Tonight Dinner's, Drive Inn's and Dives (Triple D) start highlighting Cincinnati area spots. The program is on the Food Network, several times per week. If I am not mistaken the places, to be featured, are "Virgils", "Terry's" and "Blue Ash Chili". We hear that the camera crews are at each location for about 20 hours and the on air segments are edited down to 6 or 7 minutes.
To get ahead of the crowd, Friday night, we went to "Virgils Cafe" 710 Fairfield Ave. Belleview, KY 859-491-3287. There were six of us and this was probably Marilyn's and my 4th or 5th visit. It was full but the service was good and we never felt rushed, nice on a Friday night with a 7 PM reservation at a popular spot.
I started with "Hendricks" Gin on the recommendation of a Rabbi friend. It my be holier and more trendy but I plan to stick with Bombay, as I did the next evening. Followed with a nice poached pear and green salad, mixed with some coated pecans and accompanied with two large toast croutons, or Melba toast like slices topped with melted cheese. A balsamic dressing provided a nice touch to the combination., sweet and a little pungent.
For a main course I chose the homemade Pastrami sandwich, their version of a NY Ruben. It has aways been good, and Friday was no exception although it seemed a little extra salty, possibly because I am in the middle of fighting an URI( upper respiratory infection) although I have no idea what effect that might cause. Marilyn had a cup of the vegetable soup and the fresh pasta topped with roasted chicken.
Saturday night, not connected to Triple D, we went to one of our "homes away from home", "Otto's" 521 Main St, Covington, KY 859-491-6678. I say it is a "home away from home" because of our relationship with owners and staff. Besides this, we almost always see acquaintances, there, and Saturday was no exception. We were probably greeted by as many as 6 other guests. "Otto's" has a real family feeling although it is not "clubby" and everyone is treated well and equally. With another couple, after drinks, we shared the, to me, famous fried green tomato's, the best, and each then had a separated entree. The other women and I had the evening special, grilled pork chop, while Marilyn had her usual Tilapia and the other man settled for the pasta of the evening.
My pork chop, about an inch thick, was grilled to perfection, medium rare, and was topped ( everything in this posting seems to be topped) with a light amount of apple slaw and a very light "pan" gravy. It came on a bed of mashed sweet potato's and had all the appearances of a "down home" Kentucky dish. Saturday night in the Blue Grass, only the fiddle and banjo were missing. Unfortunately, as I have no resistance, Paul Weckman, owner and chef, sent over 2 deserts, a warm apricot bread pudding, well worth dying over and a rich flowerless chocolate cake on Raspberry coulis and half covered with real whipped cream. Don't diet at "Otto's".