Wish I were in town for this one…
The Anchor-OTR’s chef, Derek dos Anjos, and Cincinnati’s favorite mixologist, Molly Wellmann, are teaming up to prepare a multi-course meal paired with cocktails using Watershed Distillery’s hand crafted spirits.
The Anchor-OTR (theanchor-otr.com) opened in September 2012 on the northeast corner of the newly renovated Washington Park. The Anchor specializes in creative and fresh seafood: beach food classics such as hush puppies, oysters on the half shell, fish tacos, lobsters rolls and much more. The Anchor serves only the highest quality and sustainable seafood paired with hand crafted cocktails and carefully chosen eclectic wine and beer list.
Watershed Distillery (watersheddistillery.com) is one of the leaders in Ohio’s (and the country’s) micro-distillery renaissance. Founded in 2010 by Greg Lehman and Dave Rigo, Watershed started with their Four Peel Gin, a modern gin with aromatic botanicals, including citrus peel, coriander and allspice. Their Vodka is quadruple distilled to yield a light body and smooth drinkability. In 2012, Watershed introduced one of their most interesting and unique spirits: the Bourbon Barrel Gin – their four peel gin is aged for one year in bourbon barrels creating a complex and delicious product: a little bit gin, a little bit bourbon. Watershed’s Bourbon is made in small batches using a combination of corn, wheat, rye and an unusual ingredient – spelt – which gives the bourbon a unique flavor.
Since their creation, Watershed has been gaining recognition both here in Ohio and on the national stage. Molly Wellmann, who is co-owner of Japps, Neons and Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar and a newly published author of “Handcrafted Cocktails: The Mixologist’s guide to Classic Drinks, Morning, Noon and Night”, was also an early supporter of Watershed. In fact, she introduced Greg Lehman to the owners of The Anchor, Derek and Jocelyn dos Anjos. Almost immediately, they brainstormed on how to collaborate on an event involving all of their passions and expertise and to expose even more Cincinnatians to Watershed’s unique and delicious spirits.
The Watershed founders, Molly Wellmann and Chef Derek dos Anjos will be present at the cocktail dinner to chat with guests about their cocktails, spirits and food.
WHAT: A multi-course cocktail dinner prepared by chef Derek dos Anjos and paired with cocktails prepared by Molly Wellmann. Limited seating and thus RSVP is required. Call 513-421-8111
WHEN: Wednesday October 16, 2013 @ 6:30 pm
WHERE: The Anchor, 1401 Race Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
COST: $75/person (gratuity and tax included)
Old: Booth #75, an homage to the best seat in the Maisonette house
New: open, sparkling kitchen
Old: a cocktail list with a drink, the Sparkling ’64, named for the year the Maisonette received its first 5-star award from the Mobil Travel Guide, and a play off of the French 75.
New: waiters in jeans and a young, female vintner pouring samples of wine for guests.
Another tip of the hat to “old” are pommes souffles, which my date suggested I try. Insisted I try. Pommes souffles are a very traditional French preparation: thinly sliced potatoes, twice-fried, so they magically puff up. They’re light as air and incredibly delicious, and were never actually on the menu at the Maisonette, but everyone who was anyone knew to order them. My friend’s parents ordered them for her as a little girl, when they’d take her there for dinner. These are accompanied by a beautiful Béarnaise.
Everyone tells me that they are waiting to go to Boca to celebrate a special occasion. Don’t. Go and grab a drink at the beautiful bar, order a small plate, and admire the nearly seamless blending of old and new.
What does that make you think of?
When Laura Gleason, one of the organizers of the Camargo Hunter Trials, approached me about this event a few months ago, I was dubious. I love horses and equestrian events, but it sounded a little pretentious.
Then, I talked to people who attended. And now I want to go (and intend to go).
The Camargo Hunter Trials, in its 73rd year, does involve English-style riding, hounds, and Indian Hill, but the real star of the party is actually the tailgate.
