Saturday, December 29, 2012


At this time of year media seem to come up with year end reviews or list of there favorites, presented by  category. I've never done that but I though it might be fun to list some of the things and people that made an impression during the last year. So here in no particular order are this reporters comments, knowing full well that I will undoubtedly leave out items that rightly should be included.

Outstanding places, out of town ( if your traveling and want to try):
"Babette's Cafe"- Atlanta GA
"B&G Oyster"- Boston, possibly my favorite meal, certainly my favorite Lobster Roll.
"Fore Street" - Portland ME, the epitome of "brick oven cooking"
"Sandro's" - NYC, more wonderful specials than menu items( Of course, Italian)
"Carolina's Restaurant" - Charleston SC, a great food town but their preparation and service of Soft Shell Crabs hit the spot.

New in the Cincinnati Area (again not near all or even all we enjoyed):
"Eli's" Bar-B-Que, Eastern Ave. Limited menu but handy, good, B-B-Q, eat in or carry out.
"Wunderbar", Corner bar in Covington with good beer and terrific German food, the "dive" of the year.
"M", "Cumin's" hot sibling and our own local "Brick Oven" experience.
"Phoenician Taverna", worth the trip to Mason for an outstanding Lamb Shank.
"The Metropole", in the new 21c Hotel, good food prepared in the "Fireplace" and served in an interesting manner.
"Mantra on the Hill", upscale Indian food with service to match.
"Brew River Gastro Pub", a touch of New Orleans food, plenty of interesting "Brews" in a tavern on Riverside Dr.
"Over the Rhine", new places popping up at almost a rate of one per month.

Excellent food items and their location:
Kale Salad - "Nectar" although "Wunderbar" makes a wonderful copy.
Fried Green Tomato's - No one can touch those at "Otto's".
Baked Potato's - Never had a bad one at the "Precinct", always firm, sweet, and roasted perfectly.
Dover Sole - again, the "Precinct" had added this item, done beautifully and reasonable priced.
Red Snapper - "Orchids" preparation, "En Papillote", shows off what a top rate kitchen can do.
Elk - I have only seen and eaten this at the "Precinct" but the memory still lingers.
Desserts - my favorite is still Cherry Pie ala-mode but the best dessert selection, all year, was, again out of town, at the "Sweet Life Patisserie" in Eugene OR

And finally the people( again leaving out many) who have made my "Eating Out" special:
Guy Burgess - Chef at "The Oriental Wok" Hyde Park, eat what he suggests and you can't fail
Paul Weckman - another grandchild( not really) at "Otto's"
Todd Kelly - friend and the "top chef" in many ways, making "Orchids the city's best, in my opinion
Richard Brown - the essence of a mater-de who is helping guide "Mantra on the Hill"
Mung Moy - no better server in the city, or territory, the soul of Cumin, I'm sorry Alex
Julie Francis - inventive an a wonder with local produce always interesting an delightful at "Nectar"
Patti Brochure - owner and consummate "front of the house" presence at "The Pelican's Reef"

And thus ends my first attempt. All have more detailed comments somewhere in my posting of 2012. Let's all Eat Out and support local restaurants in 2013.
So till then have a Happy, Safe, Healthy New Year.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Two New

This past week we visited two new restaurants plus a couple of "old favorite'. Here are my thoughts on where we have gone and what we have eaten.

"M" (next to "Cumin", in East Hyde Park, and connected in ownership and Chef). Our first visit a week ago was during their opening and now after a week they are defiantly improving and on track to be a regular haunt for the 20 plus crowd and even some of us seniors. I mentioned that their menu is built around "brick oven cooking" and the items, thus produced, are incorporating what this facility does best.
Last night 8 of us went at 7 PM and after a very reasonable wait and some table arranging we ate, family style, sharing several different items. Bar service, although covering most libations, still is somewhat on the slow side. All the men, in the group, drank beer and the ladies tended towards wine or soft drinks.
The table split 4 salads, grilled Caesar and Local Greens. The Ceasar, grilled, have a mild anchovy dressing and the Greens, including sliced, crisp radishes, a light vinaigrette. Next came 2 Pizzas, Mushrooms formed the basis for one while Pear filled that role for the other. "M" offers 4 grilled entrees nightly. They are listed as Chicken, Fish, Pork and Beef. The chef decides what is best in each category each day, and what side is appropriate. We chose chicken( a full half constitutes each order and we had two orders) last night, which had a very light B-B-Q sauce applied just heavy enough to turn the skin reddish brown. The chicken was accompanied by excellent Mac 'n Cheese. I should have asked for the receipt. Sides of vegetables, one a mixture of Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts while the other was eggplant based. Both were finished in the oven. Four desserts were as follows: Cranberry-Orange pie( slightly tart and refreshing), Pear pie, a Smore Cookie tart and finally an Apple tart. Each dessert item is topped with an appropriate Geloto. The Pear Pie has a Jalapenos Geloto and this reporter was the only one adventurous enough "to make all gone".
"M" is still a work in progress but they have conquered most of the "glitches" and from here on improvements will only make thing better.

"The Metropole" at the 21c Museum Hotel 609 Walnut St. Downtown Cincinnati (513) 578-6660. Four of us ventured there in the middle of the week. The hotel is decorated with contemporary art and some spills over into the restaurant and bar. The tile floor goes back to the original building and the noise level is fairly high. Instead of touting "brick oven cooking" this restaurant call it's preparation "Fireplace cooking". We did not see the actual cooking, even though there is an open kitchen. Our table was out of sight of the "Fireplace". They have a full bar and some guests were seated there and ordered from an edited rendesion of the menu presented to us. Several items came with interesting presentation but all items were well prepared and quite tasty. My food dishes were all vegetarian, that evening, by choice. I began with a Cauliflower Soup, thickened with a puree of Cauliflower instead of cream. Floating in the middle were serveral spices and panko bread crumbs, a nice addition. My Brussel Sprouts, as discribed by out server, came shredded and mixed with with several other calciferous vegetables. The whole melange was served room temperature. ( My first surprise, although I had been warned). My other main item was a Walnut- Porcino pate, a smooth paste in a small dish on a board with two pieces of buttered rye toast and a garnish of greens and Granny Smith apple strips( surprise #2).. I'm sure I had expected a piece of "Farm Pate". For dessert I ordered "Apple Cheese Cake"( surprise #3) this came in an attractive jar with the pie crumbs on the bottom, the cheese filling next and the apples on top. As the spoon proceeded downward you picked up all the flavors and textures. Others had Trout proceeded by salads and several other tasty desserts. We will return but I imagine I will leave my hearing aids at home.

Other spots since last posting have been regulars, "Otto's" and "The Oriental Wok". Unless this is your first venture here you don't need more details about these two favorites.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Salad Days

We have had a lot of interesting meals in the last 10 days and one of the things, that stands out, have been the wonderful and different salads that accompanied several. In no particular order here are a few.

"Nectar Restaurant" 1000 Delta Ave (Mt. Lookout Square). A fresh chopped local Kale Salad consisted of the leafy green plus Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts tossed with a delightful lemon vinaigrette. The contrasting flavors and textures were outstanding.( "Wunderbar" in Covington copied this salad, for lunch one day, under my direction) The rest of my meal was grilled salmon and an unusual pineapple upside down cake with a pumpkin custard. Marilyn had roast chicken.

"The Summit" at Cincinnati State. The room is large and quiet. The night we were there our party of 5 were join by only one other table of 3. There is no trouble in holding conversations. The food, that evening was only ordinary, although we have had some very good meals there, and the service was too relaxed considering the number in attendance. However, my Watercress salad was terrific. The crisp watercress was served over a poached pear and sprinkled with spiced pecans and crumbled blue cheese. The combination was made a delightful first course. My main course was Pasta Florentine, noodles with fresh, English peas and spinach, in a very heavy cream sauce. Others had Lamb Chops, over done, Pork Shank, the best main course, that evening, and beef Tournedoes.

The Fried Green Tomato's at "Otto's" 521 Main St. Covington KY, have only improved, if that is possible. I'm not sure if they count as a salad but it is a super way to start a meal. The Pasta that evening, which both Marilyn and I ate, consisted short Fusilli with shrimp, sun dried tomato's, artichokes and mushrooms, all in a light oil based sauce. Some combination. I know I'm prejudice.

Another prejudice is Todd Kelly, the Executive chef at "Orchids" the dining room of the Hilton Netherlands Plaza. Still, in my opinion the finest dining in the area. Starting with a fresh Maine Lobster salad, which could easily be the lobster stuffing in a good sized lobster roll, Todd tops it with a coddled egg and fried parsnip shreds. If that dish wasn't enough I moved on to a main course of Red Snapper "En Papillote"( paper thin potato dough) served with very small, roasted, Vidalia onions all surrounded by a wonderful warm Madras Curry Vinaigrette, which actually had a light orange flavor. The whole dinner called for wine and the table shared a bottle of light red. Marilyn had a perfectly prepared and sliced Duck breast.

"M" next to "Cumin"( 3520) on Erie Avenue opened this past weekend( Friday night) they are working out the kinks and so there is still some tweaking necessary until it is up and running smoothly. It is an attractive room with a large open kitchen that concentrates on "brick oven" cooking. One excellent feature is that the restaurant is engineered to be sound absorbent and so it is easy to have a conversation no matter how crowded.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Three interesting dishes

The last posting highlighted a five course dinner with matching wines. This will just mention main courses at three different restaurants, all of these dishes I believe deserve accolades.

"Oriental Wok" Hyde Park. Guy Burgess, the Chef, fixes a steamed fish, the name of which escapes me, but ask him if you go.
He bones the fish, with skin on, and turns it inside out before steaming. Then the meat is chopped into several serving sized pieces and covered with a delicious sauce containing Chinese Vegetables, sweet peppers and shitake mushrooms all finely chopped plus several spices( maybe even a hint of wine). The whole combination is delightful , firm white fish in a slightly dark pungent sauce.

"La Poste" 3410 Telford, Clifton 513-281-3663. David Taylor, their talented Chef, presented another fish dish. This time is was Grouper filet's, pan sauteed and lightly seasoned, served on a melange of sauteed Brussels Sprouts( halved), Onions pieces, multicolored peppers and thick bacon bites. I'm sure some Olive Oil or Butter made an appearance in the process, although the bacon, by it's self could produce the smooth, very slightly salty flavor. All items bite sized and cooked so that the flavors blended and formed a delightful base for the flaky, mild  fish. It came hot from the kitchen and stayed that way throughout the meal.

