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

A Tavola has made its mark on Over-The-Rhine with its rustic wood fired pizzas and superb flavor combinations. What you might not know about the high-end pizza joint is that its craft cocktails are one-of-a-kind. CityBeat sat down with A Tavola’s head bartender Aaron Strasser to pick his brain, and it turns out he is as personable as he is creative and stirs up one hell of a cocktail.

CityBeat: How did your career in bartending start?

Aaron Strasser: I was a history major at UC, and my favorite period of time was Prohibition. I found it very interesting that you could ban one of the greatest things in the world — the cocktail. I really got into studying that when I was in college. I also started flavor profiles. I grew up in the kitchen with my mom and she always baking stuff and I loved tasting all the flavors and figuring out, ‘Oh, you can pair this with this.’ I got my start here at A Tavola almost four years ago. I didn't know much, but what I did know is flavor profiles and combinations. So the owners gave me a chance and allowed me to make the bar what it is now.

CB: What’s your favorite spirit?

AS: I usually go with my whiskeys and bourbon. Rye whiskey for sure.

CB: What’s the strangest ingredient you’ve used in a cocktail?

AS: I have a couple. I always saw that simple syrups were being made with fruits and some herbs and spices, but I wanted to make a simple syrup out of a vegetable, so I made a red beet and ginger simple syrup, which goes great with gin. It’s very unique, it’s a beautiful color and the taste was very interesting. I didn't want to just use fruit. Another strange ingredient in our new cocktail menu is the jalapeño jam instead of a simple syrup. It’s a recipe that one of my kitchen people and I have worked on. I wanted to have something that was sweet and savory. We do a lot of that as far as combinations go — even in our food — lots of sweet and savory.

CB: Do you see a change in cocktail culture around OTR?

AS: Oh, yeah, its definitely growing. There is a lot more appreciation as far as drinks go. A lot of people are not just ordering cocktails that they know, instead they are actually looking at the cocktails and asking, ‘What does this place have to offer that I haven’t tried before?'

CB: If you had to pick one cocktail to drink for the rest of your life what would it be?

AS: An Old Fashioned.

Old Fashioned

2 Amarena cherries
1 slice of orange
1 sugar cube

1 or 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
2 oz. rye or bourbon whiskey

Club soda

Place the sugar cube in a glass and add one or two dashes of Angostura bitters and a splash of club soda. Muddle the the sugar cube. Add whiskey and ice. Stir until sugar is dissolved. With a lighter, singe a strip of orange peel and pinch the peel to release oils. Add the orange peel and the Amarena cherries to top it all off.

]]>
<![CDATA[Team Behind Kaze, Embers to Open New OTR Eatery]]>

Restaurateur Jon Zippersteain — the man behind Japanese gastropub Kaze in OTR and sushi/steakhouse Embers in Kenwood — is slated to open the new Mercer OTR on Nov. 4.

The Mercer, at corner of Vine and Mercer streets (on the ground floor of the Mercer Commons apartment complex), will be a casual, European-influenced bistro with seating for up to 60.

"This restaurant was inspired by the sophistication and Mod sensibilities of '60s cinema, which idealized and often parodied 'The Sweet Life' a la 'La Dolce Vita'," says Zipperstein in a recent press release. "There is a vibrant lifestyle here in OTR that we want to echo. I want people to think of The Mercer as a living room for the neighborhood."

Chef Dan Stoltz will interpret rustic Italian-European dishes — like duck-leg cassoulet, porterhouse for two, short ribs, risotto and chicken saltimbocca — in a modern, contemporary way. All pasta, including garganelli, will be made in-house. 

On the bar end, the full-service bar — overseen by head mixologist Greg Wefer — will seat 40 and include Prohibition-era favorites like the Americano (Campari, Aperol, sweet vermouth and lime) and a Blood Orange Sazerac (rye, Solerno and blood orange bitters), plus a diverse wine list and local and craft beers. 

The restaurant is slated to open on Nov. 4 and will be — get this! — accepting reservations. Make them at opentable.com or call 513-381-0791.

The Mercer OTR, 1324 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-0791, facebook.com/TheMercerOTR.

]]>
<![CDATA[JRo to Open Le Bar a Boeuf in Edgecliff Building]]> Everyone's favorite French chef Jean-Robert de Cavel, owner of Table and French Crust Cafe, is opening a new destination restaurant in The Edgecliff condominium building in Walnut Hills (2200 Victory Parkway). 

