Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Big Birthday/ Big Week

I had a big birthday this past week, of course, at our age all birthdays are big. In celebration we we're treated to several meals and nights out.
On the exact day, last Tuesday, our daughter and son-in law took us to the "Oriental Wok" Hyde Park for a birthday dinner prepared by the Chef, our friend, Guy Burgess.
The meal started with an excellent seafood soup, very much along the taste range of "egg drop" but with more vegetables ( peas, asparagus, corn and water chestnuts) plus large amounts of lobster, crab and scallops, all cut into bite sized chunks. This was followed by perfectly done, extremely tender, New Zealand, rack of lamb basted with a Chinese sauce whose roots go back to the sweet sauce served with Mo Shoo, plus a little wine and herbs. Exceptional. Also accompanying the lamb was a bowl of Chinese greens in a light butter sauce. For desert it was Key Lime Pie. How could a meal be more special.
The next night we were guests of our cousins at "The Red Feather" 3200 Madison Road  (513) 407-3631. The food was great and the service horrible. I had a beet salad and a scallop dish consisting of 3 large "diver" scallops on a bed of Polenta. The light citrus sauce brought the flavors together perfectly. Because of a mix up on some of the other orders the management sent orders of Creme Brulee and a large Chocolate torte to the table for our "dolci".  It's a shame the service was not up to the food.
Another evening we were hosts at "Alfio's" 2724 Erie Ave (513) 321-0555. We had been there many months ago but found the food and service greatly improved, on this visit. I would recommend this convenient spot on Hyde Park Square. I had 3 starters, all very tasty; their take on Cioppino, which I found thin but well seasoned and plenty of seafood, a pear, fig and green salad and Argentine sausage sliders. Marilyn stuck with the wild mushroom Ravioli which she said was some of the best she has had. Everyone seemed well satisfied. If there was any negative it was the noise level on a very full Friday night.
Three other spot, "Pelican's Reef", always a favorite , Monday night for beer and a Grouper Ruben Sandwich, "Otto's", need I say more, for lunch B.F.T, E, Bacon, Fried Green tomatoes, Fried egg and cheese sandwich and their terrific tomato soup and Eli's Bar-B-Que on Eastern Ave. Lot's of good vitals to get me started on another year.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Back again

I went this morning to the Let's Eat Out course at OLLI. It was like old times. The title also refers to the first 22 days in Sept. when we were traveling. I'm not sure where to start but I'll just go in chronological order.

Sept 1 we departed for Boston and attended a funeral of or very good friends son, age 56. After the funeral we took a 5 PM flight to Amsterdam, arriving at mid-night EST. It really is an easy time change. We spent three days with friends in Holland and then flew directly from Amsterdam to Southampton UK where we boarded the Crystal Serenity for a 13 day, 5 totally at sea, via the North Atlantic back to Boston. Since this is a food Blog I won't go into detail about being pampered and over fed on the ship. Our return to Boston on Sept 19 was in time for a small, partial "family reunion".Three full days in Boston and then back to Cincinnati.
Three eating experiences, not on the ship, were a home cooked Indonesian dinner, by the wife of our host; Icelandic lobster(Langoustine) and Arctic Char at "The Lobster" in Reykjavik and the Lobster roll at the Side St. Cafe in Bar Harbor ME. I learned from the owner that Lobster Rolls come in all shapes and prices, the less costly the roll the less lobster meat and more celery and mayo. This roll was $22 and contained almost all tail meat with very little dressing. Not surprising "you get what you pay for".

This morning, when the speaker did not show up I want over some of our eating places in the area.
First, the Mason area: The Phoneitian Taverna, Straits of Mallaca and Wildflower. Then moving on into town we spoke of "Eli's" the very popular Bar-B-Q restaurant on Eastern Ave( often easier to carry out than eat in); the bar at the Residence Inn, in the old Phelps on East 4th St. Great summer roof top and very convenent in the regular bar, before a show or CSO or afterwards for a drink and something to go with the beverage.
Moving to Rookwood Plaza the conversation shifted to The Capitol Grill, a one time experience for us and Seasons 52, both upscale chains. We find Seasons 52 good with an interesting caloric controlled menu.
A full discussion  of Italian eating spots from Nicola's  to Brio and other chains. We didn't leave out Sotto, Via Vite, Prima Vista Enoteca Emilia and several others in the area.
The discusion today didn't go heavily into OTR or into KY or Dayton, all homes for enjoyable dining. More on those areas latter.
Spell check broken so good luck; as I said Were back.

Monday, August 18, 2014

New place and some new grub

A few week ago we went to Mason to "Strait's of Malacca". This time our adventure to this Northern suburb was for a meal, with friends, at the "Wildflower Cafe" 207 E. Main St., Mason OH. 513-492-7514.
This informal restaurant, with polished, bare, wooden tables serves up an interesting mixture of local and remote dishes, all stressing fresh ingredients.. Our meal started with Fried Green tomato's, not quite up to "Otto's" in crispness, but good none the less. The tomato's were topped with a cold poached egg, which in my opinion added little.
We followed with an excellent Lobster cake, with quite a bit of lobster meat, augmented with some crab.
Our main course consisted of a full rack of Pork ribs, done fairly crisp and falling of the bone. The sauce was plentiful and the sides of mashed sweet potato's, nicely seasoned and collard greens, in need of vinegar, which they provided upon request, fit the southern dish.

