March 06, 2010
2/27/10 - Thanks to Tom for snapping this photo.
Hats off to my friend Mr. Pratt for bringing the wine a very long way to dinner.
It was serendipity that his travels brought him to Cincinnati on the last week of February, as the final Saturday of the month is a holiday of sorts. Open That Bottle Night (OTBN) is an annual event coined a decade ago by John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter, former wine columnists for the Wall Street Journal.
The intent of the occasion doesn't fit neatly in a greeting card.
In Dorothy & John’s words:
This is why we invented OTBN, which is celebrated on the last Saturday of February every year. Whether it's the only bottle in the house or one bottle among thousands, just about all of us have that very special wine that we always mean to open, but never do. On OTBN every year, thousands of bottles all over the world are released from prison and enjoyed. With them come memories of great vacations, long-lost loved ones and bittersweet moments. The whole point of our wine column is that wine is more than the liquid in the bottle. It's about history, geography, relationships and all of the things that are really important in life.That's pretty kick ass. During their tenure at the WSJ they rated wines on a scale of "Yech", "OK", "Good", "Very Good", "Delicious" to "Delicious!". That's also kick ass.
(from Sprucing Up for Wine's Night. 26 January, 2007)
So it was a good set-up as we met Tom & Wendy at a favorite restaurant that allowed outside beverages (see corkage).
Mr. Pratt brought the wine. Each bottle, carefully considered, was coupled with stories both dear and auspicious.
When I asked him what he thought after having a sip from the second bottle he said "ineffable." With some shame I asked him what that meant.
"There are no words. It means it can't be described" but he went on to mention that it had a feeling, a sort of tingling.
Great, I thought. Here I said it had the aroma of a freshly painted room—which it did—but what I didn't say is that a freshly painted room was the smell of new beginnings! But I felt a little tingle too; and I don't think it was from embarrassment.
Tangent? I once worked with a designer that never said anything negative when a client offered lame input. He'd simply say, "Well, that is really something!" with palpable excitement.
Luckily my friend isn't one to mince words and he regarded the paint fume comment without visible distress. He's also very patient.
I always thought patience was one of the most important components of wine, but this day gave me the perspective that it's not always about waiting, it's also about sharing the experience, and this evening was exceptional.
- Full Pour - Mr. Pratt contributes tasting notes with Mr. Coldrey who lives on the other side of the globe. Their site celebrates wine, favoring context over scores.
- My favorite exchange from the movie Sideways - You probably know the scene, with Maya and Miles.
- The Mysterious Heart of Deliciousness - The last column from Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher in the Journal.
- Lastly, I should probably mention the wines from dinner: 2005 Cayuse Cailloux syrah and 2003 Clonakilla shiraz viognier
April 26, 2009
Starting off Sunday
As I catch up and reflect on the weekend that was, I have to admit it was pretty darn awesome. Fine weather, good eats, and a hanging with folks to round it all out.
Woke up Sunday and made a small breakfast, enjoying it out on the back patio before it got too warm under the canopy, reading the Times on our laptops.
I opted for rhubarb instead of preserves on biscuits. Doing my customary wiki'ing I found these uncited tidbits about the stalky red vegetable:
It is or was common for a crowd of extras in acting to shout the word "rhubarb" repeatedly and in an unsynchronised manner, to cause the effect of general hubbub. As a result, the word "rhubarb" sometimes is used to mean "length of superfluous text in speaking or writing", or a general term to refer to irrelevant chatter by chorus or extra actors. The American equivalent is walla. Stage actors in the United States also use word "rhubarb" repeated asynchronously in a low or murmured tone to provide background voice ambience in crowd or party scenes. A variation of this is the repetition of the phrase "peas and carrots"
- wiki : rhubarb
Previously: Not the best image, rhubarb on biscuits
November 27, 2008
I can still smell and taste everything from the awesome meal from yesterday
- Seared scallops with wasabi (appetizer)
- Roast turkey (brined and cooked perfectly from a Good Eats recipe)
- Blue cheese and bacon mashed potatoes
- Brussels sprouts with lemon
- Corn pudding
- Mulled wine cranberry sauce
- Ginger squash pie (for dessert)
Yum is not a big enough word to describe the delight.