Who knew you could tailgate at the Hunter Trials?
Apparently people go all out: living rooms, chandeliers, four-course meals. Some people bring tater tot casseroles and drink PBR. And there’s everything in between. This year, two Chef judges, Jimmy Gibson and Jose Salazar, will judge entries. Everyone shares, and everyone has fun, and apparently no foxes are actually harmed in the Trials (whew).
It’s October 5, from 7 AM – 4 PM (or thereabouts). Come and go, enter or no– should be a fun afternoon.
Want to join? Here are a few FAQs:
Gates open at 7 am. You can come anytime – it runs until around 4
Do I have to compete? What does it cost to participate?
How is it judged?
What are the judging categories ?
Is it fancy?
How much food do I have to cook?
What facilities are available in the field?
Are there any rules?
(I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because even someone with two English degrees needs a little help sometimes. This post, surprisingly enough, was not sponsored by Fitnext. I really just love ‘em that much.)
It’s amazing I’ve ever even tried anything sports-related, based on my grade school gym teachers.
I think I was part of the last group of kids who grew up where not everyone was a winner or encouraged. As a kid, I took ballet and piano lessons; I never played soccer or volleyball. I was always tall (I think I stopped growing in the 6th grade) and never particularly good at sports. At recess, I preferred to read or talk to my friends instead of playing kickball.
This pretty much put a big, fat target on my back from my gym teachers. Not good at running? We’ll make fun of you for being one of the last finishers. Really good at dodging, but bad at catching? We’ll get frustrated with you for not just getting out so the game of Dodgeball they called “Warball” (that was when violence was still OK on the playground, I guess) could end, and encourage the kids who were better throwers to hit you. At 14, I had to have a lot of work done on my knee and was basically out of gym for half a year. Instead of accomodating, I got to sit on the gym’s stage and read while other kids played sports. I realized, sitting there, that the gym teachers didn’t have anything to say except about gym-related stuff. They didn’t care about the books I was reading, but they did care about the boy who could throw the ball farthest. I guess our priorities were different. I hope that gym teachers today are a little more accepting of differing athletic abilities.
My high school gym teachers were much better: one of them, at one point, coached the Xavier Women’s basketball team, and patiently taught me how to do lay-ups (I am still pretty darn good at it). The other realized I’d probably be pretty good at archery (I was!) and encouraged me.
Still, the experiences from grades 1-8 pretty much ruined me for exercise later in life. I didn’t enjoy it, I didn’t want to do it– beyond a few baskets and a little Hunger Games action, I just wasn’t good at anything.
So, over the years, I found myself both more out of shape and unhappier. I knew running wasn’t a good idea (hello, knees), but I watched all of my friends do it, and was pretty envious. I would go through periods where I’d go to the gym all the time, and then quit, after not seeing results. A couple of friends encouraged me to try this new gym on Main Street, Fitnext– but I brushed it aside. I didn’t want to get buff, and I certainly couldn’t afford it. Personal training is, like, $60 an hour, right? Not happening.
In January, though, something clicked. I was at my heaviest, and didn’t want to be. I was 32, and certainly not getting any younger, and my knees were giving me more issues. I also legitimately had no excuse not to exercise: I work from home, so I could go first thing in the morning without worrying about a commute or looking pretty for work. My upstairs neighbors all went to Fitnext, and its owner, Criston Smith, was a friend of mine on Facebook. It doesn’t hurt to try!
Well, actually, it does. After my first workout with Tes, Fitnext’s head trainer, I couldn’t move my arms for about 4 days. Tes understood my limitations (mostly involving jumping and lateral moves) and was super encouraging and not intimidating. I saw a variety of people in that class: people who were in great shape, people who were just getting started, and people in between. All ages, all races. It was pretty cool, and kind of inspiring. Everyone just fights their own battle. I could, too.
