CityBeat Blogs - Food & Drink http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/blogs-1-1-1-40.html <![CDATA[This Week's Food & Dining Events]]>

Most classes and events require registration; classes frequently sell out. 


WEDNESDAY 29
Grilling with Ellen: A Tuscan Dinner — Italian sangria with Chianti and prosecco; shrimp, lemon and garlic bruschetta; sausage-stuffed mushrooms; steak panzanella; and pressed chocolate cake. 6-8:30 p.m. $65. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.

Burger Beer Wednesday at Fifty West — Every week Fifty West offers a Burger Beer Wednesday, which includes a burger and a beer for only $10. They also have BBQ Thursdays, with a different menu each week. 7669 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, fiftywestbrew.com.

WineCRAFT Dinner — A five-course meal at La Petite Pierre, with wine from a boutique wine importer. 7 p.m. $85. La Petite Pierre, 7800 Camargo Road, Madeira, lapetitepierre.com.

The Five Master Skills— Using salt, heat management, simple sauces, tools, and proper ingredients. Each skill will be discussed and put into practice; a light meal is served afterwards. Noon-2 p.m. $70. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, 513-847-4474, thelearningkitchen.com.

Wings and Trivia Night — Last Call Trivia and gourmet wings from Renegade Street Eats at Mt. Carmel Brewing Company. 6-9 p.m. Wednesdays. Prices vary. Mt. Carmel Brewing Company, 4362 Mt. Carmel-Tobasco Road, Mount Carmel, 513-240-2739.

THURSDAY 30
5 Rabbit Pint Night — 5 Rabbit Cerveceria, a Latin American microbrewery from Illinois, features five Latin-infused craft brews at BrewRiver GastroPub. 6-10 p.m. Prices vary. BrewRiver GastroPub, 2062 Riverside Drive, East End, 513-861-2484, brewrivergastropub.com.

Bacchanalian Wine Society Summer Gathering — Bring a bottle of pinot grigio to Findlay Market for the Bacchanalian Society’s summer gathering. It’s a rare opportunity to spend time in the market after-hours, and raise funds for Dirt: A Modern Market, which will be a local-only year-round food market. 7-10 p.m. $15; $20 door. Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, bacchanaliansociety.com.

How to Properly Cook Scallops — Learn to prepare sea scallops with spiced corn and pickled red onion. 6-8 p.m. $30. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

FRIDAY 31
Summer Passport to Beer and Wine — Sample craft beers and wines with hors d’oeuvres and live entertainment. 7-9:30 p.m. $29.95; $16.95 designated driver. Mill Race Banquet Center, 1515 W. Sharon Road, Springfield Township, greatparks.org.

Hops for Hippos — Head to Taste of Belgium in Corryville to drink beer and raise funds for the Cincinnati Zoo's prospective hippo exhibit. The day will be full of Belgian food, craft beer and special Cincinnati Zoo animal and staff appearances, including Thane Maynard. The restaurant will be tapping a special custom brew and West Sixth is taking over the taps at 6 p.m. 6-11 p.m. Prices vary. Taste of Belgium, 2845 Vine St., Corryville, authentic waffle.com.

WingFling — More than 40 different wing flavors with sauces ranging from mild, medium to stupid. Through Sept. 5. Prices vary. Washington Platform Saloon and Restaurant, 1000 Elm St., Downtown, washingtonplatform.com.

Date Night: Bacon, Bacon, Bacon — Make panzanella salad with crispy bacon vinaigrette, pan-seared shrimp with bacon corn cakes and pancetta risotto. 6-8 p.m. $155 per couple. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

SATURDAY 01
Porkopolis Pig & Whiskey Festival — Some people say there’s nothing quite as American as apple pie, but it could be argued that the national cuisine of the good ol’ U.S. of A is barbecue. Ribs, brisket, pulled pork — there’s a million ways to make it and it’s all delicious. Saturday, CityBeat is partnering with Horseshoe Casino to bring all of the Queen City’s best barbecue offerings to one place for a day of pork, beer and whiskey at the inaugural Porkopolis Pig & Whiskey Festival. Restaurants, including Eli’s, Velvet Smoke, Barrio Tequileria and Huit Craft BBQ, will be featured, along with more than 40 varieties of bourbon, scotch and whiskey, with master distillers and a whiskey chatter area for education and sampling. Grub to the sounds of live Bluegrass and Americana bands playing at the top of every hour, with local and national acts including Young Heirlooms, Magnolia Mountain and headliners Swear and Shake at 8 p.m. Proceeds benefit the Bow Tie Foundation. 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. Saturday. Free; food and liquor price vary. The Shoe at the Horseshoe Casino, 1000 Broadway St., Pendelton, citybeat.com. 

Cincinnati Distilled — Try four selections from a list of 10 spirits made locally. Wine and mead also available for tasting. 2-7 p.m. $12. Woodstone Creek Winery & Distillery, 4712 Vine St., Saint Bernard, woodstonecreek.com.

Summer Dinner Party, Italian Style — A Tuscan-inspired menu for outdoor dining, paired with wine. Dishes include citrus-flavored risotto, grilled asparagus and vanilla-scented panna cotta. Noon-3 p.m. $65. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.

Date Night: Triple Thrill — Create crab cakes, panko-crusted shrimp with avocado aioli and peppercorn-crusted filet mignon with a sauté of snap peas. 5-7 p.m. $165 per couple. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

SUNDAY 02
Brunch at Gomez Salsa — A couple of weeks ago, Gomez Salsa and HalfCut teamed up for Sunday brunch. Try Gomez’s breakfast turtles, stuffed with syrupy waffles, eggs, meats and cheese, and wash it down with a Beermosa from HalfCut. And don’t forget Taco Tuesday night: a beer and two Gomez Salsa tacos for $10. gomezsalsa.com; halfcut.com.

Korean Lunch Buffet — A rare chance to dine on all-you-can-eat Korean favorites for one low price, benefitting CincyLiNK (Libery in North Korea). 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. $25; reservations recommended. Sung Korean Bistro, 700 Elm St., Downtown, sungkoreanbistro.com.

Just Another Craft Beer Festival — A craft beer festival featuring more than 25 Ohio breweries. More than 80 local crafts will be on tap, with a pig roast and live entertainment. Benefits ArtsWave. 2-6 p.m. $45. Thirsty’s Oasis, 5579 Ohio 741, Mason, justanothercraftbeerfestival.com.

TUESDAY 04
Classic Indian with a European Twist — Fusion dishes with Indian, British and Portuguese influences. 6-8:30 p.m. $65. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.

Homemade Ravioli Workshop—Make your own ravioli, then fill half with herbed ricotta filling with basil pesto sauce and half with fresh mozzarella and sundried tomato filling with mushroom cream sauce. 6-8 p.m. $75. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

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<![CDATA[Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend]]>
Each week CityBeat staffers, dining writers and the occasional intern tell you what they ate this weekend. We're not always proud — or trendy — but we definitely spend at least some money on food. 

Casey Arnold: Yesterday, my boyfriend and I went to Findlay Market to see some live music and check out the barbecue competition (aka Smokin' Hot Weekend). Brian got a sampler from the Velvet Smoke booth, which also has a brick-and-mortar at the market. Totally chosen at random for being the closest booth taking credit cards. Thinking ahead, he brought his own gluten-free bun and turned his sampler, which was two heaps of meat separated by coleslaw, into a sandwich. He was stuffed after one pile, which was reportedly delicious and smelled amazing. As a vegetarian person, I picked up some lime cardamom sorbetto from Dojo Gelato, which was particularly refreshing in Sunday's heat. Next time you're at Findlay, here's a hot tip: Colonel De's truffle salt is totally worth $10 an ounce. Put it on your potatoes. Also everything. Take a deep whiff when you're feeling sad.
After that, we wandered over to Taft's Ale House for a pint and people watching. We hadn't been before and ended up staying about an hour just soaking in a Nellie's Key Lime beer and the beautiful space. Neither of us were hungry, but we peeked at the menu and eyeballed other people's plates. It seems great for gluten free (more piles of meat) but not so great for vegetarians — aside from a few salads. 

Sarah Urmston: After the boyfriend got off of work on Friday, we strolled around Over-the-Rhine with time to kill and bellies to fill. Since we've eaten in OTR almost every weekend of our overall relationship, we decided to just pop in somewhere new — no questions asked. And we were so lucky to have chosen to stop in for Asian street food from Quan Hapa, off of Vine Street. Although our service was a little funky, the chardonnay (only $6) was super delish, and their Hapa Ramen was absolutely off the wall with zest and just the right amount of substance to fill you without overkill. It consisted of tonkotsu broth, a poached egg, pork belly, green onions, narutomaki and shiso (two things I have never heard of in my life), and burnt garlic chili oil. Every flavor worked together so well, and I knew it really was wonderful after looking away for one minute and finding Bryan holding my bowl up to his own face. Come on, buddy. 

Maija Zummo: I went to my favorite three-year-old's birthday party yesterday and mom and dad ordered pizza from Krimmer's Italianette in North College Hill for everyone. I had had the pizza from the Silverton location growing up, but didn't know they had opened a second spot (which I hope also delivers to my house because no one ever does…). The pizza was good. Most pizza is good (especially if you've been drinking) but I liked Krimmer's kind of thick crust and pully cheese — the kind that makes strings when you pick up a slice, like in commercials. It also comes in a big family size — smaller than an Adriatico's Bearcat, but bigger than a regular large — which was great for feeding a medium-sized party, or for binge-eating on weekends.
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<![CDATA[The Week's Dining Events]]>
This week's food and drink events. Reminder: Most classes, events and wine dinners require reservations.

WEDNESDAY 22
Cincinnati Burger Week — It’s a rare opportunity — or should we say medium rare — that carnivores can delight in $5 gourmet and off-menu burgers throughout their city. Through Sunday, Cincinnati Burger Week pays homage to the American-cuisine staple by having chefs prepare burgers with their unique spin. Local restaurants from Anderson to Covington will participate in the beef extravaganza, organized by CityBeat, stamping your Burger Passports for special prizes. Don’t eat meat? Some places, like Nation in Pendleton, also offer a delectable black bean patty. Follow Cincinnati Burger Week on Twitter @CincyBurgerWeek to find the Burger Fairy — she has presents. Through Sunday. $5 per burger. Find participating restaurants cincinnatiburgerweek.com. 

Road Kill Café — Features roadside favorites, not actually sourced from the road. Menu items include buffalo, kangaroo, pigeon, venison, frog, turtle, duck, rabbit and more. Through July 25. Prices vary. Washington Platform, 1000 Elm St., Downtown, washingtonplatform.com.

Peruvian Cooking Class — Chef Julie Francis and sous chef Amanda Bowman teach participants how to prepare traditional fish and vegetable ceviche and tiradito. 6-9 p.m. $75. Nectar, 1000 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-929-0525, dineatnectar.com.