The whimsically titled Le Bar a Boeuf — literally translated to "beef bar" — will be a French neo-bistro, de Cavel says, with new takes on classic French and American dishes; more casual than the Table with the intent that everybody will be able to share (at least the appetizers).

"It's not a classic bistro, like when I did Jean Ro," de Cavel says. "This neo-bistro is something from the past you are familiar with but in a modern way." 

The menu (which is currently being finalized) will feature six or seven appetizers, from homemade pate and crab cakes ("Of course crab cakes," de Cavel says) to beef and salmon tartare, deviled eggs and lobster macaroni and cheese, along with entrees that focus on ground meat. 

"So like a burger without the bread," he says. 

The chef has always wanted to do a burger bar-type restaurant, but Le Bar a Boeuf will be something more, elevating the street food with a French twist; a burger you eat with a fork and knife. The ground meat — which includes choices like Wagyu beef, seafood and lamb — keeps entree prices down (they're currently slated to be in the $16-$28 range), while still providing quality. It also allows patrons to top their "burgers" with a variety of add-ons. 

"You can have a burger with sautéed chicken liver on it, or you can have pork belly or foie gras, confit tomatoes or roasted portobello mushrooms," de Cavel says.

Le Bar a Boeuf's Chef de Cuisine will be Mirko Ravlic with sous chef Travis Reidel, both from Table. Table's wine director Evan Abrams will be developing the moderately priced and global wine list. The bar will also serve classic cocktails, and local, import and domestic beers. And Lindsay Furia, most recently of New York's 11 Madison Park, will come aboard as general manager.

Previously home to restaurants including The Edgecliff Room, View, Four and Coach, de Cavel has made a few changes to the 70-person dining room, lounge and patio, with help from HighStreet and the designer who helped with Table, to make the atmosphere "funky" and "different."

Slated to open by mid-November, one of the former selling points of the restaurant location was the panoramic river-view (hence the former eatery "View"). 

"I never want to promote the view; the view, for me, it's an extra," de Cavel says. "It's an extra thing. I want it to be a fun restaurant; a destination restaurant. Fun for the younger generation to the older generation."

Le Bar a Boeuf will open for dinner Tuesdays-Saturdays initially, and then for lunch and brunch Wednesday-Sunday shortly after. Follow progress on Twitter and Instagram @baraboeufcincy
]]>
<![CDATA[West Coasters Taste Ohio Delicacies in Real Estate Blog Video]]>

Movoto Real Estate made a video introducing 12 West Coasters to five of Ohio’s favorite dishes. Predictably, the Cincinnati-centric grub gets mass hate by people with extremely sensitive gag reflexes. Here are the best reactions.

Glier’s Goetta: On its appearance: “Quinoa sausage?” On its taste: “[I want] an Egg McMuffin with that.” On its mouth feel: “You can’t choke on it, it just slides right down.”

Grippo’s Bar-B-Q chips: “It almost looks like human skin.” “They probably serve this at, like, games and shit. Like, ‘I’m at the Reds game in Cincinnati. Cincy!” “Have you ever walked into an old warehouse and it has, like, that musty smell? That’s what it tastes like.”

Skyline three-way: “Looks like some jail spaghetti.” “I can see this being like comfort food, but for some reason it’s not comforting me.”

Sauerkraut Balls: “It legitimately looks like a poop.” “Like a white person pot sticker”

Buckeyes: Everyone enjoy this with little verbal reactions except for a couple assholes that collectively hate chocolate and peanut butter (as well as puppies and sunshine, I’m guessing). A buckeye made them gag.

In the end, how did our high-brow neighbors to the west feel about Ohioans?

“Turns out they’re just regular humans like you and me.” There you have it, folks!

It’s unclear whether this video was created to spark interest in Ohio real estate or remind Midwesterners that they’ll die fat and unsophisticated if they don’t move to California. Decide for yourself:

Ohio: Home of regular humans since 1803.

]]>
<![CDATA[The Palace's Chef Joe West Wins CityBeat's Iron Fork]]> Wednesday, Oct. 15, kicked off CityBeat’s maiden voyage for Iron Fork Cincinnati, a Iron Chef-esque cooking competition complete with famous chefs from around the city, closed-circuit television and, of course, plenty of food and drink to keep the attendees happy and buzzed.

