Thursday, November 30, 2006

One of Ms. Reichl's Favorite Dining Out Companions...

was, she confesses in the Acknowledgements section of Garlic and Sapphires, one Pat Oleszko. When I read that, I knew instantly that Ruth R. and I could definitely become fast friends. It made sense that she would find Pat to be a completely rewarding dinner companion for, if Ruth made amateurish attempts to create anonymous personas to hide her true identity, Pat thrives in creating the most outlandish and impossible to be ignored ones. For Pat Oleszko is a performance artist and one of America's most long-lived. I first became aware of her when she performed in 1973 as "Patty Cake" at Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio as part of my friend Jack Boulton's Eat Art exhibition (a show which also included comedian/actor Martin Mull as half of a performance art team dubbed "Smart Ducky"). As you can see from her photo, she ain't afraid of putting herself out there, is she?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Spilling the Beans on Cincinnati Mag's "Best of"

I overheard Donna Covrett, restaurant critic for Cincinnati Magazine, giving the 55WKRC Morning Show guys a preview of her picks for the December "Best of the City" issue and, well, why shouldn't I share them with you, my dear three or four loyal readers?

#1 - Best BBQ: I hate to admit this, but I was en route to the "powder room" and did not hear much more than "Ray's...returned to Cincinnati...BBQ...". Sorry!

#2 - For carryout food: Cilantro Vietnamese Bistro. The link takes you to Ms. Covrett's review of this little "hole in the wall" resto, barely a block away from the University of Cincinnati's main Clifton campus. (And I am chagrined to admit that, living so close, I have yet to try the food here! Phut--pho! This must be corrected immediately!!)

#3 - Best comfort food: the legendary mac and cheese from ... Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse! Originating way back in the late 90s at the long lost Plaza 600 restaurant, under the reign of Chef Jimmy Gibson, this trés riche dish is nothing like yo mama used to make. Replete with five, count them, five types of fromage (three different cheddars, Parmagiano-Asiago, and Gruyère), this is a luxurious treat, deceptively described as a "side dish". This dishy dish is a real steal, considering that, in our experience, a side dish at a Jeff Ruby place, described on the menu as suitable for sharing for 2, is generous enough to serve 4 with one other side!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Ruthie in Disguise

My friend Ramundo recently sent me his copy of Ruth Reichl's memoir, Garlic and Sapphires, The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, which I finally started reading last night. For me, reading much of anything anymore, aside from something at the computer, usually takes place in bed and that my bed is "shared" with the lovely and charming Princess Kitty Girl Boo. The Princess is a sweet, but somewhat elderly, little purrball with attachment issues, having found herself alone and forlorn in a large house two times in our three year relationship, due to my hospital stays. Understandably, she follows me around and gravitates to sitting in my lap at the computer or taking her rightful place, curled up on my stomach, when I get into bed. This position makes it a particular challenge in which to read much of anything, but yesterday afternoon I was determined to stick my nose in this book and make some real headway. Once settled, I enjoyed Ruth's adventures assuming and creating her different characters, especially morphing into her late mother Miriam and building the breathy Chloe from the ground up. As one who was seriously (albeit temporarily) into changing my own character through using wigs some years ago (from Edina from AbFab to Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction), I loved the scene with the wig lady in midtown who determinedly pawed through drawer after drawer until finding just the right transcendently blonde wig to transform Ruth into Chloe. If my Princess cooperates, maybe tonight will be the night I get to trail after Ruth on her next adventures.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Kentucky Hot Brown

What to do with all that leftover turkey, what to do, what to do? How about trying this traditional Southern recipe for Kentucky Hot Brown?

Named after the Brown Hotel in Louisville where it originated with Chef Fred Schmidt in 1923, Kentucky Hot Brown can be served in many variations, sometimes using country ham and a cheddar cheese sauce. This version, courtesy of Chef Nick Sundberg of the Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, may be closer to the original version. The Beaumont Inn is also renowned for its own Corn Pudding.

