Subscribe: Cincinnati Nomerati
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
cheese  chicken  david  good  it’s  make  menu  much  nacho party  party  pork  restaurant  sandwich  time  we’ve   
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Cincinnati Nomerati

Cincinnati Nomerati

This is not the greatest blog in the world; this is just a tribute.

Updated: 2018-02-14T18:12:10.683-05:00




We were very excited when it was announced that MidiCi was coming to Cincinnati, but also a little apprehensive. At that time (last year at the end of March), David couldn’t eat much of anything, and especially not pizza. It was a real bummer, because David is very particular about his pizza, and MidiCi’s wood-fired ovens can make pizza one of the best ways.David's Benedict danceThe Benedict stays inside usual bounds for expected ingredients (poached egg, country ham, dill hollandaise), but adds its own signatures of cherry tomatoes and kale, all on a superbly crunchy grit cake. Again, like the Bloody Mary, all of the flavors are balanced perfectly.Hurry boy, she's waiting there for youOur next visit, David opted for the lox and bagel with a hard boiled egg, cream cheese, onion and caper. I couldn’t resist the pull of the biscuits and sausage gravy. It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from youThere's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever doThe portion size for the biscuits and gravy is perfect, and the ratio of sausage to gravy and biscuit are excellent. I’ve gotten this dish twice so far. The eggs on all of the dishes we’ve gotten from Otto’s have been expertly poached, and this was no exception. Our third visit, I once again went for the sausage (insert that’s what he/she said here) and grit bowl. David selected the breakfast casserole. I really enjoyed the fresh, bright flavor from the sauteed cherry tomatoes, and David’s casserole had plenty of melted cheese, sausage, potatoes and other tasty vegetables. The following Saturday, we decided to order the lemon buttermilk pancakes we’d been eyeing, in addition to the crab hash. Dear Lord, those pancakes. Served with a tangy berry compote, sweet whipped cream and butter, these are as good or better than the ones we loved at Red Feather. I bless the rains pancakes down in Africa  at Otto's CafeIt’s not just the food that’s great at Otto’s. They have excellent iced tea, and if you ask nicely, make a kick-ass John Daly. Service has always been pleasant. The restaurant has a variety of quirky signs, lively abstract art, and adorable sets of salt and pepper shakers for each table and tiny bikes that hold sugar packets. It is, as I mentioned, a very happy place to spend a Saturday morning.The biggest problem we run into at Otto’s is that everything on the brunch menu is just so damn good that it’s hard to choose a favorite dish. It’s a good problem to have. Throw in that it’s just a mile walk from downtown and I think we have a new favorite brunch spot. Gonna take some time to do the things we never go back to Otto's for lunch and dinner. [...]

Red Feather:


After placing our order at Red Feather for brunch, our server returned with complimentary beignets from the kitchen--and a game plan. We're gonna need a bigger table“Well...since you ordered so many things, I think we’re going to have to stagger the dishes so they can all fit.”David and I smiled sheepishly and agreed that even though it can be challenging to play two-top table tetris with hot plates of benedict and pancakes, it was the wisest choice of action. feeling very pleased with ourselves after ordering most of the brunch menu at Red FeatherTo be fair, we had warned our server that we would be ordering a lot of things off the menu. At a place like Red Feather, it’s hard not to. After intense negotiation between the two of us, we decided on benedict for David, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, a croque madame, and goetta. The beignets apparently are a brunch amuse bouche, and they set our expectations very high for the rest of brunch. Light, crispy, impossibly puffy and dusted with powdered sugar, David and I both savored each bite and wondered at how the kitchen pulled such a thing off.Mind = BlownThe biscuits were a smaller plate than expected, but I actually preferred that--it meant I had more room to steal some of David’s pancakes and also work on my croque madame, which was massive. More on the sandwich later. The biscuits were also very well made, and the sausage had a little spice to it. David had insisted on ordering the pancakes, and I was very glad he did. Pancake texture can be tough to nail down, but these were perfect. They absorbed the syrup without losing the nice cake structure and were browned without being burnt.And you get a pancake! And you get a pancake! And you get a pancake!David’s favorite brunch item is benedict, and Red Feather excelled at making this as well. Tangy, creamy hollandaise, tasty savory-sweet ham and nicely poached eggs rested atop an english muffin, with a side of crispy breakfast potatoes, also delicious. Which brings us to the croque madame. I added an egg to the croque monsieur on the menu, turning the sandwich into its similar counterpart.  That's no moon The bread for the sandwich was a nice eggy brioche, which I liked, though the slices were pretty thick. The gruyere used was excellent, as was the ham. In my opinion, the only improvement to this sandwich would be serving it with something a little sweeter to balance out the ham and gruyere. I’d advocate for a spicy raspberry jam. To cap off our brunch, I asked about a cocktail I had seen previously, the firefly. David is familiar with my penchant for drinks that are lit on fire, so he wisely did not protest when I ordered it. When I mentioned it to our server, his response that “I think I can make that happen” make me do a little happy dance (which was really more of a wiggle as I was full of pancakes at that point) in my chair. The firefly is prepped with a liquor soaked orange which is lit on fire, and then sugar and spices are dusted over the orange to create little sparks. I’m sure it’s more impressive at night time, but I would order this again--the combo of toasted spices, cinnamon and orange reminded me of fall.  So much better than the pumpkin spice latte 85% of the public at large seems to lose their minds about We’ll definitely be back to Red Feather. Word’s out about the brunch and it was consistently busy while we were there, so I’d recommend a reservation if you have a large group. [...]

