Tuesday, August 25, 2009

johnny rockets

ok, so, i've never really cared for johnny rockets. kind of lackluster and overpriced. but i was meeting some friends at newport for a movie, so we decided to give it a try.
they immediately pissed me off because i tried to order a kid's coke and the server said no. now, i know i am over the age of 10, but i seriously don't drink more than about 4 sips of coke. i am willing to pay a dollar something for those few sips, but not $2.59. and my girlfriends all drink diet, which i think is totally foul, so i can't snake a couple gulps from them. hence, i order a kid's coke. most places oblige. our server helpfully offered to put more ice in the $2.59 coke. i told her i'd have water.
she redeemed herself, though, cause she brought me a kid's coke anyway. plus, she bought us paper hats and her ketchup happy face was superb.
i ordered the route 66, a patty with swiss cheese, grilled mushrooms, and grilled onions. it was actually pretty good. the beef was a bit dry, but the overall effect of the sandwich was satisfying. i can almost imagine being in a convertible cadillac cruising along with the wind in my hair. not really, but the burger rates a 4/6. plus, the classic chrome plated atmosphere is kind of fun.

Johnny Rockets on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 24, 2009

saturday morning breakfast club

so my girlfriends and i have decided to make calorie cancelation a weekly routine: run 3 miles and then enjoy a delicious breakfast guilt-free.
my contribution this week was jam muffins. the jam was homemade wild blackberry, courtesy of my friend elisa. it looks like caviar in the photo.

jam muffins
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup melted butter
8oz. plain or vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
jam or jelly of your choice

whisk the yogurt and milk together. combine all the ingredients, including the milk and yogurt mixture. grease muffin tin and fill each well halfway with batter. top with jam/jelly and more muffin batter. bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes.

elisa brought the most amazing sausage from eckerlin meats at findlay market. seriously the best breakfast sausage i've ever had. heavy on the mustard seed and pepper, the texture was uniform and crumble free. so, so good.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

cinema in the city

in case no one has picked up on this, i am quite obsessed with classic movies. therefore, i was ecstatic to be able to attend the final installment of mt. adams cinema in the city at the seasongood pavilion this past friday. one of my all time favorites, the philadelphia story, was being shown. this is NOT to be confused with philadelphia, that tom hanks AIDS movie. the philadelphia story stars katharine hepburn, cary grant, and jimmy stewart. it was released in 1940, when hollywood made movies that relied on dialogue and character development rather than special effects (transformers: revenge of the fallen, i'm talking to you). it's clever and wonderful.

but i digress. cinema in the city was honestly one of my favorite nights out in quite a while. even the weather cooperated. coolers are welcome, which we didn't realize until we got there. there were theater candies, popcorn, and delicious offerings from the rookwood for sale. the rookwood has replaced porkopolis in the old rookwood pottery space, thank god. they had burgers, kroeger and sons metts and brats, fresh lemonade with mint, and jeni's ice cream.

i had to try the burger. i ordered it loaded with everything (except grilled peppers) - white cheddar, mushrooms, grilled onions, and bacon. though a little small on patty size (maybe it was smaller for the venue?), it was packed with juicy flavor. i don't remember being particularly wowed by the bun, which is strange because the rookwood emphasizes their artisan breads. no matter. overall a quality burger experience (5/6).

dessert was jeni's bourbon butter pecan. i don't really care for bourbon, but if it tasted like this, i would drink it all the time. i decided to get it because the guy at the rookwood booth said it was the best. the ice cream was divine - smooth, creamy, bourbony. maybe could have used a few more pecans, but that's just me nitpicking. completely refreshing on a summer night.elisa and randy enjoyed the glow necklaces provided free by cincinnati bell. yeah, i enjoyed the glow necklaces, too.we all thoroughly enjoyed seeing a classic on the big screen.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

jewish coffee cake

a couple girlfriends and i got together to run saturday morning and share breakfast. we each contributed a dish. i piped in with "i'll make jewish coffee cake!", which was met with "what the hell is that?".
in my family, we call a lot of specific foods "jewish", for no apparent reason. for example, salted rye=jewish rye. when i asked my mom what made the below coffee cake jewish, her response was she had no idea. but it's a family favorite, so here's the recipe.

