CityBeat Blogs - Food & Drink <![CDATA[Thanksgiving Dinners]]>
Whether you can't make it home for Thanksgiving, you're avoiding your family or you just don't actually feel like waking up at 6 a.m. to start cooking, plenty of area eateries are making it easy to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings minus the time spent in the kitchen sticking your hand up a turkey's butt (and time spent getting drunk enough to ignore your Republican uncle's ramblings about how Donald Trump would make America great again).

Arnold’s Misfit Thanksgiving — This Thanksgiving meal is open to everyone. Bring a dish to share. 5 p.m. Free admission. Arnold’s Bar & Grill, 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown,

BB Riverboats — BB Riverboats hosts two Thanksgiving Day cruises — one lunch and one dinner — featuring a holiday feast with all the trimmings. Menu features roasted turkey, dressing, ham, green bean casserole, potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and more. 1-3 p.m. or 5:30-7:30 p.m. $43 adults; $22 children. 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky.,

Behle Street by Sheli — Featuring a traditional Thanksgiving meal, either in house or to go. Menu includes ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn pudding, sweet potato, cranberries, green beans and more. 1-8 p.m. $23.99 adults; $8 children. 2220 Grandview Drive, Ft. Mitchell, Ky.,

Embers — Serving the restaurant’s full menu, along with a traditional holiday three-course meal including choices of turkey, stuffing and pecan pie. 4-10 p.m. $35 adult; $17 children. 8170 Montgomery Road, Kenwood,

Fall Feast — The 10th-annual Fall Feast from Give Back Cincinnati is all about community, love and abundant free food. Join 4,000 of your neighbors to give thanks, eat heartily and laugh cheerfully. The event also features free coats, haircuts, a health clinic, flu shots, vision screenings and pediatric dental check-ups, plus live music, a kids zone and big-screen TVs to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade and football. Doors open 9 a.m.; dinner 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown,

Four Seasons Restaurant — Buffet includes turkey, ham, shrimp, mashed potatoes, oyster dressing, fresh fruit and desserts. 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. $24.95 adults; $13.95 children. 4609 Kellogg Ave., Anderson,

La Petite France — A traditional buffet feast plus assorted French delights. Includes turkey, escargots bourguignon, quiche Loraine, smoked salmon, pumpkin soup and cocktails. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. $34.95 adults; $15 children. La Petit France, 3177 Glendale-Milford Road, Evendale,

Laszlo’s Iron Skillet — Menu features entrées including maple-leaf crispy roasted duck, wiener schnitzel and oven-roaster turkey. Guests will be seated every two hours, and reservations are encouraged. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Pricing à la carte. 1020 Ohio Pike, Withamsville,

Metropole — This traditional meal can be served à la carte or as a four-course prix-fixe dinner. Turkey, soups and salads, stuffing and sweet potatoes are all on the menu. 2-8 p.m. $49 adults. 609 Walnut St., Downtown,

Parker’s Blue Ash Tavern — Parker’s buffet features all the trimmings of a traditional turkey dinner. Noon-7 p.m. $34.95 adults; $11.95 children. 4200 Cooper Road, Blue Ash,

Riley’s Restaurant — This all-you-can-eat buffet offers everything from mashed potatoes and gravy to oven-roasted turkey and pecan and pumpkin pies. 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. $19.50 adults; $8.95 children. 11568 Springfield Pike, Springdale,

Walt’s Barbecue — All-you-can-eat buffet at Walt’s. 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. $19.95. 6040 Colerain Ave., Colerain,

Wunderland Banquet Hall — Includes turkey, ham, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, steamed vegetables, rolls and pumpkin pie. 1-4 p.m. $18.50 adults; $7 children. 7881 Colerain Ave., Colerain,


<![CDATA[This Week's Dining Events]]> FRIDAY 06
Cincinnati Cheese Festival — Get ready to get cheesy. Imbibe unlimited samples of more than 300 cheeses from international artisan producers at the Cincinnati Cheese Festival, which takes over the Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. on Friday. Things heat up during the Grilled Cheese Meltdown, when local eateries like C’est Cheese, Taste of Belgium and CRAVE compete to whip up the most imaginative (and tasty) grilled-cheese sandwich — fest-goers vote for their favorites. General admission includes two drink tickets, and local band Blue Caboose performs Americana and Bluegrass music throughout the evening. 6-11 p.m. Friday. $40. 1621 Moore St., Over-the-Rhine,

Demystifying French Wines — Advanced sommelier Laura Landoll leads this class in which you can learn about major and minor French wines. Small bites accompany the tasting. 6:30-9:30 p.m. $85. Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State, 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton,

Stew-topia at 21c Museum Hotel — Justin Hoover and Chris Treggiari, the artists behind the ongoing project War Gastronomy — “a dual-industrial tricycle system that unfolds into a pop-up food cart and cultural archive of personal stories of relocation, dislocation and overcoming struggle” — present Stew-topia, another community food- and story-sharing event at 21c Museum Hotel in conjunction with their participation in Wave Pool Gallery’s current exhibition, Holding Ground. Hoover and Treggiari will perform in Gano Alley (directly adjacent to 21c) on Friday and will hold a discussion of their work inside the Museum Hotel on Sunday. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday; 4 p.m. Sunday. Free. 609 Walnut St., Downtown,

The Great Ohio Brew N’ Que — Fifty West Brewing Company hosts the Great Ohio Brew N’ Que with Great Lakes Brewing Company. Chefs John Tomain of Fifty West and Rock Finley of Great Lakes will create a barbecue buffet (with a vegetarian option), paired with 10 craft beers from each of the breweries, including their collaboration beer Walking Sticke. 4 p.m.-midnight. $40. 7668 Wooster Pike, Mariemont,

Free! Thanksgiving 101 — This free class will teach you how to prepare, bring, roast and carve a turkey and make fluffy mashed potatoes. Also get a chance to buy a Thanksgiving 101 supply kit. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Free. Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester,

Holler Festival
Photo: New Riff Distilling 
Holler Festival — Nearly 5 million barrels of bourbon are aging in the Bluegrass State, and you get to enjoy the best of them at the first-ever Holler Festival. Join Kentucky breweries and distilleries as they showcase their signature craft beers and whiskeys. Learn the secrets of the trade, sample drinks and heavy appetizers, grab your special-edition glass and hang out with the best bourbon producers in Kentucky. Participating breweries and distilleries include Ei8ht Ball, Copper & Kings American Brandy, Blue Stallion Brewing, Old Pogue Distillery and The Gentleman Distillery. All proceeds benefit Renaissance Covington. 6-10 p.m. $50. New Riff Distilling, 24 Distillery Way, Newport, Ky.,

