Saturday, December 31, 2011

So Long 2011

Tonight we will go to the CSO concert followed by a Gala, food, wine, auction and dancing. That will ring our the old and in the new. I'm cleaning out the file of places eaten, since I last posted, and that will be it for the year.
Thanks to those who took the time to comment. Most were verbal but I am really indebted to those who made the effort to send a written response. To all Happy New Year and may it be healthy and full of joy for all.

Christmas Eve the whole family(8) went to the "Precinct". We had to settle for a 9 PM reservation , the latest taken, as the holidays have evolved into a big time for eating out. I am of the opinion that this trend has intensified over the last 10 to 20 years.
We were handled promptly and had a good sized round table which is always nice for a group. The regular menu was available but no specials due to pressure on the kitchen.
Our daughter, who has MS, can not eat their famous steaks and so they did make an exception and served her the Crab Brulee, which Marilyn and I had enjoyed the week before in the Bar.
I had the usual, splitting a strip(MR) and baked potato with my wife.
After spreading a few extra buck around, to the staff( Christmas eve) we departed full and satisfied.

Next morning, with some CCM friends, we drove to "Uncle Yips" 10736 Reading Road Cincinnati, OH 45241 for Diem Sum. The friends had just returned from a conducting stint in China and are well versed in the cuisine. We usually go, with them, to "Jen's Chinese" but they had heard that it was under new ownership and had declined. We'll try for ourselves, and make a judgement, as none of us thought the "Uncle Yips" was quite up to "Jen's" at its prime.
We must have consumed, at least, 15 different items, with most quite acceptable, but the temperature and taste left something to be desired. My favorites were the crab balls and scallion cakes, although I managed to down almost everything brought to the table.
Price remains very reasonable with the total around $35 per couple.

Lastly we returned Thursday evening to "Enoteca Emilia" 2038 Madison Road 45208 (513) 834-5773.
I am happy to announce that they now take reservations, upstairs, for any number. We prefer the first floor and so arrive before 6:30.
As usual we were greeted by the staff and owner, most cordually, and the four of us dined for about 2 hours, although the place fills up, with a wait, after 7 PM. "Emilia" has added several new items to the menu and so after placing an order for wine and a Bianca Pizza( split between the four), wonderful, the table split both the Crispy Pork( belly) and the "Pig n' Fig Terrine'. Plenty of flavor, fat and salt in both. The terrine is a "country pate (good sized slice) and an arugula leaves mixed with chopped fresh figs and balsamic vinegar. We also managed to down 3 orders of pasta Bologense and for dessert an order of Ricotta Fritters, with orange marmalade and chocolate sauce. No one left hunger or disappointed. My new restaurant and wine bar of the year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Finishing Up

Just to finish up, what I start yesterday, here are the other places leading up to the Holidays, none new;

"Pelican's Reef" Beechmont near 5 mile road. Always fun with these very nice folks and food actually better than decent. I had grilled Brook Trout with a twice baked potato( creamy and hot) and a Cesar Salad, washed down by a Yuengling Lite( stick with the full flavored lager) while Marilyn had a thin carved prime rib sandwich, somewhat reminiscent of a Penn Station sub but upgraded by sour dough toast and a large house salad.

"Keystone Bar and Grill", Erie in East Hyde Park. With the two granddaughters, home for the holidays, we divided 2 house salad, more than enough for a lunch, not sure how anyone can eat a whole; as well as two orders of Mac and Cheese. On Mondays this item( M&C) is half priced as are the Quesadallas on Tuesday. One of the "specials" contained caramelized onions and bacon while the other had fresh tomatoes and Pesto. Both came in small cast iron skillets and were not only tasty and hot but enough so that some went home to the girls mother. As I mentioned before this new addition to the "hood" is a great place for lunch. large menu, good service and reasonable prices.

Another place with special lunch price is the "Washington Platform Salon" 1000 Elm Street a block below the new SCPA building. I was hankering for fried oysters which I had in an Appetizer portion, 8 oysters, and that would have sufficed until I heard that Tuesdays the Salmon Salad, grilled salmon on a bed of spinach with nuts, blue cheese crumbles and slices of tomato and cucumber, was the daily $1 sale item. Therefore my lunch guest and I each had one. I only ate the salmon and the rest came home for the basis of a dinner side salad, fairly full sized in it's own right. The come on is that each day one item on the full priced menu is paired with a second of the same for only $1 additional. How can one pass? Both items were very good and the place is generous to it's customers and the community.

The other spot has been a lunch at the new "Saigon Cafe" Erie Ave. in East Hyde Park. Marilyn, 2 granddaughter and a male friend, of one, made up our entourage. A 20+ year old male and his feminine companions are a veritable open pit at the table. Crab Rangoon( 2 orders), 5 large Sushi rolls(sp) a Thai omelet and a spicy tuna dish got them stoked enough for the ride home and a raid on their own families refrigerator. It was fun, very good food and thank God for half priced Sushi, a Cincinnati current phenomenon. Also 10% off for cash, don't know how they do it unless rice is very cheap, kept Grandpa solvent.

So now after several dinners at home we look forward to Christmas eve and a big family event.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On to the Holidays

Here a run down to the food we have consumed before the holidays. As someone told me, this week, my metabolism must really run on high to keep weight somewhat in check.

"Jean Robert's Table" 713 Vine Street Cincinnati 45202 (513) 621-4777.
Good news, the reservation and table situation has been straitened out as has the crowd at the front door. When we arrived at 7:40 PM, Saturday night, for a 7:45 reservation the couple who we were to meet were already seated. Other people we knew, who were there that evening, also received their tables at the reservation time.
The two other changes I noted were the offerings of several more specials and the change in price of my "starter" Bombay. The first a terrific plus and the second a reaffirmation that good things can't go on for ever.
As the server, who did a fine job through out the evening, told us of the "specials" Marilyn's eyes widened with the mention of Dover Sole, her favorite. I chose 2 items off the printed menu, Surf and Turf Tartar and Skate Fish Wings. The Tartar came as a layer of ground beef topped with chopped raw Tuna, which was separated from the beef by thinly sliced well marinated cucumbers. All was mildly seasoned.
The Skate Wing turned out to be a wing shaped piece of Skate(surprise) pleasantly broiled or grilled. It was served with fingerling potato's and a vegetable puree. Both item were beautifully done and sized perfectly.
Marilyn's sole, which I didn't taste, turned out to be small medallions rather than the usual whole fish. She was surprised but not disappointed.

I must digress and cover an oft mentioned subject- my spelling. The subject came up this week when a good friend told me she thinks my spelling is "charming"; whatever that means, certainly not perfect. I have never been able to spell and am well aware of that, what I was not aware of was the amount of misspelling on restaurant menus, which she advised is prevalent.
Since I know I am a "basket case" I rely on three sources, menus, register tapes and mostly cook books or dictionaries. If they lead me astray, which she said the former 2 often do, what you see is what you get.

Other spots in the pre-holiday list have been "Otto's" 521 Main Covington, KY (859) 491-6678 which certainly needs little comment. Brunch Sunday, for 7 family members, consisted, for the table, of Crab Hash, Benedict Otto's and Belgian Waffle with syrup and fresh berries. All are standard "Otto's" items which don't change in flavor or consistency. One thing I did notice was the attentiveness and attractiveness of the wait staff.

Computer has jamed so more later.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tough Time

December is a very busy time in the restaurant business. Holiday Parties, time off schedules, busy kitchens and often weather related issues.
Opening a new operation during this period is even tougher than opening always has been.

Last night, the second night of general operations Marilyn and I went to the new bar, "Tavern", at "The Precinct", all prior address and phone info remain the same. Not surprisingly there were "hitches" but we are glad we went and experienced this additional Jeff Ruby enterprise.
One enters thru the main lobby 0f the Precinct and climbs a small flight of stairs. The entrance to the fairly large room is thru a set of swinging doors. The room has a large bar, at the far end, (seating at the bar available) and a group of "high tops" filling the center. The "high tops" are surrounded by booths on three sides. The decorations are the turn of the century ( 1800's to 1900's), noise level are typical bar noises and the crowd Thursday night was full but not packed. One can reserve or just show up.
The wait staff is mostly attractive young women and the "Tavern" food is served from the same kitchen as the main restaurant.
Currently there is a very small, 5 item, bar food menu, which will expand after the first of the year, on the table and the regular Precinct menu is presented for those who want to eat more substantially.
We had reserved and therefore had one of the booths. Our server was young( 21) and also works at "Jeff Ruby Steakhouse", down town. She had a slight problem adjusting to the offerings at the "Tavern" and downtown. She could not have been more friendly and anxious to please.
I had 2 Yuengling Lager's, the new "hot" beer in Cincinnati. It is a very good rich, mellow and satisfying brew. The Manager highly recommended the Alaskan King Crab Brulee, a mixture of crab meat, cheese, sauce and topped with Panko Bread Crumbs. This comes in a ramekin, very hot, and served with lime corn chips. It went well with the beer and was plenty for 2 or 3 to share. We each had a large iceberg wedge salad with all the usual additions. Marilyn then had sourdough toast with mushrooms will I tried the chili, meat beans and spices. I had wanted the, listed, Seafood Chowder but was told it wasn't available.
It was a fine sampling from both menus and gave us plenty till we got home to homemade brownies and Graeter's.

