CityBeat Blogs - Food & Drink http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/blogs-1-1-1-40.html <![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.  

]]>
<![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.
]]>
<![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.

]]>
<![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. 
]]>
<![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.



]]>
<![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.

]]>
<![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.

]]>
<![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.
]]>
<![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.
]]>
<![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.

]]>
<![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.

]]>
<![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.
]]>
<![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. 


]]>
<![CDATA[Mother's Day Brunch]]>
If you aren't making brunch for mom at home, take her somewhere nice. Here are some local restaurants hosting Mother's Day meals. Call ahead to make reservations. 

Holiday Jazz Buffet — A Mother’s Day brunch buffet, featuring a carving station, breakfast egg bake, pastries, pasta and more, plus live Jazz music. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. $23.95. Washington Platform Saloon and Restaurant, 1000 Elm St., Downtown, 513-421-0110, washingtonplatform.com.

BB Riverboats Mother’s Day Cruise — Cruise along the Ohio River and enjoy either brunch or dinner, which includes a souvenir photo. 1-3 p.m. brunch; 5:30-7:30 p.m. dinner. $43; $22 children. 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., bbriverboats.com/mothers_day_cruise.html.

Django’s Mother-Loving Brunch — Django Western Taco reinstitutes brunch for Mother’s Day. Reservations for parties of 6 or more. Will accept call ahead seating. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 4046 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-542-3664, facebook.com/djangonorthside.

Mother's Day Brunch at Capital Grille — A multi-course brunch menu with choice of soup or salad, entree, dessert and a signature cocktail. $49. 3821 Edwards Road, Hyde Park, 513-351-0814, thecapitalgrille.com.

Mother's Day Brunch at deSha's — Brunch items include French toast casserole, fried chicken and waffles, quiche Lorraine, country fried steak sliders and options for kids. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Prices vary. 11320 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, 513-247-9933, deshas.com/cincinnati/menu/mothers-day.

Mother's Day Brunch at Grandview Tavern and Grille — Brunch menu with complimentary mimosas. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. $25.95; $11.95 children. 2220 Grandview Drive, Fort Mitchell, Ky., 859-341-8439, grandviewtaverngrille.com.

Mother’s Day at Henke Winery — Treat mom to lunch or dinner and wine at Henke. Noon-6 p.m. 3077 Harrison Ave., Westwood, 513-662-9463, henkewine.com

Mother’s Day Brunch at Jag’s Steak and Seafood — A special brunch and dinner menu, plus kids craft area and sundae bar. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. 5980 West Chester Road, West Chester, jags.com.

Mother’s Day Brunch at La Petite France — A fine French buffet featuring an omelet and crepe station. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. $33.95; $15.95 children. 3177 Glendale Milford Road, Evendale, 513-733-8383.

Mother’s Day Brunch at La Poste — Brunch plus a local artist trunk show. 3410 Telford St., Clifton, 513-281-3663, laposteeatery.com.

Mother’s Day Brunch at Metropole — Executive chef Jared Bennett treats moms to a three-course brunch with highlights like Avocado Toast with scrambled eggs, Blue Oven bread and Aleppo pepper. 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. $29. 21c Museum Hotel, 609 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-578-6660.

Mother’s Day Brunch at The Palace — A buffet featuring everything from an omelet station and assorted mini quiches to carved prime rib. Desserts prepared by the in-house pastry chef. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. $49.95; $39.95 seniors; $29.95 children. 601 Vine St., Downtown, 513-381-3000, palacecincinnati.com.

Mother’s Day Brunch at Park + Vine — Brunch includes vegan biscuits and gravy, roasted potatoes, tofu scramble, gluten-free pancakes, O Pie O, coffee and tea, plus every mom gets one Hudson Valley Seed Library seed packet with brunch purchase. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 1202 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-721-7275, parkandvine.com.

Mother’s Day at Parkers Blue Ash Tavern — Buffet goes from lunch to dinner, switching to dinner items at 3 p.m. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. $34.95; $11.95 children. 4200 Cooper Road, Blue Ash, 513-891-8300, parkersblueash.com.

Mother’s Day Brunch at The Phoenix — Includes a variety of breakfast and lunch options, including a mini dessert bar. 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. $34; $15 children. 812 Race St., Downtown, 513-721-8901, facebook.com/thephoenixcincinnati. 