Homemade Pasta 101 — Learn the basics of kneading, rolling and cutting fresh pasta by hand, plus a recipe for homemade tomato sauce. 6-8:30 p.m. $50. Gorman Heritage Farm, 10052 Reading Road, Evendale,

Kids and Teens in the Kitchen: Mexican Fiesta! — A cooking class for ages 8 and up. Learn how to make fajita quesadillas, churros and more. This is a kids-only class. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. $50. Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State, 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton,

Holiday Cookie Decorating — In this hands-on class, learn to make the perfect sugar cookie, plus tips for expert decorating. Noon-2:30 p.m. $40. Cooks’Wares, 11344 Montgomery Road, Harper’s Point,

Holiday Beer Extravaganza — Every Cincinnatian knows that the Christian Moerlein Lager House is one of the premier spots to down a cold one. But this Saturday Christian Moerlein is taking things to festive levels of fun with its Holiday Beer Extravaganza. The extravaganza will boast more than 20 different selections of imported and craft beers — just what you need to jump-start your holiday cheer. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Free. Moerlein Lager House, 115 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown,

Cold Weather Comfort Soups — Ilene Ross hosts this class on making cold-weather staple soups. Noon-1:30 p.m. $40. Cooks’Wares, 11344 Montgomery Road, Harper’s Point,

Fresh Tortilla Workshop — Learn to make corn tortillas at home. 6-8 p.m. $75. Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester,
<![CDATA[New Chef to Take Ownership of Django Western Taco]]> There’s a new chef at Django Western Taco, and as of the beginning of the year, he’ll also own the joint.

After stints in both The British Virgin Islands and New York City, chef Josh Campbell, formerly of Cincinnati restaurant Mayberry, has returned to town and has found a home at the popular Northside “Cowboy Cuisine” restaurant. For now he’s running the kitchen, but he’s also made a deal with long-time restaurateur Jens Rosenkrantz to buy the place. 

“I think it’s a great fit,” Rosenkrantz says. “I’ve been looking to have someone take it over for a while, and having known Josh for years, going to Mayberry all the time, and his style of cuisine, and his style, I cannot think of a better fit for this place.”

With the recent departure of Django executive chef Andrew Mersmann to Oakley’s Red Feather, the timing for the move was perfect for both Campbell and Rosenkrantz. "I came back from NYC and was just figuring out what I wanted to do, I didn’t know if I really wanted to run another restaurant, and I found out that there was gonna be a transition and I got a hold of Jens," Campbell says. "He closed down Mayberry with me, was there on the last day with me, so I did my due diligence to see if this was something I wanted to get into.”

There will be some immediate updates to the décor, including a larger bar area, and Campbell is working on his new, more seasonally driven menu, although he promises that the most popular items like shrimp tacos will stay.

The restaurant will also be bringing back Sunday brunch and will now be open for lunch on Monday and dinner on Sunday.


<![CDATA[This Week's Dining Events (10/28-11/4)]]> WEDNESDAY 28

Clean Eating: Eat Well, Live Whole — Learn the basics of creating a healthier kitchen: how to read labels, find hidden ingredients and deal with allergies. 6-9 p.m. $65. Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State, 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton,

Crab Carnival — Washington Platform’s 16th-annual Crab Carnival features a variety of crab and crabbatizers, crab soups, crab salads and other assorted crab creations. Through Nov. 14. Prices vary. Washington Platform, 1000 Elm St., Downtown,

A Taste of India — Chef Catrina Mills leads this class about the spices used in traditional Indian dishes, including how to make Indian spiced chicken, spiced vegetable biryani, naan and more. 6-9 p.m. $65. Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State, 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton,

Witches Brew — This benefit at Fifty West features two specialty dinner options and two limited-edition beers made with Pink Ribbon Girls and Team Fight Club. A portion of proceeds goes to both charities. 4 p.m. Free admission. Fifty West, 7668 Wooster Pike, Mariemont,

Post-Apocalyptic Dinner Series — An eerily themed five-course dinner party paired with red wine and freaky post-apocalyptic Halloween treats. 7 p.m. $100. 20 Brix, 101 Main St., Milford,

HallowEve Brew Bash at Ault Park — Taste the best selections from more than a dozen of Cincinnati’s breweries, including Bad Tom, Blank Slate, Braxton, Cellar Dweller, Christian Moerlein and more. Tickets include 10 four-ounce tastings. Don’t forget your costume. 6-10 p.m. $25. Ault Park Pavilion, 3600 Observatory Ave., Hyde Park,

Halloween Weird Beer Weekend — Head to Arnold’s for a weekend of weird beers. The bar hunted to find the strangest and most peculiar brews they could get their hands on, including Rivertown’s Death, brewed with ghost chili peppers; Jackie O’s Pawpaw Wheat; Rhinegeist’s Vanilla Maple Squirrel; and more. All of the beers will be tapping on Friday, with live music all weekend. Friday and Saturday. Free admission. Arnold’s Bar & Grill, 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown,

The Night of the Living Ales — Brass Tap hosts a costume party in conjunction with Fifty West, featuring six Fifty brews on tap. Costume contest with awards for first, second and third places. 6 p.m. Free admission. Brass Tap, 251 Calhoun Ave., Clifton Heights,

Shrimp Three Ways — Learn to make shrimp three different ways. 6-8 p.m. $75. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester,

Hopgeist — Rhinegeist rings in Halloween with the second-annual Hopgeist Double IPA festival. If you’re really into IBUs, this is the fest for you. Guaranteed to deliver “hair-raising hop flavors,” the fest features beers from breweries across the country — Dogfish Head, Jackie O’s, 21st Amendment — including super-rares from locals Listermann, Blank Slate, MadTree and more. Rhinegeist will also be debuting the winner of their homebrew collaboration, Homie, a double IPA with mosaic hops. VIP tickets include early access at noon and free food from Dutch’s and Maribelle’s. 1-6 p.m. Saturday. $35; $50 VIP. Rhinegeist, 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 

Rock the Core Cider and Beer Fest — Drink the District held this cider and beer festival in Washington, D.C. in May, and they’re bringing the event to Sawyer Point on Halloween. Sample more than 30 different ciders and 20 beers, both local and regional. There will be food from Alabama Fish Bar mobile and Cuban Pete’s. 2-6 p.m. $35-$50; $10 designated driver. Sawyer Point, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown,