Also this week we returned to "View Cucina" 2200 Victory Parkway 45206. Our daughter, whose birthday we celebrated had chosen this after hearing of our experience the week before.
Tuesday is half priced wine night and we ordered a bottle of "Benton Lane", one of my favorite Pinot's. Marilyn and I split a wedge( it's getting to be a habit) which we followed with a divided order of prime rib Canneloni, in a very rich cheese, Alfredo sauce. Half is enough as it is served in a interesting divided round plate ( ying and yang) and is accompanied by linguine with tomato basil sauce. Have some pasta. Our daughter and others had the eggplant salad, see earlier report, which continues to be one of the best, most interesting items. Coffee, for Marilyn, and a table shared Cookie Dough Pie topped with Graeter's vanilla and chocolate sauce finished the birthday dinner.

For lunch Tuesday I met my friend Paul Weckman ( Otto's) at "Pho Lang Thang" in Finley market. I stuck with a cabbage and chicken salad while Paul had several Vietnamiese dishes. Afterward I did some shopping, for shut In's at both Silverglades, cheese spread and grape, pecan chicken salad, across the street, and "Fresh Table" in the market house. There I picked up cauliflower au gratin, pea pod salad with nuts and dried cranberries and Mediterranean Couscous with chopped marinated veggies. Should have been good lunch items for all.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Around the corner

One of the long time downtown restaurants( more than 20 years in existence) moved from Walnut St, around the corner to a spot in the 580 Building on 6th St, just a door or two East of Walnut.
Our trainer, who is of Italian heritage, recommended that we give it a try. He thought that there were new owners but it is only a fairly new multi-national staff and an improved kitchen that has changed.
"Trattoria Roma" 580 Walnut St. SW 400 Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 723 0220 is very convenient and very decent, nothing fancy. With another couple we gave it a try a few nights ago.
The table divided a bottle of Valpolicella, a big week for that wine for me, and I followed with a small, lightly dressed Cesar Salad, which was included with my entree. My main course was fresh clams over perfectly cooked Linguine. The semi-clear broth was heavy in clam juice and my only negative is that the clams could have been scrubbed or soaked longer to remove every trace of grit. The portion size was filling and the dish satisfying. Marilyn had Linguine Bolognese, to large a portion for her, or the other lady, to finish. My taste of Marilyn's proved it to be better than acceptable.
Possibly the best dish of the evening was our friends Veal Picatta, 3 or 4 slices of tender pounded veal in a creamy lemon caper sauce. This was also served over Linguine also, maybe they made a good buy on that Pasta.
If you are in the area or want very good, not great, Italian food try "Trattoria Roma".

More around the corner from us, at Lunken Airport, is "Sky Galley" 262 Wilmer Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45226 (513)-871-7400 where we can be found from time to time. With three others we stopped in last week after some drinks and conversation at our home.
We had "noshed"(snacked) for an hour and a half and so I went with my usual lunch items; black bean soup and a Braunschweiger on rye. The soup came nice and hot and the sandwich, which is adorned with sliced hard boiled eggs and spicy, whole grained mustard was up to it's usual freshness. Marilyn, who almost always has the the Tilapia, of course, stuck with her usual while our guest had the advertised "Worlds Best Chicken Livers". Crisp Saratoga chips for all kept our calorie, fat and salt content up above normal. "Sky Galley" is most informal and always friendly and consistent.

A bit further afield we dined at "Cafe Mediterranean" 9525 Kenwood Road, Suite 8-10, Blue Ash (513)745-9386. This relocated Mid-Eastern spot moved about 6 weeks ago from the Beechmont area. Food remains excellent as proven by the Baba Ghanoush and warm pita followed by a Mediterranean style whole, grilled Sea Bass ( rubbed with olive oil, lemon and herbs before grilling). The table also had marinated chicken thighs, really delightful, and Lamb Shish Kebab. Still no liquor licence so we brought our own white wine.
Well worth the drive. ( I still can't figure out what I hit to change the print, any help?)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Interesting dishes

Last night we had dinner at "View Cucina" 2200 Victory Parkway Cincinnati, OH 45206 (513) 751-8439.The restaurant is owned by Gay and Harry Stevens, along with "Bella Luna" . The name for this space was formerly "The View" but the menu has been enhanced with additional Italian, themed dishes and there for the name change.
Last night was "half priced wine" night and consequently I shared a bottle of Valpolicella with the wife of the other couple, with whom we dined. The 2010 Bolla was quite light but went with all the food served.
I started my meal with a wonderful Eggplant salad. Five pieces of grilled eggplant, chilled and then drizzled with a light olive oil dressing. On the slices of eggplant were crumbled Feta and diced fresh tomato's. This was all nestled in a surroundings of golden raisins and pistachio kernel.
It was a wonderful mixture of flavors as well as an attractive plate.
My main course was Lamb Meatloaf, another hit. The lamb was finally ground, mixed with spices and bread crumbs, and baked to a perfect consistency. The thick slice was topped with Tomato Jam, made from crushed cherry tomato's with other seasonings and sweetness added. The combination was terrific. I skipped the potato's and instead had green beans and also asparagus both fixed slight too crispy for my palate.
The vegetables did not detract and the whole meal was a pleasant adventure in various tastes and flavors.
Marilyn had a bowl of much complimented, rich, Minestrone and a large Wedge Salad. The wedge had all the usual compliments, bacon, tomato, crumbled cheese and of course dressing.
It was a surprising evening and I recommend you give "View Cucina" a try.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pleasent surprises

During the last 7 days we have continued to eat out. Two of the meals have been really very pleasant surprises.

Last Sunday morning we went, as usual with another couple, to "Cumin Eclectic Cuisine" 3520 Erie Ave. 45208 (513) 871-8714 to sample their new (about a month), Sunday Brunch. We were all very pleasantly surprised. "Cumin" serves from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM. The menu contains about a dozen offerings and all are served individually to the table. We had our favorite server, Mung, and of course were off on a lovely adventure. I chose Shrimp and Grits which is topped with an "over easy" egg and is plated with a tasty mushroom gravy. It was a wonderful, unusual Sunday morning taste treat. Marilyn had the "eggs ur way" which features up to 3 eggs, any style, with meat, starch and croissant. Since Marilyn only wanted one egg the platter arrived with both bacon and turkey sausage. The other two had waffle with shaved pancetta and a Korean stone bowl, with scrambled eggs instead of poached or fired. Both looked very inviting.
I'm sure we will revisit many times.

The other surprise was at "Tano Bistro" 204 West Loveland Ave Loveland, OH 45140 (513-683-8266). Again with two others, the age of our children, we enjoyed a somewhat new experience at a restaurant to which we had been introduced a year or so ago. It's a long haul from our domicile but this time the trip was certainly worth the drive. The service at "Tano" has always been uniformly good and that night was no exception.
The table ordered a "Bear Boat" Pinot which turned out to be perfect for the entrees. I started with an arranged roasted beet salad, layered with goat cheese on a bed of torn romaine, lightly dressed. Marilyn had not only a cup of rich mushroom soup and she followed with a chopped iceberg wedge. To my surprise she ate both.
Our main courses were Short Rib Bolognese, for me, and Fried Chicken, for her. The Short Rib presentation was something new to me with the rib meat serving as the protein in a tomato vodka sauce to which peas and a few chopped mushrooms had been added. The pasta was a large helping of excellent Gnocchi which made the whole dish outstanding. Marilyn's fried chicken turned out to be just a fully crusted, sauteed chicken breast made crisp with bread crumbs and butter topping. The other couple started with mussels in a tomato and ground Andouille sauce. They had as their main courses, grilled, stuffed salmon and a pumpkin blackened swordfish.
For dessert we ordered Apple Tarte Tatin witch came as two sizable, star shaped pieces with a scoop of Cinnamon ice cream in the center of each. The other chose pumpkin Creme Brulee. Marilyn's decaf finished the meal.
Twenty some miles but worth every one.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Everyone must start sometime

A couple of nights ago we went, with another couple, to "Meritage" 1140 Congress Ave. Glendale, 45246 (513)376-8134. The owner, Mike Francy, had spoken to the "Let's Eat Out" class at UC (OLLI) a couple of weeks ago we we were anxious to give it a try. During his presentation he had said that they had taken the old "Glendale Gaslite Tavern" and fully redone the place and had a menu from very "family friendly" ( soaps, salads and sandwiches) to "fine dinning dishes" with a stress on their wine selections.
Our server, on this initial visit, was "on his own" for the first time and I must comment that he was pleasant and accommodating but in my opinion had not been sufficiently trained. He misquoted the prices of the specials, brought the wrong salads( not sure if it was his mistake or the kitchens) and presented the checks with the salads not corrected. Nothing in it's omission terrible but combined showing a lack of management supervision. Can you imagine having me for your first evening "on your own".
The new owner was very available and wanted our "honest comments". He did all the correct things in rectifying the situation.
Now for the positive. The food was good, ample and served hot or cold as the dish demanded.
(I get criticized for my spelling and syntax but what I try to do is just report on places we eat and my reaction)
No wine was ever mentioned, a surprise after the OLLI presentation, so I started with the usual Bombay and followed with the Iceberg Wedge. For my main item I chose the fish sandwich which came perfectly grilled and hot on a whole wheat bun with crisp pickle slices. Instead of French Fries I substituted excellent potato salad and the combination was perfect. A fine picnic on a snowy November night.
Marilyn had the steak sandwich, which she report was very good, and wonderful Macaroni and Cheese which I tasted several times, and will do so again, on my own.
This obviously is a mixed review but overall the food is worth your time and the place is clean, bright a convenient for those on the north side of Cincinnati and the "burbs. "Meritage" is a good effort and we all wish them success.