Thank you Chris and Inger.
July 20, 2008
Bill's Donut Shop
This place is the real deal. Family owned and operated since 1960. Open 24 hours a day. A counter you can belly up to. Fifty cent refills of coffee (if you have your own Bills mug). Closed between Christmas and New Years. Simple rules too: a handwritten sign says No Loitering.
Talking politics goes good with coffee, but man was it hard to make a decision about which donut to pick.
Sugar and powdered yeast
Caramel nut stick
Iced stick chocolate
|Sour cream |
White iced stick
Caramel iced stick
|Caramel iced |
Cream filled chocolate iced
Jelly filled (sugar, white iced)
Custard filled (choc stick)
Persian with nuts
Choc stick w/ peanut butter fill
May 28, 2008
Dancing in Yellow Springs
arms and legs
Dan I and visited a colleague and his wife up in Yellow Springs this weekend. They're right around the three month marker as new parents.
Their son puts his whole hand in his mouth and drools a little. He's also in the 97th percentile of tallness for his age so there is talk for a potential career in the NBA.
Somehow his parents manage to shop for groceries and combine these ingredients into a meal. It's quite amazing really. This menu was a simple salad (lemon, garlic and olive oil dressing), arborio rice with mushrooms, local bison steaks on the grill, and a homemade lemon tart. I can still taste each course.
We went for a walk around Antioch College which is now officially closed. This would be entirely sad if it wasn't for the local kids using the outdoor theater to plug in their amps and play music on a Saturday afternoon.
There was dancing.
February 18, 2008
Down in Cincinnati, this crown would likely be won by LaRosas for sheer scale. Even in my home town growing up, we had two places to go out for dinner: LaRosas or Big Boy. This number of restaurants was matched by the number of stoplights.
Either here or there, I'm partial to Dewey's myself, but I think I'm swayed by their salads.
So Marions... the pizza was better than good, atmosphere dandy, and company excellent.
Bonus: bumping into this cat and his family. They were there to celebrate his son's birthday I do believe. I could not take my eyes off the gift on the table: a case of Star Wars figures in excellent condition, passed down through generation. This is the type of "mint in box" I place the utmost value.
Current music: Mark Mothersbaugh "Granny’s Last Solo Trip To The Grocery"
January 22, 2008
Ingredients easily pronounced.
Adds European flair to start of day.
Tastes good on a bagel.
Adding sliced strawberries makes it seem healthy.
Current music: Grandaddy "He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's The Pilot"
December 16, 2007
On its own, the word "chew" looks kinda funny
Three years ago I wasn't entirely displeased by the new Wrigley's wrappers. Looking at their website, it seems the cycles between tinkering has fits and spurts. Nice long spell there starting in the fifties.
There's been some more tweaking as you can see above. Juicy Fruit still flounders, Spearmint loses the minty cool tones, sharpens up—and Big Red is now, um, umber? No it's cinnamon colored. I have no real point of reference for Winterfresh, the mountain got way smaller and the Wrigley's brand is now the same across the line. Maybe that's how they sold this makeover. Must. Be. Consistent.
Maybe it's the hour or the time of year, but I don't have any strong feelings about these changes. Just noting them because it's a step above recording how I stayed off the snowy roads and watched TV yesterday.
Back to the candy aisle, something I do have strong feelings about is the Snickers Nut 'n Butter Crunch. It's like a Reese's Pumpkin made love to a Snickers bar. They should totally move this out of Limited Edition and kill off that Almond variant. Peanut butter taste has legs I say.
Current music: Frank Zappa "I Have Been In You"
December 05, 2007
Chocolate covered potato chips
I see the white light outside, this must be heaven
If I was Oprah and had a show about my favorite things (mental note: make show about my favorite things), I would include these chocolate covered potato chips. They're totally local with the sweet side by Esther Price and the salty bit by Mike Sells. A box of 'em will cost about 10 bucks. I grimaced at the price during checkout, but the wallet-sadness was erased when I tried one.