"Otto's" 521 Main St. Covington KY (859) 491-6678. Away from the fish but on to a perfectly roasted and sliced pork tenderloin, pink center but done with the outside tending to brown. The meat, I believe had been coated with a maple syrup glaze either while cooking or promptly when removed from the oven. The slices were topped with a "Southern Slaw"; roughly chopped thick bacon, sweet potato's( cubed) and cabbage. I can't swear that other ingredients had not snuck in. The creation, a work of Paul Weckman and Molly Costello had a flavor and overall texture that was truly amazing. A light maple run off covered the plate and made a wonderful dip for the meat. All together a wonderfull dish.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Five Courses with Five Rieslings

Wine( and Beer) dinners are becoming a trend in our Cincinnati area. We may be a little late in joining the parade but we are catching up and actually leading the way in one aspect, PRICE, very reasonable.
I wrote about a wine dinner at our country club but now I want to alert all to the fact that "Mantra on the Hill" 934 Hatch St. 45202 (513) 621-1100 is producing every 2 or 3 weeks a wonderful wine dinner at a variable cost, depending on the food and wine. Those who are interested should contact them and ask to be put on their email list, or check the website with some regularity.

The dinner this week, with my comments, was as follows:
1st Course
Bhel Poori- puffed rice, green mango, jalapeno, pomegranate, red potato, chickpea vermicelli, date-tamarind sauce & mint( The mixture arrived "room temperature" in a ramekin dish with the look of breakfast cereal. All items were uniformly chopped and the flavors went from bland thru mild and on to sweet and then spicy.)
Wine-Revelry Riesling, which we had sampled upon arrival.
2nd Course
Reshmi Kebab- ground chicken kebab( sausage shaped), cashew, basil, ginger, mango salsa. (The kebab had been formed and grilled inside a firm casing. The meat contained numerous spices and was defiantly not mild. Evident was garlic, red pepper flakes, coriander, etc. The plate was garnished with small cashew pieces and the salsa was a base presented in a rough chopped form. (Very tasty.)
Wine- Selbach Riesling "Incline" 2011 Wine pours were about 2 to 3 oz, initially, but pouring continued as requested.
3rd Course
Moilee- red snapper, coconut leek sauce, mustard seed, curry leaves, tomato rice( Most interesting presentation and a real contrast from the previous course. The fish was steamed and cut into small chunks, placed in a copper, individual serving container(with handle) and covered with the sauce( soup). The tomato rice, in an individual bowl had the mustard seeds and curry leaves. We each had an attractive soup bowl into which we ladled as much of each item as we desired. I found the dish delightful)
Wine-Leitz Riesling "Leitz Out" 2011 All wines complimented the food excellently
4th Course
Vindaloo( Hot spicy, sauce, tomato based)- tangy tandoori pork tenderloin, potato bhaji, spinach-goat cheese naan (The tenderloin was thin sliced and covered with the sauce, not for the timid. The tiny purple potato's had been cut in half and oven, maybe tandoori, maybe not, roasted to perfection. The naan was stuffed and of the proper crispness.)
Wine- Geil Bechteiner Rosenberg Rieling Kabinett 2011
Halwa- roasted pumpkin, semolina, cardamon whipped cream( The pumpkin had been roasted and cut into cubes which covered the semolina. As you know semolina is a grain( wheat) and this had been moulded into a pudding. The whipped cream was, of course, the topping. A nice sweet dessert but not "clawing")
Wine- Merkelbach Urziger Warzgarten Riesling Spatlese (sweet) 2011

Service, atmosphere and hospitality all first rate. I'm waiting to see what "Mantra" offers next.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Two Mondays

It is not very often that we go to the same place two Monday's in a row. But when a couple, from Indian Hill, who are good friends, had an open night, on Monday, and we had to once again visit Costco, all things came together and we had dinner last evening at the terrific "Phoenician Taverna" 7944 S.Mason Montgomery Road, Mason, OH 45040 (513) 770-0027. Once again we were lead through the evening by the delightful owner, Wassim Matar, who also doubled as the Chef last night.
Wassim believes that every dinner, for more than one, should be served "family style" with all partaking of the tastes, aroma's and eye appeal of all the dishes. To him wine is also a necessary beverage for total enjoyment. The wine list at "Taverna" is one of the most price friendly I have ever seen.
Last night our Maze( first courses) were an outstanding eggplant salad, served as a base for a Falafel( fried chickpea patty) drizzled with a yogurt dressing. The two other items, along with the warm Pita loafs, were a wonderful crushed walnut paste, slightly sweet and very slightly spiced and a Tabbouleh( parsley salad with diced tomato's and onions) bright green and reeking of healthiness.
Our two, shared, Main Courses were the outstanding Lamb Shank( described in an earlier posting, under "A Glass of Wine) and small slices of roast lamb( medium) with a Lebanese pesto. The roast lamb was accompanied by slices of oven fried potato's, perfectly done.
The wife, of our friends, had Chardonnay by the glass( $4.50) while the other gentleman and I managed to kill a bottle of highly acceptable "Cote de Rhone"( unbelievably $17).
We skipped dessert but did end up with coffee, a must for Marilyn.
Doubt that we'll return next Monday night, but I would be willing, three in a row is a charm.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


So what do you do on Thanksgiving? Have family, eat Turkey, watch football and possibly have multiple trips to the airport. Well, we did all, with very little emphasis on the football.
Most of our children, all our Grandchildren, and a nephew, with his family, and a niece, with hers, joined us, so, at the max, we had 22. Here's part of the food run down:

Wednesday night we carried in from "Eli's BBQ" 3313 Riverside Drive 45226 ( Cash or Check only). The order was spread between Pulled Pork and Hickory Smoked Turkey Sandwiches and a large order of Hickory Smoked Ribs. Along with this was plenty of sauce and side orders of Cheese Macaroni, Baked Beans and Cole Slaw.
Next day was here, at Grandma's and Grandpa's, with half of Kroger's on the kitchen counter, we had to save the other half for Saturday lunch.
Thanksgiving evening the whole gang occupied two round tables at Losantiville Country Club. Maximum age at one table was 26. The club provided an ample spread with all the traditional favorites plus, standing rib roast, fried chicken, steamed fish and several different, non traditional, sides. Six different pies were available for those who had room. All of the younger set had everything and several of the older followed suite.
Friday lunch was "Skyline" and "Graeter's" plus additions, always, for those who stoped by for a SNACK.
Friday night was two 17" Pizza's( too large) from "Dewey's Pizza" Madison Road 513-731-7755. One all veggie and one a killer meat combo. Besides the Pizza's, but from the same area ( Oakley) we brought in Grouper Sandwiches and Cheeseburgers from the "Oakley Pub and Grill" 3924 Isabella Ave 513-531-2500. Plenty of crispy slaw and well done French Fries( too thick for my taste) also made the journey. Dessert was Marilyn homemade, and always in demand, "Cracker Crum Pie:" a family favorite.
Saturday, lunch, here, with again the counter loaded with new items and "left overs".
Saturday night we let the staff at the "Oriental Wok" Regency handle the never failing appetites.
Starting with Ribs, Egg Rolls and Pot stickers we worked our way thru; Chinese mustard greens with Chinese sausage, Orange Beef ( my favorite), Shrimp with asparagus, Chicken with Oyster & Shitake mushrooms and the perennial favorite Pad Thai.
For the few left this morning I made an egg scramble with sauteed onions, grape tomato's and chopped Salami. Rye and white toast, jam and orange juice finished the weekend.

It was a wonderful family affair and food was only part of the fun and comradeship.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Glass of Wine

When someone offers to share a glass of wine it is usually a sign of friendship, or at least that is the way I took it when the owner of "Phoenican Taverna" 7944 Mason Montgomery Road, Mason, Ohio 45040 (513) 770-0027, offered me a taste of a very fruity Riesling. It was the explanation point to end a wonderful evening.
Four of us ventured to the far side of Cincinnati, at least for those of us with a river view, but every mile was worth the trip. The food, service and hospitality couldn't have better. The restaurant is in its second month of operation and they "have their act together". The proprietor is very much in evidence and the results show his attention and concern.
We decided, under his guidence, to eat :"family style" and so we all had tastes, or more, of all the dishes.
After ordering, and opening the wine( Malbec) we waited a short time and the 5 small, not tiny, portions of appetizers (Mezza) arrived. I'll use the English translations: Eggplant Dip, Stuffed grape leaves ( rice and meat stuffing) Cheese Pies( flakey dough filled with Feta and Mozzarella) Chickpeas Fritters ( wonderful Falafel) and Chopped Vegetables with Toasted Pita chips ( Fattoush with a slightly sharp garlic dressing). The basket of warm Pita, which accompanied this, turned our to be individual loaf sized and pleantiful.
For our main course they served an outstanding Braised Lamb Shank in a fesh tomato sauce. (Mouzat) as good, if not better, than any we have enjoyed. The meat was braised perfectly but the sauce really was the crowning touch. None of the sauce remained after we cleaned the plate with our indiviual Pita's.
The other course was a mixed grill( chicken, beef and lamb) served with rice pilaf and grilled vegetables. The grill had two distinct sauces, both served on the side.
Desserts were the traditional Baklawa, one with roasted Pistachios, my favorite, and the other with roasted Walnuts. Both pieces were covered, lighly, with orange blossom syrup.
It was a wondeful exciting meal and our compliments go to all concerned.

Another new, for us, and entirly different was "Wunderbar" 1132 Lee St. Covington, KY 41011.(859-815-8027. This is a Bar which is open 7 days a week and whose owner Marshall Mann, cooks and supervises the whole operation.
Agroup of 12 of us went( they have two large picnic tables and bar seating) for lunch and he really laid out a spread.
Most of the sausages, which seemed to be the meats available that day, are made in house. We had Knughtwerst, Bratwurst, Curried Metts and plain Metts, wrapped in Bacon. There are 4 house made mustards; hot, horseradish, Reisling and sweet. Along with all these meat items, he laid upon us, roast Brussels Sprouts, Red Cabbage, Onion pies, Spetzel dumplings in gravey and small slices of apple strudel accented with chocolat sauce. Also on the table where large doughy pretzels, rye bread toast and home baked rolls, all acompanied with garlic butter and sweet butter. The Germans do believe in heavy full meals. Unfortuatly I'm from that stock.

Another lunch this week was quite the opposite. "Essencha Tea House" 3212a Madison Road, Cincinnati OH 45209 (513)533-4832 is just what the name implies. As one sits down you are presented with a taste of hot tea. The the menu is delivered, mostly soups, sandwiches and salads. The two of us split a pear and pecan salad, on greens, a smoked salmon and avacado sandwich and a side of braised carrots. A good antidote from eating too much at "Wunderbar".

