Sunday, January 31, 2010


Several years ago "The Little Owl" on the west side of lower Manhattan popularised the slider( mini hamburgers served on a small bun). They became a big restaurant item, even though "White Castle" had been serving their version since the 1920's or 30's. We have had sliders of beef, pork and seafood. One of my favorites being the Walleye Sliders at the "Green Mill" in Bemidji, MN. Now "Otto's" 521 Main St. Covington KY-859-491-6678 has added a "Kobe Beef" slider to their offerings.
Thursday night 5 of us went to "Otto's", our other family dining room, for dinner, and as it turned out the evening. On a week night "Otto's" is a gathering of regulars and "new bee's". All are welcome. Table turnover is at a very leisurely pace, if at all. We started with their wonderful "friend green tomato's", in my opinion the best in the area, after which the kitchen wanted us to try the sliders, which were introduced that day. At present, the nice size beef patty is presented with one of 3 sauces; a spicy pesto, a tomato onion jam and goat cheese and a sharp Cheddar with fresh tomato. I hope my memory is serving me correctly as I didn't take notes and now 3 days later there is a high likelihood that I am leaving out or mixing things. Ask you server to review, and go from there. We all enjoyed this new item and in fact one of the others ordered another order for her dinner which came with crispy sweet potato fries and a Honey dipping sauce. The rest of the dinner was up to their usual standard. I had a sizable iceberg wedge followed by "shrimp and grits", the other male a tenderloin and Marilyn and the other women split their always excellent tilapia
Unfortunately, for the waist line, they then brought 3 desserts which are now "in house" baked. An out of this world Apricot Bread Pudding with shaved white chocolate and a Carmel sauce, a flowerless chocolate cake rich enough for the most ardent "chocolatholic" and a creme brulee which unfortunately had not "set up". The latter was too runny for my taste but one of the others thought it was just the way she liked it. Go please everyone.
If you get the feeling we had a fun, outstanding evening that is an understatement.

Wednesday noon I had lunch with a business companion. She loves Mexican food and so we tired "El Toro" in the Hyde park shopping center. This is the first entree into Cincinnati for a family chain based in Champaign IL, who operate 8 "stores" in central Illinois. They have taken over a large space, formerly operated as a breakfast and lunch competitor to "First Watch". "El Toro" has been there about 4 weeks. They are open for lunch and dinner with a full bar and a very large regular menu. It is handicapped accessible.
We decide to split an order of Tamale's and one of Poblano Peppers, plenty. Both arrived with such speed that we hardly had time to sample the chips and very good salsa and sip our drinks. The food was served hot and was taste and not too highly seasoned. Price, including a generous tip was $9 each. I certainly will return and hope that the service and food remain at this pleasant level for a mid-sized chain or any chain for that matter.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Just a short posting to mention two things last week, eating out, that seemed unusual.
Thursday night, 6 of us met for dinner at "Mecklenburg Garden" 302 East University 45219, 513-221-5353. We have become friends with the new owner so it was not shocking when he told me that he had purchased the items that I use to make creamed herring. We had discussed fully this dish for the "New Year". What was different was that he than asked if I would excuses myself from the table and go into the kitchen and prepare some, which they would then serve for our appetizer. I did and they did.
The next surprise was when the bill came and we asked that it be split between the three credit cards. The unusual, to me, part was how they accomplished our request. The final tally for each couple was a print out of all that the table had consumed with each item costed, to the exact penny, at one third the stated price. Fun and sort of helpful to anyone who wants to remember what we all had to eat and drink.
Saturday night we attended at CSO dinner before the concert. The Symphony does a series of these events for different constituency's. I have attended many such affairs and even more fund raisers and have seen a lot of chicken breasts and cut green beans, although high donation events ofter stretch for a piece of salmon and even a small fillet.
This dinner was for a spectrum of interested CSO subscriber and imagine my surprise when a singularly different menu was presented. We started with a tossed salad accompanied by a Goat Cheese bisect. The main plate was two excellently braised short rib served with rice pilaff and an attractive medallion of carrot and zucchini covered lightly with seasoned bread crumbs. Our dessert was an individual pear tart served on a milk chocolate and raspberry sauce. All unexpected and a delight for the average, foodie, benefit attendee.
Will the world of institutional dinner ever be the same?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King,Jr.

