Golden Voice 2.0? Entertainment Tonight, are you watching?
Keep your eyes peeled for more Tom + Chee updates, and keep your belly filled with their delicious creations.
Slow Food Cincinnati has
a holiday happy hour party this Thursday, December 15 at the Bar at the Palm Court at the Netherland Hilton downtown. Pretty
place, great food and drinks! There will be appetizer specials from the
American Culinary Federation’s Chef of the Year Todd Kelly featuring Red Wattle Pork from Dean Family Farm, and the
bar will also have other half-price appetizers and
drink specials from 5:30 - 7 p.m.
Food & Wine magazine has named two of Cincinnati’s finest young chefs as runners-up for the title of "Most Talented New Chef in America." Daniel Wright of Senate (and Abigail Street) and José Salazar of The Palace are both outstanding, talented chefs who do Cincinnati proud and can truly hold their own against the other eight Great Lakes nominees — seven from Chicago and one from Indianapolis. Since this is a People's Choice award, you can cast a ballot and help bring home this worthwhile recognition of our local dining scene.
Here's a link to the voting, and may the best chef win!
“Nick has been talking about this, I swear, it has to be at least a decade,” Justin Jeffre, a childhood pal of the Lacheys, fellow 98 Degrees member and editor for newspaper Streetvibes, says. “They’ve been more serious about it for the past couple of years. After hearing so many conversations, it’s nice to see it finally come to fruition.”
The sports bar, located on the corner of Walnut and 12th Street in OTR, is huge and bright, so there’s no way you’ll miss it. Because of its large windows, you can easily stand on the street and gaze inside at Drew and Nick, and read the LED sports ticker crawling underneath the 10 or so TVs hovering above the long bar.
“We felt like we wanted it be a sports lounge,” Nick says. “Sports bar, you kind of think of peanut shells on the floor, more Buffalo Wild Wings vibe, which I love, but we wanted to create something that was a little bit more upscale from that but still approachable to everybody.”
The plethora of TVs, the sports ticker and glowing rectangular colored lights wired into panels underneath the bar countertop creates almost a sensory overload. There’s already a sports bar (Rhinehaus) and a craft beer emporium/taco joint (Half Cut, Gomez Salsa) across the street, but keep in mind Lachey’s is more commodious, with 100 seats and a 150-person occupancy. Chefs Jonathan Price and Brian Duffy (of Bar Rescue fame) are building a menu of high-quality, non-frozen pub grub, including tater tots, pork sandwiches, bison burgers and salads, so you can stuff your face while you watch golf.
The big draw here is not only the bros, but also the booze. Three tap stations serve an array of craft beer and Miller Lite (Nick’s fave), but there’s also Nobilo wine on draft (it’s fancy and it’s good), cocktails on tap, a beer cocktail called Una Noche and non-alcoholic sodas for the teetotalers. Sports and non-sports fans will be able to imbibe their Miller Lite and Mad Tree Thundersnows sitting on barstools at the bar, sitting at one of the high top tables or lounging in the back of the bar on a comfy couch. Or, the ladies can take their business into the bathroom and lounge on couches in there. Note: The ladies room is nicer than most sports bars’ bathrooms.
But what’s the appeal of a sports bar to those who aren’t into sports? Nick assures, “It’s really about the people. I think I go to places because I want to be around good people and great atmosphere, and this is going to have that, for sure.”
Like many bars in OTR, Lachey’s will have happy hour, which will be yet another reason to hang out at the bar in hopes of catching a glimpse of the bros. And if you’re into the Pedal Wagon, the bar has a garage that enables the wagon to pedal right into the bar.
Currently, the only framed photos hanging on the red-hued walls are of The Bengals and Reds, and when asked if he’ll hang photos of 98 Degrees, Nick says, “We’re still decorating.” So here’s hoping some of those ‘90s-era shirtless pictures of the guys will make it onto the wall of shame.
Lachey’s Bar is located at 56 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine. For more info, go to lacheys.com.
Right as we walked through the door, I noticed an eye-catching rainbow display of macarons; row after row of every imaginable color and flavor of the French meringue-based confection. We decided to peruse the bakery during our one-and-a-half hour wait to be seated (during which we spotted Funk musician George Clinton) and I remember practically drooling on the glass at the hazelnut, raspberry, espresso, violet cassis and even Earl Grey-flavored treats.
The petite and airy French macaron (pronounced “mah-kah-rohn” and not to be confused with the coconut cookie, macaroon) is made with egg whites, almond powder, confectioner’s sugar and food coloring. It has a crispy outside, chewy inside and velvety filling. I had only eaten macarons once before then, at a café in Hollywood earlier that week. Getting a box full of them after dinner was almost too good to be true.