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Good Eat's

When Marilyn was in college, in Boston, she frequented a "hole in the wall" eating place with a sign in the window that said "Good Eat's".
There are some that fit that description, here ( Cincinnati), but quite a few others who aren't "holes in the wall" but still offer "Good Eats"; here are a few:

"BrewRiver GastroPub" 2062 Riverside Drive 513-861-2484. This reconditioned BrewPub has taken over "Mirabelle's" old spot with, in my opinion, a better chef and more interesting menu. The Chef is Michael Shields and his New Orleans training comes through in many of his dishes. Early last week we, joined by a friend, had a delicious Walleye dinner. The perfectly sauteed fish was presented on a bed of pureed Cauliflower, seasoned to perfection. Also on the plate were Asparagus Spears and quartered fresh tomato's. A pleasing dish to the taste and the eye. I had their recommended Blonde Ale and was very satisfied. Our friend chose Buttermilk Amish Chicken with a side of spicy cole slaw. For dessert the three of us split an order of "Arrogant Brownies", three rich and chewy, drizzled with Carmel sauce.
We have also been there for lunch and have had salads, BLT's, Muffaletta's and fine Hamburger's. Give the place a try.

"Alfio's Buon Ciba" 2724 Erie Ave. 45208 (513) 321-0555 has taken over the space on Hyde Park Square last occupied by "Poco a Poco". The Chef, Alfio Gulisano, left "The View" and opened this restaurant approximately 2 weeks ago. There are still a few items to work out but the food is very acceptable and the service is improving. The hospitaity is first rate.
Marilyn and I split an excellent Iceberg Wedge Salad with a slightly spicy Crab and Basil dressing, both items complimented each other perfectly. My main course was Pan seared Scallops on fresh spinach and fettuccine, all in a light cream and wine sauce. Marilyn had roast Veal Short Ribs, very tasty but somewhat chewy. The ribs were served on soft Polenta, decorated with green Asparagus. A most attractive and hearty dish.

"Cumin" Eclectic Cuisine" 3520 Erie Ave 45208 (513) 871-8714. I like what Owen Mass has done to the menu at "Cumin" but some of the prices are beginning to reach " over the top" levels. An example is an appetizer of sweetbread's with 4 small pieces for $16.
My main course was a beautifully done Elk Chop, fixed in the "soui-vie" fashion and served with sliced mushrooms and Polenta while Marilyn stuck with the Agnolotti, large ravioli, stuffed with cheese and spinach. The glass of Cotes de Rhone was a nice pour and went wonderfully with the Elk. I hope that commodities allow the prices to stabilize as I enjoy dining at "Cumin" and hope pricing does not drive us away.

Some brief info on Over The Rhine (OTR).
"The Anchor" 1401 Race St 45202 (513) 421-8111 is now open for lunch as well as dinner. The combo plate for $11 includes either a cup of very rich, and good, chowder or a salad and half of several interesting sandwiches. I had the oyster Poor-Boy.
Some new spots about to open( probably in the next three months) are "Zula" a wine bar and tapas place just across the street from "The Anchor" on Race St. "Hapa" Vietnamese fusion at 14th and Vine and "Kaze" Japanese, also in the same neighborhood. We are blessed with the spirit of expansion in the eating out area.

Monday, November 12, 2012

"Fit for a Chef"

Last night Marilyn and I along with Todd Kelly( "Orchid's") and his wife, Emily, had dinner at the "Oriental Wok" Regency in Hyde Park. I had made arrangements with Guy Burgess, the chef, and Susannah Wong, his wife for the occasion. We left ourselves in the hands of these two and Guy produced and outstanding meal. I will try to recount as best I can, using some author's licence.

After drinks, and there was a bit of this through out the evening, Guy started us with 4 individual plates holding Jelly Fish Slaw, Beef Tendon and Pork Belly. The Slaw had pieces of gelatinous "jelly fish" marinated with crispy bean sprouts, scallion slices and carrot strips. Pungent, crisp and tasty, as well as attractive.
The Beef Tendon had been roasted to a beautiful pink with the meat surrounded by the tendon caseing, again a gelatinous material and a favorite of Marilyn. On the other hand the Pork Belly had a crispy, seasoned out side with the tender meat beneath.
Next came a steaming bowl of Chinese Beef Soup. The broth was fairly clear and it contained small clumps of ground beef, pure white firm dough pieces, bright green fresh peas, scallion bits and herbs and spices light enough not to cover the flavors of the individual items.
This was followed by Moo Shu Duck. A large platter of roasted duck brest arrived with three large pieces sliced into small individual helpings. The thin pancakes and sides of cucumber strips and again scallion slices were offered along with indidual helpings of plumb sauce. A perfect build you own creation. Some built while others just dipped.( Have no idea what changes the type). A friend sent over a half bottle of red wine, and who are we to refuse.

These were all the preamble to the three main( bad pun) courses. Maine Lobster Cantonese, a two pound Lobster cut into pieces and cooked in a favorable sauce. One has to wrestle with the shell but the end product is well worth the little effort. Bright Chinese Greens, steamed and doused with a light butter sauce and a large pot of Chinese Grilled Sausage and perfectly prepared white rice filled our table, and the rest of our stomachs. Who could resist a Kentucky Bourbon barrel aged beer, with these items.
Coffee, tea and a light dessert of fresh fruit and lichee nuts augmented with mango pudding triangles finished the stuffing of 4 happy dinners. Thanks to all at the "Oriental Wok" for a wonderful evening.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Catch up

Since we seem to eat out about 4 nights a week we repeat restaurants and even dishes with some regularity.
Once in a while I just have to list a few places with a comment or two, to clear the desk, so here goes.

"JT's" 1639 Orrington Ave. Evanston, IL- heart of Evanston, Breakfast all day, for $9 you can get enough so you don't have to eat till dinner.
"The National Exemplar" 6880 Wooster Pike 45227- the new chef is slowly working in some new items; all the "oldies" are still there but a new Caesar Salad and Sweetbreads have made the scene.
"Oakley Pub and Grill" 3924 Isabella Ave. 45209- we're the oldest by 40 years but there isn't a better Grouper Sandwich in the area. Easy to "carry out" (nicely packed).
"Brio Tuscan Grille" 1 Levee Way, Newport, KY- it's a well run chain Italian with very tasty dishes. I tried the Shrimp Verduta and the flavor and richness were both evident.
"La Poste" 3410 Telford, Clifton- no matter what you eat and drink, and all is good and interesting, save room for the outstanding Bread Pudding
"Oriental Wok" Regency- Hyde Park- appitizers are great, bar available for singles, food cooked to order and they all read the book on hospitality.
"Otto's" 521 Main St. Covington KY- now serving their "take off" on my short ribs( not bad). As I've said before it's one of our "Homes away from Home".
"Carrabba's Italian Grill" 5 mile and Beechmont- another Italian chain, not quite as good as "Brio" but certainly acceptable.
"Great Scott" 3355 Madison Road, Cincinnati- don't go for ambiance but the menu is large and items are well prepared. I've had everything from Walleye to a Hamburger and been satisfied.

There you see how we keep the economy functioning over an 2 to 3 week period.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Two New

It's not very often I get to report on two new restaurants unless we are on the road. Since we went to an Art Show in Chicago over the weekend I can join that to a new Cincinnati experience, for us, and cover Two New.

"Ruth's Chris Steak House" 100 East Freedom Way ( the Banks) 45202  (937) 498-0043 has been open for several months but last week was the first time we have entered the place. Being in the Banks, a block from the baseball stadium, it is good to choose a time when sports are not competing. The best parking is either valet ($12) or in the underground garage( $5), which serves all the restaurants, in the area, plus Great American Ball Park. Following a call to the restaurant we followed their advice and self parked below. An elevator bring one to street level 20 ft from "Ruth's Chris" entrance.
The steak house is on a corner and dining is on two stories. The ambiance is very attractive, this is defiantly a "white table cloth" experience. We were seated upstairs, there is an elevator, and our server, who had worked at "Morton's" knew the menu and was pleased to assist us with detailed answers to our questions.
Marilyn and I had our usual drinks, very reasonably priced, and chose to split a Ruths Chop Salad, good but very small, and a Cowboy Ribeye Steak, 22 oz, bone in, which was plenty large enough although ours had a heavy percentage of fat, good for flavor but not consumption. I ordered a side of Brussels Sprouts, for the table, but was please that the other 3 only sampled as the helping was not huge.
The food was good, served as ordered and at the correct temperature, but since every thing is ala carte the bill can run up quite easily. Our server was most attentive during the meal but disappeared, to work on another tables bill, for a long time after we had been served and had eaten. For us it's hard to by-pass the "Precinct" which offers a full meal and is "just down the street".

The other new spot is in Evanston IL where we bunked with friends over the weekend. "Terra American Bistro" 2676 Green Bay Road, Evanston IL 60201 is also only a few months old. The menu is American eclectic, with some emphasis on Italian, and offers both "small plates" and "large". We took our hosts and had a very pleasant evening. The food was interesting, well prepared and promptly served. It was obvious that management has done a good job of training and the supervision is most evident. I am sure they get a minimum of 3 to 4 turnovers each evening, although no one is pushed to leave.
Marilyn started with a good sized " iceberg wedge" while I selected one of the special appetizers, two mushroom caps filled with chopped artichoke hearts and topped with lump crab meat( very good) My " large" was Meatloaf, rimed with bacon strips and topped with crisp onion straws. It lay on a bed of soft Polenta and had a ring of honey encasing the spread Polenta.
Marilyn, as is her habit, stuck with the Lake Superior White Fish. Our guests had Salad Greens, first, follow by Bouillabaisse, for the gentleman, and Spaghetti and meatballs, for the lady. Dessert was a wonderful Banana Brulee with Pralines and ice cream, hardly sweet, and a Dutch Chocolate Creme Pudding with fresh berries. All was most satisfying.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Boston and return

To finish up our Eastern trip I'll pick up later on the day we arrived. As I last wrote we met up with additional family members for lunch at "Legal Seafood" after which we checked in to our Motel and spent time with two of our 4 Granddaughters who are current eastern residents.
A short recap: we have 5 Grandchildren working or studying in the East. None reside there permanently. Four are Granddaughters and one is a Grandson. The Grandson (Jason) currently is in VA working with the Tim Kaine election group( he will return to Harvard, after the election). The other worker is our second eldest Granddaughter (Kathryn) who is working in Wellesley for a consulting firm. The other 3 Granddaughters are all students, a Sr. at Vassar( Lilly) and 2 freshman in Boston( Harvard-Nicole and Emerson-Raina).