Other spots where we dined have been "Ruth's Parkside Cafe" just off Hamilton Ave. at Blue Rock (North side). We have found this place good and quite reasonable, $25 to $30 including drinks, tip and tax. The soups, the other night, were quite good, with Marilyn enjoying the Barley and I the seafood( fairly sparse) Gumbo. I had a creole cat fish, served on a risotto cake while Marilyn followed her soup with spaghetti in a rich meat sauce. The table split a piece of moist chocolate cake. Others had, salad, Salmon and a Spinach stir fry on Pasta.

"The National Exemplar" 6880 Wooster Pike 45227( Mariemont), after a movie, came up with their usual Viennese Mushroom soup and an interesting Caesar salad with hard boiled eggs and shaved Kentucky Ham. Marilyn's mushroom ravioli seemed to hit the spot.
"Seasons 52" 3819 Edwards Road, Norwood trotted out a small crab salad, for Marilyn, not wholly satisfactory, and an interesting Crispy Duck Banh Mi which I enjoyed and would have again, spice and all.
Their deserts are 3 to 4 bite sized but the peach crisp was to my liking.

The last few nights have been home with summer dishes stressing fresh tomato's, corn and fruit. Summer is wonderful.\

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Big Week

It was a very big week at the feeding trough. Most were public, open to all, with cash or a valid credit card, but one or two were private.
Last Wednesday night was prime rib night at Losantiville Country Club(LCC). Marilyn and I, with our guest, took part. It was plate service and with the meat you had a choice or soup or salad and two sides. Both King and Queen size portions were served, the difference being 4 to 5 oz. All slices came covered with onion straws. Meat was cooked and served, as ordered and all sides were plentiful. The bar provided all kinds of beverages. Plenty to eat and a heavy stomach liner for the week to come.

Thursday, with another couple it was the "Oriental Wok" Regency where our friend Guy Burgess, the excellent chef, had ordered fresh "soft shelled" crabs from his supplier, at our request.
We started with spring rolls and a divided Scallion Pancake, eight pieces of a flat bread encasing chopped scallions and spices. The crabs came both sauteed or fixed in a Chinese manor having been covered with corn starch, before deep frying and then covered with diced vegetable and a very light spicy sweet sauce. I had the Chinese preparation.
Everyone left quite satisfied.

Saturday, after lunch at the Cincinnati Art Museum Terrace Cafe, good food at a reasonable price, we and two friends had dinner at "Ruth's Parkside Cafe"  4101 Spring Grove Ave. It was our second trip and the place was full, turning their tables, at least, three times that evening. The food is good, plentiful (except the pie) and reasonable. My "bone in" pork chop was excellent. Seasoned well  and served with a wine reduction over a helping of mashed sweet potato. The plate was finished with marinated spinach leaves. Marilyn stuck with a large house salad and her favorite, pasta with meat sauce.

Sunday Brunch at the outstanding "Orchids" in the Netherlands Plaza down town. To quote Tom Gill "why in the world would you go anywhere else". The senior brunch is $24.95 and is enough for the whole day and the night. Everyone does not eat in the quantity that I do, but there are even a few who eat more. All at our table had 3 plates; one breakfast items, the second lunch and the third dessert, from excellent pastry chef.
Hospitality and service are the finest we find in the City.
Oh yes, my first plate was eggs Benedict, country pate, croissant, chilled shrimp( firm and sweet) smoked salmon, and cherry crisp, my fruit compote. Second plate, fried chicken drum stick, whole duck leg with ratatouille, and cheese grits, with bacon. Dessert included, two bite sized pieces of lemon tart, brown sugar, butter cake, "rocky road brownie with roasted marshmallow and tiramisu. Enough!!
That night we had a standing date, I wish we were standing, and we all went to "Zips Cafe", which I am never sure whether it is public or or private with just all the same people. A bowl of chili was sufficient.

Last night "Greyhound Tavern" 2500 Dixie Highway, Ft Mitchell KY 859-331-3767. We all started with a drinks and their Hugh onion rings followed by the perennially good Fried chicken "family style dinner". Chicken, mashed potato's, gravy, green beans, Cole slaw and biscuits. Always good and more sides available, upon request.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Straits of Malacca

Here is a new one for us. "Straits of Malacca" 202 W. Main St, Mason OH 45040 (5130 492-7656 bills itself as Uniquely Malaysian Dinning, and then lives up to it's billing. It is certainly for the more adventurous, although anyone can find something to eat. Those who are willing to experiment will find unique, delicious food, far different from most Oriental restaurants. To say the least, I loved the experience.
The help are most accommodating, from Chef through hostess to servers and busers. They could not have been nicer or more attentive.
Marilyn and I started with their version of a "spring roll". Translucent rice noodle wrap, not fried, with large pieces of chopped shrimp, bean sprouts, scallions, carrot strips and herbs all doused lightly with a semi spicy sauce. A luscious starter. Marilyn, being less adventurous than I, followed with rack of lamb, lamb pangkor, it comes in two sizes, full and light, served with noodles, cauliflower and mushrooms in it's own unique sauce.
The other man, and I shared a Curry Grouper fish head, for two. The platter, large, comes with the fish head broken into sections, including bones, swimming in a tasty curry sauce, broth consistency, loaded with cooked fresh vegetable; fresh tomato pieces, sweet red peppers, green beans, roasted pieces of eggplant and a few mushroom. Plenty of dinner for two healthy eaters ( cost $25). This is self served into an indented plate over a large helping of rice.Take as much and as often as you like.
Desert was a gelatin cake which while interesting was the least memorable. As you can guess we will return, although it is a long way from our home, in the city near the river.

