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by Maija Zummo 03.27.2014
Posted In: Food news, Events at 12:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
joeyvotto_thecincinnatireds

Opening Day Festivities

Food and drink specials abound for Reds fans and people skipping work Monday

Opening Day is probably the coolest thing about Cincinnati. What other city has its own self-proclaimed, sports-related holiday respected by Fortune 500 companies, public school systems and private businesses alike? 

No one should have to do anything on Monday, March 31 except celebrate the upcoming Reds season and the fact that in 1869 some smart person assembled a full lineup of salaried players who traveled around kicking the crap out of all the amateur and semi-pro teams. 

The Findlay Market Opening Day Parade kicks off the festivities at noon, heading south from Findlay Market toward Fountain Square along a slightly altered route to avoid streetcar construction (south on Elm to Central Parkway, then south on Race). Big Red Machine shortstop Dave Concepcion will grand marshal the parade, along with dignitaries Teddy Kremer and Anthony Munoz. 

And plenty of locations around town will have specials and events on Monday to celebrate.

Rally on the Square: Give Back Cincinnati is partnering with Christian Moerlein and Local 12 for Rally on the Square. The event is a great way to enjoy the excitement before the game with food, drinks and music, all while supporting charity. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, myfountainsquare.com. 

Opening Day Celebration: The celebrations continue at Washington Park with family-friendly activities, concessions and live music from local rock band Cherry on Top. View the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade from the park at noon and stick around to watch the Reds defeat the Cardinals on the giant LED screen. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org. 

Opening Day with Via Vite: Chef de Cuisine Joel Warner will be preparing authentic Italian dishes alongside drink specials on the restaurant's open-air Piazza Bar on Fountain Square. Get an Italian-style coney, veal and ricotta meatballs, Findlay Market grilled Italian sausage with peperonata plus Peroni drafts and Miller Light buckets. 520 Vine St., Downtown, viaviterestaurant.com.

Arnold's Opening Day: Arnold's Opening Day tradition continues with breakfast, keg tappings, live music, live theater and Jim Tarbell. The day kicks off with breakfast at Arnold's 9-11 a.m, plus seven keg tappings (Three Floyd’s Alpha King, The Brew Kettle’s White Raja, Founder’s Imperial Stout, Great Lakes Chillwave Double IPA, Blank Slate’s Long Way Home Chocolate IPA, Rhinegeist’s Saber Tooth Tiger and MadTree’s Rounding Third and Heading for Home Red IPA) at 9 a.m. Random keg cups will be marked; if you get a marked cup, you can win more than 80 prizes ranging from free Cincinnati Reds rookie cards, game-used memorabilia cards, vintage cards from the '50s and '60s and autographed baseball cards. Starting at 11 a.m., pianist Todd Hepburn will play every baseball song you can think of, plus the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company's Jeremy Dubin and Justin McCombs will be performing Casey at Bat and Who's on First. Tarbell will also be in the house dressed as Peanut Jim Shelton and playing the mouth harp. 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown, arnoldsbarandgrill.com.

Opening Day at Neons Unplugged: Neons unlocks their doors at noon for a party debuting the Neons Anniversary Porter, brewed by Listermann Brewing Co. They'll also have plenty of MadTree's Rounding Third Amber IPA and selections from Revolution Brewing in Chicago. Taste513 starts the grill at noon, serving burgers and sandwiches. Mazunte Mexican takes over the grill at 6 p.m. 208 E. 12th St., Downtown, facebook.com/neonsunplugged.

The Opening Day game against the St. Louis Cardinals starts at 4:10 p.m.
 
 
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 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 03.25.2014
Posted In: Events, News at 02:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
strauss troy market on fountain square

Strauss Troy Market Vendor Application Due Friday

Fountain Square farmers market open to food and non-food vendors

Are you looking for a place to sell your crafts, produces, snacks, etc.?

Vendor applications for Fountain Square's Strauss Troy Market are due by 5 p.m. Friday, March 28. The market, produced by 3CDC, happens Tuesdays, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., April 29-Oct. 28.