Mother’s Day at Red Roost Tavern — Located inside downtown’s Hyatt, the restaurant offers a full brunch menu and buffet, featuring an omelet station, seafood display, carving station and more. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. $49; kids 1-12 pay half their age. 131 W. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-354-4025. 

Mother’s Day Brunch at Steinhaus — Celebrate mom with a taste of Germany. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 6415 Dixie Highway, Florence, Ky., 859-371-3000, steinhausrestaurant.com.

Mother’s Day Brunch at The Summit — Brunch buffet includes omelets, eggs Benedict, prime rib, Belgian waffles, mixed grill, a bloody mary bar and champagne. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton, facebook.com/thesummit.MCI.

Mother’s Day Brunch at Trio — Brunch includes Scottish salmon, assorted egg dishes, baked Virginia ham, pastries and more. 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. $29.95; $15.95 kids. 7565 Kenwood Road, Kenwood, triobistro.com.

Mother’s Day Brunch at Via Vite — Via Vite hosts an Italian buffet brunch, featuring Italian items and drink specials. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. $40 adult; $15 child. 520 Vine St., Downtown, 513-721-8483, viaviterestaurant.com.

]]>
<![CDATA[Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend]]> Anne Mitchell: What would you make for dinner if you opened your fridge and saw pork jowl, bee pollen, sorrel and ancient-grain bread? If you’re chef Nick Marckwald from Hen of the Woods, you’d make a panzella salad with bacon and French breakfast radishes, and a yogurt and bee pollen dressing. That’s just one of the amazing things I got to taste on Saturday as one of three judges for the Raid the Garden chef’s competition at Gorman Heritage Farm’s Savor the Season.

Bryant Goulding from Rhinegeist and Grace Yek from WCPO.com shared the arduous task of eating delicious things with me. The competition is set up with two preliminary rounds and then a final cook-off between the winners. There’s a basic pantry stocked with goodies from Whole Foods in Mason but each round has “secret ingredients” that no one knows until the clock starts to tick.

While DJ Mowgli spun tunes, Brad Bernstein of Red Feather Kitchen and Martha McGinnis from Whole Foods went up against last year’s champ, Jaime Carmody in Round One. Carmody, of Out of Thyme, is a personal caterer and cooking instructor, and she’s a calm but determined force when you put her behind a butane burner. The mystery ingredients for the first round were foraged ramps — a chef’s darling of spring — Grateful Grahams, Fab Ferments' Beet Kvass and quail. Chef Jackson Rouse of The Rookwood, emcee of the event, assured me that he loves to cook quail, but 20 minutes is not a long cooking time for tough little game birds. All three of the chefs in this round did an amazing job of plating up pretty food, and McGinnis’ dish had a Cordon Bleu-worthy sauce, but Carmody managed to get her quail closest to done, and won the round.

Marckwald was up against James Dean Gadd from The Rookwood, and Mike Florea of Maribelle's eat +drink in Oakley, the founder of the local friendly chef competition, Food Fight. Florea put together an earthy cassoulet style dish with white cannellini beans, and Gadd nearly won the judges’ hearts with two simple words: candied bacon. Oh, yeah. But Marckwald’s dish wowed us — as judge Goulding said, “They’re all good, but I’ll still be talking about this one tomorrow.”

Mixologist Lance Bowman from Japp’s saw that we were working up a powerful thirst, and brought us each a sorrel-inspired cocktail to go with Course Two. We also got to revive ourselves with Nitro Coffee from Deeper Roots and a new local product, Hopwater. For the final round, though, there was no better pairing than a Rhinegeist Hustle.

The final competition is for dessert, but the ingredients aren’t all sweet. Maverick Chocolate from Findlay Market supplied their hand-crafted Espresso chocolate bar, but there were also morel mushrooms and fresh thyme. Chef Carmody whipped together a chocolate cream-of-wheat garnished with spicy tortilla crisps that was a big bowl of comfort food, but Marckwald wowed us with chocolate pancakes with cranberry, morel and thyme gastrique. 

