Friday, September 30, 2011

A Real Nice Clambake

This was a real nice clambake,
We're mighty glad we came.
The vittles we et
Were good, you bet,
The company was the same.
Our hearts are warm, our bellies are full,
And we are feeling prime.
This was a real nice clambake,
And we all had a real good time.

                                from "Carousel"
                                                       lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein

      While Hurricane Irene moved up the east coast, Carole and Tom were preparing to host a clambake on the east coast of Cincinnati.  They own and operate the 1861 Inn Bed & Breakfast in Batavia (the link is in our sidebar), a historic and inviting establishment that served as the setting for their afternoon and evening dinner party.   

Those Real Nice Clams
      When we arrived a little late, they were in the kitchen making last minute preparations.  All eyes were on the steamer pot filled with chicken, sausage, and mussels,—topped off with the clams.  Carole asked that we

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sankalp is Fresh Southern Indian Cuisine with Special Touches

      Anisha is originally from India so while working with her I wanted to visit one of her favorite restaurants in the area.  I'm not an expert on the complexity of flavors and seasoning in Indian food so I was looking to learn from the experience.  She offered up some restaurant suggestions and then said she thought we should go to Sankalp in Sharonville.  Then she mentioned that it was a chain.  Now I was a little confused.  A chain Indian restaurant?  It seemed odd that it would be near the top of her list, but I was not the expert here, remember?  Upon further question, I discovered that Sankalp was founded in India in 1981 and now spans the globe.  Sankalp translates to "determination" and that was evident with our experience there.

Sankalp's Signature Contemporary Interior
Vegetable and Dessert Buffet
      Carole joined us.  The look was very contemporary, and a lunch buffet surrounded the back of the dining room.  Anisha explained the sweet and spicy sauces and what they should accompany.  I took her suggestions and tried a few of my own.  Most of the dishes were on the spicy side and my mouth was pulsating.  I started with the Cold Kidney Bean and Vegetable Salad with

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cincinnati Magazine's View of the City from SouthShore

The River Party at SouthShore in Newport

      Cincinnati Magazine hosts events throughout the year to complement their monthly cover stories. We've attended a few and found them a great way to sample some of the best that our city has to offer.  

Cincinnati and the
Daniel Carter Beard Bridge
Paul and I recently went to the latest installment at the new SouthShore condominiums in Newport.  Food was provided by Fresh Table, a ready-to-eat and take out merchant located

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"Moneyball" and Brad Pitt: Thinking Outside The Box

Dexter on the Moneyball set
with Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill

      Brad Pitt has been compared to Robert Redford for years, but in Moneyball, hopefully people will see that he’s the new Paul Newman.  He’s confident yet uncertain, smart but with a common touch, and progressive but rooted in traditional values when the chips are down.  Like George Clooney in Michael Clayton, where he proved himself to be the new Robert Mitchum, rather than the Cary Grant some thought, he gives a contemporary version of

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Noce's New York Style Pizzeria—All the Flavors of NYC

Noce's Pizza Selection
The New York Style Interior

      I like New York style pizza, so when I heard about Noce's, I put it on my shortlist.  The Montgomery location (there are four around Cincinnati) was close to my work so I talked Karen and Melissa into joining me.  It's an inconspicuous  strip center storefront with an interior that immediately

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cincinnati Embraces All the Music at MidPoint Music Fest

Sounds like we all better hurry on down to MidPoint!

      We just got back from the first night of MPMF.11 and if the crowd's response tonight was any indication of this year's talent, it will be the best one to date.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Drive-In to the Silver Spring House

      It was a rainy day as Karen, Melissa, and I ventured out for lunch at the Silver Spring House.  I mention that only because when we arrived the ample parking lot was full and we had to circle around to wait for someone to leave.  It's obviously a popular place!  Despite the full lot, we were immediately seated and approached by our servers, one of whom was in training.

Original Drive-In Building
Bar and Dining Area
Wall Covered "Famous" Photos
      Originally a drive-in, the atmosphere was casual and resort-like with its open air dining space.  When the weather turns colder, the windows come down and the heaters come on.  There's also an indoor dining room in the original building.  Seating is at regular and bar height tables, as well as numerous booths.  The walls are covered with framed photos of famous visitors and not-so famous friends.  It immediately commands you to relax and stay a while.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Polly Platt, Jane Fonda, Barbara Loden and Their Work on A Masterpiece, A Classic, and then the Hedgehog

      There’s been a great deal of attention paid to the Film School Auteur generation that came of age in Hollywood during the last extraordinary artistic and commercial period from around 1966 when Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf became the first R-rated movie to around Star Wars when technology overtook human emotions.  To paraphrase George Lucas, directors either direct people or things and this period moved from intensely drawn human portraits to spectacularly presented epics about hardware.  (Don’t use that against them or blame the era:  westerns were about horses, riders, and mountains).  The focus during that period has been on men, but let’s look again at