It could be a phase, I know.
Growing up I refused to believe there were any other salad dressing aside from Thousand Island. On the candy front I was a stalwart Snickers fan for the longest time, and before that it was likely Marathon.
But right here, right now? It's these chips. I'm limiting intake to one a day, at most.
Current music: Bishop Allen "Click, Click, Click, Click"
November 23, 2007
a wonderful evening and meal
November 04, 2007
the tables, set
Dan had a night off, my friends had a babysitter, and we somehow managed to snag reservations last minute at Boca in Cincinnati.
It was my first time, and the waiter told the uninitiated that we were in for a wonderful experience.
He was right.
You know those meals where you can close your eyes and replay the tastes? And I know it hasn't even been 24 hours since we were seated, but this joint is firmly lodged in that part of my brain.
Some of my oldest memories are of food. The smell of chocolate when my grandmother opened the candy drawer, the first taste of ginger dressing back when my family took that trip to Hawaii in the 70's, the combination of peanut butter and banana (on a sandwich!) at Farrells ice cream parlour, the list goes on.
If you're curious, on weekends they serve a 2 or 3 course menu. I had (their words) 1. a BOCA caesar salad - wood fired romaine heart marinated with a garlic-anchovy emulsion, 2. diver-caught Sea Scallop with three-hour caramelized brussels sprouts, brown butter truffle vinaigrette & parmigiano reggiano, and 3., a filet topped with lobster and some type of sinful sauce. I'm trying to track down information on the latter.
It's not inexpensive, but cheaper than a flight to Chicago or New York. A big shout out to my friends for sharing this delicious treasure.
Current music: St. Vincent "All My Stars Aligned"
October 28, 2007
Pumpkin Spice with lemon orange icing
I used to identify Yellow Springs Ohio with hippies.
I'm officially changing my tune after our latest meal on Friday night.
Every time I go there I leave happily stuffed. There's still a hint of earthiness as most of the ingredients on our plates were grown locally. In this case, roasted turnips on the salad came from a farm on the edge of town. And the back yard provided tomatoes to compliment the basil pesto manicotti.
You'd think this was a fine restaurant, but it was the home of a couple Dan knows through music circles. Good people.
I say that before mentioning dessert (pictured above). This addition to the menu makes them extra Good people.
I'm embarrassed to have them down for dinner because a fancy meal at our home means using the stove instead of the microwave for the frozen french bread pizzas. Makes the crust crispy you know.
If you're anything like me, you might be curious how the Bundt pan came to be. Wikipedia has an answer.
Current music: Bon Iver "Skinny Love"
October 22, 2007
Dan’s faculty recital
Performing Vignettes for Trumpet and Percussion by James M. Stevenson III
Drove up from Farm Day, threw on some pants and got to Dan's recital just in time.
The months of preparation paid off and we were treated to a great performance, and no, I'm not biased.
I have to say, I welled up a little seeing the last piece played out with Dan and his bestest friend “Brown”
on percussion. They've known each other since doing a tour in Italy and haven't stopped gabbing since. In fact, I think she's his #1 on speed dial. I'd be jealous if she wasn't so groovy.
When they came out for their bow (photo), I was flush with joy.
A reception followed where we packed 40 colleagues, family and friends into our apartment. So packed it was hard to get from one side of the room to another. Mental note: next party, organize a drink station and put a ladle in the mulled cider.
Big shout out thanks to my mom for coming, helping me get the food out, and for this recipe:
PUMPKIN DIP (so easy, I couldn't mess it up)
Current music: Vignettes for Trumpet and Percussion (#3) Eric Berlin And Eduardo Leandro
September 16, 2007
If you’re into that sort of thing
A late night thing
Maybe you’ve seen the Oreo Pizza Moustache commercial on the TV? Or maybe you don’t watch the TV.
