Saturday, September 29, 2012

Set Your GPS for Thai Namtip

Thai Namtip Dining Room
      Lisa didn't play up Thai Namtip very much, so the delight was all ours when we arrived there for dinner.  Yes, it's in a strip mall, but once you cross its borders, you'll feel like you've entered a different land.  Beautifully decorated with intricate teak carvings, the details continue right down to the native

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Cleft Below the Cleavage is the New Refrigerator Repairman Crack

I'd Love to Get My Paws on That Hemline!
     In 2000, Jennifer Lopez wore (barely) the Green Versace Jungle Dress, which was basically a shimmering, diaphanous bathrobe.  Most memorable about the dress was its cut – right below the navel.  Because of this, about 40% of her breasts were visible and they had to be taped to the dress so that they wouldn’t be completely revealed.  It was a fashion statement all right and, to be ruthlessly honest, it made Lopez’s career.  She could be disingenuous and say that it was just a nice

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Marx Hot Bagels: Love It, or Leave It

Dexter Visits with a Customer While John Marx Takes an Order
     Marx Hot Bagels has seen some changes through the years since it first opened its doors in 1969.  Growing to four stores at one point, the operation now focuses on one storefront in Blue Ash.  Carole, Karen, and I stopped by for lunch recently and couldn’t help but notice that the place was

Friday, September 21, 2012

"Trapeze", "Restless" and "The Night Watch": English Women in World War II

A Scene from Female Agents
     Some people are obsessed by the American Civil War and read practically anything about it.  Besides Gore Vidal’s Lincoln and Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels, there are few novels about the subject.  However, World War II is a veritable treasure trove for fiction writers.  A number of recent works are worth checking out about various aspects of the war from the British side of things.

     Recently published in trade paperwork is Trapeze by Simon Mawer.  (The British title was The Girl Who Fell From The Sky and it’s both more evocative and accurate).  The story focuses on the training, placement, and complex, double assignment for

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Anna Ree’s Andouille: An-do-we? Yes we do!

A Night On the Bayou (a.k.a. Ohio River)
Dexter Hangs Out with Lagniappe
     New Richmond has a destination restaurant and even though it bills itself as Louisiana cooking, I feel it’s more akin to Baton Rouge than New Orleans and I mean that as a compliment.  There’s a relaxed, friendly vibe that feels like it’s about to bubble into a party, especially with the house band Lagniappe playing zydeco music on

Friday, September 14, 2012

Rosanne Cash: The Gritty Cosmopolitan/ The Disarmingly Modest Artist

     Rosanne Cash has been one of the most idiosyncratic American writers of the past thirty years.  She began with songwriting and has added children’s fiction and a memoir, Composed, to the mix.  Music’s commercial establishment has always wrestled with typing her because an artist i.e. ‘brand’ is easier to sell to the masses.  She was country, alternative country, country/pop, alternative, and

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Habits Cafe—"Taking a Break from All Your Worries, Sure Would Help a Lot"

Dexter Waiting to be Served Outside of Habits
      Habits Cafe used to be on my list of regular establishments for eating.  Then Eric entered the picture and he felt their menu wasn't good enough to keep him going back.  Since he's my usual dining partner, I haven't been there for around

Monday, September 10, 2012

"Robot & Frank": An elegy to memory and missed family opportunities

     Robot & Frank, made by first-time filmmakers director Jake Schreier and writer Christopher D. Ford, is a low-key, simple yet layered study of a retired burglar living with the onset of dementia in the near future.  He’s played by Frank Langella in a performance that is quietly powerful and depends both upon an elegant arrogance that he projects effortlessly and his physical stature.  Frank’s children (James Marsden and Liv Tyler) are concerned about his mental health so son Hunter provides him with a robot.  