Swampwater Grill:


I nibbled away at the jalapeno popper with as much dignity as I could manage. After the first few bites, the pepper's heat had gone from tingly to exhilarating to whoops-maybe-I-chose-poorly. I looked over at David, happily munching away on his popper and made a face at him. "What?" he asked incredulously when he saw my reluctance to take another bite of an otherwise delicious bacon wrapped, fried, cheese and chorizo stuffed pepper. "They’re not that spicy!"I handed my popper over to David as proof. Still doubting, he took a large bite. I sat back, and waited. "Oooohhhhh no. Ow. Ow. Ow. You got a hot one!" Vindicated, I leaned forward to take a big drink of my swamp juice cocktail. "Told you so."As anyone who's eaten their share of jalapenos knows, spicy levels can vary from pepper to pepper. A bunch of peppers may look the same, but one of them is sitting there, just waiting to go all Leeroy Jenkins on your taste buds. Alright, time's up, let's do thisSo we were off to a spicy start for our meal at Swampwater grill. No one seems to know where this place is right off the bat, but when we describe the location ("know where the school is on stilts past the Precinct? Turn left.") people seem to figure it out. The inside of the restaurant is pretty spacious, though a little dark. The draft list is on the small side, but sports some solid brews, which are served in mason jars. I opted for a cocktail called “Swamp Juice.” When I ordered it, our server looked at me and asked me one question. "Do you like rum?" To my answer in the affirmative, she replied, "good, because it's mostly rum."Mostly Rum: TruthSwamp juice is neon green and you get to keep the cup, both of which are the kind of kitschy things that I love. It indeed had a lot of rum. If you go to Swampwater, get the swamp juice and be prepared for a nap when you get home.We ordered a variety of other things. Ribs and pulled pork (this was the child's size pulled pork sandwich), etouffee, red beans and rice, a fried oyster po boy, the poppers mentioned earlier, and grits. We also tried a small side of jambalaya.JambalayaWe enjoyed pretty much everything, but we had our preferences. We liked the red beans and rice over the etouffee. The oyster po boy was excellent. meh-touffe The ribs and pulled pork were alright, but it's tough when you're competing with Eli's BBQ just down the road. It's a high standard to beat. Swampwater’s grits, however, were some of the best we'd had. The jambalaya was my favorite of all of the sides.There are weekly specials at Swampwater, from crawfish pies (which they were sadly out of) to smoked prime rib, that we’ll be back to try soon. I’ll just make sure to exercise caution with those poppers then next time we’re in. [...]

Revolution Rotisserie:


A few weeks ago, some of my co-workers stopped by my desk. “We’re going to Revolution Rotisserie for lunch. Want to join us?” Though I usually go home for lunch, I was tempted. However, I still hadn’t been to the restaurant with David, so I had to follow the rules: David and I would have to check it out together before I went without him. After David broke the pact and went to Taste of Belgium without me a few years ago (and then was busted red-handed on Twitter), I’ve been careful to not commit the same transgression.So I politely declined and mentally penciled the restaurant in on one of our free weekends. This past weekend, David and I stopped by for Sunday brunch.Brunch features a variety of the pita sandwiches that they have on the regular menu, along with several more brunch-y themed items.After much debate, we elected to go with splitting the chorizo poutine. I chose the Nelson Mandela pita sandwich, which is Mexican inspired, while David went with the Harriet Tubman, featuring chicken, muffaletta olive salsa, tzatziki sauce, and hummus.While deciding, we briefly pondered the titles of the pita sandwiches. Named after revolutionaries, I suppose, but one has to wonder how Gandhi would feel about being associated with a chicken wrap (he was a strict vegetarian). Was Nelson Mandela a big fan of chipotle ranch dressing? Have they finally discovered Ben Franklin’s famous asian slaw recipe? These are questions we may never have answered.I couldn’t decide between a cheekily named punch and bottomless mimosas, so why not both? I thought the punch was a little on the sweeter side, but it was delicious and refreshing after the walk up on a warm morning.William Wallace BraveboozeThe tater tot poutine with chorizo had a nice spicy kick, which was managed by the fluffy, crispy tots. I wished the egg on top was not over hard and was a little more “oozy” though, that would have knocked the dish out of the fork-dueling over who gets which tater totDavid enjoyed his pita and ate the whole thing, prompting him to come straight home and take a big nap. In the end we liked my pita better, with chicken, nicely seasoned black beans, tomato, chipotle ranch, crunchy Frito-style corn chips (great idea), and just the right amount of cilantro.Harriet Tubman Nelson Mandela The staff were friendly and the inside of the restaurant is bright and welcoming. The draft selection is on the smaller side but solid. Prices are very reasonable for the portions. I have a feeling once word gets out, this place won’t be quiet for long. Also, the restaurant is right next to Washington park, making it perfect for take-out and a picnic. I’ll be back soon. I’m especially curious about the half rotisserie chicken and their mashed potato bowl.[...]

Quan Hapa:


“Don’t look directly at the Sriracha. Don’t look directly at the Sriracha.” I silently chanted to myself while I sat at our table at Quan Hapa and carefully twisted the top of the bottle open. This post is part review, part PSA. When opening Sriracha, don’t look at it. And for the love of all that is holy, point it away from your face. Of course, there is a story behind my statement; a few years ago, when I was really enamored with Sriracha and was putting it on everything like a madwoman, I was in the kitchen turning the nozzle to “open.” I looked down as I was opening it and the bottle gave a little ‘splurt,’ which catapulted Sriracha upward. DIRECTLY INTO MY OPEN EYES.The searing pain was immediate and my brain abruptly shut off. David heard my whimpering and discovered me clutching my eyes and spinning around in a circle in the kitchen like a short-circuited Roomba. He led me to the bathroom where we flushed my eyes out. Happily, there was no such incident at Quan Hapa because that would have seriously derailed our review. We’ve been meaning to go there for quite some time, but it never seemed to pan out. This past weekend, we decided that we were going to make it happen. David started with a beer he had never had before, which reminded us of a cream ale. It was rainy and cold outside, so I opted for some hot sake, which was served in a fun little can. We were too early for happy hour, but Quan Hapa’s looks solid.I was curious about the wings and David wanted a salad. The wings were hot and juicy--though a little messy with the sweet nuac mam (fish sauce) and honey glaze. The nuac mam added a little funkiness which I enjoyed. David’s hapa salad (I appreciated that the server did not try to set it in front of me for once) had some crispy sweet potatoes, some kick from watercress, and a nice coconut milk curry dressing. For entrees, David selected the modern pork belly banh mi. On the menu it lists pickled papaya, but we didn’t really taste it in the sandwich. The pork belly was excellent, but we missed the usual addition of fresh jalapeno or paté. Le’s still wins for best banh mi for now. If you want spice, try the sambal, but beware, it will destroy youI’ve been wanting to try the ramen, so getting something else was out of the question. I chose the Hapa ramen, but I also added fried tofu, which I highly recommend. You can also build your own ramen if you’d like. roll that beautiful broth footagefish cakes!The ramen broth was very flavorful but not too salty, and I enjoyed the little white and pink fish cakes. The noodles were springy, and the egg was expertly poached. The pork belly was crispy and the flavors reminded me of red-cooked pork. It was a little large to try and eat with chopsticks, though. About those chopsticks: Quan Hapa uses plastic chopsticks, which I can understand the reason for, but when eating ramen, take it from say... playing Bayonetta on ‘very easy automatic’ vs. ‘normal.’ harder to beat than Grace and Glory in Chapter 6I will definitely be back for the ramen and to try happy hour. Quan Hapa has a nice draft list and sake selection. Also of note: They take reservations, which is rare for smaller restaurant, and even rarer for a smaller restaurant in OTR. [...]