Kentucky Hot Brown
3 ounces turkey breast, roasted, sliced
1 slice toasted white bread
2 slices tomato
2 slices bacon, cooked and drained
2 ounces butter
3 ounces flour
3/4 cup cream
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, grated
salt and white pepper to taste

Heat butter and add flour. Whisk and slowly cook for 5 minutes. Whisk in cream and milk and heat. Whisk in cheese until melted. Season. Simmer for 30 minutes. Sauce should be very thick.

Quarter toast and place in an oven safe dish. Top with turkey and tomatoes. Cover well with sauce. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes. Garnish with bacon.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Spa Chaka Lot

At least that's how it sounded this morning as my sleepy eyelids refused to flutter awake. The radio announcer's voice continued on about enjoying chaka lot showed and truffles along with your relaxing chocolate pedicure and/or massage.

The proprietors, Greg and Donna Dougherty say they "wanted to do something different and fun." Saturday nights are date nights with packages for couples.

Of course, you can always create your own "spa chocolat" using these products (sugared body polish; whipped body soufflé; and purifying face mask) containing cocoa, vanilla and nutmeg, buy purchasing this gift set for a mere $22 (not affiliated with the Cincinnati spa).

Spa Chocolat
8944 Columbia Road
Deerfield Township
Cincinnati, OH
Telephone: (513) 583-8400
Hours: Monday-Friday 10 am - 8 pm; Saturday 9 am - 5 pm (reservations required on Saturday nights)
Website: Spa Chocolat

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Zagats announce new top U.S. restaurants

The new ratings for Zagat's America's Top Restaurants guide were announced recently and only 11 received the top score of 29 out of 30. Jean-Robert at Pigall's is in some great company, including Gary Danko in San Francisco, The French Laundry in Yountville, CA; and the Inn at Little Washington in Virginia.

Martha does Findlay

The Domestic Diva herself paid a visit to Over-the-Rhine's venerable Findlay Market to survey its offerings Saturday morning, before meeting her subjects later at Joseph-Beth Booksellers to sign her new tome, "Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring For Everything In Your Home" ($45).

We hear she also visited the Amberley Village Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian home of Beverly Tonkens Vangrov for a small private reception Friday evening, prior to dining on gnocchi with browned butter and truffles at Boca in Oakley. (Come on Bawe Wowie! We know you must have tales to tell. Meooow!)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Rose by Any Other Name...

Really. We never suspected a thing!
Sausages affected by draconian trade laws
By Simon de Bruxelles
The Times, November 18, 2006

A spicy sausage known as the Welsh Dragon will have to be renamed after trading standards’ officers warned the manufacturers that they could face prosecution because it does not contain dragon.

The sausages will now have to be labelled Welsh Dragon Pork Sausages to avoid any confusion among customers.

Jon Carthew, 45, who makes the sausages, said yesterday that he had not received any complaints about the absence of real dragon meat. He said: “I don’t think any of our customers believe that we use dragon meat in our sausages. We use the word because the dragon is synonymous with Wales.”

His company, the Black Mountains Smokery at Crickhowell, in Powys, turns out 200,000 sausages a year, including the Welsh Dragon, which is made with chili, leak [!?!] and pork. A Powys County Council spokesman said: “The product was not sufficiently precise to inform a purchaser of the true nature of the food.”

Thursday, November 16, 2006

THANKSGIVING: Slyder Stuffing

It seems like people fall into one of two camps: you either love them or hate them. To what am I referring? Why, White Castle hamburgers, of course. I am a lifelong "lover" of the tiny burgers, with fond memories of visiting our local place as a wee child. We would sit, en famille, in our car in the parking lot where a female carhop (uh, think Happy Days, OK?) would slide a tray onto the driver's side rolled down window, take our order, then re-appear magically with the steamy little square burgers, punctured with 5 small holes for even cooking.

Nowadays, the curbside service has disappeared and the prices have escalated from a nickel each to 50-something cents. Frozen hamburgers and cheeseburgers now can be purchased in the frozen food section of many grocery stores across the country (without pickles, of course) for about $3.69 for a 6 pack of burgers.

