Wednesday, February 25, 2009

an intriguing concept gone horribly awry

i love pringles. i love guacamole. i love spicy. i DO NOT love spicy guacamole pringles. lackluster effort on the part of the flavorists at p&g. the only thing guacamole about these is they are puke green colored. not spicy, not tasty, not worth the calories.

fat tuesday

one last day to indulge before the lenten season. one last day to stuff my face with every chocolate thing in my house before i give it up.
fat tuesday this year was celebrated with a trip to toot's in the fields ertel area. the first thing i noticed when i walked in was a lizard mournfully surveying the children poking each other and tapping the glass of his enclosure. poor thing, to have to live in such a kid-friendly atmosphere. toot's also has brightly colored neon, huge tvs, and an interesting oyster mascot. they also promise cheap beer and wings.
brian and mark spilt 50 medium wings. they weren't the traditional flats or drums. they were shaped like, well, wings. i tried a couple. they had a pretty good flavor and the meat was moist and tender. not breaded. i am not much of a wing aficionado, so i'll reserve judgement, but brian says they are better than hooter's.
i had the black and bleu burger, topped with onion fries. not much black to it, but i was starving so it seemed pretty delicious to me. garners a rating of 5/6 on the burger scale of greatness.
i don't really have much to say. everything was fine, nothing outstanding. if you feel like having some beer and fried food, toot's is for you. say hi to the lizard for me.
Toot's on Urbanspoon

look at what kristina did at school today

i made friends with an indigo snake during our backroom tour of the reptile house at the cincinnati zoo. we were learning about treatment for snake bites, but this guy is non-venomous.

Monday, February 23, 2009

beauty is in the eye of the beholder

i love ugly things.


a favorite shirt.

some favorite shoes ($3.74 clearance from target. come on, people. that's awesome).

my dogs.

hence my attraction to the ugli fruit, a mottled, lopsided member of the citrus family. discovered in jamaica (a naturally occurring tangelo), it was first exported in 1934 and is usually available at this time of year.
my first ugli fruit will not be my last. it was impossibly juicy, with an acidic sweetness. i sprayed myself in the face at least twice. far superior to grapefruit, in my opinion. no puckering bitterness. ugli is highly recommended!

at last

2 things:
1) SO happy kate winslet finally won an oscar
2) SO happy i finally found champagne vinegar

this little bottle is hard to find. the quest for champagne vinegar began when i saw the recipe for goat cheese cheesecake with honeyed cranberries in food & wine february. it was the only thing on the ingredient list i could not easily procure at my local kroger's. and i did check about 10 kroger's, including kenwood and hyde park. not because i have OCD and/or ridiculousness, but i happened to be on rotation last month with the clinical pharmacist team that goes from store to store. so i was already there and just had to walk to the vinegar aisle, surprised each time to find pomegranate but no champagne. i also tried world market and country fresh market to no avail.

a trip to jungle jim's paid off.

finally, i could make my cheesecake.

of course, in my feverish obsession to find the fabled vinegar, i failed to recollect only 1 teaspoon is called for in the recipe. now i have enough left over to create this cheesecake (topping) approximately 30 more times.

the recipe was pretty straightforward and simple when i got down to it. the finished product, however, met with mixed reviews. i thought it was a fun twist on an old favorite. my mom liked the topping but doesn't like people messing with the standard cheesecake. brian wouldn't try it because he hates goat cheese.

for comparison, below is the photo from food & wine and the picture of mine. guess which is which. ha.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


one of my favorite nights of the year, oscar night! the night when i wear my pajamas, drink a bottle of wine by myself, and watch the stars. my husband leaves me alone.
on the menu tonight:
french baguette and alouette creme de brie
gehl's nacho cheese and pretzels
orville redenbacher
jacob's creek chardonnay pinot noir brut cuvee (a little sparkle!)
dog cookies

bet you wish you were at my kickin' oscar party.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

cocktails at the office

sabrina. the 1954 billy wilder film in which audrey hepburn warms humphrey bogart's ticker-tape heart. this is one of my go-to movies when i'm feeling sad, when it's a rainy day, when i feel like romance is gone from the world. it's simply enchanting.