Last night, for Marilyn's birthday, the family went to "Otto's", Covington, to celebrate. The menu has changed slightly, with more emphasis on bar food and smaller plates. Three of us had the sea scallops served on a bed of risotto, while Marilyn had her usual Tilapia, she had used up her experimental genes Saturday night at Straits. Of course, we all had the excellent fried green tomato's and others had Watermelon Gazpacho, fried eggplant sandwich and an interesting Brie and Berry green salad.
For desert our, in town children brought a BonBonerie Opera Cream cake, too rich , but enjoyed by all.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


When I stopped posting every week one of the facts I used to support that decision was that a lot of the places we went were just repeats. That has turned out to be the case, however, several readers have commented that they often used the Blog for ideas and locations and so they urged that I continue to post, from time to time.

Here, in no particular order are placed we have been in the last several weeks;
"M.Wood Fire Oven" 3514 Erie Ave. 45238 (513) 386-7783.
The night was beautiful and so we ate outside. All the outside tables were filled an so service was somewhat spotty. As I told Alex, the proprietor, the food was not as good as usual. The Cauliflower Gratins, one of my favorite dishes was runny and void of it's usual flavor. The Chipinno turned out to be six shrimp covered with a fairly thick tomato sauce with a few small chunks of Salmon. Very little broth.
"Red Feather" 3200 Madison Road, Oakley"
Have been there several times. It is in the space that previously housed "Boca", before their move down town. I had excellent Vichyssoise, highly recommended by our companion, and good Shrimp and Grits. Marilyn's grilled Pork Chop looked perfect, but I was never offered a taste, maybe that's the highest praise.
"Zula" 1400 Race St. (OTR) 513-744-9852
This remains one of our favorite "Over the Rhine" (OTR) spots. That night we had the terrific Eggplant Fries, with our drinks followed by a large Beet salad, for me, and Citrus Cured Salmon for Marilyn. We then split an order of Gnocchi served in a lamb Ragu, out of this world!
"Salazar Restaurant" 1401 Republic St. (OTR) 513-621-7000 Down(east) 14th St. from Zula and open Monday nights.
With our drinks we had pan fried Broccoli with a slightly spiced dipping sauce and a Rillette of duck, one of Marilyn's favorite. She followed with roast chicken served on a bead of corn and mixed beans( succotash). My main was a good sized Panzanella Salad built around Romaine, Cucumbers, tomato's, onions and seasoned croutons.
"Wurst Bar" 3204 Linwood Ave 45226 (513) 321-0709. If the weather permits, eat outside on the back patio.
I started with a cool Avocado soup which was thick and spicy. Followed by the "Hans Gruber" a very good Knackwurst on a brioche bun. The sausage was covered with grilled onion and green pepper slices. The whole thing was bathed in good German mustard. Marilyn had very good chicken tortilla soup, again with some spice, it is a bar selling beer, and a "Wurst Burger".
"Montgomery Inn - Montgomery" 9440 Montgomery Road 45242 (513) 791-3482 A Cincinnati favorite for ribs but we are "Walt's" people. One of the local big controversies.
We split a Matula's salad( named for someone in the family) and the chopped steak plus chips and onion straws. Plenty for us.
"Enoteca Emilia" 2038 Madison Road 45208 (5130 834-5773
Wonderful Veal Meat balls and a Caesar salad split while Marilyn had Pasta Bolognese, her favorite sauce and I ate half of a 4 Cheese Pizza, shared with one of our companions. This place in O'Brianville remains a very good neighborhood restaurant, both in food and service

Monday, June 30, 2014

I'm Back

Now at home and working on "old faithful" or at least on machine that I have used for many years, some successfully and some not.

Let's start with "Ruth's Parkside Cafe, 4101 Spring Grove Ave. 45223 (513)542-7884. This reincarnation of Mullain's Parkside Cafe, downtown is now located in the rehabed American can Co. building, which has both retail and residential. In my opinion the Cafe is a steep up from the one downtown, both in menu, more items, and quaitty of the food and service. This restaurant, open for both lunch and dinner, offers more and different items and is not concentrated on vegetarian or salads.
We went with another couple, as we often do and consiquently got to see, and taste several items.
After my Bombay I had the Cajan catfish, served on a rice cake. Tasty and enough unless one is in a feeding mode. I had seen on the menu Cherry Pie, an item I had been chasing for a month or more and so I wanted to "save room" for for that, and of course, ala mode.
Marilyn had an excellent Lamb Shank with root vegetables which was reasonably priced. As large enough to, again, satisfy most.
Others had a Spinach Satey and and order of Red Beans and rice, to my taste a bit on the mild side.

All the rests are repeat but deserve some comments:
Dinner, two different times, within seven days at "China Gourmet" 3340 Erie Ave. 45208 (513) 871-6612, argumenetly the best seafood prepairer in the area. One night I, along with Marilyn, shared a grilled Walleye, while the other I had the Lobster in Black bean sauce. Tuesday night is "Lobster special" with a pound and a half Maine Lobster for 18 dollars. That night Marilyn had shrimp Lo Mein. Bth nights we had side orders of vegetables.

