I couldn't have asked for a more cinematic entrance to Jean Paul's Paradiso. As my friend and I entered the brightly lit shop, we noticed a man sitting behind the counter looking at the television hanging from the ceiling in one corner. He (Jean Paul) seemed completely oblivious to the perfectly shaped pie he cradled in his hands.
There it was, high atop Mount Adams on St. Gregory Street: Longworth's Tavern, the long-standing neighborhood bar and grill touting two floors, a patio and a recently reopened kitchen. Hoorah! We braved the brisk temperature and the steep hill to indulge in an evening of excessive food and drink.
The old Jerusalem Cafe was a bit of a hole in the wall, but it has some mythical qualities. The new owner, Kaly Avwy, has spiffed the place up a bit and changed from a buffet-style venue to a sit-down dining experience. It even has free WiFi now. Best of all, the food is really good.
I used to wonder why some bars brand themselves as Irish pubs when they're not. Wouldn't it be easier to be Fred's Bar and not O'Malley's Olde Ale House? Our team of pub wonders took in the area's latest Irish-themed spot, and we arrived to a shiny, new, crowded house on a Friday evening. The mood of the place was very festive, and I liked the look of some fried oysters on their way to a patron at the bar.
I'm always up for trying a new Mediterranean joint, even if it is a bit of a drive. Taz Lebanese & Greek Cuisine in Mason is right smack in the middle of the Fields Ertle insanity in a building that used to house Fazoli's.
There have been several reincarnations of the Rookwood restaurant, but this time they might have gotten the karma right. It's a solid serendipity of setting, menu and price point, a welcome addition to the heart of Cincinnati.
Life seems to be in short supply of pleasant surprises these days. I counted myself very lucky to be on the receiving end of one when I visited Mac's Pizza Pub. I had put off my visit until the last minute for a number of reasons, one being that I was afraid it would be filled with my students from UC and I would have to order a pop instead of a beer.