The Foodie Report
Ruminations on food, cooking in and eating out in our area.

It's entirely possible to be a vegetarian in Porkopolis. Pop culture reporter Lauren Bishop blogs about products, recipes and restaurants she's tried for others who eat meat-free. E-mail her at lbishop@enquirer.com.

Nicci King is an unabashed foodie and the Lifestyle/Food editor in The Enquirer's features department. She loves to discover new food faves, and she's on a daily quest to answer one burning question: What's for dinner? E-mail her at nking@enquirer.com.

Enquirer Weekend editor Julie Gaw tends to order the same dish every time she eats at a restaurant, but periodically ventures out to discover something new and fabulous. After living in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand for more than 8 years, she craves tasty Asian food. E-mail her at jgaw@enquirer.com.

Food/dining writer Polly Campbell loves every quirk and secret of Cincinnati's food personality, and is on a constant lookout for something good to eat. Keep an eye out for her restaurant picks, or see how she's progressing toward becoming famous for her apple pie. E-mail her at pcampbell@enquirer.com.

Communities reporter Rachel Richardson is on a mission to prove vegetarians eat more than lettuce. She shares both her graduate work on American food culture and food-related news.. E-mail her at rrichardson@enquirer.com.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

There's no substitute for real vanilla...

Vanilla. It makes for tasty goodies, weird movies, fabulous gifts, and it simply cannot be substituted. But if you give the people you claim to care about imitation vanilla, this is for you. Just know that love is not supposed to hurt... or taste like crap.

I recommend a good vanilla extract. It really does make a difference and you don't have to be all hifalutin', "Hi, I'm Ina Garten!"-ish to appreciate it. (Now, don't get me wrong... I like Ina. The next time I'm summering in East Hampton, I'll totally give her a ring to see what she's cooking.)

One of my favorite extract makers is Sonoma Syrup Co. They have magnificent artisan extracts and the most amazing simple syrups. Anyone want a Meyer-lemon granita? Yum! Imagine my surprise when I saw their vanilla extract earlier today at the TJ Maxx downtown. And it was only $9.99 for a big bottle. I don't know how many ounces it was, but it would last the average baker through the holidays and probably beyond... But even cooler than that, the store has Sonoma's DIY vanilla extract infusion kits. Each kit consists of high-quality Tahitian and Madagascar vanilla bean pods in an empty glass bottle with a pretty pink label. It was only $9.99, but worth a lot more, I think. And it would make an awesome hostess gift... Just open the vanilla pods, add some top-shelf vodka or rum, shake it up every now and again and in a month or two, you have a par-tay!

But if you're in Ina's circle, try a soiree. Wouldn't want you to hurt yourself...


at 12:01 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to head to TJMaxx right now to try these! I've been in search of a decent Vanilla for several years!~

My friend brought me ome from mexico several years ago - it was very stong and a little sweetier than the grocery store stuff - but the flavor was out of this world!

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