Although I was happy to be experiencing them for the first time in Cali, macarons have been a fad in the past few years, popping up all over the place. Foodies among others have been dubbing them the new cupcake (because, you know, Cupcake Wars is a thing and cupcakeries are everywhere).
Upon returning to Cincinnati, I tried to find the city’s Bottega Louie. I wanted to discover a place overflowing with the ubiquitous macaron that is taking bakeries all over the East and West Coast by storm. After doing a few Yelp searches, I first ventured to The BonBonerie on Madison Road, not too far from my apartment. There were only two types of macarons there when I went — salty caramel and pistachio.
Although there was a limited selection of flavors, I was excited to order the pastries in my hometown and got a few of each. They were alright, but the meringue cookie outsides and filling were a bit thick and the macaron didn’t have its expected airiness. I wanted to find a place that offered a lighter pastry with a wider selection of flavors.
I later went to Aglamesis Bro’s in Oakley Square, one of my favorite ice cream parlors, to continue my search. Some of their reviews mentioned macarons. However, they didn’t have them when I went. I left with some black raspberry chocolate chip ice cream, so the outing wasn’t a total letdown.
I then attempted to go to the S&J Bakery and Café in Findlay Market on a Sunday, but was just a little too late. It was closed. Based on Yelp reviews, the macarons are good there (and are actually sold there) so I unfortunately missed out and need to go back.
The French Crust Café on Vine came up on Yelp under the “macaron” search and seemed promising, being a French café and all. There were reviews about desserts, such as pumpkin and chocolate mousse, topped with a macaron. Upon looking at the menu on the website, though, I didn’t see the pastries listed as separate items for purchase and decided to pass.
However, the one place that stuck out to me in the Yelp search — that I’ve been meaning to try for ages and ages, not just for the macarons but for the food in general — is Taste of Belgium in Over-the-Rhine. It’s a local favorite when it comes to brunch and desserts. I finally paid the bistro a visit over the weekend and, for the first time, felt like I was in a West Coast bakery.
I instantly spotted the macarons, which took up an entire shelf. There were eight holiday flavors — Rum Raisin, Sticky Toffee, Sugarplum, Eggnog, Gingerbread, a very decorated Candy Cane, Cinnabun and Snow Ball (Coconut).
I ordered a box of them and my sister and I ate them before we even got our brunch. We really couldn’t help it, seeing as to how they’re so pretty and bite-sized. These macarons were similar to the ones I had at Bottega Louie; they were slightly crunchy, had just the right amount of chewiness and were filled with the perfect amount of ganache.
While I’m not usually into fads, this is one that I’m glad is spreading within our constantly evolving city. It might have taken me a few months, but I can finally say that I’ve found the trendy yet timeless confections I’ve been craving. And it just so happened to be in time for the holidays, in very appropriate festive flavors.
If you don’t want to spend all day cooking (or all day waiting for someone else to cook), the following are some of the local restaurants offering Thanksgiving dining options to satisfy friends, family and kids. Reservations are required for pretty much all meals and buffets, so call ahead.BB Riverboats Thanksgiving Day Cruises: Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings … on the river. $40 adults; $20 children. Cruises 1-3 p.m. and 5:30-7:30 p.m. 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., bbriverboats.com.
Boi Na Braza: A three-course meal with 16 cuts of meat, including turkey. $37.99. Noon-7 p.m. 441 Vine St., Downtown, boinabraza.com.
Cascades Restaurant: Entrées include roast turkey with andouille cornbread stuffing plus Coca Cola and brown sugar-glazed ham with pineapple cranberry compote. Garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potato, green bean casserole and desserts round out the menu. $12.95. 5:30-8 p.m. 4554 Lake Forest Drive, Embassy Suites, Blue Ash, 513-981-3752.
Chez Nora: Buffet with turkey and cornbread stuffing, ham, sweet potato casserole, biscuits and gravy and more, including pecan pie. $21.95 adults; $11.95 children; free for under 5. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 530 Main St., Covington, Ky., 859-491-8027, cheznora.com.
Claddagh Irish Pub: Buffet including a salad bar, roast turkey and extensive dessert bar. $24.95 adults; $9.95 children. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Multiple locations including 5075 Deerfield Blvd., Mason, 513-770-0999, claddaghirishpubs.com.
deSha’s: A Thanksgiving dinner buffet with a carving station, entrées including smoked gouda pasta, sides and a variety of desserts. $32.95 adults; $12.95 children. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. 11320 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, 513-247-9933, deshas.com/cincinnati.
Fall Feast: This is the ninth year of Give Back Cincinnati’s community Thanksgiving celebration. Join 4,000 neighbors, homeless and underserved individuals for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner plus free coats, haircuts, health screenings, pediatric dental checkups, live music and a big-screen TV. Free. 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; doors open at 9 a.m. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown, fallfeast.org.