Besides Raid the Garden, Savor featured chef demos from amazing talents like Todd Kelly of Orchids at the Palm Court, Allison Hines of Butcher Betties, Jose Salazar, Ryan Santos, Patrick Hague of Dutch’s Larder, and Marcus Hazel from Cincinnati Cooks. There were food trucks and wonderful food purveyors like Sheltowee Mushroom Farm, and cocktail pairings from Japp's Bowman with crostini from Julie Francis of Nectar. Savor is spring’s best food event — mark your calendar for next year now!

Ilene Ross: On Thursday night my daughter and I attended the dress rehearsal of the DAAP fashion show to watch my niece, a senior, debut her fabulous collection of sportswear. The show was amazing, but unfortunately we had arrived with empty stomachs. Luckily there is a little market right next to the student center, so I grabbed some small plastic cups filled with cheese-like product, yucky tasting grapes and cheap crackers for us to nibble on. When I asked my daughter why the grapes tasted so foul, she looked at me with a straight face and said, “preservatives.” On Friday morning a very sweet person showed up expectantly at my doorstep with a donut from Holtman’s because I had a not-so-great week. Whoever said food isn’t love is an asshole — at least in my book.

On Saturday night I hung out at Japp's with my pal Molly Wellmann — something I don’t get to do enough of because of her ridiculously busy schedule — while she tended bar for a bit. She made me the most perfect Manhattan, and when she was done working, we walked around the corner to Neons, met up with her boyfriend Bee and had some burgers from Taste 513 who were grilling there.

Casey Arnold: Friday and Saturday were pretty average days. Sunday Funday became a tour of OTR. I biked down and met with three friends for brunch at Kaze to start. We shared a delicious carafe of brunch punch, which consisted of pineapple and rum. We also got some tasty shrimp sliders and shared their delicious french fries. We subsequently hit up Neons and Goodfellas. Our final stop was Kreuger's Tavern, where we shared hot beer cheese and a pesto spread in front of the open doors by the patio. We shared a carafe or two of gin and juice to finish off the afternoon which had become evening. It was one of the best Sundays I've had in a while. Viva la spring!

Maija Zummo: I went to brunch at Sugar n' Spice on Sunday. We only had to wait like an hour, which is a relatively short amount of time for the ol' SnS. We ended up getting the "honeymoon" table, which is a one-sided booth where you sit next to your dining partner and both face the same way. A little odd if you were having a business lunch, but pleasantly quirky otherwise. I ate a huge veggie omelet and a side of wispy thin blueberry pancakes. Their omelets are seriously huge — like a Chipotle burrito. I hate cooking eggs at home because they freak me out — they are like little sunshine mucus globs — but I love eating them. 
]]>
<![CDATA[Urban Artifact Now Open in Northside]]>

Northside’s Urban Artifact Brewing opened its doors last week, hoping to push the envelope by displaying a finessed brand and aesthetic by reinvigorating old styles of beer and celebrating local artists of all genres. Residing in a renovated church, the brewery is collaborating with restaurant Meatball Kitchen and has big plans for the future as a destination to hear live music. 


“We love Northside and we love the neighborhood, so that was at the top of our list from the beginning,” says Scott Hand, who opened the brewery with partners Brett Kollmann Baker, Scott Hunter and Dominic Marino. Hand, a DAAP graduate, was working as an architect in Chicago when he and Marino, a musician and artist, began talking about opening a brewery. Knowing the financial restrictions they would face as a new business in the Windy City, the duo relocated to Cincinnati to begin the project. 


Hand was familiar with the process of reconstructing an old space, so when St. Pius X on Blue Rock Street, formerly home to Queen City Cookies’ bakery, became available, the team thought it was the perfect fit for their vision. Originally, Hand and Marino had planned to open Greyscale Cincinnati, a multi-use performing arts facility and craft brewery in the former Jackson Brewery on Mohawk Street in Over-the-Rhine. But plans and funding change, and the Northside church’s sanctuary, gymnasium, next door rectory and other open spaces have now become Urban Artifact, a brewery and event space still focused on blending music (their music label retains the Greyscale Cincinnati name) and unique beer, but with an additional spotlight on good food, design and elevated branding. 