3CDC will be accepting applications from three types of vendors: 

1. Non-food or prepackaged items (flowers, crafts)

2. Basic food items (breads, meat, cheeses, produce)

3. Ready-to-eat food (snacks and sandwiches)

According to the press release, "For application purposes, Strauss Troy Market on the Square is divided into three sessions (April 29-May 20, June 3-August 25, and September 9-October 28). Vendors may apply for one, two, or all three sessions. Fountain Square is also considering the addition of a Thursday market option, open to vendors participating in session two; a final decision will be made depending on vendor interest."

Visit myfountainsquare.com for more information.  


 

 
 
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 Maija Zummo 03.25.2014
 
 
tob reds waffle & chicken

Taste of Belgium is the Official Waffle of the Cincinnati Reds

Grab a waffle and chicken, plain, chocolate or fruit waffle

Taste of Belgium has announced that it's partnering with the Great American Ball Park to become the "Official Waffle of the Cincinnati Reds." (Do any other teams have an official waffle? Didn't think so.) 

Starting on Opening Day, fans can now grab a Belgian waffle with toppings such as sweet cream, fruit or chocolate during a game, starting at just $5. If fans are looking for something more savory (with a bit more protein), Taste of Belgium is also offering their signature chicken and waffle combo. Add a side of twice-fried frites (Belgian french fries) for the complete experience.

“We at Taste of Belgium are honored to be counted among the Cincinnati brands supported by Great American Ballpark,” Taste of Belgium owner Jean-François Flechet said in a recent press release. “Our food has been embraced with open arms in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Friendly Market in Florence, Ky., and now we are delighted to show the best fans in baseball how to eat like a Belgian.” 


Great American Ball Park also offers local food favorites including LaRosa's pizza and Skyline chili plus beer from local brewery Rhinegeist. The Official Waffle of the Cincinnati Reds goes on sale Opening Day at Great American Ball Park in Section 130 of the Ballpark, near The Kroger Fan Zone.


Full Menu:

Waffle – $5

Chocolate & Cream Waffle – $7

Strawberry & Cream Waffle – $7

Waffle & Chicken – $10

Frites – $7


Taste of Belgium also has local locations in Over-the-Rhine, on Short Vine, in Findlay Market and in Florence, Ky.'s Friendly Market. Full-service bistro, 1133-1135 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine; Clifton, 2845 Vine St., Corryville; Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine; and Friendly Market, 10050 Norbotten Dr., Florence, Ky., authenticwaffle.com.


 
 
by Maija Zummo 03.21.2014
Posted In: Food news, Cincinnati, National food, News at 10:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
senate hot dogs_photo gina weathersby

USA Today Names Cincinnati a Top "Small City" with a "Big Food Scene"

Along with Asheville, N.C., Pittsburgh, Boulder, Colo., and St. Louis

For those of us lucky enough to call Cincinnati home, we know you don't have to travel to either one of the coasts to get some of the best food in the nation. And USA Today agrees. 

They recently named Cincinnati one of the nation's top six small cities with big food scenes. We probably wouldn't call ourselves small, per se — we are home to more than a handful of Fortune 500 companies and the 25th largest city in America — but any additional recognition of our food scene is most welcome.

The article, which also recognizes Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Asheville, N.C., and Boulder, Colo., name-drops David Falk of Boca, Sotto and Nada; Dan Wright of Abigail Street, Senate and the future Pontiac BBQ; and newly opened downtown bar Obscura.

Here's the entire write-up on Cincy: "Ohio is rarely thought of as a food destination. But thanks to explosive growth in its restaurant scene (nearly 200 restaurants have opened downtown in the past 10 years), Cincinnati has lots of great dining options. After honing his skills in Rome, Chicago, and Florence, Ohio native chef David Falk moved back to Cincinnati in 2001 to contribute to the food scene in his home state. Falk now runs three restaurants — Sotta, Boca and Nada — each of which reflect his international cooking experience and Midwestern upbringing in different ways. At Senate Pub, critically acclaimed chef Dan Wright offers an explosion of taste in his gourmet hog dogs. Try the Dan Korman 2.0, with spicy black bean-lentil sausage, mushroom pico de gallo, avocado, chipotle mayo, and pickled jalapeño. If you're looking for an upscale watering hole, Obscura offers the best in craft cocktails, pressed coffees, and loose leaf teas. Don't miss the Cosmowobbleton, a jellied version of the classic Cosmopolitan."