Our first night our Wellesley worker guided Marilyn and me to one of Barbra Lynches restaurants, "B&G Oysters" 550 Tremont St. Boston,MA 02116 ( 12 different oysters on the menu). She knew of my love for Lobster rolls and had decided "this was the place". We were not disappointed. "B&G Oyster" is slightly below street level and is a narrow seafood house that looks like a narrow seafood house should look. Long Granite counter, with seats and across and isle tables that seat 2 or 4. The kitchen is in the front or rear, depending on ones orientation. The food is terrific. Kathryn( our Granddaughter) and I each had the Lobster Rolls while Marilyn had a BLT with Lobster. We had started the meal with Deviled Eggs topped with Jonah crab( smooth and tasty).
The Lobster rolls contain over a pound of fresh lobster meat, claw, tail and all, hardly held together with a very light sauce. The plate also contains a large mound of excellently fried, thin, French Fries, cole slaw and home cured bread and butter pickles ($28 for the whole thing). The BLT has slightly less lobster but all the ingredients are perfect and comes with all the same sides, at the same price. The dinner called for a beer and that was my beverage. For dessert the three of us split a Chocolate Mouse infused with "Heath Bar" Crunch. What a perfect welcome to Boston.

The next day Marilyn and I relived her students days at Simmons College. The school has expanded, from one building to five, but it remains an all women college in its undergraduate department.
Next a visit to the "Isabelle Gardner Museum", old building like the "Alhambra", new addition, all glass on several planes. Lunch at "Cafe G" in the Museum with decent food in bright surroundings.
In the afternoon we toured the area and the met 2 Granddaughters on Newbury Street ( shopping) and spent a warm Autumn afternoon together.
That evening 5 of us met at Kathryn's apartment before meeting, Nichol our other granddaughter at "Olean" 134 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02139, not easy to find for a neophyte driver in the Boston area.
The 4 girls had all agreed that this was where they wanted to go and that decision was a good one. The menu is extensive and we did our best at sampling as many dishes as would fit on our table. The restaurant theme is Mid-Eastern and some of the food we consumed is here listed: Spinach Felafel's( outstanding, moist and flavorful) Kale Salad including Apples, Almonds, Radish and herb dressing( Terrific) a new item for me but the taste and crunch will bring me back. "Sultans Delight( Tamarind Glazed beef ribs) Trout Spanakopita( a large trout fillet with all the Spanakopita treatment- philo dough, spinach, soft cheese sauce etc) Sword Fish with fresh tomato's and crumbed herbs, Tamarack Tunis Lamb( carpaccio with a kick).
After listening to everyone order, multiple dishes of various items, I wisely asked for an extra plate and had more than I could consume. Kathryn and I split a 1/2 bottle of wine( Gruner Vetlimer) and the whole table tackled dessert, Turkish Style Profiteroles- Carmel Cream, inside, topped with Caramelized Cashews and Chocolate sauce. Believe Nicole, the thinest ate the most. The chatter was as good as the food, both of which to Grandpartents were wonderful.

We headed home the next day and ate on the road at "RRR Roadhouse" in Clarion PA, recommended for proximity to the Hampton Inn and $4 Bombay's and also at "Cracker Barrel" on Wednesday( pot pie day).
Picked up some items at Costco, including chicken salad, and got home to Cincinnati late on the second day.

There are many of you who are extremely familiar with all kinds of electronic devises for communication. I would only say that most of the places we eat are on "the web" with their own pages which include pictures, menus and addresses and contact info. I'll keep posting but these restaurant web pages give you info and views which I will not duplicate.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


The Hudson River Valley is always beautiful but at no other season can it compare to fall. The colored leaves, sky and water make a wonderful panorama.
We left Manhattan Saturday morning and drove to Poughkeepsie to join our Granddaughter, who is a senior at Vassar. She and 3 other young women share an apartment on the campus grounds but are separated from the underclass housing and academic area.
For lunch she had chosen "Baby Cakes" an upscale "Panera" type restaurant located near Vassar's North Gate. The individuality of the place is noted on arrival. Not only is there a long line but a fully stocked bar covers about two thirds of the dining area main wall.
I didn't know the routine and ordered my grilled ham and Swiss before being told there was a separate listing of daily specials.( Grilled shrimp salad) Too late but not a catastrophe. Our Granddaughter had a full breakfast( served all day long) and my wife her usual chicken salad. Fresh Leonade and diet Coke made up the accompanying drinks.

Our Granddaughter is the stage manager, director for the Senior Play and is a member of the Vassar drama club( slogan; FWSA (Future Wait Staff of America). We toured the set, underconstruction, and met some of her crew who were in the assembly process. After that we spent a wonderful hour or more at the Vassar Art Museum. A small museum, on campus, with a wonderful array of examples of paintings from the Renaissance to today. Some of the time a curator was with us and the time was both educational and delightful.

That night it was off to the CIA ( Culinary Institute of America) 845-471-6608, just up the road in Hyde Park NY.  They operate 2 main restaurants, as training facilities for there students, and we went to the "American Bounty" whose name implies the food and it's heritage. The other is a classic French. Drinks, appetizers, salads and main courses make up the meal. Marilyn had a Portobello salad and duck for her entree, our Granddaughter went with Caesar salad followed by a fall, vegetable Risotto while I also had the Caesar and Beef Short Ribs. I was sightly disappointed as I had ordered the "Skate Wings" and was informed that they had sold out. A substitute is hardly ever as good as your initial intent. CIA funtions well as a training school and that taken into account the food is very good, but not earth shakeing.

The next morning the 3 of us were off to Boston where after a frustrating half hour spent looking for the correct streets from crowed Harvard square we finally met more of our family at "Legal Sea Food" in the Charles Hotel.
Our son, his wife and youngest son had been in Cambridge to visit with their daughter ( a freshman at Harvard) over parents weekend. They had picked up another of are Granddaughters and the 3 of us joined the 5 of them. There is no way that I can recount what everyone ate but I do know I split an order of lump crab cakes with one Granddaughter while Marilyn and our son split a fish sandwich and a large lettuce wedge. Our youngest Grandson had a cheeseburger. So much for a well known seafood restaurant.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Typical New York Restaurant

I have been traveling to New York City since 1939. I have heard, and read, about a "typical" New York Restaurant, since then. I can only assume that people refer to a narrow, long, often below street level spot that exists with chef prepaired food and a crew of seasoned, professional servers. There are some of these but there are also just as many other spot to tempt the palate and the diner. In the last posting I wrote about "Shake Shack" and "North End Grill" neither of which could fit the "typical" category.

Our 3rd day started with a ride down 5th Ave. to 23rd St, and an adventure into "Eataly". If this spot is not familiar you have not been an up to date certifiable "foodie". "Eataly" is a combined Italian super market and food preparation( pasta, etc) and eating establishment. It has everything from books to Barolo and counters and tables serving, snacks, pasta, meat, sea food and various drinks. An Italian food praidise the brain child of Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. It has been open 2 years and is a true "destination". We only ingested "samples" and so there will be no food report, in this posting.
A stroll up to the J.P. Morgan Library and gallery brought us to a wonderful showing of Josef Albers Paintings on paper. That plus one other exhibit prepared us for lunch at the "Oyster House at Grand Central" Another "non typical" eating estabilishment. The "Oyster House" has been in business, on the main concourse level, from the 1930's and serves approx. 6000 customers a day with a staff of about 600.
We ate at the counter, although there are two large dining rooms, along with about 100 others who were present at 1:15 PM. I had a bowl of oyster stew while Marilyn chose the fish sandwich with a side of excellent cole slaw. Due to the volume one can always be sure of fresh seafood, well prepared and served.
On to Saks Fifth Ave. and "finer stores everywhere" before returning home to clean up and rest.

That night the two of us were on our own. We have found at small "typical" Italian restaurant at 81st and 2nd Ave. "Sandro's " 306 East 81st, yellow awning over the doorway, (212)-288-7374 is named for it's chef and owner Sandro Fioriti. Sandro is wider than the aisle that runs down the middle, and makes it his habit of stopping by each table, in his apron and pajama pants, to make sure the everything is "all right". He is a genial host and exceptional site. Go to Goggle for info on the restaurant and the chef.
There is a printed menu but the many specials, for the evening, are the way to go.
After our usual libations we started our meal by splitting a "special salad"; sliced fresh tomato's, extra thin, marinated, green beans(haricots verts) and a perfectly prepared potato all drizzled with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Taste, color, combination a perfection.
For her main course Marilyn ordered veal "Scaloppine Limon" a large plate with beautifully thin pieces of tender veal in a light lemon sauce with an accompanying mound of "angle hair" pasta, lightly herbed.
I chose a "special" of crimini Fettuccine, the slender mushrooms were infused in the dough, covered with a Wild Boar Ragu, seventh heaven. Not only delicious but to me adventurous. I forced myself to accompany this dish with a glass of fine Italian wine( Aglianico). Sandro sent a couple "after dinner drinks" and the walk home in the cool autumn air was a good antidote.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dining with Danny( almost)

Whenever we are in Manhattan we make it a point to have at least one meal at one of the many excellent Union Square Hospitality Group( USHG) restaurants. Danny Meyer, the head "honcho" of this dedicated, knowledgeable group of people is part of the Meyer family that have been friends with our family for 4 generations. His book "Setting the Table" is a manual on the use of "Hospitality" in any business and in my opinion a MUST read for anyone in the hospitality business.

Our 2nd day in Manhattan we hit the street in mid-morning and walked to the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 82nd and 5th Ave. The show which we went to see was the effect of Andy Warhol on the art of the second half of the 20th Century. (This blog is not an Art report but we seem to combine art and food in our travels- both sensual pleasures).
From the "Met" we walked West thru Central Park to 77th and Columbus Ave(366 Columbus) for our first visit to a "Shake Shack" (646) 747-8700. "Shake Shake", modeled, somewhat, after "Ted Drews" in St. Louis( Danny and my birth place), is USHG take on what a burger and shake emporium should be.
From the help of the "Wal-Mart" greeter, who helped us as new customers, to the efficient service and friendliness of all the staff it was a true exposure to what can be done to upgrade any concept. Our 2 burgers, cooked to order, stressed the freshness and taste of the ingredients, especially the meat. Marilyn had the "Shack Burger", a cheeseburger with lettuce and tomato, while I had a "Smoke Shack" same as the previous with the addition of bacon, onion and pickel. Both sandwiches come with the SS special sauce. To drink we had a diet coke and a fresh lemonade. One can sit inside, outside or on the lower level, or carry out and eat elsewhere.
Then is was on to The New York Historical Society to view an exhibit of Hudson River artists, and past the Natural history Museum to catch a bus back to the East Side and our abode.