Pontiac Bourbon and BBQ:


Dan and Lana Wright’s newest restaurant venture, Pontiac, opened up last week. David and I have been excited for Pontiac since the news first went public (especially when I learned that there would be tiki drinks on the menu).The restaurant space is a little roomier than Senate, but fills up just as fast. David and I went between 3:00 and 4:30, but there was a only few minutes wait, and seats at the bar opened up very quickly. We started with a few of the items on the “Snacks” side of the menu. I ordered the pulled pork nacho cheese poutine and David ordered the $4 iceberg wedge. I later tried the fried pickles, which are a great bar snack.We also ordered the biggest tiki drink on the menu, the Rumspringa Punch. Definitely a drink for sharing, it has champagne, cucumber infused rum, hibiscus and pineapple. And 151. Which they light on fire. Order one of these and be prepared for some extra attention at the bar from curious onlookers. Worth the $30 price tag? I think so, especially when you consider what a bottle of wine costs in a restaurant.Light my bottle of wine on fire and then we'll talkOur food came out very quickly, and it amused me to no end that David’s lettuce wedge was placed squarely in front of me. Typically when we go out, David orders a salad while I order some sort of fried cheese cholesterol-laden monstrosity. Servers almost always try to give me the salad.Perhaps not. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//" width="420">Me, at PontiacI did try David’s salad and I thought the green goddess dressing was a nice complement to the crunchy iceberg, shredded carrot and cheese.The poutine was everything I hoped it would be. Smoked and shredded pulled pork placed throughout, melty salty cheese, crispy crinkle cut fries and lightly pickled jalapenos that had a little bite. Do not skip this snack.I tried two other tiki drinks, the Hawaiian punch, and the Bahama-Lana. Of the two, the Hawaiian punch is my favorite. The Bahama-Lana, though pleasant, is a little on the sweeter side.Hawaiian PunchBahama-LanaWe ordered the brisket, both the fatty and lean cuts, which were perfect. Anyone who’s attempted to make a good brisket knows how hard it is, and as far as menu items go, this is one of the shining stars on Pontiac’s. I'm taking that home to mommaOh no, my brother, you have got you get your ownThe ribs were a little spicier than we expected—challengingly so—and in my opinion, needed a little longer in the smoker to reach their full potential. While people that know good barbecue know that Montgomery Inn’s “fall-off-the-bone” ribs are way overcooked and true barbecue ribs have a bit of pull to them, the ribs we got went a little too far in the firmness direction.The potato salad balanced out the heat from the rib rub nicely. With big chunks of potato, creamy dressing and bacon, this is another thing not to skip at Pontiac. It was David's favorite side of the ones we tried.The bacon fat grits were also a nice side—we could taste the bacon fat but it wasn’t overpowering. It’s nice when the side dishes can step out of the way and let the main dishes be the highlights.The baked beans are similarly understated (in a good way), and not overly sweet. The beans themselves are firm, and some onion and pork add just a little extra flavor. We also tried the brisket burrito (which we managed to get a shot of right before the camera gave up). David liked the unpretentious combo of iceberg lettuce and yellow cheese. I predict this being a favorite of the late night crowd.On the weekends, Pontiac serves smoked prime rib at market price. We were fortunate enough to be able to sample some and it was our favorite cut we tried next to the brisket.Overall, when it comes to Cincinnati barbecue, you’ve got your heavy hitters. There’s Eli’s, Velvet Smoke, SmoQ and now Pontiac. Happily there’s more than enough room in Ci[...]



David and I were off the week of Christmas, and one of the things we made sure to do is go to Salazar for lunch. Why? One word.Cubano.Now, we all know there are sandwiches, and then there are sandwiches. The standard chicken salad you can get at the deli around the corner, some sort of generic club. And then there’s the Cuban sandwich. This is a sandwich that I’ve loved ever since I’ve first tried it, and while the combination is being done more often and can be found at various places around town (Nicholson’s, Pete’s Cuban truck, Paula’s Café) they just aren’t the same. I know some of you will say that you can find them all over the place in Miami, and that the ones there are the best. I’m sure they’re great. But guess what, we’re not in Miami, as evidenced by the fact it is negative-three-insert-expletive-degrees outside, and I’m telling you Salazar makes the best Cuban you can find around here. Like The Gibson, this sandwich is hard to hack. Many have tried, but only Jose (in Cincinnati, anyway) has actually managed to figure it out. Fact: Jose’s original nickname in the kitchen was Zero CoolPhoto Credit: Don VentreSo, on to the sandwich. Similar to the one on the menu at the Cincinnatian (where Jose used to head up the kitchen), it contains mojo marinated and slow roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, Dijon mustard and pickles. The pickles and mustard are important and often skipped. Ideally, this shouldn’t happen. We once overheard a Cricket bar and lounge patron asking for the sandwich without pickles. The response was a succinct “No.” Yeah, if you believe a Cuban sandwich would be good minus the pickle, then you probably also believe there’s an Olympic sized swimming pool on the roof. Spoiler alert: There's no swimming pool on the roof and your Cuban is not better without picklesWhen I asked him what made a good Cuban sandwich so hard, Jose explained that the components in the sandwich have to all work together, and you have to start with quality ingredients. “Good bread is important…take the time to marinate and slow roast the pork. Crisp the bread and get the cheese melted without burning the sandwich.” He explained. I could go on about the cubano for quite awhile, but we ordered other things at lunch as well. Like the turkey sandwich, with thick, juicy pieces of turkey on amazing Blue Oven "Bad Boy" bread, with melted Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and just a little green olive tapenade. Dat bread thoThe special soup of the day, a nearly impossibly creamy potato with bacon, was great for a cold day.Of course we had to get the brussel sprouts, caramelized and served with yuzu emulsion, and the little fried oyster sandwich, which I doubt Jose will ever be able to take off the menu.The cubano is only available during lunch, but should remain on the menu for quite some time, which makes me exceedingly happy.One last note: Salazar doesn’t take reservations normally, but they will be doing a prix fixe Valentine’s day dinner that you can reserve a spot for. Mess With the Best, Die Like the Rest[...]

