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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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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

And the winners are...

Winners of the Taste of Cincinnati “Best of Taste” awards have been chosen. These, along with dishes from about 40 restaurants in all, will be served at the Taste of Cincinnati during Memorial Day weekend. It will take place in a new location this year along Fifth Street, downtown; noon-midnight May 26-27 and noon-9 p.m. May 28.

Best of Taste – Veggie Wrap with Spicy Chicken, Market Street Grille
Award of Excellence – Steamed Mussels, Bella Luna
Award of Merit – Cabbage Roll, Laszlo’s Iron Skillet

Best of Taste – Bleu Cheese Pecan Chopped Salad, Outback Steakhouse
Award of Excellence – Smoked Turkey & Berry Salad, Burbank’s Real Barbecue
Award of Merit – Creole Gumbo, Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant

Best of Taste – Chicken Bryan, Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Award of Excellence – Chicken Marsala/Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Award of Merit – Jambalaya, Market Street Grille

Seafood Entrée
Best of Taste – Wasabi Ginger Glazed Salmon, Mike Fink
Award of Excellence – Seafood Shanghai Noodles, Shanghai Mama’s
Award of Merit – New Orleans Shrimp Alfredo Pasta, Indigo Casual Gourmet Café

Vegetarian Entrée
Best of Taste – Veggie Mango Spring Roll, Shanghai Mama’s
Award of Excellence – Vegetable Pad Thai, Arloi Dee
Award of Merit – Veggie Stuffed Pizza Pie, LaRosa’s

Best of Taste – Chocolate Raspberry Crepe, La Petite France
Award of Excellence –Torta di Pane (Bread Pudding), Bella Luna
Award of Merit – Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Sundae, Indigo Casual Gourmet Cafe

Best Damn Dish (best overall dish)
Chicken Bryan, Carrabba’s Italian Grill


at 1:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

God help us -- a chain wins best damn dish. I spend a lot of time defending the food in this town, and then this happens. The restaurateurs in this town should be ashamed of themselves, for not supporting this even better.

at 1:47 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. It's sad.... very sad, especially because we have so many GREAT independant restaurant in our area.

at 6:05 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I HATE the fact that a chain would would win "Taste of Cincinnati".

Who were the judges? Did Carrabba's promote themselves by a "Please vote for..." campaign??

I also agree that there are many great independently owned restaurants in this city! Why are we considering national chain restaurants, in a competition for "Taste of Cincinnati" anyway???

Its embarrassing.

at 12:27 PM Blogger kiddknee said...

it is sad... but I may actually (not likely) stop by Carrabba's to give it a try...

at 3:49 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

why the "anti-chain" bias ? Aren't LaRosas,Skyline, Montgomery Inn, Graeters, even Jean Robert de Cavel "chain" purveyors at various stages of evolution ? Great food is great food; stop whining and enjoy the food !!
By the way, Carrabas started out as a single, successful restaurant.

at 2:27 PM Blogger kiddknee said...

and expect jean robert... I would lump skyline, grater's and others into the same bucket as Carraba's.. decent food with no soul

at 10:04 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The name of the event is "Taste of Cincinnati" and I would expect the competition to reflect food that has local roots. Carrabba's was founded in Texas and is now owned by Outback Steakhouse, so that hardly qualifies. LaRosa's and Skyline might be chains but they're local, so what they serve at least has local roots. JR isn't a chain because he doesn't take one concept and repeat it like a rubber stamp.

Carrabba's won the competition fair and square, but winning a competition doesn't mean it's great food. I suspect the problem is not enough local entries, and that's what the restaurateurs in this town should be ashamed of. If we hav great local restaurants, then more of them should enter the competition.

Maybe a different question is -- is Taste of Cincinnati falling apart? Are decent local restaurants staying away?

at 2:46 PM Anonymous Vox Populi said...

Having a chain Italian restaurant win 'best dish' at the Taste of Cincinnati is pathetic. It mirrors something out of the 'Dinette Set' comic, where Arby's and Burger King compete in the annual 'Taste of Crustwood' event.

This sad result makes Cincinnatians look like a bunch of provincial putzes. Who's going to win 'best entree' next year? My money is on the Olive Garden. Folks just love their unlimited supply of garlic rolls at each table and free soda refills!

at 4:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

taste of cincinnati is a huge undertaking. a ton of time, a ton of staff out of your restaurant, plus limited refrigeration and storage. no wonder chains can do it, they have the cash and staffing to promote themselves more than the little guys.

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