The event, which raised money for local nonprofit Gabriel’s Place and its Junior Culinary Institute, took place at the Christian Moerlein brewery in Over-the-Rhine. The restaurants represented (Jimmy G's, Django Western Taco, LaLa's Blissful Bites, Invito Chef, El Rancho Grande, Huit BBQ, Redondo Taqueria, Axis Alley on the Levee, Seasons 52, Silver Ladle, Elephant Walk Injera & Curry House, Washington Platform, Swad, O'Malley's in the Alley, Mazzaro's Place, The Pub, Boswell Alley and Moerlein Lager Houseeach provided a small sample of their favorite items for attendees to nibble on, from mini-steak sandwiches to shot glass-sized pecan pie. Some of the vendors were parked in the more polished taproom, while the majority of the booths and the competition itself appeared in the “basement chic” room next door. Attendees wandered from booth to booth, balancing small plates and frothy cups of Moerlein beer as they waited for the main event to begin. Everyone looked slightly confused at first, but it didn’t take long for everyone to catch on and figure out where to go — the Four Roses bourbon cider probably helped.

Iron Fork’s version of Kitchen Stadium was a small-ish cooking space set up at one end of the very large room. It was fully stocked with brightly colored produce from SYSCO, plenty of spices, gas burners and shiny stainless steel cookware from Cooks'Wares. Scattered across the room were large TVs (not in HD, our spoiled selves lamented) for those who may not be able to find a spot in the small area in front of the kitchen to watch the action. The three judges were perched to the left of the kitchen, presumably starving.

Frances Kroner of Sleepy Bee, Jose Salazar of Salazar and Joe West of The Palace at The Cincinnatian were the three chefs chosen to appear for the event. Each of them had one hour to create a dish using the elusive secret ingredient: figs. (Most of the crowd had left before the secret was revealed; it had to remain a secret to make the competition fair for everyone.) Each chef also had a Junior Culinary Institute student from Gabriel’s Place on their team; all three of the students, it must be said, were incredibly impressive in their professionalism and skill. 

The hour-long cooking time per chef allowed attendees to continue to wander and stuff their faces with local treats. The amount of sweet options seemed high (possibly because it was hard to locate the free water to cleanse your palate). The beer line never seemed to shorten, which was fine. If anything, it allowed for more socializing with the other food enthusiasts. Watching the cooking itself was only really entertaining near the end of the hour-long time limit — Jose Salazar straight up ran to the judges’ table with his dishes at the end, and that’s just good TV. 

Once each chef’s segment was complete and the three judges were served, a fourth dish was auctioned off to a lucky audience member. (Frances Kroner’s dish went for a whopping $150.) 

"All the chefs did a great job and we had a lot of fun sharing our thoughts and our food with the crowd," says judge and CityBeat food writer Anne Mitchell. "Frannie Kroner's lamb chop entree was wonderful, and (Ilene Ross, CityBeat food writer and judge) had a great idea — she added one of her lamb chops to the auction for Gabriel's Place." 

"I ate all three of mine and gnawed the bones clean, so that shows you where my heart resides," she continues, laughing. "Jose's appetizer, lamb tartare, was amazing. Ilene licked her plate. It was the kind of dish that separates ordinary food from art." 

The audience did not hear from the judges until the end, when they named The Palace’s Joe West as the winner for his appetizer and entree dishes. 

"Joe West's appetizer and entree blew us away," says Mitchell. "The scallop crudo was another work of art, and it was the perfect starter for Joe's main dish. I wish I could be 100 percent sure of the description but things got a little crazy at the end and we really didn't hear what Joe said, but I think it was halibut in veloute sauce with bacon crumbles for a garnish, flash-fried potato 'chips' from tiny fingerling potatoes and the figs." 

"Figs were the 'secret ingredient' that all the chefs had to incorporate into their dishes," she continues. "It would have been fun to see them utilized a little more essentially in the dishes instead of used as a (yummy) garnish, but that seems a little like splitting hairs."

Overall, the event’s first run was a success. Did I want to snag one of Kroner’s scallops or a bite of Salazar's lamb tartare right off the judges’ table? Sure. But I didn’t, and it still turned out to be a nice little Wednesday night. 


]]>
<![CDATA[Drink Directors]]> Cocktail-mad scientist and adventurist Mike Georgiton is the bar manager/director of Senate, Abigail Street and forthcoming barbecue joint Pontiac (all owned by Daniel and Lana Wright). His unique creations make you want to rethink your regular cocktail order to try something that’s thoughtfully crafted to perfectly pair with your dish.

CityBeat: When did you start getting into bar tending and creating craft cocktails?

Mike Georgiton: I’ve been a bartender for about 11 years. I was working for a while in fast-paced club kind of environment, and it wasn't until later that I got another job in a lounge. It was actually the worst job I’ve ever had; I hated it there. Eventually, the club changed hands, and the new owners brought some guys from Louisville to train everyone. I went through like 90 hours of training of cocktail history and that’s when I started making craft cocktails and started to enjoy the process. It wasn't until I started here that I began researching and getting creative. I started reading and figuring out more techniques and developing my own from there.