White Castle's cookbook, "By the Sackful: A Scrapbook with Recipes from 85 Years of Craving" is available at Proceeds are donated to the non-profit group Turkeys4America, Inc. This recipe, which can be found on its website, has been around for 14 years now and is still going strong. It sounds interesting, but just call me a purist. I still prefer mine straight, with cheese and ketchup!

White Castle Turkey Stuffing

Discard pickles from 10 White Castle hamburgers. Tear the burgers and buns into pieces and season with 1-1/2 teaspoons crumbled sage (not powdered sage), and nearly as much crumbled dried thyme leaves. Stir in 1-1/2 cups diced celery, 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and about 1/4 cup turkey or chicken broth. Stuff turkey cavity just before roasting. Recipe makes enough for a 10- to 12-pound turkey.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

THANKSGIVING: The Pink Teacup's Sweet Potato Pie

Back in the eocene, when I was much younger than today and living briefly at West 10th and Waverly in Greenwich Village, I was wandering aimlessly one sunny afternoon when I encountered a handsome, distinguished looking gentleman in a struggle with a wiggling pillowcase. He looked at me and asked, hopefully, whether I might have a few moments to help him. The pillowcase, he confided, held his beloved kitty, who had been ill and in need of a visit to the vet. After a check-up and successful diagnosis, they were returning home, but with the additional encumbrence of a bag full of prescriptions and treats. His apartment was nearby, on Grove Street, and he would be most grateful for my help. He had a faint, but charming, English accent, and I nothing better to do, so I took the bag he extended to me and strolled along with him for a couple of blocks. His apartment was in a three story brownstone, on the second floor, and I glanced around the room we entered as he let his kitty out of her bag in another room. On the wall was an old black and white photograph of three men in khaki uniforms standing in front of the Pyramids. He was one of the three. I wondered what the story was behind that picture, but never got to ask. He came out of the other room suddenly and startled me and I forgot all about it. As a treat for helping him, he offered to take me to his favorite neighborhood restaurant, The Pink Teacup, just down the street, for coffee and a dessert. Sweet potato pie, I think it was. Sadly, I never saw my charming friend again. Years later, though, I read that The Pink Teacup was also one of Quentin Crisp's favorite hangouts, too. [Dawn French, in her BBC series Scoff, episode of 12/20/88, paid a visit to the Teacup with Mr. Crisp as her guide!]

All of that is just leading up to this: just in time for Thanksgiving, the NY Post's Liz Smith presents us with her annual lovely gift of The Pink Teacup's recipe for sweet potato pie. Some of us believe this is a fabulous substitute for the ubiquitous pumpkin pie:

2 lbs. yams
1/2 c. butter
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ginger
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 T. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 c. of orange juice
1 T. grated orange rind
1/2 c. evaporated milk

Peel and boil yams until mashable. Add butter, spices, salt, sugars to hot yams. Beat until light and smooth. Beat egg yolks until light and add to mixture. Stir in orange juice, rind and milk. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into mix. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Preheat oven to 350 and bake 35 minutes, or until pie puffs up and is firm in the middle. Cool on the rack. Add whipped cream. Live a little!

The Pink Teacup
42 Grove Street (between Bedford & Bleecker)
Greenwich Village
Nw York, NY 10014
Telephone: (212) 807-6755
Subway: Lines 1, 9 to Christopher St-Sheridan Square
Hours: Monday - Thursday 8 am - 12:00 am, Friday - Sunday, 8 am - 1:00 am

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dinner Chez Palate

Chez Palate


I just checked out the blog, you do keep it up to date. That picture of Jean-Robert looks like he should be in Le Miz.

Well, my dinner auction went off Friday. The final bid was $450. In true internet form, even though it was a benefit for the Alliance, some dude who lives in NYC scoured the web and found it and bought it for his sister who just moved here. So she arrived with husband and two friends an hour and a half late. It was fun, both husbands were doctors, both wives were doctor's wives and from the suburbs. The menu was whole wheat crust pizza with pear and gorgonzola as appetizer, grilled vegetables (red peppers, carrots, beets, potatoes, asparagus, green onions) on a bed of arugula and radicchio, pasta with scallops in a lemon sauce, cherry pie with vanilla ice cream and savory chocolates and port during the artist's presentations. Best of all the new projector I installed in the living room works really well to display computer/internet stuff and DVDs. The only disappointment is the card I bought to bring cable TV through the computer is does not look as good projected as it does on screen, very noisy image - boo hoo.