Best of the East Party — Cincy Magazine readers chose their top picks for places to eat, shop and have fun on the East Side. The party features sampling of food and products from the issue. 5:30-8:30 p.m. $30. Receptions Conference Center, 4450 Eastgate Blvd., Union Township, cincymagazine.com.

Miami Valley Gaming Craft Beer Dinner — Head to the gaming casino for a craft beer dinner, paired with beers from Warped Wing Brewery. 6-8 p.m. $45. Miami Valley Gaming Grandstand, Cin City Sea and Steak Restaurant, 6000 Ohio 63, Lebanon, miamivalleygaming.com.

Wings and Trivia at Mt. Carmel — Evening of wings and Last Call Trivia at the brewery. Renegade Street Eats makes wings with Mt. Carmel Beer as a sauce base. 6-9 p.m. every Wednesday. Food costs $5-$9. Mt. Carmel Brewing Company, 4362 Mt. Carmel-Tobasco Road, Mount Carmel, mtcarmelbrewingcompany.com.

THURSDAY 23
Wurst Date Night Ever — Bring your beau to the Cincinnati Observatory for an evening of food, drink and stargazing. Kick things off at Mount Lookout’s Wurst Bar in the Square for dinner and drinks, then hop on a complimentary shuttle at 8:30 p.m. to the observatory to view Saturn (weather permitting) and take a tour of the historic building — the first public observatory in the western hemisphere and home to the oldest working telescope. Afterward, shuttle back to the bar for happy hour pricing all night. 8:30-11 p.m. Thursday. $30. Wurst Bar in the Square, 3204 Linwood Ave., Mount Lookout, cincinnatiobservatory.org. 

Washington Platform Craft Beer & Walking Tour — Washington Platform has partnered with Queen City history for special happy hour walking tours. Head to the restaurant between 4-7 p.m. for happy hour beers and half-price wings, rings and tenders, then walk off the calories with a 90-minute historical walking tour of Washington Park and Over-the-Rhine. The tour starts every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and features architectural icons, stories of immigrants and a visit to the saloon’s subbasement beer cellar. 4-7 p.m. Thursdays. $20 tour. Washington Platform, 1000 Elm St., Downtown, saloontours.com.

High Tea in the Garden — A traditional four-course high tea, with a menu featuring British classics like curried-chicken tea sandwiches and scones with Devonshire cream, served under a tent in a vast garden nursery. 1:30 p.m. $30. Mary’s Plant Farm and Landscaping, 2410 Lanes Mill Road, Hamilton, marysplantfarm.com.

Wine Pairing Dinner at Nectar — Chef/owner Julie Francis creates a four-course dinner featuring specially paired champagne and Bordeaux wines with her farm-focused, local cuisine. Aurelie Baetche, regional manager of Thienot USA, discusses the wines. 7 p.m. $85. Nectar, 1000 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-929-0525, dineatnectar.com.

FRIDAY 24
Big Weekend Clifton — Clifton’s Gaslight district is a veritable trove of ethnic cuisine and culture. And Big Weekend Clifton plans to celebrate the neighborhood’s quirk and international flavor with three days of food, music, dancing and cinema. Featuring an “Around the World in a Cocktail Hour” pub crawl-esque event that takes you up and down Ludlow to sample internationally inspired drinks, the weekend also offers henna tattoos, tarot card readings, salsa and Bollywood dancing, a live performance by The Keshvar Project and a screening of Casablanca at the Esquire on Sunday. 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 5-8:30 p.m. Sunday. Free; food and drink $3-$7. Ludlow Avenue, Clifton, 513-751-4783 and search “Ludlow 21” on Facebook.

Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church Greek Fest — The 48th annual Greek Fest features al fresco Greek culinary specialties (which can also be enjoyed in the air-conditioned hall), including baked fish, roast lamb, Grecian chicken, pastitso and more. Also find a kids’ zone, Greek wine, Greek beer, baklava sundaes, live Greek music and raffles. The fest will also feature Gyros on the Go, a drive-thru preview on Thursday evening from 5-8 p.m. Fest 5-10 p.m. Friday; 4-10 p.m. Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Food prices vary; free admission. Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church, 2500 Grand Ave., Middletown, stsconstantineandhelengreekchurch.org.

Vine and Dine — A six-course paired dinner, featuring live music and five drink tokens to use on beer or wine. Live music by G Burton Story. 5:30-9:30 p.m. $35. The Art of Entertaining, 2019 Madison Road, O’Bryonville, cincyartofentertaining.com.

Love Wins Weekend — Hot on the heels of SCOTUS’ landmark decision to legalize gay marriage nationwide (s/o to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg), cincygayweddings.com, a compendium of LGBTQ+-friendly wedding vendors in the area, decided to turn their launch party into an entire weekend of activities featuring eight parties over three days with more than 40 different sponsors. Events include Cocktails & Couture at Bromwell’s, a Sunday Jazz brunch at the Hilton Netherland Plaza, a dance party at Ivy Lounge and much more. Weekend events open to everyone; Scalia fans maybe stay away. All proceeds benefit Pride Cincinnati, Equality Ohio and the Human Rights Campaign. Friday and Saturday. $40 weekend pass; $20 two nighttime events. More details and a full list of events and locations at lovewinscincy.com. 

Cocktails & Couture — Part of Love Wins Weekend to celebrate the legalization of same sex marriage. Party includes hors d’oeuvres, entertainment and two cocktails. Benefits Human Rights Campaign and Equality Ohio. 8 p.m. $10. Bromwell’s Harth Lounge, 125 E. Fourth St., Downtown, lovewinscincy.com.

SATURDAY 25
Handmade Pasta Workshop — Learn to make basic egg dough, fresh fettuccine, three cheese ravioli, basil-scented marinara, sage butter and a mixed greens salad with balsamic vinaigrette. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. $150. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.

Cincy Wine Wagon Tour — A bus tour that takes you to Valley Vineyards, Vinoklet and Henke Winery. 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. $75. Meets at Maggiano’s Little Italy, 7875 Montgomery Road, Kenwood Towne Centre, cincybrewbus.com.

Flair on the Square — Part of Love Wins Cincy Weekend. Features lunch by the bite, a drink ticket, a performance from The Young Professionals Choral Collective. Noon. $10. Via Vite, 520 Vine St., Downtown, lovewinscincy.com.

Wine and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra — A performance from the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra with a pre-performance wine tasting, paired with appetizers from La Petite France. 5-7 p.m. $20. Evendale Village Recreation Center, 10500 Reading Road, Evendale, 513-563-2247. 

SUNDAY 26 
I Do, I Do Jazz Brunch — Brunch, live music, and two complimentary cocktails, presented by Love Wins Cincy. 11 a.m., $10. Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, 35 W. Fifth St., Downtown, lovewinscincy.com.

Riverboat Ride and Luncheon — A two-and-a-half river cruise with a buffet luncheon of spaghetti and meatballs. 12:30-3:30 p.m. $10. Celebrations River Boat, 848 Elm St., Ludlow, Ky., 859-291-5675.

Afternoon Tea and Dance — Part of Love Wins Weekend. Features food, music, photo-sharing and an open bar. 4-7 p.m. $10. New Riff, 24 Distillery Way, Newport, Ky., lovewinscincy.com.

Chicken Dinner and Cornhole Tournament — An indoor family dinner with split the pot, raffles and a cornhole tournament ($5 entry fee). Benefits the North College Hill Senior Center. 4:30-6:30 p.m. $7; $6 members; $3 kids. North College Hill Senior Center, 1586 Goodman Ave., North College Hill, 513-521-3462.

Sunset and Cincinnati — Part of Love Wins weekend. Food and an open bar on the roof of the Phelps. 7-11 p.m. $10. The Phelps Bar/Top of the Park, 506 E. Fourth St., Downtown, lovewinscincy.com.

TUESDAY 28
Grilling with Ellen: A Tuscan Dinner — Italian sangria with Chianti and prosecco; shrimp, lemon and garlic bruschetta; sausage-stuffed mushrooms; steak panzanella; and pressed chocolate cake. 6-8:30 p.m. $65. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.

Wine Tasting at 20 Brix — A wine tasting with Darren Ballman of Pere Jacque and a paired meal. 6:30 p.m. Prices vary. 20 Brix, 101 Main St., Milford, 513-831-2749.

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<![CDATA[Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend]]>
Each week CityBeat staffers, dining writers and the occasional intern tell you what they ate this weekend. We're not always proud — or trendy — but we definitely spend at least some money on food. 

Ilene Ross: Friday was the BF’s birthday and since he’s always wanting to go on a picnic, I thought I’d pack a basket — complete with the most adorable and delicious birthday cake from Happy Chicks Bakery — and treat him to an evening at Devou Park, since that’s where you’ll find one of the best views of downtown Cincinnati. Well, Mother Nature had other ideas in mind, so we spread the blanket out on the living room floor, lit tons of candles and enjoyed a romantic picnic dinner inside, sans bugs, muggy weather and the rest of the world. Perfection.
On Sunday morning, we hit up Red Feather for brunch because BLOODY MARY BAR. Seriously, you get a glass of ice and vodka, and you’re let loose on a bar loaded with all sorts of condiments, bacon and some really tasty pickles. Mix away and drink yourself to happy land. Also, the food is fierce. We had Eggs Baltimore, which consists of poached eggs on English Muffins with crabcakes and a Tasso Hollandaise, and poutine with short rib gravy. Bonus round: complimentary beignets. We’ll be back.

Jac Kern: We ordered Dewey's this weekend. The West Side's first location (5649 Harrison Ave) is still relatively new and, thus, extremely packed on the weekends. There was a two-hour wait when we picked up our dinner Friday night: Half meatball-half Southwest barbecue chicken pizza with a house salad to split. I love me some Dewey's, but it's going to be a long time before the frenzy dies down enough for me to eat in. Take-out for life!

Casey Arnold: I was at Forcastle — so straight-up garbage.

Pama Mitchell: We ate at home or at friends’ houses this weekend but last Wednesday, we went to Boca for our anniversary (20th, woot). It’s fun how they have “taste” portions of most dishes. My favorite was the Cappellacci di Gianno — pasta with “butter-soaked lobster.” There wasn’t much lobster but it was quite tasty nonetheless.

Maija Zummo: We had friends in town from Chicago this weekend, so we dined out for every meal. Our most memorable meals included a picnic lunch we grabbed from Picnic and Pantry's new OTR location and enjoyed at Washington Park with wine and beer from the concession stand, dinner at Anchor OTR and nachos in a helmet at the Reds game. I was initially super sad that the grab-and-go tempeh pesto sandwich from the Picnic and Pantry's Northside location wasn't in the fridge at the new OTR space, but now they make you fresh sandwiches at the lunch counter. I ordered mine with egg salad on toasted ciabatta, pesto, gouda and tomato. So good. And then Anchor was fun. I don't eat seafood, so I only had a salad and corn, but my gin and cucumber cocktail was really, really good. Because we got there later in the night, they were out of a lot of things people wanted to order — lobster roll, crab legs, lobster, etc. — but everyone found a replacement seafood dish and all were incredibly happy. I think people liked the peel-and-eat shrimp the best.


