Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What would you eat?

Okay - "get in mah belly" did it - so I'll throw mine in!!!

The Omnivore's Hundred is an eclectic and entirely subjective list of 100 items that Andrew Wheeler, co-author of the British food blog Very Good Taste, thinks every omnivore should try at least once in his life.

He offered this list as the starting point for a game, along the following rules:
1. Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2. Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3. Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. (I don't know how to cross out - so i'll just say red is a no go)
4. Optional extra: post a comment on Very Good Taste, linking to your results.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp (lived near a place with it - no thank you)
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
14. Aloo gobi (dammit - almost ordered it last night!)
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads - ew
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis - ah no thank you
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee - i don't like coffee - i'm a freak i know
100. Snake

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The worst cake I've ever had...but thankfully it's not a bakery...

Doesn't that cake look good? Too bad it didn't taste half as good as it looked!

I finally went to Vincenzo's in Sharonville. I'm underwhelmed.

The salad wasn't good - I mean it wasn't awful - but it wasn't good. It was boring old iceberg lettuce.

I got the special - it was salmon, scallops and shrimp on angel hair also with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes and onions. It was $22.95. It was just dressed with olive oil and garlic.

It was fine - lots of oil - lots of mushrooms - no artichoke hearts that I could find. The seafood was all cooked very nicely. There were WAY too many sun dried tomatoes...like seriously...I made a little ring of them around the bowl. They were chewy and tough.

So dinner was fine...then we decided to get dessert and split it. They have a Grand Marnier Flourless Chocolate Mousse Cake. That's whats pictured above - sure looks good?!

It wasn't. Not sure where the "mousse" came in - I always think of that as light...this wasn't. The chocolate was bitter, the "cake" fell apart in hunks and just wasn't good. I like cake...a lot! I usually will eat any cake - even if it's not great - but this I didn't even finish. My friend didn't like it either.

The ambiance is another thing - it's loud and open - like a cafeteria. I much prefer Ferrari's in Madiera for this style of italian food - it's cozy. I feel like it should be cozy - I like that...

The bill was $30 each...which seems like a lot since we didn't get any alcohol.

Overall - 2.5 stars I guess. I don't really want to go back...the atmosphere, the price, meh - nothing special. I would guess the lunch specials would be good and something more "traditional" with a red sauce might be better.

Vincenzo's
11525 Chester Road Sharonville, Ohio 45246 Phone: (513) 771-0022

Vincenzo's on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 21, 2008

MADD Walker!!!

Hi friends, neighbors, countrymen - okay - no idea where that came from - but there it is.

I've brought you much joy and laughter and hopefully some good food ideas...well hell...I'll hope for any one of them and now I'm asking for something back...

My good friend Danielle lost her husband a little over four years ago to a repeat offender drunk driver. It was a tragedy that words cannot describe. Danielle and Jason were the first people I met in Cincinnati - Jason specifically. We moved into our little apartments at the same time on a Sunday evening in May.

Danielle, myself and friends and family will be walking the Walk Like MADD walk on October 18 and we are looking for walkers and donations - both are very very welcome!

MADD is such a wonderful organization and hopefully we can keep getting the word out to prevent more senseless tragedies.

There's an orange box to the right where you can click and join the team or make a donation. Anything is appreciated in helping us hit our team goal.

Thank you much!

I'll even end with a short review - went to Roly Poly today. RP is fabulous - had a "whole" Spinach Stuffer and a cup of mushroom bisque. The soup - always delicious! The sandwich - not my favorite but I was in the mood to try something new. It comes with cornbread stuffing inside - which doesn't heat up all the way from the grill...but I will recommend the Chicken Popper - it's always my favorite. RP is also great for dieters and Weight Watchers. My whole sandwich and soup was only 11.5 pts! (9.5 for the whole sandwich) and they have lots of options for fat free dressings to go with the sandwiches. Their menu is also fabulous and has ALL of their nutritional info on it! One thing to note - the nutrition does not include the dressings - those are on a separate page.

Personally - my favorite RP is the one on Dixie Hwy - but downtown is pretty good too. The manager at Dixie is very friendly and knows my order the minute I walk in the door.

Okay - now donate some money and have a great weekend!!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Awesome Burgers - Kentucky-style!