CB: What would you say is your technique/method in coming up with original cocktail recipes?

MG: I don’t like to read too many cocktail books. Books do help in getting kind of basic idea of what people are doing, but I like to get more inspiration from food and the way people pair food together. I ask myself, ‘How can I pair this food ingredient with a liquor?’ and that way I’m coming up with more obscure ingredients that are my own. Flavor combinations that chefs use in a lot of their dishes will push me to think, ‘Well, how can I tie in pistachios?’ or ‘How can I tie in this or that?’ I want to do something that’s completely different and inspired from my own source — something that no one else is doing.

CB: What’s your favorite ingredient to use in your cocktails?

MG: My favorite ingredients are usually more food-type ingredients that chefs are also using in their dishes. My favorite liquor to use is Domaine de Canton, which is a cognac-based ginger liquor. I put it in a lot of drinks. It’s one of those that I love it because it goes good with everything, but I also kind of hate it because I want to put it in everything.

CB: Do you notice any changes in cocktail culture within OTR?

MG: I have noticed that, more than before, people are starting to get more creative in making original cocktails instead of just taking recipes from a book. People are using more modern techniques, and I think that’s great because that was always what I was more into than just traditional cocktails. 

CB: What’s the strangest ingredient that you've ever put in a cocktail?

MG: Foie gras, which is stuffed goose liver. Hands down the most bizarre that I've done. 

It's fatty and it’s easy. You cook it and render it down in a pan and add some cognac to it. I know cognac has always been a classic pairing with foie gras, so I thought it would be really interesting to come full cycle and put foie gras in the cognac. It was one of the initial cocktails that I did more of a direct food style. In the cocktail I added a fig emulsion, some black pepper tincture and sprinkled some nutmeg, which are all ingredients you usually find being used with foie gras. It turned out really great and is on the menu here [at Senate], but to get one great original cocktail you have to go through five horrible ones. It takes a lot of experimenting.

CB: What is one of your favorite cocktails served at the Senate?

MG: The Fidel Castro. It goes great with the fall season, and we have it pre-mixed and ready to serve at Senate.

Fidel Castro

2 oz. oak-aged spiced rum
1/2 oz. pure maple syrup
3 dashes of Angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters
1-inch piece of orange peel

Shake all ingredients together (except for orange peel) over ice in a cocktail shaker. Stir and strain into glass. Heat up orange peel with a lighter. Squeeze the peel over the glass, running the rim with it before adding to the cocktail.

Oak-Aged Spiced Rum

750 ml. bottle Bacardi Silver Rum
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
2 whole cinnamon sticks
1 T. whole coriander, cracked
10 allspice berries, cracked
3 black peppercorns, cracked
2 whole nutmegs, cracked
1 1/2 tsp. whole cloves
1 T. cardamom pods, cracked
1 star anise
1 T. sarsaparilla bark or root (optional)
3 4-by-1-inch strips of orange peel, white pith removed

5 slices ginger root

1/4 cup French or American oak chips

Combine ingredients in a large glass jar. Cover and allow to age, shaking every few days. It can be used after a few days.

]]>
<![CDATA[National Chefs Participate in Serving Sayler Park Charity Dinner]]> At noon on Sunday, Sept. 14, chefs from across Cincinnati and North America will head to Salazar in Over-the-Rhine (1401 Republic St.) to cook a multi-course charity meal to benefit Saving Sayler Park, which works to provide take-home food and toiletries for food-insecure students at Sayler Park Elementary. 

The participating chefs include: 
  • David Posey, Blackbird, Chicago 
  • Ned Elliot, Foreign & Domestic, Austin, Texas
  • Kevin Sousa, Superior Motors, Braddock, Pa. (who just broke the Kickstarter record for restaurant fundraising to open a new community-driven restaurant)
  • Jose Salazar, Salazar, Cincinnati
  • Joel Molloy, Nicola's, Cincinnati
  • Ryan Santos, Please, Cincinnati
  • Brian Neumann, Salazar, Cincinnati 
Many of the visiting chefs will be in town for the inaugural Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic, a multi-day food and wine event featuring demos, tastings and top chefs.

