Dinner Club: Boca


I raced back from Columbus just in time for dinner club. My stomach was still very queasy from some bad food mojo earlier in the week, but I decided to take it easy and get some nourishment and visit with friends.

We ate at Boca, another joint right across the street from me which is known for their caramelized brussel sprouts with scallops. So very tasty. I had chicken that night, and I can attest, it was likely some of the best chicken I’ve tasted. Succulent with a pan seared golden skin set atop lemon risotto.

I coupled the meal with a Sprite, and that seemed to calm my stomach down.

Service was good, though very s l o w.

It was also amusing to see the place seemed to attract lots of exotic dancers that night. I haven’t seen so many boob jobs and bleached roots in a long time.

Northside graffiti

In the alley off Hamilton Ave.

Encouraged by the Beautiful Losers exhibition and recent posting by BlackCustard, I thought this piece of work just around the corner from my digs warranted closer inspection.

Getting up close, I was blown away by the sheer amount of detail. Things I never noticed even walking by.

See a bigger image (be patient if you’re on dial-up)

Dinner Club: Slims (The First)

The second course, or was it the third…

Twelve friends gathered at Slims for the first of what we hope is a successful run of meeting up at area restaurants to play catch up and enjoy food without the pressure of hosting, cooking or cleaning.

I don’t often marvel at the composition of the folks I find myself with. There are common threads among us, ranging back from middle school through college and beyond into the workplace — different circles that overlapped and merged.

I could pare down each person in the group with some single definable characteristic, but I’d rather find the similarity.

I believe it’s appreciative.

We enjoy…
… conversation.
… the food before us.
… sharing music.
… the events of life.
… keeping career-talk in check.
… dishing about tv programs.
… recommending things and hearing recommendations.
And we enjoy each other’s company.

The food, as I’m finding at Slims, was delicious, simple and fresh. We scattered many bottles of wine across the table and only one remained unopened by the time dessert was cleared.

If you ever find yourself at this place, and don’t mind eating meat – get the pork.

It all starts with this tiny little spicy number with olives and a hot pickle. Coupled with the bread, I could nibble on this for hours

Lucky Wine #9, Bottled by Sokol Blosser Winery
Dundee, OR

The mousse was potent, but I’d recommend the large Crème bruleé

As we wrapped up, there was a nice red sunset


Scrubbing in front of Wyoming in relief

Some simplification happens when you cut your rent in half. Along with a garage and fireplace and lawn and driveway and microwave and washer/dryer in the basement and porch, I also lost a dishwasher.

Thing is, I’m not lamenting any of these… things — these creature comforts.

And I, don’t mind at all.

Categorized as Cincinnati

Spring Grove


The day was entirely too beautiful to be indoors, so I opted out of any museuming in favor of a walk outside. I called up my grandmother to see if she was game, and it was a wrestling match with the phone – my wireless connection and my mom’s broken receiver.

We managed to get it together though, and met up mid afternoon for a driving and walking tour of Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum, located right around the corner in Northside.

History tidbits:

  • Founded in 1845, the original area of 166 hilly acres was purchased for $16,000. It was named Spring Grove because of the numerous springs and ancient groves of trees on the property.
  • It now encompasses 733 acres of which 400 acres are landscaped and maintained.
  • At first, I heard that this place was designed by the same fella behind Central Park. Not true. There’s another Spring Grove Cemetery in Hartford, Connecticut that has this distinction.
  • The arboretum, with over 1,200 species, has 1,000 labeled for study.
  • There’s a section where Gypsies are buried, noted by red granite monuments.
  • The landscape "lawn plan" concept was created here.
  • Forty generals from the Civil War are "planted" in Spring Grove

It was a great day, leisurely wandering between things that caught our eye. At points we were on the ground, examining acorns and moss. Turns out, my grandmother (who prefers that moniker over Me-Maw) was married in a funeral home.

PhotosMore photos

Beautiful Loser

Mixed media installation on 1979 Ford delivery Truck
Barry McGee and Josh Lazcano

Dave and I were productive monkeys today, getting business in order, watering plants in the studio, and tackling piles of papers. Wandering around downtown for lunch, nonplussed with the options, we stumbled across the installation outside the CAC. I’ve determined that I’ll go see the new exhibit, Beautiful Losers tomorrow.

Other than that, it’s been a pretty unspectacular day. Well, unless you consider losing 4 years of email and corrupting an Entourage database spectacular. I’ve been fiddling with Office X installers, updaters, FAQs and tech sites all night to no avail. Strangely, I’m not freaking out, but there is a sense of immense loss. All my backups are experiencing the same issue. This can’t be right.