Pi Pizzeria:


It’s not uncommon for us in our intense negotiations about where to eat, to pull out our phones and start perusing options. Usually not five minutes into the process one of us is cursing in frustration. I bet you can guess why.How many times have you tried to go to a restaurant website to find out pesky, teeny tiny details like when it's open, or take a look at the menu, or (God forbid) ascertain its address, only to find that information buried behind a giant flash object, or on a page that it has no business being on? I just want to know when you open for lunch, dammit. But I’ll never know because you’ve decided to bury your navigation in some sort of monstrous flash carousel that won’t load. Smooth move, ex-lax. A good menu, much like a good mobile site, can be hard to pull off. As I mentioned, David and I have had a fair amount of experience viewing restaurant websites, and we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the unusable. While some restaurants seem to be getting wise to the fact a mobile friendly site (Nada finally figured it out this year) is necessary, it’s rare to find a restaurant that seems to get it right from the start, just like with a menu.So we’re happy to report that Pi’s mobile site is one of the best we’ve seen, and the menu isn’t too shabby either. First, the site, designed by Boxing Clever in St. Louis.Holy crap! Contact information right on the first page! A phone number! A map to tell me where it's located! The menu, front and center! A big button to order online! All in a nice, simple, high contrast black and white theme that is easy to navigate and devoid of clutter or dancing slices of pizza. This is how you do a mobile site for a restaurant, folks. Now, on to the menu. We’ve tried Pi’s pizzas twice now (once for takeout, once dine-in), as well as a variety of their appetizers and sides. While takeout is great, if you’re getting the deep dish style pizza, we recommend you dine-in. They’ve got a nice beer and cocktail selection, so that’s a plus.Exhibit A: Dining in with a nice adult beverageWe tried the Pi Ravs, which were larger than I thought they would be and (I think) made in house. The tomato sauce on the pizza and appetizers from Pi is top-notch and we really enjoyed it. We also got the not-so-cinis, which are like arancinis except baked, with fontina, mushrooms and kale. I enjoyed both, though the not-so-cinis are probably the healthier option of the two if you’re into that kind of thing. We tried the kale-ifornication salad, which comes with toasted chickpeas and pickled onions. David’s had it twice now and really likes it. I also ordered the beer & cheese soup, which was good, but more of a dip than a soup--it was a little too salty to eat on its own.Sodium doesn't count as long as you don't know how much it hasWhen Pi first opened, they had a special pizza with goetta and skyline on it. While I think both on the same pie is overkill, I was very pleased to see goetta as a topping--surprisingly, it’s hard to find around here. While I didn’t see the goetta on the menu during our visit, I asked if they still had some and they’d be willing to put it on my pizza. Our server responded “We don’t have goetta, but we have gorgonzola so that’s kinda the same thing.”Erm, no. Busted.After we explained that goetta was a meat and oats combo, not a cheese, and our server admitted he was from Houston and had no idea what goetta was, he went back to the kitchen to check. I got my goetta. I am very appreciative that Pi made the extra effort, and I want to ask them to take it a step farther--to place goetta on the menu as a regular topping. If you agree, please let them know on Twitter. Together we can make the dream of goetta St. Louis style pizza a reality! Seriously Pi, you’ve already got Graeter’s ice cream as a dessert on the menu. Let’s go whole hog (pun [...]

Huit BBQ:


One of the first things I noticed about Huit was the attention to detail--and I’m not just talking about the food. I’m talking about the space itself. I have a new appreciation for interior design currently, as David and I are neck deep in overhauling our entire place, from furniture to lighting. Not to make excuses, but that’s one of the reasons we’ve been so quiet lately.In addition, Boca bills, new furniture, and quotes from contractors do not a happy wallet make. Huit’s menu, though, is the right size and reasonably priced. Almost all the items on the lunch menu are under $10. We’ve been meaning to stop by since they opened, and when Huit debuted Saturday hours, we were able to visit for lunch. The space itself is fairly small, but used well. An interesting, ropy chandelier takes up much of the ceiling, the wall has vibrant floor-to-ceiling pictures of people getting messy with BBQ, and the seating feels cozy but not crowded. I know what you’re thinking right now. “Enough about the space already, on to the food!”We started with an order of the pork buns, which were a special that day. I have no idea how they got the savory filling in the buns, but it’s obviously an acquired skill. Braised pork, onion, and spices (not too much) were a great way to start out. David ordered the lemongrass chicken, which is basically a chicken banh mi, and the kale salad, with quinoa, dried apricots, toasted sesame seeds and tahini dressing.The banh mi was very good, though Sixteen Bricks (the breadmaker for Huit’s sandwiches) can’t touch the light-as-air, crackly crust baguettes Le’s Pho serves down the street. To be fair, I don’t think anyone actually can. I chose the eight spiced ribs, as well as the miso butter brown rice and grilled sriracha mayo corn on the cob. The ribs were very tender, and a good portion size for the price. I was surprised at how much I liked the miso butter brown rice--it was a nice counterpart to the flavors in the pork rub. The roasted corn was also a good choice--though by that time I was getting full. If you haven’t noticed by now (kale, quinoa, brown rice), Huit has an interesting bent toward the healthy side, which is unexpected for a BBQ restaurant. The guilt of unctuous, sticky ribs is well countered by accoutrements that feel like they came from a Whole Foods shopping trip.this green stuff is your friend, I promiseTobias Harris, the owner, was working the whole time we were there, chatting with customers and bringing out orders. According to the website, dinner is coming soon, which will be a much needed addition to that section of Court Street.I’m looking forward to seeing what’s on the dinner menu. If it’s like the rest of what I’ve seen from Huit, a lot of effort will have gone into it and it will be worth the wait.[...]