I read the article this week on Cincinnati.com and was definitely interested - then I was with my friend Lou tonight (she's now on my blog list - check her out! she's the picky eater) and she said "hey there's this new little "dirty" place near my house - wanna go???"

Of course I do! "Dirty" is okay in my book - I really love it! It's a compliment...

So off we go - to Bard's Burgers in Latonia. I have to say - it's a deal!!! And I thought it was tasty!

Bard's is a cute little place in Latonia - real bright and simple place. We got there at 8pm on Saturday night and it was PACKED! We had to wait a few minutes for a table but the tables turned quick and the food was very fast!

There were only 2 servers and they were RUNNING! Bard's serves Coke products and the menu is very very simple - chicken, burgers, fries, salads, milkshakes - that's it. We each got a burger - I got mine with everything. They have a "special sauce" that is a chipotle dijonnaisse - it's good stuff! A single burger is $2.95!!!!!!

The fries are very Penn Station-esque as they are fried in peanut oil. The salads are just iceberg lettuce and some other toppings - but obviously nothing fancy.

But seriously - it's a good homemade burger - very tasty! The fries were okay - not quite as good as Penn Station but still good.

The best part - we each got a burger, split a large fries, 2 soft drinks and a milk shake... Our grand total - $13.14.

ARE YOU F'ING KIDDING ME????

Okay - so it wasn't exactly on my Weight Watchers regimen - but I've been good all week and that's what flex-points are for! The burger was great - not quite the ambiance of Terry's Turf Club but still - if you're in NKY - you gotta check it out!

I'm gonna give it a solid 3 stars - and the price is awesome!!!

Bard's Burgers

859-261-9115
3620 Decoursey Ave, Covington, KY 41015

Bard's Burgers on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 15, 2008

RESTAURANT WEEK IS BACK!!!! SEPT 2-7!!!!


Restaurant Week is back...more details to come on their website Monday!

Anybody want to go with me????


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gajah Not So Wrong but not so Right Either...

Last week was the "Let's see how many wierd ethnic foods we can consume in 2 days" week!

Thursday lunch was Nada (mexican), Thursday dinner Emanu (ethiopian) and Friday dinner - Gajah Wong (indonesian) in Northside.

Overall - Emanu is still the standout.

I was dining with fellow blogger - Veggie Options - and we decided to try this little dive in Northside. First thing to note - we had no idea where to park! Don't park at the BP - but there's enough street parking within a block or so to figure it out. Our 3rd party actually rode his bike from Northern KY - he's saving our Earth - thank God someone is! We love you John!

So - the appetizers - my friends got the spring rolls - one veggie and one shrimp - both were happy. They enjoyed the stripe of peanut sauce on top although Veggie mentioned she didn't expect the roll to be cold but John was delighted with his all around. I had the soup:

Soto Ayam Cup - Authentic Java chicken soup with Indonesian spices, tumeric and lime leaves. Served with pulled chicken, vermicelli noodles, crispy potatoes, fried shallots, and boiled eggs. Rice and garlic crackers on the side. An Indonesian favorite.

I had to copy and paste that from the site because I never would have remembered everything that was in it! It was literally - hey - let's see what else I can throw in here!!!! The soup was really tasty and by the waitress' suggestion I put all the rice in the soup as well. Only thing lacking - salt salt salt! But very interesting soup...and they bring the variety of sauces to add to the soup - I tried - they added a little somethin somethin...not sure what it was though :-)

Next up was dinner - I don't remember what Veggie got but hey - you'll have to read her blog to find out! John and I got:

Jimbaran Colossal Grilled Prawns ( 4-5 ) $22.50

Marinated with homemade Jimbaran beach sauce from Bali Island recipe. Skewered & grilled. Served with vegetables and kerupuk udang ( shrimp cracker)

Madura Island Chicken Sate ( 4-5 ) $18.50

Skewered chicken, grilled with sweet soy and peanut sauce. Served with " acar " ( pickled cucumber & carrot ). Vegetables of the day and garlic cracker. (8 - 9 oz serving )

Those were the Friday & Saturday night specials so we felt compelled to try them... We were both okay with them. John didn't realize how much work the prawns are to de-shell, etc... and it didn't seem like they were very filling - I mean - it's 4-5 big shrimp - he was done much sooner than us. He liked the sauce on the prawns but they gave him a side of it and he didn't like it alone...it was almost Jamaican - sweet, spicy and very flavorful.