We have also been to a couple of regulars which remain on our "preferred" list.
"Enoteca Emilia" 2038 Madison Road 45208 (513)834-573. Still terrific Italian food and wine with good service and a lively spot and"Otto's" 521 Main St Covington KY 41016 (859) 491-6678 which was buzzing last Saturday night but handled approximately 150 "covers" throughout the evening in a very professional way, especially for a small restaurant with a very small kitchen.
Food and service a both remains "up to par" or beyond.

Yesterday a friend who is going to Prague ask about places to eat there. We had been in 2008 so I directed him to the posting for May of that month. European places often last longer than those in the US and I noticed that the first night in Prague we, and a group of followers, spent the evening in a "beer hall" that had opened in 1499. My blog may help people who travel so check it from time to time.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Calvin Trillin and Woody Allen

I don't think "depression" is exactly the correct word but I am sure feeling "discouraged" as I approach writing my Blog. I read the short Calvin Trillin article in the "New Yorker" and once again was impressed with his humorous and chatty style( he maybe my favorite food writer). Then I saw the 2 programs of Woody Allen, on PBS, and feel that there just are people given so much talent and creativity that the rest of us just have to accept "meritocracy"( or normality) and "give up the chase".
Anyway here are some comment of what we have been doing and eating over the last few days.

Over the weekend we went with our Dermatologist, and friend, to "Brio Tuscan Grille" 1 Levee Way Newport, KY 41071 (859) 431-0900. His wife was smart enough to call ahead and get on the list, which probably saved us 15 or 20 minutes of waiting time. Brio is a very decent, chain, Italian Restaurant which is run in a production mode but produces good Italian dishes. My guess is that it seats well over 100 and on the weekend it is full from 5 to 10PM or later.
I usually have the same thing( recommended by our trainer, who happens to be of Italian decent).
Starting with the Bombay( not his recommendation) I follow with the Chopped Salad, which I always find good, crisp and dressed correctly. I follow with the Margaretta Flat bread which comes crisp with a thin crust, fresh tomato slices, melted cheese and fresh basil. It is really too much for one person, unless you want to get to my usual restaurant stage, STUFFED. Marilyn had the same, as I, except instead of Bombay, first, she had decaf last. That night some of each portion of Flat bread accompanied us when we left.

With or Granddaughter, Monday for lunch, we went to "Saigon Cafe", new for all of us, 3672 Erie Ave. 45208 (513) 871-7999. Monday lunch is a very slow time and we were one of only two tables, which guaranteed very attentive service. Our server described item and answered, patiently, our many questions. Marilyn had the Chicken Pad Thai, which I tasted. The Pad Thai was a manageable portion well prepared and reasonably seasoned, not to sweet and sticky.
Kathryn and I split two "special" sushi roles ( 8 pieces each), "Saigon Cafe Role" and the "Hyde Park Roll". Both were fresh and excellent. The Hyde Park was topped with avocado and had crab and salmon in it's interior, with some spicy condiments and a bit of creamed cheese. The Saigon Cafe Role came hot and contained soft shell crab and several other items and was topped, or wrapped, in thin sliced tuna. Each platter had the usual wasabi and ginger slices. Both roles were delicious. We will return.

Just a mention "The Keystone Grill" has opened an outlet on Erie Ave, in Hyde Park and I have been there the last 2 Tuesdays for wonderful half priced Quesadillas, 9 to 10 selections.

Last night we went with two friends, in the wine distribution business, to "Honey" 4034 Hamilton Ave, Northside, (513) 541-4300. "Honey" is one of the very inventive, chef owned and run, establishments that our city can count as a culinary blessing. The owner had gone to, out of town, family, for Thanksgiving, but the kitchen and wait staff both did her proud.
As you might guess we had an excellent Pinot Noir (not inexpensive) which, of course, is handled by our friends. As a Thanksgiving treat "Honey" sent us an order of their very thin "french fries"( 3 kinds of potato's) and a plate of home made humus and tabbouleh. We should have had dessert and left but as mentioned above( to stuff ourselves) we went on to "Rabbit Confit" served with Quinoa and braised "Beef Short Ribs", with mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach. Even splitting these were large amounts. The table also had an order of roasted Brussels Sprouts and ended with a portion of Chocolate Bread pudding, with raspberry sauce and vanilla Geloto. Much too much terrific food and no one will diet today at the Thanksgiving table.

Monday, November 21, 2011


My car is repaired, new muffler system, my nose is repaired, stitches all out, and my credit card is repaired, new bank, so it's time to "Eat Out".
"Cumin" Eclectic Cuise"( notice the change in name since the opening and the new ownership) 3520 Erie Ave. 45208 (513) 871-8714. Still an attractive space with very good food and very good service, especially when "Mung", our special friend, is in charge of the table.
A fine, expensive Cotes du Rhone, for the table, split 3 ways took the place of Bombay and other libations for the evening. Marilyn and I split entrees of "Short Ribs Wellington" and Agnolottti. The beef was tender, flavorful and the pastry shell was just right. The Agnolotti( large ravioli shaped pasta pockets) were also outstanding. The were stuffed with chopped mushrooms, spinach and cheese. Sauces for both made perfect compliments. A small portion of chopped salad had started our meal and some Naan made a perfect "mop" for the excess sauce. The table also split a light carrot cake and there was no wonder some of the pasta accompanied us on the drive home.

"Sung Korean Bistro" 700 Elm St 45202 (513) 721-7864 a place we don't often visit, and I'm not sure why. It was "Happy Hour" but to the surprise of the 4 of us, to take advantage of this you must purchase from only one of their bars, not table service, and there is a special drink menu. I did some negociation and got my Bombay included. Marilyn had her usual Cranberry juice and club soda and so the evening was underway. I'm still trying to watch my salt intake and since many items include Soy Sauce( 1100 mg of Sodium) I opted for a Sushi roll which was good, but not memorable. Marilyn had a dish with chicken, chinese vegetables plus cauliflower and mushrooms all mixed with thin noodles. It was very tasty. The meal started with a pancake with scallions, sweet peppers and bean sprouts which was an excellent appetizer. Not sure how we will rate "Sung"in our firmament of places but it's certainly handy to downtown and Music Hall and hardly ever crowded.

"Spell check" is not working so be forwarned.

Last week we ventured to Blue Ash and the newly relocated "Cafe Mediterranean" 9525 Kenwood Road (513)745-9386. The move from '5 mile' has been made by one partner and about the same menu, although the dining area is more compact. The 3 of us put ourselves in the hands of our server who brought a delectable cold mix of appetizers and a basket of warm pita. "Cafe Mediterranean" has no liquor license and so I trudged two stores north to CVS and returned with their one Malbec( acceptable). Next time I'll bring my own wine, which they pour with no corkage.
Our dinner consisted of two platters, one of their roast meats and the other of a whole Doro (fish) that had been grilled and then filleted at our table. The platters had some salad in a vinegrette and rice pilaf. Pleanty of delicious food. The move had in no way diminished the quality of this fine middle east restaurant.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Car Repair

This posting is really not about "car repair" but I am starting to write while I am waiting for the garage to call and tell me when my car will be ready for pick up. So there is no guarantee of length or even of content.

Another great meal at "Nectar Restaurant" 1000 Delta Ave 45208 513-929-0525. Bombay, Sea Scallops and fall plum tart. As I have mentioned all the food is fresh, prepared without additives, including extra salt, and yet wonderful flavor and taste. Proteins always come with fresh veggies and light sauces and I enjoy Julie France's cooking, presentation and hospitality.

On a Tuesday a OLLI lunch( the same course that took us all to Orchid's) this time at "The Summit" the restaurant run by the culinary school at Cincinnati State (Clifton). The menu started with a Shrimp bisque, which to our benefit turned out to be a lump crab meat bisque, instead. It was accompanied by a Cranberry Blue Cheese salad( mixed greens) with a cinnamon poppy seed yogurt dressing. A very satisfying first course and possibly a sufficient amount to eat before the over the top dessert. However, we were served, as a second course, Moroccan spiced chicken with couscous, spicy lentils and tomato jam. The plate was very attractive with the spiced chicken served a golden brown, but unfortunately chicken breast is hard to keep warm and moist for a fair sized group. Next came an intermezzo, caused by a fire alarm which cleared the building. The few that did not return missed the "best for last"
Dessert was a large sized portion of Chocolate cake tower with white chocolate pieces, whipped cream and fresh red raspberries. Absolutely wonderful, perfect balance of sweet, moist filling and light dark cake. Try this restaurant Thursday, Friday or Saturday night for their offerings.