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<![CDATA[Calle Cantina Now Open in Mount Adams]]> Mount Adams welcomed another new eatery last week with the opening of Calle (kai-yay), a Mexican street-food cantina in the Pavilion Street spot that formerly housed Tap and Go. 

Whit Hesser of Sprout and Mazunte owner Joe Wamsley teamed up to inject some culinary diversity into the top of the hill, focusing their concise menu on huaraches, a snack that’s as ubiquitous on the streets of Mexico City as hot dogs are in New York. They’re kind of like if tacos and pizza had a delicious street-food baby: an oblong masa (corn dough) flatbread, smothered in Mexican staples like chorizo, salsa, cilantro, queso fresco, onions, potato and anything else you could want to pile on. 

Calle will be offering three different types of huaraches: pollo verde, barbacoa and rajas (pepper), in addition to house-made chips, guacamole and roasted-chipotle salsa. They’ll also have eight draft beer taps, a limited wine selection and both their margaritas and red and white sangrias are made in-house — a smart decision, given that Mazunte’s sangria is arguably the best in the city. 

“It’s simple, efficient and delicious," says Wamsley. Salud.

Calle is located at 950 Pavilion St., Mount Adams. Current hours are 5-midnight Wednesday-Thursday (chips only late-night); 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Sunday (full menu). More info at callemtadams.com or facebook.com/callemtadams.
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<![CDATA[Taste of Belgium Rookwood: Now Open]]>
Taste of Belgium, the local Belgian bistro that specializes in great beers and Belgian food with an American twist, opened its third Greater Cincinnati location in the Rookwood Exchange (3825 Edwards Road) — beginning with breakfast today. 

“We are delighted to be a locally owned restaurant in the already great lineup at Rookwood,” says owner and founder Jean-Francois Flechet. 

“The area clearly ‘respects the waffle,' as we’ve been wonderfully received at the Hyde Park Farmers’ Market, and are still there, since we began in 2007,” he adds.

Flechet and the Taste of Belgium team worked with many local artists and companies, including HGC Construction, the drawing dept. architecture firm, Betty Bone Design, Brave Berlin production company and Frameshop, to create a sleek, sophisticated atmosphere that echoes the Over-the-Rhine and Corryville bistros, but like each of those locations, it retains its own identity and still reflects the neighborhood in which it exists. 


Brave Berlin’s projection mapping technology, the same used for LumenoCity, has been scaled down to fit in custom picture frames by Frameshop to provide dynamic, ever-changing artwork for the walls in the general dining area. A private dining room features René Magritte-style artwork. Oversized garage doors to the outdoor patio — the first doors of their kind in the area — will provide a complete open-air dining experience.


“OTR was our first restaurant. We chose it because of the streetcar route," Flechet says. "We love the energy in Corryville and wanted to make an investment in Uptown. And here at Rookwood, we are taking the company to a new level. The décor and attention to detail punctuate that.”

Taste of Belgium Rookwood will be open seven days a week, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, featuring the same menu as its sister locations. It boasts an expanded wine list, 24 taps for draft beers, a private dining room, chef’s table and a large patio for outdoor dining. The kitchen has six waffle irons, four crêpe irons, and is the first Cincinnati restaurant to use P&G’s commercial dish program.

Taste of Belgium is open for:
  • Breakfast: 7-10:30 a.m. Monday-Friday
  • Lunch: 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday
  • Dinner: 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursdays; 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday 
  • Brunch: 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday  
Reservations are available for early dinner seating only (at 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m.). 3825 Edwards Road, Suite 110, Norwood, 513-396-5800, authenticwaffle.com.  

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<![CDATA[Salazar 2.0: Mita's]]>
My brother is a bellboy at the Cincinnatian Hotel, and when he turned 20 this past January, there was only one place he wanted to go for his birthday dinner: OTR’s Salazar. His obsession was well placed — the former executive chef at the Cincinnatian’s Palace Restaurant, Jose Salazar’s eponymous bistro serves up some of the best small plates in the city. (If you’ve never had the restaurant's fried oyster sandwich with kimchi, do so immediately.)

Getting a table at a small space that doesn’t take reservations can be a nightmare, though, so my brother opted to use his birthday money for Elton John tickets instead. But once his 21st birthday rolls around in a few months, there will be a second Salazar restaurant in town — Mita’s — and this time they take reservations.

The 6,000-square-foot Mita's — inspired by the decor, food, beverages and culture of Spain — will be on the first floor of the 84.51 building (aka the new dunnhumby building) on the corner of Ffith and Race streets. Named after and inspired by Salazar's expression for his grandmother, the space will hold 130 seats for full-service dining. The interior, designed by local MSA Architects, will feature hand-painted tiles and reclaimed wood floors, echoing the Moorish architecture of the Iberian Peninsula. 

Interior progress shot
Photo: facebook.com/SalazarCincinnati

“I wanted to tap my Latin heritage by incorporating the cuisines of South and Central America,” says Salazar. “There isn’t yet a place like that in Cincinnati.”

According to a recent press release, the concept was inspired by Salazar's close relationship with his Mita (who turns 87 tomorrow, June 27). He spent summers in Medellin, Colombia with Mita, watching her cook and paint. So in terms of food and drinks, expect a collection of sweet and savory dishes, including tapas, ceviches, crudos, cured meats, paella and large plates, plus several Colombian dishes inspired by Mita's Colombian kitchen. The curated wine list will include one of the city's largest collections of Spanish wines; cocktails will feature customary liquors from Latin American cultures.
 
Current projected hours are 5-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with bar service until 1 a.m. on weekends. Salazar plans to be open by late summer, with lunch expansion plans in fall. For now, follow progress at facebook.com/SalazarCincinnati.
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<![CDATA[This Week's Dining Events]]>
WEDNESDAY 24
Food Truckin' for Josh Cares — Spend your lunch hour on Fountain Square raising funds for Josh Cares, an organization dedicated to providing companionship and support to hospitalized children and their families. The third annual Food Truckin’ for Josh Cares brings more than 15 area food trucks to the Square, including C’est Cheese, Hungry Bros, Red Sesame, Urban Grill and more to feed you and compete for a coveted Golden Spatula award, given to selected winners by a panel of celebrity judges. Eat lunch. Do good. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday. Free; food prices vary. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, joshcares.org

MadTree Beer Dinner — Head to the Moerlein Lager House for a chef-prepared paired dinner, matched with MadTree beers. 6 p.m. $55. Moerlein Lager House, 115 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown, 513-421-2337.

Recipes from Peru — A cooking class at Nectar restaurant with chef Julie Francis and sous chef Amanda Bowman. Learn to make fish and vegetable ceviches. 6-9 p.m. $75. Nectar, 1000 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, dinenectar.com.

Lobstapalooza — Lobster soups, salads, sandwiches, appetizers, cocktails, quesadillas, curries and more. Through July 3. Prices vary. Washington Platform, 1000 Elm St., Downtown, washingtonplatform.com.

Young Chef’s Kitchen — Kids learn to cook at the Northside Farmers Market, using foods from the vendors themselves. 4:45-6 p.m. $3. Hoffner Park, Blue Rock and Hamilton Avenue, Northside, northsidefm.org.

Dinner and Dance: The Waltz — Starts with a dance class in the waltz. Romantic date night dinner recipes follow. 6-9 p.m. $140 per couple. Cooks’Wares, 11344 Montgomery Road, Harper’s Point, cookswaresonline.com.

THURSDAY 25
Cincinnati Food + Wine Pop-Up Cooking Demo — Chef Joel Mollow of Nicola’s gives a cooking demo with wine pairings. 5:30-7 p.m. Free. Lexus RiverCenter, 633 W. Third St., Covington, Ky., 859-547-5300.

Chilling and Grilling — The Spice and Tea Exchange heads to The Art of Entertaining for a special grilling dinner. 6-8:30 p.m. $35; $50 with wine. The Art of Entertaining, 2019 Madison Road, O’Bryonville, cincyartofentertaining.com.

Charity Event for Graves’ Disease and Thyroid Foundation — Champps will donate 10 percent of sales from the day to the foundation. Also includes signature drinks and drink specials. 6-9 p.m. Free. Champps Restaurant and Bar, 9424 Civic Center Blvd., West Chester, gdatf.org.

FRIDAY 26
Panegyri
Photo: Provided
Panegyri Greek Festival — If you’re a fan of cult-classic My Big Fat Greek Wedding (and who isn’t?), then get yourself to Holy Trinity- St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church for their annual Panegyri Greek Festival. This Queen City favorite features bouzouki music, traditional Greek dancers (where visitors are encouraged to join in on group dances!), rides, a Greek culture exhibit, cooking demonstrations, and, most importantly, a plethora of delicious Greek foodstuffs. There will be souvlaki, spanakopita, Greek pizza, moussaka, gyros, and much, much more — you can even pick up handmade Greek pastries to take home with you. 5-11 p.m. Friday; 3-11 p.m. Saturday; 1-8 p.m. Sunday. $2; free ages 12 and younger. 7000 Winton Road, Finneytown, 513-591-0030, panegyri.com

ArtsWave Happy Hour — Moerlein donates $1 of every pint sold to ArtsWave. 4-9 p.m. Free. Christian Moerlein Brewery Malt House Taproom, 1621 Moore St., Over-the-Rhine, christianmoerlein.com.

SATURDAY 27 
OTR Beerfest CANival — Washington Park hosts the inaugural Over-the-Rhine brew festival dedicated solely to cans — OTR Beerfest: CANival. It’s a celebration of canned craft beer (no glass bottles here) and features more than 100 different varieties from breweries all over the country (plus locals). There will entertainment on stage all day, food trucks lining 14th Street, and the event producers promise there are many more surprises up their sleeves. Buy three beer tokens for $5, each good for a 4-ounce pour of beer, or use all three for a 12-ounce can. Brought to you by the same group that puts on Cincy BeerFest on Fountain Square. 1-11 p.m. Saturday. Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org

Rhinegeist Turns 2 — Rhinegeist celebrates its second anniversary with a party featuring a ton of special releases — Tart Cherry Sour Cougar, Barrel-Aged Knucklehead (aged in Buffalo Trace barrels), Mango Sci-Fi, Double-Oaked Mastadon and mannnnny more — live music in the taproom and lounge space, plus food from Dutch's, Mazunte and Dojo Gelato. The day includes brewery tours and shuttle busses every 20 minutes to and from Washington Park, provided by Cincy Brew Bus and Craft Connection. Noon. Free admission. Rhinegeist, 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, goo.gl/RVSXXY.

