CityBeat Blogs - Events <![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 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[Father's Day Dining Specials]]>
Fathers don't necessarily get the same brunch love that mom's do when it comes to their special day, but there are certainly local restaurants celebrating dads with dining specials.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<![CDATA[This Week's Dining Events ]]>
This week's dining events and cooking classes — beer dinners, German dance parties, crawfish boils, wine tastings and more.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

<![CDATA[Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend]]>
Each week CityBeat staffers and 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: After a long, tiring week, all I wanted was someone to bring me food at home. Unfortunately, the delivery options in North Avondale are slim, limited to the usual chain pizza suspects. Luckily, I remembered that someone had told me that Suzie Wong’s in East Walnut Hills might deliver, so I called and confirmed. My son, his friend and I then proceeded to order a ton of food — Thai fish cakes, tofu with vegetables, edamame, crab Rangoon, and two types of chicken for the boys — and in a very quick 20 minutes the food was here. It was all wonderful. They’re totally going on my speed dial.
Nothing beats pie for breakfast especially when you can eat the whole thing, so Saturday morning I had an O Pie O strawberry-rhubarb personal pie with coffee. On Saturday night I went to a birthday party for my friend Rachel. Rachel’s annual “It’s my FREAKING BIRTHDAY” party is a huge, outdoor potluck affair with a band, firepit and a giant cake from Happy Chicks Bakery. Since Rachel owns Grateful Grahams, there are of course s’mores with our friend Stephanie’s homemade vegan marshmallows. Since I didn’t have time to make anything to bring, I stopped at Goodfellas Pizzeria for two giant pies. There were no complaints.
On Sunday night I met some friends at Sichuan Chili in Evendale. I had jellyfish with scallions and cucumber and noodles with pork and greens. The portions at SC are so huge you can share (or take home leftovers as I like to do).

Mike Breen: Saturday afternoon I had a late lunch at the newish branch of Taste of Belgium on Short Vine. We were told we’d just missed the lunch rush (at about 1:30 p.m.), which I was happy about (I hate waiting for a table). 
I’ve been seeing a bunch of commercials on TV for nasty fast food (that El Diablo burger with jalapeño poppers on it? Speedway advertising their many delicious food options?) and they make my stomach hurt every time I see them. The latest has been for White Castle’s chicken and waffle sliders, so I decided to try Taste of Belgium’s chicken and waffle dish to perhaps erase that memory. I loved it. The chicken is covered in hot sauce and the waffles are drenched in syrup. On paper it doesn’t seem like it should work, but it was delicious (even combining the spicy and sweet). The waitress also brought over a bonus waffle with whipped cream and chocolate that was made by mistake and that was also very good (obvs). My daughter got the crepes with chocolate and for some reason said she didn’t care for it (she loves chocolate chip pancakes, so I think she was just being difficult). I had a few bites and thought they were excellent. Now that I have a new appreciation for chicken and waffles (my memory was also tainted by having a taste of Lay’s chicken and waffle flavored chips a while back), I just hope I can avoid those White Castle commercials.

Anne Mitchell: I went to watch Johnny Chu, owner of AmerAsia Kungfood Restaurant, win the Cincinnati Arts Association's Overture Awards "Dancing for the Stars" benefit competition Saturday night at Music Hall. Johnny and his dance partner, Doreen Beatrice from Covington's Step-N-Out Studio, were AMAZING. They blew the crowd and the judges away. The event had dinner by the bite, and I had some delish bites, including an outrageously good beef tenderloin with horseradish cream from Prime 47 (newish on Walnut St.), and tiny little desserts (they're little! no calories!) from Lala's Blissful Bites. Nice folks, fun event! And here's a video of Johnny's smooth moves.

Pama Mitchell: We went to the first-ever wine dinner held at Bistro Grace in Northside. It was a five-course meal with Italian wines — starting with prosecco and ending with vin santo. Along the way were two excellent reds by the Italian winemaker Masi: Campofiorin and an outstanding amarone. Food wise, chef Rachel Roberts outdid herself with everything from a light soup-and-salad starter (wild mushroom soup and a salad of shaved shallots, pecorino and wild mushrooms) to a delicious pasta course (bucatini with house-cured guanciale and toasted bread crumbs) and leg of lamb to go with that amarone. On top of the delights for the palate, I was impressed by the service and the competence of the kitchen, which produced each course for the full house of about 40 diners with no long waits and with everything arriving warm and appealingly plated. And the tab was very reasonable at $55 per person, including everything except tax and tip. Owner Suzanne McGarry is to be commended for this successful launch of what I hope will be numerous wine dinners to come.

