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Food & Wine

Web 2011

Making Lasting Memories at VIEW Cucina

10/03/12

Making Lasting Memories at VIEW Cucina

I was reminded on a recent Saturday evening what it was like to have a truly wonderful dining experience. To celebrate my birthday, my boyfriend, Jason, asked where I would like him to take me. Without hesitation, I chose VIEW Cucina. As a person who loves cooking, thoroughly enjoys eating, and relishes the experience of dining out, the evening stood a test of high expectations and excitement. I can honestly say I wasn’t the least bit surprised when the restaurant of choice not only met, but also exceeded my expectations. Upon entering the restaurant, we were met by owner Gay Stephens and given a warm welcome. The ambiance spectacular: beautifully and tastefully designed, complete with a fireplace that gives the restaurant a cozy and inviting atmosphere, and of course,...

Posted at 08:45 AM | Permalink

08/27/12

Bella Luna

Jan White and her husband Maury White joined friends Todd Margolis and Dennis Hackett for a cocktail at the bar while enjoying the tunes of a live band before dinner. The group was kind enough to take a moment to share their thoughts about their favorite dining spot. “Bella Luna is easily one of our favorite restaurants in Cincinnati. The entire staff is incredible. You feel very welcomed and cared for from the time you walk into the door and are greeted by the hostess, to the accommodating, knowledgeable, and friendly wait staff, to owner Harry (Stephens), who is an absolute joy. They all truly make you feel as though you are family. When we visit, they know our names and it is such a fun place to come. The food is exceptionally good. My husband and I have our favorites....

Posted at 09:00 AM | Permalink

French Wine Explorers Grand Cru Tour of Burgundy Day 1-Part 1

11/14/11

French Wine Explorers Grand Cru Tour of Burgundy Day 1-Part 1

French Wine Explorers Grand Cru Tour of Burgundy Day 1 - Part 1   Noon, Beaune FR (10.10.11) Anticipation: two hours to go until the launch of the Grand Cru Tour of Burgundy! Getting to Beaune is not an easy proposition if you live anywhere outside of western Europe. I am so glad I decided to arrive a day early, catch my breath, and awaken fresh for the gastronomique "workout" that lay ahead. French Wine Explorers arranged my booking of an extra pre-tour night at Le Cep, which is a highly recommended amenity. After sorting out three trains from CDG to Gare de Lyon, Dijon and finally to Beaune, it was lovely to have a walk about Beaune Centre Ville in the gentle October rain and set my internal compass. (A word of advice: book your TGV train...

Posted at 09:52 AM | Permalink

South African Sunday

10/27/11

South African Sunday

Wade and Debbie Dent have a downtown dream. It's called Venue 222. With the purchase of one of Over-The-Rhine's gorgeous vintage 1868 five-story brick buildings at 222 E.14th St. and the launch of a very cool event space, they are halfway there. Now both kids are off to college, so they are ready to start thinking about renovations and living on the top two floors! Naturally, a wine tasting (or two) would be needed to help christen the space along with regularly booked corporate and social events. With its exposed brick walls, rotating art exhibit open to the public on Final Fridays, well appointed catering kitchen, and flexible furnishings, Venue 222 provides a fun and functional atmosphere. Janice Liebenberg was one of our guests at a recent Spanish wine tasting....

Posted at 09:30 AM | Permalink

The Prism of Wine

10/12/11

The Prism of Wine

Logroño is the official capital of Rioja. It is about 30 minutes by car driving southeast from Haro into a different sub-region of La Rioja (Rioja Alta). It is worth choosing September for a visit to Logroño to experience the annual harvest festival honoring San Mateo. It is a sort of "thanksgiving" festival to celebrate the start of harvest. The festival lasts for a week, culminating in a raucous evening of celebration. Thousands of people pack the streets to eat tapas, drink wine, watch an incomparable parade, and swoon over the fireworks display. It's truly a once in a lifetime experience. But before the harvest festival closes out this story of Spain, let's focus on wineries! Fans of Frank Ghery will recognize Marqués de Riscal as...

Posted at 09:21 AM | Permalink

A Tale of Two Riojas

10/06/11

A Tale of Two Riojas

How can one small place offer such dramatically different experiences of terroir and territory? Two wineries, two towns. La Rioja is incredible in this regard. As part of a guided tour, which I highly recommend, you can visit wineries providing the most extreme imaginable differences in operations and wine styles. Parts I & II of this four-part Spain story featured wines that are "modern" style. Now we will visit a pair of wineries that define Riojan benchmarks for modern (new oak barriques) vs. traditional (large casks used many times) styles of Reserva and Gran Reserva Tempranillo wines with great aging potential.  Bodegas Fernando Remírez de Ganuza, nestled in Samaniego in the  heart of the Rioja Alavesa sub-zone, is a mere 20 years old....