Robot Working in the Garden While Frank and Dexter Relax
     The robot believes in a set agenda for Frank’s day as a means to ensure his mental acuity, but Frank is more interested in resuming his career as a thief.  Primarily, this is because he is interested in romantically engaging Jennifer the

Saturday, September 8, 2012

It's a Win-Win at the Original Greater Cincinnati Fall Restaurant Week

      C'mon…you must have some occasion to celebrate with a night out to one of Cincinnati's finest restaurants.  Starting Monday, September 10 and running through Wednesday, September 19, the Greater Cincinnati Independent Restaurants will participate in the city's original Fall Restaurant Week.  Depending on the price level of the

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Eva Longoria: You Just Earned My Respect

     “The Eva Longoria who worked at Wendy's flipping burgers—she needed a tax break.  The Eva Longoria who works on movie sets does not.”  With that line, Eva Longoria summed up the primary issue that could solve our economic woes.  I enjoyed Longoria on Desperate Housewives, but tired of the show because it didn’t go anywhere and wasn’t as trenchant as Sex and the City.  Longoria is the Co-Chair of the Committee to Re-elect the President so she isn’t as impartial as Clint Eastwood was initially last week.  Who knew that she had a job in college changing oil?  Many know that 2 out of 3 jobs are created by small businesses, but who knew that Obama has provided 18 tax cuts to them?  I’m glad to know it and I hope others are too.  Things that make you go . . . hmmm.

Go Down the Street to the Third Indian Restaurant on the Right…Dusmesh

      Cincinnati has an abundance of Indian cuisine, especially in the Clifton area where Dusmesh resides just down the hill of Ludlow Avenue on the way to Northside.  It's been a place for Indian fare for many years (India Palace in a former life), but Dusmesh is a step above it and the others.  From our sincere welcome at the onset, we observed how each new customer was greeted to join this special place.  Service was exceptional for a buffet even as diners grew in number.  

Dusmesh Dining Room
The space was modestly decorated in what I would term Indian Country…mango colored walls with a stenciled border and linen curtains.  If I were to update anything it would be the

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"Good People": The quintessence of Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati

     David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People is an excellent jumping off point for people who haven’t seen a show at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati (ETC) and a sharp, attractively dangerous choice for those who are acquainted with its past work.  Good People is a comedy-drama that faces what happens to the working poor who are one paycheck away from economic calamity, the lower middle class who

Monday, September 3, 2012

Great Scott! German Fare and a Ghost on the East Side

Great Scott Entrance

      There's been a vacancy at Nick's Chops & Chasers in Oakley for several years now.  The Germanic atmosphere (including soiled carpet, awkward layout, and occasional fumes from the toilets) was as much a part of that establishment as the fabulous pastas and chops.  Originally built as Zimmerman Winery, the eccentricities were missed when it closed.

Old World Dining Room
Wood Paneled Pub

      Great Scott, with sister restaurants in Withamsville and Amelia, opened in early August.  We met Jan and Mike there hoping that at least the carpet had been disposed of.  It had, and we're all the better for the new wooden floor.  Walls have also been lightened up, but the pub look is still there with much of the paneling intact.  It's brighter overall while still retaining the charm of the original space.

      The menu is extensive with something for every taste.  Yes, it's that broad!  Prices are moderate and when we saw other patrons' dishes being served, we knew the portions were

Sunday, September 2, 2012

"The Campaign" Is Not Far from Reality

Family Men
     Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis star in The Campaign as, respectively, a five-term, boneheaded incumbent U.S. Representative and his unlikely, fey opponent.  It moves quickly, zings the current campaign season, and nails the reluctance of candidates to really address issues with proposed solutions, either because they underestimate their

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What's Happening With Some of Our Favorite Restaurants

      We’ve recently visited some restaurants that we reviewed enthusiastically in the past.  Here are some additional notes:

Cumin – what started as Indian and then morphed into Indian/Northern Italian has now become ‘eclectic’ and we’re not sure what that means, but the Sunday Brunch Is excellent.  Each dish has a number of different twists on classics such as