The evening started with a viewing of the Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass religious windows at the World Bible Museum in Columbus Circle. Then a long cab ride down to the foot of Manhattan and a terrific dining experience at the "North End Grill" 104 North End Ave( next to the Conrad Hotel).  This is the newest venture for the USHG. The ambiance is modern, youthful and business oriented, all rolled into one. Our group (3) where by far the eldest but that didn't dampen either the atmosphere, service, food, or hospitality, if anything it may have heightened our reception.
After my usual Bombay I set out to have my own special tasting, too much food but you know the cliche about "only living once". Here is my indulgence plus tastes and divisions of other dishes:
Sweetbreads and beet nuggets Tempura- crispy batter on perfectly prepared fillings, different tastes and colors;
Fig Salad- Crisp frisse( curly endive, I think) surrounded by cut fresh figs and topped with caramelized onions and pecans. All my favorites served beautifully on one plate.
Upma( Indian)- a wonderful large patty of Polenta topped with roasted vegetables and a light sauce from the roasting.
Others in our party had a snow crab appetizer, a green salad, Suckling pig( not often seen on menus) and lamb, all done perfectly.
For desert the 3 of us split a slice of Concord Grape cake, a totally new experience for all and a piece of "mile high"( my description) Lemon Meringue pie.
Remember these are my descriptions, from memory, probably deviating from the chefs input, of a stuffing , magnificent feast.
I must protect the server at the "North End Grill", a delightful young women, who suggested I order less. at the 3 AM she was correct.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Heading East

We have 5 Grandchildren working or attending school in the East. None are natives of that part of the country. We decided to drive to visit as well as enjoy the area in mid-October. The weather and tree color co-operated and we had a wonderful ten days.
Some of the Cincinnati readers say that I should stick with that area, in reporting, but since some travel and, believe it or not, others outside of our area read the Blog I report on where and when we "eat out".

Our first day, leaving late morning, after OLLI class, took us as far as Clarion PA. Clarion is a town about 65 miles north of Pittsburgh off I-80. On the road our usual lodging is a Hampton Inn and Clarion has a well run, new facility. Asking the usual questions of the desk personnel( where do you eat on your Anniversary or Birthday) found us headed to the "Wayside Inn" off of PA Rt. 66 in Lucinda, PA( goggle for more exact instructions). The Inn occupies an old building marked by a fading Coco-Cola sign and notable only by the gaggle of cars parked off of the country road( dinners).
It is currently owned by a couple and has been a stopping place since the 1870s. Food is cooked to order and served hospitably by several young women from the area. They did have Bombay($8) and for a main course I chose lump crab cakes, excellent. Dinner included a nice salad, starch and veggies($20). Marilyn had Veal Parmesan($18) which she enjoyed and could not finish the accompanying pasta. Undaunted we tried the warm home made double chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream. We were lucky to make it back to Clarion and bed.

Next day, heading East to NYC, we stopped for lunch in Bloomsberg PA at the local "Cracker Barrel" Wednesday, at all "Cracker Barrels" the special is chicken pot pie($6) which Marilyn always orders and enjoys. I stuck with a fish sandwich.
Hit the George Washington bridge around 4 PM and our friends apt. about 20 minutes later. After unloading and taking the car to a neighborhood garage($50/24 hrs) we settled in for our 3 days in the city.
That evening the 5 of us , our host and cousins, went to L'Absinthe on East 67th( more on Goggle). This restaurant has been in the same location since opening 15 years ago and is designed to be a typical French Brasserie with looks, food and wine all following the theme. I had an interesting Johna Crab salad with the crab mounded on a log shaped mould of avocado and grapefruit, pureed. Tasty but might have been better served separately. I have nothing negative to say about my Steak Tartare, which followed, and was as good as any I can remember, spiced and blended perfectly. Marilyn had delicious Calf's Liver with a balsamic reduction. Others had beef, snails, pike Quenelles and a repeat of the liver.
We split a bottle of Goat-Roti a fairly heavy red which was a new item to me.
All in all a pleasant evening and a welcome to the "big apple"

Monday, October 8, 2012


I have been meditating for over 35 years. As you may know everyone has their own personal word on which to concentrate while meditating, in this country this word is referred to as their Mantra. You might imagine when I heard that there was a new Indian Restaurant named "Mantra on the Hill" at 934 Hatch St ( the recent home of "Daveed's") in Mt Adams, phone 621-1100, my surprise and delite.
The restaurant has been open a couple of months and is a reincarnation, in my opinion one step higher, of the original "Cumin" with the same talented Chef in charge of the food and menu. Assisting him in the front of the house is a wonderful Cincinnati fixture, Richard Brown, functioning as M'tre de, wine advisor and General Manager.
Little has change in ambiance, from the original Daveed's, in both the inside and the outside patio but the service the night we were there couldn't have been better; knowledgeable, agreeable and guiding.

Four of us went this week and I will try to describe our excellent dinner. ( You know my spelling is terrible in English so expect no improvement in Hindi).
At our servers recommendation we started by the 4 of us dividing an order of Papri Chaat, a salad of chickpeas, potatoes, onions and tomato's with a light, compelling, piquant dressing. Next came Braised Lamb Shank, two large to a single order, with oven crisp potato bits( perfect) and both a light lamb gravy as well as purred spicy tomato sauce. The other entree was ten medium sized shrimp that had been prepared in the Tandoor oven but remained, flavorful, firm and juicy. The two dishes complimented each other. Our vegetable was Tarka Dall a mixture of lentils and spices, again with various herbs. This dish was also pureed and came in a cone shaped copper container.  For dessert we had a Lemon Thyme tart, a perfect ending.
Three of us drank wine, 2 a white Indian( Sauvignon Blanc) one a red and I, of course, had my usual Bombay, what better in a Indian restaurant unless an IPA. Along with coffee the total bill, including tax was $109. A very fair price for a princely meal.

Referring back to the previous posting, "Pub Food", Saturday night we carried out from the "Oakley Pub and Grill" their excellent grouper sandwiches. I asked that they pack the fish separately, so that it could be easily heated, and they did a wonderful job of complying. All; bread, slaw, tarter sauce, et-al came thru transporting and dinner beautifully. Terrific work by the kitchen staff.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pub Food

What is "Pub Food"? Is it a "Zippburger" from " Zips Cafe" 1036 Delta Ave in Mt. Lookout Square? Phone 513-871-9876, a place that has been in business well over 50 years.
Is it a grilled Grouper Sandwich from the "Oakley Pub and Grill" 3924 Isabella Ave. Oakley (513-531-2500) which incidentally is excellent.
Or is it instead a fairly full menu from "Keystone Bar & Grill", Erie Ave. East Hyde Park ( 513-531-2500)?
As far as I can tell there is no definitive answer or limit as to what comes under this title; it's sort of like the Supreme Court Justice who, when discussing a definition of pornography is reported to have said,"I can't really define it but I defiantly know when I have seen it". I don't mean to imply that any of the fore mentioned places are pornographic or titillating.

To me "Zips is an old time Hamburger joint, with an acceptable burger and a wonderful mix of customers from young families to old retirees. The "Oakley Pub" draws more on young and midlife couples and has a decide small, local, bar and grill feel, with some emphasis on the sport scene.

The "Keystone Bar and Grill is trying to cover more bases and is trying to build a business on regulars returning, not just to take advantage of the Monday and Tuesday half priced "specials" or sit in nice weather in their spacious patio. The Monday "special", all day, is 10 or more combinations of "Mac and Cheese", while Tuesday it's the same half price, all day, Quesadillas of different fillings but all heavy on cheese.
On a recent Tuesday 3 of us went for dinner. The salad are quite large and easily serve 2 and in our case was stretched to three which serves as a small but ample side. We also ordered a side of "Keystone Chips", done in house, and accompanied with a bottle of their distinctive, tangy Bar-B-Q sauce.Three different Quesadillias, each order containing 4 good sized pieces and some Bell's Oberon, on draft completed a filling meal. But we didn't stop, and ordered a Mixed Berry Bread pudding, which came ward with a light sauce. Total cost for the 3 of us, including tax was $48.15.
One warning; servers, and ours was very attentive and accommodating work for tips, so just because you don't pay "full price" for any reason( specials, gift, event) don't penalize the people taking care of you. "Thanks" doesn't spend well at Kroger's.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Second visit

Saturday night, before the Symphony concert at Music Hall, we once again went to "The Anchor" 1401 Race St. (513) 421-8111. They do not take reservations but the restaurant, at this point has tables available. We get there between 6 and 6:15 PM.
That night the Mid-Point Music Festival was in full swing across the street, in Washington Park, but the restaurant had seating easily available. There is both inside and outside seating.
The crowd had grown for the week before and the service and handling had also improved. They are in the learning curve and are doing a good job of coping.
Marilyn and I split a very good Caesar salad, with smoked trout strips substituting for anchovies and a "whole fish of the day, Red Snapper. The later was prepared Thai style and I am at a loss to describe it's preparation in detail, although the fish was deep fried, fillet table side, and had a pinapple salsa and lemon flavored finish. We added an order of the excellent Vidalia Onionn rings. Total check including drinks and coffee was $53.25.

We also carried in from the "Oriental-Wok" Regency, over the weekend. All very good food cooked and packed perfectly. I am qquickly coming to the conclusion the several of the Chinese restaurants are the very best place to order fish. They seem to do "flat" fish better than most.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Anchor

I have been eagerly awaiting the opening of "The Anchor" 1401 Race St. Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 421-8111. This new seafood restaurant, located at the North East corner of, the rebuilt, Washington Park, is only a block away from Music Hall and adds a convenient destination on Symphony nights and and other occasions in that venue. Arriving early, parking and walking both to dinner and the performance has many advantages.

Derek Dos Anjos and his wife moved back to Cincinnati, from NYC, she grew up in Clifton, and opened "The Anchor" in Over the Rhine last week. He worked at both "Mary's Fish Camp" and "Pearl's Oyster Bar" in Manhattan. He has brought some of the ideas from these restaurants here, and unfortunately, in my opinion, some of the prices. Prices range from very reasonable, the large "Trout BLT"( $13) to upper price points "Lobster Roll ( $27), in this season of lobster plentifullness.

All the servers seem to have had experience and the surroundings and service were both very pleasant.
It is unfair to report on a new restaurant, with only one visit but we we're all pleased with the items as presented. The bar prices are fair and based on the competitive Cincinnati range.

The table selections, for the four of us were: Caesar Salad, good sized portion ($8), New England Clam Chowder( $7), Fillet of the Day( $20), Fried Oysters($9), Lobster Roll( $27), and a Trout BLT with Vidalia onion rings, large ($13). All dishes came hot and well prepared and all were satisfying.  There are "raw bar" platters running from $40 to $75, beyond our appetite or desire.

From several comments I have received I feel compelled to once again state that I consider myself neither a food critic nor reviewer but just someone who likes to eat out and reports on where we go and what I feel about the food served. I started this at the urging of some OLLI members who took the course, "Let's Eat Out" at UC. Food is very subjective and each of us has personal tastes and preferences.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Yes, we go out a lot and it seems there is no real geographic boundry. We live East of downtown but since the dividing line is supposedly Vine St. we obviously go both East and West, as well as North and South.

After seeing the "Capitol Steps" one night last week we went to "Parkers" Blue Ash Tavern, 4200 Cooper Road, Blue Ash (513)891-8300 for a late night snack. I have never been impressed with their menu  but I have never been there on this time schedule( 9:30 to 10 PM). The offerings are perfect for a drink and late supper. Our threesome had a Shrimp Bruchetta, Chicken Pot Pie and Caesar Salad with crisp fried Calamari. Each was attractive and very satisfying. It opened my eyes to a North suburban late night spot.