Posted at 01:32 PM | Permalink

Wine and Tapas

09/23/11

Wine and Tapas

Grapes are typically happy in Spain in September. Days are quite warm, but not hot. Evenings are cool - only about 10 degrees diurnal temp variation. There is a light morning fog, creating an easy but important challenge for the sun to burn off and further concentrate the natural sugars in the grapes for an excellent vintage. There is much celebration before the official harvest period begins and a quiet hush descends over the vineyards as the hard work of hand-picking and crop selection begins. The perfect introduction to Rioja begins at Dinastia Vivanco Museo de la Cultura del Vino. Unlike most of the rest of Rioja, this elegant museum and high-design winery complex is over the top in production quality, almost like a movie set. But the museum tour is well worth it, providing a...

Posted at 02:38 PM | Permalink

Hola La Rioja

09/12/11

Hola La Rioja

Cincinnati • Paris • Barcelona • Bilbao • Haro. All in about 20 hours give or take a few long layovers!A visit to Spain in September, the harvest season or vendange, is a must for any wine enthusiast eager to experience all of the major wine regions of the world. I am one for whom this is a priority, and with September just around the corner, it seems fitting to share the story of my recent journey to La Rioja.A proper tour of La Rioja begins in the town of Haro, about an hour southeast of Bilbao, which is the self-proclaimed “wine capital” of Spain. It is a very small town of about 11,000 people. There is seemingly one industry - wine!! Although grapevine coverage isn't quite as ubiquitous as in some parts of southern France, the wineries are much more...

Posted at 05:00 PM | Permalink

American cuisine that travels!

08/12/11

American cuisine that travels!

I’ve happily dined at La Poste in Clifton's Gaslight District many times since it opened last October. But I have always been so taken with the space and experience that I never even noticed this incredible phrase, painted in reverse on the wall of the foyer, revealed only to the most curious in a mirror above the banquette seating area.On a recent blazing hot Saturday afternoon in July, a mere half-day after the restaurant went into “let’s roll” mode when the electricity died at 8 pm with a full house of customers, I tested my personal view that a visit to La Poste was much like taking a trip around the world without ever leaving Cincinnati. Executive Chef Dave Taylor…Wine Director and Certified Sommelier Bryant Phillips…Top Young Sommelier and...

Posted at 01:16 PM | Permalink

Avon, Colorado

07/29/11

Avon, Colorado

Avon, ColoradoCincinnati native Greg Eynon found his way to a dream life and restaurant ownership in Colorado the good old-fashioned way: waiting tables and bartending until the right opportunity came along. An avid outdoorsman who is passionate about fly fishing and skiing, Greg set his sights on Colorado’s seasonal abundance. And the rest is history…The dots of Greg’s journey from Cincinnati to Colorado are actually more connected than this introduction might suggest! As a twenty-something graduate of St. X high school and Miami University who majored in geography with a concentration in urban planning and design, Greg moved to New Orleans to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an environmental educator. Adventure travel lured Greg to TrekAmerica to lead...

Posted at 01:39 PM | Permalink

Day Two: Dundee and Yamhill-Carlton

07/15/11

Day Two: Dundee and Yamhill-Carlton

 We had great ambition to visit many more wineries in a wider geographic swath, but a leisurely start and stop for lunch at highly recommended Tina's restaurant in Dundee meant that we barely squeezed in four wineries!Our first stop set a high bar for the rest of the day. Domaine Drouhin Oregon is owned by Burgundy producer Maison Joseph Drouhin. Oregon’s winemaker is fourth generation Véronique Drouhin-Boss. The winery’s first vintage was 1998. Drouhin uses all French barrels, so its wines are a beautiful Burgundian style including sur lie Chardonnay. We especially liked the rosé, a nod to the arrival of spring with wild strawberry notes peeking through waves of bright citrus and minerality, served to us by fellow Buckeye Lauren Smith....

Posted at 01:30 PM | Permalink

Day One: Dundee and McMinville

07/08/11

Day One: Dundee and McMinville

Our first stop was the Ponzi Tasting Room in Dundee where you can taste and purchase wines from many area wineries. We sampled the premium flight ($10 tasting fee, waived with purchase) which included a 2008 Evening Land Estate, 2008 Tendril Willamette Valley, and 2005 Ponzi Il Luce. Our host Andrew Turner was delightful and very knowledgeable about the area. We also purchased a bottle of Brick House Pinot Noir, consumed the next evening at the fabulous Wildwood restaurant in Portland. www.ponziwines.com A short walk across the main road in Dundee led us right to the cozy Argyle tasting room. This time we chose a sparkling flight ($8 tasting fee, waived with purchase), all traditional method wines good enough to rival Champagne! In what was a real surprise to me, a self-confessed wine...