Read the whole article here.




 
 
by Maija Zummo 03.21.2014
Posted In: Food news at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
diner_david_falk_boca1

Sotto Named at Top 100 Restaurant by OpenTable

The local restaurant ranks among the nation's best

Chef David Falk's Sotto* restaurant was recently named one of the "Top 100 Hot Spot Restaurants in America" by OpenTable's Diners’ Choice Awards. 

According to a press release, the winners were chosen after sorting through more than 5 million reviews of more than 19,000 restaurants in all 50 states. All restaurants with a minimum number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration.

“We are truly honored by this acknowledgment from our OpenTable diners,” Falk says in the release. “The support from our guests at Sotto is humbling and flattering and encourages us to continue creating the food we love in this incredible city.”

Reservations available. 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Sotto, 118 E. Sixth St., Downtown, sottocincinnati.com.


*The original press release was corrected to say Sotto was honored
 
 
by Maija Zummo 03.14.2014
Posted In: Alcohol, Events, Cincinnati at 10:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
mecklenburg-gardens

Upcoming Beer and Wine Dinners

Booze + food = awesome

Here's a list of upcoming curated wine and beer dinners: 

Experience the Dynamic Flavors of Wines from Argentina at Blinker's Tavern: Robb Rapp of Cutting Edge Selections brings dynamic wines from Argentina to Blinker's Tavern for a four-course dinner. Reservations required. 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 20. $65 plus tax and gratuity. Blinker's Tavern, 318 Greenup St., Covington, Ky., 859-360-0840, blinkerstavern.com.

Summit Wine Dinner: Clay Shelton, wine educator and district manager of Excelsior Wines, will bring an informed selection of wine from Chile and Argentina to pair with a multi-course dinner. The Gran Reserva Serie Riberas and Trivento wines have been chosen to complement the five-course dinner prepared by Summit's executive chef Sean Kagy and his team of Midwest Culinary Institute students. The greeting course will feature Concha Y Toro Sauvignon Blanc with scallop, puff pastry, truffle and butter; the first course will pair Marques de Casa Concha Pinot Noir with potato-wrapped salmon, wilted greens and Pinot Noir sauce; the second course will pair Serie Riberas Gran Reserva Malbec with short rib empanadas and vegetable hash; the third course will pair Marques de Casa Concha Carmenere with lamb chops and sweet potato and rosemary demi-glace; and the fourth course pairs Concha y Toro Late Harvest with cheesecake and Apricots. 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 20. $60 per person plus gratuity. The Summit, 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton, 513-569-4980, cincinnatistate.edu.

Italian Food and Cocktail Pairing Event at Barresi's: Three courses of Italian food paired with vodkas from Columbus, Ohio's OYO vodka. First course pairs blue crab and gorgonzola fritters with spiced pecans, sugar-roasted pear and citrus-dressed field greens with a dirty martini. The second course pairs fingerling potatoes, fried pearl onions, fava beans, caramelized prosciutto and smoked sundried cherry demi glace with an OYO stonefruit vodka margarita. The final course pairs a chocolate pate with OYO vanilla bean vodka fresh espresso, brown sugar and simple syrup. Limited seating; reservations required. 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 20. Barresi's Italian Restaurant, 4111 Webster Ave., Deer Park, 513-793-2540, barresis.com

Vine & Dine at the Art of Entertaining: Vine & Dine is a new Friday event series at O'Bryonville's Art of Entertaining featuring food and wine pairings and live music. Michael and Jill Denton perform March 21 and 28; Burton Story on April 4; Tery Metcalf with special guest Kelly Richey on April 11; The Billy Rock band on April 25; and Burton Story again on May 2. Reservations are not required, but are recommended. No refunds or cancelations. 5:30-8:30 p.m. $30 for pre-registered guests; $35 at the door. Art of Entertaining, 2019 Madison Road, O'Bryonville, 513-871-5170, cincyartofentertaining.com.