Hannah Bussell (editorial intern/foreign exchange student): I knew I was going to drink a lot on Friday night so I needed to line my stomach well. My party of eight chose Keystone Bar & Grill, as it’s just up the road from our house in Clifton Heights, and the Powerhouse mac and cheese off of their signature mac and cheese menu did just the trick — a combination of Buffalo chicken, brisket, jalapenos, blue cheese and a handful of potato chips mixed in a cheesy goo and stirred into a bowl of soft pasta curls. I was very happy to pay the full price for such an excellent meal despite getting the day wrong and thinking it was Friday when they do their special half-price mac and cheese offer (it's actually on Mondays until 11 p.m.). I ended up taking home half of it in a doggy bag as it’s so filling — a notion very new to me as we don’t do that sort of thing over in England.
Saturday after work I met my friends in Bakersfield OTR for a quick late night taco. I had the mole taco, which I always order, as I love the Oaxacan-style braised chicken and the pickled red onions. My friends ordered the pastor tacos, with chili-marinated pork that smelled delicious, but I’m very much an eater who gets stuck in her ways. I never stray from an order that I know won’t disappoint; I’m too loyal to the mole.
Sunday I went to a Reds match, my very first baseball game, which was very exciting. I was so into the game I failed to notice the sunburn spreading over my nose. I had to drown my sorrows over the Reds losing in a pint of Christian Moerlein ale in the Moerlein Lager House just over the road from Great American Ballpark. A cheeky cony from Skyline may have also occurred later on in the evening.

Garin Pirnia: Last month, the Contemporary Arts Center opened their new lobby, which was revamped to contain a cafe called Collective CAC. The lovely folks behind OTR and Northside's Collective Espresso head up the endeavor. Until now, Collective usually closed by 4 p.m. every day, but the cafe stays open until 9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday. Now the Kaplan Lobby has a retooled CAC store, elongated slanted wooden tables with outlets for your electronics and a bar. On any day, it's always free to stop by the lobby and work among the art. The cafe offers Collective's drinks, such as their famous cortado (espresso with milk) made with rotating beans, and the espresso comes out of a cool-looking chrome espresso arm. How arty. Their menu contains all-day breakfast (vegetarian biscuits and gravy!), but they also have sandwiches, including a double grilled cheese. The inside of the sandwich harbors warm goat cheese and thinly-sliced radishes, but the outer later has Tillamook cheddar cheese crispified on the bread — genius. Why has no one else every thought of this? Why haven't I thought of it? After all, my motto is, It could always be crispier." I also tried their caramelized onion tart: a mini tart with onions, Gruyere, microgreens and crunchy sunchoke chips layered on top. Note to self: Make sunchoke chips. Every Wednesday it's free to tour the museum, which is a good time to have a snack at the cafe and look at some world-class art.

<![CDATA[Pop-Up Dinners Return to Carriage House Farm]]> North Bend's Carriage House Farm is fully embracing the farm-to-table movement with this year's pop-up dinner series. From May through November the farm will play host to a variety of local chefs, who will be preparing more than two dozen seasonal dinners, utilizing ingredients available on the farm, like garlic, ginger, beans, heirloom tomatoes and comb honey. The intimate dinners seat 13 patrons in an open-air dining terrace, where the chefs will prepare their multi-course meals over a wood-fired oven — right in front of the guests.

Some dinners will also include special appearances by guest chefs, like Todd Kelly and Megan Ketover of the five-star Orchids, Jose Salazar of Salazar, Dan Wright of Abigail Street/Pontiac/Senate, Nino Loreto of food truck panino and others. To complement the bounty of Carriage House, chefs will also be working with additional artisan producers to complete the dinners, like Mudfoot Farm, Sheltowee mushroom farm, Weber Family Farm, Sixteen Bricks Bakery and more.

Here's a list of current dinners (some may be added later in the year):
  • May 17 - Chef Dana Adkins of the Eagle OTR and chef Jason Louda of Meatball Kitchen
  • May 31 - Chef Ryan Santos of Please
  • June 7 - Chef Mark Bodenstein of NuVo at Greenup
  • June 21 - Chef Mike Florea of Maribelle's eat + drink
  • June 28 - Chef Ryan Santos of Please's Kickstart Thank You dinner (sold out)
  • Aug. 16 - Chef Renee Schuler of eat well celebrations and feasts
  • Aug. 30 - Chef Stephen Williams of Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar (sold out)
  • Sept. 20Chef Mark Bodenstein of NuVo at Greenup
  • Sept. 27 - Chef Jared Bennett of Metropole
  • Oct. 4Chef Dana Adkins of the Eagle OTR
  • Oct. 11Chef Ryan Santos of Please
  • Nov. 1 Chef Mike Florea of Maribelle's eat + drink
Dinners start at 4, 5 or 6 p.m. (Carriage House is about a half-hour drive from downtown Cincinnati) and cost between $80 and $85. Reserve seats here

Carriage House Farm, 10252 Miamiview Road, North Bend, 
<![CDATA[Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend]]>
Each week CityBeat staffers and dining writers tell you what they ate this weekend. We're not always proud — or trendy — but we definitely spend at least some money on food. 

Jac Kern: This weekend I finally tried my hand at the cauliflower Buffalo "wing" trend. There's plenty of recipes out there (and I'm incapable of following any precisely), but most of them involve taking raw cauliflower pieces, tossing them in a simple water-flour batter, baking, tossing again in sauce and baking again at high heat until crispy. They're pretty much fool-proof and the taste exceeded my expectations. These need to get added to bar menus stat.

I also went to the Cincinnati International Wine Festival Saturday. I didn't do much eating (though there were mini Graeter's cones and grilled cheese and tomato soup bites floating around) but I did taste copious amounts of reds, whites, roses and sparkling goodness. Fun fact: There's a surprising amount of wine tasting accessories out there today. Wine glass harness, anyone?


Ilene Ross:
There are some weekends when you’re more thankful for your stretchy pants then others. Needless to say, this was one of them. 