Posted at 03:27 PM | Permalink

Pilgrimage to Willamette Valley Oregon

06/29/11

Pilgrimage to Willamette Valley Oregon

I have traveled extensively across the globe in delicious pursuit of wine-related adventures. With an unbelievable 127 regional options, there is so much more to experience than I have yet to explore! Call it a "bucket list" of sorts.Until a recent trip to Portland, the Willamette Valley (pronounced “will-LAM-it”) was a significant gap in my U.S. wine experience. A recent trip to participate in an urban strategy session hosted by CEOs for Cities provided the perfect opportunity to savor this wine region. (BTW, our Ohio contingent was in the spotlight during former Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher’s first day as the new president of this national organization!)With only one day's worth of tasting time spread over two afternoons, we made the most of the fact that wine...

Posted at 08:56 AM | Permalink

A Taste of Spain – in Cincinnati!

06/24/11

A Taste of Spain – in Cincinnati!

My personal brand is place matters in community and in the vineyard, and it would seem that my theme for 2011 is venue -- Venue Magazine, Venue 222, new travel venues… Perhaps I should change “place” to “venue”?On a recent stormy Friday night, Venue 222 provided a fabulous gathering place for a Spanish wine and food tasting. Entrepreneurs Wade and Debbie Dent have run several businesses over the years individually and as a couple. Urban pioneers who have invested much time, talent and treasure in Over-The-Rhine, the Dents’ newest venture is located at 222 E. 14th Street just off Sycamore. Their classic five-story OTR building is used primarily for business meetings, but can also be rented for parties or evening events. On this particular night, the...

Posted at 06:21 AM | Permalink

The Wine Guy Bistro

06/02/11

The Wine Guy Bistro

If wine went to Heaven this is where it would want to go… to The Wine Guy Bistro.It was my husband's birthday and I decided to surprise him with a few friends at The Wine Guy Bistro. First, let's talk about the atmosphere. It's such a cool environment; lively but not so loud that you can't carry on a conversation. They have sitting rooms at the front that are perfect for lounging with a few folks and having a glass of wine. The patio is very inviting and can't wait to come back to try it out. Oh, I forgot to mention they have a Wine Shop inside the restaurant (best thing ever, I'll explain later).I love going to new restaurants and it's even better with a group of friends so you can try more items on the menu. For starters we had the Meatball Appetizer, three house-made...

Posted at 03:13 PM | Permalink

Formal Indian Wine Tasting

05/27/11

Formal Indian Wine Tasting

Does Indian food really work with wine?Absolutely! If you think beer is the only way to cool and complement the heady heat and fulsome flavors of Indian food, then you are in for a great surprise.I recently attended one of the fine food and wine pairing events held on occasional Fridays at A Bottle or Two in Symmes Township. Perhaps you haven’t (yet) discovered this young wine shop, or experienced its unique approach to merchandising and service, but it’s well worth the adventure to maneuver rush hour traffic even if you live downtown (which I do).The backstory on A Bottle or Two is fascinating to me, a dream incarnate. At a key point in his successful career in law and insurance, David Pustinger decided to take a chance in 2009 on opening a wine shop. Despite the terrible...

Posted at 09:24 AM | Permalink

Tony’s Wine Dinner

05/27/11

Tony’s Wine Dinner

On May 13 we attended Tony’s Wine Dinner with Molly Meeker of Meeker Winery. Hats off to Chef Kevin Kleist, who created a special menu that complemented the wines perfectly.Course 1—Croquette Di Pesce, a Salmon Sea Bass Croquette with Herb Aioli, was paired with the 2008 Pacific Wine Works Sauvignon Blanc “North Coast.” I love white wine, and this screams summer. The fruit flavors of pear and apple make for a very crisp and clean finish. The Croquette Di Pesce melted in your mouth.Course 2—PEI Mussels, a Saffron Broth, Tomatoes, and Chorizo was paired with the 2008 Lobster Cove Chardonnay “North Coast.” This brought out all the flavors of those tasty little mussels. The saffron broth was so good that we had to soak it up with bread to get every...

Posted at 08:10 AM | Permalink

Views and Vines

05/19/11

Views and Vines

 Cincinnati is fortunate to have one of the most extensive and beautiful park systems in the United States. It is a jewel in our crown, but perhaps under appreciated?          With that thought in mind, a small group of enterprising young professionals decided nearly five years ago to introduce new friends of all ages to the joys of our green space and the history of winegrowing in Cincinnati some 150 years ago. Thus was born Views + Vines. This event has become an annual sold-out rendezvous with our parks, viewed best in the sweet light of a springtime Friday evening, impressions further softened by lovely wines and paired nibbles. Thank you to volunteers Ryan and Kara Rybolt, Dacia and Luke Snider, Sean & Paaras Parker, Paul and Kelly...

