Dinner Club: Boca

Yum

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.

IHOP Palm Springs

Me and June, the hostess

The last day in Palm Springs was spent driving around the “old” part of town looking for kitsch. It’s there, I’m sure, just hidden behind the new boring fancy developments.

I’m not sure I could live here. It’s just too dang hot, and the idea that without man’s intervention, this place would be devoid of green sorta tweaks my sensibilities.

As for a quick getaway to sit next to a pool and soak in the sun, it gets high marks.

Instead of the country diner that looked mom and poppy, we decided to eat at IHOP since we have none here in the Greater Cincinnati area. Still to this day, I’ll sample every syrup and just pour enough on the pancakes for a bite or two, then switch.

Our hostess June with the fantastic Liz Claiborne frames, neck kerchief and leather vest was the best part of our brief tour. We traded e-mails and I hope we become fast friends, or slow ones. It’s all good.

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Categorized as Food, Travel

Flatiron

The cigar specials at the Flatiron

Everyone was out of the office for the most part up in Columbus. I’d no reason to be there, but it afforded me the ability to focus on the mounting tasks at hand.

I strolled down the street to the Flatiron for a Black and Bleu salad— pretty much a steak cut up and blackened on top of greens with roasted tomatoes and peppers. A favorite of mine.

Other than that, I found myself reading the book How to Be Alone: Essays by Jonathan Franzen. The cover and blurb spoke to me, and I picked it up, mildly amused that the author refused to be a part of Oprah’s book club. Too early to tell how it’s going to be overall, but his style is pleasant and thoughts insightful.

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Categorized as Books, Food

Dishing

The egg dish

I’m not big on fancy wares for the table, tending to go for simple white with no ornamentation whatsoever. But I’ve always been drawn to this dish — the palette for eggs.

It has resurfaced for Easter as long as I can remember. I also recall perhaps wanting to use the thing for paints as a child. Heck, if I could find these in bulk, I’d probably do just that.

Easter dinner was simple and tasty, ham, potatoes, asparagus, devlled eggs, croissants and salad.

My ma filled up some of that fancy re-usable / disposable tupperware like things with a course for me to take home. I ate it immediately on return to my abode, washing the wares and stacking it along with all the other containers I’ve collected and never remember to return.

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Categorized as Family, Food

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

Coulrophobia

Coulrophobia refers to an abnormal and persistent fear of clowns

Saturday, March 27th — So I made it over to Don Pablos for a pre-birthday bash dinner with friends. I hadn’t eaten at this chain mexican restaurant in years. Now I remember why. The food is forgettable and the portions are too large. I’ll say their salsa is good enough, but that’s it. From here on out, Chipotle it will be.

Between eating too many chips and lamenting the lack of cilantro rice, there were clowns milling around the restaurant. Painting the faces of kids who immediately smeared them into Tammy Faye (bless her colon) crossed with Alice Cooper. Then they’d go around and make these phallic balloon hats and put them on yuppie women on a Girls Gone Wild bender. Complete with fancy skirts but sans flashing. Perhaps that would come later.

Speaking of later, I met up with a bar full of friends, pre-celebrating ‘lil “Sex Toys” Kate’s birthday. It was like a reunion as some folks happened to be visiting in town from Asheville, NC.

Super Dooper Fun. Along with a great jukebox (old pc + winamp behind the bar), I found that Blue Moon beer from Coors gives Fat Tire a run for the money. Aside from being available on this side of the Mississippi, it gets fancy treatment with orange wedge.

Dave Matthews, damn his continued spiral into softrock blandness, came up in a quote that sums up the evening mighty fine: “Turns out not where but who you’re with that really matters.

Cookies

I like these

There’s an awkward feeling of conformity when I fork over the 3 bucks for Girl Scout Cookies. With every bite I wonder if I’m going to become…

…Conservative.

I have no idea why that is, but if I did more research, I’m sure there’s potential to frighten me with the Girl Scout agenda.

But every year, I plunk down some cash for the girls and their moms outside the supermarket, and in this year’s case, fill out the order form at the water cooler in the office.

My order was waiting for me on my arrival to Columbus. Perfect for the mid-afternoon sugar rush I crave.

There’s something nostalgic and comforting about tearing the crinkly wax plastic and into the partially hydrogenated goodness.

Sci-fi wasabi

I got no reset for this game

I’m at the studio downtown. It’s gorgeously blue skied outside.

I went to the sushi joint for lunch by my lonesome, but I did find myself eating everything on my tray. Even the surprise potato I usually skip. It’s either because I was savoring without conversation, I really liked the potato, or I have a tapeworm.

The photo above is the only photo I took. And it sucked, so I’ve doodled.

I’m actually testing out pens for a job and seeing how to best translate drawn line into digital info. I should probably just get a good electronic tablet, but I like the feel of paper.

Today’s bonus movie is from season one of Strangers with Candy. They showed it on Comedy Central, use your own discretion in deciding whether it is work appropriate.

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Categorized as Food

The clean plate club

And the wine was delicious

After a full day of work, it was off to the outskirts of town for dinner at GW and Gabi’s.

Brad charged up the battery on his truck and it got us up the snowy drive as neighborhood dogs, dumb as bricks, brought up the rear.

I hadn’t seen these folks since my last trip out here for July 4th, and catching up was seamless.

Good people are timeless.

While dinner was being prepared, we went through photos of my last trip, listened to music and drank wine.

When the blackened chicken fettucine was served, everyone fell nearly silent and ate.

Slims

Green pea soup, garlic, herbs

“A restaurant with no telephone, no credit cards and communal tables” – That’s how Slim’s (in Northside – a community of Cincinnati) is described. The door says, “5:30pm ’til the food’s gone”.

I met Wendy and Tom outside not knowing what to expect, other than Kate said we’d like it. So we find one end of a table free. Two older couples are there. One of them has brought their own wine in a handy basket tote.

The first rule of Slims— bring your own wine. We didn’t know this, but luckily we could order “Groove Juice” … grape and lime juice mixed with soda water.

Quite tasty.

The menu is limited: a few appetizers, a salad and four main courses to choose from each evening. I had rosemary cod with vanilla scented mashed swede.

The article I read was outdated. They now have a phone now at Slims. What they also have is a great atmosphere, where strangers smile and strike up conversation. It’s so very different from any place I’ve eaten, it borders on European, but even in Europe it didn’t seem this, down to earth.

On Sundays, they have tango dancing and food.

The food was excellent.

I can’t wait to go here again, next time, with wine in tow.

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Categorized as Food, Friends