With a new couple we returned to one of our new favorites( Ed maybe we're going too much) "Enoteca Emilia" 2038 Madison Road 45208 (513) 834-5773. After heavy hors d'oeures at our home I settled for a Calamari and shrimp salad, large, crisp and filling which had been proceeded by two starters, Duck liver pate( rich, creamy and full flavored) and a hot ricotta mixture which seem bland by comparison. I accompanied my food with a crisp Orviato. Marilyn had her usual main course of Pasta Bolognese which they do very well. She also was part of the 4 sharing the starters, all served with toasted Italian bread slices. "Emilia is a treat any time of the evening.

Off for the car, more in the next few days.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Out a lot, from good to bad

When I don't write every few days there are a number of eating adventures, as well as others, to cover. Some of the experiences are "good to excellent" while other are "poor to bad". So here is what has happened since the last posting:

On Oct. 28, a Friday we tried "National Expemplar" in Mariemont. Cousins had been there and they told us that there was a new menu and the food was very good. I can't argue about the menu, although it looked pretty much the same to us, but my take on what we were served, and especially the service, would not warrant any sort of a recommendation.
Our server said he had been there 2 weeks but we knew, right from the start, that he was very inexperience. Marilyn's soup had to be returned several times( not necessarily the servers fault) before it was served "hot". The server never looked at us and we had the feeling that he did not try to remember the orders. Dishes were placed before the wrong person and when the check finally arrived it, of course, was not correct. The calf liver we both ordered was acceptable but nothing which would bring us back.

The next night, with another couple, there had also been 4 of us the night before, we went to the "Precinct" Delta and Columbia Parkway, 513-321-5454, for an always above average meal with very good service. As usual Marilyn and I split the NY Strip, "medium rare". The server, who we have had several times, knew our requests before we ordered, as this is our usual approach. We did change our usual salads to dividing a iceberg wedge with 1000 island dressing. The kitchen must have been overstocked on lettuce as each of us received an extremely large portion. Good meal, prepared perfectly, good service with the only negative being the liquor prices, which are at the high end.

Tuesday Nov. 1 our OLLI( Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) class from UC went to lunch at "Orchids at Palm Court" in the Netherlands Hilton at 5th and Race, in downtown Cincinnati. The most beautiful room and best food, in our opinion, that the city has to offer. For the class Todd Kelly, the executive chef, and his staff prepared the following, no one course more outstanding the the others. First course: Blue Cheese Beignets( crisp on the outside, smooth on the inside) served on a plate with Spiced Honey Gastrigue( a squirt of fresh seasoned honey), Tart Greens, Asian Pears and Almond Tuile. The greens had a wonderful citric vinaigrette.
Second Course: either Monkfish Paillard, Lychees, Arugula, Melrose Apples, Smoked Bacon and Cashews( this was my choice) or Braised Beef Cheeks( similar to tender beef short ribs), Spinach Gnudi, Roasted Tomatoes and Enoki Mushrooms( Marilyn's main course). We traded generous tastes and it is impossible to say which was better. Finally the Third Course was Buckeye Whoopie Pies, Chocolate, Candied Peanuts and Spiced Carmel Sauce. A beautiful filling lunch that left us all in a state of delicious repose.

That night, after saying we wouldn't eat again till morning, we quickly "back petaled" and joined a single friend at "Enoteca Emilia" the Italian wine bar that has become a neighborhood hang out in "Obrianville" at 2038 Madison Road, 45208 (513) 834-5773. The three of us split everything from Deviled Eggs and "cheesy bread( a loaf with layers of cheese between each slice) to Shrimp Spiedini( with wonderfully roasted pork belly prepared on small wooden secures), two salads, Roasted Beet and a Caesar and one order of Pasta, Garganelli( large tubes) with wild mushroom sauce. Not too light a meal after a very filling lunch. The food here remains first class.

Next day I had surgery for a skin growth and so it has been home with Marilyn's good cooking from then on.

Friday, October 28, 2011


For those few that aren't familiar with Airport codes the title refers to Cincinnati- San Francisco and back to Cincinnati. That's where we have been in the last two weeks since posting.
The SF trip was for a family funeral which came up unexpectedly, but it was a blessing.

Starting with the earliest meal( Oct 16) and working to the present here goes:
"Bonefish" Grill", Edwards and Madison Roads in Hyde Park. After my Bombay I stuck with the grilled salmon, asparagus and a head lettuce wedge, oil and wine vinegar on the side. All were good but not exciting. It's hard going somewhere between healthy and "good for you" and exciting. Marilyn had the Tilapia and a house salad, As I have said many times Bonefish is a good standard seafood emporium.

"Enoteca Emilia" 2038 Madison Road 45208 (513) 834-5773, the new neighborhood "hot" spot, full almost every night, with good reason. That evening along with a Formaggio( cheese) loaf, bread cut and cheese layered between each slice and then the whole loaf toasted,which the 4 of us split, I had a Calamari and Shrimp salad consisting of greens, a light dressing and the two mentioned protein sources. This plus taste of Marilyn Ferro( grain) salad with onions, peppers and diced tomato's and one of her terrific mushroom Ravioli was sufficient. My wine was a Gavi and new experience for me cultivated in the last month.

The next night, we go out too much, "The Cheesecake Factory, Kenwood mall, was our place to dine with cousins. Again the usual drink followed by excellent Wild Mushroom soup, plenty of salt but also plenty of mushrooms. I chose the chopped salad, from the exceedingly large selection of menu items while Marilyn followed the soup with a Fire-Roasted fresh Artichoke, more than she could handle in one sitting. Good visit with the family and a decent dinner.

It's hard to be in SF without thinking of both seafood and Italian, or a mix of both. So even though all the meals were brought in, one night we called upon "Fishermen's Grotto #9, 9 Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco 94133 (415) 673-7025 to provide dinner for 12. This they did packing two large boxes with Large Crab Louis salad( lot of fresh crab meat), with a marvelous 1000 Island dressing, one of the hits of the evening, 2 cracked and sectioned whole Crabs to finish the heavy appetizer. Main courses ( 2 orders of each item) were Prawns in a butter, wine a mushroom sauce ( good portions of mushrooms) Petrole Sole, a bow to Marilyn's favorite ( of course after Dover Sole), Halibut stuffed with bay shrimp and crab and 2 orders of Fruti Di Mare, fettuccine in a light tomato sauce covered with scampi, clams and mussels. The restaurant is a large tourist spot but the items they sent were all substantial and quite satisfactory, no complaints.

Don't usually throw in non-public places but I must remark the the food at LCC ( Losantiville Country Club) have become real a treat. This week I had a wonderful crispy roast duck with orange sauce which was a good as I can remember. Just had to comment.

Lastly, I'm sorry Ed< last night we went to an OLLI( Osher Life Long Learning) at the "Oriental Wok-Hyde Park. The restaurant provided a hot and cold appetizer buffet( paid for by OLLI) and a cash bar and for those of us who stayed for dinner the regular menu and accommodations.
Guy Burgess, the chef, is a friend and so knowing my low salt needs, especially after the appetizers, he gave me grilled Salmon covered with a very tasty fresh tomato sauces mixed with sweet rice wine and various spices, super. He also steamed vegetables and so my dinner countered the salty snacks of which like all I had imbibed.
Now were all up to date and I'll post more as with keep "eating out".

Friday, October 14, 2011

4 places in one week

Here is a report on 4 places with different styles, but all good, and even can be somewhat healthy.

"Nectar Restaurant" 1000 Delta Ave Cincinnati, OH 45208 (513) 929-0525. As I reported this is high on my list because of the preponderance of items on the menu made from fresh ingredients with very little additives, All interestingly and well prepared and attractively served.
Last Saturday night we went to celebrate my Birthday, a day late( Yom Kipper was on the exact day. Along with Marilyn and me were our, in town two children. I brought a home made birthday cake, but more of that latter.
We started, during drinks with a plate of beautiful golden and crisp Shrimp Fritters, not in the least greasy. I followed with a taco of duck Carnitas, shredded and roasted covered by a fried egg and a light fresh tomato salsa. Knowing that the others would over order I received an empty plate and an opportunity to enjoy a large sample of Marilyn's Beef Stew, chunks of roasted beef sirloin and vegetables in a beautiful bourguignon sauce. I also enjoyed a good size sample of "Golden Tilefish" poached in a very light curry broth. Both were wonderful. For desert, as mentioned, we brought a special cake, my favorite, three layer yellow cake with one layer filling of Apricot jam and another of Red Raspberry jam, all iced with dark chocolate icing, I really didn't need dinner. Some Birthday feast.

On to "Enoteca Emilia" 2038 Madison Road Cincinnati, OH 45208 (513)834-5773. We had had a wine and Italian dinner, with 5 wines, at our house the night before and I brought the remains of a Sicilian Chardonnay for the two owners to taste, I also ordered a glass of "Gavi" to which I had been introduced on the previous evening( light, crisp, Italian white). For my appetizer I chose the Stuffed figs, bacon wrapped, covered with a spicy tomato sauce, a beautiful contrast of flavors, sweet and sharp. The main course was there excellent mushroom ravioli and for desert the table shared the terrific ricotta fritters. Three items that are actually fairly light and yet quite filling.