Semi-related, unpaid admission of TV watching: I must say I like the first few episodes of Mad Men on AMC and Tell Me You Love Me on HBO. After I've absorbed all the interior design elements, I sense I might not follow through watching the entire seasons because of that rule in writer’s handbooks to build in lots of tension and issues with characters.
This grows tiresome.
I'd totally be fine with an episode where no one got emotionally damaged and everyone had slices of Oreo Pizza.
Speaking of which, we ordered one late last night—let me rephrase—Dan ordered one late last night. Me? I'd have gotten the Cinnathings and scraped off most of the sugar. (another sem-related tangent: I learned this carb+sugar combo from my Dad with his Zesta crackers and Duncan Hines frosting binges.)
So how was this dessert pizza? If you like Oreos it might border on orgasmic. It was warm and crumbly and Oreo-fillng gooey. I took two bites and shrugged. I've always not liked those cookies. And Fig Newtons for that matter.
Current music: The New Pornographers "Myriad Harbour"
August 08, 2007
a city of tumblers
Dan's sister was in town last night for work so we met up at a local joint called Beef 'O" Brady's for dollar drinks and grub.
I was expecting at least some Irish flair in the menu, but it's pretty much wings, burgers, and salads with names from anywhere but the emerald isle. So instead of lamb stew, or a nice rarebit, we were faced with options like the Santa Fe chicken salad or jalapeno poppers.
Did I mention beers were a buck?
Not that new Miller Chill that Dan's sister fancies. You know, that new chelda style light lager with a hint of lime and salt. No, that's apparently a domestic brew.
Aforementioned company made up for any misgivings with the vittles.
Current music: Bright Eyes "No One Would Riot for Less"
August 02, 2007
3 dollars a dozen
Roadside produce tent—Hamilton, OH
Stocked up on the corn, but I'm most anxious for some homegrown tomatoes.
Current music: My Morning Jacket "Golden"
July 18, 2007
Ma Po Tofu at PF Changs. I have to thank Wendy for introducing me to this vegetarian version of the dish.
May 18, 2007
Design of the can? A+
Reminds me a bit of the new James Singles cover art.
Chemicals, with a hint of green tea.
Current music: Beastie Boys "The Rat Cage"
May 11, 2007
Got that root beer
Jolly's in Hamilton [ + zoom in real good to read the menu and prices ]
Back in February I took a photo of this drive-in and made a mental note to check it out come warm weather.
Heat has arrived and I bent elbows after work yesterday, enjoying the heavy mug of home made root beer delivered to a tray hanging on my driver's side.
Wasn't as sweet as the stuff you find in vending machines, with an earthy taste swirling in the background. Real good. Super reasonable. I'm going again.
Current music: Supersystem "Prophets"
March 05, 2007
wake-up time, grilled cheese, restaurants, and taxes
super zoomed-in crop from the first in a batch of photos from the weekend
First, I have to wonder.
Why is it that whenever the “spring forward” clock change is about to happen, I start naturally waking up at the crack of dawn? For a few short weeks in life I am ahead of the game and then it's taken all away from me with the turn of a knob. Or in most cases, with the touch of a digital button.
In other news, I made up for weeks of grilled cheese by eating out four times over the weekend. The meal at the Hofbräuhaus in Newport reminded me not to lament the death of the Festhaus* at Kings Island.
Though they've apparently stopped with the traditional German ooom-pah music at America's first authentic Hofbräuhaus, they can still get the room standing on their benches pumping fists to Sweet Caroline.
At this point I will lament never having seen the following in concert: XTC, Oingo Boingo, Madonna, Pavement, and Neil Diamond.
Less tasty but more important: This weekend I finished entering all my income data for tax purposes. Fascinating to see pie charts on spending habits. I should eat out more and spend less on health insurance.