Terry's Turf Club is Still Rocking the Burger Game:


Before the Gateway Quarter took off, before Bakersfield or Kaze or Salazar--if you felt like some food that was worth the wait, you went to Terry’s Turf Club. Hey David, do you want to do something fun? You want to go to Taco Bell Terry's Turf Club?Remember Terry’s? It’s a hard place to forget, and even harder to miss when driving by. Neon signs galore, a crowd snacking on peanuts outside and throwing the shells wherever, Terry and his faithful staff serving up burgers so massive you need to carve them up with a steak knife. The sauces! The fancy ingredients served on paper plates! The craft beers in the Bevador refrigerators!All of those are hard things to beat. David and I are ashamed to say it’s been a while since we visited Terry’s. Recently, I got the urge to go, and I wondered if much had changed at the restaurant since our prior visits. On our end, much had. We had different jobs, a mortgage, and my hair was various shades of purple. I’m happy to report that Terry’s is just as great as ever, if not better. We sampled some of the menu items that we’d not tried before, like the tomato soup, which extremely rich and full of high quality parmesan. The paté (chicken liver, foie gras, cognac, shallot and creme fraiche), served with boozy apple and crisp ciabatta, was another enjoyable appetizer. And we had to get the halloumi with balsamic and tomato. patéHalloumiOne of the things I love about talking to Terry is that I always learn something. He brought out these tiny little root vegetables, called crosnes, which we’d never tried. We also sampled freshly grated wasabi (yeow!), and some 100 year old basalmic vinegar, which was amazing on fries.Terry and wasabicrosnesAs for our burgers? I decided to construct a BLTA burger, with mangalitsa bacon, avocado, tomato and lettuce. It was as good as I had hoped, just rather….large. Too large, even to fit in the takeout box I needed for the leftovers. We had to play MacGyver a bit and rubber band it shut.Yes, that's a whole half avocadoDavid, attempting to be more reasonable, choose a mushroom option, with portabella and shitake. He ate the entire sizeable sandwich, and in combination with the various appetizers we had ordered, gave himself a pretty severe case of the itis.only healthy in theoryThe actual size of a regular burger you can get anywhere else compared to a TTC burgerWhile I was contemplating how exactly I was going to take a bite of my burger and not make a huge mess, the lady next to us at the bar piped up. “Excuse me, can I have an irish coffee?” She asked Terry. “Do you have decaf?” Terry Scoffed. “Decaf, hell no. I do have the most expensive coffee in the world. Would you like to try it?”That’s Terry’s Turf Club for you. [...]



This past Saturday, David and I were in tense negotiations about where to go for lunch. Taste of Cincinnati was in full swing, but we weren't planning to brave the crowds until the following day. After about 20 minutes of discussion without agreement, David threw up his hands. “I’m going to go take a shower and get ready to go...somewhere. Come up with three options to choose from when I get back and we’ll go from there.”I glanced at him with irritation. “Did you seriously just RFP me for lunch plans?” For those who have never encountered the acronym before, “RFP” stands for “Request for Proposal”, and is pretty much despised across the board (especially by ad and PR Agencies). In fact, the only person that would really be happy about an RFP is the party that is doing the requesting. Which is probably why David looked so smug as he headed down the stairs.In the end, I came up with several picks, including Mazunte. After perusing the menu and remembering a recommendation from a friend, we decided to check it out. Self serve margaritas? Mazunte, your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.Mazunte is on Madison road in the shopping center to the right of the Rainbow Carwash. The setup may be confusing at first, but it’s fairly easy to figure out. Carryout or eat-in, you order at the front counter, take a seat, and wait.The inside of Mazunte. Photo by Jesse Fox of CitybeatIf you desire a margarita, you tell them, they give you a cup, you head to the bar area and get yourself one. If you want a second one (they’re very good, so you probably will), you tell them and they ring you in another. The bar area also has an assortment of beer bottles in ice (a nice local and Mexican menagerie), as well as self-serve sangrias and horchata.We tried a variety of dishes, including some of their vegetarian options, and the staff was very thorough in explaining how many dishes could even be made vegan.  There’s a prep kitchen in the back, but the majority of dishes are assembled and plated in front of you behind the bar.I had some cheese dip that blew the others I’d had elsewhere out of the water -- creamy and spicy. David ordered the chile relleno, as well as the grilled corn, which was the perfect combination of sweet corn, salty cheese, and a little smoky char.chile rellenoI didn’t want to leave without trying the taco sampler, consisting of your choice of beer battered fish, pork and steak tacos. The sangria marinated skirt steak taco was phenomenal, and David raved about it days later. I also tried the tacos dorados, which were filled with braised chicken. Mazunte uses blue corn for them, which I also on a platepork tacohousemade chipsAt that point we were both full, but there are plenty of other dishes on the menu that we’re looking forward to going back for, like the tamales, tostada, churros, and if David has anything to say about it, more skirt steak tacos. [...]