Next it was our neighborhood steak house, the always reliable "Precinct" 311 Delta Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45226 (513) 321-5454. The man himself, Jeff Ruby was at the next table, and after registering my displeasure at the price of the "Bombay" I downed one before dinner( more bark than bite). Marilyn and I, almost always, share a 12 oz Sirloin and baked potato, with of course the crisp onion straws. I have the Greek salad while she enjoys the "Freddie". The kitchen skipped the rub, on the steak and brushed the Kosher salt from the skin of the potato, so I felt somewhat virtuous, while knowing down deep I wasn't. but still enjoying the excellently prepared meal. For desert the table had "Banana's Foster"deadly but delicious. No using the scale the next morning. The Precinct is still our favorite "chop house" and it's just down the hill.

Lastly, my standby Chinese, "Oriental Wok" Hyde Park, Madison and Dana Avenues, 45208 (513) 871-6888. I took a bit of Marilyn's crisp,hot egg roll before she had a dish of chicken, mushrooms, broccoli and noodles while I had a special rendition of "Shrimp Chinatown", slivers of crisp carrots, celery, onions and water chestnuts with grilled shrimp crowning the vegetables. All fixed with no salt or soy, can you believe. It was beautiful, tastee and probably the most healthy thing of the week. From there we took off to the "Ensemble Theatre" and a very wordy play, not particular to our liking.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

False Alarm

I have no idea what happened that brought up the warning, yesterday, but it turned out to be a false alarm. The post printed, just as always and the computer unlocked in just a few seconds, all's right with the world, at least my computer functions, so let go on.

Next spot was "Lemon Grass" 2666 Madison Rd, Hyde Park 513-321-2882. This restaurant is the parent of "Wild Ginger" and while there is no Sushi most other items, in some form, can be found on their menu. It has probably been at it's current location for 15 years and their prices, as well as the decor are still "old fashioned". A lot of their business is "carry out" and it is very convenient for the Hyde Park, Oakley neighborhoods.
Marilyn and I split a good sized salad with a fresh peanut dressing and she followed with her usual Pad Thai, I on the other hand had the excellent Pineapple Fried rice with shrimp. It contains a healthy amount of pineapple as well as roast cashews. Four large shrimp grace the top. Unusually it has more Curry, than Monday evening, but then I had asked no salt and little soy so the whole dish, until I added some seasoning was good, but to mild and I have learned that I am better to let well enough alone. Whole dinner including tax and tip ran $16 each.

Tuesday night we again tried going to "Honey" in North side, only to find it closed therefore, with another couple we landed at "La Poste" in Clifton, 513-282-3663. Just as the week before we enjoyed our evening splitting a "house salad", greens, julienned beets, and a few nuts. The vinaigrette was delicious as always. Marilyn had her mushroom ravioli, her fall back, still a good dish, and I had the grilled Wahoo, grilled and served on a bed of apricot jam, delightful. The plate also contained thin strip of celery which had been pan sauteed and some strips of picked onion, both items crunchy to contrast with the Wahoo( sword fish texture). I split a bottle of red wine with the other couple and it all made for a very pleasant evening and meal. I'll have to find out what is going on at "Honey".

Lastly, another favorite, "Pelican's Reef" Beechmont Ave in Anderson Township. The fresh trout special was recommended and the recommendation was an excellent one. It was extremely fresh, having arrive the same day, at noon, and the restaurant was sold out, of this item, by 8 PM. The chief grilled it to perfection. Marilyn and I had the same thing and also the same sides, large house salad, balsamic dressing, and wonderful "twice baked" potato's. Unbelievable at $14.95. "Pelican Reef" is a favorite for several reason, food, price, service and the wonderful hospitality extended by the two couples who own the place. I have described it previously as a "Key West Seafood Bar" and they live up to that billing or a little more.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Let's get caught up

I'm not sure how far I'll get before some other duty calls but I'll bring the postings somewhat up to date. There have not been a lot of memorable eating experiences although there have been quite a number of meals out, and in most instances they have decent or above.
"Cumin" 3520 Erie Ave. 45208 (513) 871-8714 remains good, as always. It's one of many where we have become well know. I started with a String bean salad, served over a bed of mixed greens with vinaigrette, on the side, while Marilyn's opening dish was a creamy beer cheese soup, unusual for her. It was flavorful and served at exactly the right temperature( yes, I tasted). We both had a homemade Pasta, wide noodles, and a somewhat spicy tomato sauce, which included red and yellow grape tomato halves and a taste of sauteed, either, spinach or kale. A fine vegetarian dish not on the regular menu.
On Saturday we picked up a cousin at the airport and stopped for lunch at the "Hitching Post" Edwards and Madison Roads in Hyde Park. Good chain for fried chicken which the three of us had plus a side of cole slaw. That evening 5 of us went to the "old standby" "Otto's" 521 Main St. Covington, KY 41016( doubt that ZIP Codes are necessary, who writes a letter unless they are complaining), phone 859-491-6678. No explanation or description necessary. The mandatory Fried Green Tomato's( outstanding) came for the table. I had another pasta in tomato sauce but this one included excellently done scollop's, a very nice addition. Marilyn had her usual Tilapia, which they do exceedingly well and we split an iceberg wedge which comes with bacon bits, blue cheese crumbles and a rich house vinaigrette, a bit repetitious from the night before.
The next night we were guests at "Knotty Pine on the Bayou" Kentucky route 915. Remote New Orleans type restaurant and Bar( mostly Cajun). I gravitate to the Grouper, which Marilyn does as well. It's one of their best dishes, if your ducking fried and spicy, in our opinion. My side, beside a very nice chilled salad, was a cup of Etouffee, a new experience for me as a side but better in my opinion that what is normally offered.
Just got a computer signal, which I don't understand, that this may fail and so I'll stop and continue at a later date. Don't want to drop too many pearls.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Not sure

I'm not sure how to proceed. I wrote the last time about a new diet, strongly suggested by my Cardiologist and being somewhat neurotic I have probably over done the control of salt content. This, of course, makes my "eating out" fairly bland and somewhat monotones. So hear is the dilemma, do I post what I am doing, what people I am with are eating or do I just take some time off and only write when there is really something special to report or my diet gets changed?

Anyway, we have been eating out less and here is what I have done since the last posting.
"Enoteca Emilia" 2038 Madison Road Cincinnati, OH 513-834-5773( although I have never gotten a live person to answer my call) was the spot Monday 9/19, a 3rd time for Marilyn and me. After a "Quartino", about 8 1/2 oz or a 1/4 of a 5th, of fine Barbera I settled for the Calamari and Shrimp salad, an excellent choice. Mine was large enough that it would have serficed for a light meal, however I added 2 small secures of lamb, only 4 pieces, total, but the secures also had some fingerling potato's and some slices of grilled sweet onion. The lamb was grilled perfectly, medium rare, and although this dish wasn't necessary it made a nice contrast to the salad. The table split and order of "Emilia's" wonderful Ricotta Fritters. The other three had the mushroom Ravioli, which on previous occasions had been great but that night was too heavily salted even for normal consumption. "Emilia" handled the situation well and we were all satisfied by the outcome.
"La Poste" 3410 Telford Ave, Clifton 513-281-3663. We went after an "open house" at CCM(UC) which served drinks and hors dorves. Marilyn and I both had the superb Grilled Pork Chops. Mine had no seasoning, none was needed , and Marilyn's had just enough, she reported, to bring out the flavor. The major difference in the two plates was that under hers were vegetables and polenta, with a sauce, while mine was on the vegetables without a starch or sauce. The meat was grilled to perfection and each chop provided protein for another meal, the next night.
"Sky Galley" Wilmer Ave, Lunken Airport. This informal, super frendly, family restaurant hosted 6 of us on a Sunday night, including 8 year old twins. They prepared their"world famous"( I'm not sure) Chicken livers which I believe are some of the best in the area, without salt, at my request. My accompaniment was a very good baked potato and a large helping of virtue. A fine meal but somewhat restricted, at my desire. Marilyn had a Mushroom Swiss burger, which she reported was just fine.
Lastly, Monday night, 9/26, was "Bonefish Grill", Madison and Edwards Road 513-321-5222. Marilyn's usual is the Parmesan Crusted Trout and she did not deviate. I started with the Iceberg Wedge with sliced tomato's, and by design, the Bleu Cheese crumbles on the side, and NO Bacon, Italian or otherwise, please. I followed with an order of Ahi Tuna Sashami, not seasoned in the kitchen, but served on a bed of greens with the usual thin sliced Ginger and Wasabi. The meal was satisfying, if not a taste treat, but the Blood Pressure is staying controlled, and that is the whole point.