Another busy week for me. I am gong back to NYC next weekend for the show at MOMA. This week was the conference followed by a panel and brunch today about artist collectives. Fun, but I really need to rake my leaves.

TGIT - Thank Grapes, It's Tuesday

"It's a boutique winery that looks more like one of those out-of-the-way wine shops you wander into on back streets in Europe. Its deeply paneled front room has the wines and upscale beers. (They'll order anything from anywhere, if they don't have what you want.) The tasting room right behind has large tables, white tablecloths and a ton of local art (for sale)."

This, from our pal Jim Knippenberg of the Cincinnati Enquirer, who reports that City Cellars Fine Wines, a little boutique wine store located at 908 Race Street, is joining forces with Washington Platform for Wednesday night wine dinners, with a soup of live jazz, from 5:30- 8 pm, on the side. City Cellars hosts "TGIT - Thank Grapes, It's Tuesday", a wine tasting every Tuesday night from 5:30-7 pm, with a sampling of four different wines, usually two reds and two whites, themed by point of origin, for $6. This week's wines selections are Italian and chosen with Thanksgiving in mind. And now, on Wednesday evenings, City Cellars makes the short hop over to Court and Elm Streets and the home of Washington Platform, to present the featured wines from Tuesday's tasting and helping diners pair them up with their dinner selections. Wednesday night wines are half-price by the bottle or $3.50 by the glass. With such rock-bottom prices, all we can say, is hurrah, it's about time. Let's show them some love here, people!

City Cellars
908 Race Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10-7
Telephone: (513)621-WINE (9463)
Free delivery in downtown and Mt. Adams.

Reservations for TGIT are suggested but not required. Please call (513)621-WINE or email if you plan to attend.


As a public service to our faithful readers, we wanted to let you know that effective today, the Roebling Suspension Bridge will be closed for a major makeover until mid-April 2007. What any good foodie should know is that this means is that there is no longer a direct route to Jean-Robert's Greenup Café in Covington. But never fear. It's not really that bad. From downtown, just take the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge to Mainstrasse instead and make a left turn at the light at the end of the bridge.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Jean-Robert Rules Cincinnati Cuisine Scene

Jean-Robert de Cavel: Hardest working man in chow business? ;-)

For the second year in a row, the city's pre-eminent chef, Jean-Robert de Cavel, has been awarded a coveted 4-star rating by the Mobil Travel Guide for his flagship restaurant Jean-Robert at Pigall's. The only Ohio restaurant to be included on the newly announced 4-star list, Jean-Robert at Pigall's is in fine company this year, along with Manresa in California; Michel Richard Citronelle in Washington, D.C.; Tru in Chicago; Bouley, Daniel, Gramercy Tavern, and March in New York City; and Stephen Pyles and The Restaurant at the Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

THANKSGIVING: Cranberry Bourbon Relish

Thank God, I'm a Kentucky girl--and thank, God, He made bourbon! Just in time for Thanksgiving dinner planning, here is a heavenly recipe for Cranberry Bourbon Relish from Sweet Lorraine's restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

1 c bourbon
1/4 c. minced shallot
zest of 1 small orange
1 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
1 c sugar
1/2 t fresh grated ginger
1 t ground black pepper

Rinse and pick over cranberries; drain. Combine bourbon, shallots, ginger and orange zest in a non-reactive saucepan (not aluminum) . Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer til it reduces to a syrupy glaze. Add cranberries and sugar, raise heat and bring to a boil stirring to combine. Lower heat and cook til cranberries start to burst. Remove from heat and add pepper. Cool and refrigerate til needed.
(serves 4-5)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Page Six reports ...