World Vegan Day — Celebrate World Vegan Day at Park + Vine with free N’ Eggs Benedict (Shadeau ciabatta roll, topped with tofu, vegan goetta, spinach and vegan hollandaise) and La Teraza Coffee. This marks the 71st anniversary of the term “vegan” and the establishment of The Vegan Society. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. Park + Vine, 1202 Main St., Over-the-Rhine,

Empty Bowls — This fundraiser benefits the Kids Café at the Freestore Foodbank. Potters from the Clay Alliance create and donate 1,200 handmade ceramic bowls. Attendees select a bowl to take home and walk through a simulated soup kitchen line to enjoy a tasty dinner provided by the Cincinnati Chef’s Association and are restaurants. Kids Cafés provide children with meals, homework help, hygiene assistance and activities. Seatings at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. $23. Bell Event Centre, 444 Reading Road, Pendleton, 513-871-2529,

Delights of Malaysian Cuisine — Angie Pang talks about and demonstrates how the spices, flavors and sauces of Malaysia complement fruit, veggies, meats and each other. Learn to make lettuce wraps, pineapple salad, pancake with Malaysian chicken curry and a Pandan crepe filled with gula melaka and shredded coconut. 6:30-9 p.m. $47. Cooks’Wares, 11344 Mongtomery Road, Harper’s Point,

Barbers vs. Brewers — MadTree Brewing — renowned for its thickly bearded brewers — is snipping away at prostate cancer by shaving its crew’s prized possessions. In conjunction with Movember Cincinnati, MadTree is raising funds to fight prostate and testicular cancers, as well as awareness about men’s physical and mental health issues. If enough money is raised, attendants will bear witness as brewers bid farewell to their whiskers; the more money is raised, the more beards will be shorn. In addition to the shave-off, the event features split-the-pot drawings, raffles and food from Catch-A-Fire Pizza. MadTree will also tap Experimental Pale Ale 007 specifically for the occasion, infused with cedar, juniper berries and grapefruit. Contribute to the cause at 4 p.m. Monday. Free admission. 5164 Kennedy Ave., Oakley, 513-836-8733, 

Stuff It — Learn to stuff anything: peppers, chicken breast and more. 6-8 p.m. $70. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester,

Classic Spanish Tapas — Hands-on cooking to make classic Spanish tapas that are easy and full of flavor, like chorizo and potato stew and garlic shrimp. 6-9 p.m. $75. Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State, 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton,

<![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. 

Colleen McCroskey: Cincinnati’s love affair with Skyline is predicated upon our collective ability to ignore what it is we’re actually eating. It’s delicious, obviously, but where does that meat come from? Does it come out of a bag? Does the cheese have plastic in it, as I was told by multiple people in grade school? Probably not, and I’m still going to eat it (duh), but this weekend I was introduced to homemade Cincinnati chili in the form of The Chili Hut, a food truck that frequents hotspots around town (I tried it at City Flea). It was fantastic — it tastes exactly like what you would expect homemade Skyline to taste like, but better. You can actually taste the meat, as opposed to it basically just being a textural element in Skyline’s version, and it was really just lovely and fresh. Knowing that my three-way was covered in something homemade made my foodie heart very happy. I still love you, Skyline ... but you’ve got some competition. 

Anne Mitchell: Went on a last-minute impulse trip to Red River Gorge, and found that it was Rocktoberfest weekend. Miguel’s Pizza — climbers’ central — was crowded beyond belief, but we had a great dinner Saturday night at Red River Rockhouse. The Rockhouse is further up the road from Natural Bridge, and there are a couple reasons why it’s worth the drive: super nice staff, great food and they have beer! Oh, yeah! Since they’re outside of the dry county at the center of the Gorge area, you can have a tasty beer, a glass of wine or even a shot of Kentucky’s own bourbon with your meal. We had hiked the Skybridge trail, so I was massively hungry and had a side kale salad with my Heavenly Cheeseburger. It’s heavenly because it’s delicious, but also because the cheese comes from Heavenly Homestead Farm. Pretty much everything at the Rockhouse is locally sourced, organic, and non-gmo — and delicious.  

Jen Hoffman: I made gourmet bagel pizzas and avocado toast on a campfire!

Maija Zummo: I went to Zip's on Friday. As always, it was incredibly crowded, but we found some space in the back bar. Zip's is known for its burgers, obviously, but I don't eat meat so I have no idea what they taste like; they smell good though. I'm actually a huge fan of their veggie burger, which I'm pretty sure is just a frozen Garden burger or Boca burger, but it's topped with all the things a regular cheeseburger is topped with — mayo, cheese, lettuce, onion, pickle, tomato — so it is super satisfying in a burger-and-fries way. I also had fries and several beers. They had Southern Tier Pumking on tap. I don't drink much beer (or pumpkin-flavored things), but I love Pumpking. Also the service at the bar was great and very casual even though they were totally slammed. Sometimes, if you're a weirdo like me, it's easy to feel claustrophobic in Zip's and I appreciate chill people. I have no chill.

Casey Arnold: The only place I went out to eat this weekend was Mellow Mushroom in Hyde Park. It's the one place my family can agree on eating at with all of our different food hang-ups. So we go there all the time. I'm not mad about it.

Tony Johnson: Saturday night, at about one in the morning, I ordered Topper's Topperstix with banana peppers on them. They arrived an hour and fifteen minutes after I ordered, about twice as long as they said it would take. The driver was also apparently eating something because there was barbecue sauce all over my pizza box. 

<![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: The BF and I had a super busy weekend in the kitchen putting up tomatoes and okra — he’s a wiz with the canning — but we did manage to get out for a bit. On Saturday morning we hit up Findlay Market for provisions and started with breakfast at the fairly new Toast Bar at the Blue Oven Bakery stand. Hearty slices of brioche or other types of bread are slathered thick with your choice of sweet or savory toppings. I chose peanut butter with honey and honey-roasted peanuts, and the BF went with everyone’s childhood favorite, cinnamon sugar. We paired our toast with lattes from Urbana Cafe. Delightful. Next, we stocked up with at-home eats: chicken thighs from Busch’s, smoked lamb sausage from Kroeger & Sons, Japanese eggplant and corn from Turner Farms, spices from Colonel De and general groceries from Madison’s. While we were selecting our groceries we overheard a Madison grandchild who works in the shop say to Mr. Madison, “’Such & such’ brought down the 50-cents for the eggs.” You don’t hear that sort of neighborly attitude at Kroger, which is exactly why we shop at Findlay.
On Monday afternoon we attended Morsels of MORTAR, an open house featuring tastings from four food entrepreneurs who have graduated from the business incubator program MORTAR Cincinnati. We tasted French fries from Fryed, vegan Jamaican cuisine from JameriSol, desserts from Jazzy-Sweeties, and cobbler from Aunt Flora. After the event we strolled to Brezel OTR, grabbed a couple of pretzels and headed over occupy a couple of Adirondack chairs at the bar in Washington Park. I highly recommend this delightful spot as a place to relax, unwind, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. Especially the joyful noise of the kids enjoying the fountain. It was an especially nice way to end our holiday weekend.