“Because of branding, we made a point to reuse a lot of the church and what was already there,” Hand says. “This is a lot harder than just gutting it and starting from scratch. Most breweries are in warehouses or large rooms; our brand and beers come together for a unique experience.” In the final renovation, the team highlighted the church’s historic features, like its stained glass and old columns. They’ve also kept the radiators and reincorporated the 1940s maple floors they plied up from the gymnasium, now home to brewing equipment and fermenters, as finishes in the main church building’s lower-level taproom.  


Featuring old things while incorporating contemporary necessities was crucial for Urban Artifact. Most of their beer styles, which utilize wild yeast, bacteria and other captured local cultures, are from the Prohibition days — brewers Hunter and Baker both have backgrounds in chemical engineering. Hand’s favorites are the Maize, a Kentucky Common-style beer, and Harrow Gose, a bready beer of German origin. “The Gose is the most enjoyable for me, and it’s a light beer so I can have two or three without feeling bad about it,” he jokes. The brewery will also focus on experimental wild and tart ales, listing the ale’s pH and other information in the taproom to add an educational element to the experience, and will have local Skinny Pig Kombucha on tap as a non-beer fermented alternative.


The brewery also partnered with Meatball Kitchen, leasing part of rectory’s first floor to become the restaurant’s second location. Food runners will unify the two buildings and make Meatball Kitchen available to everyone. (Currently, Meatball Kitchen is set up in a corner of the taproom until the restaurant renovations are complete.) Hand says the partnership was a natural fit due to their similar aesthetics. 


“[Meatball Kitchen’s] Short Vine location has a similar feel — old wood, exposed pipes and things. The menu really identifies with our beers as well,” he says. “I think they are redesigning and making little changes to their menu to make our collaboration more cohesive.”


The brewery’s lower level, which can hold about 200 people, is separated into two parts — the taproom and a listening lounge — in addition to a beer garden outside. Every Wednesday, the listening lounge will feature Cincinnati Jazz institution the Blue Wisp Big Band, which features brewery partner Marino on trombone. The band has been performing every Wednesday night since 1980, but lost their home last year when the Blue Wisp Jazz Club closed. Hand says the “Cincinnati cultural icon” will be at Urban Artifact indefinitely.


In terms of other live music, the brewery scored Soul/R&B/Funk band The Almighty Get Down for their opening night last Friday and World-Fusion band Baoku last Saturday. While powerhouse local bands are flocking to Urban Artifact, they are still looking to book less established, up-and-coming local bands of any genre for other nights. (Hand encourages interested bands to contact Marino at dominic@artifactbeer.com.)


The four partners are working hard to have a successful first week of business, but Hand has big plans for the future. The lower level renovation is complete, but the main floor sanctuary is phase two. As a music enthusiast with an architectural background, Hand’s main passion is acoustics. His goal in the next couple of years is to create a “formal but flexible” space for ticketed events, live theater, receptions and eventually big-ticketed performers in the sanctuary. 


“I do not want it be your typical standing space,” he says. “It will not be the environment where you blast bands to the loudest decibel and come out with your ears ringing.” 


Hand says performers would have the opportunity to record their live shows for personal use or redistribution. He hopes creating the ideal acoustic space will attract larger name performers.


Urban Artifact, whose motto is “Wild culture” for their beers and their brand, focuses on creating a unique product, building promising partnerships and including local artists and culture in their brewery. “We have identified what we’re best at and we do it well, but the best thing is that we come together in the end and figure out how to get things accomplished best as a team,” Hand says. “I think we are pushing the envelope for what a finessed brewing aesthetic is and how that affects the overall experience.” 


Urban Artifact is located at 1660 Blue Rock St., Northside. Hours are 4 p.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday; 4 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Friday; noon-1:30 a.m. Saturday and noon-midnight Sunday. For more information, visit artifactbeer.com.


]]>
<![CDATA[This Week's Dining and Food Events]]>
Events, tastings, classes and more to feed your inner foodie.

WEDNESDAY APRIL 29
Oyster Festival — Washington Platform’s Oyster Festival features more than 40 different oyster menu items. Through May 2. Prices vary. Washington Platform Saloon and Restaurant, 1000 Elm St., Downtown, washingtonplatform.com.

Wine Down Wednesdays — The sixth annual Wine Down Wednesday at Greenacres benefits Oyler School in Lower Price Hill. Enjoy a wine tasting, light bites, live entertainment and silent auction. 6-9 p.m. $80. Greenacres Arts Center, 8400 Blome Road, Indian Hill, green-acres.org.