* I am aware the Festhaus still lives on, but LaRosas Pizzeria with or without Lederhosen a Festhaus does not make
Current music: XTC "Leisure"
December 09, 2006
Dinner Club: Breakfast at the farm
I'm currently nibbling on a peanut butter cookie from a bag someone slipped in my stuff last night as I was leaving one of the tastiest dinner clubs.
We've been bad lately, with weddings and babies born, there hasn't been a good time to plan one of our monthly outings. So an impromptu date was set and instead of dinner, our group of friends ate breakfast at night.
And man it was good.
Because this was held at a house, it was easy for folks to bring kids along. In the flurry of princesses running around and balls flying through the air, adults were able to try out tennis and other sports on the Wii.
By 10 or so, everyone was tuckered, so we didn't even crack open the board games. Call us old and fuddy, but well fed and smiling.
Current music: Mogwai "Small Children in the Background"
October 12, 2006
the only food that doesn't go bad
according to my friend Amy, the answer is honey
I'm feeling a tickle in my throat that suggests some tea with honey is in order.
August 31, 2006
the kind of blackberry you save for last
Breakfast at the National Exemplar, Mariemont
We had my favorite hostess on Sunday. It wasn't a coincidence.
She starts with a big ol hug and then serves a bloody mary and mimosa with a twinkle.
I got above average bacon and eggs with bluegerm (blueberry + wheatgerm?) pancakes.
But dang I wish I had gotten the Tropical French Toast (sans coconut). The fruit looked amazing. Particularly the mongo blackberry.
August 02, 2006
One of these days I will make a new journal category: junk food
Is it possible to be better than the regular (chocolate) frosty?
The answer is no.
Unless you like the taste of ice milk.
July 28, 2006
I was reticent to post this picture because it seemed so much like the third one down on this page from 2004. But it's not every day the supermarket had sweet white corn in the husk.
I think I've finally learned how to cook it properly. For some reason I thought it took a while, but really 4 minutes in boiling water is plenty. I'm always prone to overcook all vegetables, but I've made remarkable leaps over the years.
On surfing for recipes, I've found a few I want to try: Cooking the ears with sugar and vinegar in the water, or slathering it with lime chive butter.
July 13, 2006
Looks close to Frisch's hot fudge cake, but oh so much better
The Brown made a birthday cake: Two layers of cake surrounded a mint chocolate ice-cream middle, the whole thing glazed with a layer of thick chocolate.
It was dag good.
June 08, 2006
Dinner Club: Frischs
fudge cake photo for k8
Enjoyed a Big Boy in Mariemont.
Some folks say Muh-ree-mont, some folks say Marrymont. I just know it's where my mom grew up and they have an old Frischs "Mainliner."
We haven't gotten together for dinner club in months. This can largely be attributed to the holidays, folks planning (legal) marriages, some babies in the makin, and babies made.
We ate grease, caught up on life, and the state of television.
April 15, 2006
Not the band
Dog-sitting in the "nice" part of town, I found my car rifled through overnight. I mentally swatted my knuckles for not locking the car doors, but in reality, I hoped the perpetrator(s) would have just taken every piece of junk I cart around in my aging sedan.
They even took a Rice Kripsie Treat saved from a camping trip last fall that I kept in my glove compartment.
A Rice Krispie Treat I kept there in case I would find myself stranded this past winter—caught in a some snowy gulch like that fella from Misery.
That option gone, I was still craving something sweet and headed over to the Hyde Park Kroger, only to find my favorite flavor of ice cream, ever.
Maybe I love it so much because it is so hard to find.
No, I'm not talking about the yellowy banana flavoring found in Steak and Shake shakes. Or that Ben & Jerry's variety with chunks of chocolate and nuts begging for attention.
I'm talking plain banana.
And not only did I find a pint, but I found that it is locally made by Aglamesis Brothers with simple ingredients. It is fantastic.
They have a parlor in Oakley Square I must have driven past hundreds of times and never noticed. I'm making a point to stop by sometime this summer.
March 29, 2006
Good with milk
So with my mom's new kitchen in place, I went over for dinner the other night with a couple movies in tow. As we scratched our heads over Junebug, she snuck off to heat up some rhubarb.
