Bistro Grace — Offers a three-course surf and turf dinner for $29.95. Includes hangar steak and scallops with brown butter hollandaise. 4034 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-541-9600, bistrograce.com.
The Blue Wisp Restaurant & Jazz Club — A Valentine’s dinner with music by Samantha Carlson. Entrées include prime rib, Cornish hen or salmon; dessert; and half-off bottles of wine. $99. 700 Race St., Downtown, 513-241-9477, thebluewisp.com.
Brown Dog Café — Offering a four-course dinner with appetizer, soup, salad and entrée for $56.95. If you’re seated by 5:30 p.m., it’s only $48.95. 5893 Pfieffer Road, Blue Ash, 513-794-1610, browndogcafe.com.
Buca di Beppo — A family feast for four, with salad, entrée, pasta and desert, for $59.80. Through Feb. 16. 2635 Edmondson Road, Rookwood Commons, 513-396-7673, bucadibeppo.com.
Cincinnati Dinner Train — Take a romantic four-course train ride while relaxing to the music of the 1940s. Every woman receives a commemorative rose.7 p.m. Feb. 14 and 6 p.m. Feb. 15. Tickets begin at $79.95 per person. Private car upgrades available. 11013 Kenwood Road, Madisonville, 513-791-7245, cincinnatidinnertrain.com.
CRAVE Restaurant — A special Valentine’s Day prix fixe four-course menu for two. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday and Friday. $89 per couple. 175 Joe Nuxhall Way, The Banks, Downtown, 513-241-8600, cravcincinnati.com.
Grandview Tavern & Grille — A Valentine's Day menu with twin lobster tails, surf & turf, seabass and complimentary chocolate-dipped strawberries. Live music by Triage. 2220 Grandview Drive, Fort Mitchell, Ky., 859-341-8439, grandviewtaverngrille.com.
Mecklenburg Gardens — Valentine’s Day specials in the main dining room, including entrees choices between sword fish and surf and turf. Pig roast in the garden. 302 E. University Ave., Clifton, mecklenburgs.net.
Morton's The Steakhouse — “Dine your heart out” at Morton’s with steak and lobster tail for $55. Feb. 13-16. 441 Vine St., Carew Tower, Downtown, 513-621-3111, mortons.com/cincinnati.
Nectar — Offering a three-course dinner with wine and champagne. Reservations available between 5:30 and 10 p.m. $65 per person. 1000 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, dineatnectar.com.
Nicholson's Tavern & Pub — Regular menu available plus a prix fixe Valentine’s three-course meal for $24.95. Mike & Jeff playing in the bar, 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m. 625 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-564-9111, nicholsonspub.com.
The Phoenix — “Eat, Drink and Be Mine.” Give Back Cincinnati hosts this Valentine’s Day event to benefit their cause. Guests will enjoy a glass of champagne, two additional drink tickets for the fully stocked bar, heavy hors d'oeuvres, sweet treats and a chance to win some great prizes. 6-10 p.m. $50 per couple. 812 Race St., Downtown, givebackcincinnati.org.
Rail House — Valentine’s Day four-course prix fixe dinner for two (fillets and lobster tails with two sides) for $79.95. 40 Village Square, Glendale, 513-772-3333, railhouse1854.com.
Red Roost Tavern — Three-course prix fixe V-Day dinner including grilled beef tenderloin, asparagus, lobster soup, decadent chocolate cake and more. $70 per person. 151 W. Fifth St., Hyatt Regency Hotel, Downtown, 513-579-1234, cincinnati.hyatt.com.
Relish Modern Tapas — A four-course dinner from chef Robert with optional wine pairing. $40 per person; $20 wine. Feb. 14-16. 5947 Deerfield Blvd., Mason, 513-204-6925, relishmoderntapas.com.
The Summit — Three-course menu with choices for each course, a full bar, wine pairings and an award-winning Manhattan. $45. 3520 Central Parkway, the Midwest Culinary Institute, Cincinnati State campus, Clifton, midwestculinary.com.
Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant — One dozen fresh-shucked oysters, two entrée choiecs, soup or salad, chocolate-covered strawberries for dessert and a bottle of wine to share. Plus a half-hour carriage ride. Feb. 13-16. $115 per couple. 1000 Elm St., Downtown, 513-421-0110, washingtonplatform.com.
Today is the start of our beer lovin’ city’s favorite event, Cincinnati Beer Week. Although advertised as “a week,” it’s actually eight days of fun and foamy shenanigans in restaurants, bars and stores all across the Greater Cincinnati area.