Friday started my marathon food-fest with not one, but two lunches. The first was at Park+Vine after a meeting in OTR. As I sat enjoying the zesty new OITNB Burger (black beans, brown rice, orange zest and cumin mayo) with a side of mac and cheese, who should walk in but super adorable CityBeat photog, Jesse Fox, carrying a box of macarons from next door’s Macaron Bar. My second lunch that day was during a meal at my favorite Chinese restaurant, Oriental Wok in Hyde Park. I had chicken Pad Thai and shrimp toast. I could eat Oriental Wok’s shrimp toast every damn day because unlike most restaurants, which only wave shrimp over limp, lifeless bread, OWok liberally covers crispy, crunchy hunks of toast with huge chunks of the seafood. It’s divine. 

Friday night I attended the Woman’s City Club of Greater Cincinnati’s 100th Anniversary Gala at the Hall of Mirrors in the Netherland Hilton with a group of friends. That place really knows how to throw a dinner. Surrounded by the splendor of the Art Deco masterpiece that is the Hall of Mirrors, we dined on marinated cucumbers and microgreens with soy sesame vinaigrette and rice crackers; grilled flank steak with Sichuan-style eggplant; and basmati rice with scallions. And for dessert, we had passion fruit cheesecake with toasted coconut. After dinner, our group headed downstairs to the Palm Court bar — easily one of the most beautiful rooms in the city — for cocktails, and proceeded to order pretty much all of the appetizers and desserts off of the bar menu. 

On Saturday, I hit Findlay Market to stock up for the week, binge-watched The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and ate nothing but popcorn. 

Sunday night was quite possibly the most fabulous birthday party I have ever had. My dear friend Summer Genetti —Pastry Chef at Lola Bistro in Cleveland — and I share March 11 as a birthday, so we decided to hold a joint birthday party at Myrtle’s Punch House to raise money for the Girl Scouts of Lower Price Hill. We had food donated from chefs Jason Louda of Meatball Kitchen, Andrew Mersmann of Django Western Taco and Jana Douglass of Happy Chicks Bakery. People showed up in droves to buy cookies, drink punch that Molly Wellmann had concocted to “coordinate” with the cookies, donate money, and eat the most spectacular birthday cake I’ve ever had in my whole life, which, of course, was baked by Summer. Best weekend ever. 

Nick Swartsell: Some friends and I went to Amma's Kitchen this weekend, which is always rad. They're a small place in Roselawn that is South Indian-style and all vegetarian, and there are a lot of dishes you can't find other places around here. Despite the lack of meat, I think they're my favorite Indian place in town. I got the Vegetable Jalfrezi — super good and spicy. One friend just chowed down on their samosas, which are some of the best around. Another got the Madras Thali, which is a crazy-huge plate full of different curries, soups, yogurts, rice and other stuff. The Rasam (a stew with tamarind juice, tomatoes and chilis) and Avial (veggies in a seemed like a coconut sauce) were both super good. There was also some kind of cilantro-y stew in the mix I didn't know the name of that was excellent.

Samantha Gellin: I ate at Pelican's Reef in Anderson. It's a seafood place tucked away in a strip mall and it's what I'd call a hidden gem. (Don't let the strip mall exterior scare you. The food is fresh and delicious.) We went on Saturday night and it was packed; there was a 30 minute wait. But it was well worth it: the warm bacon vinaigrette salad with grilled scallops I ordered was really, really good. The scallops were very tender and buttery, and the salad came with five or six, so no skimping here. My husband got a tuna steak "Oscar" style with grilled asparagus. That was also seriously delicious; very flavorful and cooked just right. The place is pricy (fish platters or specials can run you $16-$20) but the menu is large and does have other, less expensive options, like po'boys, non-fish sandwiches and burgers. It's a cozy and casual place but with upscale food. I'd definitely recommended it if you're craving really fresh, flavorful seafood or want to go out for a special occasion.

Maija Zummo: I went to Sotto Friday night for a friend's birthday party. As always, it was delicious. But instead of ordering my usual tonnarelli cacio e pepe, I shared an order of penne with vodka sauce and the tagliolini con tartufo with a friend (as well as some of their cost-effective house wine). The ribbon pasta was flavored with black truffle and truffle shavings and was amazing. I'm like a little truffle pig, so I feel like the pasta was relatively worth the $27 price tag. (I buy into the whole exaggerated-cost truffle economy, and truffle is a special treat on pasta if you don't eat meat.) Add in the quality of service at the restaurant, and I'll pretty much pay whatever. It's of the best places to dine in the city.

Garin Pirnia: Friday night the boyfriend and I braved the Bockfest crowd at Arnold's. We got there right after the parade ended, and it was packed to the gills. We were able to push our way up to the bar and order a couple of their 16 bocks on draft: a Warped Wing Abominator doppelbock and a Weihenstephaner Korbinian doppelbock. After, we somehow miraculously got a table in their upstairs section. We sat at a table next to a bathtub, and my boyfriend, who regularly eats food in the bath at home, joked, "I've never dined next to a tub before." I told him he should feel right at home. Their menu for that night was bock-centric and included a lot of weird foods such as camel nachos, goat (!) and elk meatballs. We both eschewed the exotic meats, and he ordered a bock Hot Brown and I ordered the wild mushroom ragout. It had mushrooms and shallots cooked in a creamy and spicy red wine reduction and beer sauce, and was mixed with bock beer grits. His sausage had fries on it, bock cheese and mustard. Note: Everything should be doused and cooked with beer. While we were dining, some guy in the nearby restroom kept cursing about something, and when he came out, he was chagrined to find out the entire upper floor heard him yelling. He apologized, saying he was jokingly yelling at his friend and didn't think anyone else could hear him. Ah, gotta love Bockfest! Go home, you're drunk.