Mario's Meat Out The Window

SOME sociopath in L.A. is crazy about Mario Batali's salami - actually, his dad Armandino's cured meats. A thief broke into Mozza, Batali's eagerly awaited pizzeria, on Oct. 28, a week before its opening, and walked away with $700 of hand-crafted meat products from Armandino's Seattle business, Salumi. Then, two days later, a 13-pound imported Italian mortadella sausage also disappeared. But the cops have some evidence. Batali's partner, Nancy Silverton, told the Los Angeles Times that security cameras caught the culprit on Oct. 28: "You see this guy ride up on his bicycle. He looks like some yuppie: He's got a receding hairline and he's wearing khakis." After climbing through a window, the carnivore made off with 40 pounds of lamb prosciutto, guanciale (cured hog jowl) and culatello (the heart of a prosciutto). Undisturbed, however, was a huge wheel of aged provolone cheese. Silverton quipped, "We're looking for a yuppie guy on a bike who's lactose-intolerant."

A Perfect Day to Lounge in Chocolate

You know, for a town this size, we sure have a lot of fine opportunities to pleasure ourselves in chocolate! And tomorrow, Marble Hill Chocolatiers will open the doors of its chocolate lounge and boutique an hour early at 10 am to introduce its new collection of pastries made exclusively for Marble Hill by Jean-Robert’s French Restaurant Group. Karen Crawford from Jean-Robert at Pigall's makes a white chocolate bourbon blondie and a macadamia shortbread with milk chocolate. Summer Genetti from Pho Paris has created an almond mocha macaroon (can this possibly be a real macaron?) and a white chocolate lemongrass tart with a cracked black pepper crust. Pastries are $1.35-$5. (Be still, my fluttering heart!!) Tea, coffee and exotic cocoas are also served in the lounge.

Hours: 10 am – 5 pm
Marble Hill Chocolatier
1989 Madison Rd. in O'Bryonville
Cincinnati, OH 45208
Telephone: (513) 321-0888

CBS Sunday Morning to share the Joy

Well, this is what I get for not checking in on our local LitBlog yesterday: missing out on the news that Ethan Becker, Susan Becker and Maggie Green were doing a talk and signing copies of the 75th anniversary edition at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Rookwood Pavilion. According to Jo-Beth PR rep Annette Meurer, a crew from CBS News was to be on hand to shoot the event for CBS Sunday Morning for a piece about Ethan to air this coming Sunday. Alas, CBS has not yet updated its website for this week's program, so it may or may not air on schedule.

UPDATE: I've just gotten word from Annette Maurer that the segment will now air on Sunday, November 19, instead of this week. Many thanks to Annette for keeping us informed for our "appointment viewing" schedule! ;-)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Just about PURRRRfect

With a tip of our beret to our friend, The Book of Joe, it is our pleasure to introduce our favorite new coffee container for cold weather (or any weather, for that matter) drinking. Meet our new love interest, the 14 oz. stainless steel Cattitude Ballet Pink Tumbler Mug -- only $17.95 through Just the thought of it makes us purrrrr...

2006 Beaujolais Festival at the Carnegie

Thursday, November 16 from 6 - 9 pm marks this year's Beaujolais Nouveau Time! In a custom dating back half a century, the Beaujolais Nouveau is released on the 3rd Thursday of November and shipped around the world that same day, creating the excitement & pleasure befitting the start of the holiday season. The Cincinnati branch of the French American Chamber of Commerce sponsors this festival for the third year in a row. Join the fun and this wonderful opportunity to taste French specialties & win French products in the informal, beautiful setting of the newly restored Carnegie Center for the Arts in Covington. Beaujolais Nouveau, as well as other crus of Beaujolais for those who would like to explore beyond the Nouveau, will be served along with a French buffet, with French pastries by Jean-Philippe Chocolatier, and a raffle. $35 before 13 November; $40 thereafter. At The Carnegie, 1028 Scott Boulevard, Covington, KY. More info @ 513-852-6510.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Pistachio makes a comeback at Graeter's!