A simple concoction, cutting the stalks into chunks and bringing them to boil in a skillet with about half an inch of water and a handful of sugar. Over biscuits, it ranks up there with one of my favorite things.
We continued our double feature watching The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio with happy stomachs.
And now, short oblique movie reviews...
Junebug — At one point a lady stands on her lawn with her hands on her hips in the most unattractive of ways. She's just watching her neighbors. That pretty much sums it up.
The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio — I just realized Woody Harrelson's first name is an adjective for his acting abilities. If his character wasn't so lame, this might've been a great flick. As it stands, it's a Lifetime movie with better production values.
Last Holiday — Though it was worth both dollars I paid for admission at the discount theater, this would have been much better with commercial breaks and homemade food.
Walk the Line — The only thing I could think of when watching this DVD was that Felicity Huffman was insanely better than Reese, which is sad, because this might've been a fine movie. I just didn't see it.
Hustle & Flow — Not bad, but the ending sorta ruined it for me. I could post spoilers, but that'd be like remembering the name of the man who shot John Lennon.
Zathura — It was better than Jumanji, and that isn't hard to do.
Corpse Bride — Pretty to look at, but found myself bored.
Crash — After hearing so many polarized opinions, I decided to watch Brokeback's nemesis and see what it was all about. Though it falls into a predictable formula, I found it to have a lyrical quality that moved me. Then again, I can listen to Kelly Clarkson.
February 28, 2006
I thought today was Monday.
I don't have enough things checked on my to-do list.
In lieu of content, I'm posting picture of food.
Related to photo and currently in my bathroom:
Everything I Ate: A Year in the Life of My Mouth
By Tucker Shaw
February 24, 2006
almost too pretty to eat
A good friend sent me a box of Marie Belle chocolates for the holidays, and I marveled at them.
I'm not sure how or what they're "printed" with, but I can say they taste as good as they look. I posted a picture of these up on Flickr and it generated a bit of interest, so I figured I'd re-post here for those not following that stream.
January 29, 2006
at the Cincinnati Art Museum
Eve Disconsolate (more about sculpture)
Today was fantastic. The weather was spring-like, but don't think I'm not against a snow day.
Went to the museum to catch Borrowed Time: The Photograph as Music Album Cover. And while it was great to see true prints of some excellent work, I was a little miffed by the small reproductions of the album covers themselves — almost seemed like color copies. Seeing how the crops were made and history behind the works was great. So much that I'd have liked the exhibit to have been twice the size.
There were iPods at a few stations, playing music from the albums, but it seemed uncomfortable to stand there, apart from the work. I'd have liked an audio tour with clips in context.
Afterward, stopped by Trader Joes and stocked up on French style flat bread with ham, carmelized onions and gruyere cheese. Cooked according to directions (avoiding burnt), it's a sin. A tasty one.
December 28, 2005
kit kat kit kat kit kat kit kat kit kat
A birthday gift I couldn't let sit around any longer
Some folks know me real well, and I have to thank 'em for pegging me with a bagful of "limited edition" candy bars for the birthday.
I love this crap and I have no idea why.
I think they make me feel special, but I know I'm just a number.
Of course, we don't get the fun ones yet, like the green tea Kit Kat. No, we get the one that tastes like those orange creamsicles or stale coffee. The mint ain't too shabby.
December 23, 2005
It's okay to eat the seeds
There's soup on the stove.
TV's on mute.
Eating a pomegranate until the soup is ready.
December 08, 2005
Dinner Club: Lunch Edition - Benihana
You smell like it for hours after you leave
With the holidays around the corner, we moved Dinner Club to the daytime as an optional lunch. Actually, a handful of us were craving Benihana, which has much better prices during the day.
Everyone seemed to be in excellent spirits and we managed to cram 11 adults and 3 kids around the table that is a grill.
Finished here? Use the next link above to see more of this category, or explore other parts of my site...
home | favorites | travel | photos | timeline | links | feeds | about | contact