<![CDATA[Rhinegeist to Release Saber Tooth Saturday]]> If you live for IPAs or are just looking for a reason to get a lil tipsy this weekend, Rhinegeist is releasing its highly sought after and limited Saber Tooth Tiger IPA with a party on Saturday. 

The "prehistorically hopped" Imperial IPA has a bit of a bite, with notes of papaya, mango, peach and a clean, bitter finish (IBU 95). The launch party will be your first chance to get ahold of the beer, and the only place to get it to go. Each person is allowed to take home two 22-ounce bombers of Saber Tooth. That's it. They won't be filling growlers, howlers, crowlers or any other "owlers." 

The brewery opens at noon. Live music from Peter Dressman starts at 1 p.m., followed by Grady Burton at 4 p.m.

Free. Rhinegeist, 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,
<![CDATA[Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend]]>
Each week CityBeat staffers and dining writers tell you what they ate this weekend. We're not always proud — or trendy — but we definitely spend at least some money on food.

Jac Kern: I stocked up on groceries Friday night in preparation for a weekend full of snow, pajamas and movies. Pizza-making is a perfect snow day activity, so that's what I made for dinner on Saturday. My two go-tos are classic pepperoni and a fig and prosciutto inspired by A Tavola. The local eatery's version includes fontina, parmigiano and balsamic arugula; I used the fresh mozzarella and spinach I had on hand, plus fig jam and prosciutto. It's no A Tavola — my oven pales in comparison to their Italian wood-burning beauty — but it was tasty and easily consumed in the aforementioned pajamas. Also: Plenty of popcorn during the Oscars!

Ilene Ross:
I feel as if I did nothing but eat out this weekend, but given what I do for a living, this should come as no surprise. On Friday night I attended the ninth annual Art of Food at The Carnegie in Covington. This event, a combination of art and food, never disappoints; it’s a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. Local artist Pam Kravetz put on quite a spectacular show — the theme was Candy Land — with even chef Jean-Robert de Cavel getting into the act with a starring role as Lord Licorice. Some of the more outstanding dishes were The Littlefield’s house-cured and smoked bacon with house pickles; Wunderbar’s bacon, spinach, brie and fig jam finger sandwiches; The Rookwood’s Porchetta, with Marksbury Farm pork belly, Beeler's Farm pork cheek rillettes, rosemary-cured lardo, carrot mostardo, shaved celery and red cress; The Sleepy Bee’s flatbread stalactites with Moroccan chicken and date herb chutney; Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar’s whipped goat cheese with popcorn, pickled fennel and pear gastrique; and Django Western Taco’s beer-braised pork belly with corn relish, guacamole and corn chips.   

On Saturday my son and I got to try one of O Pie Os latest creations, a honey vinegar pie. Now, that might sound a tad bit strange, but believe me, it’s not. Picture a rich, slightly tangy, not-too-sweet custard filling in a perfectly flaky crust. A little packet of crisp sea salt comes along with the pie so you can sprinkle a bit on top to taste, therefore achieving a nice salty balance. We also dug into an apple pie with rosemary caramel. I have to say that O Pie O’s apple pie is so good, I didn’t care one bit that I forgot to buy ice cream.   

Saturday night I got to be a guinea pig of sorts during a trial run for the staff at chef Jean-Robert de Cavel’s latest restaurant, the soon-to-be-opened Le Bar a Boeuf in The Edgecliff. The restaurant will be opening quite soon and I was overjoyed to be able to participate. While I can’t divulge too many details, I can say that the space is beautiful, the staff — under the watchful eye of hospitality expert Richard Brown — is charming and diligent, and as far as the food, well, you’re in for a real treat.   

I have a good friend who lives in Indianapolis, and her daughter is a Girl Scout. This year was the second time I’ve bought cookies from her and the two have driven in and delivered them to me on a Sunday. It’s also the second time that we’ve met at Maribelle’s eat + drink for brunch to make the cookie drop off. My son and I took them to Maribelle’s for the first time last year and they loved it so much that they specifically requested it again. I don’t blame them. Brunch at Maribelle’s is a crazy good combination of breakfast and lunch foods everyone loves. The four of us had White Bean and Frog Leg Chili; a Pig Tostado (shredded pork, cumin crème, pickled red onion, queso fresco and cilantro); fried cashew butter, jelly and banana sandwiches; a hamburger; some sort of yummy egg dish that I can’t remember the name of; and, of course, bloody mary’s for the adults. Yes, it was a lot of food, and there were leftovers, but for me the best thing about a busy weekend is a Sunday afternoon nap followed by not having to cook. My Oscar watching dinner consisted of Maribelle’s leftovers, Samoas and bourbon.  