If you hadn’t noticed, last year we got into a bit of a blogging rut. With the winter we’ve had, you can hardly blame us for hibernating.That said, the situation was getting pretty sad. We were still going out a lot, visiting some of our favorite, regular spots, but we were neglecting to try any of the new restaurants, and subsequently, write about them. “We’ll try them later.” We reasoned. “We’ll save that one for a special occasion.” We promised. “It’s too cold to walk up there right now.” The excuses kept coming. No, we didn't. Honest... we ran out of gas. we... we had a flat tire. We didn't have enough money for cab fare. David's tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole our car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts!It got to a point where it was almost embarrassing. We’re supposed to be foodies, dammit. And yet we hadn’t been to places like Kaze, which had been open for over a year. A few weeks ago, I finally couldn’t take it anymore and decided to do something about it. The walk up was cold. It was rainy. And holy-hell was it worth it. David’s a big sushi fan, whereas I’m still holding out on that front. Luckily there are plenty of things that appealed to both of us on Kaze’s menu. We’ve been back twice now, and from what we’ve had, Kaze’s more than secured a regular spot in our rotation. The pork buns are a thing of beauty. Glazed pork belly, spicy frisee lettuce, crunchy fuji apples and a zingy mustard vinaigrette are amazing together, surrounded by a fluffy steamed bun that has a bit of sweetness to it. I liked them so much I ordered them twice. During the same dinner. these buns are the bombThe kobe sliders with cheese, pickles and crispy onions were also very tasty, with a strong beefy flavor. Plus, I’m a sucker for “mini” foods of all kinds. I did wish the patties had a little seasoning in them, though. We ended up using some of the soy sauce on the table for our burgers. Kobe slider with aforementioned second order of pork bunsOther than the pork buns, the skewers are a showstopper. I practically squealed with delight when I saw they were cooked over flames, the way I’d seen them made on shows about traditional Japanese cuisine. We’ve tried the beef, and chicken and the mushroom, and they are all exceptional. The beef and chicken are probably some of the best we’ve had anywhere, and are incredibly tender. chickenMushroom SkewerAnd of course we have to try the ramen. Made with bok choy, pork belly, and containing a poached egg, the soup was perfect for a chilly day. I especially enjoyed it because we’ve been watching David Chang’s “Mind of a Chef”, which induces what you can only call “ramen envy”. It’s a known fact that in every episode of "Mind of a Chef" David Chang will mention ramen at least twice and eat it at least once.David tried a variety of sushi, including a special that day. We sat at the sushi bar, which is fun to do if you want to watch the staff work. Plus, they’re happy to answer any questions about the menu, what they’re working on, or the restaurant.One of David's pet peeves at sushi places is what we've been calling the "wasabi test". Traditionally, a small bit of wasabi is supposed to be placed under the sashimi. Sadly, many places neglect to do that. When we noticed the staff carefully placing a smidge underneath each piece, I knew we'd arrived at a place that does sushi exceptionally well.  Special of the dayUniKing Salmon, goldeneye, and uni (sea urchin)In an attempt to balance out the amount of pork belly we’d consumed, we also ordered the Kaze salad, with avocado, cucumber, radish, shishito, and shiso vinaigrette. The addition of a fried lotus [...]

Slice of Life:


Recently I’ve had an abundance of time at home, as the result of a shake-up at my agency and a subsequent layoff. Interviewing has kept me busy and I'm eager to get back to work, but I’m taking full advantage of my impromptu vacation until I find out what's next for me. That means you’ll probably find me in the kitchen. On this particular morning I woke up wanting to make cheesesteaks and some sort of duck fat potato dish. I almost abandoned my plans for the potato dish when I realized what I would need to do. I do just so happen to have a gallon of duck fat in the fridge, that's convenientWe meet again, nemesisI would need to use the mandoline. When we moved, I considered getting rid of the thing. To understand why I felt the inclination, I’m going to have to tell you about what we refer to as The Great Mandoline Incident of 2013.Last year in July, David and I planned to make pork belly banh mi for dinner. We’d been out for a bit at City Cellars and had played a few rounds of Mario Kart. David beats me every damn time, and he claimed I needed to learn the “art of the drift.” We decided we simply had to watch the quality Fast and Furious franchise film Tokyo Drift when we returned home. Once we were back, David set about renting the movie while I used the mandoline to slice some cucumbers for sandwiches. Because I had gotten cocky, I decided to use neither the steel cut-resistant glove we have, or the mandoline’s plastic guard. I turned to ask David a question, and that’s when it happened. Fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well known is this: Not using the guard on your mandoline.I slammed my fingers into the mandoline’s blade while slicing the cucumber. I immediately knew on a deep level I had done some major damage. I must have involuntarily made some sort of uh-oh sound, because David called suspiciously from the other room. “Did you just cut yourself?”“Nooooo.” I said unconvincingly. Maybe it’s not that bad. David, grumbling under his breath, went to get the bandages and neosporin while I ran my hand under cold water. “Um...I don’t think those are going to work this time. I did a really good job.” I said meekly.“What? Christ. Let me see!” Once David took a look at my fingers, he got really quiet, which was particularly alarming. The shock had worn off and my fingers were starting to really hurt. Yep, it’s that bad. “I’m trying to figure out if we need to take you to the hospital. I think you need stitches.” So off we went after wrapping my hand in a paper towel and shoving it in a bag of ice. I did indeed need stitches in my pinky, but there was no helping my ring finger. I had lopped the top right off. Four hours later, I was out of the hospital and we were on our way home. We never did get to make the banh mi. We went to McDonalds for dinner, and I clumsily tried to eat a Big Mac one-handed.It took a good two months before I didn’t have to wear any bandages, my ring finger is still shaped funny, and I’ve avoided the mandoline ever since. I’ve even been skittish about using the Global chef and paring knives. But you can’t run scared forever, and the onions and potatoes I wanted to prep would be much easier if I used the tool. Still I debated with myself.David’s not home. Who would drive you to the hospital? Do you really, really want the potatoes? You could just make mashed potatoes, you know. Just putting this out there: You don’t have health insurance right now. Putting on the cut-resistant glove and grabbing the guard (I wasn’t making that mistake again), I approached the mandoline like you would some sort of poisonous viper. [...]

Al Amir:


Polly at the Enquirer recently posted a selection of the best local wings, based on reader input. While we agree with their recommendation of Knockback Nat’s (go, and don’t skip the Hanky Panks), once I read the post I noticed that there was something missing.

Hello, is it me you're looking for?

Cincinnati, let me hit you with some knowledge. Some of the best fried wings downtown are somewhere most of us would never look. A Mediterranean restaurant. Yeah, you heard me. I don’t get it either.

David and I like Al Amir. It’s cheap, it’s fast, the hummus is well-made, and during the summer, makes a great takeout meal to eat on the square in the sunshine. Each time we were in, we kept noticing something odd. First, chicken wings were on the menu. Second, people kept ordering them.

Finally curiosity got the best of us and we ordered some as well.
Holy crap.

I must add some disclaimers here--these are not fancy, confit wings you can get across the street at Local 127. These come frozen out of a bag, which makes why they are so amazing all the more mysterious. These wings are fried to order in front of you, and the breading on them is exceptionally thick and crispy, leaving the chicken inside incredibly juicy.

