The opening of Jean-Robert's Table was a much-anticipated event in Cincinnati dining — so much anticipated, in fact, that I think we might have visited a bit soon. Sooner than we usually do for a CityBeat dining review. So with that caution in mind, how was master chef Jean-Robert de Cavel's new adventure? Very good.
On a recent trip to Lake Michigan, I skipped the interstate and added an hour or two to my trip. What was my reward? A crazy little wooden shack by the road in Kokomo, Ind., with a hand-written sign that said “PIE.” The blueberry pie I bought sat on the seat next to me for the rest of the trip, sparkly with sugar on top, still warm from the oven, smelling like an angel’s pillow on a blueberry bed in heaven.
Paula Kirk, owner of Downtown's Paula's Cafe since 1989, is loyal to her fellow chefs. When I tell her that Jean Robert de Cavel honked angrily at me for jaywalking at lunchtime, she rushes to defend him and eventually makes me feel grateful that he taught me a lesson in good citizenship. Hey, wait a minute, here! Well … maybe she's right.
Cocktails before breakfast! What could make that better? How about complimentary cocktails before breakfast made by one of the country's top mixologists? That Black Paloma I enjoyed on the mezzanine of the Hotel Monteleone last Friday before heading up to the rooftop for fresh bagels with vodka-cured lox was just one of the excellent perks of Tales of the Cocktail.
If there were ever a perfect vantage point to watch the kind of moments that make city life so fascinating, it's at ForkHeartKnife, the tiny kitchen at Main and Liberty that's owned and operated by some of the friendliest and most creative women in Over-the-Rhine. After two visits to ForkHeartKnife, I'm a big fan. It's just such a personal experience, like dining with friends.
Robin Wood was the silken voice of WEBN's Dawn Patrol and 25-year radio/TV veteran until 2000, when she retired to pursue a more genteel life as a florist, a second career that she's enjoying even more than her first. Wood dines out on weekdays, not weekends, because her husband, Lee Ferguson, is a weekend cook.
All you Blue Oven Bread fans should try the other family ventures located in the happening little business district of Bellevue and Dayton, Ky. We gave Buona Vita Pizzeria a try and loved the friendly atmosphere and nice beer selections. The salads were noteworthy in that they hadn't been pre-made and pulled out of an ice-cold walk-in box. The pizza crust was excellent, and the big, delicious basil leaves on top were a plus.
My neighbor Bud loved food. He'd lived all over the world during his military career and had an adventuresome palate he shared with his wife and two sons. The boys grew up not with an "Eat everything on your plate" mentality but with a "Taste everything! Why not?" philosophy that I admire. I'm happy to have savored some very special moments with someone who drank deeply of life and shared his love of it so freely.
Marvin Smith, owner of Ollie’s Trolley in the West End and inventor of the Ollie Burger, has been known to eat an occasional Burrito Bowl at Chipotle — vegetarian style, with loads of veggies, black beans and a side of guacamole. As he enters the busy outdoor barbecue season, it’s a little break from smoky grills full of beautiful, meaty, basted ribs. Me? I’ll take Ollie’s ribs any day!
Whenever I say “hot wings,” I want to say it in a James Brown voice, something with swagger and, well, heat. Hot wings! Sorta like “Hot damn!” but you can say it in front of little kids. We gathered wings from seven venues and put them to the test.