"There is a lot of focus and talent coming to visit Cincinnati for the Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic," Santos says. "I figured we could round up some of that talent to do something that gave back and did something positive for Cincinnati."  
The idea started when chef Ned Elliot, who was raised in Cincinnati, threw around the idea that the incoming chefs should cook to help his childhood friend Peter Edward Matthews' charity, Holistic Inc./Serving Sayler Park. Only one in three of the visiting chefs will be participating in the Food + Wine Classic; the others just wanted to come help cook. And Mike Madison of Madison's at Findlay Market has donated produce. 

There are 24 seats available for the dinner, at $150 per person. The cost goes to benefit Serving Sayler Park. Email please@pleasecincinnati.com for reservations.
]]>
<![CDATA[Rhinegeist Saber Tooth Release Party]]> Rhinegeist's rarity Imperial IPA Saber Tooth is only let out of its cage twice a year — and one of those times is Saturday, Aug. 30. 

Saturday's launch party starts at noon and it is the only day you'll be able to fill crowlers (Rhinegeist's can-growlers) with Saber Tooth. If you miss the party, you miss your opportunity to take the beer home. 

Saber Tooth IPA is 8.5-percent alcohol by volume, with notes of papaya, mango, peach and a crisp, citrus bitterness. Crowlers are $12 for a 32 oz. refill and $20 for a 64 oz. refill. Crowlers themselves are $14. Limit per person: 4 growlers/8 crowlers. 

Get there early to get a free Saber Tooth Tiger poster with your first beer purchase (while supplies last). Noon-midnight. 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, rhinegeist.com.
]]>
<![CDATA[Bavarian-Style Soft Pretzel Bakery to Open in OTR]]> Columbus, Ohio pretzel bakery Brezel (pronounced brayt-zuhl) will open a second location this fall in Over-the-Rhine.

Owner Brittany Baum was inspired to open her hand-rolled Bavarian pretzel bakery after a trip to Germany in 2008. 

"Being a vegetarian in Germany, there aren't a lot of food options, so I pretty much lived on pretzels," she says in a recent press release. 

Germany's preponderance of pretzels was tough to find back home in Columbus, so she set out to make her own. And after three successful years in a home kitchen, she opened her first Brezel storefront at the North Market in March of 2011. When she visited Findlay Market in August 2013, she fell in love with Over-the-Rhine and decided to try her hand at pretzeling down here as well.

Brezel Cincinnati will be located in the Parvis Building at 6 W. 14th St., next door to the Graeter's. The bakery has developed more than 30 different flavored soft pretzels — including jalapeno cheddar, French onion and asiago and roasted garlic and cheddar — along with the traditional salted soft pretzel. Pretzels range in price fro $4-$5 and customers will also have the choice of ordering mini pretzel twists ($1) or pretzel bites and dips, pretzel buns, pretzel soup bowls and pretzel pizza dough.

Baum hopes to be open in time for Oktoberfest, but no official opening date has been set. They're also currently hiring full- and part-time positions.


]]>
<![CDATA[Bars and Restaurants with Riverfest Views]]>
Instead of hanging out on the riverfront all day, claiming a prime viewing spot with a lawn chair, make a reservation at one of these river-view restaurants for dining deals with great views of the 9:05 p.m. WEBN Rivefest fireworks.

Ohio
  • The Celestial: A four-star, four-course, prix-fixe meal before the show. 5:30-6 p.m. seating. $129. 1071 Celestial St., Mount Adams, thecelestial.com.
  • Incline Public House: Pig roast, fireworks and two drink tickets. $75. 2601 W. Eighth St., Price Hill, email Dan@inclinepublichouse.com for details and reservations.
  • Primavista: This Price Hill haunt has a great view of the city and the fireworks, with a special four-course dinner deal. 5 p.m. $65; $20 deposit due at time of booking. 810 Matson Place, Price Hill, reservations available by phone only at 513-251-6467.
  • The Rookwood: Hosting an event called OTR Country Club in honor of the fireworks with live music and a pig roast. Transportation provided from Washington Park. 4 p.m.-midnight. $25. 1077 Celestial St., Mount Adams, facebook.com/therookwood.
Kentucky
  • The Chart House: Buffet. 5:30-8:30 p.m. $100. 405 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., 859-261-0300.
  • Claddagh Irish Pub: Offers two different fireworks packages: VIP ($100; patio seating; four course dinner at 6:30 or 7:30 p.m.) or Classic ($60; inside dinner; buffet). 4:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., claddaghirishpubs.com.
  • Dick's Last Resort: A self-proclaimed "not so fancy fireworks party." Includes a seat and three beers. 6-10 p.m. $75; $50 kids. On the old Jefferson Hall Patio, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., facebook.com/dickslastresortnewportky.
  • Mitchell's Fish Market: Hosting a private, tented party with a buffet for the fireworks on the Newport Aquarium Plaza. 6 p.m.-midnight. $99.99. Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., 859-291-7454.
  • ThreeSixty at the Radisson: A full buffet plus a view of the fireworks from atop the rotating restaurant. 5-8 p.m. buffet. $70. 668 W. Fifth St., Covington, Ky., 859-491-5300, threesixtydining.com/events.php.




