Friday, March 21, 2008

in defense of larosa's

this is in response to cincinnati magazine's recent restaurant issue in which local chefs gave their two cents on local diners. one comment i took particularly to heart was "they like larosa's". what in the hell is wrong with larosa's? i know it is not fine italian dining, but it is comforting. i grew up in cincinnati, and grew up on larosa's. every sunday night for years and years we went to my grandparents and had larosa's for dinner. it was a treat and the only time during the week we had restaurant food unless it was a special occasion.
nowadays, it's an easy dinner choice for two reasons. 1) my husband will eat it, no complaints or suspiciously raised eyebrows. 2) it comes right to my house. besides, what else is a good catholic girl from the westside going to eat on friday nights in lent? certainly she can't be expected to frequent the fish fry exclusively.
another charge against cincinnati diners was that there are "no real foodies, only wannabes". now, i don't consider myself trendy enough to warrant the title of 'foodie', which to me conjures up images of emo glasses and gray ribbed turtlenecks, something i just don't feel connected with. in fact, when i have visited the restaurants touted as the best of the city, i have felt undeniably awkward and out of place. i would consider myself an educated eater - i have cooked with fennel (vegetable, not just seed), tried kumquats, watch the food network regularly, and have read books by michael pollan. i even have ratatouille on dvd. blue ray, actually. i think about my food enough that i've started growing my own herbs and am planning to trade them for vegetables from two friends with larger yards and more patience (thanks, ladies). eating is something we do everyday. if we're lucky, three times a day. as a pharmacy student, i spend a lot of time reading about therapeutics for disease states intrinsically linked to food choices, such as type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia. so to me, it's something that should be a priority on the thinking agenda. i try to make conscientious decisions.
i am fortunate that my mother was experimental in the kitchen, and while this sometimes went awry (ie the orange juice rice incident of 1991), it instilled in me a love of "adventurous" eating. my husband, however, does not possess this same devotion to culinary exploration (hence the aforementioned raised eyebrows). to rally against the charges of the cincinnati chefs can be a challenge when half the dining party is still hungry after dinner at nada. when we ventured to melt, we hadn't even left the restaurant before my husband was telling me we needed to get more to eat, possibly at price hill chili. or maybe, we needed to order some larosa's.


Leo said...

i have ratatouille as well... man, that rat can cook. anyway, i'm feelin' ya on this. while i'd never consider larosa's fine dining (who would?), it certainly has a charm all its own that is very much cincinnati. i was a little upset a few years ago when gold star rated higher than skyline in a survey among chefs... I mean come on! i don't put a lot of stock in what cinti mag says anyway... i get their mag, but i am certainly not their target audience.

k said...

i have found that cinti mag- in general- ignores the westside. that is a travesty.