Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bettas Italian Cuisine

Thursday night we and another couple were having a drink and some "nosh"(bites), at our house, when we decided to go have some basic Italian food, nothing fancy. Bettas at 1026 Delta Ave, Mt Lookout Square,45208, hit the "bill". This family restaurant is nothing fancy, decor or food, but is a place for "standards" and home made red sauce.
We all started with a simple, green, tossed salad with one's choice of dressing, I choose vinaigrette. Next we had 2 orders of Lasagna, one vegetarian and the other with meat, one spaghetti with meat sauce and my Veal Parmigiana. All were accompanied with a large slice of Garlic Bread, and the Veal had a "side "of spaghetti. All were served hot and everything came "as advertised". On the table is a shaker of cheese and one of red pepper flakes. They have desserts, however, none of us partook, although they looked tempting.
The two couples split the check which amounted, on this divided basis, to $26 per couple. We were the last to leave at approximately 9:30. not a place for the late night crowd.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Early Resolution

The comments are becoming too many to ignore. I have heard from cousins, a granddaughter, who is an editor of her University student newspaper, and my earliest, and most severe editor about my spelling and grammar. Luckily no one violently complains about my comments on food or restaurants, the main topic of the Blog.
In view of the suggestions, a nice way of saying criticisms, from my most regular readers, I spent some time, yesterday, with my original commentator and editor.
The out come is: I will try to hit the right keys on the keyboard; I will use both "spell check" and a dictionary, and most importantly I will try to reread my comments carefully before posting. We'll all see what happens. "Bon Appetite".

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Last night ten of us spent an evening at "Slim's", 4046 Hamilton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45223- 513-681-6500. We arrived at 6:30 and departed 4 hours later. During that time we each consumed 3 courses, two different "enticements, several split desserts and 7 bottles of wine, three red, two white and two Champagne.
Slims does not serve alcoholic drinks but most customers arrive with bottles of wine or beer. I do not remember seeing anything harder. There is no service charge and they gladly supply the proper glassware. Incidentally, the entrance is a ground level and so is handicapped accessible. I heartily recommend reservations.
The menu is price fixed at $40 each for a three course meal consisting of a starter, salad and an entree. The food has a definite South American of southern European bent.
I started with a Ecuadorian seafood soup. The base was coconut milk and a chicken broth to which was added chopped shrimps and clams plus diced tomato pieces and minced onion and coconut meat. It was slightly sweet but had a "kick" although no aftertaste. This was followed by an orange and pomegranate seed salad with goat cheese and mixed greens. For my main course I had sea scallops served over pepper fettuccine with a light cream and cherrezo sauce.
The hit of the entrees, since we all tasted several, was a marinated roasted pork belly. It had been marinated in a citrus vinaigrette and was juicy, tender and flavorful. Other entrees were plantain crusted halibut, sliced Beef tenderloin, Pork tenderloin and several others including a vegetarian selection. The food, of course, is cooked to order and everything was interesting and tasty, although I thought the Pork tenderloin was a bit on the dry side. The accompanying side of corn pudding was excellent. The place was full and noisy with people enjoying themselves and lindgered, as we did. In spited of this the service was good and no one was rushed. There my have been a few tables that turned over and groups seem to range from 2 to our group of ten.
It's certainly a place to revisit on Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, as those are the only time they are open.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

More Finger Foods

I just finished making my Christmas Herring, actually "doctoring" is more accurate. I buy a large jar of herring, 32 ounces, in wine sauce, at Costco, and pour off most of the juice. I add a few liquid ingredients, and then "Granny Smith Apple, Fresh Lemon,sliced very thin, Sweet raw onion and sour cream till I get the consistency I want. Next comes a couple of dry ingredients and "wallah" a Christmas present for our Priest friend's Mother and others. Did you think I was going to give you a receipt? Experiment.

Yesterday we may have started a Holiday tradition. Marilyn and I, and another family, had a wonderful, relaxing, elegant lunch at Pigall's. After a bottle of Chardonnay and an "amuse bushe" we each had an appetizer course and an entree. Several of us started with a smoked salmon tarter, served in a room temperature crape, while the others has lobster ravioli or pumpkin soup. I followed with Sea Scallops while Marilyn chose a Beef Fillet, The others had roast chicken and Sea Bass. The lunches, two courses run from $30 to $40 each. Wine and a 20% gratuity are extra, but what a delight full interlude.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Finger Foods

If you have forgotten what the title means I refer you back to June 3, for it's first use. Knowing is not a necessity.
I mentioned a few days ago we were going to "carry in" from "Wild Ginger" Our daughter is in a transitional unit of a nursing facility, get her strength back from a hospital stay. The place has a very nice private dinning room and we use it for family gatherings. We provide the food and "hot tray", they do the rest. The Wild Ginger meal consisted of Chicken Pot Stickers, Walleye, pan fried, in a lightly spiced sauce, along with spinach and broccoli, Pineapple Fried Rice and "Wild Ginger Noodles" a spaghetti type noodle with scallions to which we added fresh asparagus and cashew nuts. The food at Wild Ginger is quite good, but as with any "carry out" it looses something in translation (or transportation). It's better than institutional food no matter how well the institution does.
The next night it was back to Prima Vista, one of our favorites (comments earlier on the Blog) We enjoy the food, service and view, and their drinks aren't bad either. Marilyn have Veal Piccatta while I had a wonderful fresh Red Snapper in a Lobster Sauce with lobster chunks on top, hardly rich. Their salads are crisp and the vinaigrette is quite tasty. Marilyn had a side of pasta, which is only right for an Italian Restaurant.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Tucked away in a shopping center south of Dayton is Meadowlark, 2094 Miami-Centerville Rd. Dayton, Ohio-937-434-4750. Closed on Sunday nights and all day Monday. Handicapped accessible and free parking.
Meadowlark is run by several women who started in the food business in Yellow Springs, OH. and have expanded to the Dayton area. Dayton should be happy to have them. There food is inventive, flavorful and well priced. The decor is clean, not fancy, and guests are made to feel "right at home" by the attentive service staff.
We have eaten there twice and each time has been a treat. Good food, service, atmosphere and price. We ate last night with a couple who had recently moved to Dayton. We braved the elements but it was worth the one hour trip from our Cincinnati home.
The do not serve spirits, so if you must have a drink before dinner stop at your favorite "watering hole" or grab one, only, before setting out. Meadowlark does offer both beer and wine. Their wine selection is varied and as reasonable as the food.
Last night Marilyn and I split and order of Macaroni and Cheese and roasted Mustard Crusted Chicken Thighs, both specials. The Macaroni had melted Gruyere, Sharp Cheddar and a little Blue. It was run under the broiler for a few minutes with breadcrumbs to form a delicious and crunchy topping. The thighs had been coated with three mustard's, roasted and again dusted with seasoned crumbs. This was served with a fresh vegetable mix and mashed potatoes. We asked to have a substitute for the potatoes, since we had enough starch with the Macaroni. We received as a replacement, for the potatoes, roasted chilled beets with goat cheese.
Being the largest eater in the group I began my dinner with pureed Cauliflower Soup. We also ended by splitting a "Black Bottom Carmel Pudding".
The other couple, both, had beautiful looking Grilled Trout. They split a green salad, as a starter and ended with the same dessert as we, in equal quantity. We all split a bottle of California Claret, although neither of the wives drink, too bad.
The bill with a 20% tip came to $75 per couple. It was well worth braving the storm.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I've received more comments about no new postings than I thought I had readers. There have been some major distractions but I'll try to "feed"( bad pun) the hungry masses.
I know that I reported on the Indonesian Restaurant and Twist. We have been out since then but not to a lot of new spots. We did hit some of our favorites, Honey, Bonefish, Terry's etc but since our opinion doesn't change I don't add new comments.
We did go with another couple to "Jean Ro Bistro" and I didn't have my usual wonderful onion soup. They had excellent split pea soup, another of my favorites. It is well pureed and made with very sweet, fresh peas, delicious. That night Marilyn and I split an order of calf's liver, also good. Be prepared for a $3 split charge on an Entree. One of our companions had C'oq-au-vin which looked delicious. The chicken was wonderfully browned and the sauce was rich and flavorful. The bread they served, our table, had just come from the oven and was not only warm but beautifully crusty. Next time, I believe, I'll have that main course, the bread and some red wine, I can hardly wait.
Tonight we are "carrying in" food from "Wild Ginger" and tomorrow evening we're off to "Prima Vista". We're, obviously, getting in the swing of things again.
Further reports will follow.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