Emily Begley: It’s finally September, and that means pumpkin-flavored everything is perfectly acceptable. If you’ve never tried pumpkin pie-flavored vodka, go to the store tonight and pick up a bottle of Pinnacle’s. I mixed in a shot with diet cream soda, basically creating a cup of liquid pumpkin pie. (Ice is a must.) It was a great addition to our Labor Day feast, which included grilled sweet potatoes and portobello mushrooms.

Pama Mitchell: We had a good meal and good time at The Littlefield. They make an excellent, strong Manhattan. At $12 it’ll set you back, but one goes a long way. It’s served in a rocks glass over one large ice ball, which keeps the drink cool without diluting it. The dinner specials were all interesting, too. I chowed down on a lamb/beef burger with feta cheese and pickled onions, accompanied by “crunchy green beans” that thankfully weren’t fried (not with the rich burger) — just cooked very al dente. Companions had a pappardelle special (tomatoes, cheese, vegetarian) and the most virtuous among us opted for another special, an Asian-style entrée-sized shrimp salad. (He supplemented that by eating some of his wife’s pasta.)

Katie Holocher: I had a mad craving for Taste of Belgium's chicken and waffles, so my little family and I checked out the new Rookwood location. The chicken and waffle was of course, just as delicious as I remembered, plus I had a raspberry latte that su-eriously hit the spot. And while the wait was long (50 minutes), the staff was super nice and accommodating and our orders were out lickidy split. The whole treat was pretty sweet!

Anne Mitchell: We had our annual neighborhood picnic Sunday, and my friend and I made 100 hamburgers. It's a potluck, and the food is actually awesome. One of our neighbors is a food stylist, and brought an amazing big chafing dish of shrimp with dill butter. Seriously impressive. Washed it all down with Moerlein's Push Reel. Thanks, unions!

Casey Arnold: Saturday my parents took my boyfriend and me to dinner at Chuy's in Kenwood for our belated birthday dinners. We stumbled across the restaurant not too long ago after a day at the mall and were surprised how great the food was, especially because it's a chain restaurant. It was the perfect place for our varied tastes, from my meat-and-potatoes dad, gluten-free boyfriend, vegetarian self and I'll-try-anything-once-and-never-refuse-a-margarita mom. Sunday morning, after spending an evening dancing to Freddie Mercury tunes at Northside Yacht Club the night before, we returned the next afternoon for brunch. There's a simple buffet setup with the added bonus of running into friends every time we've been there. Our friend and co-owner Stuart mixed us some seriously delicious as well as some seriously ridiculous cocktails. My favorite was the Gatorpagne, just half gatorade and half champagne. 

Tony Johnson: I ate a black bean three-way, a cheese pizza with banana peppers from Dewey's and Reese's Pieces.

Jesse Fox: On Saturday, my band filmed a music video that included consumption of mass Budlight Ritas. I tend to gravitate to the Raz-Ber-Rita, but I had a couple Lemon-Ade-Ritas as well. Sunday and Monday I worked on the World Peace Yoga cookbook I am photographing for chef Mark Stroud. He made two incredible feasts to be photographed with models both days and we were all able to indulge once the photos were done. Sunday was a vegan take on the "all American picnic/barbecue" so lots of beans, potato salad, sloppy joes, etc. Monday was more of a thanksgiving-style cuisine and I think I ate my weight in Shepard's Pie. If I had to guess, I would say a weight gain of at least 10 pounds happened over the course of the past three days. Someone roll me to the gym, please.

<![CDATA[This Week's Dining (and Drinking) Events]]>
Canning Classes — Learn how to preserve your garden’s harvest with this canning class. Workshop features the latest recommendations based on USDA guidelines on safely canning vegetables and other low-acid foods. Geared toward beginners. 6-7:30 p.m. $15. OSU Extension Office, 5093 Colerain Ave., Mount Airy,

All About Avocado — Romaine salad with avocado, citrus vinaigrette, bacon and summer tomatoes; Moroccan-flavored crispy shrimp with orange and avocado salsa; tomato, avocado and black-bean salsa with tortilla chips. 6-8 p.m. $70. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester,

Cincy Brew Ha-Ha — If 50 comedians performing over the span of three days doesn’t get you laughing, the ninth-annual Cincy Brew Ha-Ha beer and comedy festival has just what you need to give your silly streak a pulse: beer. Lots of it. With two 100-seat beer gardens and plenty of beer booths serving up everything from locals like Braxton, Rivertown, MadTree, Ei8ht Ball and more to craft favorites like Dogfish Head, 21st Amendment, West Sixth and Fat Tire, Brew Ha-Ha plans to satisfy more than 20,000 thirsty and laugh-seeking Tristaters with plenty to drink and an impressive lineup of comics. Headlined Thursday night by Adam Ferrara (Rescue Me, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Definitely Maybe), Friday night by David Koechner (Anchorman, Anchorman 2, The Office) and Saturday night by Brandon T. Jackson (Roll Bounce, Wild ‘N Out with Nick Cannon, Tropic Thunder), you’ll either be laughing your way to a full belly of beer or drinking your way to a day full of laughter. Or both. 5 p.m.-midnight Thursday-Friday; 4 p.m.-midnight Saturday. Free admission; $5 for drinking wristband; $1 beer samples; $5 full servings. Sawyer Point, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown,

A Showcase of Summer Fruits — This menu highlights summer produce. Learn to make chilled melon gazpacho, Caribbean jerk chicken tacos with mango salsa, pork tenderloin with berry-rosemary sauce, quinoa pilaf with goat cheese and kale, and strawberry shortcake. 6-8:30 p.m. $50. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield,

Fish: Season, Sear, Sauce — Oven-fried cod with homemade tartar sauce over rice pilaf, white-wine poached salmon with caper sauce and paprika tilapia with garlic chipotle butter. 6-8 p.m. $80. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester,

Date Night: Delicious Scallops — Green salad with toasted pine nits, oranges and balsamic vinaigrette, then sea scallops with spiced corn and pickled red onion topping over celery-root mash and sugar snap peas. 6-8 p.m. $165 per couple. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester,