"Greyhound Tavern" 2500 Dixie Hwy, Ft Wright KY. There it were two families, the other with their 6 year old, and we split four chicken, full family style, dinners. This added two several draft beers and giant onion rings sent us all away happy and satisfied and the 6 year old excited to be included with the adults while her sister was at Girl Scout camp.

"Salazar Restaurant" 1401 Republic St. 45202 (OTR) 513-621-7000, part of the Vine St.eating scene which is open Monday nights. This is the one that went into space and I'll write a new posting staring with Salazar

I need an 8 year old

Yesterday after returning from the Visitor Center, I sat now and wrote a long post. Really I did. More that half way through I did something that sent it into space, never to be seen again.
I'll try and recap, very briefly.

Ruth's Parkside Cafe 4101 Spring Grove Ave. 45223 (513) 542-7884. This 6 month old restaurant is in the old American Can Co. building which is now commercial and residential. It is run by the people who operated Mullain's Parkside Cafe, down town but has expanded their menu and in my opinion has a better Chef and a more interesting menu. They are open both lunch and dinner and the food was good and reasonable.
I had Cajun Catfish on a rice cake while Marilyn had a nice sized Lamb Shank with root vegetables. I ended with Cherry Pie, ala mode, for which I had been searching several months. Give it a try.

I also reported on two Meals at "Chins Gourmet", one of the best fish houses in town. One night it was Walleye, split for the two of us and the other Lobster( $18 on Tuesday night), for me, and Shrimp Lo Mien. Both nights we had sides of specially prepared vegetables. They are used to preparing food to special orders.

With another couple, and their 6 year old,  it was "Greyhound Tavern" in Fort Wight ( Dixie Hwy) for their family style Chicken dinners plus huge onion rings and draft beers( not the 6 year old or Marilyn).

I'll do another shortly but I think I have remembered how far I got, but in greater detail in the original.
Maybe this time it will get posted. It's been two interesting computer days.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

By the seat of my pants

We are at work, The Cincinnati Visitors on Foutain Square, on Sunday from 12 to 3 and I thought I'd try to do a post. I have nothing to guide, including restaurent bills, a food cook book, for spelling, or magazines for addresses. I could, of course, look some of this up but that would take advanced planning.
In writting I find the I am unable to use the mouse and so this will end, to be continued, hopefully this evening, with the proper background material.
So much for a try.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Other Coast

In the last posting I reported on our trip to the East Coast, now it's time to review the trip to Seattle for our Granddaughters Law School Graduation.
In between we had a dinner at "Otto's" with the usual Fried green tomato's, a bottle of Gamay( half priced wine night), Brazed, bone in short ribs, Pasta, and Apricot Bread Pudding. All well prepared and served perfectly. It's hard for us to try "Bouquet" next door, but we'll have to some time, if for no other reason than to stay abreast of the Covington food scene.

Hopped the plane to Seattle June 6 at 9:15 AM, arriving in time to check in our hotel and walk two blocks, down the street, to "Portage Bay", 4130 Roosevelt Way, Seattle -206-547-8230. This large, excellent, well run restaurant is open both for breakfast and lunch, 6 or 7 days/week. Not in the evening. The food is uniformly good and plentifully and we so enjoyed the experience, we ate our next two Breakfasts there. Some of the items that came to our table, and that we especially enjoyed were: Heirloom Tomato's Benedict, Swedish Pancakes with Lingonberrys, Spanish Skillet with 3 eggs, turkey sausage, ham and croutons all on top of Italian tomato's and with a slightly spicy sauce, served in an iron skillet right from the oven, "Migas" a mixture similar but without the bread, ham or whole Roma tomato's. The "Migas" can be ordered with Chicken, instead of sausage. Another hit was the crab cake Benedict. There is a large "breakfast bar" with toppings for pancakes, waffles and Oatmeal. Plenty for a variety of tastes and multiple meals.

The first evening 7 of us went to "Blind Pig Bistro", 2238 Eastlake Ave. Seattle - 206-329-2744, reservations highly recommended. It is a small restaurant seating no more that 40 and helpings are of the small plate fashion, encouraging people to have several, for sharing. We split 3 orders of Arctic Char, 4 orders of Gnocchi, two small loafs of french bread, one each of Octopus, Scallops, and 3 desserts. Several glasses of wine for those who imbibe. Food was excellent and the service was even better, with our server guiding us through all the offerings.

Next night was a South American picnic for 11 of us at "Gas Work Park", overlooking the water. Sunday was Graduation, in the afternoon, followed by a reception for the Law School. Then on to "Anchovies and Olives" where 12 of us we're greeted with a "price fixed", multi-course dinner selected by the chef. Too many items and courses to try to remember.

Monday Breakfast was at "Voula's Offshore Cafe, 658 NE Northlake Way Seattle - 206-634-0183. It's on the ship channel and a must try place if your in that neighborhood and like "old  fashion Diner food". Bacon( thick), eggs, outstanding hash browns, pancakes, omelets and anything else you desire from a diner menu.
That night, before the "red eye" a reduced and stuffed group had one final meal at "Etta's Seafood", 2020 Western Ave near the Pike St. Market. "Etta's specialty is fresh grilled or broiled Salmon with the "house" rub. It lived up to it's billing, with mine coming "rare, as ordered, and others fixed perfectly to their specifications. They know their business. Those who had no interest in the salmon had Crab Cakes, and would you believe it, Cheeseburgers.

