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.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Slow Week

After a week on the road and also getting prepared for the Easter and Passover weekend we stayed pretty close to home during the last 7 days. We did have one night out and on Easter started with a restaurant visit before moving on to several Easter events. So here is where we went and what we ate.

Thursday night 4 of us went to "Nectar" 1000 Delta Ave. 513-929-0525. There were very few others in attendance and so our table was able to mix and match under Julie Francis's direction. I had an excellent Vishyssoise, creamy and beautifully seasoned. Julie finely chopped some house curred salmon and made an island of this protein in the middle of the bowl. Next came one Cornmeal Crepe filled with fresh asparagus( it's the season and they are everywhere) and several soft creamy cheeses. The top was decorated with slivered spinach leaves and parsley. All was finished under a broiler and the crepe arrived hot and golden.
My last "small plate" was a house made tamale, the cornmeal roll stuffed with a chopped lamb sausage. A mole sauce was the bed on which this rested.
Others had the cornmeal crepes(2) as a main course or either chicken or fish. There were either one or two salads and an 'amuse bush"( crostni lathered with seasoned, hummus and laced with fresh asparagus) for the other three which was served while I enjoyed with my soup.

Easter morning Dim Sum at "King Wok" 203 West McMillan 513-723-1999. We have been eating Dim Sum around the Cincinnati area with another couple for the last couple of years. Usually we venture to the "burbs" but the other couple, who are our guides, because of their China experience, had tried "King Wok" and pronounced it the best of the region. It has two great advantages: in the city, near both of us, and all items are "cooked to order" and served individually hot from the kitchen. Other spots peddle their wares from carts. Also it is extremely reasonable. The patrons were less Asia than at other Dim Sum restaurants as it's proximity to UC populates this spot with students and their friends. The table shared 6 items, pork buns, pineapple buns, two different shrimp dishes, roasted tofu and a chive dumpling. The food was all tasty although my favorite was one of the shrimp dishes in which the scampi were encases in crispy noodles. Hot tea started us on an upbeat Easter.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


The most distictive view of Charleston is not the famous church towers or the low rise skyline but it is the six year old Cooper River Bridge. Two tall support towers strung with numerous strands of cable holding 8 roadways connecting the city and Mt. Pleasent. From almosrt any angle the bridge reminds one of the days when Charleston was the busy southern, commercial port for Clipper ships and freighters all under full sail.

After our full days drive from Atlanta to Charleston via Augusta on a "blue highway" we enjoyed a steamed artichoke and shrimp gumbo at our hosts condo over looking the river and the bridge.
The following day we did all the normal tourist things; horse drawn carraige, walking tour, garden lunch( fried green tomato's) and a drive along some of the commercial dock area.
That evening we dined at "Circa 1886" the restaurant at the Wentworth Mansion, 149 Wentworth St. 843-853-7828. The restaurant is across the lawn in a separate house with attached stable. As fitting to our rank we had a table in the stable, sans horses. This is the kind of restaurant where each dish is described, in detail, with constant references to "the Chef'". We shared an "Italian Red"( Barberra) and I ordered a light meal with an eye on one of my favorite desserts.
A lightly dressed salad of greens, pecans, cheese and crutons was my starter followed by sauteed Sweetbreads accompanied by a small amout of steamed spinach. Marilyn had a very good sliced strip steak served on a bed of cut vegetables. My forebearence was rewarded with grilled pineapple upside down cake accompanied by Banana gelato.The atmosphere and food was all "high end" and we were all satified if not stuffed.

The next day we toured the "Isle of Palms" with special attention to "Wild Dunes", a gated community build between golf courses and the beach. The whole area reminded us of Hilton Head, but, of course, much closer to the city( less than a 30 minute drive). Lunch at the "Morgan Creek Grill" (843) 866-8980 was in a dining area 3 stories above the marina with a wonderful view of Morgan creek, the tidal flats and all the water activity( boats) in the vicinity. We all indulged with various forms of Southern water delicacies, flounder, shrimp, oyster and solf shell crab( all fried) and the compulsorary beers to go with each dish. It was a terrific experience in a very relaxed resort area.
That night in search of more soft shell crabs we visited "Carolina's Restaurant" 10 Exchange St. Charleston (843) 724-3800. We were seated in the fairly busy, and noisy, bar but this in no way detacted from the quality and interest of the food. Marilyn and I shared a sizeable asparagus salad, thin, perfectly cooked asparagus with marinated slices of mushrooms and scallions mixed with greens. Marilyn again had flounder( this time grilled not fried) while I had my first full portion of Soft Shelled crab, for the trip. The crabs came atop strongly seasoned green vegetables, string beans, kale, scallions, spinach and possibly a thin slice or two of green pepper. I was very impressed. Do not see seasoned vegies like this often topped with fresh crab or any other way.
None of the Charleston restaurants could be considered a bargin and when the over 10% tax is added the amount rises rapidly. The city economy is based on the tourist trade and all things are geared to make a good return on investment, the way capitalism is supposed to work.

Monday, April 2, 2012


The last week of March we took a driving trip to Atlanta and Charleston. This and the following posting will cover food spots of interest on that trip. We spent two days in Atlanta and had two most interesting dinners with our hosts.

The first evening the 4 of us went to "Sotto Sotto Restaurant" 313 North Highland Ave. (404)523-6678. That section of the city is called "Inman Park" and they were in the midst of their own food promotion. Therefore this restaurant, and the one the next night, had specials.
At "Sotto Sotto" they offered 3 course meals( 1st course, main and desert) for either $25 or $35, depending on the items chosen. I went with the $35 and thus enjoyed: "tonno bresaola"( sushi mi Tuna, sliced paper thin), I found this attractive but with no distinctive taste; my main was spaghetti vongole( al dente pasta with fresh clams, in the shells, and chopped fresh tomato's and herbs); for desert I finished with a white chocolate bread pudding laced with sour cherries and served with a small amount of light(vanilla) sauce. Being spoiled by the same desert at "La Poste", here in Cincinnati, I found this less than inspired.
The crowd was noisy and tended to be "thirty-something". The food- Northern Italian, was good but not outstanding. If I had gone to drink heavily that evening it would have been more of a treat as the drinks are good sized and reasonable. I could be over judgemental as it was at the end of our first travel day.

The following evening we enjoyed "Babette's Cafe" 573 North Highland (404) 523-9121. The restaurant is in a house in the "Inman Park" area and thus was included in the promotion, although none of the four of us took advantage, that evening. The main floor area contains a small bar and a medium sized dining room. Because it was a lovely evening the surrounding porch was filled and the inside dining area was sparsely populated, good for conversation and service. Overall "Babette's" has an interesting menu and very good to excellent food. It reminded me of several Chef run operation here in the Queen City.
There are both small plates and full entrees and our group enjoyed both. My dinner was 3 small plates plus desert. Others shared several dishes or devoured there own main courses, duck, veal, etc.
An order of house made, very thin, crisp waffle fries was covered with Gorgonzola and went beautifully with our drinks. I was told to try the "Piroshki's ( ground veal and beef stuffed light pastry with a Russia meat and wine sauce), it was a good suggestion. On my own I selected Lobster Ravioli served in a very light white wine and cream sauce with English sweet peas and asparagus tips . I am pleased to report that there was a good amount of lobster meat in the pasta which made this a special treat. My biggest mistake, that evening, was ordering only one portion of the Dried Cherry Tart. This came in a crushed almond pastry shell and was topped with more of the pastry and powdered sugar. It was outstanding as all who shared it ( the whole table) can attest.
I found "Babette's" a real treat and possibly the best and most interesting spot of the whole trip.