WestFest — Join the Cheviot/Westwood community as they transform Harrison Avenue into the West Side’s biggest street party for the 14th year in a row. An estimated 30,000 people will fill the block, featuring two separate stages for live local music, as well as beer booths, snow cone stands and grub from local eateries such as N.Y.P.D. Pizza, Maury’s Tiny Cove, Big Dog BBQ and much more. This event also offers a Kid Zone for children of all ages to experience rides, games and various contests. 1 p.m.-midnight Saturday; 1-10 p.m. Sunday. $2. Downtown Cheviot, cheviotwestfest.com.

Gadabout Doughnut Pop-Up at Oakley Fancy Flea — The Oakley Fancy Flea is a curated market with high-end wares in the heart of Oakley. The Fancy Flea has almost doubled the space for the market this year, meaning almost double the amount of stuff to peruse and double the fun. This Saturday, find Gadabout Doughnuts, baker Karina Rice's pop-up donut shop, on the grounds. Read an interview with Rice here. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Free. 2980 Madison Road, Oakley, theoffmarket.org.

Cincy Brew Bus Eastside Tour — Take the bus to Old Firehouse, Fifty West, Mt. Carmel and Bad Tom Smith. 12:10-5:30 p.m. $55-$65. Leaves from the Growler House, 1526 Madison Road, East  Walnut Hills, cincybrewbus.com.

SUNDAY 28
Pop-Up Drag Brunch — Help turn the Queen City into Drag Queen City while getting your brunch game on. You can celebrate Cincinnati Pride and your appetite at 21c Museum Hotel’s Metropole restaurant during Pop Up Drag Brunch, an event that includes cocktails from mixologist Catherine Manabat, a brunch prepared by chef Jared Bennett and, of course, live performances from local drag queens. The brunch is part of the city’s much larger Pride Week festival, parade and other associated events, which celebrate Cincinnati’s LGBTQ+ community. The festival will be using the hashtag #CincyPride2015 during the events, which take place through Sunday. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. Call for reservations. 609 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-578-6660, 21ccincinnati.com

Garlic Festival — Garlic: It’s not just for scaring away vampires. The bulb, a cousin to the onion, has been in both culinary and medicinal use for thousands of years, and is a staple in Asian and Mediterranean diets. The second annual Greensleeves Garlic Festival lets you sample 20 varieties of garlic during a daylong event with live music, farm tours and more. If you’re one to judge, sign up to judge the Garden Scamper, a cooking competition. Just remember to bring some gum. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. $5. Greensleeves Farm, 10851 Pleasant Ridge Road, Alexandria, Ky., greensleevesfarm.com

Future Science Presents: Food! — What happens when you put science and cooking together? Well, Breaking Bad, but also Future Science’s upcoming show. A group of four “scientists” who also happen to be comedians will discuss the present and future of food, eat food and present new ideas about food in their variously themed monthly live comedy show held at MOTR Pub. This time, comedians Andy Gasper, Karl Spaeth and Logan Lautzenheiser focus on nutrition in a world where food is constantly changing. As Jesse says: Science, bitch. 10:30 p.m. Sunday. Free. MOTR Pub, 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/futurescienceshow

MONDAY 29
The Upscale Side of The Eagle — Chef Dana Adkins teaches you to make minted diver scallops, herb-crusted skirt steak, homemade ketchup and more. 6-9 p.m. $60. Cooks’Wares, 11344 Montgomery Road, Harper’s Point, cookswaresonline.com.

TUESDAY 30
Simple Seasonal Italian — Classic Italian dishes that are easier than you think: creamy polenta, affogato sundaes, herb-roasted fish in parchment and buerre blanc sauce. 6:30-9 p.m. $45. Cooks’Wares, 11344 Montgomery Road, Harper’s Point, cookswaresonline.com.

A Steakhouse Dinner — Make a steakhouse dinner at home: steamed artichoke, potato-crusted jumbo shrimp, grilled beef tenderloin with blue cheese chive butter, roasted new potatoes, kale gratin and frozen key lime pie. 6-8:30 p.m. $50. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.

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<![CDATA[Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend]]>
Each week CityBeat staffers, dining writers and the occasional intern tell you what they ate this weekend. We're not always proud — or trendy — but we definitely spend at least some money on food. 

Ilene Ross: For the most part, the BF and I hung out pretty close to home over the weekend due to the fact that we we’ve been binging on OiTNB. On Friday night, the BF whipped up a delicious paella (thanks, Whole Foods, for the fresh and tasty seafood) and we got in a couple of episodes. On Saturday, we were glued to the couch, ate omelets and got in five more. By Saturday night, cabin fever set in and we hit up the bar at Jimmy G’s for some tasty treats before a concert at The Carnegie in Covington. We split beef carpaccio and the Gribble, chef Gibson’s daily choice of grilled meat or seafood skewers. Saturday night, it was a ridiculously tender pork tenderloin. Sunday afternoon we hung poolside for Father’s Day, while my dad grilled up steak and chicken. Why is it that dads always man the grill on what is supposed to be “their” day and on Mother’s Day moms don’t have to do any cooking at all?

Katie Holocher: Brunch at Red Feather for the umpteenth time. Their entire spread is amazing, but I cannot get out of there without the pancakes. Those, plus the homemade biscuits and jams (my favorite being the bourbon cherry) are just utterly the best.  

Colleen McCroskey: I wasn’t able to attend my friend Caroline’s baby shower, so on Friday I had her and her fiancé over for a home-cooked meal. We started off with a tried-and-true Barefoot Contessa recipe of whipped ricotta with herbs on grilled bread, topped with a basic tomato bruschetta topping — so easy to make, and the flavors were unreal. For an entrée, I made angel hair pasta with a white wine, butter and garlic sauce, with breadcrumbs and fresh clams (shout-out to the fish counter at the Madeira Kroger). The pièce de résistance though, was dessert (another Ina recipe; I love me some Ina): We grilled fresh peaches with brown sugar and topped them off with an amaretto mascarpone. I still haven’t managed to get the grill clean of all that brown sugar, but it was so worth it. 

Sarah Urmston: The boyfriend has finally returned from his long trip this weekend and we dedicated an entire Sunday together to lounge by the pool and cook up some homemade guac, tossed salad and a pizza. A white pizza. After dilly-dallying around the nearest Kroger, we returned to the kitchen with a handful of items we saw fit for this absolutely delicious meal. We chose a gluten-free dough mix (just because), adding oil, water and eggs to the powdery substance, and, of course, there was flour. Flour everywhere. After mixing and spreading it out to an acceptable pizza shape and ignoring the cracked edges, we spread a mix of olive oil and diced garlic across the base of the crust. Next came sliced mozzarella and feta (goat cheese works, too), and on top of that came the ricotta and grated parmesan. Around 18 minutes later, the entire house smelled like an Italian kitchen forcing us to pull the pizza out of the oven. Immediately, we tossed on the final ingredients: handfuls of basil and sliced cherry tomatoes. 

Taking the first bite at the same time, we were both beyond pleasantly surprised with the outcome. The crust kicked ass, and every cheese + the garlic were perfect together. This overall should take about 45 minutes, TOPS. However, having plenty of time to waste, it took us a good four hours to finish this badass pizza. PS: Totally worth it. 

Jac Kern: I had dinner at Barrio Tequileria on Friday night. It was the first time I'd been back since the Northside taco joint closed and then reopened late last year (though I thought it was much more recent). We started off with a house margarita (which was good, and apparently was voted the people's choice pick at last Wednesday's Margarita Madness), a fancier flavored margarita, craft beer and queso with chorizo. The chips and cheese came out meatless but were enjoyed anyway. My dining companions ordered a bunch of tacos — shrimp, chicken, chorizo, carne asada — while I ordered Barrio's take on a Caesar salad with shrimp. After my initial depression about ordering a salad at a taco place, I was really happy with it. It came with cornbread croutons and a house dressing that wasn't very Caeser-y but was absolutely delicious. It had the consistency of the ginger dressing they serve on simple salads at hibachi restaurants. Afterward, we went to Tillie's down the street, which I can't believe used to be The Serpent. The interior is amazing, they've got a great cocktail selection and they finished their patio just in time for summer.

Mad Mike's burger with grilled cheese buns
Photo: Facebook.com
For Father's Day, my dad wanted to try a new (to him) burger place. I suggested Gordo's, but we ended up going to Mad Mike's in White Oak. With absolutely no frills and absolutely nothing resembling a salad on the menu, it was a perfect place for my dad. We split an order of tasty fried pickle chips and then I had the Codfather (big-ass fish sandwich), my mom ordered the American Outlaw (basic cheeseburger with special sauce) and my dad yet again showed me what it means to be a man by getting the Goliath: a bacon barbecue cheeseburger with two grilled cheese sandwiches instead of a bun. His review: "Awesome." I'd have to agree.

Jesse Fox: Saturday, I finally bought groceries and made myself a meal as opposed to wandering into Fusian or the nearest Taco Bell. I made myself a vegan alfredo pasta with Brussels sprouts, tofu and some Daiya Strawberry Cheesecake because I've completely given up on my quest to eat less sugar and put off my inevitable diabetes for a little longer. That night I played a show with my Chicago friends, Twin Peaks, and their tour manager surprised them with a bunch of Old Style beers, which is essentially like a Chicago PBR. I had a handful of those and I think I might even prefer them over all the other cheap beer I normally consume.


Bloody mary at Ladder 19
Photo: Facebook.com
Sunday I went out for brunch with a couple friends and we found ourselves at Ladder 19. They have a pretty sweet deal with either bottomless mimosas or bloody mary's and one of their various skillets (potatoes, veggies, meat and eggs) for $20. We took advantage of that option and spent the next couple hours talking, enjoying the amazing smell of maple syrup that made me wish they had waffles as a brunch option and trying to get their house dalmatian to spend more time sitting with us at our table. 
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<![CDATA[Father's Day Dining Specials]]>
Fathers don't necessarily get the same brunch love that mom's do when it comes to their special day, but there are certainly local restaurants celebrating dads with dining specials.

BB River Boats: Mix it up a bit and bring dad on a brunch or dinner cruise with spectacular views of the skyline. Brunch features French toast and biscuits with sausage gravy while dinner offers up baked white fish and three-cheese mac and cheese. Brunch 1-3 p.m.; dinner 5:30-7:30 p.m. $43 adults; $22 kids. BB Riverboats, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., bbriverboats.com.

Crave: Father's Day Feast for the King — an all-you-can-eat prime rib feast. 4 p.m. Sunday. $19.95. Reservations required. Crave, 175 Joe Nuxhall Way, The Banks, Downtown, craveamerica.com.

Fatherhood Community Celebration: The Talbert House's annual party that advocates for promoting fatherhoods. Dads (and families) can enjoy free food, games, arts, activities, live music and more. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Free. Sawyer Point, Pete Rose Way, Downtown, talberthouse.org.