So, Why does a Mediterranean restaurant serve wings?
Where do they come from?
Why are they so delicious?

Sometimes it’s best to not ask questions and eat your amazing chicken wings from the unlikeliest of places, which is our recommendation.

The Eagle OTR:


Momentum can be a tricky thing. Sometimes a frenzy of work is going on behind the scenes, invisible to passersby, very similar to a store or restaurant preparing to open with paper on the windows preventing you from peeking. And then, BAM! All the sudden there’s a flurry of activity, a grand opening, a successful restaurant, then another, then shops, then condos, and apartments, and pizza and donuts and fried chicken and tacos and hey when did Rookwood Pottery open up? At least that’s how we feel about Vine Street North of the Gateway Quarter. The development of Mercer Commons has sparked another step North for the revival of Vine St, and it’s clear by this point that the momentum—while small at first, has picked up speed and isn’t stopping anytime soon. Which brings us to the fried chicken. The Eagle, opened in an Old Post Office by the folks that run Bakersfield and Currito, is a welcome addition to Vine St. We recently stopped by to try a variety of things on the menu and take some photos—you’ll see some here and some out and about on The Eagle’s social feeds. We’ve been in for lunch twice now.Prices are all very reasonable, and the beer selection features a variety of Belgian beers amid local selections and usual suspects, which we appreciate. A bourbon barrel ale—one of my favorites and a benchmark for beer prices in restaurants in my book—is a fair $6. If you’re feeling especially classy, you can get a glass chalice filled with High Life for $2. They also offer growler fills (according to the menu) which I think is pretty awesome. The OTR iced tea is very tasty and packs a punch, as does the Moscow mule, served in a giant glass mug.One of my favorites from WeyerbacherThe MuleOTR Iced Tea will kick your assIf you look for it, the Bakersfield influence is definitely there—the chips, the hot skillets for the dishes, the signature cocktail in the large pitcher format, the inexpensive beer in the quirky glass. The menu is small, which allows for fine tuning, and so is the space—it can get rather loud when it’s busy. Which is often. The Eagle is open Sunday, which is the day we recommend if you don’t want a long wait. If you’re looking for more of a kid friendly restaurant on Vine that still has a killer adult beverage selection, the Eagle is your place—they even have high chairs. We’ve tried everything on the menu except the pork sandwich, the collards and one of the salads. The cheesy dip gets a twist with the addition of kale, so you can at least feel somewhat redeemed from indulging in it.New Years Resolution to eat more kale? Problem solved.We’ve tried 2 of the 3 salads, which are nicely composed. I appreciated the cornbread croutons on the kale salad, which are fun. Vegetarian options at the Eagle include two of the salads, some of the appetizers and sides, and the grilled cheese sandwich, which is made with crunchy apples. Oddly enough, the things we like the most are not their flagship chicken. Both times we’ve visited, we’ve gotten the French dip, which David enjoys for the simplicity and giant cup of au jus, and the mac and cheese, which comes with crunchy bread crumbs and spiral noodles. The chicken sandwich is also a solid bet, and is a very hefty portion for the price.  I dip you dip we dipChicky chicky sandwichThe pickles are made in house and make a nice snack with the hominy, which reminded us of BBQ popcorn. HominyThe sweet potatoes come with toasted marshmallows on top, as all sweet potatoes should.  There will be marshmallows and don't argue with me on this, you won't win The fried chicken is pretty solid, but we think they are still nailing down some of the detai[...]

Le's Pho:


As we pulled the camera out to take some pictures of our sandwiches, as we are usually wont to do, David asked "Did you check the battery before we left?" "No, but we haven't used it that much ... oh. Yeah. It's dead."Our new camera, a Fujifilm X100S, is amazing, but man does that thing go through a battery charge like nobody’s business. David and I weren't upset that we'd have to come back to get pictures, though. It was just another excuse to come back and order another sandwich. Like we needed one!I probably walked by Le's Pho dozens of times on my trips to and from Avril Bleh Meat Market, but until a few weeks ago, had never set foot inside. I don't remember who suggested we try it out, me or David, but ever since, we've been hooked. These jalapeños are not messing aroundI've only had one other sandwich that haunted my dreams like this one--a Terry's Turf Club creation that has long since been retired from their menu. We've tried all their bánh mìs at this point, as well as some of their other menu items, and my favorite sandwich by far is the báhn mì đặc biệt. Cold cuts, pork, and a little pâté with cucumber and carrots, picked up with a generous amount of cilantro and some spicy-ass jalapeños. And it’s only $4.00! Le’s is a great inexpensive lunch.Yo, sound the bell, school is in, sucka. This is a baguette you can't touchWhile I've gotten sandwiches to go often, they are best eaten in the restaurant, as the bread (which is specially made for them by a bakery on the east side) is warm and crunchy from the convection oven they use. If you stop by, tell them we sent you; the couple that owns the place is as nice as can be. [...]

Tom's Pot Pies:


We had just started reading Cincinnati food blogs when I learned about Tom's potpies. At that time, he was selling pies that everyone raved about out of a storefront on Vine Street in downtown Cincinnati, and I was instantly enamored with the idea of a place that sold nothing but chicken potpies. Alas, right around the time we were set to go to Tom's to get a much coveted potpie, word spread that Tom's Potpies had closed, and Tom had vanished like a culinary phantom. I was dismayed, but there was little I could do. And so I resigned myself to never getting one of Tom's potpies. Cue the sad "walking away" music.A month or so ago, I saw an update from Neon's unplugged. I was so excited I almost hopped out of my chair. "DAVID! The potpies! The potpies!"David, while mildly intrigued, was skeptical. "Are you sure it's the same guy? You've been chasing after these potpies for what, 5 years now?""I think so. And I'm going to find out!"Alas, when I went the Neon's to try and get one, they were sold out. Once again, the potpie had eluded me. So when I knew they would be at Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar the following Wednesday, I pretty much begged the bar manager to save me one. He held up his end of the bargain. I finally get my pie. Photo courtesy FlourpowerFollowing that, I found out that Tom would deliver potpies downtown if you called and asked nicely, and gave him a day's notice. So I did the only sensible thing. I assembled some friends and had a chicken potpie party at one of our favorite downtown spots, City Cellars. A flock of chicken potpiesBob ate his pie in about 5 minutes flatSo how were the pies? Well, they were worth the wait. Tom knows what he's doing. Flaky crust, moist, tender big chunks of chicken, and a medley of vegetables in a perfectly salted sauce. Potpies are $7 and worth every penny. You can reach Tom at 513-235-2400 for potpie orders. I'd recommend avoiding home games, as rumor has it that the Cincinnati Reds devour Tom's pies before each home game. You can't hide from me, Tom!Mission accomplished.[...]