The last entree told about a low key good restaurant. This is about the newest "hot spot" in Downtown. Pigall's Twist Lounge and Bar, the full name, opened this week. We were there last night after the Symphony. The crowd was a mix of young and old, local politicians, downtowners and "after art's events" patrons with some spill over from Pigall's next door. This is just who the management, Jean Robert, is trying to attract. As is said, the place was full of "the usual suspects".
The lounge is located on 4th St next to Pigall's Restaurant, between Race and Elm. The building, the East of the restaurant, was purchase by Jean Robert, his partners, and the first floor was gutted. Along the west wall is a long full service bar, with seating and standing room. The rest of the room is filled with small tables and chairs, easy and more formal. It is an attractive space and last night was alive. There are a few steps inside the entrance so I am not sure how wheel chairs can navigate. There is Valet parking. I don't know the hours and for that I apologize. A call to Pigall's can fill in all the details.
Prices, for the location and proprietors, are very reasonable. Possibly some of the lowest "wine by the glass" prices in the area; and the wines are quite good. The small plates, "bites" are equally well priced. There are about a dozen different bites from which to choose.
Our party of 4 had 4 glasses of wine, plus a sparkling water and 3 small plates. Our choices were, fois gras, duck and a "Tower Castle", a take off on White Castle but eons above their offering. Each plate had enough to share a bit and still feel there was sufficient to go with your wine. Our bill, including a generous tip, came to a total of $70. Not White Castle prices but then neither was the food, wine, atmosphere or service.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Gajah Wong

If you like a drink or two before dinner, steak and potato, mild food or being a the new "hot" spot to be seen, this is not for you.
Gajah Wong is an Indonesian Cafe in Northside at 3935-37 Spring Grove Ave. Cincinnati 45223. Phone 513-591-3935. It is an attractive, sit down restaurant, at street level, in two buildings next to the BP station at the north end of the Ludlow viaduct. In the summer they have an outdoor patio which allows them to grill. In the winter the grill items are dependent on the weather. Alcoholic drinks are limited to beer and wine.
We went there the other night, with a friend, and found a very pleasant place with good service and interesting food, most of which is Java inspired. This is another take on Asian vitals.
The three of us shared everything, which turned out to be more than enough. I can't use the Indonesian names but what we ate tasted great in any language.
We started with a soup containing "vermicelli" thin rice noodles, bean sprouts, egg, shrimp crisps and other items. A side plate contains rice, peanut slivers and other "additives. This was followed by salad of potato's, bean sprouts, scallions, eggs, tomato's, green beans, tofu, and ch oped lettuce or some other leafy green. The two main courses we split were "Colossal Prawns", 4 bites or more to each on a bed of chopped vegetables and a beef dish, my least favorite, of slices of "pot roast' in a brown spicy gravy, served on a bed of cabbage along with steamed water crest and orange colored, from the spices, pan cooked potato's. A side is served, for the table of 4 sauces which can be added to everything or nothing, or even some.
This plus my beer and the ladies coffee and a 20% tip came to $28 each. The food is very flavorful and the service adds to a very pleasent evening.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


As I have mentioned several times, although the main comments will be food related there are other parts in our lives. The last 8/9 days we have been very concerned with the health of our daughter. Things are improving and I'll now try to bring you up on gastronomical activities.

Some places in the last few weeks have been: Via Vita the Pietosi restaurant on Fountain Sq. We went there the first week it was open and I will reserve my feeling for a second visit, when their "act is together". Cheesecake Factory, in Kenwood. A large chain with equally large menu and portions. Full bar, with good sized drinks, street level entry( to bar and restaurant) and usually a wait for a table. Acceptable food and service, but still a chain. Skyline Chili, with ten family members, what more do I need say?
Thanksgiving we had a semi-prepared dinner from Kroger, the eve before, and one from Marilyn the actual day. You all know how I rated them. The Kroger dinner was sent by friends, a very nice gesture. The dinner comes in need of more preparation. Turkey must be cooked another hour and a half to two hours, plus gravy thawed along with frozen dressing. Potatoes microwaved, and they only come in one flavor, white and mashed. It also included pumpkin pie but no other items. To me there is much to much Sodium in everything, but it certainly is semi convenient.
Marilyn prepared whole roasted and stuff chickens. In the roasting pan she includes new potatoes, onions, green beans, lima beans, carrots and celery. The whole dinner is a one roasting pan meal which makes its own delicious gravy. She prepared excellent corn bread stuffing on the side. With that comes a wonderful hot fruit compote; apricots, prunes, pineapple, Mandarin orange sections and red unsweetened cherries. This dish is make by Joanne's husbands Mother. We also had condiments and slices of pecan pie.
We missed Joanne, our daughter, who spent the time in University Hospital but we'll make it up to her when she is well enough.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sung Korean Bistro

Sorry it's been so long since I last posted anything. My reason is that we have been involved with pressing family matters. This is by way of explanation to my three readers who are not family.
A week, or so ago, I had lunch with a good friend at Sung Korean Bistro, 700 Elm St., Cincinnati 45202. The restaurant occupies the space that was previously occupied by Aoli. It has been redone in a very attractive Korean mode, stressing red, white and black.
The menu is reasonably sized, at lunch, with the Dinner menu slightly larger. Lunch is priced from about $9 to $14. There is full bar service and the entrance is at street level so easily negotiated for all.
My friend and I each had a lunch served in a black lacquer box. There were two fried, stuffed dumplings, two thin pieces of a a sushi roll, a helping of white rice and a Korean Bar-B-Qued meat of your choice. the cost was $10. Tofu can be substituted for the meat. As a side there were three small portions of marinated vegetables; a very spicy cabbage, crisp seaweed and marinated radish and carrot.
The food was hot, attractive and tasty. I'll return and try it for dinner, probably before a CSO concert.

