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.