Shake It Up Cocktail Festival — Jungle Jim’s is a wonderland of exotic food and booze, and their new Shake It Up Cocktail festival celebrates the end of summer with just that. Say goodbye to tan lines, pool parties and flip-flops with expertly crafted cocktails and mixed drinks, and imbibe an atmosphere full of flair bartenders, expert mixologists and more. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday. $40; $15 non-drinker. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield,

A French Bistro — A French bistro meal accompanied by Bordeaux wines. Includes country pate, steak fries, French cheese and pot de crème. 6-8:30 p.m. $50. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield,

Row x Row Dinner — Cocktails, dinner prepared with produce and meat from Gorman Heritage Farm and other local organizations, music by Sound Body Jazz, dancing, silent auction and raffle. Benefits Gorman Heritage Farm’s Educational Programs. 6 p.m. $35. Gorman Heritage Farm, 10052 Reading Road, Evendale, 

Summer Celebration Presented by Red Shoe Crew — Pizza, drink specials, and a cornhole tournament, all benefitting Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati. Noon- 3p.m. $10 wristband; tournament fee $40 in advance; $50 at the door. Goodfella’s Pizzeria, 1211 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-3625. 

Gourmet Grub for Good — Amateur chef competition and silent auction. Benefits Community Shares of Greater Cincinnati. 7-10 p.m. $45. Mayerson JCC, 8485 Ridge Road, Amberley Village, 513-475-0475. 

Best Friends and Brews — A night filled with everyone’s two favorite things: furry friends and beer. This tasting supports the SPCA of Cincinnati, featuring food from local restaurants, music by the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars and a raffle. Last year’s event sold out, so get your tickets quick. 7-11 p.m. $25-$125. Sharonville Shelter, 11900 Conrey Road,

An Afternoon with the Beer Barons — Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum has been the final resting place of many a famous Cincinnatian, from lawyers and politicians to our beloved beer barons. And Spring Grove celebrates our malty past with an afternoon dedicated to exploring the graves and stories of famous brewers through docent-led motor-coach cemetery tours and a party in the Rose Garden. Enjoy history with a side of beer and food as beer-brewing establishments manned by non-dead people, like representatives from Christian Moerlein, MadTree, Rhinegeist, Rivertown, Blank Slate and more, provide attendees with samples of their most popular and most unique beers. Food will be provided by Funky’s and Queen City Sisters, and Buffalo Ridge Jazz Band will put on musical entertainment. 4-7 p.m. Saturday. $40. Spring Grove Cemetery, 4521 Spring Grove Ave.,

Grilling with Ellen: The Flavors of India — Indian spiced shrimp, Tandoori-style kebabs, spiced lemon rice with cashews, green beans with fresh tomato relish, cucumber mint raita and mango tart. 6-8:30 p.m. $65. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield,

Pan Sauce Workshop — Learn to create quick, flavorful pan sauces and use those techniques to dress up three favorite proteins. Make pan-roasted chicken thigh and orange brandy sauce, pork tenderloin with grape and thyme red-wine sauce, and salmon with rosemary-lemon sauce. 6-8 p.m. $75. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester,

Risotto Workshop — Learn to make basic risotto, then make a rich, wild mushroom and bacon risotto, and a roasted butternut-squash risotto with romaine salad. Chef will also demonstrate dessert risotto made with vanilla and orange. 6-8 p.m. $70. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester,

Taste to Remember — Talented area chefs come together to benefit the Children’s Hunger Alliance and the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the American Culinary Federation. 6:30-9 p.m. $60; $40 YP. 20th Century Theater, 3021 Madison Road, Oakley,

Weeknight Jerk Chicken — Prepare rub and jerk chicken to pair with cooling cucumber yogurt sauce and creamy polenta with roasted red peppers. 6-8 p.m. $70. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester,

<![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, the BF and I met some friends at Metropole for a long, leisurely lunch. I had broccoli beignets, a smoked blackberry grilled cheese sandwich and chilled corn soup. We all split a cookie plate, the chocolate mousse and the bourbon custard for dessert with pots of really wonderful French-press coffee. That grilled cheese sandwich was magnificent, and the whole experience was the perfect start to the weekend. Good food and great friends. I taught a cooking class on Friday night, so I got scraps of what my class made. It was perfect because after my huge lunch I wasn’t really hungry.
On Saturday, the BF and I took my son to 1940’s day at the Museum Center. We passed on the Spam rations they were offering and ate a late lunch of burgers and sandwiches. Guess what?!? They serve tots as a side dish at the Museum Center instead of fries. We were overjoyed, as we are all tot addicts. Since we gorged on hot tots, we were stuffed and needed no dinner. 
On Sunday, the BF and I decided to try having brunch at Sundry and Vice. Brunch at S & V consists of ordering food from the nearby Revolution Rotisserie & Bar by phone — which is soon delivered by a charming young man — while enjoying adult milkshakes. The boozy milkshakes are quite delightful. We spent the afternoon making cucumber pickles and then we grilled steak, corn, squash and eggplant for dinner.

Jac Kern: This weekend, some incredible friends threw a couple's shower for my fiancé and me. They surprised us by hiring a Benihana chef and borrowing a mobile hibachi grill (they exist!) for a delicious feast. We started with sushi, then everyone dug into steak, shrimp, chicken and veggies from the grill, complete with a giant heart-shaped mound of fried rice. The night ended with personalized fortune cookies and ALL THE DRINKS. Way too much fun. 

Katie Holocher: I tried J Bar Pizzeria in Hyde Park this weekend and it was killer. Not only do they have a pretty perfect patio with huge trees strung up with lights, but they also had live music on Saturday night, $4 housemade sangria and about 10 pies that I wanted to try. My husband and I went with the J Bar (red sauce, pepperoni, house cheese blend, truffled gremolata, parmesan, add banana peppers). It was awesome. And again, I would literally be down for any of their other specialty pizzas. We may go back once a week to try them all. 

Colleen McCroskey: I am on a constant search for the perfect chicken salad. Grapes and almonds: acceptable, sometimes preferable. Celery: Not so much. Panera’s will do in a pinch, and the chicken salad at Mt. Adams Bar and Grill, like everything else they do, is comforting, standard and delicious, but this past Saturday I tried a chicken salad so good I don’t know if I can ever go back to anything else. It was from Revolution Rotisserie, the Findlay pop-up that just opened their brick-and-mortar location a few months ago, and I kid you not when I tell you I did not know that chicken salad could taste this good. It’s creamy but not too rich, and seasoned so well it inspired me to take a trip to Colonel De’s the next day to try and incorporate that type of killer flavor into my own cooking. It’s so good that there are none of the fruit-or-nut add-ons that you usually find in a chicken salad, because Revolution’s chicken —moist, super-flavorful — can stand on its own. And, best of all, no celery. 

