Monday, February 22, 2010

Mundane to unusual

First let me thank those who tell me that they read these jottings and like them. My ego knows no bounds, and the feed back feeds me in several ways.
It has been an interesting week and I'll give it a shot in today's posting:
Wednesday started at the "Blue Elephant" 2912 Wasson Rd. Cincinnati, 45209 (513) 351-0123. I mentioned a week ago that they had just opened and so with an adventurous friend we hasten to give it a try. "Blue Elephant" is in a new, stand alone, building and is clean bright and attractive. The servers are interested and accommodating but the food was only ordinary. Possibly it was our choices so I will have to return and choose other items. I had a "lunch box", some of which I took home. The selection comes in an attractive Black and Red divided carrier and mine consisted, a small crisp spring roll, an equally crisp crab Rangoon, chopped iceberg lettuce with a mild dressing, very bland fried rice and two "rolls', spicy tuna and a mixed seafood combination. My companion had a soup containing shrimp and crisp Chinese vegetables. Looked good, tasted bland. We both had be greeting with a small bowl of Miso soup. In a crowded market, 15 or more Asian Restaurants in the Hyde Park area, it will be interesting to see how they all survive.
Wednesday night was a fun evening. Paul Weckman and Emily Wolf, the owners of "Otto's" and our YOUNG friends joined us at "Terry's Turf Club" the neon strewn, peanut shells on the floor,
much too popular, but deserved, Hamburger Joint on Eastern Ave. I have written about Terry's as has everyone from Polly Campbell up or down. In fact the newest rumor is the "Diner's, Drive In's and Dives" will be there sometime later this year. it's worth the hassle.
Thursday night was a real switch. Julie Francis, of "Nectar", Mt. Lookout Square, 513-929-0525, gives a theme dinner once or twice a month. It is called Nectar's Dinner Club but is open to anyone interested an with $55 a head to pay the tariff. Each dinner has a common ingredient in all the dishes. Thursdays was "Chocolate", a winner with Marilyn, and obviously from the look of the crowd, quite a few other women. I believe you can get her menu's "on line" but there are always 5 courses plus wine and other drinks, which are not included in the price. As a couple of examples the Fennel, Endive, Baby Spinach and Blood orange salad included White Chocolate covered Pistachios. This was followed by a Crostini, chocolate rub on the toast and then on to a fish dish featuring mole followed by a Bison ravioli. Of Course, how could you not have some sort of Chocolate Mousse and truffles on the desert plate. Wine, tip, tax and the meal brought the total to over $80/person. A strong price for an interesting but "tasting sized" dinner. Julie's food is always interesting and that appeals to me and my eclectic food tastes.
Speaking of unusual who would have ever thought that I would end up at the "Oriental Wok", in Hyde Park for an "English Pub lunch" on Friday. Guy Burgess, the chef, is a beer expert and he received one of only 12 barrels, sent to the USA, of a light( 4% alcohol) English Pilsner brewed by a small brewery in the south of England. For the tapping he fixed wonderful "Banger's and Mashed", all made in his kitchen. It was a treat. The Banger's were twice ground beef, seasoned beautifully and grilled perfectly and the "mashed" were out of the world, 80% potato's and 20% parsnips which added the correct amount of fiber and sweetness. He produced a wonderful beef gravy and topped it all with grilled or sauteed onions. A dish fit for king or commoner. You never know what Guy is going to send out of his kitchen so it is understandable that you read often, from me of this restaurant.
I'm running later so I'll save the rest of the week for a follow-up either later today or later in the week.

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