The mission statement behind Cincinnati Beer Week states, “it aims to educate, inspire and celebrate well-crafted beer in a welcoming environment.” And the never ending list of participating venues includes: Jefferson Social, Tap House Grill, Arthur’s Café, Christian Moerlein Brewing Company, Incline Public House, Virgil’s Café, The Oak Tavern, The Famous Neons Unplugged and dozens more.
Some of the festivities this week include beer sampling, beer paired meals, meet and greet with local brewers and several opportunities to give back, with beer event charities such as Hops Against Cancer, Pints for Parkinson’s, MadTree Sprye Launch Party benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and more.
View the complete list of events and participating venues at cincinnatibeerweek.com.
Need ideas on where to start you beer adventure?
1. There is a $10 entry fee for each chili and/or cornbread entrant. You may participate in one or both at $10 per entry.
2. All types of chili and cornbread will be accepted.
3. Rabbit Hash will supply tables, spoons, bowls and electric. You must supply any extras (cheese, crackers, etc.) yourself. Be sure to bring a jar for your votes!
4. Tasting starts at 1 p.m. and ends at 3 p.m. At 3 p.m., money will be counted and winners announced.
5. Stovetop space is extremely limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis. Bringing your chili in a Crock Pot will be the only way to keep it warm.
6. Winners are determined by the highest dollar amount in your jar, so bring friends to vote for you!
One of the nation's premier bourbon events is returning within driving distance of Cincinnati (... not that anyone should necessarily be driving after partaking in a bourbon event). The second annual Bourbon Classic comes to Louisville next weekend — Jan. 31-Feb. 1 — offering world-class culinary and bartending talent.
The event is open to bourbon enthusiasts from across the country and will feature forums addressing all aspects of bourbon ranging from its distillation to how to pair it with food and more, with information from leading bourbon distillers, writers, chefs, bartenders, experts and connoisseurs.
“This event is a natural progression in what we do to promote the bourbon lifestyle," says Seth Thompson, publisher of The Bourbon Review and co-founder of the Bourbon Classic, in a press release. "The craftsmanship, the authenticity, the traditions and marry that with the eclectic epicurean culture of Central Kentucky."
The weekend program is split into two parts: Friday night's Cocktail Challenge and Saturday's Bourbon Classic University and Ultimate Bourbon Experience.
The Cocktail Challenge will feature contemporary and classic cocktails plus small plates prepared by teams of chefs and master bartenders representing different distilleries. Cocktails and pairings will be judged by an expert panel including Jennifer Cole from Southern Living, Joy Perrine from Jack’s Lounge and chef Albert Schmid, author of The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook. Participating teams include the following:
Bradley Hammond, Decca
Chef Terry French, winner of Food Network’s Extreme Chef 2012, Philadelphia
Chris Wilkins, Proof on Main
Chef Levon Wallace, Proof on Main
Colin Shearn, El Camino
Chef Jonathan Lundy, Jonathan's at Gratz Park, Lexington
Isaac Fox, Volare
Chef Josh Moore, Volare
JR Schiavi, Jack Fry's
Chef Shawn Ward, Jack Fry's
Susie Hoyt, Silver Dollar
Chef Tyler Powell, Silver Dollar
Jacquelyn Zykan, La Coop
Chef Bobby Benjamin, La Coop
The Saturday learning portion will focus on education, entertainment and tastings.
The welcome session will feature master distillers and brand legends including Wes Henderson of Angel’s Envy, Fred Noe of Jim Beam, Harlen Wheatley of Buffalo Trace, Tom Bulleit of Bulleit Bourbon and more, discussing the rising popularity of bourbon and the effect it has on distilleries.
Following the welcome, the Bourbon Classic University will offer a variety of classes split into two learning sessions for ticket-holders to explore. The first session includes classes like "Entertaining with Bourbon Tastings" and the second offers "Bourbon & the Bean: What do Chocolate & American Whiskey Have in Common." (A full list of classes and a schedule is available online.)
After the university, participate in "the ultimate bourbon experience." Enjoy bourbon tastings from Bourbon Classic distillers, many of which will have representatives on hand to discuss what makes their product unique. As you imbibe, you'll also enjoy dishes that have been specially prepared to complement the bourbon as well as a unique marketplace full of bourbon-related products.
7-10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31; 2:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2. Standard weekend packages for the Cocktail Challenge and University/Ultimate Bourbon Experience start at $249. Tickets available here. All events take place at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, 501 W. Main St., Louisville, Ky. For more information on the Bourbon Classic, visit bourbonclassic.com.