By Eden Park is "View Cucina" 2200 Victory Parkway, owned and operated by the Stevens family who also have "Bella Luna" on Eastern Ave.We were there during restaurant week and their 3 course special ($33) filled the bill with both food and portions being more than adequate.My Venison and Marilyn's Filet were both prepared as ordered and served as a wonderful main course around which we indulged in appetizers and dessert.

A going away dinner for our Granddaughter, in Law school in Seattle, was the reason for an evening at "Jean Robert's Table" on last Monday night. The restaurant was a little over half full which meant the service and attention could not have been better. I started with a "special", Shrimp salad and this was my only disappointment for the evening. It contained one and a half shrimp, sliced and placed on a bed of shredded carrots and cabbage which had been marinated in a vinegar based dressing.
My main course was Skate and it was done to perfection and served with cubed purple potato's and a bed of cauiflower and brussels sprouts. The light sauce also had a tang of vinegar which set off the combination beautifully. My daughter started with the Johnah Crab Salad which was, by far, the best first course of the evening. Drinks, wine and dessert made it a full, festive, family, evenit.

An interesting place for lunch, this week, was "Boswell's", 1586 Blue Rock Street, Northside. A neighborhood bar where the food fits with the surroudings. My lunch was a home made meat loaf sandwich served with French Fries, for which they gladly substituted sliced fresh tomatoes( I was trying to behave). It came on toasted whole wheat and the appropriate condiments were available. Others had, pulled pork, Cheeseburgers, Boursin Burgers and a fried fish sandwhich( you get the idea). The place is a throw back and a fun change of pace.

Today I returned to "Great Scott" on Madison Road in Oakley and "missed the boat" I again ordered the shrimp wrap, which is very good, but when the women at the next table was served the hamburger, probably large enough to share, I knew I should have gone in that direction. be fore warned.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I have been a great booster of Danny Meyer's original book, "Setting the Table". He very clearly draws the distinction between service and hospitality. The later is making the consumer feel highly important and trying to "go the extra mile".
This all came to mind when I had lunch, with my Granddaughter, at "Senate" 1212 Vine Street, OTR( over the Rhine) Cincinnati (513) 421-2020. The two of us had split, and enjoyed, the excellent mussels, a grilled peach salad, more lettuce than peaches, and to my taste rather bland, and a Lindsey Lohan Hot Dog. The latter is a grilled beef sausage to which a goat cheese spread and carmelized onions are added. The whole concocsion is topped with plenty of Arugula. Anyway we wanted to carry-out and order of the mushroom soup but were told they had no carry-out containers. I suggested that they pack it in it's regular serving bowl, and let me give them a deposit until I returned the bowl. This and all other suggestions( an empty jar, etc.) were turned down, although our server, I assume, asked the acting manager. In my mind they missed the oportunity to distinquish themselve on the hospitality front.

Earilier in the week we enjoyed dinner on the patio of "Laszlos Iron Skillet" 6900 Vally Lane, Cincinnati (513) 561-6776. We had not eaten there in several years, I don't know why, and had never eaten outside.The weather was very enjoyable and so was the food. Drinks are very reasonable and the food is all moderatly priced. Tuesday is "second dinner free night" and although that menu is quite small a couple can easily enjoy sufficient, tasty food food about $15 total. Try that at "Skyline".
Marilyn and I both had Schnitzel, she plain and I Ala Holstein, which was very good and a very decent sized portion, our main courses cost $10 and $12 respectivly. We chose the escolliped potato's for our side and were very pleased with our selection.

On the news front "The Anchor" 1401 Race St. OTR (5130 421-8111 begins a few days of "soft openings( friends and families) tonight. I know neither there regular hours or when they will open to the public. My guess is within the next 8 days. There current menu is a small one stressing shell fish, including Lobster , augmented with popular stand-bys, fish and chips and a fish or two of the day. More after we have been.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


The most interesting experience since last posting was dinner Saturday night at "The Precinct" Delta and Columbia Parkway (513) 321-5454. One of the specials was Elk and since I am an adventuous eater my dinner thoughts immediatly switched to trying this new item. I'm delighted that I did. As I mentioned, I have never had this meat and any new experienice is something that appeals.
It is not easy to describe the taste but the physical apperance reminded me of an extra large blade lamb or port chop with the meat adhearing to a single bone. It had been grilled, as are most of the steaks, and seasoned, probably with an altered steak seasoning. It was lightly covered with a Bordelaise Sauce. The rib was served medium rare and was prepared perfectly.
As to the taste I have not had a great deal of experience with "game" but the Elk had a flavor of aged beef plus a slight accent of the wilderness. I don't have a vocabulary of meat terms, like wine, but it was strong enough to be different but in no way to strong to override the expected meat flavor. I'm sorry but this is the best I can do. Someone with more experience might help me with future Elk decriptions.
Marilyn had her favorite, Dover Sole, and so it was an emensely pleasant evening for us both.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What's new?

"Great Scott" 3355 Madison Road, Oakley (513)-533-3456, is the first branch of the restaurant that operates on Ohio Pike. It has opened in the last month in the location last occupied by "Nick's Chops and Chasers".
The ambiance would never bring anyone, there, but the food is very plentiful, tastee and well priced. Service is attentive and helpful. It is a good value restaurant. It was also new for us. ( Polly try it)
We went first on a Sunday night. I had the pan seared Walleye while Marilyn ordered the Wiener Schnitzel( pork). Both dishes were sufficient to share and were served with appropriate sides. The Walleye was prepared with some sliced almonds and came with a large helping of fresh mixed vegetables and a mound of seasoned rice. Marilyn's Schnitzel was deep fried, quite crusty and again large enough for two normal eaters. It's accompaniments were a slightly tart German potato salad and bright green steamed broccolli. Sides are interchangeable, upon request.
Later in the week we returned for lunch where I ordered a Shrimp PoBoy wrap and Marilyn had the Veggie Wrap, both came with Cucumber Salad. Half of each were taken home with us.
I don't want to jinks the place or my wallet but the bar drinks are the least expensive of any place we frequent, they must be Ohio Pike prices, not Oakley.

Dinner one night was at "Tano Bistro and Catering" 204 West Loveland Ave, Loveland OH (513)683-8266. The proprietor was a chef for a large seafood chain and the seafood is always a good bet, I mostly stick with that although other items are interesting and well prepared. My entree was a Boston Bib lettuce salad of diced Strawberries, avacado and minced red onions in a aged Balsamic dressing. This was topped with four, grilled, Diver scallops. I have to rave about the fresh Peach Tarte Tartan which is one of the best pastries I have ever enjoyed. The crust was flaky and absorbed the peach juice and sugar forming, when baked, a golden chewy layer of absolute delight.

Back to our "hangout", "Otto's" Main St. Covington, for Fried Green Tomato's, perfect, as always. Salmon, medium rare( towards rare), served with asparagus and sauteed, sliced mushrooms, and an accompaning glass of Wahington State dry Reisling. We probably go too often but as the song says, "it's too hard to forget"( or resist).

Saturday, August 25, 2012


I have probably written on this subject before but once and a while it is so heavily reenforced that I feel it necessary to comment again.
We eat out quite a bit and it is usually with friends, this is not a strange arrangement for most of us. What sets many evenings apart are the friends that we have developed in the establishments which we patronize. By going often and making it a point to know the staff, including the chef and management, we feel, quite often, as though we are dining with friends, instead of employees. The feeling is reciprocated by our treantemnt. This was all reenforced by several experiences in the last week.

Last weekend we walked into "Nectar Restaurant" ( Mt. Lookout Square) to be greeted by Julie Francis, the owner and chef, with the words "I've fixed sweetbreads for you". Dinner decided. I started with an Heirloom salad, red and yellow tomatoes, and then was presented with a beautiful plate of perfectly sauteed sweetbreads sitting atop a melange of fresh summer vegetables, roughly chopped and simmered. al dente, in their own jucies, with the addition of a few herbs and a shot of sherry. A marvelous meal.
My only problem is that I cannot distinguish heirloom tomato's from other good field rippened species.

Again, this is not new, but at the "Oriental Wok" (Hyde Park) the chef and staff always are pleased to guide us in what is fresh and special on or off the menu. Guy Burgess, the chef, recommended the fresh halibut, stirfried with ginger, which we immediatly accepted. They have made a dish for us, several times, of Bar-B-Qued poriik strips, beansprouts and scallions and this we had to go along with a full order of perfect fried rice including chicken, pork, egg, veggies and seasoning.  It almost goes without saying that we usually start our meal, at the OW, with one or two of their excellent first courses.

The other spot during the last 8 days was "Enoteca Emilia" (O'brianville) where Monica, our artist server , she produces jewlery, brought the 4 of us a hearty mixture of menu and bar items. This is another friendly place and my only negative is that I can't get them to reduce salt to a tolerable level. Maybe it's the items I order. I'll have to make better friends of their "line cooks".

Sunday, August 19, 2012


It is very seldom that I make a posting of a dinner or event that is not open to the public. This is an exception as I feel I must report and congratulate all those concerned with an outstanding event at Losantiville Country Club. Last night, for the first time, in my memory, the Club put together a wine tasting with superb food pairings. I can not complement enough the people who arranged the evening and the kitchen staff who executed terrific food accompanyments for each wine.
Below are listed the wines and there accompanying dishes:

Albrecht cremate Rose-brie with Oregon peach chutney, Champagne grapes, strawberries, roasted pistachios and cashews, white cheddar bread sticks

Voss Sauvignon Blanc( Napa)- Kumamoto Humboldt Bay( CA)  raw oysters and fried Barron points Puget sound jumbo selects. Grilled diver scallops-tarragon with aioli-grapefruit and bing cherries

Tokara Chardonnay- Tuscan-style roasted game hen, grilled romaine and prosciutto and Asiago

Argyle Pinot reserve(Willamette valley)- almond crusted fresh Halibut stuffed with a salmon tartar beurre noir and served with smoked portabella and a wild mushroom risotto

Novelty Hill Cabernet- grilled Colorado lamb chop- fresh mint- caramelized potatoes gruyere- roasted haricot verte

Ramous pinto lbv Port- Chocolate dipped strawberries, truffles, (rich) chocolate torte and green apple ginger crisp and plums.