Monday, November 12, 2007


The week of Nov.1 we drove to Chicago to attend the 18th SOFA show at Navy Pier. SOFA stands for Sculptured Objects Fine Art and is undoubted the largest "Art Glass" show in the US and possibly in the world. There are over 100 dealers represented and at least 18 countries.
As usual we "sponge" off our friends on the North Shore and so our "time off" is centered in that vicinity.
We spent all day Friday at the show but did manage to have a few evening meals with friends.
Thursday night we had a very pleasant dinner at "Prairie Grass Cafe" 601 Skokie Blvd, Northbrook, IL. 847-205-4433. Prairie Grass was in the south loop but escaped to the suburbs. The four of us shared 2 salad, one beet and the other Caesar, which were more than sufficient for starters. I had a wonderful main course of grilled homemade lamb sausage served on two large slices of grilled pumpkin which had been basted with Maple syrup. It was accompanied, on the same plate, with steamed spinach topped with a generous amount of goat cheese. A beautiful and delicious plate of colors and flavors.
Marilyn had excellent "Lake Superior White fish". The others had Pork Cutlet and Salmon.
The restaurant is in an office building and is handicapped accessible and has full bar service.
The next night we went to a Pizza Parlor, owned by friends of our hosts,. It is in the Ravenswood neighborhood. "Spaccanapoli",1769 W Sunnyside, Chicago, IL 60640, 779-878-2420. There were six of us and we were there early, around 6 PM. The place was full of families with babies on up. As first courses we shared 2, lovely, mixed green salads and a large plate of marinated seafood. We chose 3 pizza's from the menu and had extra toppings added to them. I did not find the pizza's anything out of the ordinary, even with the additions. The table shared 3 excellent deserts, Tartufo, Teramisu and Tuscan Chocolate Gelato. This plus 2 bottles of very good Chianti comprised the evening meal for the 6 of us. Total cost $225.
Next morning we hit Max and Benny's( see earlier report) for Breakfast. I had Corn Beef Hash, disappointing because it was ground not chopped, and Marilyn excellent Cinnamon Swirl French Toast.
We loaded the car with deli, for our Cincinnati children, and headed home. The aroma was with us all the way.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Off to Dayton

Sunday we were invited, by a sponsor, to visit the Roman Antiquity show at the Dayton Art Museum. The "center piece" of the exhibit are mosaics from a Synagogue found in Tunisia in the late 1800's by a French Army Captain, digging in his garden. The structure and art probably goes back to 300 to 400 CE. The mosaics are remarkably preserved and very "modern" in design and use of color. These, of course, are my uneducated comments.
After our tour we went to "The Paragon Supper Club",797 Miamisburg - Centerville Rd, Dayton, 45459,-937-433-1453. Our friends told us that the Paragon was founded by a Manager of "The Pine Club", who broke away, almost 30 years ago.
The Paragon decor looks to me like a Supper club should. Dark wood, leather, booths, tables and servers who have been there a long time and know their business. The menu is heavy on meat but has seafood and plenty of well prepared sides. I believe the "Pine Club" and Paragon are known for their steaks and trimmings.
I chose Calf's Liver, served with Onions and Bacon while Marilyn had Veal Piccata on Angel Hair, both were well prepared. We both started with a green salad with an excellent vinaigrette, supposedly an original from the "Pine Club". We also both chose creamed spinach, again very good, while my second side was stewed tomatoes, too sweet, and Marilyn's other was ,done just right, broccoli. Bread and rolls come with the meal. The Paragon has a full bar, from which we all had drinks to start our dinner, and is handicapped accessible.
For desert the table shared a large delicious hot fudge covered ice cream ball. The hot fudge was perfect in consistence, flavor and warmth. Total expenditure, $60 for the two of us including gratuity.
It was a very educational and pleasant day and we were home around 9 PM.

Hard to believe

Last night we went to dinner with a couple, who are good friends. The husband thinks that "foie gras" was a greater gift to mankind than the wheel. It goes without saying that it was back to Terry's where we had been only 24 hours previous.
Having had a large lunch at "Honey" with my UC class, outstanding bread pudding, I settled for a mushroom plate($9). Four different kinds of mushrooms, the Portabella stuffed with Bearnaise Sauce and Goat Cheese, very thinning, while the others had been sauteed and had a Balsamic reduction.
Marilyn had a wonderful marinated Tenderloin Sandwich with Fries.(Also $9).
Tonight we'll eat at home and Terry will just have to do without us. It's some bar.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Hot off the Grill

We have just walked in from a Hamburger at Terry's Turf Club, 4618 Eastern Ave. 45204-513-533-4222. This neighborhood bar is up 4 steps and so not handicapped accessible, but has a limited menu to go along with "full" bar service. It is owned and operated by Terry Carter, who did the same thing at Neon's for 17 years. Terry took over the location in March and operates a bright, clean and fun place for drinks and sandwiches from 5PM till 1AM.
Three of us went and enjoyed a very informal, friendly and reasonable dinner with several other customers, all interesting and younger than we, not a hard thing to find. We all had burgers with toppings, some included in the $5.50 price and some extra. It is the second place that I noticed that the French Fries were cut after ordered and prepared as requested; the table shared an order. We had "draft" beer and the total for the 3 was $28 dollars.
The most exotic topping was "foie gras" which adds $6 and comes grilled on top of the generous beef patty. The burger is well seasoned and you might like to try it plain on you first encounter.
Don't let the location scare you. It is safe, secure and a good spot for "foodies". You may meet some others at the next table or the bar.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cleaning my desk

I sat down last night and started going thru the papers on my desk. There were half a dozen or more restaurant receipts, some of which I have written about and some I'm sure I haven't. I decided to take the cowards way out and just list them, with addresses and brief comments, in no particular order
Cumin-3520 Erie Ave,45208;513-871-8714. Continental with Indian Spices. Great food and service. One of our favorites. Be sure to ask about specials.
Hitching Post-2715 Madison Road-45209. Walk in fried chicken and other things, strip center, everyday, decent and very reasonable. We use it for "carry out" as much as "eat in".
Baigi'o Bistro-308 Ludlow Ave, 45220- Decent Italian in "Clifton", near the Esquire Theater.
Trio-Kenwood, 7565 Kenwood Road, 45236-513-984-1905. Good food, good service and the North Central crowd who us it as a home away from home.
Apsara-4785 Lake Forest Drive, Blue Ash, 513-554-1040. Large Asian. Good and spicy food. Unless it has changed you feel kind of lost in a very large restaurant with only a few tables full, you certainly can visit. The food is well prepared and served "hot" in both ways.
Walt's Hitching Post, 3300 Madison Pike, Ft. Wright, KY 41017. In my opinion the only place for ribs and certainly the place to take large groups for an informal time.
Vincenzo's-11525 Chester Road, 45246-513-771-0022. One of the better, cooked to order, Italian. Run by the Chef who cooked at the original "Germano's" when it was in the filling station on Route 4. Large menu, well prepared and worth the trip. In the "tri county" area.
JeanRo-413 Vine, 45202-513-621-1465. As close to a real "French Bistro" feel as we have in Cincinnati. One of Jean Robert's establishment. Full dinner or wonderful onion soup and something else, salad, steak tartare. We use a lot before another event. With downtown growing it is also becoming a neighborhood hang out for the condo crowd.