Samantha Gellin: I ate a grilled chicken club at Anderson Pub & Grill on Beechmont Avenue, aka APG. Normally I shy away from chicken sandwiches because they tend to turn out dry and tasteless. But I've never been disappointed with the food at APG so I decided to give it a try. It was worth it. So juicy and full of flavor. It's topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, American cheese, onion, pickle and chipotle mayo. Probably one of the best grilled chicken sandwiches I've had in a long time. If you're on the East Side and you're looking for simple but really satisfying bar food (at decent prices too) this is the place to go.

Anne Mitchell: I've barely left the house since Snowmaggedon began, but luckily we are within slogging distance of several MainStrasse eateries. So Friday night we slushed up to Dee Felice Cafe for cocktails and appetizers. I had the fried oysters with cream sauce, a cup of gumbo, and a delicious Manhattan made by Ron the Awesome Bartender. I may have even had a second, just because even numbers are luckier. On Saturday, we went to Otto's. Their beef short ribs were cozier than a fleece snowsuit, and twice as sexy. I sipped on the Ginger Punch special. I should have deduced, when they said they were trying it out for the menu at their eagerly-anticipated Frida, that it was tequila based. Ole!

Rebecca Sylvester: To pre-game before The Price is Right Live! my husband and I decided to try one of the restaurants in the Horseshoe Casino (where the show was). We weren't wearing elastic waistbands so that ruled out the buffet and we were (luckily) turned away from Margaritaville, which I guess was every other audience members' plan, so we ended up at the fancy option: Jack Binion's Steakhouse. It was easily the quietest place in the casino, even with a live trio playing lounge versions of Nirvana and top 40 songs. The booths look like nap-worthy couches, but we sat at the bar since we were only ordering drinks and snacks. The super exciting part of the menu (for a vegetarian) was The Potato Bar, which listed a few heavily topped baked potatoes, pub fries and a few other potato-based sides. Also a pleasant surprise was the list of salads, all vegetarian friendly and a little more interesting than the standard steakhouse iceberg wedge. The servers were really nice and the wine selection was good. If I'm ever back there and need a place to rest my slot machine arm that is probably the best spot in the building.

Maija Zummo: I went to an Oscar's potluck on Sunday and I was tasked with bringing dessert. Usually I'll make something fruit based — a pie or a cobbler — but my friends wanted chocolate. I'm not a huge fan of brownies or anything really cakey and chocolately, so I made cute little chocolate pot de cremes in bright teal ramekins. I found a super easy recipe that just calls for pouring your hot custard into a blender and then refrigerating it to set versus making a water bath and baking the little things. They turned out really well — I added some vanilla and coffee to the custard mix because I'm fancy like that —  and were super easy. Top them with some homemade whipped cream and they seem much more impressive and hard to make than they actually are.

<![CDATA[Dining Out for Life Cincinnati Returns]]> Significant progress has been made since the 1980s HIV/AIDS epidemic, but there is still research and work to be done in finding a cure. Spearheading the movement in Ohio is Caracole, an organization that provides affordable housing and supportive services for individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS. 

You can help, too. 

The annual Dining Out For Life event encourages you to dine out at participating local restaurants, which will be donating a portion of your meal’s proceeds to Caracole. Participating in Dining Out For Life is easy: Choose a participating restaurant. Gather a group of friends and call ahead to make a reservation. Be sure to mention you're with Dining Out For Life and a predetermined percentage of your meal will go directly to Caracole.

Participating restaurants include: 
  • Arnold's Bar & Grill; 513-421-6234; Donating 25%; Lunch, Dinner
  • Bella Luna; 513-871-5862; Donating 20%; Dinner
  • Below Zero Lounge; 513-421-9376; Donating 100%; Dinner, Late Night
  • Blue Jay Restaurant; 513-541-0847; Donating 25%; Breakfast, Lunch
  • The Brew House; 513-961-9058; Donating 20%; Dinner
  • Buz; 513-533-2899; Donating 25%; Dinner
  • Green Dog Cafe; 513-321-8777; Donating 25%; Dinner
  • Kitchen 452; 513-559-0452; Donating 25%; Lunch
  • The Littlefield; 513-386-7570; Donating 20%; Dinner
  • Macaron Bar; 513-813-8181; Donating 100%; Dessert
  • Main Bite; 859-261-2483; Donating 25%; Dinner
  • McAlister's Deli Blue Ash, Crestview Hills, Kenwood, West Chester and Mason; Donating 20%; Lunch, Dinner
  • Park + Vine; 513-721-7275; Donating 100%; Dinner
  • T.G.I. Friday's Anderson, Colerain, Crestview Hills, Fields Ertel, Kenwood, Tri-County, West Chester and Western Hills; Donating 20%; Lunch, Dinner
  • Unwind Wine Bar; 513-321-9463; Donating 25%; Dinner
  • Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant; 513-421-0110; Donating 25%; Lunch, Dinner
Note that Park + Vine, Macaron Bar and Below Zero are all donating 100% of their proceeds from your meal.

All day Tuesday, Feb. 3. For more information, visit
<![CDATA[Lachey's Bar to Open Jan. 1 ]]>
The Lachey brothers are officially in the bar business. Cincinnati natives and boy band superstars Nick and Drew Lachey held a preview night for their bar, Lachey’s Bar, Dec. 19. It opens to the public on Jan. 1. 2015. Mayor John Cranley, 3CDC and 4EG/Lachey’s Bar partner Bob Deck were on hand to help the brothers cut the red ribbon. 

