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”
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”
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
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”
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”
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”
Ma Po Tofu at PF Changs. I have to thank Wendy for introducing me to this vegetarian version of the dish.
Design of the can? A+
Reminds me a bit of the new James Singles cover art.
Chemicals, with a hint of green tea.
Related link: How diet sodas taste like crap and why they’re designed that way
Current music: Beastie Boys “The Rat Cage”
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”
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
A handful of photos from the weekend
Current music: XTC “Leisure”