The Golden Lamb: Special Thanksgiving menu featuring an entrée choice of oven-roasted turkey with sage stuffing, slow-roasted prime rib, both or vegetarian Shaker tomato pie. $24.95-$29.95 entrée; $13.95 for 10 and under. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. 27 S. Broadway St.., Lebanon, 513-932-5065, goldenlamb.com.
La Petite France: All-day Thanksgiving buffet with breakfast until 2 p.m. plus dinner items until 6 p.m. Appetizers include escargots bourguignon and pâté maison; entrées include roast turkey with all the trimmings and baked ham in champagne; assorted international cheeses; and desserts including crème brulee, pumpkin clafoutis and more. $32.95 adults; $15 children ages 4-12. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 3177 Glendale-Milford Road, Evendale, 513-733-8383, lapetitefrance.biz.
McCormick and Schmick’s: Serving their full menu plus a Thanksgiving plate with soup or salad and a turkey dinner. $24.99; $9.99 children 12 and under. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. 21 E. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-721-339, mccormickandschmicks.com.
Metropole: Chef Michael Paley mans the fire for this classic Thanksgiving feast with farm-to-fireplace menu items. Prices vary. 2-8 p.m. Metropole, 609 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-578-6660, metropoleonwalnut.com.
Mitchell’s Fish Market: Three-course Thanksgiving menu with oven-roasted turkey, stuffing and cranberry relish plus mashed sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. Regular menu also available. $24.99 adult; $8.99 children. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Multiple locations including Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., mitchellsfishmarket.com.
National Exemplar: A traditional dinner with prime rib or turkey. $27.95. Noon-7 p.m. 6880 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, 513-271-2103, nationalexemplar.com.
The Palace: Traditional Thanksgiving day buffet with prime rib, turkey, vegetable lasagna, side dishes and dessert. $49.99 adult; $39.99 senior; $24.99 children. Noon-7 p.m. 601 Vine St., The Cincinnatian Hotel, Downtown, palacecincinnati.com.
Restaurants at the Palm Court: Thanksgiving buffet with turkey, ham, prime rib, short ribs, salmon, stuffing, potatoes, squash, pecan pie and more. $65.95 adults; $49.95 seniors; $19.95 ages 5-12. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 35 E. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-421-9100, orchidsatpalmcourt.com.
Palomino: Slow-roasted turkey dinner with apple-sausage stuffing, garlic herb mashed potatoes, herb-roasted vegetables, homemade cranberry relish and turkey gravy. $26. Noon-8 p.m. 505 Vine St., Downtown, 513-381-1300, palomino.com.
Parkers Blue Ash Tavern: Thanksgiving dinner with a carving station, side dishes, salad, a seafood bar and homemade desserts. $31.95 adult; $10.95 ages 5-10. Noon-7 p.m. 4200 Cooper Road, Blue Ash, 513-891-8300.
The Phoenix: Traditional turkey, prime rib or beef dinner. Includes live music and family photos. $29.95 adults; $16.95 children; free for 4 and under. Noon-6 p.m. 812 Race St., Downtown, 513-721-8901, facebook.com/phxrestaurant.
Red Roost Tavern: Buffet including turkey, ham, salmon, beef, cheese, charcuterie, pumpkin ravioli and dessert. $49.95. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 151 Fifth St., Downtown, 513-579-1234, cincinnati.hyatt.com.
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse: A traditional three-course turkey dinner with choices like gumbo, Caesar salad, steak house salad, oven-roasted turkey breast with gravy, sausage and herb stuffing, cranberry relish, mashed potatoes, pumpkin cheesecake and more. Full menu also available. $36.95; $12.95 children 12 and under. 1-8 p.m. 100 E. Freedom Way, The Banks, Downtown, 513-381-0491, ruthschris.com.
Seasons 52: Dinner offering Plainville Farms roasted turkey with gravy, traditional stuffing, mashed potatoes, maple-glazed butternut squash, French green beans and house-made cranberry relish. $25.95; $12.95 children. Noon-8 p.m. 3819 Edwards Road, Norwood, 513-631-5252, seasons52.com.
Tonight's the Second Edition of the a new Holiday Classic benefiting the Freestore Food Bank - ‘LIGHT UP OVER-THE-RHINE’ presented by Ionic Collective and Peanut
Butter & Jelly Co.
• 7:00 P.M. Volunteers can gather together to assemble luminaries at The Famous Neon’s Unplugged.
• 8:00 P.M. Teams will be coordinated to disperse the luminaries throughout the neighborhood.
• 10:00 P.M. All volunteers and guests will gather back at The Famous Neon’s Unplugged to gather for the first annual lighting of the OTR Christmas tree.
Cocktails from mixologist Molly
Wellman, OTR Santa Claus, a Bright Ride 'light your bike' event and more wild holiday surprises you won't want
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.