Posted at 07:35 PM | Permalink

Great Service and Unbelievable Food

05/19/11

Great Service and Unbelievable Food

A group of us headed to Carlo & Johnny to celebrate not one but two birthdays. We started off the evening at the bar while we waited to be seated. I’ve always liked the atmosphere at their bar. A live band was playing, and the crowd was electric.We had a nice private room off the garden patio. The appetizers started with the raw bar and featured Chilled Alaskan King Crab. You know what they say, go big or go home. If you’ve ever seen The Deadliest Catch, you can appreciate these scrumptious crustaceans. We sat at the table licking our fingers and craving more, but then the hot, moist towels were served to wipe away the remnants and prepare us for round 2.You can’t go to Carlo & Johnny and not order the Freddie Salad, crisp hearts of romaine, smoked bacon, Roma...

Posted at 02:37 PM | Permalink

Great Food=Great Time

05/09/11

Great Food=Great Time

It was Saturday evening, and the NCAA Final Four Games were about to begin. A group of us wanted to watch the games in a nice environment with great food. Our pick was The Polo Grille in Deerfield Township. We had a booth located next to the bar with a fantastic view to watch the NCAA games and the Reds evening opener.  We started off the night with a few appetizers and a bottle of wine. The Polo Grille has a complete wine, but we took advantage of Columbia Valley’s very reasonable corking fee of $20 and enjoyed our bottle of Helix 2006 Pomatia. Our appetizers included the Oven Baked Goat Cheese with a roasted tomato sauce served with flatbread crisps. This warm appetizer melts in your mouth! Our second appetizer was the Grilled Tandoori Chicken. The marinated chicken...

Posted at 06:45 AM | Permalink

Food & Wine

Tasteful Treasures
Flip Daddy’s Burgers & Beers

Flip Daddy’s Burgers & Beers

  With locations in Mariemont and Symmes Township, Flipdaddy’s Burgers & Beers is the perfect spot to enjoy dinner with the family, a craft beer with friends, or lunch with business associates. When owner and founder Bob Dames began...

Making Lasting Memories at VIEW Cucina

Making Lasting Memories at VIEW Cucina

I was reminded on a recent Saturday evening what it was like to have a truly wonderful dining experience. To celebrate my birthday, my boyfriend, Jason, asked where I would like him to take me. Without hesitation, I chose VIEW Cucina. As a person who loves cooking, thoroughly enjoys...

French Wine Explorers Grand Cru Tour of Burgundy Day 1-Part 1

French Wine Explorers Grand Cru Tour of Burgundy Day 1-Part 1

French Wine Explorers Grand Cru Tour of Burgundy Day 1 - Part 1   Noon, Beaune FR (10.10.11) Anticipation: two hours to go until the launch of the Grand Cru Tour of Burgundy! Getting to Beaune is not an easy proposition if you live anywhere outside of western Europe....

South African Sunday

South African Sunday

Wade and Debbie Dent have a downtown dream. It's called Venue 222. With the purchase of one of Over-The-Rhine's gorgeous vintage 1868 five-story brick buildings at 222 E.14th St. and the launch of a very cool event space, they are halfway there. Now both kids are off to college, so...

The Prism of Wine

The Prism of Wine

Logroño is the official capital of Rioja. It is about 30 minutes by car driving southeast from Haro into a different sub-region of La Rioja (Rioja Alta). It is worth choosing September for a visit to Logroño to experience the annual harvest festival honoring San Mateo. It is a...

A Tale of Two Riojas

A Tale of Two Riojas

How can one small place offer such dramatically different experiences of terroir and territory? Two wineries, two towns. La Rioja is incredible in this regard. As part of a guided tour, which I highly recommend, you can visit wineries providing the most extreme imaginable differences in...

Wine and Tapas

Wine and Tapas

Grapes are typically happy in Spain in September. Days are quite warm, but not hot. Evenings are cool - only about 10 degrees diurnal temp variation. There is a light morning fog, creating an easy but important challenge for the sun to burn off and further concentrate the natural sugars in the...

Hola La Rioja

Hola La Rioja

Cincinnati • Paris • Barcelona • Bilbao • Haro. All in about 20 hours give or take a few long layovers!A visit to Spain in September, the harvest season or vendange, is a must for any wine enthusiast eager to experience all of the major wine regions of the world. I am one for...

American cuisine that travels!

American cuisine that travels!

I’ve happily dined at La Poste in Clifton's Gaslight District many times since it opened last October. But I have always been so taken with the space and experience that I never even noticed this incredible phrase, painted in reverse on the wall of the foyer, revealed only to the most...

Avon, Colorado

Avon, Colorado

Avon, ColoradoCincinnati native Greg Eynon found his way to a dream life and restaurant ownership in Colorado the good old-fashioned way: waiting tables and bartending until the right opportunity came along. An avid outdoorsman who is passionate about fly fishing and skiing, Greg set his sights...

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