In the late 1950's and early 1960's, when we lived in St. Louis we were members of "Temple Israel". Dr. King was a guest speaker, on one occasion. When we arrived the usual ushers, temple members, had been replaced by "crew cut", young, burly men who turned out to be FBI and plain clothed police.
Dr. King was stirring, up until the time a bomb threat was called in and the building had to be emptied. Today, as always, on this holiday, that is my personal memory.
Now on to "eating out".
Friday night we went for, the second time, in 30 days to "The Summit" at Cincinnati State. It has always been a pleasant and interesting experience. Our companions had heard about the culinary school and their restaurant and that was the driving force behind the visit. My dinner was very good, as has been my experience, but the high point of the visit was a long visit with Matt Winterrowd, Chef de Cuisine. Not only did he comment on the dishes we had had, Sweetbreads, as a starter,( one of my favorite's and beautifully plated on pomegranate aspect) and an Asian preparation of Florida Red Snapper, but he spent a great deal of time telling us about the course of instruction, the career path for students, and the new food technologies. An informative and delightful evening for we foodies.
The night before we had made the drive to "Northside" and "Honey"4034 Hamilton Ave. 513-541-4300. "Honey" does not take reservation but I have never had trouble being seated promptly on a week night. Shoshannah Hefner is one of my favorites. Her interesting menu and excellent food preparation make a trip to this restaurant a treat. Thursday night I had my usual Bombay, although I have to settle for Sapphire instead of regular, my preference, before and outstanding main course of "rock bass" on a citrus bread pudding. This was accompanied with a glass of white wine and a taste of a shared desert, a home made chocolate chip cookie sandwich filled with ice cream of one's choice. Marilyn had ordered the beef short ribs but the kitchen asked if baby back ribs, with the same preparation, was a satisfactory substitute. It was.
Earlier in the week we joined a younger couple, most of our friend are, at "Palomino" 505 Vine St. 45202 phone 513-381-1300 . We had not been there in several years and although the menu is extensive a lot of the items remain the same. Regular Bombay, a roasted clam appetizer, for the table, and a seafood Louie salad was my dinner. The salad consisted of shredded iceberg and romaine lettuce, some poached asparagus, a half of a deviled egg, and mounds of shredded crab, bay shrimp and a small, prepared to order, fillet of salmon. The salad appeared to me to have no dressing and when I asked, our server, who was only fair, he told me that a vinaigrette was in the bottom of the bowl, as it was. The dressing was a surprise to me as a Louie salad comes with a 1000 island or Russian type dressing. Live and learn. The food was certainly acceptable but in no way outstanding. Lively place, decent food and service.
Since writing last we have also visited "Virgil's Cafe" 710 Fairfield Ave, Bellevue KY 41073, 859-491-EATS with our 20 year old Granddaughter, for lunch and "Bonefish Grill" Madison Road and Edwards for a dinner with friends. "Bonefish" besides their regular menu always have 3 or 4 specials, which change from time to time. A new addition is Linguine with fresh Clams which I found most enjoyable. I always like their Bonefish salad, especially the fact that it comes cold, with a very good citrus vinaigrette. "Bonefish" remains a well run seafood chain operation. Reasonable, reliable and in the "hood".

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Challah Daz

If I ran a Jewish bakery that is what I would call the period that just passed. Since I don't I'll just have to put it into plain English-"Holidays"
The last entry was Christmas eve and so this tardy Blogger has to catch up.
Our two Cincinnati Granddaughters were home, together, from Dec 25 to Jan 3. The eldest is with AmeriCorps and works in a small regional hospital in Sidney MT, 8 miles from the ND border. The youngest is a Sophomore at Bates College in Lewiston ME. Having them both here is a treat for us and especially for their parents.
Trisha, the eldest, had requested Chinese food for Christmas night, which she seems to believe is a Jewish tradition, or at least she is willing to start one. our friends at the "Oriental Wok" at the Regency, packed a full meal, with reheating instructions, which we picked up Christmas eve. Unfortunately the plane from Sidney was delayed 9 hours so Trisha got hers the day after Christmas while the rest of the family ate and celebrated Dec. 25.
The next night we and another couple went to "Brio Tuscan Grille" at Newport on the Levee for an early dinner before seeing "Blindside" at the theatre also at "the levee". I am not going to turn into a movie reviewer but "Blindside" is a true feel good movie and very appropriate for the holidays. My dinner that evening was the usual libation and and excellent tossed salad. lightly dressed, with a grilled salmon fillet spread over the top.
Sunday night Dec 27 was an evening at home, with a young friend, her 6 year old twins featuring carry in Pizza from "Dewey's", a local chain. Some UDF Peppermint Stick Ice cream and Graeters Chocolate sauce finished the "Sunday night supper". The next night we hit the best Italian deal in town. As described before, "Nicola's" 1420 Sycamore-513-721-6200 serves a Monday night special for $13 a person. It's high on taste, value and Carbs. The Bolognese, a mixture of veal and beef, enhances the pasta, over which it is served, and the salad and hugh warm breadbasket are wonderful additions. One can hardly get out with just the "special" as it almost demands a glass of wine for this excellent presentation. The special is supposed to only be served in the bar but being the good restaurateurs they are we were seated, as were others, in the main dining area.
A fairly light lunch, with another couple, at the "Oriental Wok"(mentioned above) and a diner, with a clergy friend, at "J.Alexander's" in Rookwood Commons-513-531-7495 once again insured that I over indulged( 4 extra pounds over the 2 week period). At dinner I tried, not too hard, to go "lite" with a grilled salmon sandwich but the wonderful, thin, extra crispy French Fries wouldn't let me escape. Marilyn had a sensible Prime Rib Sandwich which she ordered w/o roll.
To work off some of the excesses, and to slightly balance the budget we ate at home the next night and on New Year's eve had a low key "pot luck" with 3 other couples, which got us home before the "ball dropped". Our dinner was an hors-dourves, salad, grilled chicken fahetes with all the fixings and of course desert, carrot cake.
Our big New Years home cooked meal was the night of Jan 1, with baked beef tenderloin( my Mothers recipe) twice stuffed baked potatoes and steamed asparagus. For desert Kathryn made a fruit Pizza with cookie dough crust, good job. All seven of us gathered at our daughters and we plus the granddaughters performed as caterers. The next night, all seven, still together, shared items at "Prima Vista" with a beautiful view of lighted Cincinnati. Some of the things passed were, Fried Calmari, Mozzarella Rolls, with pesto, Salmon two different presentations, Veal Piccatta, Green beans, Bread pudding, with Carmel sauce and rum soaked raisins and a flowerless chocolate cake with hazelnuts that melted in our mouths.
Because we were sending Trisha back to Sidney MT we kicked off Sunday morning with brunch at "Otto's" on Main St in Covington, always friendly and good. That was enough so this week has been spent, so far, in exercise (2 pounds gone), repentance and food at home