]]>
<![CDATA[Taste of Blue Ash]]> Taste of Blue Ash is the suburb's answer to downtown's annual (and the nation's longest running) food festival, Taste of Cincinnati.

The free event, celebrating almost 30 years this year, will have more than 25 food vendors including Buona Terra, City BBQ, Alfio's Buon Cibo, La Petite France, Rascals' NY Deli and more. And 16 of those are “Best of Taste” winners. Crowds typically reach about 120,000 over the course of the three-day event, and this year should be no different because along with the food there will be live music from headliners The Charlie Daniels Band (9 p.m. Friday), Michael McDonald (9 p.m. Saturday), TOTO (7 p.m. Saturday) and Kellie Pickler (7:30 p.m. Sunday).

Join foodies and those just looking to soak up some final summer nights at Blue Ash’s new Summit Park; bring lawn chairs and blankets to reserve concert seating. There will also be festival rides and games.

6-11 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22; 2-11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23; 2-9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24. Free. 4335 Glendale-Milford Road, Blue Ash, blueashevents.com.

 

]]>
<![CDATA[Macaron Bar Coming to OTR]]>

Macarons. You can't walk a block in Paris without seeing boulangerie windows lined with the colorful, little cookies — even McDonald's McCafe has a selection: pistachio, raspberry, chocolate. And while a couple of local bakeries specialize in the treat (pastry of merengue and almond flour sandwiching a filling of buttercream, jam or ganache), like Frieda's Desserts in Madeira, helmed by fourth-generation, certified master pasty chef Armin Hack, Macaron Bar will be the only bakery in Cincinnati devoted strictly to macarons.

The brain-child of former P&G brand manager Patrick Moloughney and Nathan Sivitz — who studied pastry with a focus on macarons at The Gourmandise School in Santa Monica, Calif., and has taken a macaron master class at Ecole Lenôtre in Paris — Macaron Bar is slated to open in November.

They plan to offer core macaron flavors, complemented by seasonal selections, as well as a selection of coffees and teas from local partners Deeper Roots Coffee and Essencha Tea House. 

Their building on Main Street is right next to Park + Vine. Stay tuned to their social media — twitter and Facebook — for updates. 

1206 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, macaron-bar.com.

]]>
<![CDATA[Do Downtown Cincinnati Restaurant Week]]> Do Downtown Cincinnati Restaurant and Bar Group is an association of downtown restaurants and clubs that work together to build awareness and enhance downtown dining and entertainment. This week — through Aug. 17 — is the sixth annual Do Downtown Cincinnati Restaurant Week, when downtown/The Banks/OTR restaurants offer deals: either $35 for a three-course dinner or for two dinners. A great opportunity to try something new on a budget.

Participating restaurants include: 
]]>
<![CDATA[Look Who's Eating: Ryan Santos]]>

CityBeat is resurrecting our popular "Look Who's Eating" column, where we ask local chefs and food industry insiders where they've been dining and what is exciting them about Cincinnati's current culinary culture. This month, we talk to Ryan Santos. 

Chef Ryan Santos has already built a reputation as the man behind Please, a mobile dining pop-up. Having recently returned from an internship in Denmark, Santos plans to wow taste buds again with a new dinner series — and soon, Please’s very own space. 

On a remote island in the middle of the Baltic Sea, Santos learned how to utilize and preserve ingredients. He toured the Nordic Food Lab, tasting their latest experiments — everything from bee larvae and grasshopper soy sauce to six-year-old quince vinegar. 

Santos will put his food expertise to work with a dinner series at Cheapside Cafe one weekend per month. To prepare, he picks chanterelle mushrooms a few times a week, and plans to use summer produce like blackberries, blueberries, corn and summer squash.

Using commercial cooking equipment for the first time, in addition to the communal seating and four walk-in spots offered each night, Please will be accessible to more Cincinnatians than ever before — and it’s only just getting started.  

CityBeat: What was the last great meal that you ate and where did you eat it?
Ryan Santos: I spent a week dining around Copenhagen before my internship and had some amazing meals. My meals at Kadeau, Relae and Amass were all fantastic. Copenhagen is also a big supporter of natural, organic and biodynamic wines. I had some eye–opening glasses (and bottles) of wine at wine bars. 