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Spagio – 30 Years and Counting in Grandview Heights, Columbus

The Eclectic Atrium Dining Area and Bar
Original Artwork in the Main Dining Room

      Neil and I wanted to take his sister, Martha, out for her birthday to brunch.  Neil suggested Spagio, which opened in the Grandview area of Columbus in 1981.  The dinner menu is eclectic, though it leans towards Italian and Mediterranean cuisines.  The Weekend Brunch menu consists of many new takes on old favorites.  This reflects the look of the restaurant.  You can tell from the artwork that

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hugo: A Very Good Restaurant That Deserves To Take A Bow

Main Dining Room

      Hugo opened four years ago in Oakley across the street from Boca.  The Chef/owner is Sean Daly and the restaurant reflects his training at Johnson and Wales in Charleston and is named after Hurricane Hugo that hit South Carolina in 1989 and was the economically costliest hurricane up to that time in U.S. history.  We’ve been to Hugo on a number of occasions and it is remarkably consistent.  I’d rather have a couple of appetizers and share an entrée on a spontaneous whim and about $50 there than anywhere else in the region.  Unlike some more highly rated or talked about restaurants in the region, we’ve never

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ensemble’s “Next to Normal” Deserves to Be A Hit

      Ensemble Theatre kicks off the fall season with Next to Normal, the 2010 Pulitzer prize-winning musical by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey and this production points up the many strengths of Ensemble as well as some of its weaknesses.  Next to Normal is about a contemporary family dealing with mother Diana’s

Sampling Restaurant Week at Bouquet in Covington

      We couldn't resist, so we met Carole and Tom at Bouquet to start off the Fall Restaurant Week.  Between the four of us, we tried everything on the special menu of 3 courses for $26.11 except the Mixed Green Salad.  All was very enjoyable (especially the Green Bean Caesar Salad) and we recommend that you at least try one of the 25 restaurants on this year's list before it ends on Sunday, September 18. 
Bon appetit!

Green Bean Caesar Salad
with Almonds, Citrus, and Fried Capers

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lunch Express at Slatts Pub

      There's an abundance of picks for lunch in the Blue Ash area, but one that I had not been to was Slatts Pub, a place that had been described by an acquaintance as something between TGIFriday's and Cheesecake Factory.  I couldn't find the similarities, but then people have different experiences and perspectives.

Bar and Dining Area of Slatts Pub
      Karen, Melissa, and I headed there for lunch. They had both been there many times and found it to be a good selection.  It's a typical American pub with several dining areas, including an outdoor patio.  We were seated in the sunroom that was bright and cheery.  The bar area is much darker and more of a sports bar atmosphere although there were TV's in the sunroom also.  

      Our server greeted us with "good evening", but then she appeared a bit disheveled and probably felt the day had been too long already.  After looking over the rather

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fall Theatre Season Heats Up The Cincinnati Region

It's time to mark your calendars for your theatre picks this fall.  I'm anticipating some great performances!  However, I haven't seen anything about Cats returning.

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park

      This fall looks like a winner for theatergoers since there will be a number of classics and newly minted award winners in production.  Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park will present two Tony Award winning Best Plays (God of Carnage and Red) on the Marx Mainstage.  God of Carnage won the Tony in 2009 and Red won it a year later.  Carnage was written by Yasmina Reza and translated by Christopher Hampton and Playhouse had a big hit with

Monday, September 5, 2011

For the most beautiful view in Cincinnati, visit The Terrace Café

Terrace Café Overlooking the Alice Bimel Courtyard
      In the tri-state region, we’re fortunate to not only have the Cincinnati Art Museum with its comprehensive collection of the major historical periods, but also to visit the Terrace Café that looks out on the Alice Bimel Courtyard of the building.  Over the last few years, we’ve eaten in the airy, sleek interior dining room as well as outside on the terrace with its Lucite overhead covering.  The sinuous, 19th century nude statues set

Friday, September 2, 2011

Are Women The New Men, Part Two: “Our Idiot Brother”

      A colleague of mine recently said that scientists are tracking the weakening of the Y chromosome and its potential extinction, which mean that there would be fewer, if any, males at some time in the future.  Our Idiot Brother shows what could happen if this theory became reality. Paul Rudd is the neo hippie, organic micro farmer who, through a cruel sting, ends up doing some jail time.  Upon release, he finds his girlfriend, played by Kathryn Hahn, has replaced him.  Hahn plays the most annoying, passive aggressive ball-buster