“We’re literally cutting the red tape,” Drew Lachey joked to the crowd. Cranley gave the brothers keys to the city and declared December 19 98 Degrees Day, er, Lachey Day in Cincinnati. As the event unfurled, A&E was also there rolling cameras for the upcoming reality show surrounding the opening of the bar, which will start airing in March 2015. 

“Nick has been talking about this, I swear, it has to be at least a decade,” Justin Jeffre, a childhood pal of the Lacheys, fellow 98 Degrees member and editor for newspaper Streetvibes, says. “They’ve been more serious about it for the past couple of years. After hearing so many conversations, it’s nice to see it finally come to fruition.”  

The sports bar, located on the corner of Walnut and 12th Street in OTR, is huge and bright, so there’s no way you’ll miss it. Because of its large windows, you can easily stand on the street and gaze inside at Drew and Nick, and read the LED sports ticker crawling underneath the 10 or so TVs hovering above the long bar. 

“We felt like we wanted it be a sports lounge,” Nick says. “Sports bar, you kind of think of peanut shells on the floor, more Buffalo Wild Wings vibe, which I love, but we wanted to create something that was a little bit more upscale from that but still approachable to everybody.”

The plethora of TVs, the sports ticker and glowing rectangular colored lights wired into panels underneath the bar countertop creates almost a sensory overload. There’s already a sports bar (Rhinehaus) and a craft beer emporium/taco joint (Half Cut, Gomez Salsa) across the street, but keep in mind Lachey’s is more commodious, with 100 seats and a 150-person occupancy. Chefs Jonathan Price and Brian Duffy (of Bar Rescue fame) are building a menu of high-quality, non-frozen pub grub, including tater tots, pork sandwiches, bison burgers and salads, so you can stuff your face while you watch golf. 

The big draw here is not only the bros, but also the booze. Three tap stations serve an array of craft beer and Miller Lite (Nick’s fave), but there’s also Nobilo wine on draft (it’s fancy and it’s good), cocktails on tap, a beer cocktail called Una Noche and non-alcoholic sodas for the teetotalers. Sports and non-sports fans will be able to imbibe their Miller Lite and Mad Tree Thundersnows sitting on barstools at the bar, sitting at one of the high top tables or lounging in the back of the bar on a comfy couch. Or, the ladies can take their business into the bathroom and lounge on couches in there. Note: The ladies room is nicer than most sports bars’ bathrooms. 

But what’s the appeal of a sports bar to those who aren’t into sports? Nick assures, “It’s really about the people. I think I go to places because I want to be around good people and great atmosphere, and this is going to have that, for sure.” 

Like many bars in OTR, Lachey’s will have happy hour, which will be yet another reason to hang out at the bar in hopes of catching a glimpse of the bros. And if you’re into the Pedal Wagon, the bar has a garage that enables the wagon to pedal right into the bar. 

Currently, the only framed photos hanging on the red-hued walls are of The Bengals and Reds, and when asked if he’ll hang photos of 98 Degrees, Nick says, “We’re still decorating.” So here’s hoping some of those ‘90s-era shirtless pictures of the guys will make it onto the wall of shame.

Lachey’s Bar is located at 56 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine. For more info, go to

<![CDATA[Carabello Coffee Launches Kickstarter]]> Carabello Coffee in Newport, Ky., is a philanthropic coffee shop and roastery owned by husband and wife Emily and Justin Carabello. As a craft coffee bar, they have all the latte art and pour-overs you'd expect, but they also do something unexpected — the business gives back by turning over a portion of their profits to third world coffee regions in Nicaragua and Kenya. 

The couple had a vision for the shop in 2009, with the idea to start a company that would source coffee equitably and sell it to the U.S., investing the profits in sustainable initiatives in third world coffee communities. The Carabellos have visited these regions in Africa and Central America, sourcing their beans from coffee farms and helping the community by doing outreach and raising money for an orphanage in Nicaragua, where some of the world’s best coffee is grown. The kickstarter campaign Carabello just launched is not only aimed at helping Carabello itself expand, but also expand the amount of good they can do. Their goal is to eventually be able to give away $100,000 a year.

With a kickstarter goal of raising $40,000 (the city of Newport will kick in $15,000 if they spend $30,000 themselves), the money will assist the shop in doing renovations to expand to include a coffee training lab (for baristas and members of the public), a community event space and a slow bar, for true coffee geeks. The slow bar will be the first in the city and showcase alternative brewing methods that don't work in a faster-paced environment. 

To learn more or to back the Carabellos, visit their kickstarter project here.
<![CDATA[Revolution Rotisserie & Bar Goes Brick and Mortar]]> Revolution Rotisserie & Bar owner Nicholas Pesola grew up in Chicago, working a variety of jobs, ranging from starting his own patio and landscaping company to bussing at a Greek restaurant. Ironically, he hated bussing and to avoid the restaurant industry, he went to the University of Dayton to study psychology and Spanish. After getting rejected from the various Ph.D. programs he applied to, he took some time out to reapply and started in management at Dewey's Pizza in the meantime.

"After a couple months, I started to realize that I liked being in the restaurant more than reading and writing scientific articles," Pesola says. "It was fast-paced, challenging and gave me an avenue to interact with people dynamically. In addition, I really enjoy how tangible the hospitality industry is."