Pistachio, absent from Graeter's lineup for 15 years, makes a return to its seasonal ice cream menu for November and December. "We think our customers will enjoy the Italian favorite that's also great for the holidays," said Richard Graeter, executive vice president. Pistachio ice cream is light-green and has lots of texture from the pistachio nuts, a Middle Eastern delicacy familiar in the red-dyed shells, a California-raised nut in the natural tan shells. Three other seasonal flavors returning are cinnamon and peppermint for November and December, plus Graeter's eggnog ice cream for December only.

Bond's New 'tini

I really haven't got a hankering to see the new Daniel Craig version of Casino Royale, but I do have a yen for trying his new drink, the "Vesper" -- reportedly a word for word recreation from author Ian Fleming's 1953 novel. CAUTION is required when imbibing this lethal potion. As old school would say: "One is enough and two is too many!"

The Vesper
Three measures of Gordon's gin
one of vodka
half a measure of Kina Lillet
Shake it over ice, then add a thin slice of lemon peel.

(And, yes, we know. It should really be stirred and not shaken. But you know how he is!)

THANKSGIVING: Re-Inventing Cranberry Sauce

Patrick O’Connell of the dreamy hideaway, The Inn at Little Washington, provides us with his 21st century take on that old family favorite, cranberry sauce, with our favorite spice of the season (ginger!), in this month's issue of Washingtonian Magazine. And, just for good measure, pastry chef David Guas, of D.C. restos Ceiba, DC Coast, TenPenh, Acadiana, recalls a long ago childhood Cuban treat: Salty Pineapple!

Cranberry-Ginger Chutney
In a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine 1 cup fresh cranberries, 1 peeled and finely chopped small onion, 2 peeled and chopped pears , 2 minced jalepeno peppers (seeds removed), ½ cup cranberry juice, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, juice of ½ lemon, ¾ cup sugar, 3 tablespoons grated ginger, and salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer for 45 minutes or until berries are tender. Let cool before serving.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


My friend Mary G., she of the Speed-Scratch French Dinner among Friends, sends us this tempting new recipe for herb cookies. With holiday baking time arriving soon, I can't wait to try these!

Lemon Basil Cookies

1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 c butter, softened
1 egg
2 1/2 t lemon juice

Add and mix well: 1 box lemon cake mix

Add 3/4 c finely chopped nuts and 1 T dried basil

Dough will be quite stiff. Place teaspoonfuls of dough on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 15 minutes; take care that bottoms don't burn.

Friday, November 03, 2006

“Steins-In-The-Rhine” Weekend

Our pals at the Over-the-Rhine Brewery District are hard at work on yet another fun event, after their sold out, highly successful OTR Brewery Tour a few weeks ago.

The Over-The-Rhine Brewery District Group this week unveiled plans for “Steins-In-The-Rhine.” The event will be held on Saturday, November 11, 2006, at Kaldi’s On Main, 1202 Main Street, Cincinnati, between 11:00am and 6:00pm.

“Steins-In-The-Rhine” will offer free informational appraisals to anyone who brings in a beer stein or local brewery memorabilia item. Admission is free. Authentic beer steins and memorabilia from some of Cincinnati’s great breweries will be on display as well as other related items during the event by members of the Thoroughbred Stein Verein and various local brewery memorabilia collectors. Patrons will have the opportunity to purchase beer steins and related merchandise -- perfect for collectors or a holiday gift for your favorite Cincinnati beer lover.

“Steins-In-The-Rhine' will provide Cincinnati area residents a rare chance to view antique beer steins, and a free opportunity to learn the value of that favorite piece of beer memorabilia they have in the attic or behind their home bar,” said Greg Hardman, President and CEO of Christian Moerlein Brewing Company. Hardman also stated that “a week doesn’t go by without a customer contacting me to ask the value of a Hudepohl stein, a Schoenling sign, or a Christian Moerlein ceramic bottle.” Christian Moerlein Brewing Company is an organizing supporter of the event through the Over-The-Rhine Brewery District, a non-profit group focusing on development in the Over-The-Rhine Brewery District.

Mike Morgan of the Brewery District says, "it will be just like 'Antique's Roadshow' -- except we'll have beer and food from the era!" Kaldi’s On Main will mark the occasion with a special menu featuring food items available in Over-The-Rhine during the late 1850’s.