Now I feel better and the desk is clear of receipts. We'll have to go out soon again, maybe tonight.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Little Plates

I have always been told the Tapis means "little plates". I am not a student of Spanish so I have no idea if this is a correct translation or an easy way of explaining the meaning. Regardless, Travis Maier and his father Scott have opened "Seny" at 1544 Madison Road, across from St Francis De Salles Church, Cincinnati 45206-phone 513-221-7369( Travis runs the kitchen while Scott is in the front of the house and probably runs the Exchequer.
We went a couple of nights ago, with another couple, and found the place up, running and thriving. At 6:30 they were fairly full with a mixed and lively crowd.
The menu, which you can preview on their web site, is broken down into 4 parts. Three sections of Tapis, cold, hot and traditional, plus a smaller selection of full sized main entrees. We decided to order all of the Traditional, 7 in all, which was enough food for the four of us to have a couple of tastes of each selection. We left satisfied but not at all stuffed.
The dishes were. White Asparagus, with two dressings, a mixture of pureed chicken and ham rolled into a ball and deep fried to form a croquette, a Rioja Salad, Patatas Bravas( cubed potatoes, hash browned and served with a mildly spicy sauce), Tortilla( artichoke made into a patty and pan fried), Calamari with lemon, and Shrimp in a butter and red pepper mixture.
The dinner for four including drinks or wine was approximately $68.
The restaurant is cheerful and our service was very good. They opened Oct 11 and seem to have their act together.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A family's visit

Our Mendocino family,the Deerwaters, were with us for a week. Son, spouse and 2 Granddaughters age 16 and 13. The 16 year old went off on a side trip with her 18 year old cousin to visit another cousin at Washington University in St. Louis.
They flew "Skybus" from Oakland CA to Columbus and got here about midnight Wednesday a week ago, October 10. Thursday night 8 of us, Joanne and her family, all had dinner at "J.Alexanders" in Rookwood Mall, the Hamburgers and French Fries were a big hit, and then it was off to Othello at the playhouse, a full evening.
Friday after several museums"The Pirate exhibit" at the Museum Center and the CAC, downtown, they did a bit of shopping while Marilyn and I fixed dinner for the seven of us, Kathryn, the local cousin included. We treated them all to "fresh" Walleye, Wisconsin pan fried.
Saturday the 16 year old, Lilly, and Kathryn took off for St. Louis while we and the 3 remaining headed South to Berea KY. First stop was the Artisan Center, where many of the Kentucky craft people show their wares. Next a lunch at Boone Tavern, famous and decent food. They tasted "spoon bread' for the first time and thought they we're in foreign country, which they were. It was craft weekend in Berea and so it was late afternoon before we headed to "horse farm" country around Lexington and the on to Walt's Hitching Post, our favorite rib place, where we were met by one of our son's friends. Last item for the day was the CSO concert, which was wonderful.
Sunday morning it was Otto's, for brunch, hosted by Joanne's mother-in-law, and an afternoon of more sightseeing. Dinner here again with drops in's up till 9 PM as people returned from side trips.
Monday Marilyn worked while I took those in town to Marx Hot Bagels, in Kenwood for lunch and as many take home bagel's as they thought they could get in their luggage. They say they can't get Bagel's in their part of the West coast and had orders for several people. The balance of the afternoon was spent on shopping, what a women to do?
Monday night it was a fried chicken dinner, with all the trimmings at "The Greyhound Restaurant", 2500 Dixie Highway, Ft Mitchell, KY. There were ten of us and the Greyhound is great for large groups, especially ordering their set Monday and Tuesday "special", family style fried chicken dinner; including a half fried chicken each, green beans, cole slaw, mashed potatoes and gravy plus bisects, butter and honey.
Tuesday I had my class, at UC, while the Mendocino bunch took Joanne, and then we all meet at "Ingredients" at the Westin Hotel. At night while I went to a Joseph Co. Management Dinner, Marilyn put on a pasta and salad buffet, in our kitchen.
Wednesday morning the left with the Graeter's they had picked up the evening before; again you can't get that in Northern California.
We enjoyed having them here for a week and so did the Kentucky Restaurant Owners Association and the North American Pasta Retailers.

Hungry? More about Morton's

Our server on our visit to the Bar, at Morton's, after the CSO, told us that they had a special running into November. Last night we returned to give it a try.
For $49.50 per person one receives a 4 course, 5 item, priced fixed meal. It consists of one of Morton's regular salads, which are excellent and Hugh, a "surf and turf", consisting of an eight ounce Fillet, prepared perfectly, and a seafood side, of your choice, either a lump crab cake, sauteed Scampi or Bacon wrapped scallops. A choice of one of the regular side items and dessert of either Key Lime Pie or molten chocolate cake with ice-cream. All items are first class quality and preparation. Nothing is small and all of us took part of our dinner home.
The main dining room is beautiful and the service very good. Drinks are expensive but the food in quality, preparation and price is a bargain.
The 3 sides chosen for our table were "Hash Brown potatoes", Creamed Spinach and roasted Asparagus. We all shared these three different items.
I have no idea how long the "special" will last but if you like steak, even just once in a while, it is a "special" you should enjoy. Reservations are necessary.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

A nice surprise

Morton's The Steakhouse, 441 Vine St. Downtown Cincinnati- 513 -621-3111 is a beautiful room on the second floor of the Carew Tower. I walked in, one day, just to look around and found that they have a special, very reasonable, Bar Menu.
A week or so ago we went, with another couple, after a Symphony concert. Saturday night there is no special deal, in effect, but the items still range from $8 to $11 dollars. We shared a dip of white lump crab meat and spinach served with many slices of toasted, buttered french bread, a platter of 4 tenderloin sandwiches, 3 mini cheeseburgers. This plus 6 drinks for the table amounted to $75 plus gratuity, for the four of us.
Now for the special news. This same menu, which has another 4 to 5 items is $4 a dish Monday thur Thursday from 5/6:30 and from 9:30/11:00 PM. It is a real bargain before or after a show, or for a drink and a bite after being downtown in the afternoon. There also is a special dinner priced at $50, price fixed for 4 courses. This special, as I understand, runs every evening, in the Dinning Room till Nov. 15.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

On we go

We left Washington VA and the Middleton Inn, where we had Bedded and Breakfasted, Wed morning, Sept 26. After a beautiful drive thru the Virginia countryside we arrived in Washington. D.C. in time for lunch with Marilyn's nephew, a Washington lawyer, and his wife. They had chosen "Pesce" at 2016 P ST, NW just off DuPont Circle. Pesce is a seafood Bistro where the menu is presented by chalk board. Every thing is fresh and "big city reasonable". After a big dinner and breakfast I could have easily skipped lunch but instead settled on excellent Tuna Tartar. Marilyn opted for a green salad. We did taste the grilled sardine, which I had missed in Portugal, two years ago.
From D.C. we proceeded to Baltimore where we stoped at the Walters Museum before checking into the Hyatt-Regency at the "Inner Harbor". Our room on the 10th floor had a wonderful view and probably was the nicest room and bath combination of the whole trip.
That night we were entertained by Charles's current boss, John Erickson and his wife Nancy, in their 27th floor penthouse on a point between the Inner and Outer harbor. It was the second meal served by a Butler and prepared by a personal chef, the first being in Richmond. The main course was Beef Tenderloin, as John is a steak person. he is also a self made hugh success story. One of 14 children of a dirt poor laborer in Jasper Tenn. he has risen to head of "Retirement
Living" a builder and operator of retirement communities, 22 and counting, housing 2 to 3 thousand. Among other enterprises, RL also has a free standing TV network of which Charles is the VP for programing. They entertained 10 of us and it was a lovely evening.
Next morning Marilyn and I said goodbye and headed for Gettysburg PA. I have read some Civil War history but I wasn't prepared for the enormity of the area, 25 square miles, nor the scope, size and casualties of the battle. On advice of a women in the visitors center we took a three hour self directed tour, greatly aided by a recording we bought and played as we proceeded. The tour took over 3 1/2 hours for us to complete. The whole experience was enlightening and moving.
People ask how we find places to eat "on the road". As we spoke to the pleasant women in the visitors center book store she told us that hers was a good job for a retiree. I asked her where she lived and when she replied," in the area" I asked for her favorite eating place, food not ambiance. She recommended a restaurant between Gettysburg and Chambersburg, where we had reservations for the night. The restaurant, the "Caledonia Bistro" happened to be on our route. We hit the Bistro at around 4:45 which by our standard is a bit early. I went in, checked the menu, mostly Italian and seafood and asked the waiter to ask the Chef where we should eat in Chamberburg? The answer was "The Orchards" which became our dinner destination, why ask if you don't intend to follow advice? We checked into the Hampton Inn, which was a very nice well maintained Motel and after a bit took off for "the Orchards". The restaurant, at 1580 Orchard Dr. Chambersburg, PA, is quite large catering to individual groups and larger functions. The food was quite good, I finally got lump crab cakes as an entree but unfortunately management, in my opinion, made a major mistake in assigning a brand new waitress to our table and also a large private party in another room. Once again service put a damper on an otherwise very pleasant dinner. Marilyn chose a main course of steak, mushrooms and gnocchi. It was on of those magic dishes that grow with every bite and though it was very good it was more than we could handle, so more than half made the trip home in our cooler, a must when we travel, and feed us both Friday night.
We'll folks that is the end of marvelous week celebrating, sightseeing and most of all eating, so what else is new?

