Sunday, April 11, 2010

a new addiction

one saturday morning, about a month ago, a miracle happened. i woke up and didn't want to throw up. which was perfect timing; that evening we were scheduled to go to quatman's (i guess officially named quatman cafe) for brian's birthday.

we've been wanting to hit up quatman's for some time, since the debate still rages about who has the best burger in cincinnati. we love terry's turf club and were anxious to see if quatman's measured up.
the quatman's experience is the polar opposite of terry's. no cramped dining area (although it probably gets pretty tight when all the tables are full), no hour long wait for a table, no bazaar of neon lights (just a miller lite sign and a burger beer pendant lamp over a corner table), no peanut shells on the floor, no foie gras option to top the burger. the only similarities i saw were limited menus and food served up on paper plates.

the first thing brian got excited about was that they have hudy delight AND moerlein on tap. i think that scenario might play heavily into brian's idea of heaven. i was impressed they had caffeine free coke. i'm simple to please. miller lite in a can please. any domestic you would like is available.

now for the main event. we all ordered cheeseburgers (brian ended up ordering a second) and fries. as you can see in the photo, simple presentation with only pickles and onion. bottles of ketchup and mustard are on the table. there is a delicious elegance in the burger's simplicity. i think that's what makes me want to return (and we did, just two weeks later). as much as i like a variety of options sometimes i just need simpe.

i recall that when we wrote about terry's, someone had commented about quatman's no frills burger being superior. i had said at the time i preferred burgers all souped up with sauces and toppings, but now i might be eating my words. cause quatman's burger is damn good, without getting sequins in my eyes.

we've already been back again, when eric's birthday rolled around last weekend. yep and he had two burgers that time. i admit i wanted another, but i'm watching my figure.

terry's is a wild spectacular circus, a bit of the old razzle dazzle, while quatman's is hanging out in the backyard playing cornhole. i've only been to the circus once, but i hang out in backyards almost every weekend. before we wrote this we had exchanged a few emails. it went something like this. i think i am addicted to quatmans. me too. are you free saturday? alright quatmans at 6.

another nice thing about quatmans is that two people can have a pitchers of beer, 2 cans of beer, and 2 burgers and fries and ITS ONLY $25!!!! the norwood paper even has a coupon for $1 off.

Quatman Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

morton's wine tasting

we attended a wine tasting at Morton's as a preview of the "evening with charles krug" benefit occurring later this month. the wine tasting on april 21st benefits the make a wish foundation. i recognize a wine tasting is not the optimal place for a pregnant woman, but i couldn't pass up the invitation and the chance to hobnob with fellow bloggers wine me, dine me, 5chw4r7z and don't call me mrs, the hoperatives, and my wine education (the last two, interestingly, are blocked by the VA net nanny).

The four of us attended (krissy, me - beth, eric and brian). krissy was able to enjoy the food and unfortunately only sniff the wine. neither krissy and i have been writing much (who are we kidding - i'm not the biggest writer here to begin with!) and thought that this even sounded like fun and a good way to get back into the swing of things.

the thing about writing this post that i struggle with is that i'm not overly informed on wine. i know good wine and i know bad wine. rather, i know what i like and i don't like. i'm not always able to find the flavors/smells unless someone is pointing them out to me. as someone who has been known to enjoy some pretty low class chilled wines on a summer evening, i agree with beth. i just know what i like, and if i happen to like it paired with a twinkie, who cares?

the first course was was a mini crab cake, endive with blue cheese, and tuna tartare with tomato and avocado. (shown below). i have to say i'm not a huge seafood person -- what that means is that i'm willing to try anything once or twice but don't really prefer it (and rarely order it in a restaurant). i enjoyed the crabcake and the tuna tartare. i probably wouldn't have even known that i was eating tuna if i hadn't been told. i never knew this about beth, but apparently she doesn't like cucumber because it was left on her plate. i only ate the crabcake, which was fine, but had kind of a funny texture for a crab cake. probably due to the fact i am used to eating cheap crab cakes with lots of breadcrumbs and fillers rather than lots of crab. i could take or leave the cucumber, but to be completely honest, it was left because i wasn't exactly sure how to eat it (and not embarass myself) with the cucmber. so i left it.
it was paired with the sauvignon blac (napa valley). it was described with apple and grapefruit aroma. i noticed it once it was pointed out to me. i really enjoyed this wine because it was very smooth and fresh tasting. i'm looking at eric's tasting notes and his say "yummy". it is recommended that it be paired with fish. it smelled REALLY good. it tasted really good too.

the second course was a mixed field greens topped with grilled colossal shrimp and paired with the chardonnay (carneros) i thought the salad was delicious. the shrimp wasn't rubbery like so often found in landlocked cincinnati. brian commented that the apples were the best part. consequently, that was the only part he ate. i tried the shrimp, thought it was ok and passed the rest to eric who really enjoyed it. i think its funny that brian liked the apples because i didn't think he ate fruits and vegetables (he doesn't really).....i could eat that salad every night and be very very happy. the wine was also good. i recall them describing it as buttery and thinking that was a good description. although i don't know much about white wines i enjoyed both of them very much.

the third course was single cut filet mignon, chive mashed potatoes, and roasted tomatoes stuffed with spinach and shiitake mushrooms. it was paired with cabernet sauvignon. i could have taken a bath in the sauce accompanying the filet. i wanted to lick my plate. the tomato i could done without. it was flat and the spinach overpowering. as for the mashed potatoes, i'm pretty easy to please when it comes to starch, but i prefer a creamier, less pasty version of mashed potatoes. at home i add milk and butter until the starchy dryness is extinct. i liked the potatoes. i agree about the tomatoes. i had high expectations for the tomatoes. the wine was WONDERFUL. i'm pretty sure i drank mine and krissy's. it should be noted that i'm going to try and buy some of this for home. oh yeah, this is the wine i succumbed to and sipped because it smelled so perfect. actually sipped twice, once wasn't enough. i don't usually like reds, cabs in particular, but yum!

the fourth course was was a cheese and fruit plate with goat cheese, gouda, gorgonzola and jersey cow milk cheese. it was paired with a port wine. please note: MOST AMAZING GOAT CHEESE EVER! i abandoned pretext and was eating it with a spoon. i love cheese. i could eat it all day. i haven't had a lot of port wine. when i have, it was with chocolate. i didn't have the same experience with the port and cheese as i did the chocolate (and port) in the past. it may be that i wasn't supposed too.....i would like to learn more about port wines. brian basically took the port as a shot. he really doesn't care for red wines of any sort, and was just trying to swallow quickly as to avoid appearing rude and ungrateful for the wine.

since this was a sampling of what is to come i would have to say anyone who partipates in the funraiser will eat good food, drink good wine and enjoy socialzing with the staff at morton's. all staff were very welcoming. plus participants get to hang out with peter mondavi, jr, and harass him with questions about enology and viticulture. the evening includes bidding on an exclusive 27-liter bottle of charles krug, vintage select 2006 cabernet sauvignon. i really don't know how anyone can be expected to pour from a bottle that large, but it's not something i have to worry about. the last bottle of this magnitude was auctioned off for $27,000, clearly out of my price range.