1/4 lb. butter
1 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs, unbeaten
1 c. sour cream
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 c. chopped walnuts

cream butter and sugar. add unbeaten eggs, one at a time. add flour, soda and baking powder mixture alternately with sour cream. add vanilla last. put half of batter in a well-greased tubular pan. cover with half of topping. put remaining batter on top and the balance of topping. bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

enjoy with friends who smell as bad as you do after running.
if you want to be more politically correct, you can call it sour cream coffee cake.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


until last weekend, i had never had ethiopian food. at my friend elisa's suggestion, a bunch of us enjoyed a leisurely saturday lunch in the relaxing, zen-like atmosphere of emanu.
since we were all ethiopian cuisine virgins, we asked for just a selection of the server's (owner?) favorites. she was very accomodating and prehaps found us fairly amusing. of course, we were the only people in the restaurant, so she was probably hard up for entertainment.
to start, we shared the beef sambussa(s?) my sister found it impossible to wait for me to take a picture before reaching for one. absolutely delightful - suprisingly ungreasy and not overly fried.
below is not a presentation of refreshing hot towels. it's a plate of injera, the spongy flat bread made from teff flour east africans use as both bread and utensil (more info here). it also lines the serving bowl, soaking up juices as the meal progresses. it has a slightly sour taste, which was nice, but i don't think i cared much for the texture. it reminded me of the spongy lining in my kitchen drawers. as you can see, we had a wide variety of tidbits to try. in the center was a hard-boiled egg.

my favorite was probably the beef, which i think was zignie. i was kind of a bad blogger and didn't take proper notes.

everything was very delicious, with an unusual (to my palate) combination of flavors. even though i don't think i ate a lot, i was full quickly. we thought we were finished until the owner came by and scolded us for not eating more. we continued to plug away. apparently the meal is not considered finished until the injera "tablecloth" lining the bowl is also consumed.
all in all a very pleasurable eating experience.

Emanu East African Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 15, 2009

boo julie & julia!

ok, i haven't been very up on my blog reading, so if this has already covered ad nauseam in the cincinnati food blog world, i apologize. but i just returned from julie & julia, and wow, am i suffering from major movie letdown. how can i have not liked this movie? it's about food and a food blogger. and julia child. and it stars amy adams AND meryl streep?! what's not to love? well, i will tell you.

it was boring. went on and on for ever. despite this seeming eternity, i did not feel i got to know the characters at all and they were not engaging. i didn't care what happened to them. the food didn't make me hungry. meryl streep was obviously standing on some kind of raised platform in several scenes.

i do have to say though, meryl streep was a pretty good julia child; she was fun to watch. but it just wasn't enough to hold my attention for a whole movie.

it felt like the movie tried to do so many things it didn't succeed at anything.

maybe i'm being too harsh? did i build up too high of expectations?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

molly malone's

despite wine me, dine me's lukewarm review of molly malone's in pleasant ridge, i had to give it a try for myself. my friend kevin and i stopped there on our way home from kenwood sunday (yes, when you live on the westside, pleasant ridge can be on the way home from kenwood). there were maybe 5 people in the whole restaurant.

the atmosphere of the long-lost dubliner lingers, but i found the food to be...well, just ok. first we had the irish egg rolls. sounded wonderful conceptually: sauerkraut, corned beef, irish cheese (whatever that means). the execution was lacking, however. completely bland. even for cabbage and corned beef.

for lunch i had the bookmaker steak sandwich. it was impressive looking, overflowing with beef and cheese. while the bread was satisfactory, again i found the beef and cheese to have little flavor, despite the red onions. seriously in need of some seasoning. the accompanying "tart and creamy" horseradish sauce needed way less creamy and way more tart. load up the horseradish, people! something needs to add flavor.

i think my biggest problem was the food just seemed so non-committal. great ideas, but deficient in the aplomb necessary for a successful dish.
i will continue to mourn the loss of the dubliner, their marvelous boxty, and superior sunday brunch.

Molly Malone's Irish Pub on Urbanspoon