Casey Arnold: Saturday my boyfriend Brian and I wandered around the city like we do on the weekends. We started at The City Flea where we pet strangers' dogs and sauntered from shady place to shady place to find some relief from the heat. I stopped at the Dojo Gelato truck for a scoop of lemon sorbetto so I could feel light and healthy and a scoop of their creation called Junk in the Trunk (Grateful Grahams, smashed Oreos, peanut butter cups and toffee with sweet cream gelato) for obvious reasons. We wandered over to Vine to check out the new retail space called Elm & Iron to gawk at all of the pretty things in the shop. Eventually we made our way down to Bakersfield. We were lucky enough to approach the hostess as she was on the phone with a party of two who was canceling and were seated immediately. We snacked on chips and guacamole and sucked down a tart and tasty margarita while we waited for my dinner to arrive. I ordered a papas tostada, which was smeared with a spicy black bean paste and tasted so amazing that I kept poking my fork toward Brian with every other bite to try to make him try it. He eventually did and was equally impressed. 
We both really wanted to check out Northside Yacht Club, too, so we went there next (after spending an hour combing through the racks of Casablanca). We're friends with one of the owners and were regulars at its former incarnation, Mayday, so we were excited to see what they did with the place. It looks gorgeous now. The decor has a nautical theme that won't slap you across the face, but rather reads as modern and chic. We sat at the bar and ordered drinks. Brian tried one of their Tiki cocktails, something with ginger beer that had a lot of robust flavor and was served in a copper cup. We were too full for food but vowed to return so Brian can try a gluten-free pulled pork grilled cheese, which we have already heard good things about. 

Northside Yacht Club interior
Brian Cross


NYSC drink
Brian Cross

After, we headed to MOTR for a surprise birthday party. (HBD Tori!) MOTR whipped up a taco bar for the party room (what? they do that?) which was fun, and our friend made her a whimsically smashed and lopsided cake that the party devoured.   

Sarah Urmston: On Friday, I hosted a girl's night in my new place, so naturally journeyed to the famous Whole Foods to pick up a collection of goodies to create the perfect cheese plate. (Sometimes I think I love cheese more than any human should.) Scattered along my wooden Ohio-shaped cutting board were three different types of cheese — a soft gouda, a mild cheddar and a brie I put out a little early to give it a more spreadable texture. I chose round garlic-and-herb crackers that went well with the brie, as well as whole-wheat crackers for the cheddar, gouda and authentic Italian salami I placed in the center of the board. Since no good cheese plate goes without fruit, I placed bunches of red seedless grapes in the vacant spaces of the board and a bowl full of cherry vanilla almonds beside it all, which were completely gone within minutes. All went ridiculously well with the variety of wine everyone brought


<![CDATA[This Week's Food & Dining Events]]>
Sugar Rush — We've all heard the phrase "Like a kid in a candy store," but you don't have to be a child to indulge in a smorgasbord of sweets. Join CityBeat at the Playhouse in the Park Wednesday for our annual Sugar Rush party. You'll feel like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory as you explore a colorful candy extravaganza. Several local sweeteries will provide samples of their best cupcakes, ice cream, donuts, pies, pastries and more. Guests will vote for their favorite treat of the night and a portion of ticket sales benefits the Cincinnati Ballet. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday. $20; free for children 8 and younger with adult admission. Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mount Adams Circle, Mount Adams,

Downtown Cincinnati Restaurant Week — Dine at some of the area’s top eateries, which will be offering three-course, prix-fixe menus. Participating restaurants include Zula, Metropole, Jeff Ruby’s, Nicola’s and Via Vite (to name a few). Through Aug. 16.

Canning Classes — Learn how to preserve your garden’s harvest with this canning class. Workshop features the latest recommendations based on USDA guidelines on safely canning fruits with a water bath. 6-7:30 p.m. $15. OSU Extension Office, 5093 Colerain Ave., Mount Airy,

WingFling! — Washington Platform serves up more than 40 different types of wings, bone-in or boneless, with sauces ranging from mild to hot to stupid. Through Sept. 5. Prices vary. Washington Platform, 1000 Elm St., Downtown,

Dinner in a Flash — Learn recipes for quick-cooking meals, including breaded chicken cutlets, stir-fry beef and more. 6-8 p.m. $75. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester,

Great Inland Seafood Festival — While there might not be any lobster in the Ohio River, there will be 10,000 of them — imported from Maine — on the banks of the Ohio all weekend for the 28th annual Great Inland Seafood Festival. The fest features more than 15 local and national eateries and vendors selling everything from super-fresh shrimp and crawfish to crab legs, oysters, salmon and more. Along with the crustaceans and other marine life, there will be live music, alcohol and more entertainment. 5-11 p.m. Thursday-Friday; noon-11 p.m. Saturday; noon-9 p.m. Sunday. Free admission. Festival Park, Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky.,

Wine School: Flight Night — Learn to compare new-world and old-world wines. This guided tasting will take you through five wines. Includes a small tasting plate. 6:30-8 p.m. $25. New Riff, 24 Distillery Way, Newport, Ky.,

Pay It Forward Celebration and Fundraiser — Head to Dewey’s for dinner and do-gooding. A portion of West Sixth beer sales will be donated to The Cure Starts Now. 5-7 p.m. 11338 Montgomery Road, Symmes Township, 513-247-9955.

Igby’s Cin City Cigar and Flight Night — Flights of Four Roses bourbon and Johnnie Walker scotch paired with cigars from Straus Tobacconist. 5:30-8 p.m. Prices vary. Igby’s, 122 E. Sixth St., Downtown,

An Elegant Summer Table — Seasonal dishes like grilled pork tenderloin, roasted corn and Challah bread pudding, wild mushroom and green bean salad and almond cake with fresh berries. 6-8:30 p.m. $50. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield,

Crayfish All-You-Can-Eat Party — A Swedish tradition focusing on enjoying food and socializing with friends and family, featuring crayfish and other Swedish dishes and desserts. 4-8:30 p.m. $9.99; $2.49 ages 11 and under. IKEA, 9500 Ikea Way, West Chester, 513-779-7100.