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Inn at Little Washington

I've been taken to task, by several readers, it's nice to know someone out there is reading what I write, for taking so long to proceed with a report of our trip. One of the reasons is that I have been somewhat hesitant to write anything about this very famous spot.
The Inn, and especially the food, at this, 5 star, top rated eating establishment has received so much acclaim that any thing I have to say will have been said in articles or guides many times over. My only advantage is that by now, those of you who read these reports are, used to my opinions and comments.
On our celebrator swing it was the first meal we shared only with Charles and Cynthia. They stayed at the Inn while we stayed "down the road" at a B&B, which wasn't bad either. The four of us meet, at the Inn, for dinner on Sept 25 around 7:00 PM. Upon arriving one of the managers pinned a boutonniere on each of the men's jackets. A white rose for a guest at the Inn and a white carnation on those only having dinner. That is the first of many attentive niceties.
The menu was headed,"Happy 50th Birthday to Charles". and we decided that we would "taste as many items as possible. The dinner is priced fixed at $148 per person not including gratuity, tax and alcoholic beverages. You are not only paying for the beautifully prepared food but the experience, as well. It is almost worth the price, or maybe it is. Go there and judge for yourself.
Each dish is a balance of beauty, taste and flavors. The presentation is as interesting as I have seen with each piece of china, glass or pottery matching it's contents. Of course, the table is set with fresh flowers and all the silverware and glasses.
Before ordering a platter of 8 oriental shaped serving spoons was place in the center of our table with a taste of 8 different ingredients from "the world smallest baked potato", the size of a marble, to salmon with dill and a sauce. While waiting for our first course, and each meal consits of 4 courses, we were presented with a small cup of Apple and Rutabaga Soup in a very light cream base with a touch of sherry.
First and Second course selections are one full page of the menu. We settled on the following 8. "Beet Fantasia" three varieties of roasted beets in a mousse and caviar and citrus salsa. Seared Tuna Sashimi with radish, cucumber and Wasabi sorbet. A Chilled Seafood Sampler, Lobster, Tuna tartare and Ceviche. Macaroni and Cheese with Virginia Country Ham and Truffles, the cheese was actually a basket in which the rest of the ingredients rested. Several local Cantaloupe Sorbets with ribbons of Virginia Country Ham and grilled black Mission Figs, this was served in a beautiful Japanese pottery bowl. Roasted Eggplant Raviolis with Medallions of Maine Lobster. Crispy Maryland Crabcakes with a trio of sauces and finally Seared Diver Scallops with Olive Tapenade. These dishes are nice size but thankfully not huge. All were passed around the table and shared.
Our 4 Main Courses were: Pan Roasted lobster in a citrus butter sauce; Veal Parmesan Reincarnated: Prosciutto Wrapped, Pan Roasted Loin of Veal with Spinach Ravioli and a light Parmesan sauce; Veal Sweetbreads Braised in Ruby Port with Pappardelle Pasta with Huckleberries and country ham; Medallions of Colorado Lamb with herb poached Matsutake Mushrooms and Sauce Bearnaise. Again we all shared although I lucked out as the only other person who likes Sweetbreads is Charles.
Dessert was a Butter Pecan Sandwich, layers of crisp butterscotch and chocolate crisps separating the ice cream layers and served with a warm Caramel Sauce. A platter of two different chocolate souffles and a lemon tart and Charles and Cynthia each had "7 Deadly Sins", a taste of 7 different items. Coffee and tea followed. We also had a bottle of very nice Virgina Cabernet.
As Mikey's brother says "try it you'll like it.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Here we go

The first night of our trip we spent at "The Greenbrier". It may still be called a resort. Marilyn and I had not been there, together, for over 50 years, although I had attended several business meetings in the interim.
When we went, most guest arrived by train and were transported to the hotel by a horse drawn carriage. Now the guests either come by plane or auto. Many years ago it had a much stronger feeling of individual or family. Now, as at most large resort hotels, it has swung towards meetings and conventions. The staff is still courteous, polite and helpful, but there attention has to be divided between the individual and the group.
We had dinner in the Main Dinning Room, where Gentlemen are still required to be in coat and tie. The service is still good but not up to the highest standard. Our server had too many tables, assigned, and was changed in the middle of the meal, causing a major flaw. The dinner was very good but not exceptional. I ordered 3 "starters" for my dinner, while Marilyn had a salad and main course. My selection was a Romaine and Asparagus salad, followed by a Shrimp and Crab salad and finally Soft Shelled Crabs, two in number and quite small. Marilyn had the same Romaine Salad and Dover Sole. Her main course either was not heard or the order was lost in the kitchen, which put the dinner some what out of whack by the time it was corrected. For dessert we had an Apricot Pavlova, which as you probably know is a European tart. Dinner was pleasant but not out standing.
In the morning we returned to the Main Dinning room, now informal where I had an overwhelming Sportsman's platter; pan sauteed trout, roasted tomato, cheese grits and 4 slices of bacon. Very good and filling; enough to hold me till dinner.

