Thursday, April 30, 2009

End of April

Just a short posting to conclude the month. Tomorrow is the beginning of May and we'll start off with a new restaurant tomorrow night. More on that on the next posting.
We have been splitting time between home, both of us cooking, and many familiar places. To name a few: "Sky Galley" at Lunken airport which we find satisfying both at lunch and dinner; "Trio's" in Kenwood, a good place to meet our friends who live in Blue Ash and beyond, always food well prepared and well served; "Bonefish Grill", Hyde Park, a nice seafood menu to which has been added lately Walleye Pike and Shrimp Pad Thai; and of course our newest "hang out" the "Oriental Wok" in the Regency. I have to go there as they brought in regular Bombay, just for me, and beside the food is great. I also left out a second visit to "Dusmesh" on Ludlow, in Clifton, our current favorite Indian Food establishment.
I also feel duty bound to pass on a couple of comments. Our son, who lives in Mendocino CA, took umbridge with my remark that Ed Saxon of LA reads my Blog more than my own children. Those of you with children know that a parent can't win.
Several people pointed out the "Terry's Turf Club" is a mad house between 7 and 9 PM. I think in one of my posting I suggested going either before 6 PM or after a movie or other event.
And lastly I might a very nice, young women in line at "Whole Foods" and we have been exchanging Blog addresses and comments. Give and take.
I'll be here next month with more comments.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bits and Bites

Let's start with last night. Dinner again at the "Oriental Wok", "it's getting to be a habit with me." This time was different as I let the chef, Guy, choose the dishes and was rewarded with one of the best meals I have experienced in a long time. Besides a wonderful array of appetizers we feasted on a fresh Tomato and Egg, stir fry, this one had beef added but it was not necessary, as the dish can easily stand on it's own with just those two ingredients, or we could have substituted shrimp, chicken or pork. This dish alone made the evening. Other dishes were "glass" noodles with shrimp and crab, seared scallops and chicken with mushrooms.
As if this wasn't enough we had a dark, thick chocolate mousse and a unbelievable white chocolate scone with vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries and blue berries. Heaven at the Regency.
One slight digression: someone, on the Internet, criticized the restaurant because the chef is Caucasian. As most of the readers of this Blog know kitchen staffs, in the year 2009, are very international with Hispanics preparing classic French cuisine, Asians as the top people in better Italian spots, African-Americans grilling steaks at Western Corrals, and so why not Caucasians doing Asian? "Nuf said".
Polly Campbell had written up the "Oriental Wok" in Friday's paper and gave it 4 stars, which it deserves. My only comment on her article, and she is a professional food critic, is that I have found the customers more varied, than she, on my visits. Families, Business gatherings, young people and different races and age groups. All are welcome.
During the past week we hit two Italian restaurants. Last Saturday night, our 55th, it was "Prima Vista" and upscale fine establishment. The last couple of times I had some slight reservations but I am happy to report that all was back to their usual high standards. My Scampi with Angle Hair and Fungi was truly delicious and all in our party, of 5, had the same reaction. Monday we were with another couple at "Maggiano's, Little Italy". A popular chain spot in the Kenwood Mall. Again we were a party of four and we split, for the table a full order of salad and half orders of Chicken Francesca, Mushroom Ravioli and, at Marilyn's instance, spaghetti with meat sauce. No one went hungry and the whole dinner with several drinks, tip and tax was $30 each.
Our other venture out was "Cumin". I have reported on meals at all these restaurants previously and therefore are not listing addresses and phone numbers. "Cumin" is part of our regular eating places and as you can see "Oriental Wok" is in this status also. At "Cumin", among the restaurant family, Marilyn and I split an Indian onion and potato soup, of which I could have made my whole meal, and their always superb Lamb Shank. Passover was past and so we could have one of their wonderful Nam's, this one onion and cilantro.
We have no plans for restaurants the coming few days so unless something out of the ordinary pops up, and it probably will, I may stay out of this site for awhile. Enjoy.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Our family has a friend in California, Ed Saxon, who actually reads this Blog more than our children. It probably says something about both. We thought of Ed, who is in the entertainment business, when we went to "Bootsy's" as it is in large part entertainment.
"Bootsy's", 631 Walnut St. Cincinnati, OH, 45202-phone 513-241-0707 is a creation of Jeff Ruby and Bootsy Collins. It is well located in the heart of downtown, across the street from the Aranoff Center. Valet parking available.
The bar and restaurant are on the 2nd floor, a good climb on the stairs, but there is an elevator very near the ground floor entrance. The decoration, to me, is a mixture of Las Vegas, Mexican garden and market, Booty's outfits and Moroccan bordello. It is over the top. The service is typical "Jeff Ruby", professional and at times too hovering.
In spite, or because, of all this the food, in most cases is remarkably good. The main play is "Tapis", or small plates, but there are also several full sized dinner selections. Of course, there is full bar service, and what seems to be the trend, obligatory Sushi.
There were four of us, three were attending a program, across the street, which started at 7:30 PM and so we arrived at 5:30 to an almost empty place which gradually filled by 6. We were seated in one of the front booths, and after asking the music be turned down, which it was immediately, so we could hear each other, started with drinks. Mine being the usual Bombay on the rocks with cocktail onions.
To my surprise they had no cocktail onions, one of the few faux pas of the evening.
We all split and tasted several dishes. Outstanding were: fried Calamari with a marvelous Black Bean dipping sauce, unique, Duck Taco, Caesar Salad and Orange Flan. Also tried were: fish taco, nothing special, a salad of lettuce, romaine, ham and Swiss, good but not memorable, a spicy tuna roll, not in a league with top flight Shusi, and one of the evening soups which was good but couldn't compare with the first items. We did not sample the main courses, of which our server recommended the Kobe Steak and the Ahi Tuna.
Total cost, for each, tax and tip included, $33. We will return as the place is fun and the food from outstanding to good.