Done with Graduations till this winter and back in Cincinnati, for several months.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Every time I do a posting, not centered on the local region I heard from 1 or 2 readers, not quite a majority of my following, that there is really very little interest in what we do, "out of town". In spit of this, once in a while I am compelled to report on something unusual.
Sunday we returned from an 8 day driving trip to our Grandsons Graduation (Commencement) in Cambridge. During this Eastern swing I had neither a Lobster dinner or Lobster roll, an affront to some loyal crustacean lovers. I did have "soft shelled" crabs for three of the evening meals, it's that( short) season.

First stop Cleveland and dinner at the "Mayfair CC" a private club in the Tudor mode with an excellent menu and food staff. My first night with soft shelled crabs. Next two nights as guests of the former owners of "The Murfin Ridge Inn" who have retired to Northampton Mass. Home cooking the first night, excellent, crabs again the next.
On to Cambridge Mass for 3 nights, and days, all scheduled around the Harvard commencement. First night an outdoor dinner, at the stadium for the graduation class, family and friends, approx. 5000. Hard rain, tent with food stations; seafood, Italian, Chinese, vegetarian etc. All tables outside, none occupied and people all jammed under the one tent. Who knows how the food was, before it was attacked.
The next night, and the real reason for this posting; guest of the President of Turkey and his family. More latter.
Thursday night at a very interesting Tapas restaurant in Cambridge. Everything from fried Rabbit cutlet to a mystery burger.( Beef Burger to us mid-westerners.).
On to Mamaroneck NY and dinner, crabs again in the original home of James Feathermoor Cooper. Looks like it should have had repairs. but the food was very good, basically Italian and Seafood.
Hitting Cincinnati at 7:30 PM we stopped at the "Piada" outlet in Hyde Park Plaza, for some Italian street food. I had wonderful Calamari salad which hit the spot and I recommend.

Back to the dinner with the President of Turkey( name dropping), our first experience with a sitting President of any country, and all because his son in one of our Grandson's "house mates". There were 20 to 25 in attendance with another dozen security personnel. The President and family are Muslim and therefore no alcohol was served or offered. The Presidents son ordered and array of dishes, potato bread, tuna tartar, sea bass tartar, marinated octopus, peppers and onions in olive oil, asparagus, fried oysters on a spicy tarter sauce and fruit chutney.
We were each presented with the full menu( sans prices) of the restaurant, "Ostra", One Charles Street South, mostly seafood, from which I selected a seafood Paella, with some pieces of Lobster and many other sea creatures. Most of the guests choose "salt crusted whole roasted Bronzini, divided among 2 dinners. Dessert followed with coffee and tea and an eventful evening drew to a close.

 Next entry, maybe, our trip starting the end of this week to Seattle, for another Granddaughter law school graduation, and more seafood, I am sure, but no more dignitaries.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Catching up

I wrote only 2 days ago  but that was only to report on new spots. Now I'll do a quick review of a bunch of regulars so you don't get the idea that we have only ventured out 3 times in the last 30 days.
Here in some order are a list, plus a few comments covering many regular haunts.

"Seasons 52" 3819 Edwards Road, Norwood ( Rookwood Commons). This chain, started in Florida, specializes in light( under 500 calorie) items. When people tell us they want to eat light this is one of the spots we suggest. Some of the tempting and tasty dishes are scallops, entree sized salads, flat breads( very thin crusts) and stuffed mushrooms. It's easy to control you intake if you stay away from much alcohol. Service is good and accommodating and prices are mid-range. Reservations recommended.

"Oakley Pub and Grill" 3924 Isabella Ave. 45209 (513)531-2500. Just what the name implies a watering hole, filled with young( 20's and 30''s) but nice to the much older generation with good bar food especially the grilled grouper sandwich and the crispy Cole slaw. Also burgers, wraps etc. A great place to drop in if you want a relaxed lunch or a quick dinner.

"Orchid's" at the Netherlands Plaza. The other end of the food chain with elegant food and service. Both Brunch and dinner are a treat and are terrific, not just for special occasions but also if ones budget allows upgrade from the usual fair and surrounding. The room is the most elegant in the city and the food, also, in my opinion is the most special.

"Enoteca Emilia" 2038 Madison Road 45208  (513) 834-5773. Open for about 2 years this Hyde Park (Obrianville) Norther Italian seems to have hit the right spot with locals and followers throughout the city. Reservations highly recommended as most nights the fill up by 6:30 or the latest 7. An active bar and a busy restaurant full of a mixed age crowd including a few children. Good food from interesting starters through pizza, pastas and on to main courses. Attentive service from the management on down. Nice wine list and full bar.

"Zula" 1400 Race St. ( OTR) 513-744-9852. Very popular, Over the Rhine, spot open about 18 months and a hit not only in the neighborhood but throughout the area. Reservations almost a necessity. The "cold plates", read salads, are outstanding as are the flat breads and to many the mussels, in which they specialize.
We gravitate, after a shared "cold plate", to the fish items of which Walleye, done to perfection, is our favorite. Very reasonable prices on wine and also a full bar to handle other requests.

