Left at the Fork

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Category: Ohio (page 1 of 3)

Maverick Chocolate, Cincinnati OH

REVIEW

We enjoy Hershey’s milk chocolate as much as the next guy… actually, we probably enjoy it much more than the next guy. Most chocolate enthusiasts find Hershey’s sour and gritty. Try as we might, we have no idea what they’re talking about. We really don’t think it’s about nostalgia, either, but who knows. That said, our catholic palates embrace the “good” stuff as well, especially the interesting, nuanced bean-to-bar chocolates crafted by artisans like the folks at Maverick Chocolate. Continue reading

Checking in at: Bouchard’s, Cincinnati OH

The mother and son team of Renee and Jodi (Bouchard? Miller? We see them listed online both ways) arrived in Cincinnati, and then the Findlay Market, from West Virginia, in 2007. Their deal is fresh pastas, flat breads, and sauces, as well as baked goods like pies, cookies, brownies, and cobblers. Some is available to eat on the spot, all is available to finish off at home. Continue reading

Checking in at: Gramma Debbie’s Kitchen, Cincinnati OH

Gramma Debbie has been selling her somewhat odd combination of comfort food and sort-of-health food in the Findlay Market since 2010. Some of her food is ready to eat on the spot; much of it is ready for you to cook or heat at home, like marinated chicken breasts, stuffed peppers, and turkey burgers. Continue reading

Churchill’s Fine Teas, Cincinnati OH

REVIEW

Even if you’re not a tea drinker, we urge you to step inside Churchill’s Fine Teas in Cincinnati’s Findlay Market, for at least a moment or two. The heady aroma of tea leaves, spices, and herbs is fairly intoxicating, and the shop is an oasis of calm amid the bustle of the market. Look around, admire the tea sets and tea cups, all the while inhaling, inhaling, free of charge. Continue reading

Eckerlin Meats, Cincinnati OH

REVIEW

Cincinnati has a number of signature foods, but perhaps the most exotic and regionally focused of them is goetta. First things first: it’s pronounced as if the o wasn’t there, i.e., getta, and it has German roots. OK, so what is this goetta? It’s a sausage-like loaf of meat and oats that is sliced and fried in a pan, usually for breakfast. Continue reading

Camp Washington Chili, Cincinnati OH

REVIEW

This is it, the one you’ve read about, by national acclaim the ne plus ultra of Cincinnati chili parlors, the only one to be honored by the James Beard Foundation. Camp Washington Chili has achieved that level of fame where future success is guaranteed no matter what they put on the plate. Consider it a bonus that the restaurant still makes an effort, and continues to serve quality grub. Continue reading

Gold Star Chili, Cincinnati OH

We well remember our first taste of Cincinnati chili. We were summering in Washington, D.C., our first jobs out of college, and a friend told us about a place that recently opened up in the ‘burbs (Virginia, we think) that served something called Cincinnati chili. Chili, we knew – spicy hot, cumin-scented, but what did Cincinnati have to do with it? Continue reading

Taste of Cincinnati, Cincinnati OH, May 27th through 29th 2017

REVIEW

Either you love urban street festivals or you don’t. They’re not for everyone. We’re street festival veterans and you can put our names down among the lovers. In our New York days in the ’70s, we’d never miss the annual Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy, or the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival. It usually takes years of festival-going to learn each festival’s strengths and weaknesses. Continue reading

Graeter’s, Clifton, Cincinnati OH

REVIEW

It doesn’t seem that long ago  — if you wanted to sample Cincinnati’s great home-grown ice cream, you had to visit Cincinnati. Louis Graeter began selling ice cream in 1868 and, over the ensuing decades, the Graeter’s company expanded, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that the company pushed out to the wilds of Kentucky and Columbus with franchised stores. That’s also when they began making their ice cream available in supermarkets. Continue reading

Skyline Chili, Clifton, Cincinnati OH

REVIEW

If you’re coming to Cincinnati for the first time, you undoubtedly intend to sample the famous Cincinnati chili you’ve heard so much about. Have you done lots of research? Do you have time and transportation? Then you’ll probably wind up at one of several well-regarded independent chili shops. Otherwise, you’ll be dining close to your hotel, which means you’ll receive your initiation at one of the almost two hundred Skyline Chili restaurants in the city and suburbs. Continue reading

Checking in at: Rhinegeist Brewery, Cincinnati OH

REVIEW

Cincinnati has a long history as a brewing town. In the old German-settled neighborhood known as Over-the Rhine, at the turn of the 20th century, there were 38 breweries. The largest of them was Christian Moerlein Brewing. Eventually, they would all go out of business, leaving hulking manufacturing facilities and warehouses behind. Continue reading

Chili Time, St. Bernard OH

REVIEW

It was 1943 when Pete Vidas opened Chili Time on Vine Street in the Cincinnati enclave village of St. Bernard. Of course, chili was on the menu but Chili Time was by no means a chili-only establishment. The burgers, especially the big production Timeburger and Big Time, were famous, far if not wide. Eventually, Chili Time moved across the street to its present location. Continue reading