Once again Bravo to everyone who made this evening possible.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Second visit

As I said in my previous posting, one can not really judge a restaurant with only one visit. We returned to "BrewRiver GastroPub" 2062 Riverside Dr. (513) 861-2484 on a beautiful summer night this week. This time we enjoy their reconditioned patio, which I am happy to report has a ramp, making it accessable to handicaped patrons.
The service remained completly satisfactory with the proper attention and knowledge paid to any questions we had. Several beer samples were provided before we decided on our final selection. The do offer flights of beer for those interested in trying many.
I realized several thing about this new endevor. First and formost they are what their name implies, a "Brew-Pub". I didn't take a count, but I would guess that they offer 40 or 50 different beers and this is the premise around which everything else functions. The food, as it was the first time, was very well prepared and tasty, with several items carrying the mark of the New Orleans trained kitchen staff, liberal use of spice.
There were four of us and we split many items. Our meal started with "Amish Chicken Liver Pate", this was accomplanied by sauteed, seasoned onions. I found the pate slightly less hearty than the normal Bar Mitzvah offering. Next came Caprese Salad, which when split gave several pieces of field ripened tomato and firm Mozzarella to each dinner. The salad had a drizzel of Balsamic. Marilyn had the Buttermilk dipped Amish chicken, a very small helping, which was nicly done, while I split an Oyster Po'Boy and a Muffaletta with the other wife. The Po'Boy was very good but had a spicy Remoulade which overpowered all the other flavors. The Muffaletta while good needed, in my estimation, more of the olive salad to be up to it's origin, Southern Louisiana. For desssert we all split a very rich "Arrogant Brownie" made with Arrogant Ale.
The meal was ample, well prepared and an interesting mix of textures and flavors, most extremely complmentary to the beer served.

The only other adventure this past week has been to "Otto's", who make the Blog with great regularity. A Bombay, excellent Fried green tomatoes and a terrific Lobster salad proceeded my main course of Pan Sauteed Grouper on a bed of Risotto mixed with pear, apricot and nuts. An outstanding meal, but then I admit to being very prejudiced and not always objective. Marilyn had flank steak, medium rare, as orderd.

I'm sure we will return to both spots. Interesting places, to me, are habit forming.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Two questions

The two questions I am asked most often are "what is your favorite reastaurant" and "have you found any new place that you recommend". The first gets the standard answer that I can't compare a steak house and a sushi bar, at least in food. I can give a feeling of amibiance and my ideas of service but niether of those are digestible.
As far as the second question I often hesitate to give a recommendation of any new place on just one trial. I can tell those, who read this Blog, if it is a first time for me and how I reacted.
In the category of new spots we ate lunch this week at "BrewRiver GastroPub" 2062 Riverside Dr. Cincinnati (513) 861-2484 and were pleasently surprised by both the food and the service. Our guest and I had two different salads, both very fresh and lightly dressed. Each salad was enought for a light lunch. Marilyn had a BLT, usually fairly standard, but this one was outstanding. The bread, freshly baked, had a crisp crust and a soft, grainy center. The mayonise was light and contained herbs. The tomato's are field grown and come direct to the restaurant from a local farmer and the "bacon" in this case was house cured "pork belly" with no preservitive. It was thin sliced, and cooked to a tenderness which brought out the sweet pork flavor. It still managed to be crisp enough to contrast nicly with all the other ingredients. A real winner.
Our server was attentive and knowledgeable and the chef paid a visit to see that all was satisfactory, which it was.

Also this week we visited two "regulars". The "Oriental Wok-Regency" and "Cumin".
At "the Wok" the chef prepared "Empress Fish" which I have lovingly described before but will repeat that it is a whole bass, turned inside out, skin dipped in a light egg wash and then fried while the inside remains still juicy. The sauce is a mixture of sweet and salty, very Asian, with flecks of red and green peppers and hints of scallions. The fish easily is a full dinner for two and could be split for as many as 6, if desired.

At "Cumin" beside an evening with another couple we enjoyed the attention of Alex, the propioter, and Mung, one of, if not the best, servers in town. Alex took us on a tour of his new restaurant next door which will open in Oct.( Food to be cooked in a brick oven, remanicent of "Fore St." in Portland Maine)
The food from Owen Mass's kitchen was outstanding with Marilyn enjoying a sliced cucumber salad and pan seared trout served on black Quinoa; while I had the fresh fig salad, slices of fig with fresh bacon bit, small amount of cheese and shreaded mixed greens. My main course was a wonderful Rissotto, topped with small cubes of fresh field grown tomatos, all in a lightly creamy sauce with a hint of sharp cheese. We ate outside on one of the pleasantest evening of the year, so all was well with our world.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Minor Disaster

On Aug 1 I spent over an hour getting caught up on some of the places we had eaten, While "proof" reading I hit some key, on the keyboard, and sent the message into cyberspace. I have tried everything, I know, to retrieve it but have failed in every attempt. I'm sure it is in the computer, somewhere, but how to get it onto my Blog is beyond my capability.
I know that I mentioned, in detail, the Lobster Rolls at "Bonefish" The Vietnamiese crepe at the "Saigon Cafe" and the bread pudding at "La Poste". All are well worth the visit.
"Vito's Cafe" was a mixed bag with good food and poor service and "mucho" noise and activities.

Wednsday night we had our first visit to "Mayberry Restaurant" 1211 Main St. Cincinnati (513) 381-5999, they do take reservations. There was a very small crowd inside and we did not venture on to the outside dining area. Our server was most attentive and helpful. The have a small, adventuous menu and seem to specialize of draft beers, mostly of the IPA( India Pale Ale) varity.
The two women had salads while I split an order of Bacon wrapped figs served with a fresh berry sauce, wonderful. I also had 2 sides, Buffalo Mac N Cheese, mostly cubed chicken breast in a spicy sauce and steamed Cauliflower mixed with Feta cheese and finely chopped fresh tomatos and sweet red peppers, an interesting presentation.
The other male ended with a large perfectly cooked tenderloin on a bed of truffle fried potatoes all top with a fried egg.
We'll probably try again as our server said that the menu changes often reflecting what is available, daily, at Finley Market.
Hope this posting makes it "on line"

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Some thoughts

We go out a lot, probably 4 to 5 nights a week. It's our social life and a good chance to visit with friends. However I do like to eat at home and Marilyn and I share both the planning and cooking, I am a combiner of items while she is more of a purist.
Recently field ripened tomato's have come to the farmers market and consiquentially these have been front and center on our menus. Today I bought cucumbers which Marilyn will marinate, in the Danish fashion, and we will add some slices of sweet onion before we serve this, chilled, over fresh tomato slices.
Yesterday I used some of the same onions as an addition to our Sunday morning scrambled eggs. I chop and saute the onions, until brown, in butter with a touch of Worcestershire and a pinch of herbs. After I pour in the eggs, usually more whites than whole, I douse the concoction with a good helping of grated Parmesan Cheese. Cook till almost firm and remove pan from the heat which allows the eggs to firm up as they are placed on the plate.
I've also found that eating my dry cereal, bulk Granola and Fiber One, with peach or raspberry Yogurt makes a delious breakfast and more than satisfies my sweet tooth.

Oh yes, we have eaten a couple of meals out since last posting. One at "Parkers Blue Ash Tavern" 4200 Cooper Road 45242 (513) 891-8300  a neighborhood stand-by for the Blue Ash area and a very passable lunch or dinner spot. While Marilyn had the house Cheeseburger I experimented with the Caesar Salad topped with a good sized helping of deep fried Calamari. Filling but not too healthy if one is watching intake of fat or salt.
Another night we went to "Maggiano's Little Italy" in the Kenwood shopping Center. We used our head and split a large chopped salad and an order of Veal Marsala. As most of you know "Maggiano's" is a chain but their food is quite acceptable. The chopped salad, a mixture of head lettuce and romaine contains also chopped tomato's, cheese, bacon bits and avocado. The dressing is light but slightly spicy and refreshing. The Veal order contained 3 medalions, easily splitable, and a large amount of buttom mushrooms. There is enough, nicly seasoned wine sauce, to well moisen the angel hair pasta with which the veal is served. A pleasent, reasonable dinner and not at all bad for a chain.

I've rambled enough so I'll call Marilyn and get the "spell checked" before it's posted.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Now that we're home and back to a normal routine, which includes "eating out" I'll try to bring things "up to date". Places I have written about, recently, will only be listed with a comment. Anything really new will receive more attention.
"Cafe Mediterranean", Blue Ash, excellent Zucchini Pancake, new to the menu
"Maribelle's", new location, 3235 Madison Rd., Oakley (513) 321-9111. They have moved into the spot formerly occupied by "Hugo's" and have upgrade their "bar food" menu. Had an oyster salad, interesting but skimpy on the oysters( three small) and a grilled salmon on a bed of greens. Good but not outstanding.
"Abigail Street" 1214 Vine. In my opinion the best of the "hot new" spots in the Gateway District on Vine.
Small plates but interesting selections and excellent preperation. For 6 people, a few night ago, we divided 3 appitizers, a tangine of summer vegetables served on cous-cous, cold marinated and spiced vegies and English pea crostini. Four main courses, none exceedingly large, lamb sliders ( 2 orders), lamb shank, scallops( 1 order, not enough) and halibut. Dessert was deep fried donut rolls. A good wine list and most libations are available.
"Oriental Wok" Regency, they fixed a grilled whole bass which was "out of this world"
"The Rookwood" 1077 Celestial St, (HINT) oysters are either half priced or $1 each on Sunday night, to clear the inventory.
"The Precinct" There are several new menu items, which Marilyn and I each tried. She had wonderful Dover Sole and I chose the brasied short rib, served on Pappardelle

So now were up to date after our trip West, the World Choir Games and, of course, a stop at Camp Nebagamon.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Home again

We were gone for almost a month and when we returned we volunteered for the World Choir Games and so have been very tardy about posting. Reporting on West Coast eating places only serves a few who read this and happen to live there or travel as we did.
I will mention some spots we enjoyed so if any of you are following in our footsteps you'll have a name as a starting point.
Ashland OR (Oregon Shakespeare Festival)
"Morning Glory"-excellent breakfasts and lunch
"Thai Pepper"- Asian, get a table overlooking the creek
Mendocino-Ft.Bragg area
""Libby's Restaurant" Philo, CA- homemade Mexican
"Chapter and Moon"-Ft.Bragg CA-Noyo Harbor- fresh seafood and salads
"Herons By the Sea"-Ft. Bragg CA-Noyo Harbor-ditto
Eugene OR
"Off the Waffle"-store front- just what the name implys, waffles you can imagine
"Cafe Marche"- excellent dinner spot
"Sweet Life Patisserie"-a wonderful bakery that is perfect for dessert( by the slice) and coffee
Seattle WA
"Coterie"- fairly expensive but most interesting food and wine
"Toulouse Petite"-huge, wondeful menu for all three daily meals, especially breakfast and lunch
Delta(Mason) WI
"Delta Diner"- Nowhere, but a Chicagoian gave up the financial business nine years ago and moved to the "north woods" to run a place Jane and Michael Stern should visit. It's about 7 miles south of Iron River WI but doubt that any of you, except family, will make the treck, even though it's worth it.