Busken's new Lite-Hearted donut:


I’m sure you remember my post last year about leaving Curiosity. I’m happy to announce that I’ve been working at Bluestone Creative since last July. You've probably seen one of their side projects in Cincinnati, called the Queen City Project.A small shop of seven + one office dog, the guys I work with seem to have gotten used to my tales of crazy dinners, pop-up benefits and birthday parties for my cat. I figured they’ve earned a free donut. So when Busken contacted me and offered the chance to try their new “Lite-Hearted” donut, I asked for a dozen to be sent to the office for us all to try. At only 140 calories, these donuts clock in less than half a regular donut, and come in adorable heart-shapes.So how did the donuts rate? See below for the Boys (and girl) of Bluestone’s Busken Donut Determination:Sean: “I eat glazed donuts more than any other type. This new low-calorie glazed doesn't taste different from the traditional one usually offered. Kinda gives a new meaning to "eat your heart out." 4 out of 5 donuts.Andy is channeling his inner Ryan Gosling. "Hey girl, I hear you like donuts."Andy R: 5 out of 5 donuts.Andy V: 4 out of 5 donutsWalt: 4 out of 5 donutsAdam: 4 out of 5 donuts. Adam, much like our good friend Jeff, cannot stand artificial sweeteners or most “lite” products. He said it tasted pretty much like a normal donut.Jack: 3 ½ donuts. Jack’s not a big sweets person to begin with, so 3 ½ donuts is probably the best Busken could hope for from him. Laura: 4 out of 5 donuts. I wished that it had some sort of jam filling, though. Or sprinkles.Maddie: I really want that donut.After everyone (except for Maddie) had tried the donuts, I took a closer look at the ingredient list. Flour, Niacin, Iron, Riboflavin, Sugar, Olestra....Wait. Olestra?The Olestra?! Remember when P & G put it in Pringles and the subsequent *ahem* controversy from consumers who claimed to have experienced rather embarrassing side effects? And Busken put it in their lite donuts. That I had just fed to all my coworkers. And both my bosses.I sent David a panicked text. “Busken just tricked me into Al Rokering my entire office!” David, of course, found my situation to be hilarious.After some internal debate, (we'll all probably be fine...right?) I did warn the guys against eating an inappropriate amount of extra donuts, and can report no ill effects from any of us eating one donut. While I applaud Busken's efforts to make a guilt-free donut, there should really be a more prominent label on these, as Olestra is an ingredient that many consumers still try to avoid.  And while one donut probably won’t hurt you, I’d advise against trying to drown any Valentine's day sorrows by eating a dozen by yourself.Busken will be passing these out for free (yes, free donuts!) on Thursday, so go try one--but I wouldn't overdo it. [...]

The Mission Eat Liquid Gold Nacho Party:


We were walking home from work, swamped with Golden Lawnchair planning. “Guess what else we’re going to be doing?” I asked David, while reciting the evening’s hefty to-do list.   “What now?”  “A Nacho Party!”  “You’re already planning one party. You can’t plan more than one party at a time.” David reasoned patiently.  “Can too!” I shot him a petulant look.   “See, now this is why you’re at least half Pinkie Pie.” He said with an exasperated sigh, as I detailed out the nacho party plans.  For those of you that aren’t fans of the TV show “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” Pinkie Pie is one of the main characters. And she’s always up for a party. But when an opportunity for something like a nacho party comes up, who wouldn’t say no? allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">Mission tortilla chips had inquired if I wanted to review their chips. I requested enough to throw a nacho party. When they agreed, I took the party plan to Velveeta to get some of their newer flavors. I asked for a few bricks of each kind, maybe 9 total. Ask Kraft and ye shall receive.  When you have 36 lbs of Velveeta, you build your cat a cheese fort  From Mission, four large boxes arrived, filled with three different kinds of tortilla chips. Rounds, strips and triangles. From Velveeta, 36 pounds (yes 36) arrived, in the three newer flavors: Queso Blanco, Jalapeno and Mexican. Indeed I do. The nacho party was a big hit, as you'll see from the pictures below. I learned a few things about throwing a successful nacho party along the way, so without further ado, I present "Pinkie Pie's Nacho Party Tips." Pinkie Pie’s Nacho Party Tips: 1. Remember the best nacho plates are built on a solid foundation. Don't skimp on the essentials, like chips and cheese and other desired toppings.  2. Calculate how much time you think you may need to melt the cheese. Then double it. Have tools like a cheese slicer on hand to slice cheese into smaller pieces for easier melting. Consider melting the cheese in the microwave first, then holding it in the crockpot--it’ll save you some time. 3. Be prepared! Have plenty of tupperware ready for any leftovers, and plenty of cutlery and plates on hand. We had small paper trays which worked very well for a piled-high personal nacho plate. 4. Watch your cheese. From time to time, you may need to add more liquid (I prefer milk), especially if you are using a crockpot to keep your cheese warm. If you’re not paying attention, you may end up with some burny bits, which are not the best nacho topping. 5. Variety is your friend. According to David's calculations, there are 1,605,632 possible combinations of nachos from the toppings, chips and cheeses we had to offer, including regional delicacies such as Skyline chili and goetta. 6. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Have steam trays and ice buckets on hand to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. The one thing you don’t want to serve up at a nacho party is food poisoning. No food poisoning here! So what did we think about the Velveeta varieties and the chips? As for the chips, everyone preferred the strips above all, which is what I’d recommend for a nacho party, or if you are making chips and cheese dip. The rounds are nice, and have at-the-ballpark nostalgia, but the size is a little large for individual nacho plates. The triangles are better, but the strips are the best. Mission [...]