This past summer, Pesola branched out and started selling rotisserie chicken on pita bread at Findlay Market. The resulting Revolution Rotisserie was so popular, he's opening a brick-and-mortar location on Race Street in Over-the-Rhine in early 2015. The rotisserie and bar will do dine-in, carry-out and catering, plus vegetarian options and specialty cocktails. 

We caught up with Pesola to learn more about the restaurant and his chicken technique.

CityBeat: Why chicken and how did that relationship come to pass? 

Nicholas Pesola: The concept originally had nothing to do with chicken. I wanted to introduce something unique to Cincinnati and I thought that it would be cool to reinvent gyros, one of my favorite foods from my youth. I wanted to stack marinated beef/lamb and do it like they do in Europe/Middle Eastern countries. I knew that I would have to offer other meats so I chose to stick with the rotisserie meat theme. When I put on tastings, everybody liked the rotisserie chicken sandwiches with my gourmet toppings and sauces the most. When no one offered to fund my unproven restaurant concept, I decided to start small at Findlay Market and pilot the idea. I knew I had to simplify my concept in order to be successful so I gave the people what they wanted: rotisserie chicken. I wanted to become known for rotisserie chicken sandwiches on pita bread because I thought that was the most unique. I also thought I would sell more sandwiches versus whole chickens to the Findlay Market crowd. 

CB: What's been the best response you've seen from a customer? 

NP: We have had many great responses. I love when people walk by my stand, stop abruptly after seeing the sample, and say, "That looks good. But what is it?" When they find out there is rotisserie chicken under the toppings and sauce, it is usually game over. I also enjoy the skeptical customer who reluctantly orders our food and then comes back with friends 10 minutes later because they really liked it.  

CB: Can you tell me more about your chicken? Where do you source it? What separates it from other rotisserie? Is there a special technique, seasoning, butcher? A family recipe? 

NP: We use Amish chicken from Miller Farms and will be switching to FreeBird chicken which has even more strict standards when it comes to how the chickens have been raised: no hormones, no preservatives, all vegetable diet, more room to roam, etc. Our chickens are never frozen, always fresh. We brine our birds, season them with a custom blend of the best spices, cook them on a gas-fired 40-bird rotisserie to perfection. And I assure you our whole chickens will not sit around for hours and dry out like they do at the grocery store. For our sandwiches, we hand-pull the meat, white and dark, and make sure it maintains its juiciness before serving. We have arrived at our current technique after talking with chefs and experimenting with other methods, but the reality is I'm always looking for ways to make the product even better. 

CB: So you're opening a brick-and-mortar spot in OTR? What inspired you to take the jump? 

NP: Even before I started at Findlay Market, I wanted to open up a brick-and-mortar shop. I just didn't have enough money and that was a blessing in disguise because it forced me to start small. I knew the time was right to circle back with potential investors when my customers kept asking where Revolution Rotisserie was located after eating our food. 

CB: Why OTR? And why Race versus Main or Vine? 

NP: I live in OTR and it's a very exciting place to hang out and start a business. The real question should be why not OTR? I believe my concept contributes something very unique to the scene. I chose the spot at 1106 Race Street because it was the size I wanted, featured an open kitchen, and fit my budget. In my opinion, Race Street is the next logical restaurant street in OTR because of Washington Park, Zula, Anchor, and Taft Ale House all down the street. Plus I live on Race Street, you can't beat that commute. 

CB: What will be on the menu at Revolution? 

NP: Chicken! We will showcase the versatility of chicken with eight rotisserie chicken sandwiches served on grilled pita bread — all of which can be made vegetarian by substituting hummus, black beans or extra veggies. This is a bold statement, considering we are primarily a chicken restaurant, but I think our pita sandwiches and salads set us up to offer one of the best vegetarian menus in the city. Of course, we will do whole/half chickens, side salads, mashed potatoes, cinnamon applesauce and a few other sides. At the bar, we will specialize in specialty cocktail infusions and of course, craft beer.

CB: People love chicken during the holidays. With restaurant prep ahead of you, will you still be at Findlay Market or taking any orders for whole or half chickens? 

NP: Unfortunately, the cold weather prevents us from operating at Findlay Market under the tent. However, if people would like to place catering or large carryout orders, they can email The best way to do this is to visit our website 

Follow along with Revolution's progress on Facebook and Twitter @RevolutionOTR. 

<![CDATA[Places to Eat Thanksgiving Dinner That Aren't Your House]]>
Thanksgiving is traditionally a time when friends and family gather around the table to break bread, make merry and overindulge in turkey before falling asleep in front of the TV. But sometimes you just don't feel like cooking. Or your oven breaks. Or you want to completely avoid spending more time than you have to with your family. Luckily, some local restaurants are offering special Turkey Day deals and buffets so you can still stuff yourself with stuffing, minus all the effort. (Reservations required.)