We'll see what happens next; either reports only on outstanding, like "Nectar" or a relaxation of the guidelines as I become more realistic. End of the "Organ Recital"

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Doctor/New Life-Style

This week I changed Cardiologists. I liked my previous one but his practice was bought out and his in-hospital work will only be in a somewhat distant location. Times have changed and so have I. To make the change was not difficult but the new doctor has a much different philosophy built on a holistic approach with much heavier stress on diet, exercise and especially a drastic( for me) reduction in Sodium. Therefore, I'm going to give a shot to a very low Sodium diet and see what happens. Already I have been able to cut some of my Blood Pressure Meds in half or more.
I wont stay home but my food choices may be quite different from people with no Blood Pressure problems or other heart concerns.

"Nectar" Restaurant 1000 Delta Ave 45208 is easy and a pleasure, why we don't go more I don't understand. Most of the food, which Julie Francis prepares is made from fresh, organic, fruits, vegetables and meats or fish and if one asks for, "no salt added" you can have pretty much your choice of all items on the menu. I began with one beautifully prepared shrimp fritter served with a fresh peach salsa and a streak of spicy sauce. Next came a bowel of "sweet corn" soup,( room temperature) very reminiscent of Vichyssoise but containing kernels of steamed sweet corn, finely chopped red onions and a few bits of chopped Italian parsley. It was light, sweet and refreshing and more filling than I imagined.
Luckily Marilyn shared the "summer salad". Chunked Heirloom tomato's, marinated onion pieces, celery and a few corn chips for crispness. My "main" was a starter sized Ahi Tuna Tarter covered with, again, chopped Tomatillos which accompanied the Tomatillos salsa and Wasabi creme fraiche. The platter had a few house made corn chips, with some salt topping which "pawned off" on others. I accompanied the food with a "Torrantes", light, crisp, Chilean wine, perfect drink with perfect food. The table shared 2 desserts, Panna Cotta and a fresh peach tart tatin and I concentrated on the latter which had an accompaniment of Pistachio Gelato( I'm pretty sure that this wasn't on my diet, but virtue and health have to stop somewhere).

Last night, I really did behave. At "Trio's Bistro" in Kenwood, 7565 Kenwood Road 513-984-1905 I started with a house chopped salad, dressed with nothing but olive oil and balsamic vinegar and followed with a pan seared wonderful, fresh piece of Salmon, sauce( yogurt and cucumber) on the side. The salmon was perched on a bed of orzo which contained fresh mushrooms, spinach and cooked red onion slivers. There was a very small amout of cheese, but not of any consequence or saltiness( what virtue). I had a glass of Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay, just to make my table mates, who had ordered a bottle, fell right at home. Of course the wine did not diminish the dinner in any way. Not stuffed, but happy, I went off to the movie, down the street. Marilyn had the Cesar salad and Lemon chicken, an attractive dish in it own right. She, of course, join the group for the movie.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


After "Cafe Mediterranean" at 5 mile and Beechmont closed I wondered why and would there be a place, as good for Turkish and Mid-Easter food? Then I heard that some of the people and owners had moved and opened a new restaurant, "Sultans Mediterranean Cuisine" 7305 Tyler Corners Place, West Chester( or beyond) 513-847-1535. We went Friday evening and I was not disappointed, although as I have said many times("if I want to go to Columbus for a meal I'll do that"). The last statement is unfair and only implies that it is a long haul for us inner city folk. Northern inhabitants will find the location much more convenient.
The new location is near a mid-east shopping center and just beyond a US Bank branch. Use exit 22 from I-75 North. The decor is a little more upscale that the former but the food and service are just as good and the portions are plentiful.
Marilyn and I split the Shish Kebab, each receiving 3 good sized pieces of well marinated, and beautifully grilled lamb; and an order of what is billed as "chicken steak", de-boned chicken thighs also marinated and well grilled( 1/1/2 each) this is served with rice pilaf and small salad of crisp lettuce, carrots, onions and celery. Earlier we had shared a full portion of Shepherd Salad, lots of cucumber, tomato, sweet onion. and Italian parsley, with an oil and lemon juice marinade. I added a dark Turkish beer while Marilyn had her usual de-cafe.
The dinner was great, filling and came at just the right tempo.

Earlier in the week we had returned to "Enoteca Emilia" 2038 Madison Road 45208 (513) 834-5773. This was our second visit and and we enjoyed the "Italian wine bar", just as much as the first. The food, service and wines( all Italian) remain first class. That evening there were 5 and so we split most items.
We started with "Cheesy Bread( Formaggio) which couldn't have been better. A warm loaf of crisp, outside, Italian Bread, while soft and cheese covered on the inside of each slice( I could make a meal of the loaf and some wine); deviled eggs( 3 different toppings), stuffed figs( wrapped in pancetta) in a spicy tomato sauce. excellent grilled cauliflower, overly salted and spiced clams( a substitiue that evening for Cockles) and wonderful mushroom and cheese filled ravioli. The finish, for the table, was an order of Ricotta Fritters and a ramekin of Peach and Strawberry cobbler. Once again I had wine and Marilyn de-cafe. The place is a joy.

Before the Ensemble Theatre a return visit to "A Tavola Pizza" 1220 Vine St. 513-246-0192. To me it is very noisy and not a place to linger. Food comes out as it is prepared and the check is presented promptly.
There 3 of us enjoyed bacon wrapped dates( stuffed with sausage) Eggplant sliders( small soft buns with deep fried eggplant slices and fresh tomato with an ample pesto sauce). A cold cauliflower salad, Margarita Pizza( cheese, sliced fresh tomato's and basil) and a larger sweeter peach cobbler than Emilia. My drink of the evening was Bell's Oberon as wonderful Michigan beer.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Too much

I have been eating out too much. Too much good food, too much good wine and possibly too much Bombay. They company is great but we have to find another way to get together with friends and family.

Starting Friday August 26 it was "Barresi's Italian Restaurant" 4111 Webster Ave. Deer Park, Ohio (513) 793-2540. Deer Park is out of our orbit and so we hardly ever go in that direction. That evening we were with a new couple, for us, the husband of which loves this place, and since we are happy to have others suggest where to eat, a job that usually falls to us, we readily agreed.
I think it has been at least 15 years since we have eaten at "Barresi's" and I am in no rush to return.
Since our last visit they have added several rooms, but a week ago Friday they hardly filled the small room, in which they were serving. The decor is fairly dark and the food is decent, old time Italian. I chose a Torrentes( white, crisp Chilean) to go with my Linguine and Clams. The clams were sliced into flat pieces the size of a quarter. The dish was plenty but nothing to rave about. Marilyn had a large serving of Veal Marsala with a hugh amount of sliced mushrooms. She brought home plenty for her lunch for the next day. Prices seem to run in the $25 to $35 range for a main courses and side salad. Good company, but as the wife commented 'we'll try some place else the next time'.

The next outing was a week ago( 8/28) when the whole family, 7 of us, went to "Bella Luna" 4632 Eastern Ave 45226 (513) 871-5862. We had as many dishes as there were people, and maybe more. I tasted most. Among the favorites were a beef short rib Cannelloni( shredded short ribs wrapped in the dough and given the full Cannelloni treatment), Lobster and Crab Ravioli in a Lobster sauce, several pastas with different sauces, several wedges of iceberg split and dressed with all the trimmings( cheese, bacon, tomato and dressing), Calamari in a spicy tomato sauce plus a real winner, Chocolate Chip-Blueberry bread pudding with a warm vanilla sauce. The bar was given business as were the coffee and tea machines. Now you see what I mean by "too much food". Fun evening with Granddaughters, family and good food. "Bella Luna" is perfectly fine Italian and we certainly don't have to drive to Deer Park.

Monday, with our art instructor( he teaches a course in contemporary art at OLLI) and his wife, was a place I have been wanting to try while meeting some resistance from my loving wife. "Dancing Wasabi" 3520 Edwards Rd 45208 (513) 533-4444. "Dancing Wasabi" originated in Mt. Lookout Square and moved a couple of months ago to the vacated "Beluga" space on Edwards Rd. just off of Hyde Park Square. It is fairly large, very noisy and full of young(20/30) people, and why not, since they are the originators of 1/2 price sushi, a much copied idea, all over Cincinnati. There sushi is decent and plentiful, but not being fools, it is heavy on the rice and light on the fillings. We had a very good time, even as we raised the average age by at least 20 years. My two "rolls" were Spider( soft shelled crab) and Spicy Lobster. With Sushi my drink of choice is "Kirin Ichiban"and I tackled the 22 oz bottle. Marilyn had Yakisoba Chicken which was noodles, which she likes, with strips of chicken and vegetables. Hers' was full price($13) while my two 1/2 price rolls( 15 pieces) added up to the exact same amount. Unfortunately the restaurant is not handicapped accessible.

Lunch Wednesday, with our two Granddaughters, was at "La Poste" 3410 Teleford, Clifton (513)-281-3663. Knowing we were also going out that evening I ordered only the crab cake, but shared some pom frites and some chocolate, cherry bread pudding( just a taste). Marilyn had an imported(French) cheese sandwich, grilled, and a salad while the Granddaughters had roasted pear salad, as the main course for one and sliced pork tenderloin sandwich( the best item of the four) for the other.
That evening, again with another couple, we climbed Price Hill to "Primavista" 810 Matson Place (513)251-6467. Beautiful view of the city as the lights came on, great service from an intelligent server and good Italian( 3rd time in a week). After my Bombay it was salad and then Scampi Rigano( the scampi have shrunk to mid-sized shrimp) accompanied by a glass of "Benton Lane Pinot Noir" one of my favorite Pinot's. Marilyn stuck with a veal dish, the nights special, with two of her favorites, mushrooms and artichokes. Not cheap, but a meal never is with both whiskey and wine, especially if they are good.

