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.

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