In the first few months, I lost 20 pounds and gained a bunch of muscle. And, slowly, it became part of my routine. I started planning my work trips so that I could get as many workouts in as possible. I started at three visits a week when I wasn’t traveling. Then four. Then five. This week I did five and a bounce class (just because). I hate missing my Saturday class because it tends to be the same people, and we all have a sort of camaraderie (that happens when you’re working out at 9:30 on a Saturday and at least half of the group has over-imbibed the night before) that I miss when I’m not there.
I’ve kind of stalled, inches- and pounds-wise, which was getting me down for a while. Then one of my trainers, Eric (who recently moved) said, “Julie, you realize that when you started, you couldn’t lift ten pounds in a tricep extension, and now you can do 30? You’ve tripled your strength. That’s kind of awesome.”
And he’s right. That is kind of awesome. I may not be a good soccer player, or be able to run, or even be thin, but I am a lot stronger and a lot healthier. I have muscle in my arms and legs. I’m trimmer. I have more endurance for things like walking campus for work, or making a tight connection at the airport.
I really like it, and I will tell you all about it if you let me. Even when, like this morning, my cardio isn’t running on a trampoline (which I like way more than I ever thought I would) but battle ropes, which made me think that maybe, just maybe, I’d pass out. I’m far more confident, because someone is telling me that I can do it: they’re not humiliating me when I can’t, or comparing me to other people in the class. It’s just me, my body and mind, trying their best to work together and lift things. And now I tell myself that I can do it. I get a whole hour in the day to think about nothing more than getting stronger and healthier. It’s cliche, but it is my slice of time just to myself.
If you’re intimidated by the gym or by muscle-bound trainers, check out Fitnext. Really. You get personalized workouts, in a supportive group setting at a very reasonable price. You’ll feel good, look good, and do something to balance out all of the food I write about here!
And to my gym teachers in grade school: fitness isn’t about how you throw the ball, or run a mile, but finding something you love and doing your very best at it. And that’s precisely what I’m doing.
Frannie Kroner, best known for her Feast dinner extravaganzas, is going brick and mortar.
Kroner is pairing up with John Hutton and Sandra Gross, known for their other businesses, Brazee Street Studios and Blue Manatee, on a breakfast-brunch-lunch concept. According to Kroner, this allows her to continue Feast dinners (so no worries there, folks). It’ll be local, organic, and with “a creative edge,” according to Kroner.
In case you’re not familiar with Kroner, before Feast she worked at Slim’s, eat well celebrations and feasts, staged at Lola Bistro in Cleveland and graduated from the Midwest Culinary Institute. More recently, she developed recipes for both Picnic and Pantry as their market chef and for Bakersfield OTR.
The Sleepy Bee is targeted to open in December, after Kroner’s joing project with Artworks, Random Snacks of Kindness, debuts. You can follow Sleepy Bee’s build-out on Facebook.
I was asked by the awesome folks at the Cincinnati Museum Center to host a great event– Wineosaurus Rex on September 25. We’ll try several value-priced wines, ranging from a crisp Torrontes to a sweet Moscato, along with some delicious bites prepared by Chef Stephanie Salas. All of this will happen outside the Ultimate Dinosaur exhibit, and you can tour before or after you hae your bites and wine!
Here’s the menu:
Alamos Torrontes (white)
Served with summer peach and shrimp ceviche on tortilla crisp
Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon (red)
Served with five pepper spiced beef satay with roasted shallot aioli
Xplorador Malbec (red)
Served with mozzarella crostini and local clover honey
Xplorador Moscato (white)
Served with gorgonzola stuffed strawberries topped with toasted pistachio dust
Cost: Cincinnati Museum Center Members and Enjoy the Arts Members $20, non-Members $30. Admission to the Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit andDinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia OMNIMAX® film are not included. Ultimate Dinosaurs will have extended hours on September 25, with last entry at 9 p.m.Click here to buy tickets or call (513) 287-7001.