How do I know? I stole his side of sauce and at the whole thing on my rice, etc... Why? Cuz I didn't like the sate that much. Now I will preface by saying I'm not a big fan of peanut sauce - but I thought I'd give it a whirl - meh. I would have liked my chicken with that Jimbaran sauce on it much better. There were 5 sticks of chicken and the pieces were small and the chicken was a bit dry. The veggies were over over over cooked and had NO flavor. The rice was really the highlight - it was under the teepee on my plate. The garlic crackers were also surprisingly tasty - mainly saying - they were little chunks of stryofoam but they tasted like garlic - and I like garlic!

So that was dinner - so far - it was okay - but nothing I really though - oh I gotta have that again! Now we did sit outside on the patio and that was nice. It really didn't feel like you were in the middle of the dirty next to a BP - it was peaceful and serene!

Next we decided on dessert - we went for:

Kahlua Cake - $5.50

A rich moist chocolate cake baked with bourbon and kahlua. Topped with whipped cream and drizzled with kahlua and sprinkled with chocolate shavings.


And were we glad we did. Amazing - the best chocolate cake I've ever had in a restaurant! I shared it with John and wish I hadn't!!! :-)


So - my recommendation - head to the Hideaway for dinner and then jaunt down to Gajah and have some cake on the patio - you won't be sorry!


I have to also say - it wasn't cheap - I mean - we each spent about $35 on dinner...


My rating? The meal gets 2 stars and the cake gets 4!!!!


Gajah Wong
Phone: 513.591.3935
3937 Spring Grove Ave.
Cincinnati, Ohio 45223


Gajah Wong West on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 8, 2008

Emanu - EmanUUUUUUUUUUH!


So I'm realizing that plate to the left doesn't look all that spectacular and amazing - but let me tell you - IT IS! (click on the pic to see the full range of decadence!)

I live in Pleasant Ridge and we are an eclectic little portion of Cincinnati. We've got Molly Malones (irish yumminess), PRC (chili - oh man) and the Ridge Donut Shop (the best donuts in the city) - as well as lots of other fun things...but we were kind of lacking something...

Well not any more!

On the corner of Ridge & Losantiville used to be a huge blue building that housed #1 Hip Hop Fashion. While I didn't frequent the store - it was a great landmark for my friends to navigate by. About a year ago #1 Hip Hop went away :-( and a sign appeared that advertised emanu - a soon-to-come Ethiopian restaurant. What the heck is Ethiopian food????? Well, turns out they had a place open a block away but decided to close that and relocate to a larger, nicer space. And I'm so glad they did!

I spoke with Sammy (the son - it's a family restaurant) and he was saying that they didn't think it would take as long as it did to open Emanu...(the sign said coming Dec 2007 - it just opened in July 2008). But wow - it was worth the wait!

Okay - enough history - on to the good stuff...

Sammy recommended we order family-style. There were 4 of us - so we should get 3 dishes. We started out with sambussas - basically like a samosa at an Indian restaurant. We tried one of each (beef & veggie). If you like spicy - get the veggie - it's full of lentils and awesomeness.

For the main dishes, we chose:

Tesbhi Derho (Doro-Watt)

Tender marinated chicken sauteed in lemon, stewed in a red pepper sauce with onions, garlic, ginger root and a pinch of cardamom and nutmeg.


Hiwswas (Beyaynetu)

A combination of Yemisir-Watt, Gomen, cooked chopped collaged greens and cabbage. (Tekel Gomen)


Kilwa Sega (Sega-Tibs)

Strips of marinated beef sauteed with onions, green pepper and spices.


They serve family style - starting clockwise with the red dish is the chicken, then the steak and then the veggies (red lentils, cabbage, collard greens, carrots/green beans and yellow lentils). The prices on the website are a little off - each dish was about $13 - still a deal for the quality of the food.

The other item to note is the bread - injera - you can read about it on their "About Us" page. When served, it resembles a rolled up "hot towel" like you'd get on a plane. Tradition says that you tear the bread off and eat the food with your hands. It's sort of a cross between a crepe and a pancake - not a lot of flavor but the perfect accompaniment to the food.

Now to the dishes - the chicken was my favorite - it's spicy and delicious. It is bone-in chicken - so you have to cut it off the bone before you dig in. You definitely need to order a veggie dish so that you have some veggies - which they let you know - so don't worry about forgetting. I highly recommend the combo - that way you can try everything!