Findlay Market: Whilst you can always take pops down to Taste of Belgium’s original location for a low-key Father’s Day treat, we recommend spending the morning at the market with the fam and scooping up fresh, local ingredients to make dad his favorite dinner that night. Trust us, he’ll love it. 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 45202. 

Kings Island: Perfect for those with little ones who might not want to sit still at a nice dinner, Kings Island is putting on a Father’s Day Cookout where dad eats free. The all-you-can-eat buffet includes: brisket sandwich, all beef hot dogs, fried chicken, mac and cheese, baked beans, corn on the cobb, coleslaw, sliced watermelon, potato chips, ice cream treats and assorted Coca-Cola beverages. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. $16.99; $12.99 for season pass holders. Kings Island, 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason, visitkingsisland.com.

Metropole at 21c: A Sunday supper for dad featuring a special "manly man’s feast," prepared by chef Jared Bennett and the Metropole culinary team. Mains include hanger steak or jerk barbecue chicken, with chocolate cake for dessert. 5:30-10 p.m. Sunday. Metropole at 21c, 609 Walnut St., Downtown, metropoleonwalnut.com.

The Palace: Brunch options include chicken and cornbread waffles, crepes, sweet potato hash and bloody mary's by the glass or pitcher. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Prices a la carte. Walk-ins welcome. The Palace at the Cincinnatian Hotel, 601 Vine St., Downtown, cincinnatianhotel.com.

Summit Restaurant at the Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State: Celebrate dad with a steak and ale dinner Sunday, with a selection of steak and beer pairings. Call for pricing and reservations. The Summit, 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton, facebook.com/thesummit.MCI.



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<![CDATA[This Week's Dining Events]]> This week's dining events include Margarita Madness, Jungle Jim's International Beer Festival, Bacon Fest and more. Most classes and events require registration; classes frequently sell out.

WEDNESDAY 17

Margarita Madness —
Head to Newport on the Levee for CityBeat’s annual Margarita Madness party. Local restaurants compete to win best margarita, as voted by the public and a panel of special guest judges. Rain or shine. 5:30-8:30 p.m. $40. Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., citybeat.com.

Taste of the NFL — The Cincinnati Bengal’s 13th-annual Taste of the NFL features dinner-by-the-bite from more than 40 of the Tristate’s favorite restaurants, with Bengals players, coaches and alumni. Event includes silent auction and more to benefit the Freestore Foodbank. 6:30-9:30 p.m. $150. Paul Brown Stadium, Downtown, 513-482-7539.

Lobstapalooza — Enjoy this culinary crustacean in myriad ways: in soup, in salad, on a sandwich, as an appetizer, in a lobster cocktail, in a quesadilla, curried, steamed and whole … the list goes on. Through July 3. Prices vary. Washington Platform, 1000 Elm St., Downtown, washingtonplatform.com.

THURSDAY 18

Chicken and Waffles — Learn to make bacon waffles with roasted chick, herbed waffles with breaded chicken, chicken gravy and Sriracha-honey topping. 6-8 p.m. $75. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

Cook and Connect — A cooking class and professional networking event. Learn to make a simple dish surrounded by art, music, cocktails and local professionals. 6:30-8 p.m. $20. Kennedy Heights Arts Center, 6546 Montgomery Road, Kennedy Heights, facebook.com/simplynetworking1.

FRIDAY 19

Jungle Jim’s International Beer Festival — Features more than 400 beers from more than 100 different breweries, rarities, obscurities and brewery exclusives. 7:30-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $50; $20 non-drinker. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.

Gifts from the Summer Kitchen — Share summer gifts all season long. Make and share bread and butter pickles, espresso-balsamic barbecue sauce, raspberry-lemon biscotti and more. 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $50. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com. 

Henke Winery 19th Anniversary — Free cake and half-priced appetizers, plus special wine prices to celebrate the winery’s 19 years. 3-11 p.m. Free. Henke Winery, 3077 Harrison Ave., Westwood, 513-662-9463.

Great Parks Dinner Series — A murder mystery with a side of dinner; a full side actually — it’s a buffet. Figure out whodunit in this adults-only interactive murder, “A Night at the Oscars. 6:30 p.m. $35. Mill Race Banquet Center, 1515 W. Sharon Road, Winton Woods, greatparks.org.

SATURDAY 20

Celestial Sips Wine Tasting  — A wine tasting under the stars. Taste three biodynamic wines, take a tour of the Observatory and stargaze (if clear). 8-10:30 p.m. $60. Cincinnati Observatory Center, 3849 Observatory Place, Mount Lookout, cincinnatiobservatory.org.

The Porkopolis Pig & Whiskey Festival — A fun-filled day of barbecue, whiskey sampling and live Americana and Bluegrass music. Sample food from Cincinnati’s best barbecue restaurants and more than 30 varieties of bourbon, scotch and whiskey. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Free; prices vary for food and drink. The Shoe at Horseshoe Casino, 1000 Broadway, Pendleton, citybeat.com.

Hops with Pops: Pre-Father’s Day Party — Head to Mt. Carmel to celebrate dad a little early with sweets and meats, including barbecue, smoked brisket and special craft beers on the brewery’s patio. 1-7 p.m. Prices vary. Mt. Carmel Brewing Company, 4362 Mt. Carmel-Tobasco Road, Mount Carmel, mtcarmelbrewingcompany.com.

Father’s Day Steak and Ale — Head to The Summit restaurant at the Midwest Culinary Institute for a steak dinner, grilled on the patio if weather permits. Call for pricing, time and reservations. The Summit at the Midwest Culinary Institute, 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton, 513-569-4980.

SUNDAY 21

Bacon Fest — Head to Coney Island for a Father’s Day full of bacon dishes from local food trucks and restaurants. 1-8 p.m. Free; free parking for dads. Coney Island, 6201 Kellogg Ave., California, coneyislandpark.com. 

TUESDAY 23

Summer Favorites from My Assyrian, Armenian, Persian and Turkish Family — A menu featuring chef David Warda’s family’s blend of Near East cuisines. Learn to make Persian cold buttermilk-yogurt soup, grilled Assyrian lamb patties, Turkish stuffed eggplant and more. 6-8:30 p.m. $50. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.

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<![CDATA[Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend]]>
Each week CityBeat staffers, dining writers and the occasional intern tell you what they ate this weekend. We're not always proud — or trendy — but we definitely spend at least some money on food. 

Sarah Urmston: I spent my Sunday afternoon under the hot sun with a case of Corona Light and a basket full of Eli's BBQ. My friend and I set up camp on one of their multiple picnic benches and played a round of corn hole with a group of people sitting across from us as we waited for our authentic barbecue sandwiches to come out. Alongside the overflowing pulled pork was mashed potatoes, their famous mac and cheese, and coleslaw, which I piled even higher on the meat stuffed between two buttered, toasted buns. It was the best way to fuel up before heading to see Dawes and Hozier perform live at Horseshoe Casino, closing out an already awesome weekend. 

Ilene Ross: I am a huge fan of leftovers. Thankfully this dovetails nicely with the fact that I can never narrow down my menu choices at restaurants, so I am a compulsive over-orderer. Leftovers are marvelous things. On lazy days I adore having a fridge full of things to either quickly consume in their original state or magically transform into something new, usually with some simple addition like a fried egg. On Thursday night, the BF and I dined al fresco at Dutch’s in Hyde Park. After consuming a gigantic charcuterie and cheese platter and their miraculous truffle popcorn, I knew that most of the short rib grilled cheese and brussels sprouts we had ordered would be coming home. I was right, and it made for the perfect late-night dinner on Friday with the addition of a pint of Graeter’s Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip. No egg necessary.

On Sunday, the BF and I attended one of my very favorite food events in town, Healthy Roots Foundation’s Midsummer Harvest. This year it took place out at Carriage House Farm with 20-plus chefs and vendors preparing and serving delicious food, wine and spirits to raise funds to ensure a healthy start to all babies in the Tristate. We gorged on outstanding “My Grandmother’s Goetta” from chef Michael Shields of BrewRiver GastroPub; Marksbury Buttermilk Fried Chicken with truffle butter, parsley sauce and a spring vegetable salad from chef Todd Kelly of Orchids; cornmeal bellini with Marksbury ham from chef Frances Kroner of Sleepy Bee Café; barbecue pork shoulder tacos with salsa verde, queso fresco, Carriage House radishes and Waterfield’s cilantro from chef Daniel Wright of Pontiac BBQ; and so much more. De rigueur for the sweltering day were Molly Wellmann’s super refreshing cocktails.

Casey Arnold: Friday I went to Kaze for a book event (Many Levy's Calorie Accounting release party). I always love their edamame because it's served chilled with lots of salt. I also ordered the Kaze salad which is unique because of the small spicey peppers mixed in with the greens. A friend of mine ordered the shishotos appetizer, which are those same peppers served hot with bonito flakes. The heat coming from the peppers makes the flakes look like a living organism as they curl and flail around, which was equal parts neat and stinky.

Anne Mitchell: I ate the whole season of Orange is the New Black

Jac Kern: Jeff and I went to Vitor's Bistro on Saturday. They had a five-course dinner-for-two special going on so we made reservations and grabbed a shamefully large bottle of wine to bring (they're BYOB). I've never ordered off the menu at Vitor's; every meal I've had there has been a chef's choice coursed dinner, which can be really fun if you are a person that likes food. This special basically worked the same way: the server asks if you have any allergies, dietary restrictions or strong dislike of anything; this time they also asked if we wanted beef, fish, pork or chicken as an entrée. We let the chef decide. Every plate that came out was a hit for us. We both got a creamy gazpacho (more of a cool tomato basil bisque than a cold salsa-like "soup" I've come to expect), a single deep-fried seafood ravioli in a lobster cream sauce and a light but flavorful salad with peaches, nuts and blue cheese. We received cod and steak as our entrées, which we split and, for dessert, their signature French toast and a crème brûlée torte. I was disappointed we didn't get to try to apple pie egg roll some others had received (I'm a nosey diner), but that feeling lasted for about three seconds once I dug into the crunchy, caramelized cake served in a martini glass. Overall, it was a fun, delicious farm-to-table meal that I'm hoping negates the fact that I ordered LaRosa's twice this weekend.

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<![CDATA[Local Chefs Cycling Against Cancer]]> Drew Vogel is one of those people who is immediately endearing without even trying. He is gregarious and enthusiastic, and after just five minutes of speaking with him, even a cold-hearted nihilist will be wholly enthralled and passionate about whatever it is he’s talking about. An adjunct instructor at the Midwest Culinary Institute and a cook at Jean-Robert’s Table, Vogel’s current passion project is the result of his wife Wendy’s breast cancer diagnosis in November 2011: A cycling team he started last year called Chefs Against Cancer that that raises money for breast cancer research by participating in the annual Ride Cincinnati charity bike race. 