"Salazar Restaurant" 1401 Republic St. (OTR) 513-621-7000. Just down the street from Zula, actually behind, is a much smaller restaurant run by Jose Salazar. It has a small, different menu and produces excellent items from the kitchen and pantry. Some of the offerings are not seen too often on menus around town. The menu changes as items and the chefs desires dictate. No reservations so go early in the evening and in the week. One of the few OTR spots open on Monday nights.

"Abigail Street" 1214 Vine St  (OTR) 513-421-4040. In case anyone doesn't know OTR is Over the Rhine in the "Gateway" district North of Central Parkway. Getting back to "Abigail St" they serve a selection of "small plates" running from stuffed dates to Bouillabaisse. We doat on the Gnocchi served with mushrooms and asparagus slivers. No reservations so you take your chances but most times the staff will find a place for you to sit and enjoy a glass of wine and a fun dinner.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


When I pulled up the screen to write this entree I found just how tardy I have really been. It's been a month since my last effort. I said that I was going to cut back, as I thought things were getting too repetitive, but I shouldn't let that much time elapse, especially if there is anything new, for me, about which to write.

Here, starting with some of my new experiences are places we have "eaten out":
 "The Eagle", 1342 Vine St. OTR.
If you like spice and fried chicken this is your spot. No reservations but earlier in the week and the lunch and dinner times the wait is very manageable. There is a wide variety of dishes besides the chicken, but that is their specialty, with a really HOT (spicy) honey on the side. Be for-warned.
The first time I went I had had chicken 4 days in a row and so I opted for the grilled cheese sandwich, 4 cheeses, Granny Smith apple slices and apricot preserves., with extra preserves served "on the side", excellent combination. My companion and I shared a crock of mashed sweet potato's topped with marshmallows, extremely sweet and full of spices and also more that the two of us could finish.
My second outing was with a larger group. We shared several dishes. An artichoke and kale( current "hot" item everywhere) dip with chips. Cheese grits, Mac and Cheese, Collards and a salad were also table items. I tried the pulled pork sandwich, on the recommendation of the server, and found it good, filling and again well seasoned( read spicy). Next visit I I'll go which the chicken and Mac and Cheese, nothing healthy but it appears inviting.

"Bistro Grace" North side. This 6 month old spot occupies the space with was formerly "Boca" ( the first one) and "Honey".  It is run by a women, and the night we were there seemed occupied by "regulars, and not to many at that. The food was very good and the service, including the owner was attentive. There is a small regular menu and one or two specials. We chose the special, I believe that night it was walleye, and it came attractively plated and tasted  really excellent. We were the guests of two couple and so I don't have a copy of the bill, which is usually my reminder. I know we enjoyed the place enough that we want to return, although I'm not sure how long they will be around. Sorry I can't give more info, but maybe the next time.

"Joe's Crab Shack" 25 Fairfield Ave. Bellevue KY. Across from "The Party Source"
I don't know what to say. The food was better than decent, at this large chain seafood restaurant. The noise level high, the population very mixed and the service and accommodation of staff just fine. I truly hope that I, personally, am not so spoiled that a place has to be exceptional before I get enthusiastic
My Bombay was extremely reasonable, the Crab cake sandwich was all any one could expect, at the price point, and the side Caesar was good sized portion, again at a reasonable price. The place was full of large graduation partied and we had a 45 minute wait, as there are no reservations.

I have a half dozen or more, usual suspects on which to report and I promise it wont take another month to get to them.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Much ado about many

As the title of the last posting indicated I have been very lax about posting. We have a Granddaughter in Holland and I tease her about her Blog, but I am no better. Anyway I'll give a shot at at going thru a few activities since almost a month ago.
Here are some comments and places we have visited, not necessarily in order.

We spent last weekend in Louisville KY attending the Humana New Play Festival. It was not an eating trip, but rather an immersion into Drama, 8 plays in 3 days. We had to eat to keep up strength and cordiality.
Our first meal was a lunch at "Milkwood", in the theatre building. Convenient, good, and a good beginning.
The next morning, the 6 of us, had breakfast at "Sway" the dinning room at the Hyatt Regency.
I am usually not impressed with "hotel food", although this is changing, but the co-ordination between the kitchen and the service staff was outstanding, making this meal memorable. The student at "Cincinnati Cooks", Free-Store Food Bank all need to master this skill, and we're working at this important ingredient..
After 2 plays, Saturday, we had dinner at "Z's Oyster Bar and Steakhouse", around the corner from the Theatre on 4th St. Upscale food, service and atmosphere. My Steak Tar tare, prepared, table side, was outstanding, while Marilyn complimented her Dover Sole. Not a shabby between show dinner.
Last year, while attending the Festival, we had out final breakfast at Hillbilly Tea, which we repeated as our closer of this trip. It's fun, relaxed and a bastion of Southern Breakfast items.

Back to some of our eating in and around the Cincinnati area. "Otto's", where the food remains tasty, the service attentive and as I have said, "our home away from home".
"Red Feather Grill", Oakley, a mixed menu that is very good but not at bargain level prices, especially wine by the bottle.
"The Anchor" 14th and Race, OTR. The menu has been refined and the noise level is for the young but it's a good in town seafood house, I especially enjoyed the oysters.
"Orchid's" for a family brunch which everyone enjoyed and no one left hungry.
"Kaze" 1400 Vine, more growth in over the Rhine and one of the places who take reservations. Asian with stress on Japanese but other items of interest.
"Phoenician Taverna" 7944 Mason Montgomery, Mason , a long way out, for us, but good Lebanese. Be prepared for an owner who is strong in his recommendations. We have never been steered wrong.
And finally, on this list, "Via Vite" 520 Vine St., Fountain Square with very good Italian, from Pizza to Pasta e Fagioli and delicious Veal Meatball.
There, is a selection from Italian peasant to sophisticated pallet.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


It's not the Los Angeles Airport but rather the habit I have seem to develop, reference my Blog posting. Maybe it's of my rash statement that I was going to quite Blogging, which has since been reversed.
One of our Granddaughters has a Blog about her semester in Holland and so I feel obligated to put some things on mine, so she doesn't get ahead of me. Whose competitive.