CityBeat: Locally?
RS: I'm happy any time my meal is in the hands of Jose Salazar.

CB: What's in the future for Ryan Santos and Please? 
RS: Right now I'm helping chef John Shields do dinners at Riverstead, in Chillhowie, Virginia, one week a month, doing our Cheapside Dinners one weekend a month, and we are in the process of getting the pieces together for a place of our own open. I think the time is finally right for us to have our home base!


To learn more about RYAN SANTOS and Please or sign up for a dinner at Cheapside, visit at pleasecincinnati.com. Wanna hear what your favorite chef's favorite meal is? Email suggestions to eats@citybeat.com.

]]>
<![CDATA[New Cold-Press Juice Bar Coming to OTR]]>
Big news for local juice fans. Cold-press juice bars are a new staple in most big cities — follow any model, actress or fashion blogger on instagram and you'll see oodles of the stuff from places like Venice Beach's juice bar Moon Juice. 

Now, locals Annie McKinney, Cydney Rabe and Steve Vickers are bringing the trend to Cincinnati with their new OTR juice bar Off the Vine (1218 Vine St., OTR, facebook.com/otvcincy).

"Cydney, Steve, and myself firmly believe that healthy eating is vital to a healthy and happy life," says McKinney. "Juicing is such a fantastic way to easily absorb important nutrients — nutrients that the vast majority of Americans lack from their diet." 

Off The Vine will offer cold-press juices made from fresh produce and herbs. Cold-pressing is a form of juicing that basically uses extreme pressure to juice produce, without adding heat. Heat possibly denatures the enzymes, vitamins and minerals in the vegetables; cold pressing preserves the health benefits while also squeezing out more juice than traditional methods. Off the Vine juices will range from $8-$11, a pretty standard price for cold-press. They'll also be making their own vanilla cashew milk.

"We have three different 'levels' of green juice," McKinney says, "from a basic spinach and apple to a hardcore, all-vegetable juice. Something to please the person who has never tried a green juice before to those who are looking for an intense blend of greens."  

Off the Vine will also be offering juices cleanses with a daily series of five juices and one meal-replacement nut milk as a "kick start for people looking to rid their bodies of the toxins that build up from poor eating habits," McKinney says. The group will also offer support for those looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

They plan to open this fall, possibly in September. Follow their progress at facebook.com/otvcincy.

]]>
<![CDATA[Maribelle’s eat+drink to Host Fourth 'Food Fight']]>
The fourth round of Food Fight at Maribelle’s eat+drink is coming up at 6 p.m. on July 14. 

This live, Chopped-style competition was started by Maribelle’s chef/owner Mike Florea to create and maintain camaraderie between restaurant professionals and the public alike. Anyone is welcome to participate. If you would like the opportunity to compete, simply inform the door attendant and put your name in the pot. Twelve names are chosen. 

There are two rounds of competition, each consisting of three chefs and three judges. The winner of each round will compete for the championship. Each cook will receive five or six very random ingredients and has 30 minutes to make an entrée style plate utilizing all of them. They also have a small selection of pantry and walk-in items to choose from to boost those ingredients from the basket. Appliances are limited. 

“Food Fight is knowing your surroundings,” says Florea, “Feeling the camaraderie, learning the craft, being the passion. ... And watching shit go down. It's amazing to see some of the best chef's in the city go against some of the best cooks, farmers, housewives, stay-at-home dads, business owners and foodies alike. The best part about it is giving them all ingredients that none of them are 100 percent comfortable with. Eat. Drink. Fight.”
]]>
<![CDATA[Taste of Belgium Clifton to Host World Cup Viewing]]>
The Clifton location of Taste of Belgium — Cincinnati's only Belgian-inspired eatery — will host a World Cup viewing party for the Team USA versus Belgium game on Tuesday, July 1. (The game begins at 4 p.m.)

The Clifton locale of TOB has seven HDTVs, one large HD projector screen, a big bar and a large beer selection. Afraid of who to cheer for in the Belgian bar? Owner Jean-François Flechet, a Cincinnati resident and Belgian native says, "What better place to come watch USA vs. Belgium than at Taste of Belgium? The entire staff and all our customers have cheered for both teams so far — we hope to see some good soccer."

“I’d be happy either way for either my homeland or my adoptive land to make it to the next round,” Flechet adds

TOB will also be giving away one official Belgian and one official American soccer jersey. Patrons can enter to win the American jersey by ordering a Budweiser and the Belgian jersey by ordering a Duvel. (Those under 21 can simply enter their names.)