That night in Richmond we were guest of the Kaine's, Tim and Anne. Virginia's first couple. Tim was a house mate of our son, Charles, at college and that was the connection. The Governor's Mansion is in a park in the middle of town along with the Capitol and another government building. Beautiful with lots of security.
The Mansion was designed by Thomas Jefferson and built shortly after his term. It is Federal in style and has a first floor set for entertaining and a second with living quarters for the Governor, his family and their guests. We were in the "Queens Room", a bedroom and bath redecorated for last summers visit of Queen Elizabeth. Even though the Queen had dinner at the Mansion she did not us the room or it's facilities.
Dinner was a family affair with 17 of us at a seated, served table in the main dining room. There was the Kaine family, including their 3 children, the youngest, age 12, showed up bare footed. 4 Hirschhorn's, Charles's sister, Joanne, with her husband and daughter and 5 other friend of Charles and Tim. We were served a composed salad of fresh tomato's and Mozzarella and then a
plate containing a very good baked and coated chicken breast, green beans wrapped in Virginia Ham and a excellent patty of Polenta, which brought on a great discussion of the difference between Polenta and Grits, excluding the country of origin. We had sent Graeter's Ice Cream, 6 chip flavors, for all, after all the whole trip was a Birthday celebration and the Mansions kitchen had made Marilyn's French Cracker Pie, after many phone calls and FAX's of receipt and instructions. Charles recognized it immediately and toasted his Mother as well as a loving tribute to his wife.
The next morning the anti room, off the main dining room, was set with an ample Breakfast Buffet and while Tim and I had breakfast he wrote out a full agenda for that day, Tuesday. We'll get to that in the next posting.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Name droping

This is the first of several postings on an AWESOME trip East, last week.
First, I will give an over view and then, in future entrees, break down some of the days and spots in some detail.
Our son, Charles, had his 50th birthday Sept. 28 and he planed a trip for he and his wife to include a celebration at several spots. We accepted his invitation to join them for part of the adventure.
We left home, driving, Sunday Sept. 23 and after a day in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia, with a stop at Tamerac, a craft center, outside Beckley we ended at "The Greenbrier" for dinner and the night. The next day it was on to Richmond, VA, with a stop at Charlottesville for lunch with Joanne and her family. They were college visiting.
We were guests,in Richmond, of Tim Kaine, the Governor, and his wife for dinner and the night. The next day it was on to several vineyards and the Skyline drive before we arrived in Washington, VA for the night, with dinner at "The Inn at Little Washington", some experience.
The next day we drove to Washington D.C. for lunch with Marilyn's nephew, and then on to Baltimore to our room on the tenth floor of the Regency Hyatt, overlooking the "inner harbor".
That night was dinner with Charles boss in their penthouse on a point between the inner and outer harbor.
The next day we struck out on our own for Gettysbugh and a 3 to 4 hour tour of the battlefield, 25 square miles, before the evening in Chambersburg, PA. Friday was the drive to Cincinnati and entry back into "the real world". More latter.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Around Cincinnati II

Probably everyone reading this is already restaurant savvy. Just in case it slips someones mind, always ask your server if there are "any specials," also remember most restaurants are very willing to "mix and match," if it is on the menu or certainly substitute, if it is within reason.

J.Alexander's Restaurant, 2629 Edmondson Road(Rookwood Shopping Center), Cincinnati, OH, 45209-513-531-7495. No reservations taken, limited large tables. Full bar and the place is handicapped accessible.
Sure it a chain, but pretty decent. What they offer they do well and the service is efficient and pleasant, while the kitchen is fast. Entree salads are huge and easily serve two. If your a light eater sharing one is probably enough for dinner. The menu runs from prime rib to burgers, both very good, with several fish items and pastas. I have found the Salmon especially good and they prepare it to my specifications. The French Fries are wicked, to me they are the best in the area, you can get baked potatoes, which are also very good, if you want to behave. Most helpings are quite large and it takes a good appetite or a bunch of teenagers to finish everything served.
It a good place when your on your way to or from and also is satisfactory for just a dinner out.

A new place, only open about a month, is Grandview Tavern and Grille, 2220 Grandview Dr., the street runs off Buttermilk Pike, Fort Mitchell, KY 41017-859-341-8439. It's a good spot for lunch or diner on a "to or from" Airport trip. There is complete Bar Service and the restaurant is handicapped accessible, as are all new public establishments. the menu is very nice and the service, the night we were there, was excellent. I would say that although it is not a chain it is reminiscent of J. Alexanders, maybe a half step higher, or others along that line. Being new they did not offer specials but what we all had, fish, meatloaf, pasta and an entree Salmon salad was all very good. I wouldn't hesitate to use this as a destination if you want a pleasant meal at a reasonable price.

Mitchell's Fish Market, Newport on the Levee, Newport, KY, 41071-859-291-7454. Cincinnati area has gone from no seafood restaurants, 15 years ago, Jimmy excuse me, to the home of at least three chains, specializing in fresh fish and shell fish. Mitchell's originated in Columbus and now has two locations in our area. Since Newport is the closest we gravitate there. I have to say none of the chains compare favorably to true coastal eating places but then it's expensive to hop a plane for dinner just because you want the finest and freshest. Of the three chains I am partial to "Bonefish Grille" because we know the people there, it is in our neighborhood and I personally think it is a better value for the same quality. I'm not going to go into the menu items, however McCormick and Schmick's seem to have the most choices and Bonefish the least, so you can figure out where that leaves Mitchell's. All are good and a positive example of the trend to "white table cloth" chains.

Last, but really not least, in this report is the Sky Galley at Lunken Airport, 262 Wilmar Ave-513-871-7400. Marilyn and I go with some regularity, in the evening, and I pop in for lunch, at least, once a month. The menu is the same at both, although the specials change from a sandwich to an entree. Sky Galley has a full bar and is handicapped accessable, although it from the Airport side of the building. It is informal and relaxed and the next table may be a group of Lady golfers or a family with 3 generations.
Marilyn thinks the Tilapia is the best in the city, she should know because she has it most places. I eat everything from the specials to a pulled pork sandwich to Branschwiger, when I'm feeling the need for a fat and cholesterol fix. I really enjoy the Black Bean Soup, which has a slight kick and most of their items are anywhere from decent to great. Oh, by the way, they have homemade Saratoga Chips if the Branschwiger isn't enough. Our dinners run between $35 and $40 dollars, for the two of us, including drinks and tax.
Don't wait for a commuter line to fly out of Lunken before you try the Sky Galley.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Around Cincinnati

We are blessed to live in an area with many good eating places. The "price points" go from high to very reasonable, but none of these approach those in other Metropolitan Areas, although our selection and quality certainly does.
I don't intend to lump all our eating habits into one large category, however, for convenience I'm going to comment on some of the places we have been in the last 30 days.

The Precinct, 311 Delta Ave(corner of Columbia Parkway), 45226-phone 513-321-5454. So much has been written about this 25 year old standby, Jeff Ruby's first "Steak House" that listing items, decor etc. is extraneous. I must say that the service, and personal attention to customers requests is outstanding. Marilyn and I go 4 to 6 times a year and we are greeted and served in an exemplary manner. Ruby, his managers and trainers have done a excellent job in making sure his staff goes"all out" with everyone, regardless of number of visits, tip size or occasion for the visit. Hat's off to them.

Glendale Gaslight Grille, 1140 Congress Ave, Glendale-513-771-8658. The Tri-County area. A very pleasant place for lunch and dinner in an informal atmosphere. The food is a level above "bar food" or "tavern fare' with daily specials and a rather extensive menu. They have a full bar and the place is family friendly, although most of the customers are groups of neighbors or repeaters.
The Tomato Bisque is outstanding and as good as I can find North of Otto's. Whatever I have ordered, I have been satisfied and you should be able to find something to fit your taste and appetite. Price range $8 to $20 for very good food.