Thursday night we were guests at Losantiville Country Club(LCC). Thursday is "big Bob's Burger night" and so after drinks, and nosh, we all ordered burgers, large, grilled perfectly, as ordered. They are accompanied by and array of toppings of which Marilyn and I chose sauteed onions and fresh sliced sauteed mushrooms. Marilyn, being smarter than I, passed on the bun. A salad bar is provided and I had a cup of excellent chili( loose hamburger etc) a small Cesar salad and to end the meal fresh pineapple and chocolate chip cookies.
Friday, with the whole 7 family members we celebrated our daughters' and son-in-laws' anniversary and a Granddaughter's September Birthday at "Orchids" 35 W 5th St.( in the Netherland Plaza Hotel) 513-421-9100. There are 3 postings about "Orchids' written in August and it is not necessary to, therefore, go into detail. They did not let us down and 3 bottles of wine later we left well content and as well feed and served and as any place we go in Cincinnati.

Last night, we went with a couple, for their first visit to "Otto's" 521 Main St, Covington KY
(859) 491-6678. The lady has really major problems with steps and since there are two, one must negotiate before entering, it took a maximum effort. Luckily the draw of "Fired Green Tomato's" was strong enough to help her summons the energy, with help, to gain entry. She assured us it was worth the effort.
After that build up we had to begin the meal with an order of Fried Green Tomato's. No one had any alcoholic beverage( I needed to dry out from the night before) and while the others had "soft drinks" and juices I started on my first, of several, glasses of water. Again I have written many time about "Otto's", sort of a home away from home, and last night was no exception. Wonderful assistance from Doug( with the entry and exit), fine service from attractive and attentive Meghan and fine food from Molly and the kitchen staff. Marilyn had her regular Tilapia( which they do as well as anyone). I find that fish too mild for my taste. While I had the Shrimp and Grits, a half dozen large shrimp over a grits cake and served with an slightly spicy tomato, onion and spinach broth. The other couple had the justly famous tomato dill soup and the women had her own order of the Fried Green Tomato's, since the table had shared the first. Her husband selected the Sea Scallops over a spinach risotto( I couldn't come up with that name at dinner last night). They both raved appropriately and I'll be interested to see if they summons up the courage to try it on there own, or with another couple. Great evening for us all.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Emilia" and others

We may have a winner. The reason I modify is because, "Emilia" 2038 Madison Road, Cincinnati 45208 (513)-843-5773 is certainly starting out as a fun, first class Italian Wine Bar, with excellent food and wine. The service is good, and after a bit more training and familiarity with the wines, will also be above average. Pricing is reasonable and the "pour" is decent.
They opened a week ago and four of us went at approximately 6:45 PM last evening, at that time we were offered our choice of two tables. By 7:30 the place was full with a short wait unless patrons wished to be seated at the bar, where food service is also available.The pricing of the "ala carte" menu is $10 to $14 for the specialty salads( a small salad is available at $2 to accompany dinner items) and $15 to $17 for the Pasta's. There are skewers of Shrimp, Lamb and Chicken for $12 to $14 and Pizza's at $12 to $14. Bar snacks, cheeses and Dolce(sweets) cover most of the other food items. Wines are Whites, Rose and Red, all Italian, and some by the glass( 2 sizes) and all with full bottles available.
I started with a glass, approx a 5oz pour, of Barbera d' Alba( medium red) but unfortunately was brought a Rose. It was returned promptly and replaced correctly. That was the only "slip up" of the evening. Nothing major.
For dinner I enjoyed the Avocado and Grapefruit salad, crisp romaine, cucumbers and ricotta shavings with 4 or 5 pieces of ripe avocado but only two small part sections of grapefruit. The salad had a nice balsamic vinaigrette and make a good opening salad course.
My Pasta was Squid Ink Spaghetti, made in house as are all the pastas, with roasted( sweet) corn, scallions, squid( bite sized) in a light and slightly spicy jalapeno oil. The dish was delicious and our table and visitors, from another table, who we knew, all took a tastes. The portion size, while not hugh( goody), was plenty. For dessert we, 4, shared an order of perfect Fried Ricotta Fritters served with homemade marmalletta(marmalade) and chocolate sauce. The fritters were crisp on the outside, but not at all greasy, and soft and silky inside.
Marilyn had the Black Pepper Pappardelle with Bolognese sauce. I took a taste and found it wonderful. The other couple had a "Pizza con Speck" and the Shrimp and pancetta skewer. It was an auspicious opening, for a new spot, to which we will return.

Other spots, since we are out and around, have been "Terry's Turf Club" 4618 Eastern Ave, 45226 (513)533-4222 for what I consider the best burger and fries in the area, although that evening I had a shitake mushroom sandwich with grilled onions and Mango-Jalapeno sauce. Our group(5), one from Barcelona( age 14) who we took to have the quintessential meal, devoured 2 orders of "well done' French fries for starters, terrific.
"Mecklenberg Garden" 302 East University Ave. 45219 (513)221-5353), where the food though not wonderful has improved, for a night "under the vines", in the beer garden. That night we started with a warm soft pretzel with mustard dipping sauce and a medium dark Germany beer. I had Hungarian Grilled shrimp, just what the name implies, shrimp with Hungarian spices, while Marilyn split a hugh Wiener Schnitzel with the other women.
Last but not least, what do you expect, the Oriental Wok-Hyde Park and another outstanding Chinese dinner, for 7, starting with Chinese Ribs, followed by Lobster and a steamed Salmon in scallion and ginger sauce and an order of the nights special "shrimp and grits", how Chinese can one get.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Jason Hirschhorn, our Grandson, wrote the last posting about "Orchids" which he also pictured, a first for "Let's Eat Out". Nothing he said could quite cover all our feelings at being together for this wonderful evening.
However, because he drinks "Shirley Temple's" while Marilyn has Cranberry Juice and Club Soda I feel I would be remiss if I didn't list the wonderful wines which I was served as "pairings".

My libations started with a crisp White Burgundy from, of course, the Macon region;
next came a light Pinot Noir from Oregon, to me the best area for this variety and finally,
a full bodied Chambertin, perfect for the duck and beef courses.

The whole evening was "over the top"and in my mind there is no place that compares with "Orchids" for the combination of food, service and ambiance. Finally the hotel Management has found food to go with the elegant setting.

Orchids by Jason Hirschhorn

Last night, Grandma, Grandpa and I ate dinner at the best table in the best restaurant in Cincinnati. It couldn't have been a more perfect evening.

Orchids is located in the main ballroom of the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel. Tucked away in a corner booth, our conversation was dwarfed by the half-acre of Brazilian rosewood paneling, German silver light fixtures and soaring ceiling murals all in the French Art Deco style. However, the decor paled in comparisons to our dishes. Yes, Orchids is truly fantastic.

I opened my meal with a Shirley Temple. Then came the bread - three pieces served on your plate and accompanied by three delicious dips. Then came the amuse-bouche, a hollow egg shell filled with egg and truffle custard and topped with more truffles (evidently, you can buy an egg topper to perfectly open eggs every time; for us, this was the most exciting part, of the amuse-bouche). Chef Todd Kelly had bought plates especially for this dish. It was good, but it paled in comparison to the ensuing onslaught of edible excitement. Woo...what a mouthful!

Pictures and descriptions of each course are located in an accompanying post, so look there for more in depth details. I'd prefer to focus on one in particular, the "Main Lobster Salad." Throughout the meal, we would rate each dish after we had finished, and early on we had to be careful with our higher grades...but this was still a 10. It has everything you want in a dish: crunchy, chewy, pasty and stringy textures; hot, warm and cold elements; sweet, salty, fishy, eggy and a mixture of tastes. Each bite was like looking around a corner without knowing what you might see, but then being incredibly excited by what you found. Each bite added to the complexity of the dish, adding layers upon layers to a beautifully painted masterpiece.

Oh, and the Shirley Temple was also fantastic!

All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better evening with better company. Grandpa has been trying to get me to come and visit Cincinnati for a while; if I had known this was what was in store me, I would have made the Midwest trek much sooner!

Orchids (Pictures)

Lobster salad topped with hard boiled egg and fried onion strips

Heirloom tomatoes with a mozzarella ball on and bread cheese crisp over jellied olive oil infused with lemon

Seared scallop and fried pork belly on corn polenta with a tempura blossom

Duck breast, foie gras, savoy cabbage stuffed with fresh mushrooms and potato ganache

Steak and fried potato disk with portobello mushrooms and a grilled pearl onion

Breaded and fried short rib patties in horseradish sauce

Rich chocolate torte topped with chocolate mouse, brandied cherry and coated chocolate strip

Macaroons, blackberry jellies and chocolate truffles

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


This week is Restaurant Week in Cincinnati and several downtown restaurants are taking part with special menus and good value combination. We are going to at least three, in part because of this promotion but also other influences, such as the arrival tomorrow of our Grandson from LA.

