America's puritanical streak runs red hot regarding alcohol. That's why the drinking age was raised to 21, legally acceptable blood alcohol levels are continually lowered and "sin taxes" on liquor are skyrocketing. Many of these initiatives are intended to keep "kids" (i.e., voting-age consumers between 18 and 21) safe from that ol' demon liquor — including two newer efforts.
I've always considered cocktails an early evening libation suitable with finger foods but not the main course. Apparently, though, pairing cocktails and fancy food is a hot trend in the restaurant business. To learn more about it, a few dozen local bourbon lovers recently climbed the narrow spiral staircase to Daveed's upstairs dining room and tasted through a selection of Four Roses bourbons and cocktails.
Recently Seamus Campbell and Robin Goldstein, experienced wine/beer educators, released 'The Beer Trials' (Fearless Critic Media), in which 250 beers are rated on a 10-point scale within 11 categories. Of course, these are't the first beer ratings, but this duo sets themselves apart by tasting everything blind, allowing their panel to judge products on their own terms.
Have you ever felt like Monty Python's Mr. Creosote, the bloated epicurean who explodes in a gory mess when he surrenders to the inducements of an evil maitre d' offering him a "wafer-thin mint" after a laughably enormous feast? Well, that’s how I felt last Monday after helping judge the Best of Taste food competition for the Taste of Cincinnati festival.
When you give your restaurant a tagline like "The Chicken Joint," you damn well better make some kick-ass poultry, right? Well, that’s the gauntlet thrown down by Symmes Township stalwart Silver Spring House, which has stood on the corner of Kemper and Snyder roads since 1988. That 20-plus year history represents an eternity in the restaurant biz, so the owners are obviously doing something right to keep pulling in the customers.
Don Outterson is Cincinnati's Willy Wonka of distillation. He and his enthusiastic wife, Linda, run Woodstone Creek, an urban winery and tasting room that's also Ohio's first mico-distillery. Their excellent vodka is widely available, and Woodstone's small-batch bourbon earned praise from whiskey authority Jim Murray.
I'm reading Dava Sobel's 2006 tour de force 'Galileo's Daughter,' an engrossing depiction of the great mathematician's ideas and trials as well as his tender and loving relationship with his illegitimate daughter, Soer Maria Celeste. After Galileo was imprisoned by The Vatican for supporting the Copernican "hypothesis" that Earth revolved around the sun, Maria Celeste managed the family's Tuscan property, and their correspondences touch on the mundane details of daily life, frequently including wine.
On a drizzly Thursday evening, there's a 40-minute wait at Monroe's Red Onion Cafe. A specials chalkboard mentions Shrimp Scampi, Lake Perch and Boeuf Bourguignon. A veritable mission statement is on the menu cover: "Food is what we are all about ... we cook from scratch ... we take pride in our craft." Craft? We can't wait to get seated.
News Flash! I have an affinity for esoteric wines from little-known regions. As a result, I tend to assume a lot of wines aren’t sufficiently “interesting” to sample. So when an opportunity recently arose to attend a dinner featuring the wines of well-known California producer Rodney Strong, I was dismissive.
Jan's Chinese isn't exactly new. It used to be called Casual Wok and Grille and it's still tucked into the same unassuming, half-empty strip mall off Montgomery Road. The name change honors new head chef HJ Jan, a picture of whom dominates the entry vestibule like a broadly grinning Iron Chef.