Pelican's Reef, 7261 Beechmont Ave., Cincinnati, 45230-513-232-2526. To me the best description is a "seafood bar". Large full service bar, scrubbed wooden tables, both high an regular, condiments and napkins, actually a roll of paper towels, on the table and a mixed age, jovial crowd. The owner is in the kitchen and his wife handles the "front of the house". The servers, backed up by management and all agreeable and make one feel very much at home.
The menu, as you could guess, is heavy on seafood with a lot of it fried but there is no trouble getting things broiled, baked or sauteed. There are often raw oysters, always boiled and chilled shrimp, several choices of salads and plenty of options if you want to stay away from fried. The seasonal fresh corn on the cob, the other night, was excellent. However to my taste some fried seafood with beer out of a bottle will not shorten my life, if done in moderation, as the medical people say. Usually we end up spending between $15 and $22 per person depending on hunger and thirst.

Speaking of hunger; it's lunch time so I'll stop for now but continue in this vain the next time.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ann Arbor,MI

Last weekend we went to Ann Arbor for a fraternity reunion. Luckily we did not order football tickets. When I was in school at the U of M, Michigan played football and Gourmet dining was fried clams at Howard Johnson, how things have changed.
Main St. in Ann Arbor is now "restaurant row" with innumerable choices at all price points.
Friday night we chose "Gratzi", 326 S. Main St.-888-456-3463. "Gratzi" had been recommended by both Detroit and Ann Arbor people, and we we're not disappointed.
It is a large, active room staffed with a sufficient number of servers to give very good, attentive service. The menu is quite extensive, and as you no doubt have figured out, by the name, it is Italian. There were 8 of us and with a reservation we were seated promptly. I chose as a main course a seafood pasta with Pesto and the server gladly substituted "angle hair" for linguine. Marilyn had her usual fish which was prepared excellently. With drinks, salads and entrees, and a shared antipasto platter, tip and tax it came to just under $50 per person.
The next day rather than the football game, thank goodness, a group went to the "Farmers Market", which is a misnomer. The area beside having stalls selling beautiful farm products also has crafts, clothing, jewelry and food. It is surrounded with several new buildings containing shops of every variety. "Zingerman's" famous deli is just down the street. I was lucky and ate a rather large "Salvadorian Tamale", bought from a vendor, while the others debated where to go for lunch. They chose the "Metro Grille" over Zingerman's, a huge mistake. It was very standard and I was lucky that I had had a large breakfast and my tamale was enough to get me thru.
Dinner that evening and brunch the next morning were fraternity events, and although the food was fine it was not the high point of either.
Since we had driven, we made a stop at the Toledo Art Museum, to view their glass collection, which Marilyn and I had seen before, in its new home, a new free standing glass pavilion. We collect current "art glass" while the TAM has that plus historical pieces going back to 1500BC.
It was a very pleasant weekend and we'll see weather Michigan or Noter Dame stumbles into a victory this afternoon.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


EQ, at the Party Source, in Covington KY, 859-655-3650, bills itself as a cooking school and demonstration kitchen. It is really much more, as the following report will attest. They do have many events, however, open to all.
Marilyn and I were guests at a party on Saturday night, August 25. The Party Source had donated the evening to "The Cincinnati Wine Auction" with the proceeds going to charities. Our hosts had been the buyers. When I say EQ and the Party source went ALL OUT it is probably and understatement The EQ host and chef was John Stiles who is as knowledgeable as he is entertaining.
The following is the menu for the evening, including the wines, which were poured generously. All this followed an appetizer of 3 kinds of Quiche passed, while we were gathering, with glasses of Regaleali, a light Sicilian white.
Seared Ahi Tuna on Seed Crackers with Wasabi Cream; wine: Vilmart&Cie Grand Celler Champagne
Pellagrino's Portabella Mushroom with Fresh Mozzarella, Fiontina, Pancetta and Port Wine Balsamic Reduction; wine: Spinetta Barbera Superiore 2001
Warm Salad of Sea Scallops, Fingerling Potatoes and Cherry Tomatoes; wine: Brewer-Clifton 2005 Mt. Carmel
Opakapaka with Lobster Mashed Potatoes and Lobster-Pinot Noir Sauce; wine: Raphet 2003 Lavaux St, Jacques
Grilled New York Steak with Zucchini and Olive Bread Pudding and Roasted Corn Ragout; wine: Mondavi 2001 Reserve Cabernet Sauvigon
Chocolate Cherry Shortcakes, with French Vanilla Ice Cream; wine Royal Oporto 2000 Vintage Port.
After this recital I hesitate to comment, but I will briefly. The food was excellent, the wine outstanding, the service perfect, in timing and demeanor and the evening was something all involved in were delighted to be included.
I would guess most of the guest, 32 in number, were in their 40's and they went on to Brio's for coffee and whatever. we old folks were happy to drag ourselves home with belts and garments loosened.
It was an evening to remember and if you get a chance go to the Party Source and see for yourself.

Monday, September 3, 2007


I don't sell space on my Blog. Not that anyone would pay anything to be posted. I will toot my own horn( bad, part pun).
Starting Oct. 2 the new Quarter of the "Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Cincinnati"(OLLI) kicks off their new fall classes. As most of you know, but probably a few don't, I moderate a course entitled "Let's Eat Out--or carry in". It runs for 8 weeks on Tuesday mornings,10:30, on the main UC Campus. The thrust is, of course, restaurants and the food service business.
The course is open to anyone and information about this course and others can be obtained by going on line at "" or by calling 513-556-9186.
Hope you will be joining us this fall.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Stone Creek

People always ask, "Do you have any place new"? We'll we do. Last night we went to Stone Creek, 9386 Montgomery Road, Montgomery,OH 45242-phone 513-489-1444. They are in their second week of operation in the Cincinnati Area. Stone Creek is one of approximately 5 restaurants operated by Cunningham Restaurants out of Indianapolis. All the others are in the Indianapolis area, although both of the owners are former Cincinnatian's.
The place is modern, cheerful and full of people enjoying themselves. We were surprised that they were full their second week and asking people w/o reservations to either wait in the bar or come back again, as they chose. We had made a reservation for 7:15PM, Saturday, and it was honored, as we were shown promptly to our table, upon arrival.
The service started out a little rocky. Our server, who said he had been doing this for 4 years, turned out to have spent most of his time as a bartender or helper. They were busy so it took him a few minutes to get to us. We ordered a bottle of wine, and thankfully he repeated the order as he had gotten it wrong. When the wine and glasses appeared he showed very little experience in serving the opening round.
The menu is quite extensive, and can be viewed on their website. It contains various meats, seafood, poultry and pasta presentations. Also an extensive group of Sandwiches and dinner salads. Both specials, last evening, were seafood. Prices range all over the map and you can spend as little or as much as you want. The specials were in the $25 to $30 range.
Marilyn and I chose to split the Iceberg Wedge, which the kitchen did for us into two large servings. Before the salads arrived a beautiful round loaf of warm white bread, with a crispy crust as placed on our table. Instead of Olive Oil, Stone Creek provides an excellent poured dip which I hesitate too describe, but only will say that it was delicious and your server can site the ingredients. Back to the salad; the lettuce was garnished with diced fresh tomato's, bacon bits, Danish Blue cheese and spring onions. The dressing was a tomato and oil based blend of herbs, spices, and a little sugar, in a fairly clear light dressing, it was a wonderful accompaniment. Our server told us early on that all things where made from fresh ingredients and that literally we could mix and match.
For my main course I had a roasted Sea Bass with a corn Salsa, fried Green tomato's and asparagus, which I had substituted for the mash potatoes, another of our party had the same dish with "angel hair" instead of potatoes. Marilyn had Orange Ruffy and was only able to down about half of her portion. Her fish came with mashed potatoes and green beans and had a light butter sauce over the fish which had been pan seared. She finished her meal with the usual "decaf"
I loved the salad but though my Bass had been slightly over cooked and was a little chewy. Marilyn's Ruffy was well prepared. The accompaniments were good, although the fried tomatoes had too much cheese flavor, for my taste, as it overwhelmed the tomato flavor.
The bill came, and there were four of us, in a mixed up accounting. the manager, Roy Stines, who had been very attentive, all evening, straitened it out and we left well satisfied. Dinner, for the two of us, including the split wine charge( $15/couple) came to $82 including tip and tax.
I am always bothered by Valet parking, with a mandatory charge, at a suburban restaurant and my advise is if this bothers you there is plenty of space in lots, across the street, where the businesses are not open in evening hours.
We will return and I feel the management who knows what they are doing, will iron out any beginning flaws.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Chicagoland-North Shore Division