Monday night we went with a friend to "Nicola's" 1420 Sycamore St. 45202 513-721-6200, possibly the best Italian Restaurant in the area. Every Monday night "Nicola's runs an unbelievable "special". For $13 one receives a large bread basket, including bite sized Bruschetta, Italian bread stick, Focaccia etc. Next a nice sized salad, greens and sliced tomato's and a full portion of pasta with the wonderful house made Bolognese. If someone stopped there and augmented in no way it would be a great dinner at an unbelievable price, however, how would "Nicola's" survive. So out of the "milk (or wine) of human kindness the tree of us added drinks, a very good Volpolicella and a smooth Barbera plus an outstanding Lettuce Soup, about both the proprietor and the server raved. They were not mistaken. The lettuce Soup was a Green Gazpacho, like, pureed cold soup made with a base of Romaine, Arugula and Spinach, with kernels of white, sweet corn, pearl onion and stock added. Shredded Blue Crab and a few coarsely ground croutons were floated on the surface. The total effect was amazing. The total cost for the evening was $33/person, a bit different from the $13 special but a wonderful meal. Incidentally, but not unimportant our server was excellent, through out the evening.

The next night we went, with another couple, to "Via Vite" (same ownership as "Nicola's) 520 Vine St, Fountain Square, 45202 (513)721-8483. Their special was unbelievable, a 3 course dinner for $35/couple($17.50 each). There were 2 items in each category, starters, pastas and meat or fish course, and each of the couple, sharing the meal, could choose which they wanted. After my Bombay, I had a wonderful tomato based, pureed, Gazpacho, again with some crab in the center, a good sized portion of potato Gnocchi in a quite rich Vodka Sauce and for my 3rd course, a small pork tenderloin served on a bed of sauteed onions, pepper and tomato's, seasoned perfectly to compliment the pork.

So now you have my report on the first two nights of "Cincinnati restaurant week.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mobile again

When I made the last posting, July 10 I had no idea how long it would be until we really started "eating out". Our surgeries are over and we are becoming mobile again. In the mean time we have rejoined Losantiville Country Club( LCC) so that name is bound to show up in our list of places. Since any Country Club is open just to members and their guest most of my comments, concerning LCC, will be restricted to interesting items, either food, or service, ambiance or pricing.

Tonight, with another couple, we went to one of the new "hot spots" that have opened recently.
" Tavola" 1220 Vine St. (OTR) Cincinnati, OH 513-246-0192 opened a little over two months ago. It is located in the "Gateway" section of "Over the Rhine"(OTR) in what is becoming an area for young people to eat and "bar hop". The ambiance is minimal, strait lines, a full bar and a Pizza oven, clean wooden tables with matching chairs but the food makes up for any minimalism by being innovative and flavorful.
We arrived about 5:40 PM and so were seated immediately. The place was almost a full by 6 PM, possibly a couple of 2 tops were empty.
The noise level is high and the service prompt, with dishes arriving as the kitchen dictates. They did bring the one or two appetizers before the Pizza.
Our group ordered a couple of draft beers, Bell's Oberon and a order of Sausage( homemade) Bacon Dates(4), in a slightly spicy tomato sauce. Another starter was Artichoke pesto Bruschetta. Both were very well prepared but not large portions. Three salads: cauliflower, wood roasted in a slightly thick lemon vinaigrette and 2 orders of grilled asparagus salad ended the cold portion of our, divided dinner. The Pizza(14 inch) was their #1 seller, fig jam + prosciutto + fontina + arugula, most interesting but slightly salty. The whole dinner was one of different flavors and textures and for me it was a fun experience. Price per couple $28 plus tip and tax. I will return.

Other spot was have visited are: "The Pelican's Reef", you know how I feel about them. Unusual items last Saturday; Brat sliders, made very tasty with just the right amount of sauerkraut and an excellent spicy mustard and an outstanding( my Grandchildren would say "awesome) roast veal rack, resulting in 7 lovely small chops. Who would expect wonderful veal chops at a "Key West" seafood bar.
LCC, with an outstanding "happy hour", cocktails less than soft drinks, and plentiful hors d'oeuvers certainly got my attention.
"Wild Ginger" where Marilyn sticks with the 3 flavor Walleye and I should too, unless I'm having sushi and "J. Alexander's"( Rookwood) where again Marilyn's regular "prime rib" sandwich is the way to go.

So now we're getting back on track and we'll see what interesting "places, dishes and things" we can dig up to compete with Guy Fieri.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Postings have been sparse and will remain so for the month of July, especially the first part.
We have some medical matters which have kept us from venturing out and will continue to do so at least through the first 15 or 20 days of the month.

We did try a new spot, for us, on July 1. Along with another couple, our usual routine, we crossed the river to "Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar" 519 Main St. Covington KY 41011 (859) 491-7777.
It was a Friday night and there was a decent crowd but short of a "full house". The other couple had been there before and knew the server who was quite attentive and helpful.
Being a warm night and wanting eat on the lite side I started with chilled Peach Soup which was delicious. It combined sweetness and savory and I probably should have ordered a double portion, both for flavor and quantity. I followed with what I recall was described as a "fish taco" which consisted of two nicely grilled pieces of a firm, filleted fish each laying upon a half slice of pita bread. The sauce was of the salsa variety combining sweetness and a slight spice. A rough slaw completed the dish. The whole thing was very satisfying.
For desert two of us split an order of Peach Sorbet. You might say it was a "Peachy" evening.

Food was good, price reasonable and service, as mentioned, attentive.
It's a shame that the location is next to "Otto's" and therefore, unfortunately, I came away with some slight guilt feeling, no one else will carry this burden.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rest of June

I'm not sure I gave enough detail of the productions and events of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) which are truly outstanding. If anyone has real interest I suggest that first you go on line and check out their extensive web site. If you have a need for a more personal descriptions or specific questions you can always contact me at It is truly a must for anyone interested in dramatic art.

Now back to the main thrust of "Let's Eat Out".
Our son suggested a family dinner for the 5 of us at "Coquina" 542 A St. Ashland OR 97520 (541) 488-0521 instead of a play on Friday night June 17. This chef owned restaurant has been in business for less than a year and has an interesting array or dishes. As usual, when our family eats, together, we all sample whatever anyone orders.
After my Bombay I followed with a Beet Salad, large enough to divide in half or thirds, fixed with several kinds of beets and mushroom. It was truly enough for a whole delicious dinner but this was just the beginning, that evening. My "main course" was veal osso bucco which while very filling was not as tender nor flavorful as I had hopped. I, of course, shared and our Granddaughter and son had no problems with good sized helping of my "main". In exchange I had a good taste of Gnocchi and of a fine grilled Flat Iron Steak. I passed on Quail and Halibut, two other dishes at the table.
The two split desserts, a White (cake) Lemon Raspberry and a rich, chocolate torte were both right on the mark.

The next night the whole group( of playgoers), ten in all, ventured to "Taj Indian Cuisine" 31 Water St. Ashland (541) 488-5900. Our 5:30 dinner was a mixture of different flavors, textures, smells and tastes.
I started with a King Fisher Beer and Gobi Manchurian ( Cauliflower with a spicy sauce reminiscent of an American Bar-B-Que Sauce) All items were offer to all who wished to taste, of which many participated. Next I had an Organic Pear salad, just what the name implies, onion Nan and major tastes of Chicken Tiki Marsala, Lamb and spinach, Karahi Shrimp and Aloo Mutter ( potato's roasted with spices). Long ago I learned that when a group, or young children, order it is wise to go lightly and keep a large plate available for part of what everyone thinks they will eat.
Our meals in California, after Ashland were nothing special, do to circumstances with those we visited the rest of the time.

Home for two days( laundry) and then off to Wisconsin for a week, at Camp Nebagamon, starting June 24. That nights dinner at the "Essen Haus" in Madison WI was a throw back to the old German American restaurants which populated Cincinnati when I was a child(1930/1960 ). Outside tables under an awning, music and food; a dining service plus a large bar and dining area in a chalet type building.
I had a wonderful, dark German beer, "Spaten Optimator" to accompany my "combo plate" of excellent Wiener Schnitzel (veal), Jaeger Schnitzel (pork), and a pork and veal grilled sausage ( dark spicy mustard, a must). Also, besides the meat, there was a helping of red cabbage, which I substituted for kraut, and hot German potato salad. The meats were perfect, the accompaniments ordinary.
Marilyn ate only a large portion of the Wiener Schnitzel, which was undoubtedly wise. There is also a branch of "Essen House" in the Dells, for those who venture that far.
The other noteworthy Wisconsin meal was at the "Deep Lake Lodge" 67975 E. Deep Lake Rd. Iron River WI ( not a place you'll probably visit). Wisconsin "road houses" know how to deep fry Walleye. Maybe it their experience or just the surroundings that make this unhealthy dish delicious. That, salad and crisp hash browns and a beer are the perfect evening as the "sun sets" (literally) over a lake.

So now we're home and into July and a hot muggy Cincinnati summer. I'm sure we'll find something to do and somewhere to Eat Out.