BB Riverboats Thanksgiving Cruises: Enjoy a classic Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings while cruising on the river. Cruises 1-3 p.m. and 5:30-7:30 p.m. 
$40 adults; $20 children. 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky.,

Capital Grille: The steakhouse takes on Thanksgiving favorites. Also offering normal a la carte menu. 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. lunch; 5-10 p.m. dinner. $36 adult; $15 child. 3821 Edwards Road, Hyde Park, 513-351-0814, 

Claddagh Irish Pub: Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and cranberry sauce. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. $14.99. Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky.,

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant: Serving traditional Thanksgiving fare as well as the normal menu favorites. A La Carte. 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. 8080 Montgomery Road, Kenwood, 513-488-1110,

deSha’s: Thanksgiving buffet featuring a carving station with prime rib, glazed ham and roasted turkey, plus a variety of sides and desserts. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. $32.95 adults; $12.95 children. 11320 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, 513-247-9933,

Fall Feast: Give Back Cincinnati hosts the 10th year of Fall Feast, one of the region’s largest community Thanksgiving celebrations, bringing together neighbors and homeless and featuring food, live music, big screen TVs and a variety of free items and services like coats, haircuts, health screenings and flu shots. 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; doors open at 9 a.m. Free. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown,

Golden Lamb: Three-course prix fixe menu that includes an appetizer, salad course and entrée. 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. $25.95-$32.95 entrée. 27 South Broadway St., Lebanon, 513-932-5065,

La Petite France: Thanksgiving buffet, including breakfast until 2 p.m., featuring all the traditional trimmings with entrée options of turkey, beef tenderloin, pork loin and baked ham. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. $34.95 adults; $15 children. 3177 Glendale-Milford Road, Evendale, 513-733-8383,

McCormick and Schmick’s: Traditional roasted turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, and more. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. $24.99 adults; $9.99 children 12 & under. 21 E. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-721-9339,

Metropole: Enjoy Metropole favorites or choose from a special Thanksgiving menu with classics like roasted turkey breast and cranberry relish. A la carte. 2-8 p.m. 609 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-578-6660,

Mitchell’s Fish Market: Three-course Thanksgiving meal with a roasted turkey, stuffing and cranberry relish entrée and a few choices of sides and desserts. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. $27.99 adults; $6.99 children. Multiple locations including Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky.,

National Exemplar: Three-course prime rib or roasted turkey dinner with traditional sides and dessert. Noon-7 p.m. $31.95 adults; $16.95 children under 12. 6880 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, 513-271-2103,

The Palace: Thanksgiving buffet with turkey, baked ham, short ribs, salmon, side dishes and dessert. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. $65.95; $49.95 seniors; $24.95 children. 601 Vine St., The Cincinnatian Hotel, Downtown,

The Presidents Room: Executive chef Jeremy Luers offers up a holiday-inspired menu with all the trimmings. You choice of snacks, soup or salad, entree and dessert include everything from sauerkraut balls and an iceberg salad with lamb bacon to a traditional turkey dinner (with brown-butter sweet potato puree, stuffing, Brussels sprouts and giblet gravy), pumpkin pie or pretzel bread pudding with dark beer gelato. 1-7 p.m. Prices vary. 812 Race St., The Phoenix, Downtown, 513-721-2260,

Riley’s: All-you-can-eat Thanksgiving buffet, with beer and wine available. 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. $19.95. Riley’s Restaurant, 11568 Springfield Pike, Springdale,

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse: Traditional three-course meal featuring oven-roasted turkey breast and sweet potato casserole. Noon-8 p.m. $39.95 adults; $12.95 children. 100 E. Freedom Way, The Banks, Downtown, 513-381-0491,

Seasons 52: Traditional Thanksgiving fixings including roasted turkey, stuffing, sides and mini pumpkin pie. 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. $26.95 adults; $12.95 children. 3819 Edwards Road, Norwood, 513-631-5252,

Walt’s Barbecue: All-you-can-eat buffet with premium smoked turkey breast, pulled pork and pit ham as entrees; classic sides like mashed potatoes and stuffing; and three options for dessert pie. 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. $19.95 adults; $8.95 children. 6040 Colerain Ave., Colerain Township, 513-923-9800,
<![CDATA[Barrio Tequileria in Northside to Reopen]]>
The relatively short-lived Barrio Tequileria in Northside is re-opening next weekend, under new management and ownership. 

Starting with a grand re-opening Friday and Saturday evening (6 p.m. Nov. 28 and 29) the weekend after Thanksgiving, new owners Thomas Placke and 3TC entertainment say the restaurant will still serve Tex-Mex-style food, with updated offerings including smoked wings, house-cured smoked bacon and Texas-style smoked beef brisket chili. They'll also be serving up imported tequilas and specialty cocktails, like the Helltown Hooch, Pineapple Mint Margarita and Mango Habanero Margarita, plus non-alcoholic libations for kids (and non-drinking adults) like strawberry cucumber lemonade. 

An added bonus? The huge outdoor patio will double as a dog-friendly bar with a fire pit and a s'mores menu in winter, then games when the weather gets warmer.

A recent press release also says, "In commitment to the neighborhood, Barrio will continue with fan favorites such as open mic Jazz on Tuesdays, trivia night on Wednesdays and karaoke thursdays. Barrio will also offer live music nights and delve into the local Northside character by showcasing local artists and talent."

The restaurant will also seek out a variety of nonprofits to donate portions of proceeds to.  

Barrio is located at 3937 Spring Grove Ave., Northside. Follow along with updates on Facebook.
<![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 or call 513-381-0791.

The Mercer OTR, 1324 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-0791,

<![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[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,
<![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.

  • 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,
  • Incline Public House: Pig roast, fireworks and two drink tickets. $75. 2601 W. Eighth St., Price Hill, email 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,
  • 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.,
  • 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.,
  • 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,