Our latest new restaurant experience was at "Antonio's", 7165 Liberty Center Dr., West Chester, OH  phone 513-755-7242. Being and "in town" resident, with a view of the river, that was a log way out. Luckily we meet someone from Hamilton and so it was a division of driving.
"Antonio's" does not awe one with ambiance but the food is very good and substantial. I would recommend dining there, especially if you live in the vicinity or if it is "on your way"
Marilyn and I both had entree size portions. She the Veal Piccata which came sauteed in lemon butter, white wine and garlic and covered with sliced mushrooms. I went for the "Mediterraneo"  Pasta, Capellini tossed with roasted pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, Feta Cheese and green onions. Both of us we're well pleased. A side salad accompanied both meals. We will return if we're in the area.

Other spots, of late:
A return visit to "Ash" American Fare. For a wedge salad and Short Rib Fries, pulled beef rib meat mixed with a seasoned gravy and served over very thin french fries. Marilyn stuck with the broken Lasagna, which I have described previously.
"LongHorn" on Madison Rd.next to the Rookwood Center. A chain, but a good value where we ordered dinner for 2 at a cost of $29.95 total. Both of us had a choice of salad, main dish ( I Salmon, M Steak), two sides each and a huge dessert, to be shared. To me the food is more than adequate and I was very pleased. Service, by the way, was a lot better than we have received at much more expensive places.
"Red Feather", again, good food, poor service. Losantiville CC which is easy and a couple of excellent meals at home                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Lauren and Keith

No, it's not a book title, a soap opera or a movie but rather the names of two individuals who made our dinner, at "Otto's" last night, a blast. Both said that they had never seen their name on the Blog( not many do) and that it would be the highpoint of their day. Their days must be pretty full of the ordinary.
Lauren, our server, is 7 months pregnant with her second child while Keith, who turned out to be our host thanks, again), is the head of the David J Joseph Co. and Executive VP of Nucor Steel. Both are good friends and good company.
The meal, as most usually are, was terrific with the outstanding Fried Green Tomato's, a half priced bottle of Cote de Rhone and Salmon for Kieth, Tile Fish for me and Duck for Marilyn. As I have said before,"it's home away from home".

Since I am posting infrequently, I keep a few reminder of some of the places we eat and will list them in no particular order, with a comment or two if warranted.
"Holy Grail"- the Banks. Upon recommendation of some of the Police Offices, we see while working at the Visitor Center, on Fountain Square, we went on a Monday night to try their hamburger. I would say that our friends are better Police Officers than food critics. We did find the Ruben Wonton very interesting. An egg roll shaped tube, deep fried and stuffed with corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut, all drizzled with 1000 island dressing. The "Holy Grail" holds about 250 but Monday the crowd was 10 plus more than that many TV screens.

Return visits to: "Embers" bar on Thursday night where all food on the Bar Menu is half price and where salads easily serve two.
"Phoenician Taverna" in Mason where after the excellent Maze( small appetizers portions, I had the usual Vegetarian Sampler and Marilyn the wonderful Lamb Shank.
"The Quarter Bistro", Mariemont. Salmon for Joe, Lobster Ravioli for Marilyn
"Pelican's Reef",Beechmont. Seafood Gumbo, Fried Oysters, Fish Taco's shared all around. Patti Brochure, the "hostess with the mostess".
"Wurst Bar", Mt. Lookout Square. Now here is a real Hamburger with all the upscale trimmings. "Long Green Things" are great grilled asparagus.
"Red Feather", Oakley. A second visit proved that the first wasn't a fluke. Asian Hot buns with pork belly, marinated cucumber slices, bean sprouts and sauce; Beet salad and Gnocchi and Marilyn had wonderful chicken and shared our Bread pudding.

Thanks for the love note Lauren, even if my Credit card was no good, last night.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Three New, for us

Friday night, with another couple we dined at "Red Feather" 3200 Madison Rd, Oakley. The restaurant is in the space formally occupied by "Boca", when they were in Oakley. Very little of the lay out has changed. The food, prepared by Brad Bernstein, was not only good but interesting both from a taste and a presentation point of view.
I had a salad of baby beets, both golden and red, plus arugula and and candied nuts. My main course was pan sauteed Monk fish served over a bed of polenta, with several stalks of asparagus. Marilyn had an interesting shoulder fillet done perfectly, medium rare.