Mad Tree Brewing Beer Dinner at Mecklenburg Gardens: Mecklenburg Gardens hosts local brewery Mad Tree Brewing for a bier dinner on Saturday, March 22. The evening starts at 6:30 p.m. with a Mad Tree keg tapping at 7 p.m. and continues with a German buffet featuring German sausages, sides, salad and dessert. There will also be live music from Alpen Echoes. 6:30 p.m. $20. Mecklenburg Gardens, 302 E. University Ave., Corryville, reservations at 513-221-5353.

The Wines of Jean Luc Columbo at 20 Brix: Ryan Oliver joins to discuss finer points of this South American producer. Pairings by Chef Paul. 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 22. $50. 20 Brix, 101 Main St., Milford, 513-831-2749, 20brix.com.

 
 
by Kathy Valin 03.12.2014
Posted In: News, Openings at 10:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
hen of the woods banana

Hen of the Woods Underground Preps for a Brick-and-Mortar Location

The underground comes above ground

It was midday a couple Sundays ago and the weather was getting iffy in Cincinnati. Winter was having one last go at it. My husband Jon and I had already stocked the kitchen of our OTR abode. Normally, we would have just settled in and waited it out.

But luckily for us, our snow day was going to get a little brighter: I had booked reservations at Hen of the Woods Underground. 

Hen of the Woods (it’s a type of mushroom) is the brainchild of Nick and Kim Marckwald. The duo (Nick is the chef and Kim manages services) recently purchased the old J.B. Schmidt contractor space at 1432 and 1434 Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. They have ambitious plans for a restaurant and urban market there. As a run-up, they have been holding “pop-up” brunches since January in Main Street’s Street Pops space (closed for the winter months). And the very last one was scheduled for Sunday.

Now, this is just a hop, skip and jump from us, so the weather was not a concern — or was it? 

Just to be sure it was all going to happen given the poor road conditions, I sneakily walked our puppy by the space, which was holding the first of two seatings that day. The windows were properly steamed up, I could glimpse small tables of people inside and the most wonderful smells wafted from the slightly propped open door. 

When we arrived an hour later, our table was waiting. We were among about 10 guests. Our first course was a refreshing juice du jour — Meyer lemonade with ginger and cilantro flavors, and a jalapeno ice cube floating in the jelly jar glass.

Next, we were offered coffee. Deeper Roots Coffee’s Ryan Doan stood at the counter carefully pouring from what looked like a tiny watering can into a Chemex coffee maker. The brew was deep and rich without being acidic. 

During the next hour or so, we were offered three courses and a dessert prepared by the clearly visible staff. Each was meticulously described by our server— most times it was Nick or Kim.

First came a beautiful refreshing plate made from lemongrass, tapioca, mango, fingerlime, almond, ginger and pea shoots.

 

Next up, another precisely plated combo — lovely pink-edged beet cured salmon was draped over a crispy seared rice cake on a bed of leeks and shiitakes with a horseradish and basil sauce.

Next, the brunch got down to business because, what’s brunch without bacon and eggs? Hen’s take on eggs Benedict was a fat, wobbly egg sitting on top of a concoction with Woodlands “back bacon” lardo, English muffin, frisee and Hollandaise, served on a wooden slab made of black walnut. One poke with my fork sent yellow yolk running hither and yon amidst the gathering of elements. 

 

Finally, a rich bread pudding, with banana, sesame, chocolate, dulche de leche and pine. In the only misstep of the entire production, the crisp decorative chip had a distinct lack of flavor. 

 

I’m not usually a fan of little-plate meals and such as a fill-in for a meal. They often just tease, sending you out the door looking for something else to eat. This time? Not the case. We walked home in the ice and cold, happy and full, ready to hunker down and slog through the last of winter. 

I am so waiting for spring, and also for Hen of the Woods to begin doing impromptu servings in their new space while it is under construction. Nick and Kim assure me they’ll be doing it as soon as the permits are in order. The sooner the better for me!

Follow Hen of the Woods news on their Facebook page.


 
 

 

 

 
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