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. 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.

An Authentic and Classic Mexican Meal — Learn how to make an authentic three-course Mexican meal, including cold Avocado soup, chilaquiles, fresh tomatillo salsa and a traditional vanilla flan. 6-9 p.m. $65. Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State, 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton, culinary.cincinnatistate.edu.

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

THURSDAY APRIL 30
ArtWorks Breakfast — This third annual event celebrates the mission of ArtWorks and its local youth, public art and community impact. At the end of the breakfast there will be an opportunity to engage with the nonprofit, as well as learn about volunteer opportunities. 7:30 a.m. Free; donations welcome. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown, artworkscincinnati.org.

Hands-On: Low-Country Shrimp Boil — Shrimp boils are the ultimate summer party meal. This easy, one-pot meal features shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes. Also learn to make spiked lemonade, blackberry cobbler cake, pimento cheese and buttermilk cornbread. 6-8:30 p.m. $65. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.

Tap That Thursday — Tapping new rare kegs every week. Chef Michael Shields creates specialty hot dogs to pair with the latest brew. 5 p.m. BrewRiver GastroPub at 2062 Riverside Drive, East End, brewrivergastropub.com.

FRIDAY MAY 1
Food Truck Fridays — Mt. Carmel Brewing Company hosts a different food truck at the brewery every week. 5-9 p.m. Prices vary. 4362 Mt. Carmel-Tobasco Road, Mount Carmel, mtcarmelbrewingcompany.com.

Date Night: Homemade Ravioli — Couples learn to make and fill ravioli. 6-8 p.m. $145 per couple. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

SATURDAY MAY 2
Kentucky Derby Buffet and Simulcast — A four-course buffet with a live derby simulcast. Reserved seating available. 10 a.m. $45-$50. Turfway Park, 7500 Turfway Road, Florence, Ky., turfway.com.

Derby Day Soiree — Neons hosts its second annual derby party, with live music, food, a variety of mint juleps and more. Also doubles as a Cinco de Mayo party. 2 p.m. Free. 208 E. 12th St., Downtown, facebook.com/neonsunplugged.

Kentucky Derby Party — Classic Kentucky derby dishes, with prizes, raffles and other drawings. Mint juleps will be served in commemorative derby glasses. 3:30-7:30 p.m. $10. Parkers Blue Ash Tavern, 4200 Cooper Road, Blue Ash, parkersblueash.com.

Sushi Basics — Learn the proper way to prepare sushi rice, and then make a California roll, spicy tuna or salmon roll, nigri and chef Calvin Tam’s spicy mayo. Noon-2 p.m. $65. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.

Peachy’s Cooking Classes — In this 90-minute cooking class, watch Peachy make health smart turkey lettuce wraps with kohlrabi enchiladas. Noon-1:30 p.m. $30. Peachy’s Health Smart, 7400 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, peachyshealthsmart.com.

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.

Kids in the Kitchen: Mother’s Day Brunch — Kids can learn how to make an awesome Mother’s Day brunch of quiche Lorraine, crepes with bananas and caramel sauce, and chocolate-dipped strawberries. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. $50. Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State, 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton, culinary.cincinnatistate.edu.

Savor the Season: Farm to Fork Celebration — Local chefs team up with Gorman Heritage Farm for a celebration of spring’s bounty with tastings, competitions and farm demonstrations. 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. $35; $10 Raid the Garden competition only. 10052 Reading Road, Evendale, gormanfarm.org.

Blues, Brews and BBQ — Five drinks, seven food courses and live music from Dirty McQueens. 4-7 p.m. $35; $30 advance. The Art of Entertaining, 2019 Madison Road, O’Bryonville, cincyartofentertaining.com.

Shrimp Three Ways — Learn to prepare fish three ways: panko-crusted, in tacos and rubbed with chili and paprika over cheesy grits. 5-7 p.m. $75. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

SUNDAY MAY 3
Park + Vine Salsa Making Competition — In the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, P+V hosts a salsa-making competition. Create your own bowl and enter the contest or just sample the salsas of others. Judges include Dave Cunningham of The Comet, Jennifer Gleason of Sunflower Sundries Farm, Andrew Gomez of Gomez Salsa and chef Andrew Mersmann of Django Western Taco. 3-5 p.m. $10 to taste; $15 to register. 1202 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, parkandvine.com.

