While many of the items taste-tested in this column each month are “weird” or “unusual” ethnic foods — uncommon perhaps in our general culture but the norm for many others — we’ve also examined products that showcase all-American gluttony at its finest, from KFC’s brazenly unhealthy Double Down to the daffy concoctions made for hard-to-please kids and lazy parents like the “Carnival Corn Dog” Kids Cuisine frozen dinners.
When the company restructures and you’re suddenly without a job, you might take a chance like Meredith Trombly and Louis Snowden did when they opened a food stall at Findlay Market called Fresh Table, specializing in organic, locally sourced foods. Meredith was the organic food buyer for Bigg’s and Louis was the corporate chef, both for about five years before Remke took over the supermarkets.
Asian fusion restaurants seem to be in fashion lately, and The Painted Fish in Northside has thrown its hat into the ring with modern décor and an eclectic menu. The Fish has transformed the former Gajah Wong West space into a hip environment where the dining soundtrack is Passion Pit and the sushi chef is Nick, a young, energetic owner who hollered a greeting from the back sushi bar as we walked in.
Family-owned businesses are few and far between. A family-owned restaurant that has not only survived but also flourished for over 30 years is even more difficult to find. The Wong family makes the recipe for success look effortless: involve the family in all aspects of the business, produce excellent food, staff each restaurant with knowledgeable and dedicated people and build a large clientele.
Former President Clinton is a vegan. Does that surprise you? I mean, this is a guy who used to stop during jogs to get a Big Mac. Now he’s given up meat and dairy products and has reportedly lost 24 pounds. So clearly this vegan thing is gaining some momentum. It’s super healthy, animal friendly and makes you skinny. What’s not to like?
On my grocery store excursions to find subject matter for this column, I’ve always had a safety net in the event I’m unable to find something suitably peculiar or gross to taste-test. This month, Plan B was finally enacted, but not out of desperation. At long last, I felt compelled to take on pigs’ feet to support an industry facing a real crisis.
Zach Weprin, his brother Josh and their friend Stephan Harman — three twentysomethings who grew up together — are business guys. When they started Soho Sushi (28 W. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-421-7646) last year, it wasn’t on a whim. They were hoping to be the next big thing and it looks like they’re headed that way.
When I first heard that a new Irish restaurant was opening up downtown, I was happy but skeptical. Happy because it’s great that the corner space at Seventh and Race streets is once again occupied, but skeptical because I’ve never found Irish cuisine to be inspiring. Luckily, BagPipes Irish Pub is making a strong case to prove me wrong.
When Sierra Laumer’s sister, Jenna, was battling cancer in 2009, the sisters dreamed of opening a restaurant once Jenna was back on her feet. Jenna lost the war in 2010, and Sierra knew she had to make the dream a reality because, all too clearly, life is too short to play it safe. Sierra and her good friend, Leah Heisel, opened ForkHeartKnife
There are two spots you’ve got to try downtown, especially if you’re a macaroni and cheese person. Don’t laugh! There are people who count macaroni and cheese as one of the holy sacraments, because when it’s done right, it’s heaven.