I know, not near as exciting as shirtless pics, but that’s the way the data crumbles.

UPDATE: Start fresh with Entourage, launch to rebuild database, back to finder, switch in the old dud database. Bingo. Fixed. Bless America, with whatever God you choose.

Northside Tavern

Doodling at the keyboard (of a laptop)

I’m getting hot tips from Alex up in Columbus of music I should check out.

So I wandered down the street and into the Northside Tavern around 10pm last night. The band I was encouraged to see was still setting up, but it would take a while. They had all these video monitors and robots to plug in. Not only that, but that had to get in their special outfits.

You have to respect a band that makes an effort to dress the part of rock and roller.

Their set was energetic, though the acoustics of the bar didn’t quite complement theirs. More room for dancing would’ve been good. Oh yeah, and people that dance. On the video monitors, snippets of PaRappa The Rappa, Underoo commercials and Mattel action figures. Lots of blast from the past stuff that put a grin on the faces of those that knew of them – nerds. (not that there’s anything wrong with that)

A strange crowd filters into this tavern. This is where all the hip kids are, I think. Out of college or luck, sporting the fancy expensive shoes meant to look beat up and old. One chick in particular, decked out in white sequined stretch pantsuit kept tugging at the fabric bunching up around her pooch. I felt bad for her. Some burly biker types occupied the pool tables in the back alongside the Banana Republic boys.

Hell, folks even talked to me and there was enough light to see faces and read lips. Of course, most were asking questions about the camera. It’s like walking a dog in the park.

After Oxymoronatron left the stage, I hung out on the curb to watch their stuff as the next band crammed into the corner of the bar. Infinite Number of Sounds was most excellent. I could blather on and on, but it’s Saturday and I have stuff to do.

PhotosThere were photos

The National: at the Comet in Northside

Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers

Living in Northside is already paying off. After hedging and complaining that we’re old fogies, Tom and I made it out to the Comet up the street to catch a band. Small world, he knew some of the members from college and here they were back in town, on the verge of becoming something big. Now based in New York, they looked skinny and scruffy from being on the road so much.

The cafe was relatively empty, with about 30 folks all told. Dim lighting and the glow of brake lights through the steamed windows as a backdrop, The National played a couple handfuls of songs.

The lead singer’s gravelly bass colors the music a dark mellow shade. Hanging on to his makers and soda along with the microphone, you get a sense of the desperation fueling the lyric. It’s not shiny happy music, but it’s beautiful nonetheless.

I hope they find an audience, as it looks like they could use a string of good meals. I “borrow” lots of music from folks, giving it a spin on the hard drive, deciding which ones I want to have in high fidelity. I gladly forked over the cash for their latest, Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers. If you like My Morning Jacket, Death Cab for Cutie, or The Shins, but dark and heavy, you might check ’em out.

An Evening with Dame Edna

The Dame fishes for shoes from audience members

Complimentary tickets in the corporate suite were too good to pass up, at the request of my mom and brother, so tonight I breezed through the 100 miles back to Cincinnati for an evening show. The drive home was spectacular as dusk and I fell upon the skyline.

I laughed at the crowd-picking antics of this Aussie, even snorted here and there – which is an indicator that I can’t help but admit I enjoyed myself.

But there were a few moments where the fat or old jokes just seemed thin and tired. Formula comedy works though, and by the second half, the pacing was spicy enough to keep me from wondering what the time was on the phone.

Back to formulas, how easy it must be to get the skinny on a city and inject it into the stereotypical punchlines. At one point, I felt like I was listening to class humor, but the class that was picked on was not present.

These tickets may have been free, but were not as cheap as the jabs.

It was interesting, seeing the show in a comfortable room behind the audience with bottles of wine and the sound piped in. It was a privileged feeling, albeit detached like a barn from the house.

Continuing along a metaphor, was this show some right of passage, akin to being awarded a toaster oven? Some feather to put in the gay cap with friends of Kenny?

Eh, I’m being too obtuse and jaded. I really did enjoy myself.

Maybe it was because the laughter of my company was not muffled by the theater. A portrait of a small, diverse group genuinely grateful for the experience.


…got a long way to go, and a short time to get there.

Lots of interesting things to see around my new neighborhood. It’s the side of the tracks, well, with the tracks and Union Terminal. There are factories, mostly Proctor and Gamble products, and trucking yards (I guess that’s what they’re called).

There’s something about semi trucks. I’ve always wanted to drive one, and who knows – maybe I’ll give up the mouse clicking someday and enroll myself in driving school.

Categorized as Cincinnati