He’s enlisted an army of local chefs, including Jean-Robert de Cavel and the Precinct’s executive chef, Arik Messerschmidt, to ride with him for the cause, and this year they’ve managed to raise more than $2,500. At last year’s race — the team’s first — some participants rode as few as 8.2 miles (“The Commis Chef”) or 18.4 (“The Potscrubber”). More experienced cyclers, like Jean-Philippe Solnom of the French Crust Café, rode the full 62.8 miles (“The Executive Chef”) and will being doing so again this year. “I’m a bigger boy,” laughs Vogel, “you know, not your typical bike-riding looking guy, and last year I rode 28 miles, which sucked, but it sucks way less than cancer.”

Wendy, thankfully, has been cancer-free for three and a half years. But even though their family has made it through the worst, Vogel says they’re still committed to raising money for research for a cure. “People helped us,” he says. “And we gotta give back.” 

This year’s race takes place on Sunday, June 14 — rides start at 6:30 a.m. at Sawyer Point — and if you want to pledge money or join the team you can visit http://tinyurl.com/chefride2015. Don’t worry if all you can cook is Ramen — you don't have to be a chef to ride with Chefs Against Cancer. Your registration fee ($45 adult; $20 child) gets you a T-shirt and a backpack. And if you don't have your own bike, Ride Cincinnati has partnered with Red Bike; email britt.glenn@cincyredbike.org, let them know you're participating in the ride and the overage fee will be removed from your account.

If you don't want to ride, you can still pledge money. Go to http://tinyurl.com/chefride2015 and click "Donate Now," then type "Andrew Vogel" or "Wendy Vogel." Click the black "Donate Now" button to begin the donation process.
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<![CDATA[Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend]]>
Each week CityBeat staffers, dining writers and the occasional intern tell you what they ate this weekend. We're not always proud — or trendy — but we definitely spend at least some money on food. 

Ilene Ross: Some days, the job of being a dining writer has more perks than others. On Friday morning I picked up the makings of a lobster boil from Lobsta Bakes of Maine in Newtown and delivered them to photographer Jesse Fox’s studio for a CityBeat photoshoot. Since both Jesse and our Artistic Director Rebecca Sylvester are vegetarians, they had no use for the lobsters post-shoot, so I watched my little crustacean friends pose for their close-up, while also volunteering my hands for a shot, and then took them home so the BF and I could enjoy them for dinner. Score!
Friday was also National Donut Day, and the lovely Katie Willing of Holtman’s Donuts asked me to participate in Cincy National Donut Day to benefit The Salvation Army on Fountain Square. All I had to do was partake in a donut stacking contest and I would get to eat all the donuts I could. Bad news, I lost the contest. Good news, I got to take home a huge box of Holtman’s. So all I ate all day was donuts and lobster. No complaints.
On Saturday night while it seems the whole world was down at Bunbury, the BF and I did our own little musical tour de Northside. We started out on the patio at Django Western Taco with absolutely fabulous strawberry basil margaritas, shrimp ceviche with avocado and corn chips, and beef, al pastor and chicken tacos. Next, it was on to Northside Tavern for drinks and music from Biloxi to Brooklyn, then Urban Artifact for beer and Don’t Fear the Satellites Jack Steiner Quartet. We finished the night with snacks outside at The Littlefield.

Katie Holocher: I treated myself to a fully-loaded turtle from Gomez Salsa on Friday after dropping off my friends at Bunbury, but it was this pregnant girl's perfect Friday night. The only downside? My addiction has been reopened. I now anticipate multiple drive bys a week. And because the taco craving continued, I had to have Nada on Saturday night. My usual is just the vegetarian tacos, but this time I went with just one veggie, one shrimp, and one Baja fish. The shrimp was such a good call because it was on the lighter, fresher end. The fish was a good call because it was on the indulgent, richer end. I also got a side corn tamal, which will probably become a must-have side order, much like the guacamole, because it hits the spot with the sweetness of the corn, and the spicy of the jalapeño. Actually, it all hit the spot. 

Jesse Fox: I spent a large portion of my weekend at Bunbury so most of my food came from the vendors there. The best was my veggie dog from Wurst Bar. I typically don't like hot foods when I'm already sitting in the sun, but it was both good and sustaining for the next few hours of work I had to do. I also enjoyed a strawberry popscicle from streetpops, a really good tofu dish with lots of carrots in the artist catering area and probably one too many Red Bulls.  Although I really, really wanted to try the Island Noodles everyone was carrying around with them, I couldn't justify waiting 30-plus minutes in their never-ending line to get them.

Maija Zummo: Saturday afternoon I was out running errands and made a pit stop at Mazunte for tacos. I've never been in the actual restaurant before — I've only had their tacos via their pop-up at Neons on weekends — and it was very cute. You wait in line to order from the cashier, and then take a sign to your table; the signs all say things like Cozumel, Oxaca, etc. I ordered vegetarian tacos to go (while vegetarian and vegan options are not listed on the menu board, they are available). The three veggie tacos came with zucchini and mushroom, guacamole and some type of red sauce on little tortillas with a side of lime. They were great; I ate them in my car. And while I waited for my order — the place was super packed for 2 p.m. — I had a red sangria. It was REALLY good. It tasted like a mix between normal sangria and like gluhwein, there was something cinnamony about it.

Zack Hatfield: At Findlay Market on Saturday, I found Pho Lang Thang, a Vietnamese restaurant that specializes in pho, a noodle soup with delectable broth and herbs. But you really have to try the Báhn Xá Xíu, an unapologetically unpronounceable Chinese barbecue pork sandwich that stole my heart forever. Sunday at high noon, I went to Barrio Tequileria in Northside and ordered a vegetarian burrito.
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<![CDATA[This Week's Dining Events ]]> This week's dining classes include summer appetizers, a dog's night out, Taste of Newport and more.

WEDNESDAY 03

French Bistro Classics — Escargot Bourguignon, French onion soup, steak frites and tarte tatin. 6:30-9 p.m. $55. Cooks’Wares, 11344 Montgomery Road, Harper’s Point, cookswaresonline.com.

Quarterly Chef’s Table Event
— Seven-course meal exploring the chemistry between food and wine. 6-8:30 p.m. $58. The Art of Entertaining, O’Bryonville, cincyartofentertaining.com.

Summer Appetizers
— Learn how to throw a grown-up summer cocktail party. Recipes include: bacon-wrapped stuffed dates, chicken skewers, pizzettes and more. 6-8 p.m. $75. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

Phoenix Restaurant Group Wine Dinner — Chefs from the Phoenix Restaurant Group (The Presidents Room, The National Exemplar, The Golden Lamb) team up for a paired wine dinner. 7 p.m. $50. Presidents Room, The Phoenix, 812 Race St., Downtown, 513-721-2260.

THURSDAY 04

Dog’s Night Out — Take your pooch to Graeter’s. While you enjoy a scoop of their ice cream, your dogs also get a frosty treat. 6-9 p.m. Participating Graeter’s locations including 332 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, graeters.com.

A Feast for the Fourth
— Food to celebrate America’s diverse culture, like black bean, jicama and grilled corn salad; skillet cornbread; and strawberry shortbread cupcakes. 6-8:30 p.m. $50. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.

Summer Southern Barbecue — Learn to make a pimento cheese spread, smoked pork shoulder, warm herbed potato salad, silky corn pudding, watermelon pico de gallo and bread pudding. 6:30-9 p.m. $60. Cooks’Wares, 11344 Montgomery Road, Harper’s Point, cookswaresonline.com.

FRIDAY 05

Summer Seafood — Make fresh, flavorful seafood, like a green salad with chorizo and shrimp or almond-crusted tilapia. 6-8 p.m. $75. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

National Donut Day — Head to Fountain Square for a donut-themed lunchtime party, complete with free donuts and donut games. Noon. Free. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, myfountainsquare.com.

Friday Night Grillouts
— Head to Lake Isabella for open-air, family-friendly grillouts by the lake. 5-8 p.m. Prices vary. Lake Isabella, 10174 Loveland-Madeira Road, Loveland, 513-521-7275.

SATURDAY 06

German Day at Findlay Market — Put on your lederhosen and grab a stein of beer at German Day. The party kicks off with the Donauschwaben Dancers at 10:30 a.m., followed by appearances by members of German-associated programs and organizations, a parade and reception in the OTR Biergarten. 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, findlaymarket.org.

Taste the World Food Tour
— A 90-minute guided tour of Findlay Market with stops and tastings at six specialty merchants. Tack on $5 for an option wine or beer tasting. 3-4:30 p.m. $20. Meets at Daisy Mae’s, 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatifoodtours.com.

Generations Tea
— A three-course tea, entertainment and house tour of the historic Dinsmore Homestead. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. $20. 5656 Burlington Pike, Burlington, Ky., 859-586-6117.

Wine Wagon Tour
— Hop on the Cincy Wine Wagon for a tour of Valley Vineyards, Vinoklet and Henke Winery. Approximately five hours. Leaves from Maggiano’s Little Italy at the Kenwood Towne Centre. 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. $75. 7875 Montgomery Road, Kenwood, cincybrewbus.com.

SUNDAY 07

Taste of Newport — Live music, sidewalk sales and some of the finest food from Newport eateries. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Prices vary. 600 block of Monmouth St., Newport, Ky., 859-655-6341.

An Afternoon at Burnet Ridge Winery
— Wine and food served al fresco at Burnet Ridge Winery. Menu includes five courses and paired wines. Seating is limited. Noon-3 p.m. $75. Burnet Ridge Winery, 6721 Richard Ave., North College Hill, RSVP to 513-674-6059.

MONDAY 08

Chefs Secrets for Entertaining — Chefs Steve Hellmich and Anita Contra demonstrate chef’s secrets to entertaining and teach you to create an impressive and easy dinner menu with crab cakes, penne pasta and lemon-white chocolate mousse. 6:30-9 p.m. $55. Cooks’Wares, 11344 Montgomery Road, Harper’s Point, cookswaresonline.com.

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<![CDATA[Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend]]>
Each week CityBeat staffers, dining writers and the occasional intern tell you what they ate this weekend. We're not always proud — or trendy — but we definitely spend at least some money on food. 


Ilene Ross: So in my never-ending search for the perfect pie, the BF flew me to the Grimes Field Municipal Airport on Sunday. Apparently this is a thing private pilots do: fly their planes to small regional airports for sport and a tasty meal. Since there was pie involved, I quickly overcame my lifelong fear of small planes and hopped on board. After about half an hour we arrived in Urbana, Ohio, and, no kidding, the housemade pies at the airport cafe are totally worth it! We had the coconut cream, but there are berry, apple, butterscotch and more. FYI, you can get there by car as well, and the town of Urbana would make a lovely day trip — although we never made it out of the airport.