I'll get back to Cincinnati area in the next blog.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


"Bakersfield" 1213 Vine St. Cincinnati 45202 (513) 579-0444 is a new spot for us but not for the throng of patrons 20 to 50 years younger. It is in the new "restaurant row" on Vine St. in OTR ( Over the Rhine). This is number 6 or 7 in the two block area just north of the Ensemble Theatre.
Last night, at 6:30, there was a half hour wait for seating for four.
The small menu is built around Tacos but several salads and sandwiches are available. Chips and Guacamole and one or two other Mexican "bar staples".
Our table split an excellent Short Rib sandwich, which included braised short rib, caramelized onions, chihauhau cheese and roasted tomatillo salsa, served on a telera roll. We also had 6 of the seven Tacos, only excluding the Rajas (portobello). That gave us 2 Pork, 1 Chicken, 1 Fish, 1 Short Rib, and 1 corn truffles. All were attractive to the taste as well as the eye.  Beer, wine and Margaritas were the main stays in the liquid department.
Fun place, good food and certainly a different evening. Incidentally our meal, including tip was approximately $25/per.

Since last writing others, as usual were: "Cumin" ( Marilyn and I split a Rack of Lamb, which I washed down with a wonderful Cote du Rhone), "Otto's" (FGT- Fried green Tomato's and for me soft shelled crabs) and "Oriental Wok" ( Appetizers, Sesame Shrimp-scampi sized, Scallops and Pad Thai, everything split with others).

Now we're off to the West Coast till after July 1. We'll see what we can find and report.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Before Maine

This is just a recap of places we ate before we went to Maine over the Memorial Day weekend. As I mentioned in the preceding posting the Maine trip was for our Granddaughter's Graduation from Bates College in Lewiston. These places and meals are just a listing to clear my file.
"The Precinct"( Steak House)  Delta and Columbia Parkway, Cincinnait. Split the usual 14 oz Strip Steak and Wedge Salad plus normal sides( baked potato, onion straws) with Marilyn. Good standard "Precinct" Dinner.
"Bonefish Grill"  Edwards Road and Madison Road, Cincinnati. Marilyn had excellent Orange Roughy which is not seen too often on Cincinnati menus, it was a treat. I had 2 soft shelled crabs, instead of the menu offering of 1 crab stuffed with a small crab cake. The choice for me was the correct one.
"Enocteca Emilia" 2038 Madison Road, Cincinnati. Usual good wine, food, service and menu items. For me that evening it was a Caesar Salad, Meatball Sliders, with red sauce, and a slice of Marilyn's 4 cheese Pizza; before our whole table devided the delightful Ricotta Fritters, with Chocolate Sauce and Orange Marmalade.
"Saigon Cafe" 3672 Erie Ave. Cincinnati. Marilyn has discovered "Banh Xeo" a Thai omelet with bean sprouts, shrimp and scallions in an extreamly light egg wrap. She and I split this winner for a first course. She followed with Pad Thai and I with Sushi for a very pleasent dinner.
Nothing new or unusual but now the slate is clear and I'm ready to see what the next few days bring.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bates College (Lewiston ME) Graduation

The real title for this posting should be: "How I went to Maine for my Granddaughters Graduation and ate my way thru southern Maine".
This past weekend, June 24/28, was Graduation. All three Grandparents plus sister, uncle and parents made the trip.We all were most impressed with the graduation, speakers( especially Bonnie Bassler, look her up), and handling of the whole affair, including our own graduate Kathryn Wolf, and a final school picnic for 4 to 5 thousand including "lobsert rolls", "free" or $200,000, depending on how one figures.

We arrived Thursday evening in Portland and had dinner at "Street & Company" The menu is almost entirly seafood and all was prepared excellently. Besides several salads we indulged in Hake, Seafood Stew, very much in the Bouillabaisse mode, Grilled Dorade( flakey white fish), Broiled Sole and of course a small taste of Lobster. Then well satisfied we drove on to our final destination, Lewiston-Auburn.
Next day lunch was at "Chick-A-Dee of Lewiston" 1472 Lisbon St. 207-376-3670. A very typical Maine, stan alone, seafood restaurant with and active fryer and full kitchen, as well. The table started with a pint of fresh clams, fried with crumbs and butter, sweet and crusty. Two crocks of Onion Soup, well covered with cheese and bread, an order of Coconut Shrimp, deep fried, several Lobster rolls, the best of the trip and a Jr.(ha) Mini Shore lunch, fish chowded, Cole Slaw, Lobster Roll, french fries and baked beans( the beans were the only disapontment).
The same night is was an early dinner, 5:15 PM at "Fish Bones" 70 Lincoln St. 207-333-3663. Large menu but poor service and ordinary food. Possibly it was because of the short time laps from lunch to dinner.
Shared a bottle of Fume Blanc( too sweet), Lobster Flatbread( the best dish of the dinner) Grouper, Scampi in tomato sauce, Lobster Ravioli( read better than presented), several salads and an Asian Stir Fry, there has to be one in every group.
Saturday, excellent sanwiches from a stand alone bakery, an then an evening with roommates and parents with sandwich trays and ordinary Thai, but very good company and feelings and lots of beer, after all it's college.
Sunday Graduation, as I said, was outstanding, and the picnic lunch a marvel of timing and work by the Bates food service. Dinner was another drive to Protland, approximtely 35 miles, and an outstanding dinner at "Fore Street" 288 Fore St. Portland ME 207-775-2717. If your in the area make a reservation and go. Large menu divided in to categories and all done exceedingly well in an open kitchen with a wood fired brick oven, not just for Pizza( I don't think that item is on the menu). Numerous drinks, hard and soft and lots of food for 9 participants. Chilled seafood plate( cured salmon, pickled halibut etc), several salads, oven roasted pork belly, Jonah Crab( don't miss), Bing cherry salad( a treat), Halibut, Sweetbreads( which could be passed, better elsewhere), Whole Black Bass( don't pass) Vegetable Pasta, Flounder ( outstanding) Artic Char( also excellent as were all the seafood dishes) 3 Charcutere( tongue, duck pate, farm pate), grilled cauliflower, grilled asparagus, and 3 desserts the best in, my opinion, was the orange and rhubarb crisp. They all completly dissapeared, as did we after the meal.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Iteresting Items

I thought I would record some interesting items I've had since my last posting. Since the "blogspot" format no longer comes up I'm giving it a try on what I am presented by the computer.

Yesterday Saturday, we had out of town guests. At 12:30 PM 5 of us went to Finley Market( a mob scene) and ate from various pervayors. Amoung the terrific items I tasted were a grilled Bratwurst from "Eckerlin's", a Gyro, from the indoor stand of the same name, Salmon salad from "Fresh Table" and outstanding Apricot and Cinnamon Geloto from "do-jo". The key lime cupcake from Skirtz and Johnson was not easy to forget.

"Cumin Eclectic Cusine" on Erie, in Hyde Park served some wonderful pork belly, Asian Bar-B-Qued buns with crisp cabbage all enclosed in soft steamed buns. I followed with an Avocado Salad, chunks of exactly ripened avocado mixed with corn bread crutons and seasoned with a slightly spicy greek Yogurt dressing.

"Senate" 1212 Vine Street still puts forth the best mussels in the area while "Abigail Street", right next door, gave us a wonderful lamb salad( arugilla, medium-rare marinated and roasted lamb, sauted, crisp, chickpeas and diced grape tomatoes all covered with excellent Balsamic vinegar. Besides that large salad we were served a bowl of Gnocchi with sweet fresh peas and cut asparagus.

Moving on in the fish department "La Poste" 3410 Telford give us all( 3) perfectly prepared Walleye, either on chopped salas or on new green diced vegetables while the "Oakley Pub" Oakley Square( where 5 streets meet) still turns out the best Grouper sandwich I've run across. Another place that has satisfied my taste for well prepared fish, and other items, is "Cafe Mediterranean" 9525 Kenwood Road, Blue Ash. Their offering a week ago was both striped Bass and very well repared Swordfish.

Last, but not least, was a meal at "Jean Robert's Table" 713 Vine Street which opened my eyes and taste buds with Skate Wings and perfectly roasted rack of Lamb.
And so the "eating out" goes on.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Nothing New

The format on the computer has been changed and so I am not sure if this will be added or not.

I am doing a "brown bag lunch" for OLLI (Osher Life Long Learning Institute) on Thursday, May 3, at the UC Blue Ash campus. Paul Weckman, of "Otto's" will accompany me and carry most of the load.
Other than that things have been pretty quiet. Several meals by organizations, to which we belong, some at home and trips to "Otto's"( fried green tomato's, best in the area, and shrimp and gritz), "Nectar" ( Pork Paprikasch)and the "Keystone Grill ( home made chips, excellent, wedge salad, fair, and chilli, also only fair). And that has been it as far as "eating out" is concerned.

As I said I probably wont post much unless there is really something special to report.
Now we'll see what happens, with the computer, when I try to post.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Standard 10 days

I'm not sure that there is a lot of value in posting the things we do unless I have something special to report or a cogent comment on some place that makes my writing and your reading worth the time.
I'll put on new places or special meals but just to tell you we average about 3 nights out a week isn't anything worth reporting.
Any way here is what we did since last adding to the Blog.

April 10, dinner at the "Oriental Wok" Hyde Park. Guy Burges again suggested an item or two and I followed while Marilyn didn't. She stuck with Pad Thai, which they do very well, while I had Guy's recommendation of beef with a Chinese green( name unknown) and black mushrooms. Tasty, Crunchy and filling. I always enjoy putting myself in the chef's hands.

April 13, Cafe Mediterranean- 9525 Kenwood Rd. (513) 745-9386. This is our 4th or 5th visit and the food and service remain excellent. Our table of 4 split a "Sampler", 5 or 6 cold appetizers, and then the "other wife" and I split the grilled whole Pompano. I have had grilled fresh fish there several times and never been disapointed. The restaurant has no liquor license so we always bring our own wine, which they handle beautifully.

April 15, "Maggianos" in Kenwood Plaza. A pleasent evening with very decent, fairly standard, Italian fare. Marilyn had Spaghetti with meat sauce while I had "angle hair" with fresh clams( more that enough for two meals). We split a "side salad" and since I love salads I was left wanting more.

April 18, "Enoteca Emilia" 2038 Madison Road (513) 834-5773. They are still doing a bang up job and on the week nights the tremedous crowd seems to have subsided.
The two of us split 3 dishes: a full Caesar Salad (quite enough), "Quattro Formaggi", as the name implies a 4 cheese, white pizza with sliced mushrooms added( a nice touch) and an order of Cauliflower flourets, grilled with a touch of anchovie and lemon. We were all most pleased with the food and the whole experience.