one of my favorite lines in the movie is when sabrina is in a paris cooking school. she is moping about william holden's character david larrabee, who she has been in love with her whole life. they are learning the souffle, and sabrina's comes out "much too low" because she has not turned on the oven. the man cooking next to her comments, "a woman happily in love, she burns the souffle. a woman unhappily in love, she forgets to turn on the oven".

what really surprises me in this movie is linus larrabee's office, which has a mini-kitchen and a full bar. the patriarch of the larrabee family regularly mixes martinis for board meetings. was this a common practice in the 40s and 50s? when did drinking at work become taboo? i had the chance to travel to austria during grad school to study business, and i learned it is written into some union contracts that beer should be served in the lunchroom. i'm not saying i want to guzzle a margarita while doling out prescriptions, but i am curious about the shift in drinking from the boardroom to after-hours "networking".
sub question: how many drinks can reasonably be consumed at a work function? is it ok to be "that guy" at the office get together, crooning with the karaoke machine, shirt and tie in shambles? how does that alter coworkers' perceptions?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


a few weeks ago we went to bacalls for dinner. after much discussion we made the right decision.

dinner started off with cheese cubes.......

i got a salad -- i love the croutons here. i want to say they have to be home made but i can't say for sure.

krissy and i both got the gyros.....and fries. it's all about comfort food at this time of year! i love to dip my fries in my left over tzatziki sauce......krissy got the mac 'n cheese. the mac 'n cheese was actually quite good, despite the server saying it wasn't her favorite thing. pretty salty, although i like things that way.

they were kind enough to be make the steak sandwich for brian even though it wasn't the special of the day.

and eric got the buffalo chicken wrap.

krissy ofcourse can't resist dessert. or waiting long enough to photograph it before i dig in.

Bacall's Cafe on Urbanspoon

in my mailbox

yesterday the restaurant issue of cincinnati magazine arrived in my mailbox. it reminded me of the fact that the same issue last year was the impetus for this blog. (read in defense of larosa's to see what started it all)
i can't believe it has been almost a year! i've eaten a lot of great food and met a lot of fantastic people (i'm sure beth would second that!).

thanks, everybody, for reading!

Monday, February 16, 2009

spaghetti memories

the old spaghetti factory was one of my favorite restaurants when i was a kid and it was downtown, roughly where paul brown stadium stands today. i loved being able to sit in the old streetcar and twirl pasta coated in cheese.

on our way to jungle jim's yesterday, we stopped for a bite at the fairfield restaurant. i had high hopes. we got to sit in the streetcar. they have bendy straws. things were looking good.

i ordered an old favorite, the pasta with mizithra cheese and browned butter, paired with chicken marsala. the salad was too cold and basic crappy iceberg, but the bleu cheese dressing was ridiculously good (it's probably kraft). the chicken marsala was fine, whatever. but damn is that mizithra cheese good! i love the tangy-ness and the combination of textures. yummy. such a good comfort food.

the whole meal was reasonably priced, since the $10.75 for my entree included bread, a salad, AND spumoni ice cream. of course, i could have easily duplicated the whole thing in my own kitchen, but i wouldn't have been able to eat it in a streetcar (faux or otherwise)!

i took most of my chicken home since i had stuffed myself with pasta. the doggie bag surprised and intrigued me. eco-friendly, i suppose?