We also ended the night with dessert - I'm not a coffee drinker - but my friends got that - it's thick and will keep you up a while from the look of it! :-) I had the cheesecake - WOW! It had goat cheese, mascarpone, cream cheese and HONEY! It was sooooooo good! Everybody had some and everybody raved about it! We also got baklava - which was good - but not near as amazing as the cheesecake!

Side note - it's BYOB - for now...

The food was extremely tasty - the service was great and I can't wait to go back! I am already craving the chicken and lentils again!

So everybody out there in the blogosphere - head over to tha' P-Ridge and try Emanu!!!!! I'm easily going with 3.5 stars!!! It's my new favorite place!

Just to reiterate how much we loved the food...here's what was left! SCRAPS OF NOTHIN!






Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Quick food, excellent service and amazing food - WHERE YOU ASK????


UPDATE - 9/6/2009

Stopped in a couple of weeks ago and had the 7 Minute Burger. I'd been hearing about this over and over and finally decided to branch out from my normal hot pastrami sandwich.

The burger was cooked perfectly - but it was extremely messy. Strangely enough - messier than Terry's and I get goat cheese on that burger! It completely fell apart. The tomatoes were just too slippery in the middle of the burger. I ate most of it open-faced in pieces.

The flavors were enjoyable and for a downtown burger - it was really good. But next time - no tomatoes.

**************

It's Paula's Cafe!

I don't have any pics to share and time is short - so this will be too!

Paula's Rocks!!!!

I've been 3-4 times now and every time it's quality and excellence. The service is great - even drink refills - the guys do a great job! The food - so tasty! I've sampled a varitey of things - tuna melt, rueben, blt - all EXCELLENT! The price - not bad!

Recommendations:
*Get a 1/2 sandwich and cup of soup - a full sandwich with soup is a LOT of food!
* TRY THE SOUP - I don't care what day it is - try it! The chili is great - it comes with taco ships, cheese and sour cream. BUT...
* GO ON TUESDAY!!!! The chicken & wild rice soup is the best soup I've had in forever! It's slightly creamy but not a CREAM soup. There are a ton of mushrooms in it! It was just soooo good. The chicken was tender and tasty. Really - I can't wait to go back on a Tuesday and next time I'm getting a BOWL!

You do need to get there early or prepare to wait - on a nice day - if you go at noon - they're PACKED! They do have seats at the counter and tables turn over quickly.

So check out Paula's on 4th! They get the 4 star = Oh my...um...wow...I need a minute here...cuz that is amazing!

(I had cup of soup, 1/2 rueben and soda for $8.95)

513-381-3354
41 E. 4th (between Vine & Walnut)

Paula's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Fancy Lunch Day #5! A great success!!!!

This week we finally got around to Fancy Lunch Day #5 and wow - was it a great success!!!!!

We chose to leave the confines of downtown Cincinnati and move it on out...to the South Side...to a deluxe cafe on the row-ow-oad...movin on out...to the...oh fine - I'm singing the Jeffersons theme song for no reason...

So where was FLD#5? It was at the Greenup Cafe in Covington.

I took lots of pics with the coworkers...we have some of the highlights above...

Top Left: Quiche - Jen said it was great...
Top Right: Crab Cakes - meh - they were okay - I wouldn't order them again. The lobster cakes from Fresh Market are better.
Bottom Left: DESSERT! The big winner was the white chocolate creme brulee by far!
Bottom Right: Our rating - 3.5 stars!!
Middle and Star of the Lunch: Croissant sandwich with tomatoes, avocado, brie and red onion! It was melty (but not warmed) and tasty and crisp and just all around AWESOME!

The atmosphere also strongly deserves mention and heck - why not another photo:

Greenup is so inviting and cozy. They've kept this home in tact with all the different rooms. The rooms are all painted extremely vibrant and beautiful colors. Each room is also covered in beautiful paintings and pictures... I loved it!

I would definitely give it 3.5 stars as shown above - not quite 4 but it was great!

Lastly, I made a reservation via Open Table which wasn't at all necessary - but hey - I got my 100 pts so that's coo!


Greenup Cafe
308 Greenup St.
Covington, KY 41011
Tel. 859.261.3663

Greenup Cafe on Urbanspoon