The hippo pool will be situated in the zoo's grassy-plained Africa exhibit, the most ambitious wildlife exhibit in zoo history. Currently home to cheetahs, a male lion and giraffes, among others, the next phase of building out the Africa exhibit will include the addition of an African wild dog, meerkat, gazelle, lesser kudu, impala, Ruppell’s vulture, crowned crane and kori bustard. The hippo exhibit will be the final piece of Africa.
The zoo will be obtaining/borrowing their hippos — a unrelated male and female pair — from another zoo in order to breed them. The hippos will be what are referred to as Nile Hippopotamuses (not the little pygmy ones from "too cute" memes, although those would be adorable). They're the third largest land animal, weighing in around 4,000 pounds and getting as tall as five feet at the shoulder. So one can imagine building a healthy and suitable pool for them costs a pretty penny.
Well, Lexington, Ky.'s craft brewery West Sixth Brewing is stepping up to the plate for one of their "6th for a Cause" events at Taste of Belgium on Short Vine in Clifton Heights to benefit to zoo in a fundraising event they've dubbed "Hops for Hippos." The zoo gets hippos; you get beer. It's a win-win.
Held up until now at the brewery's headquarters in Lexington, this will be their first 6th for a Cause event and tap takeover in the area. According to a press email, "The partnership with Taste of Belgium, a business that has similar ideals, has allowed West Sixth to take this fundraising effort on the road and to begin to apply the brewery's mission to all communities where West Sixth beer is distributed."
At 6 p.m. on Feb. 6, West Sixth will take over the taps at Taste of Belgium, with their IPA, Amber, Pay it Forward Cocoa Porter and a traditional Belgian style ale that has never been released in Cincinnati, the Transylvania Tripel. Taste of Belgium will be donating 6 percent of the evening's sales and West Sixth will match that contribution to benefit the Cincinnati Zoo.
Zoo director Thane Maynard, zoo COO Dave Jenike and other zoo representatives will be on hand to discuss their good work, help bartend and provide information for those who would like to get more involved. You can probably ask Thane all your hippo-related questions as well.
The evening will also include prize raffles and West Sixth commemorative glasses.
Taste of Belgium is located at 2845 Vine St., Clifton Heights. For more information on the event, zoo or West Sixth visit their websites: authenticwaffle.com, westsixth.com or cincinnatizoo.org. You can also make a donation to support the zoo's hippo efforts here.
The Betts House, located in the Betts-Longworth Historic District in the West End, is the oldest surviving brick building in Cincinnati. Built in 1804, it opened to the public as a museum in 1996. And their current exhibit, Bricks, Barrel Vaults & Beer: The Architectural Legacy of Cincinnati Breweries, examines the tunnels, breweries, buildings and people that made Cincinnati one of the leaders of the 19th century brewing industry through photos, charts, narratives, technology and more. The show has been extended until March 27, and the house is featuring several beer-related events to close out its run.
On Saturday, Jan. 25, the Betts House will host a cooking class, Cooking with Beer! Join chef Stefan Skirtz from Findlay Market's S&J Bakery and Cafe as he demonstrates how to utilize beer in your cooking, particularly Christian Moerlein brews. 1:30-2:30 p.m. Free with museum entry ($2). The Betts House, 416 Clark St., West End, thebettshouse.org.
And then from 5-10 p.m. Feb. 7 and noon-8 p.m. Feb. 8, take a tour of the Listermann Brewing Company in Evanston (1621 Dana Ave., Evanston, listermannbrewing.com) to support the Betts House. Explore the inner-workings of the brewery, see some panels from the Bricks, Barrel Vaults & Beer display and support the mission of the house. Tour is $5 per person with proceeds going to the Betts House. More details here.
The comp will take place in heated tents on Elder Street on the north side of the Market House and be judged by firemen from Engine Co. 5. First, second and third place will receive a cash prize: $100 for Chili Meister; $50 for Chili Monarch; $50 for Chiliologist. The winner automatically qualifies to compete in the All-Ohio Regional Chili Cook-Off held in September 2014.
In addition to chili, there will be live music by Anna and Milovan from noon-2:30 p.m., Christian Moerlein craft beer, free public tastings starting at 12:30 p.m. (until the chili is gone) and specials on chilis, coneys, spices and more from merchants.11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26. Limited to 30 contestants. Visit the blog at tinyurl.com/kqrmr2g for contest rules and an entry form. Deadline is noon on Friday, Jan. 24. findlaymarket.org.
"What's going to make us different is our culinary staff," Stephens writes. "Constant ideas of recipes, ice creams and cookies are going to make some waves for sure in the area. We will also be listening to the public, so if you have a great meatball recipe, bring it down and we can give it a try."
Packhouse will be located on Monmouth Street in Newport. Their current projected open date is Jan. 28, so keep an eye on the restaurant and get more details here.