For more information on the “Steins-In-The-Rhine”, please call Kaldi’s On Main at 513-241-3070 or visit the Over-The-Rhine Brewery District website at

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Coffee'd brisket

Regina Schrambling recently published an article in the Los Angeles Times, Beyond the brew: Think you know coffee? Think again, which I found reprinted in this week's Food and Drink Newsletter from the Chicago Tribune. Apart from an aside about Ferran Adrià being commissioned to create a new "coffee you can eat" for the Italian coffee company LavAzza, her piece was noteworthy for bringing attention to an old American custom of using black coffee to deglaze pans, as for making "redeye gravy" for fried country ham. My friend Ruth also uses black coffee to marinate and baste leg of lamb during roasting. It adds a special depth to the flavor. I was taken with this recipe for beef brisket, but I think I might be inclined to try substituting a nice piece of chuck roast and cooking it in my Dansk dutch oven. I love the aroma that comes from a nice long stay in the oven!

Coffee'd brisket
(8-10 Servings)

1/4 cup top-quality coffee beans, ground for espresso
3 Tbsps. kosher salt
2 Tbsps. sugar
1 tsp. chipotle flakes or 1/2 tsp. chipotle chile pepper (or Italian hot red pepper flakes)
1 beef brisket, about 5 pounds, excess fat trimmed
2 large onions, sliced
4 carrots, peeled and cut lengthwise into 3-by- 1/2 -inch strips
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup beef stock
1 1/2 cups strong brewed espresso
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

The night before cooking, combine the ground coffee, salt, sugar and chipotle flakes. Spread over both sides of the brisket. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the onions, carrots and thyme into a roasting pan just large enough to hold the meat. Rinse the coating off the brisket and lay it on top of the vegetables, fattier side up. Pour the stock and coffee around the meat. Cover tightly with a lid or with foil and bake 3 1/2 to 4 hours, until the meat is very tender. Remove the meat from the juices and place on a rimmed carving board. Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables to a bowl. Pour the warm pan juices into a gravy separator.

To serve, slice the meat across the grain into very thin slices. Spoon some of the vegetables alongside. Season the warm defatted pan juices to taste and serve on the side.

Speed-Scratch French Dinner among Friends

Several months back, in the chilly, pre-spring part of the year, my friend Mary C. and I ventured out into the wilds of a Cincinnati suburb previously unbeknownst to me, (possibly Mt. Washington), to have dinner at her friend Mary G.'s home. Mary G. is a writer who has travelled extensively in France and also served as one of the testers for the 1997 revision of The Joy of Cooking for her friend Ethan Becker. Mary G. lives with her family in what, to me, seems to be the country, in a beautiful Japenese-style house. All I know is that it was very dark on our way there, with almost no street lights along the way. The stars punctuated the cloudless, black night sky emphatically, with only the light of the full moon to show us the way to the wood pathway leading to the front door.

Mary G. had worked a full day and was apologetic about our dinner, mainly coming readymade from Kroger's, with just minimal home preparation required. Still, it was speed-scratch cooking at its best and delicious: hummus and a baked cheese-artichoke dip with triscuits; whole grain baguette w/butter; mashed potatoes swirled with pesto (yummy!!!); chicken cordon bleu; roasted asparagus; spring salad mix with balsamic vinaigrette; and Dove cookies; all accompanied by a kir royale aperitif; a flinty French Chardonnay with dinner; and a swirl of cognac! It was the best dinner I've had in a long time, no doubt made even more so by lingering at the table sharing our various adventures in Paris. Since the three of us are Francophiles, at least we didn't bore each other... ;-))

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The next time I see Paris?

Need a few more places to add to your that Paris "maybe" itinerary? Check out these, from Paris Voice magazine, to see what you've missed:

Say cheese: Savoring the tastes of autumn Christian Lelann, proprietor of three Paris fromageries: La Ferme Saint Aubin, La Cave aux fromages, and La Ferme des Arenes, is your guide.

Winning wine boutiques: Parisian cavistes share their passion(October 4, 2006) Make a virtual visit to 7 small Paris shops.