Old Spaghetti Factory on Urbanspoon

food & wine march

my eww gross moment: people eat pig face. this is totally ethnocentric of me, but i would say face is the most objectionable part of the animal to eat. eating muscle and fat is bad enough if i let myself think about it, but a face? ick.

curiosity: lettie teague talks about ordering the cheapest bottle of wine at swank restaurants in dc and new york. sometimes unusual and wonderful wines can be discovered. however, she recommends never ordering the south african pinotage. i am extremely curious about this wine. i have heard it tastes approximately like liquid shoe leather. and not the shoe leather of a salvatore ferragamo. more like an old birkenstock worn backpacking through south america. has anyone tried it?

interesting: achieving healthy eating by the "rainbow" method. a variety of colors in the diet brings of variety of vitamins and minerals. (skittles do not count)

excited about: the best new greek wines, none of them more than $35.

recipes i can't wait to try:
gianduja tart with chocolate-cookie crust
beet salad with tangerines (the orange part of the rainbow)
wasabi flank steak and miso-glazed potatoes

Sunday, February 15, 2009


we had reservations to eat at guidos in mt adams friday night. or so we thought. we walked up and down st. gregory and could not find it. finally we called the number and realized we are idiots. it is actually tavern on the hill. i don't know if it used to be called guidos, or if it is the name of one of the sections of the bar, or if we just live in a fantasy world of mythical restaurants that somehow have the same phone number as real ones.

anyway, we finally settled in the hillside room, the "elegant dining" portion of the tavern. i don't have much to say about the whole experience except the service was very nice but very slow, i enjoyed my glass of zen of zin, and the uninspired lasagna was roughly the size of my head.
(head not pictured)
the hillside room gets a big "it's alright".

brian also wanted me to post a picture of his kickass parallel-parking. here it is, at no extra charge. (pay no mind to the disgusting dirtiness of my car)

Tavern on the Hill on Urbanspoon


this past thursday i was back in chillicothe for a residency interview. i finally made it after snow caused rescheduling and a huge tree fell across the street on wednesday as i was leaving. i've tried to not take these incidents as foreshadowing.

no trip to chillicothe is complete without a stop at lloyd's sweet shoppe (read original entry here). the store was all done up in valentine splendor. i picked up brian's valentine's day gift,
as well as an assortment of other chocolately odds and ends, including champagne truffles. the truffles were delectable. they took me back to when i worked at galerie au chocolat in high school and college. the galerie used to have a store in the westin hotel that sold imported french, swiss, and belgian chocolates. the shell of these truffles was thicker and more rigid than the truffles i remember, but they did not fall into the trap of being too sweet (like godiva). they're thinking about carrying them all year long, and i hope they do.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

goodbye, blue note

yet another westside institution is closing its doors - tonight is the last night for the blue note. they are going out partying with the rusty griswolds and a bunch of old friends.

i've had a lot of shots of jagermeister there. a moment of silence, please.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

my grandfather will never eat butter pecan again

saw this on posted by broadway carl and found it noteworthy, all political affiliations aside. our president is a superstar.
i wonder how this plays into the stimulus package?

that's a spicy pickle!

some of my fellow pharmacy school classmates and i went on a field trip to the lloyd library, which is a super cool one-of-a-kind collection of botany and herbal texts.
on our return to clifton, we stopped for lunch at spicy pickle. i was pleasantly surprised with its unique sandwich combinations and tasteful deliciousness. the corn and green chile bisque was quite good; flavorful, not overly spicy, with a touch of cilantro. my sandwich, the yard bird, was chicken, bacon, spinach, green apples, and bleu cheese with honey mustard. unexpected and very fresh, and on ciabatta! quite gratifying.
i even tried a bite of the "soon to be famous" spicy pickle, which tasted like...a pickle. unexceptional pickle aside, spicy pickle may be my new favorite chain sandwich shop, trumping potbelly.
Spicy Pickle on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

in the new mastercard commercial...

why in the hell is charlie tuna eating tuna casserole??!! and coyly offering it to others??