Light Summer Pasta — Farfalle with caramelized onions and pan-roasted cherry tomatoes, cavatappi with sugar snap peas in lemon citrus sauce, then finish with orzo pasta salad with spinach and prosciutto. 6-8 p.m. $65. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester,

Hoots and Hops — Stroll trails at night stopping at hands-on education stations while tasting beer from Mt. Carmel Brewing Company, 50 West, Rhinegeist and MadTree along with sampling from more than 12 eateries. 7-11 p.m. $35. Cincinnati Nature Center at Rowe Woods, 4949 Tealtown Road, Milford, 513-831-1711.

Anniversary Celebration for the Ohio River Foundation — Meet the staff of the Ohio River Foundation, hear stories and more. $1 of every pint sold benefits the organization, which aims to protect and restore the Ohio River and its watershed. 5-8 p.m. Free admission. Rivertown Brewing Company, 607 Shepherd Drive, Lockland,

The Food of Love with the CCO — Kick off the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s Summermusik series in style at Food of Love: Fête, an elegant Art Deco-inspired soirée preceding Summermusik’s opening concert Saturday. Begin with cocktails in the Music Hall Ballroom, followed by a sumptuous dinner and a performance — “The Food of Love,” a play on a quote from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night — featuring a collaborative performance from the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. An intermission featuring chocolate dessert sets the stage for the second half of the program, a premiere performance from the National Chopin Piano Competition winner Eric Lu. Cocktail attire recommended. Cocktails 5:30 p.m.; dinner 6:15 p.m.; concert 8 p.m. $150; includes tickets to the opening night concert. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

Fire and Ice Craft Beer Festival — Fire = high-gravity beers/IPAs/smoked and spiced beers. Ice = lower-gravity beers/fruit beers/session beers. Drink both types from a selection of 50 beer provided by more than 25 different breweries. 3-11 p.m. Saturday; noon-8 p.m. Sunday. Free admission. Firehouse Grill, 4785 Lake Forest Drive, Blue Ash, 513-733-3473.

Date Night, Spiced Pork — Brined pork chops with chipotle jalapeno barbecue sauce, risotto with roasted poblano and sweet-heat sugar snap peas with bacon. 5- 7 p.m. $155 per couple. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester,

Cincy Sundaes — Make sundaes with Dojo Gelato and then listen to four presentations on innovative community ideas. Audiences vote on their favorite and the winner receives the door money. 3-5 p.m. $5. New Riff, 24 Distillery Way, Newport, Ky.,

Chef’s Table: Summer Brunch with Cincinnatian Chef Nathan Sheatzley — Get to know area chefs and watch them prepare their best dishes via an up-close camera. Enjoy a carefully paired tasting menu and take home recipes each chef prepares, like chef Sheatzley’s summer brunch with Dutch apple pancakes, BLT benedict, a waffle donut and more. 6-8 p.m. $50. New Riff, 24 Distillery Way, Newport, Ky.,

Savoring Summer — Cold potato and cucumber soup; spinach salad with mango; salmon with sesame; pasta with mascarpone; and creamy lemon tart. 6-8:30 p.m. $50. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield,

Hot Summer Nights: Miami — Work at your own induction stove to create pollo agriculce (sweet and spicy chicken) with mango, arroz azafran (saffron rice) and tender green beans with ham and mustard. 6-8 p.m. $70. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester,

<![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. 

Jesse Fox: I had the best weekend of food eating in awhile. I am working with Mark Stroud, a local vegan chef, by doing photos for a cookbook filled with his incredible recipes. We shot several this weekend and I was fortunate enough to get to taste test a variety of hummus, tofu salads, salad dressings, soups and sauces. These foods are filled with flavors I've never experienced and completely dispel the stereotype that vegan foods are bland or gross. You can preorder this cookbook here. To balance out the healthy, I also had an unnecessarily large portion of funfetti cake on Sunday night ... not having an award-winning chef at home is hard.

Ilene Ross: On Friday morning, I drove out to Greener Portions Aquaponics to do an interview for an upcoming article and Casey Miller, the owner, sent me home with a car-load of amazing stuff: Swiss chard, basil, baby bok choy and this incredible salad mix, which I immediately took home and devoured with leftover steak, tomatoes and feta cheese. I love my job. 
Friday night the BF took me to Le Bar au Boeuf for a really nice date night. We consumed all the food. Steak tartare, an amazing lamb patty with foie gras, super hot french fries, ratatouille and a salad to balance out all of the meat. It was perfection. On Saturday morning we hit up Findlay Market for our weekly groceries; Madison’s for staples, Eckerlin’s for meat, Colonel De’s for spices, and of course the farm shed for produce. We grabbed lunch at Eli’s and ate in the beer garden. Saturday night we stayed in, watched Lumenocity on TV and ate leftover Chinese from Suzy Wongs. 
Sunday night we played Cards Against Humanity at our friends Jon and Eric’s house, which is always a delicious pot luck. I brought Jell-O shots you make in watermelon halves from a recipe I found on Buzzfeed and pizzas from Mama Mimi’s.

Garin Pirnia: Every Saturday and Sunday from noon-4 p.m., Sundry and Vice not only makes bloody marys (with pickle ice cubes), cocktails with coffee and has food from Revolution Rotisserie, they also make boozy ice cream floats. Their in-house "ice cream savant" Giacomo Ciminello's family owns some sort of world-famous ice cream/surf shop on the New Jersey shore, so he knows a thing or two about the business. He makes about five different floats ($11), including one made with Italian ice and Prosecco. He said he sometimes makes his own ice cream, but for Sunday's floats, he used ice cream from Indiana. I tried the Smokey Robinson: mezcal, chocolate syrup, soda water and French vanilla ice cream. They serve it in one of those tall fountain-style glasses, and they spritz the soda from a chrome draft-arm soda water dispenser. I can't think of many other places in town that has something like this. The float was really good, and I'm interested to see how their boozy float program evolves.

Boozy float at Sundry and Vice

Casey Arnold: On Saturday my boyfriend and I braved the shopping crowds and went shopping at Nordstrom Rack and TJ Maxx. As a reward to ourselves, we indulged in a rare treat of pizza at Mellow Mushroom. I always order a Holy Shiitake, which is garlicky and cheesy and covered in marinated mushrooms. There is no substitute for it when you have a craving.

Pama Mitchell: We ate at Nectar in Mount Lookout for the first time in ages since the neighborhood isn't in my orbit. There were seven of us and I think everyone enjoyed their meal, especially some vegetarian tamales that were a small plate, but several of us had it as an entree. Downsides: Only a handful of other tables were there all evening, so the place was oddly empty. 