(And yes, this is the silliest picture I’ve taken. It was fun.)
Holtman’s, with locations in Loveland and Williamsburg, opened their latest outpost in Over-the-Rhine. Coincidentally, across the street from my gym, and I swear this morning I could smell sugar and fat as I did tricep dips.
It’s a good thing I crave savory and not sweet, or else I’d be in trouble.
After a soft opening on Friday night, The Better Half grabbed some donuts for us to try on Saturday morning. They are indeed cheaper by the dozen, so we tried a bite of several. A few standouts:
Maple Bacon Donut: Yeast donut, maple frosting, bacon. Yeah, it’s pretty tasty. Donuts are so sweet that the savory bacon really balances things out.
Pumpkin Spice donut: Yeast donut with glaze, which tastes a bit like pumpkin bread. Nice.
Glazed: The gold donut standard, and this one is a little heavier and has a creamy texture. Very nice.
I have a feeling they’ll be packed every morning for the next few weekends, but if you have a sweet tooth, this is your place.
Boca has one of the best wine lists in the city, so it doesn’t surprise me that they are hosting this series. From Boca:
On Thursday, September 19, Boca and Hirsch Vineyards will kick-off a series of events in partnership with wineCRAFT, the restaurant’s partner and importer of the city’s most sought-after selections. Beginning at 1:30 p.m., winemaker Jasmine Hirsch will offer a free seminar on the Extreme Sonoma Coast with tastes of the vineyard’s famed San Andreas Pinot Noir, recently profile in the Wall Street Journal. Following the educational event, Boca Executive Chef Jeremy Lieb will create a four-course dinner with expertly paired wines from Hirsch Vineyards beginning at 6:30 p.m. The four-course wine dinner, which includes canapés and sparkling wine reception upon arrival, costs $150 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. The full menu with wine pairings is available upon request.
Additionally, on Friday, September 20, Kevin Hart of wineCraft and Jasmine Hirsch will pour the vineyard’s Pinot by the glass and answer any questions from the patrons during dinner service at Boca.
Boca Restaurant, 114 E 6th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
The seminar is free with RSVP with tasting of wine available for purchase; the four-course wine dinner costs $150 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity
Thursday, September 19 at 1:30 p.m.: Jasmine Hirsch of Hirsch Vinyards will lead a seminar on the Extreme Sonoma Coast; limited availability; RSVP is required
Thursday, September 19 at 6:30 p.m.: A four-course wine dinner by Boca Executive Chef Jeremy Lieb; limited availability; RSVP is required
Friday, September 20 during dinner service: Kevin Hart of wineCraft and Jasmine Hirsch will pour the vineyard’s Pinot by the glass and answer any questions from patron
Diner en Blanc is tomorrow night, and Katy and I are each other’s dates (making it a foursome with our lovely friends Kimberly and Lauren). We have been texting most of the day trying to decide what to bring for dinner. A lot of folks have purchased picnics pre-prepared by Orchids or Eat Well Catering. I talked to one person who is bringing Popeye’s (genius. Delicious genius).
I know for sure I am bringing bread from Blue Oven Bakery and likely some bubbly from Party Source (I just haven’t decided what kind yet). I’m thinking salads layered in Mason jars for easy plating, some sort of cold entree, and I’m definitely stuck on dessert.
Are you going? What are you eating?
About once a year, some major news outlet revives the conversation: “Should we do away with tipping?” This year, it’s The New York Times, where Pete Wells takes up the question.
I can’t think of a “tip included” restaurant in Cincinnati, and I never mind tipping– it’s American custom. In Europe, where tipping is not a custom (and dining is an event which takes several hours and not something to be done in a half hour), I’ve never noticed a huge difference in service. Service there is slower; that’s THEIR custom.
So what do you think? Should restaurants be “service compris,” the French term for service being included? Or should we continue tipping?