that's messed up.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

i'm just not that into restaurants at movie theaters

i would like to start by saying urban sprawl is not my favorite thing and i try to avoid visiting places (west chester) that seem to be intent on swallowing land with parking lots and o'charley's (i have no idea how to make that plural. not even going to try). this includes florence, ky. but since my girlfriends live there, i must go. that's how i ended up at the florence showcase, which offers the glamorous lux level. on the lux level, food and cocktails are brought to you before and during the movie. i pictured something like the cinema grill, but it is actually seats with trays that pull out or something. i'm not entirely sure how it works, because while we had planned to get lux level seats (which are $10 more than regular tickets), they were sold out.
instead we watched our movie (he's just not that into you) and ate afterwards at chatters, the restaurant inside the theater.
chatters is very similar to an airport bar, mediocre over-priced food included. i had the applewood blt on sourdough. the bread was good. overall it was acceptable, but the fries had a kind of funny taste. the cocktails were expensive for what they were. a couple of my girlfriends ordered martinis at $9.50 a pop. my absolut kurrant and tonic was $6, which is a bit more reasonable.
the whole experience was a little strange, especially since there is not a bathroom in the restaurant and you have to walk past the ticket taker to find one. i don't think i'm a fan. i am curious about the lux level, but i don't know how i feel about paying $20 for a movie ticket and then buying food on top of it, even if the food is a bit more filling than nachos and snow caps.
and p.s., "he's just not that into you" was better than i thought it was going to be, based on the critics' reviews. kind of cute and bubbly. everyone gets what they deserve in the end, good and bad.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

the emancipator

there's nothing like an evening of beer-drinking german fun. hence our attraction to the tapping of moerlein's emancipator, held friday night at donauschwaben. emancipator was brewed to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the repeal of prohibition. jim effler, who creates the artwork for moerlein's labels, was there signing posters and selling beautiful prints of the bottle artwork.

the place was packed. parking was a challenge. the guy directing traffic (while holding a beer) told brian and i to just pull up under the pavilion, which we did not do. instead brian dropped me off and circled until he found an actual spot.

first of all, i would like to say emancipator is simply DELICIOUS. tastes light until your belly tells you otherwise. caramely. smooth. frothy but not offensively so.

it's a doppelbock. i know hardly anything about beer, so i consulted beer advocate. doppelbocks are "typically even stronger and contain enough malty goodness that they’ve been considered a meal in a glass for centuries. generally they have a very full-bodied flavor and are darker than their little bock brothers and sisters and have a higher level of alcohol, too" (7% in this case). i also learned from the german beer institute doppelbock means "double bock" (go figure) and is also known as fastenbier ("lenten beer") or starkbier ("strong beer"). monks would drink the heavy beer during the lenten fast, because monks believed that liquids not only cleansed the body but also the soul. they would make "plenty of liquid instead of solid bread from their grain, and then drink it in copious quantities...the more, the holier". (love that part of the story)integral to beer drinking is the stein, or steinzeugkrug, which is german for stoneware jug or tankard. stein-use apparently evolved in germany as a result of the black death and a desire for more sanitary conditions (read about it here). of course there were beer steins for sale, including ones made by rookwood. (if you're interested in buying some really gorgeous, intricate steins, the ones pictured were presented by george hibben, who can be reached at 513-367-2150)

we recommend you don your lederhosen or dirndl and sample some emancipator. you won't regret it. well, maybe the lederhosen.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

yours, mine, and ours

kind of a brady bunch on steroids, yours, mine, and ours marries lucille ball to henry fonda. she has 8 kids, he has 10. hilarity ensues. you get the you can imagine, the food needed to feed this army is going to be pricey. breakfast preparations include 5 pounds of bacon and 3 dozen eggs. on a trip to the commissary (luckily dad is in the navy), 3 carts of food, including double digit quarts of milk, totals $126. god bless 1968.

which got me to thinking about a couple things.

1) inflation and the rising cost of food. it's scary. i'm not an economist or a financier and i have anxiety.

2) will we ever see big families like this again (>6 kids), since it is so expensive? why did people stop having so many kids - dual career parents, cost, no need for workers in the family business? one thing's for sure, if everyone started having 6 kids again, the restaurant business would go to hell cause no one could afford it.