Monday, April 13, 2009


If spelling and guess work bother you read no further. I made an error last night in not asking for a menu so I am going to report with only a faulty memory and my usual poor spelling.
Our friend Marilyn Harris calls the Clifton area of Cincinnati, "Curry ville". If this be true, and I have no reason to doubt, it has been extended down Ludlow Ave, almost to the viaduct.
"Dusmesh Indian Restaurant" 944 Ludlow Ave, across from Cincinnati State, 45220-phone-513-221-8900, is the newest entry and a worthy one.
They opened last November and have received rave reviews in several papers. In our opinion the reviews are well deserved. We think it is the best of the many Indian restaurants in the area.
Last night, after a movie at the "Esquire" we drove "down the hill" for dinner. "Dusmesh" is open 7 days per week and serve a lunch buffet Monday thru Friday. They do not have a liquor licence so you are encouraged to bring your own beer or wine.
There were 4 of us and we split 3 dishes plus a salad and two Indian Breads, don't tell the Rabbis. Plenty of food.
We started with Fish Tiki. Excellent grilled Salmon cut in chunks and coated with Indian spices. The fish comes on a sizzling platter with a large amount of grilled sweet onions and green pepper slices. The veggies are taken off the grill and allowed to mix with the juice so they are delicious.
Next came a Califlower Nam and a Pikit(sp) or puffed fried whole wheat bread. Both great.
The two other main courses were Lamb Sang, chunks of lamb in creamed spinach, to which we asked that mushrooms be added, and Chicken Tiki Marcella, strips of chicken in a rich tomato, onion and butter sauce. Large platters of perfectly done rice accompanied the main courses. We also had one chopped salad of cucumber, onion and carrot, the spiciest thing we ordered. Spice amount runs from 0 to 6 and we settled on a one, since I am the only one of the 4 who likes spicy food. At one there is a taste of Indian spices but not much heat.
What sets "Dusmesh" above other Indian Restaurants is the freshness of the ingredients and the lightness and timeliness of their preparation. Also the service, from Maya, and attitude are true hospitality.
We were hosted to a small but delightful dessert of a golf ball sized fried cheese ball in a light warm honey syrup. A fitting ending for a wonderful meal. Total cost, including a proper tip, was approximately $15/person. One can't beat that.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Two Seder's

I assume anyone reading this Blog knows that the Seder is the service heralding the 8 days of Passover. Different Jews celebrate one or two nights, as is their tradition. We usually do just one but this year we were invited to a 2nd, at "Murphin Ridge Inn" which we eagerly accepted.
Wednesday night we held our Seder hosting our 2 in town children, cousins, in-laws and guests, 10 in all. It is our habit to invite first timers, usually non-Jews as well as regulars. We do my Fathers condensed service and after this have our meal, uninterrupted by more ritual.
Our traditional starters are Gefilte Fish, from a jar, served with horseradish and Marilyn's Alsatian Matzo Ball soup. We found Yehuda Gefite Fish, this year, and it was much more tastie than what we have used in the past. the Matzo balls in the broth of beef vegetable soup, run thru a follie food mill, are made starting with soaking sheets of matzo, not meal, and then sauteing the pressed matzo with egg, parsley, ginger, onion and salt and pepper. Superb.
This year we followed with marinated and grilled, boned leg of lamb, wild rice, form Minnesota, and mushrooms, spinach and kale Gratinee, cut up fresh fruit and a great flowerless chocolate cake from Bon Bonerie. All was accompanied by several bottles of Havens Merlot.
Thursday night was special, for us. There were 18 in all and a beautiful table had been set in a private dinning area. We arrived early, as Marilyn provided the Matzo Ball soup. During the pre dinner visit we were treated to excellent hostess made chopped liver and several red wines.
The family had written there own service, which rivals ours in length and concluded when dinner was served, the same as is our custom.
Besides the Gilfilte Fish, not much taste, and the soup, of which I had two portions we all were served a hard boiled egg, which is another tradition. Lots of Matzo, Haroses(chopped apples, nuts, honey, etc) and wine went with the starters.
Dinner, close to 4000 calories for me, were platters of roast chicken, beef brisket and Matzo brie, along with bowels of wonderful roast new potato's, fresh asparagus, "Simmes"( cooked sweet potato's, carrots, fruit and root veggies) and a delicious course vinegar cabbage and peppers Cole slaw. As if this wasn't enough there were 3 dessert plates. Delightful layered sponge cake with coarsely chopped, baked apples and powdered sugar, rich flowerless chocolate cake and assorted candies and pastries. All the dishes one thinks about when imagining an old time, traditional Seder. We were blown a way. What a treat. Luckily Marilyn doesn't drink so the ride home was incident free except for the moaning and groaning caused by overeating.