Parking is behind Taste of Belgium by the corner of University and Vine streets. Taste of Belgium Clifton, 2845 Vine St., Corryville, 513-394-7105, authenticwaffle.com
]]>
<![CDATA[Lavomatic and Local 127 Close]]> Two local restaurants served their last meals this weekend. Lavomatic, OTR's first Gateway Quarter eatery, and Local 127, the New American eatery on Vine Street downtown, both announced via their social media that they would be permanently closing their doors. 

According to Local 127's Facebook account, their last night of service was Saturday, June 28: 

"To all the supporters of Local 127, Chef Kyle Johnson, General Manager Jenny Filipski, and the entire staff: We are sad to announce that this evening, June 28, will be our last night of service. We have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Cincinnati food community and are forever grateful to those who helped establish an amazing community within our restaurant. The staff at Local 127 is made up of some of best employees, but more importantly, some of the best people in this industry and in this city. A very specific thank you to all the farmers, purveyors, foragers, and harvesters who represent the true objective of Local 127. We leave with our heads held high, proud of the food we served and the service we provided."

And then yesterday (June 29), Lavomatic released this post on their Facebook:

"Lavomatic has closed. Thanks to a great staff and Thanks to everyone who supported us over the years."

The two restaurants join a slew of recent downtown and Northern Kentucky restaurant closings, which includes the freshly shuttered Blue Wisp. 
]]>
<![CDATA[Please to Start Serving at Cheapside Cafe]]> Ryan Santos and his team at Please — his novel farm-to-table style pop-up dining experience, which has previously found homes in storefronts like OTR's streetpops and at Carriage House Farm in North Bend — are making dinner a regular date at the new Cheapside Cafe downtown. 

Friday and Saturday nights, Please will be taking over the cafe (located at 326 E. Eighth St.) offering communal-seating dinner service for 12 people at 6 and 8:30 p.m. The dinners will remain five-courses for $59 (per person plus tax and gratuity), with accommodations made for allergies and dietary restrictions if noted in your advance reservation. Dinners are BYOB with coffee service provided from Cheapside for a separate purchase. 

New to these dinners will be walk-in service. Up to four walk-in diners will be accepted at each dinner, for those who weren't able to reserve in advance. Walk-ins will be accepted 15 minutes prior to each service on a first-come, first-serve basis. Their current available seatings are:
  • 6 p.m. Friday, July 25 (12 guests, 4 walk-ins after 5:45 p.m.)
  • 8:30 p.m. Friday, July 25 (12 guests, 4 walk-ins after 8:15 p.m.)
  • 6 p.m. Saturday, July 26 (12 guests, 4 walk-ins after 5:45 p.m.)
  • 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 26 (12 guests, 4 walk-ins after 8:15 p.m.)
Reservations go quickly, so head to pleasecincinnati.com or facebook.com/pleasecincinnati to sign up.
]]>
<![CDATA[Cincinnati Public Library Offers Free Children's Lunches]]>
The Cincinnati Public Library is partnering with Cincinnati Public Schools and Window Arts Enrichment to fill the summertime nutritional gap left when children aren't receiving reduced-cost/free lunches during the school year through programs like the National School Lunch Program by offering kids under the age of 18 free lunches all summer.

In 2012, the library and Cincinnati Public Schools provided more than 8,800 free summer lunches to children and teens at select library locations. In 2013, Window Arts Enrichment joined the cause and expanded lunch service to 15 summer feeding sites to serve more than 13,000 lunches. (See all Window Arts Enrichment feeding sites here.)

Lunches will be available Monday-Friday through Aug. 8 (except for on Friday, July 4) at these locations:
  • Main Library, Teenspot & Children’s Learning Center: 12:15-12:45 p.m. 
  • Avondale: 12:15-12:45 p.m. 
  • Bond Hill: 12:30-1 p.m. 
  • College Hill: 1-2 p.m. 
  • Madisonville: 12:30-1 p.m. 
  • West End: 12:30-1 p.m.
  • Covedale 12:15-12:45 p.m. 
  • Deer Park: 1-1:30 p.m. 
  • Elmwood Place: 12:30-1 p.m. 
  • Forest Park: 12:30-1 p.m.
  • Groesbeck: 12:30-1 p.m. 
  • North Centrall: 12:30-1 p.m. 
  • Reading : 2-2:45 p.m. 
  • Sharonville: 12-12:45 p.m.
Find the addresses and contact information of participating library locations here.

]]>