Flying Pig Viewing Party — Watch the race from the Moerlein Lager House, with a breakfast buffet on the deck. 6-11 a.m. $16. Moerlein Lager House, 115 Joe Nuxhall Way, The Banks, Downtown, moerleinlagerhouse.com.

Frisch’s Founders Day — Celebrate Dave Frisch’s birthday by dressing as Big Boy. Go to any Frisch’s restaurant and get a free big boy while in costume. 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Prices vary. Greater Cincinnati Frisch’s locations, frischs.com.

TUESDAY MAY 5
Camp Washington Chili’s 75th Anniversary — 75-cent cheese coneys and discounted chili prices, live music, giveaways and cake from the Cake Boss. Noon. Prices vary. Camp Washington Chili, 3005 Colerain Ave., Camp Washington, campwashingtonchili.com.

Pork: Season, Sear & Sauce — Learn to make pork three ways: brined, glazed and on an open-face sandwich. 6-8 p.m. $75. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

Peachy’s Cooking Classes — In this 90-minute cooking class, watch Peachy make pad Thai with tofu and vegetables and health-smart egg rolls. 5:30-7 p.m. $30. Peachy’s Health Smart, 7400 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, peachyshealthsmart.com.

Pop-Up Tasting — Food from Provence, France with a flight of three paired wines. 6-8 p.m. $25. The Art of Entertaining, 2019 Madison Road, O’Bryonville, cincyartofentertaining.com.

Wine Tasting and Food Pairing — 20 Brix pairs food with the wines of Sean Minor. 6:30 p.m. $55-$75. 20 Brix, 100 Main St., Milford, 20brix.com.

Phoenix Restaurant Group Chefs Wine Dinner — Chefs Chase Blowers of The National Exemplar, Jeremy Luers of The Presidents Room and The Phoenix, and Josh House of Golden Lamb present a five-course wine dinner with wines from Cadence Winery. 7 p.m. $60. National Exemplar, 6880 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, nationalexemplar.com.

WEDNESDAY MAY 6
Five Courses for Clovernook — Nicola’s presents a dinner to benefit the Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Five courses with a cash bar and silent auction. 5:30 p.m. $150. Nicola’s, 1420 Sycamore St., Pendleton, clovernook.org, nicolasotr.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.

Potato Crusted Cod — A high-end menu focused on creating impressive potato-crusted cod. 6-8 p.m. $75. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.
]]>
<![CDATA[Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend]]>
Ilene Ross: Thursday night is one of the best nights to head to The Anchor-OTR — not that there’s a bad night — but on Thursday, it’s "Oyster Mania," when oysters are a buck a piece. So a friend and I split a dozen oysters, some grilled octopus and a whole branzino with salt-roasted potatoes. On Saturday night, in my never-ending quest for home food-delivery perfection, I gave the delivery service Cincybite a first-time go. I was super excited to see that they offered BrewRiver GastroPub as one of the options, so I ordered a wedge salad — I know, old fashioned, but I’m a sucker for a wedge slathered in blue cheese and bacon — and the fish of the day. The food took a really long time, over an hour, but who the hell cares. The fish was perfectly cooked, which is practically impossible for delivery, and it was served with a delicious cauliflower puree, Sheltowee farm mushrooms, asparagus, tomatoes and a super spicy chimichurri sauce. Thumbs up to Cincybite. On Sunday night I was feeling a bit under the weather, so I opted for Suzie Wong’s to bring me dinner: grilled eggplant and mushroom salad, crispy vegetarian rib, and seafood supreme udon. And watched four episodes from Season 6 of Sons of Anarchy.

Jesse Fox: Saturday I was sick all day so I didn't eat at all. Sunday I think I ate a whole box of the generic version of the Captain Crunch Oops! All Berries cereal and some pita chips and hummus.