Friday, April 10, 2009

On the way to Passover

Before we sat down to two large Passover meals I had to warm up with a few stops at regular or new haunts. I'll report on the home cooked holiday feasts shortly.
Monday night, with another couple, we went once again to "Pelican's Reef" on Beechmont Ave near 5 mile. Phone 513-232-2526, although they don't take reservations. Here is another owner operated spot with good, not exceptional, food and wonderful hospitality. Since they have expanded their space we have never had to wait more than 10 minutes, and that wait was on a weekend night.
I had Fried Oysters, with two kinds of dipping sauce, one cocktail and the other a wonderful, slightly sweet, curry and lime sauce. This latter is made in house and is delicious. Along with the Oysters I had a tossed salad, and theirs are quite large, and sweet potato fries. This called for a beer and "Sam Adams" came to my rescue. Marilyn had a very good grilled snapper while the others had a rolled sole, stuffed with shrimp and scallops. Not bad for a neighborhood seafood bar on a Monday night. Weekends there are always specials.
Tuesday was Asian day with lunch at "Mekong Thai Cuisine", 7687 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, 45236. I don't know where I had heard about Mekong but it was on my list. It is located in a small strip center, next to La Rosa, with one or two tables "up front" and approximately 8, 4 person booths adjacent. The menu is fairly extensive, the food good and reasonable, but the location for me, a city dweller, means that is fairly doubtful that I will return, unless someone in the vicinity wants to meet for lunch or dinner. No knock on Mekong but I live in the Thai belt of Cincinnati.
Tuesday evening found us once again at the "Oriental Wok" in The Regency. At least the 4th or 5th time since they opened a month ago. We were on our way to a 7 PM adult education class and this was easy, for us and our friends, and the service is always prompt. After the standard Bombay, this one accompanying a very good egg roll I chose Szechun Eggplant, vegetarian style. The serving was large enough that I took a good part home for lunch the next day. The eggplant was surrounded by other veggies and all was glazed with a semi sweet crust, interesting and good. The accompaniment was fried rice, well prepared but slightly salty for my taste. We arrived at 5:30 PM and made our class with no effort, even after several in attendance had an after dinner coffee. I'm afraid I am becoming a regular and my waist line shows it. Old fashioned Chinese-American food is not in any way thinning and sodium retains water, if you had any doubt.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday afternoon

I'm sitting here waiting for a projected storm and change in temperature. a drop from high 60's to the mid 30's. Great weather for the opening of the baseball season. I just returned from 5 hours at "Otto's" in Covington, KY where, as guest chef I produce my "southern Ruben sandwich". A dreamt up version of a sandwich I had in Atlanta over a year ago. The main stays are fried catfish and country ham; not on any one's health diet agenda.
We have been in and out since I last sat down to Post. Last Monday, as I reported it was "Walt's Hitching Post" and Bar-B-Q'ed ribs.
Tuesday an early dinner at "Floyd's" in Clifton on Calhoun St. "Floyd's" has been around for fifteen years or more and is roasted Chicken with a Mediterranean flair. Little has changed at this store front restaurant except the price, which started at $2.95 for a chicken dinner with 2 sides and has since risen to a more reasonable $13.95. It is remarkable that they didn't go out of business in the early stages. I usually skip the chicken and just order 2 or 3 sides. The best, in my opinion, is the fresh Tabbouleh, with more than a hint of lemon, served with warm pita.
Thursday was a musical theatre presentation, at CCM, with "Dinner by the Bite" following the performance. This is a yearly event to send the Senior Class off to showcase their talent for producers and booking agent in NYC. The dinner, usually a hastile, was surprisingly good and well handled this year. The beef tenderloin, marinated shrimp squires and stuffed Belgium endive being among my favorites, not to mention an excellent, bite sized, lemon tart, heavy on the lemon.
Last night before Symphony 4 of us went to "Rookwood" for a sandwich, beer and wonderful French fries. A large bowl, of the latter, for the table, is a nice touch, especially if ordered extra crispy. They are among the best fries around.
We'll see if the storm develops and what else happens in the next couple of days.