In my favorite movie, 'The Big Lebowski,' Maud's chauffeur tells an old vaudeville joke that starts with a litany of miseries and wraps up with the punch line, "But you know me — I can't complain." Well, lately, faithful readers, that joke has been my life. What's up with my karma?
If you like your burger with a little Magic seasoning, then you already know about Fatburger (3158 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-871-8722). This Southern California-based chain is partly owned by Magic Johnson and other celebs - including Kanye West, Pharrell, Queen Latifah and Montel Williams - and is franchising across the country.
I used to wonder why some bars brand themselves as Irish pubs when they're not. Wouldn't it be easier to be Fred's Bar and not O'Malley's Olde Ale House? Our team of pub wonders took in the area's latest Irish-themed spot, and we arrived to a shiny, new, crowded house on a Friday evening. The mood of the place was very festive, and I liked the look of some fried oysters on their way to a patron at the bar.
I gave Vito's a rave review in 2007, and it has only improved with the addition of Chef Romuald Jung, late of the Palace Restaurant at the Cincinnatian Hotel. Chef Romy's talent and love of food and family outgrew the corporate confines of hotel dining. He's found a welcome home with Victor and Mary Ciepiel in Fort Thomas, and his influence has made already excellent food grand.
There have been several reincarnations of the Rookwood restaurant, but this time they might have gotten the karma right. It's a solid serendipity of setting, menu and price point, a welcome addition to the heart of Cincinnati.
Will Mr. Smith go to Washington? That’s Marvin Smith, who is the Ollie behind Ollie’s Trolley, the West End landmark dining car. Ollie has catered five of soon-to-be-president-elect Obama’s campaign events and has pictures to prove it.
Writing a dining review is a great gig, right? Hey, I can't complain. But sometimes it can be challenging, especially when the assignment isn't on your home turf. "Symmes Township?" I asked my editor. "Surely, you are not sending this city girl to Symmes Township?" "Don't call me Shirley," she replied.