Jac Kern: My fiancé's birthday was over the weekend, so we kicked off the celebration at Gordo's Pub & Grill in Norwood. There are a lot of fine burger joints in town, and Gordo's gets overlooked too often. We split some tasty pork belly nachos, which includes both bacon and belly for optimum pig consumption. For my burger, I ordered the French, topped with brie, sweet onion jam, bacon and greens. Our entire group, including several out-of-towners, left stuffed and happy. Saturday was a popcorn for dinner kind of night. We saw Ex Machina at Cinemark Oakley Station. It was so good! Go see it. I'm loving the whole bar-in-a-theater trend, but now that I've had a frozen margarita at a movie theater, there is no turning back. They also serve wine and craft beer, if you're not a total trash monster like me. 
The partying continued Sunday at Moerlein Lager House. I've always had pretty good experiences here, but Sunday afternoon's Reds game had clearly taken its toll when we arrived for dinner later that night. They were completely out of french fries and the entree I originally ordered. We probably should have planned better in regards to the game, but our server was really friendly despite probably having a really stressful, busy shift. We ended with their s'mores, which weren't actually s'mores but a chocolate lava cake with charred, melty marshmallow and graham cracker garnish — which is to say, delicious.

Danny Cross: On Friday night, the girlfriend and I hit up the new-ish Mexican restaurant in Clifton, Los Potrillos. The Reds game was on and we didn't feel like cooking/driving far. We parked back in the Gaslight District and I showed her the weird giant house I used to live in with my friend Arty. Back then, the world seemed like a simpler place and Arty and I assumed everything was going to be OK. Anyway, Katie and I scored a booth against a wall with a TV mounted on it, sat side-by-side opposite the TV and pretty much had an excellent experience drinking margaritas and eating just a little too much. Like many Mexican restaurants, Los Potrillos (the Internet says "potrillo" means "colt") has a big menu that makes it hard to order even though most people typically get the same thing time after time. For me, it's tacos carne asada. It did not disappoint. 

Mike Breen: My favorite kind of food is the kind that people make and bring to me, so I order delivery fairly often. I also have limited delivery places near me, so that means — especially because I can just use an app on my phone to order — I get LaRosa’s quite a bit (like, two to three times a month. Is that a lot?). I’m also not very adventurous with my order — unless one considers ordering either a hoagy or pizza “switching things up.” Saturday night I kept it pretty straightforward again and just had some breadsticks and a chicken hoagy (with all the toppings and Italian dressing, which is “off menu,” because I’m super difficult). My go-to desert (I’ll get the big, fresh chocolate cookies sometimes and very occasionally the super-rich hot fudge brownie) is the “Smashed Cannoli.” This was added to the menu fairly recently, unfortunately at the expense of the Italian Wedding Cake, which was also really good (the raspberry sauce was the secret weapon). The Smashed Cannoli is basically a cup of cannoli filling, with the cannoli shell “smashed” up and mixed in with chocolate chips, chopped (relatively flavorless) cherries and powdered sugar. It’s a kind of small portion (like, say, compared to some of the restaurant’s pasta portions), but it’s only $4. For Italian food connoisseurs/snobs, Smashed Cannoli is probably the equivalent of a Speedway “cappuccino.” But they make it and BRING IT TO MY HOUSE. What’s not to like?

Maija Zummo: Saturday night I made vegetarian three-ways at home; not like Skyline's beans and rice three-way, but like actually three-way flavored three-way. I know it's super irritating when vegetarians try to make dishes that look and taste like their meat equivalent, but this is a fantastic recipe that uses lentils instead of beef, and then you throw in all these spices: paprika, cinnamon, cumin, unsweetened cocoa powder, allspice, cloves, yadda yadda yadda. It tastes to me like Skyline smells, and the lentils get all mushy, kind of like what I imagine to be the consistency of crumbled chili. I even got my husband to try it and admit it tastes good, which is a relative miracle because he's extremely suspicious of lentils. 

Amanda Gratsch: One of my biggest weaknesses is Vietnamese food, and I always find time to make a special trip to Cilantro in Clifton Heights. I had a meal-sized Pho, with a hearty beef-flavored stock, egg noodles and rare, thin slices of beef — all for $7.50. The rich combination of scallions, cinnamon, ginger and, of course, cilantro sent my taste buds soaring. I have tried to make a similar recipe at home, but it lacks the tasteful tradition that the restaurant instills in its cooking, so I just keep going back for more.
]]>