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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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Taste goes Downtown

I spent most of today at Taste of Cincinnati, doing that slow festival shuffle up and down 5th St. It had gotten quite busy by 3 o'clock. Vendors were happy, having sold plenty of food in record time. I got dressed this morning in a brand-new pale yellow t-shirt, and I remember thinking "I'll just be careful and not drip on it." I'm an idiot, but fortunately, the mango sauce on Shanghai Mama's egg rolls is also pale yellow.

I like the new placement, mostly because it takes in Fountain Square and goes alongside the P&G gardens (though wouldn't it be nice if they actually let you in there?) It's just a little more interesting and feels more like it's showing off downtown. Except, of course, Fountain Square isn't exactly finished. Still. ... it's less anonymous than Central parkway.

I know a lot of people were upset that a chain restaurant won several Best of Taste awards, myself included, but I gotta say, Carrabba's chicken Marsala is very good: lots of mushrooms, tender chicken. I think a bigger problem at taste is that not enough restaurants do those kind of things: mini gourmet meals that really show off how good our dining scene can be. But they offer what sells, of course. I think they can be pretty imaginative within the constraints of serving at a temporary booth for three days. I wasn't trying to try everything, but I liked Burbank's smoked turkey salad, those Shanghai Mama spring rolls, and there's some good 'q down there, including Eddie's and Pit to Plate and City Barbeque.

There's some pretty good music, too--I don't think I'd go just for the food, but I love music outdoors, and the Fountain Square stage is a good venue. Hopefully the weather stays nice


at 10:49 PM Blogger Matt Morris said...

we also did lunch and dinner down there.

i hate a bad crepe, but my friend convinced me to try the vegetarian one at Le Petite France, and it was extremely satisfying. white cheese, artichoke, mushrooms, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, and a creamy peppercorn sauce inand on top of the folded crepe.
really nice.

i'm from Louisiana- and the gumbo from Washington Platform wasn't bad. Pretty salty, but that can be expected from mass-cooked festival food. Similarly, the wasabi ginger glazed salmon at Mike Fink would probably be much better in the restaurant- here it was a overcooked and a bit tough (but like they would serve rare fish on the hot street to the variety of folks out there- like you said, they made things to sell...)

There were a few competing crabcakes and bread puddings that i am interested in trying tomorrow on a lunch break to compare....

living, working, and until recently, schooling in the downtown area, it was very exciting to see it so full and bustling.

at 12:23 PM Anonymous Tom jackson said...

The fact that Carrabba's can produce a tasty entree is entirely irrelevant to the subect of the awards. It is a Taste of C I N C I N N A T I not a taste of national chains. The awards should be reserved for locals, plain and simple, no exceptions. Allow the chains to participate - no problem. Allow them to win awards? assinine.

at 12:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

They need to have it on 5th every year. The tall buildings create areas of shade and it seemed like it was easier to get around Downtown and find relatively close parking. I also liked how the bands were tucked away. I love it when the city does something right.

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