On our way back from Camp, this month, we spent 3 nights with good friends in Glencoe,IL. We ate most of our meals out, with them and various others. Places ranged from excellent to good with one mostly forgettable.
The first night we met out host near the train station in Hubbard Woods, the northern part of Winnetka. He worked late so we met around 8:15 PM but that was just fine as we had had a large lunch at the "Norska Nook", as mentioned in the last posting. The restaurant, 'O"Neil's" at 1003 Greenbay Road-phone-847-466-7100, was quite full, for that time and location. It is medium priced with an accent of Italian. Pastas run from about $13 to $21 and the servings are quite large, no one finished their portion. I had Grilled shrimp on Angel Hair with an excellent light pesto sauce. The other two had either a version of the pasta and pesto with no meat or seafood or a Penne Primaera. The server, who did a very good job, after a slow start, recommended a Ruffino Toscan which turned out to be a very good wine and an excellent choice.
The next day we met a couple, we have not seen in several years, at "Max and Benny's" a full service deli in Northbrook, 461 Waukegan Rd, phone 847-272-9490. Marilyn and I had out usual first deli meal; hers is Mushroom Barley Soup and a half Corn Beef sandwich, mine surprisingly is a little more substantial, a bowel of sweet and sour Cabbage Soup and a Sable plate with all the trimmings plus a toasted Bagle and cream cheese. I died and have gone at least party way to heaver. Everything was excellent. I miss a first class deli in Cincinnati.
That night we had the 39th annual meeting and dinner of our "Lobster group". The history is a whole other subject, which I may broach at some point. We are usually in one of the 4 couples homes but this year we chose to go to the Palm Restaurant at 2000 Northbrook Court, Northbrook, IL 60062, phone 847-239-7256. The Palm is a very expensive, white table cloth steak and lobster chain which is national. Surprisingly it turned out to be a good value, but as I just said at the high end of the price scale.
Lobsters are $47 on up, depending on weight and every thing is "ala carte". We had quite a bit of wine and liquor, steamers, 6 lobsters and a steak, $38, and seared tuna plus salads for everyone and a large order of Saratoga Chips and onion straws for the table. We had an excelled serving staff and the kitchen co-operated by splitting some of the salads and dividing the potatoes and onions on to two good sized platters, probably about one and one half orders. For desert our waiter suggested a warm chocolate brownie with vanilla bean ice cream and a piece of carrot cake. He then appeared with not only that but a piece of chocolate cake with more ice cream and berries, "on the house". The pieces of cake were huge and easily divided in 8 pieces, some of which were never touched. The total cost including a 22% plus tip was $100/person. Not cheap but well worth the price.
The next day lunch was in Highland Park at a local hang out for Highland Parker's, skip this one. Dinner was at Charlie Bienlichs, an institution on Skokie Road just west of Glencoe. Some people use this as their eating an meeting club. The have an old fashioned bar and specialize in Hamburgers. It's a very long drive but if you really want a good burger drive the 450 miles north to the Anchor Bar in Superior.
Next morning we returned to Max and Benny's and had large and reasonable breakfast with several generations of cousins, before we picked up a load of "deli" for the evening meal with Joanne and family in Cincinnati. If you go to Max and Benny's you wont be disappointed. Marilyn is still raving about the Cinnamon swirl baked french toast. Also you wont leave the North Shore hungry, at least we didn't.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Up North

After posting a definition of Northern Wisconsin, a couple of days ago, here I go expanding my own geographic boundaries. I'll include, in the following, a spot about 25 miles south of Eau Clair as the restaurant also has branched north. Follows, comments about 3 places we ate, besides Camp Nebagamon on our recent excursion. Incidentally the food at camp, where they serve over 1000 meals a day is first rate, thanks to Ann Rowe and her wonderful staff.
Dawn Simons, a past food critic for Cincinnati Magazine, in one of her books,"Best Food in Town. comments on the Anchor Bar in Superior. That's how I knew Dawn and my tastes were aligned.
The Anchor Bar, 413 Tower Ave, Superior WI is just what the name implies. A true bar with tables and a few electronic games and many great lakes mementos. It is properly dark and some what smokey and you would be laughed out if you asked for a reservation or to pay with a credit card. They also happen to have the best hamburgers and fries that I get anywhere. They list about 15 different burgers including plain, cheese, cashew, Ruben etc and a couple of plain sandwiches for those demented enough to go there and order those. The "french fries" are equally good and not cut from the whole, chilled potatoes until ordered. Order the FF anyway you want but you get them just the way the kitchen decides to put them on you paper plate, usually on the crisp side. If you want to read what Dawn has to say you will find it on page 159 of her book.
On nights at camp when the dinning hall is closed, you would need a good scrubbing weekly if you were trample by 300 teenagers per meal daily, we usually go looking for pan fried Walleye. Our favorite spots are "The White Birch" in Solan Springs or the Pickwick, in downtown Duluth, the most expensive of the 3 or the lakeside tavern on Fish Lake, north of the Duluth Airport, all of which are quite good. This visit we got,steered, by friends, to Miller's Deep Lake Lodge in Iron River. I'm not going to give you details for if your in the general area go to one of the other 3 mentioned. We had Walleye, deep fried, salad and one of the several kinds of "house potatoes". To my taste the Walleye lost everything by the very "deep frying". Look for Walleye "pan fried" not deep. Good fishing and hunting and let me know where you find delicious Walleye.
After leaving Camp and on our way to Chicago we stoped at the "Norske Nook" in Osseo. There are branches also in Hayward and Rice Lake, all in the original boundaries. The Norska Nook was first written about in Jane and Micheal Stern's original "Road Food" book. Dawn Simons also writes about it in the book mentioned above. The Restaurant and Bakery have a decided Norwegian flavor but is mainly know for their 28 varieties of pies, many of which are award wining. I usually go light and have pie plus ice cream,if it is a strait fruit pie. This day one of the specials was fried smelts with french fries and slaw. I succumbed and was treated to more that I could eat. The smelts were deep fried but light and sweet while the french fries made me forget The AnchorBar and that is saying a lot. The slaw was also much to my liking. Much to heavy a lunch but delicious. Luckily dinner in Chicago was scheduled quite late so I was back in the mood, as though I am ever out, at meal time.
Now your up to date on Wisconsin this summer.
I apologise for this article as my computer is acting up and I don't know what I hit that makes words run together and cancel the next letter. I'll publish and call my teacher but I am indeed sorry. You'll just have to get the idea and excuse spelling and sintext. I may have found the trouble, thanks to my grue but I'll let the statement stand to cover many sins I make in writing.