Land-Grant Brewing Company, Columbus OH

REVIEW

We made a pit stop in Columbus, Ohio during our day-long drive from Pennsylvania to Cincinnati, just long enough to enjoy a pair of beers outside on the warm and sunny patio at Land-Grant Brewing. The clear, deep brown Son of a Mudder was more refreshing than a typical brown ale, probably due to the slightly elevated hop level. The toasty brown flavors were not overstated, making it quite drinkable for even a dark ale-frowner like Sue, although she enjoyed a Kölsch-style ale that is perfect on a hot, sunny afternoon such as this. Continue reading

Graeter’s Coming to Pittsburgh, Cleveland This Summer

The first Pittsburgh-area and Cleveland-area Graeter’s scoop shops will be open sometime this summer. The Pittsburgh store will be located at 10610 Perry Highway, in the north suburban community of Wexford, about a 20-minute drive from downtown Pittsburgh. The address of the Cleveland store is 261 Main Street, in the city of Westlake, about 25 minutes west of downtown Cleveland. Word is they’re also opening a second Chicago scoop shop this summer. Tomorrow, June 17th, an 11th Columbus, OH area Graeter’s will open, debuting a new store design and updated Graeter’s branding. Yep, Graeter’s is on the move!

Banana Split Festival, Wilmington OH, June 10th and 11th 2016

The year was 1907. The town? Wilmington, Ohio. The place? Hazard’s Restaurant. Owner Ernest Hazard wanted to attract Wilmington College students to his eatery by creating a new, irresistible dish. He held a contest among his employees, a contest which Ernest himself won by laying a split banana in a long dish, laying in three scoops of ice cream, topping the scoops with chocolate sauce, strawberry jam, and crushed pineapple, and crowning the dish with whipped cream, nuts, and cherries. Looking for a name, he asked his cousin Clifton for help. Clifton came up with banana split, and an American tradition was born. Continue reading

Pork Rind Heritage Festival, Harrod OH, June 10th and 11th 2016

The most important questions we imagine most of you would ask are, what? And why? What: Pork rinds are fried pieces of pig skin. The skin, which starts out tough and inedible, puffs up in the fryer, resulting in a delicious, and light-textured, snack food. Are they same thing as cracklins? No, not exactly. Pork rinds are skin-only; cracklins have a portion of the fat attached to the skin. They are great eating, as well. You’ll find both at the Pork Rind Heritage Festival in the small Ohio town of Harrod. Why? The largest producer of pork rinds in the country, Rudolph Foods, is based in Lima, a few miles to the west of Harrod. Continue reading

It’s Graeter’s vs. Primanti on Saturday

Our fascination with mayors’ wagers over sporting events continues: the Cincinnati Bengals play the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL playoff game Saturday, and the mayors of both cities have put up their towns’ signature foods in support of the home teams. Cincinnati’s buffet is headlined by Graeter’s ice cream, which will be accompanied by chili and coneys from Gold Star and unspecified food from the Montgomery Inn (known for their ribs). The Pittsburgh cache features Primanti’s sandwiches and other items from Heinz, Dream Cream ice cream, and Smiley Cookies. We’re giving the edge to Cincinnati, food-wise.

Learn to Make Sausage in Cincinnati!

Looking for a special gift for your favorite carnivore? Here’s an idea that we think she or he would love: a sausage-making class at the Avril-Bleh Meat Market in Cincinnati. The class last three to four hours, and during that time you’ll grind, mix, stuff, and link a dozen or more types of homemade sausage. The cost is $125, which sounds pretty reasonable to us for the class but it’s way more reasonable than you think, because you get to take home all the sausage you make! That generally runs between 15 and 18 pounds of links. They also serve everyone a sausage lunch, and you get a t-shirt to boot. Continue reading

‘Tis the Season for Peppermint Ice Cream!

When the weather turns cold, and the scent of pine is in the air… and twinkling lights hang from the eaves, and fat men in red suits loiter on street corners and in department stores… it can only mean one thing: peppermint ice cream is back! We’re not talking about the green mint chip ice cream that is available year round (and which is quite alright by us) but that (unfortunately) seasonal pink concoction, often studded with red and white bits of peppermint candy. Continue reading

Clifton Mill Lights Begin Day After Thanksgiving

The first things we think of when we think of Clifton Mill in Clifton, Ohio are the wonderful breakfasts they serve, made with the products from their own water-powered grist mill. Unless it’s Christmastime, because Clifton Mill goes all out and over the top with one of the most spectacular Christmas displays you’ll ever witness: The Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill, featuring over 3000 Santas in a Santa Claus museum, a live Santa in his workshop who goes up the chimney four times an hour, a miniature village, a toy collection… but the highlight, for sure, are the three-and-a-half million lights that adorn the mill, the gorge, the riverbanks, the trees, and the bridges! Continue reading

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