The awesome experience of the weekend, was not the Super Bowl game, but the Brunch on Sunday at "Orchids", the restaurant at the Netherlands Hilton. Absolutely outstanding food and service and the best VALUE in Cincinnati. There is no way that I can detail all the items available but let me start by mentioning a few I did not eat: Prime Rib of beef, roast pork, 3 salads, duck, roast vegetables and greens. Also waffles, omelets, made to order, tortellini, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, bread and parties, and a whole table of items I by passed with out opening their chaffing dishes.
So what did I pile on my plate and consume. Eggs Benedict, Poached egg on mushrooms and English muffins, peppered white fish, smoked trout salad, shrimp, king crab legs, Nova Scotia salmon, a perfectly cooked duck leg, with a fruit glaze, haricot vert, fingerling potato slices and mushrooms. There could have been other items that I devoured in my feeding frenzy. For desert Marilyn and shared a very light, warm bread pudding with creme angles,  while she added a chocolate toffee tart and I a lemon, berry one. I passed the Chocolate Cake, Carrot Cake and fudge bars, a little restraint never huts. Reservation are a must as it is a full house, booked by the middle of the week.

Today I had my first encounter at the "Wurst Bar", 3204 Linwood Ave, 45226 phone 513-321-0709. I was pleasantly surprised. While sausage is their specialty that are several interesting items for those, to whom that meat isn't high on their list. The two of us had one Hawaiian Munch, a sausage wrapped in a slice of honey baked ham and topped with pineapple chunks and crisp fried onions and a sweet tangy mustard; an order of grilled asparagus served with a topping of dried cranberries and slivered almonds, a bowl of thick beef chili and a large chopped salad. Again too much unless one is planning leftovers for the next meal.

So those are the new spots; other meals out in the last few weeks have been at "Abigail Street", 1214 Vine OTR, "Boca" 114 East 6th St. Downtown, "Ash" (again) 3520 Erie Ave and "Salazar" 1401 Republic St. OTR for a 3rd Monday night in a row. Keep your bib clean.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ash American Fare

In my opinion Alex Mchaikhi, owner of "M Wood Fired Oven" has hit the mark in opening "Ash" in the former space which "Cumin" occupied, 3520 Erie Ave Cincinnati 45208 (513) 871-8714.
Three of us had dinner there, last night, the second night of operations. Beside a couple of minor flaws, as they get accustom to the new menu, it was really outstanding.
"Ash" is operating on the premise that "Cumin" had lost it's way and was growing too pricey. This new endeavor wants to fill the slot of a relaxed, neighborhood, informal, while upscale, meeting place with outstanding food and still reasonable pricing. Hopefully they have succeeded.
Marilyn and our guest shared most of their items. They started with and interesting warm mushroom and shredded Brussels sprout salad, delicious. That was followed by a vegetarian lasagna, again heavy on mushrooms, of several varieties, and fresh tomato's  with a light mixture of cheeses mixed is a medium, smooth sauce. Lastly they finished with a warm Apple Crumble presented with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. A lovely caramel sauce accented that whole dish.

I tackled a "Wedge" Salad, large enough to split ($9) with all the regulars; cherry tomatoes, blue cheese. corn bread croutons and an extra addition, pickled asparagus strips. My main ($20) was Paella including mussels, scallops, shrimp, slices of cured chorizo and shreds of chicken. The Paella came in a very hot stone bowl which held it's, and the contents, heat through out the meal. In my mind this called for a large glass of "draft" beer.

A quick glance at the menu showed all items priced by category. Salads $9, Burgers, in many different combinations, $15, Mains $20 and Sides $5.
The concept is great and the food wonderful. Give "Ash a try".

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Jose Salazar has opened a small, 45 seats, new restaurant at 14th and Republic, behind Zula on 14th heading East. Obviously, the name of the place is the name of the chef-owner.
Monday night, with another couple, we tried it out. The results where terrific.
The table split an order of fried Brussels Sprouts with a side of excellent Aioli, great compliment to the sprouts, and one of the special "cured and potted' offerings, duck leg rillette with picked onions and jalapeno jam( sweet not hot). This comes with buttered rye bread toast so each could make an open faced sandwich to their liking.
I choose, for my next morsels, accompanied by a dark Rouge beer; "little fried oyster sandwich" ( operative word "little" about the size of a slider) with kimchi radish sprouts and garlic mayo. There must have been left over Aioli, and a separate plate of "Veal tongue a la plancha" with radish slices, hard boiled egg, frisee and salsa verde. The tongue came as three medallions, roasted and possibly slightly pickled. For dessert I had a small ramekin of hot, walnut, fig bread pudding with a scoop of Vanilla Gelato. Chefs have to stay up all night to come up with these dishes and ingredients.
Marilyn had "chicken thighs a plancha, broccolini, mustard spaetzle( she thought they were not firm enough), riesling soaked figs and tarragon" while the others has hand rolled cavatelli, braised rabbit, carrots, celery, pearl onions with cardamon-mascarpone cream( hardly rich, but very tasty) and a strictly vegetarian dish of wheatberries and several vegetables including swiss chard, napa cabbage, mushrooms, carrots and preserved meyer lemon.
I am anxious to return as the menu will change with availability and Jose is an interesting chef.

An interesting lunch spot, run by 2 women on Woodburn Ave. is the 452 Kitchen. They have a website and have been open for about a year. Their stress is healthy and vegetarian dishes. The other day I had a grilled Pimento Cheese sandwich, on Shadeau white bread, while Marilyn has a wonderful tomato soup and a Quinoa salad. It reminds me of a woman's tea room brought into the 21st century. The food is well prepared, the atmosphere pleasant and the great advantage is that it is quiet and no one rushes you if you want to linger and chat.