Danny Cross: When in doubt during a weekend afternoon when the Reds are playing, I go to Zip's Cafe for a burger, beer and baseball. I'm kind of tired of watching the Reds lose, but I wanted a burger and to dip french fries in cheese sauce. The food was great and, as expected, the Reds disappointed by 1) losing and 2) allowing Cleveland to go ahead by four runs in the ninth inning, thereby removing the chance of my fantasy pitcher earning a save against them. And I think the Reds scored on my guy too, which was another negative. 

Nick Swartsell: In part to celebrate the long weekend and in part because my girlfriend and I both have miserable colds, we decided to go full Tom Haverford and treat ourselves. So we pan fried a giant piece of salmon in bacon grease and George Remus rye whiskey with just a little bit of chili powder. Yes, we did in fact crumble the bacon on top of the salmon as well. Actually, it was a bit more of a Ron Swanson type meal. We had some buttered asparagus and curried couscous with currants and dried apricots on the side. Very good; would do again. 

Casey Arnold: Being that Saturday had such perfect weather, my boyfriend and I were really hoping to find a place to eat outside. We talked over the list of usual spots when I remembered that we still hadn't checked out Incline Public House in Price Hill. Brian was ecstatic to discover that they had gluten-free beer, burgers and pizza. He quickly settled on a burger with a salad topped with their housemade maple vinaigrette dressing. I snacked on a few truffle Parmesan tater tots, which were as wonderful as they sounded, and landed on a delicious lemony pasta dish with shrimp and mushrooms. I think this might be our new favorite spot. 

Maija Zummo: Because we didn't have work Monday and I spent the rest of my weekend watching Hot Tub Time Machine 2, I wasted a bunch of money on Sunday and had a progressive dinner throughout most of OTR and some of Clifton. I started off by meeting my friend for a bloody mary and kale dip at The Eagle. Then we went to 1215 Wine Bar and had a great rosé flight. Nice big pours and you can play a game where you guess which wine is which based on menu descriptions. I only got one correct, but everyone wins because you can drink all the wines no matter what. Then we went to Kaze for their Tokio Happy Hour. Everything is cheap! Bottles of wine are half price, so we got one of those, and then their edamame (which they served uniquely chilled) is only $2 and veggie hand rolls are $3. It also overlaps with their daily 4-7 p.m. happy hour, so you can order from that food menu, too. And eat everything outside on their giant patio. Then we went to Neons (more patios!) and had some nice tequila strawberry (or raspberry) cocktails and tacos from Mazunte, which was manning the grill. Maybe only I had tacos. Then I petted some dogs, drank a little too much and ended up at Skyline. Had some bean and rice chili cheese sandwiches there and then grabbed some things to go for my husband who was at home — but also ordered myself some more chili cheese sandwiches. Shredded Skyline cheese is just really good.

Sarah Urmston: Since Memorial Day weekend is all about celebrating the good ol' USA, it was only logical to fire up the grill and throw down the most cliché items guaranteed to fill you in the most satisfying way possible. After my sweet man friend Bryan and I hit a Wiffle ball around the yard with an old plastic bat and swung around in his new hammock, we spent the rest of our day cooking steaks, corn on the cob, asparagus and roasted potatoes. He used all kinds of filet seasonings on the steaks while I loaded up the potato slices with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, oregano, parsley and Parmesan cheese. The asparagus wrapped in tin foil sat on the grill, covered in butter and more Parmesan cheese (you really can't go wrong with the stuff). The steaks were cooked medium-rare because chef Bryan knows exactly what he's doing. Since we ran out of plates for ourselves, we threw everything together and picked at it until it was gone. It was the best way to end a long weekend, and never have I felt more American. ]]>
<![CDATA[Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend]]>
Each week CityBeat staffers, dining writers and the occasional intern tell you what they ate this weekend. We're not always proud — or trendy — but we definitely spend at least some money on food. 

Ilene Ross: Friday night’s ReUse-apalooza! at Building Value in Northside gave me the opportunity to do one of my favorite things for dinner: graze. Northside’s proliferation of tasty restaurants is the perfect place for progressive noshing, and an event like this is the perfect way to sample most of them in a compact setting. Some of my favorites were the ceviche from Bistro Grace, the chiles rellenos from Django Western Taco, the kale and white bean dip from Park + Vine and pierogies from Babushka Pierogies (neither from Northside, but I’m not that picky), and then dessert goodies from Happy Chicks Bakery and Grateful Grahams.

Colleen McCroskey: You either wholeheartedly agree with me or think I’m insane, but I am 110 percent convinced that cheese coneys from Great American Ball Park taste LIGHT YEARS better than coneys from a regular Skyline, so I treated myself to two of them this past Friday night when we played (read: lost to) the Giants. The cheese is lighter and fluffier and the flavors of the chili seem more complex and nuanced somehow. I washed down all that deliciousness with a vodka-spiked slushie. I also happened to be sitting right next to the smoke stack that caught fire so the black billowing smoke added some nice ambience to my own personal coney-fest.

Jesse Fox: I've been on a mission to eat better and minimize my portion size the past couple weeks, but this weekend I took a break from that. This started on Saturday when I went out with my friend Erica to use up a gift card I had from Moerlein Lager House. Knowing that we had a whopping $50 of free money we decided to go wild (for two broke girls) and order a couple margaritas, an appetizer (calamari) and an entree that was more than $7. Erica went with the herb-crusted salmon and I chose their crispy balsamic tofu. After that we went up to Clifton where my band was having a house-show and finished the night out with some Bud Light Razberitas and a few PBRs.  

Katie Holocher: I, no joke, literally ate Dewey's all weekend. A calzone Friday night, those leftovers on Saturday and then another pie on Sunday. Same order every time — banana peppers and pepperoni (or BPPep as we call it in our house), with extra sides of their ranch. Furthermore, I had a delicious lemon cake, that was as equally adorably decorated, at a baby shower, made by a local gal named Sara Kenny. She calls herself the Baking Actor but I was talking to my friend who knows her and it sounds like she's getting more away from the acting side so that she can get more into the baking side. 

Sarah Urmston: This past Saturday, OTR was buzzing with action — a 5k, the City Flea, store grand openings and more; every restaurant seemed to be flooded to their very brim. I gratefully remembered The Taste of Belgium (one of my favorite breakfast places in Cincinnati) had another location off of Short Vine, not too far from the one in OTR. Our scheduled 2-hour wait turned into no wait at all as my buddies and I gathered around a high-top for some their famous waffles. Switching it up from the usual chicken and waffles I get, I ordered the Waffogato: a Belgian waffle topped with vanilla bean gelato alongside a shot of rich espresso to dip, pour or do with whatever your heart desires. It was the perfect blend of cold and hot together, with a sweet-meets-bitter taste. It was the best way to wake up and begin a Saturday.  

Casey Arnold: My boyfriend Brian and I were traveling around the suburbs checking out yard sales on Saturday when we both were hit with some painful hunger. We remembered that there was a Mexican restaurant pretty close to where we were in Maderia called Chuy's. Neither of us had ever been there or heard of it. It seemed a little gimmicky at first: hubcaps hanging from the ceiling, T-shirts for sale and general flair on the walls. When the fresh salsa came (where was our red slime?) we were pleasantly surprised. I had the bean and cheese burrito with creamy jalapeno sauce. It was delicious, but we both swore that the sauce was just ranch dressing. Brian had the stacked enchiladas which were blue corn tortillas sandwiching shredded chicken. Everything was fresh, different and so much better than an average Mexican restaurant. I posted about it on my Facebook and my Austin, Texas-transplant friends started commenting about how surprised they were that the chain made it all the way up to Cincinnati and raving about their favorite dishes. I realize I've been spending too much time downtown. 

Garin Pirnia: On Sunday, my friend and I brunched at The Palace restaurant inside The Cincinnatian Hotel. In March, they introduced Saturday and Sunday brunch (11 a.m.-2 p.m.). The restaurant wasn’t crowded or loud, so you could actually carry on a conversation. Besides their brunch menu, you can also order off their breakfast and lunch menus, so there were a lot of options such as challah bread pudding, and chicken and cornbread waffles. I had their eggs Benedict (arugula, grilled tomato, poached egg on English muffin, avocado mousse, hollandaise sauce). The eggs were a little overcooked but otherwise were good. My friend ordered the steak and eggs flatbread, which came with coffee-cured bacon. We also indulged in home fries, which were the right amount of crispy and pillow-y. The best part of their brunch menu is the inventive collection of bloody marys: a spicy lobster and shrimp gazpacho bloody that came with fresh-shaved horseradish mixed in, and chunks of lobster and shrimp on a skewer. I mean, lobster in a bloody! They also offer a Southwestern bloody (avocado, cumin, cilantro), and a Korean (kimchee, soy, ginger). You can order the bloodys singularly ($8-$11) or by the pitcher, but we refrained from doing that (maybe next time). They also make blueberry mimosas and housemade strawberry sodas. If you like a fancy (and boozy) brunch with affordable prices and food served atop white table cloths, then you need to go.
]]>
<![CDATA[This Week's Dining Events ]]>
This week's dining events and cooking classes — beer dinners, German dance parties, crawfish boils, wine tastings and more.

WEDNESDAY 13

Wine Tasting and Food Pairing — 20 Brix pairs food and wine in a winemaker dinner with Matt Flick and La Crema. 6:30 p.m. $55-$75. 20 Brix, 100 Main St., Milford, 20brix.com.

Taste of the World Food Tour — Take a guided foodie tour of Ohio’s oldest public market, Findlay Market. Includes stops and tastings at six merchants. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesdays; 3-4:30 p.m. Saturdays. $20. Meets at Daisy Mae’s Market at Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatifoodtours.com.

Burger and Beer Wednesdays — A burger and a pint for $10. 9:30 p.m.-midnight. Fifty West Brewing Company, 7668 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, fiftywestbrew.com.


THURSDAY 14
Midwest Culinary Institute Wine Dinner — A five-course paired wine dinner from the students of the Midwest Culinary Institute and Seifried Estate Winery. 6:30 p.m. $60. Summit Restaurant at the Midwest Culinary Institute, 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton, culinary.cincinnatistate.edu.

Chicken: Season, Sear & Sauce — On the menu: ginger lemongrass chicken, chicken paillard with white wine cream sauce, and curry chicken with jasmine rice. 6-8 p.m. $75. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

FRIDAY 15
CincItalia Festival — The CincItalia festival celebrates all things Italy. You’ll find main dishes with lots of authentic Italian flavor like stromboli, lasagna, grilled spiedini and more, complete with a wide selection of wine and beer and cooking demonstrations. Visit the ladies of La Societa Fuscaldese Femminile to try their famous cannoli or enjoy lively music and a glass of vino in the mini piazza, with fountain and Tivoli lights. 6 p.m.-midnight Friday; 3 p.m.-midnight Saturday; 1-9 p.m. Sunday. Free. Harvest Home Park Fairgrounds, 3961 North Bend Road, Cheviot, cincitalia.org.