Bart Bishop: I went to the Berry Bros. BBQ for the Greater Cincinnati BMW Club. It's at my wife's uncle's house every year, and this year a representative from Meat Week actually came. Good stuff.
<![CDATA[This Week's Dining Events]]>
Chicken and Waffles — An easy class where you’ll create various types of chicken and waffles. 6-8 p.m. $75. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester,

WingFlig! — Washington Platform serves up more than 40 different types of wings, bone-in or boneless, with sauces ranging from mild to hot to stupid. Through Sept. 5. Prices vary. Washington Platform, 1000 Elm St., Downtown,

Glier's Goettafest — Goetta is the only food that might be more Cincinnati than Skyline, and this weekend Glier’s is holding a festival to celebrate the Queen City’s favorite breakfast food. In addition to live music, games and a goetta-eating contest, you can sample the crispy-creamy treat in more than 40 different forms, including nachos, gyros, jambalaya and brownies. They’ll even have a goetta vending machine. Go forth and goetta. 5-11 p.m. Thursday-Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday, noon-9 p.m. Sunday. Free. Newport’s Riverfront Levee, 1 Riverfront Place, Newport, Ky.,

Celebrate Tomato Season — Get new recipes for this summer fruit/vegetable. 6-8:30 p.m. $50. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield,

In Season: Corn — Learn great recipes to use up the influx of local and seasonal corn. 6-8 p.m. $75. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester,

Spotlight Lumenocity — The Lumenocity Spotlight experience features a gourmet dinner by the bite, open bar, live music from the orchestra, Lumenocity and celebrity chefs including Jean-Robert de Cavel, David Falk, Todd Kelly, Julie Francis and more. 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $275 per person. Washington Park Lawn, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

Phoenix Group Wine Dinner — Take a drive to the Golden Lamb in Lebanon for a paired wine dinner from the Phoenix Restaurant Group chefs. The five-course menu will be inspired by Remy Pannier wines and fresh, seasonal produce. 7 p.m. $60. Golden Lamb Inn, 27 S. Broadway St., Lebanon, RSVP to 513-932-5065.

Moroccan Spiced Chicken — Use warm spices inspired by Moroccan cooking. Make your own spice blend (Ras el Hanout) and use it to create a spiced chicken with roasted carrots, apricots and parsley. 6-8 p.m. $75. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester,

Craft Beer and BBQ Cruise with BB Riverboats — Drink Christian Moerlein beer and enjoy a barbecue buffet while you cruise the Ohio River. 6:30-10 p.m. $58 adults; $40 children. BB Riverboats, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky.,

Wiedemann Brewing Company Anniversary Party — Wiedemann celebrates their anniversary at Pompilios with drinks specials and bocce ball tournament. 5 p.m. Pompilios, 600 Washington Ave., Newport, Ky., 859-414-6949.

Shrimp Three Ways — Learn to make shrimp three different ways — panko crusted, in tacos and with bacon grits. 5-7 p.m. $75. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester,

Ole Smoky Shine & Dine with BB Riverboats — Eastern Tennessee’s Ole Smokey Moonshine distillery will be on board for tastings and souvenir mason jar. 6-9:30 p.m. $60 adult; $40 children. BB Riverboats, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky.,

Crawl for Cancer — Grab a team and travel to five different bars for pitchers of beer, music and fun. Benefits The Cure Starts Now and Our Daily Bread. 1-5 p.m. $45 per person. Jefferson Social, 101 E. Freedom Way, The Banks, Downtown,

Cazadores and Cans — Drink specials and music from DJs Kevin and Yusef. 9 p.m. Prices vary. Righteous Room, 641 Walnut St., Downtown,

Freestore Foodbank Fundraiser at MOTR — In conjunction with Second Sunday (theme EcoMANIA), MOTR Pub hosts their fourth annual Freestore Foodbank fundraiser. Collection hours are noon-11 p.m. for check and cash donations; MOTR will match up to $1,000. Live music starts at 5 p.m. Noon-11 p.m. Free. 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine,

New Orleans Dixieland Jazz Cruise — A creole-inspired dinner on the river with live Dixieland music. 6-9:30 p.m. $50 adults; $35 children. BB Riverboats, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky.,

Second Sunday on Main: EcoMAINia — This monthly, themed block party turns Main Street into a party every second Sunday. This month’s theme is EcoMAINia, featuring more than 100 earth-friendly vendors, a one-stop recycling event (which will accept everything from cell phones and plastic bags to cork, used writing instruments and clean clothing), live music, an interactive farmers tent with free vegetable transplants and a cooking demo with the Civic Garden Center. 
Noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Free. Main Street, between 12th and Liberty streets, Over-the-Rhine,

Cincinnati Restaurant Week — Dine at some of the area’s top eateries, which will be offering three-course, prix-fixe menus. Participating restaurants include Zula, Metropole, Jeff Ruby’s, Nicola’s and Via Vite (to name a few). Through Aug. 16.

An Elegant Summer Table — Seasonal dishes like grilled pork tenderloin, roasted corn and Challah bread pudding, wild mushroom and green bean salad and almond cake with fresh berries. 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. $50. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield,

Fresh Mozzarella Workshop — Learn to prepare a ball of fresh mozzarella, then use it to make a caprese sandwich and fig, mozzarella, and mushroom stacks. 6-8 p.m. $75. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester,

Sugar Rush — Calling all sugar plum fairies and lord licorices. We've all heard the phrase, "like a kid in a candy store," but you don't have to be a child to indulge in a smorgasbord of sweets. Join CityBeat at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park for Sugar Rush on Aug. 12. You'll feel like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory (minus that annoying Veruca Salt) as you explore a colorful candy extravaganza. Several local sweeteries will provide samples of their best cupcakes, ice cream, donuts, pies, pastries and more. Guests will vote for their favorite treat of the night — the winner will receive bragging rights and an award to display at their shop for a full year! There will also be a panel of experts handing out special recognitions for the most creative sweets. To go along with this new location — the Playhouse in the Park — Sugar Rush's theme is “Secret Garden," which is playing at the theater Sept. 5-Oct. 3. 
A portion of Sugar Rush ticket proceeds will benefit Cincinnati Ballet. This event is open to all ages. Children 8 and under are free when paired with an adult paid admission. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday. $20. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mount Adams Circle, Mount Adams, tickets here.  
<![CDATA[This Week's Food & Dining Events]]>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Calle is located at 950 Pavilion St., Mount Adams. Current hours are 5-midnight Wednesday-Thursday (chips only late-night); 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Sunday (full menu). More info at or
<![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,  

<![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

“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
<![CDATA[This Week's Dining Events]]>
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,

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,

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

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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.,

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,

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,

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,

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,

<![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
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
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.