Saturday, May 31, 2008
Kerrie and I officially began our epic BBQ-gauntlet for the summer yesterday.
As previously stated, I want to hit as many different BBQ places this summer as possible. I'm sure plenty of people will be chiming in on the topic of authentic BBQ, but try and take it easy. My goal is simply to eat as much pork and beef as possible.
So, last night Kerrie and I went to Rib City Grill just outside Jungle Jim's.
First off, I was expecting something "else". More of a sports-bar thing, maybe? It was actually a very nice, home-style BBQ restaurant. So right off the bat, I was happy with my surroundings.
The food was amazing. Everything was perfect in a way I wasn't used to in most restaurants. The manager came out and talked to us about their different sauces, the price wasn't outrageous, and the portions were ample. All this, plus the food tasted great.
I had the Rib Tips with Corn, French Fries and Garlic Toast. The tips were smoked and very tender then finished with a brown sugar bbq sauce. I was in heaven...
Kerrie had the BBQ Pork Sandwich which was similar to the pork I had, but she added her own sauce.
All in all, this may not have been the best place for me to start this epic lil' journey at because I really dig this place. Now I'm going to be comparing everyone else to these guys, plus I'll be wanting to go back - often.
Mojo Nixon - UFO's, Big Rigs & BBQ
Spin Doctors - Little Miss Can't Be Wrong
MC Brains - Oochie Coochie
Nazareth - Hair of the Dog
Faith No More - Epic
Ted Nugent - Free for All
Monday, May 26, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
With May winding down and June right around the corner, I've committed my talents to more warm-weather cooking. For the past few years I usually pull out my copy of Summer Cooking by Elizabeth David sometime in April and flip through it for inspiration and insight, and now that the warm weather seems to have finally arrived I've gotten back into the swing of grilling and roasting and exploring some of those exotic deep-south and South-American flavors.
One of those "flavors" I like a lot comes from a simple Mole sauce. Thinking of Mole, I decided to use a Chocolate Cherry Doctor Pepper and a "beer-can roaster" that my brother and his fiance gave us to make a Chocolate Cherry Chicken Mole. While the flavor was really impressive, I'm just not sure about the technique involved. I did my chicken in the oven and the overall product was good, just not as juicy and chocolate-cherry as I had expected.
I look forward to experimenting with this a little more, in addition to some of the other "summer" foods I already have in my repertoire - especially Grilled Barbecue Flat Irons.
In the meantime, my summer challenge is to hit as many Cincinnati barbecue restaurants as possible. There are quite a few BBQ places of note fairly close, including Symmes Tavern and Burbanks, so I'm hoping Kerrie and I can to a lot of them before September 1'st.
Foo Fighters - Baker Street
Matthew Sweet - Sick of Myself
Stevie Wonder - Higher Ground
Tom Petty - American Girl
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Friday night, in the pouring rain, Kerrie and I went to a classy -but by no means fancy or fine- Italian restaurant called Vincenzo's.
The food was exceptional. I'd like to make that clear right off the bat. The only real problem with the meal was that our waiter -the uber-trendy metrosexual type who loves pointing out all of the flaws potential, present, and departing diners- was a douche. The busboy who brought us our water, bread and finally came around to ask if Kerrie needed a box was cool. He wasn't just cool, he was pleasant and had his shit together.
I'm not going to hammer on about the guy who was begrudgingly waiting on us, because the food was, as stated, exceptional. Kerrie had the Pollo Saltimboca, a chicken based dish with mushrooms and a deliciously sharp marsala wine sauce. I had the Ravioli Bolognese, which was very good. Good to the point where I actually was thinking: How DID they make this?
We finished the meal two pretty obvious desserts. I had the Cannoli and an Espresso, while Kerrie had the Panna Cotta. Both were text-book perfect, in the sense that they weren't being screwed with at their most basic level. They were perfectly portioned and tasted exactly as you would expect a familiar dessert to taste.
Overall, the meal was excellent but the waiter -while being basically competent- was almost enough to reconsider going back.
On the other end of the food scale, Kerrie and I had lunch from the Root Beer Stand today. We took our food to-go and went over to Sharon Woods to eat, and I have to say that I was impressed. I had a basic cheeseburger and a Root Beer, and both were amazing. The root beer had this slightly creamy vanilla-ish sort of flavor. I'm sort of a sucker from the classic car-hop, and I love a good burger. Despite the CASH-ONLY aspect, I know I'll be going back...