Modern Makers Arts & Crafts — Organized by a handful of sophomore graphic design students at the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP (and with sponsorship from Modern Makers, a multidisciplinary arts collaborative), Arts & Crafts involves the consumption of local craft beer and the exhibition of up-and-coming artists — with accompanying food trucks and live music. With the expressed intent of supporting local breweries and artists in an effort to nurture the arts in the Clifton community, organizers enlisted UC students to participate as well as breweries MadTree, Rhinegeist and more. 7-9 p.m. Friday. Free. Niehoff Urban Studio, 2728 Vine St., Corryville, artsandcrafts.beer

Date Night in the Kitchen — Celebrate the bounty of spring through romantic culinary creations with your loved one. After cooking, enjoy a candle-lit dinner with wine. 6:30-8:30 p.m. $60/couple. The Baker Hunt Art & Cultural Center, 620 Greenup St., Covington, Ky., 859-431-0020, bakerhunt.org.

Nacht Der Tracht — The third Friday of the month the Christian Moerlein Taproom hosts a German dance party. Dress in dirndls and lederhosen and dance to Electro DJs. 8 p.m.-midnight. No cover. 1621 Moore St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/christianmoerlein.

SATURDAY 16
Mt. Carmel Firkin Festival — Mt. Carmel celebrates a decade with a Firkin Festival. Features food booths, food trucks, live music and special small-batch beer. Noon-9 p.m. Free. Mt. Carmel Taproom, 4362 Mt. Carmel-Tobasco Road, Mount Carmel, mtcarmelbrewingcompany.com.

East Price Hill Jazz Fest Crawfish Boil — This crawfish boil — crawfish, potatoes, corn boiled up in a pot and served — is a fundraiser for the Jazz festival. 6 p.m. $20 donation. Warsaw Project Space, 3116 Warsaw Ave., East Price Hill, facebook.com/eastpricehilljazzfest.

Simple Health-Smart Cooking Class — An informal and interactive class to learn how to prepare and cook healthy and tasty meals. 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. $139. Cincinnati Nutrition Counseling Center, 7400 Montgomery Road, uc.edu/ce/commu.html.

Cincy Wine Wagon — Hop on the wagon and take a tour of Cincinnati area wineries: Valley Vineyards, Meier's Wine Cellars, Vinoklet Winery and Henke Winery. Ride includes wine trivia, tours and tastings on a four hour trip. Meets at 11:40 a.m. at Maggiano's Little Italy at the Kenwood Towne Centre. Starts at $75. Private tours available. cincywinewagon.com.

SUNDAY 17
Dewey's Pizza School — Learn to toss a pizza from Dewey's pizza experts. Proceeds benefit Make-A-Wish. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. $25. 3014 Madison Road, Oakley, deweyspizza.com.

MONDAY 18

Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic Good Spirits — Get a sneak peak of September’s second annual Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic at Good Spirits, a paired cocktail dinner party featuring mixology and bites from the crew at Metropole. The party will be held at New Riff Distillery’s bar and outdoor patio, and will celebrate the recent release of the distillery’s Kentucky Wild Gin. Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic will also release the names of local, regional and national chefs, beverage experts, winemakers and storytellers booked for their 2015 event. 6-8 p.m. Monday. $25. 24 Distillery Way, Newport, Ky., cincinnatifoodandwineclassic.com.


TUESDAY 19

Crawfish Boil — BrewRiver GastroPub flies crawfish in from Louisiana for a weekly Tuesday night crawfish boil. Buy them by the pound; includes potato, mushroom and sausage. $15 per pound. 2062 Riverside Drive, East End, brewrivergastropub.com.


How to Make a Steak — Precinct sous chef John Ruppel teaches this class. 6:30-9 p.m. $65. Cooks’Wares, 11344 Montgomery Road, Harper’s Point, cookswaresonline.com.


Homemade Pasta Workshop — Chef Bridget Lieb will teach you to make your own linguini using an Italian manual countertop pasta machine, and then finish it with a delicious Sauce. Noon-2 p.m. $70. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox lane, West Chester, 513-847-4474, thelearningkitchen.com.


Lebanese Favorites — Learn some family-recipe Lebanese cuisine from Rita Heikenfeld, and learn some tips for growing the best produce, flower and herbs in containers or in the ground from Ron Wilson. 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. $50. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.


WEDNESDAY 20

Clean Eating & Label Reading — Chef Bridget Lieb will discuss what clean eating actually is and how to spot processed ingredients. In class you will prepare a soul-warming chicken soup with avocado, egg-fried quinoa with chicken, and snap peas with shallots. Noon-2 p.m. $65. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox lane, West Chester, 513-847-4474, thelearningkitchen.com.


Lebanese Favorites — Learn some family-recipe Lebanese cuisine from Rita Heikenfeld. 6-8:30 p.m. $65. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.


Taste of the World Food Tour — Take a guided foodie tour of Ohio’s oldest public market, Findlay Market. Includes stops and tastings at six merchants. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesdays; 3-4:30 p.m. Saturdays. $20. Meets at Daisy Mae’s Market at Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatifoodtours.com.


May Beer Dinner at Christian Moerlein — A paired beer dinner featuring brews from Revolution Brewing. 6 p.m. $55. Moerlein Lager House, 115 Joe Nuxhall Way, The Banks, Downtown, facebook.com/moerleinlagerhouse.


Burger and Beer Wednesdays — A burger and a pint for $10. 9:30 p.m.-midnight. Fifty West Brewing Company, 7668 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, fiftywestbrew.com.


THURSDAY 21

Pints for Paint — #PintsforPaint is a fundraising effort to benefit Memorial Hall's renovations; buy a drink, the money goes to Memorial Hall. 6 p.m. Free; buy alcohol. Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/events/425141254331782.

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<![CDATA[Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend]]>
Each week CityBeat staffers, dining writers and the occasional intern tell you what they ate this weekend. We're not always proud — or trendy — but we definitely spend at least some money on food. 

Ilene Ross: On Friday night I was “ordered” by the boy and his friend to pick up pizza from Goodfellas on my way home. Ham and pineapple for the boy, sausage for his friend, and a Taste of Naples for me — tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella. Simple yet satisfying. On Sunday night — Mother’s Day — the boy artfully arranged a giant platter of supermarket sushi and presented me with a hand-decorated box in which to store my treasures. The night was divine.

Jac Kern: I took my fiance to the Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally show at the Taft on Saturday as a late birthday present, and we went out to dinner before at Jimmy G's. We split a crab cake to start. I don't think I've ever had a crab cake I didn't like, but this one was particularly good — full of fresh crab meat without breadcrumb fillers. I stuck with seafood for dinner and ordered a rare yellowfin tuna steak. It was so flavorful, I think it was even better than the steak they're known for (which my date ordered). We shared a couple side dishes — 4 fat fries and mac and cheese — but could barely put a dent in the oversized portions. I also pretended to be fancy by ordering lemon basil martinis, which were insanely good.

On Sunday we took our moms and grandma to Bronte Bistro inside Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Rookwood Pavilion. Half of us ordered quiche (Mother's Day brunch staple!) and the others ordered a big breakfast platter, a ham and brie sandwich and tilapia. I worked at Bronte in college, so you'd think by now I'd be sick of the food I'd relied on for shift meals so many times, but nope! I'm a sucker for good ladies-who-lunch fare and a coffee shop with a full bar. We're now thinking of making it a Mother's Day tradition.

Casey Arnold: At the Aronoff on Saturday I saw the Cincinnati Ballet for the first time ever. It proved to be impressive and something I should have done a long time ago. Before the ballet, my friends Corrie, Julie, Katie and I went to Igby's for cocktails and small plates. We nibbled on seafood guacamole and bread and butter while sampling from the cocktail menu. My favorite was the Tito's Austin Blossom, a vodka and citrus cocktail with rosemary. After the ballet we attempted to go to the 21c rooftop but were thwarted by a private party. We ended up at Taqueria Mercado where we sipped Palomas and talked about our favorite parts of the ballet — all between scoops of queso and guacamole on fresh chips. 

Maija Zummo: Sunday, my husband and I had brunch at the bar at BrewRiver GastroPub for our anniversary (note to self: don't go to brunch on Mother's Day without a reservation and expect a table). We got engaged in New Orleans so a New Orleans-style brunch seemed apt. He loved his shrimp and grits and I enjoyed the texture of my eggs-and-biscuit breakfast. I've been super sick and couldn't taste any of it, but I liked how dense and square the biscuit was. I forgot how fun the atmosphere is at BrewRiver — usually I hate live music, but they had a pretty good singer there doing Tom Waits covers, and then we found out they do Louisiana crawfish boils weekly, where they fly in the little things and cook em up with like mushroom or potatoes or corn or whatever you're supposed to do. And if you get there between 5 and 6 p.m., they have super cheap beers (with like 23ish on draft). I won't eat crustaceans but I'm not opposed to beer.
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<![CDATA[James Beard Foundation-Style Progressive Dinner]]> This time last year, chef Jean-Robert de Cavel wrangled six of our finest local chefs for the best road trip ever to New York City's James Beard Foundation as part of Cincy in NYC, a weeklong excursion where a variety of local performing arts and cultural groups — the Cincinnati Ballet, May Festival Chorus and more — left the Queen City for the Big Apple for a seven-day showcase. 

The Beard dinner truly was a gastronomical feast, but if you didn't get the chance to partake then, no worries, because guess what?!? Every single one of the Cincy in NYC food phenoms will be recreating their Beard dinner dishes this weekend. Each chef will be making one course at their respective restaurants, so you can create your own progressive dinner.

Chef Jean Philippe Solnom of French Crust Café is creating a composition of chocolate and strawberries (prices vary) at lunch (and for carryout) on Friday and Saturday — strawberry shortcakes, pistachio, raspberry and chocolate macarons, and dark chocolate ganache truffles.

Chef Stephen Williams of Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar in MainStrasse is offering halibut encrusted with pistachio relish, rhubarb, fennel, edamame, pickled shiitakes and soy ginger reduction ($32) through Saturday for dinner.

Chef David Cook of Daveed's at 934 in Mount Adams will be preparing his hickory-smoked duck breast with crisp goose goetta and wild juniper ($22) as part of the tapas menu on Friday.

Chef Julie Francis of Nectar in Mount Lookout will have roast leg of lamb with fūl, local morel mushrooms and asparagus, preserved lemon and harissa ($26) through Saturday.

Boca will offer chef David Falk's robiola cappelletti with house-cured guanciale ($12) during dinner on Saturday night. 

Chef Jose Salazar of Salazar will feature his fluke crudo, green strawberries, spring vegetables, verjus and yuzu gelee ($14) during dinner on Friday and Saturday. 

And chef de Cavel will be serving his Maine Lobster with “Big Fish Farm” local caviar, beet barigoule, avocado, arugula, seaweed and lemon crème fraîche ($21) through Saturday at Jean-Robert's Table. 


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