Monday, December 20, 2010

Interesting Food, Interesting Places

Our eldest Grandchild, Trisha Wolf, is spending 6 months in Ghana working for a Micro Lending Organization. In her latest report she began by saying that I would be upset if she did not report on the food. What followed was an interesting and lengthy description of some of the things she eats with the family( Fufu, Kenkey and Ampesi) and some "street food" (Akyeke). You can look these items up on Wikipedia, if you can get by the State Dept. cables and gossip.
That got me to thinking of some of the different, or unusually items, we have had in the last two weeks at places you might not consider as serving these. Part of this comes from our friendship with owners and chefs and their knowledge that I love the unusual. It also drives home the fact that "one should not judge a book by it's cover" and that cooks everywhere love to expand their horizon's.

Brunch at Julie Francis' "Nectar Restaurant" 1000 Delta Ave, Cincinnati (513) 929-0525 brought a plate of sauteed Turner Farm Calf's Liver, lightly fried polenta cake and sauteed fresh spinach, accompanied by a smooth chipolte Hollandaise. The liver was tender, done medium( not overcooked) and had been basted with butter and vinegar. The polenta firm and crispy, with out being greasy, and the spinach was bright green and slightly crisp to the bite. it was an outstanding Brunch, which 3 of us enjoyed while our fourth chose smoked trout Benedict, not bad in it's own right.

Saturday night, before Symphony( a Mozart Violin Concerto preformed by Hillery Hahn) I reveled in a special seafood treat at the "Oriental Wok" ( sorry about that Ed) in the Regency, Hyde Park, corner of Dana and Madison Road. Guy Burgess, the chef, and another friend, had called to say he was picking fresh, clams, oysters and crabs, at the airport, which he was going to serve for the next few days. It took us a couple of days to get there and by then he had turned the little neck clams into a wonderful Clam Chowder, but the Oysters had been kept on ice and were still exceedingly fresh. One could taste the sea water in the oyster liquor.
I feasted on a large very hot bowl of beautifully prepared chowder, creamy, but not heavy on flour, with diced firm potato's, chives and of course, bursting with good sized sizzling whole clams. The seasoning was perfect with just the slightest touch of sweetness. The oysters, which were expensive, but you pay for what you get, were also exceptional, firm, flavorful and a full mouthful each. Not wanting to diminish the taste I ate them with a slight squeeze of fresh lemon and no heavy sauce.
Ambrosia for a frustrated coast dweller.
Marilyn who had joined in the calf's liver, at "Nectar", went with the "Oriental Wok's" fine Won Ton Soup and a mixed plate of their wonderful appetizers.

Our dining out, this past week or so also saw us at the "Sky Galley" at Lunken airport, for a week night dinner with friends( Hamburgers) and at "Bonefish Grill" Hyde Park at the corner of Madison and Edwards. "Bonefish" remains a perfectly acceptable, seafood based, chain operation with good food and service. I am partial to their house salad and often ask for a larger portion to augment whatever else I order. On this last visit it was Ceviche.
We have been fortunate to be included in several Christmas celebrations so some of our eating has taken place at the hosts well laden holiday tables, but then it's that time of the year.

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