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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Thursday, December 20, 2007

and so much more

I've been an absent little foodie, but finally I have blog fodder.
  • My latest food obsession: oatmeal. But not those packets of dust, chemicals and sugar that yield of bowl of runny goo. Nope. I like the real, thick, chewy, nutty oatmeal. With a sprinkling of dried cranberries or wild blueberries from Trader Joe's, a half-dozen pecans or almonds and some soymilk and flaxmeal, this healthful, fiber-filled meal is almost like dessert. Sometimes I even drizzle on some organic REAL maple syrup (which at Trader Joe's was actually cheaper than the regular real maple syrup for whatever reason. Oh, decadence and fiber.
  • Like Polly, I've been hearing about Terry's Turf Club lately. Business reporter -- and my cubicle neighbor -- John Eckberg first told me about it a couple of months ago. Then my friend Bri brought it up, and last week I got an invitation to a birthday party: at Terry's! I hear they have an awesome portobello burger, but I'm heading there after dinner at Seny on Friday. Seny is tapas, so maybe I'll just nibble (I hear they've worked out the kinks and the food is excellent but small).
  • I had a Comet burrito two Fridays ago for the first time in a LONG time. They're as big as Chipotle's, only better. The tofu, which I hear is marinated in grape jelly, is addictive. Can anyone confirm or deny? I think I should test that theory. Might be fabulous... or distasterous.
  • Tabitha and I made sugar cookies. Turns out, I don't like making sugar cookies. It takes for-ev-er. And it's messy. And there's no health-ing up sugar cookies. I try to add or substitute flax meal, oat bran, applesauce, etc. to baked goods. But with sugar cookies, it's harder. They're more temperamental, with so many steps: rolling, cutting, frosting. I've decided instead of cookies, I'll give granola and trail mix this year. And if I make it with cashews, which I can't eat, I won't be tempted to eat it myself.
  • Fred and I ate at Riverside the other night, and I realized how much I missed that place. The waitresses, Adrian and Briana, are attentive and kind. Bruce and Seo-hyun (I know I misspelled her name!) are really talented! The soft tofu stew is my favorite, mostly because it's a comfort food for me. That was my typical lunch each day in Korea. I tried everything, but after a few months I settled on soon dubu baek bahn (soft tofu stew) as my go-to meal. When I walked in to Kimbap Chungkuk down the street from my school, the ajuma at the counter often called to the kitchen before I could speak. Riverside's is perfect: Oysters to flavor the broth (sometimes clams), plenty of chili oil, mushrooms carrots and onions, a generous glob of soft tofu and an egg that poaches in the spicy, boiling broth. The egg is key: The yolk adds a richness to the broth. Yum. Dip in spoonfuls of rice. Ah.
    Owner Mark Jang was working that night and came out of the kitchen to see how we liked the new side dishes: anchovies with hot peppers (little dried ones. the kind with tiny eyes. I forgot my rule against eating things with eyes. delicious!), jellyfish with Korean horseradish, some sweet bellflower root. Fred loves the simple sides: watercress or spinach with sesame oil. I love the dried mushroom, squid and radish dishes. They're crunchy and chewy with really rich flavor. I love Korean food.
  • A bunch of Enquirer folks headed to Palomino last night for their great happy hour to get a head-start on a certain Foodie Report editor's birthday. Who's birthday? Hint: She's fabulous. That narrows it down, doesn't it?! :) We love their happy hour; $3 drinks, $5 pizzas and half-price appetizers, along with the BEST mojitos! A non-blogger and fellow mojito lover had one complaint: pizza con vongole. When you see on the menu that there are clams are your pizza, you probably don't expect the clams to be in shells. It's a great presentation, and I'm sure the clams are perfectly cooked, but they're really hard to eat. She said, "I had to eat the clams, then eat the pizza. I wanted pizza with clams." I've had that pizza, and she's right. It's awkward to eat. Do you pry the clams from the shells with a fork or your fingers? Put them back on the pizza or eat them first? And what do you do with the shells? After a couple of mojitos, that's WAY too many decisions. That said, cheap (good) food and drinks can't be beat.
  • Fred loves the stuffed grape leaves at Mythos, so we've been there once a week since the new place opened on Fourth Street. The lines are long but move quickly. I had the veggie moussaka, which is a bit heavy for lunch and has a load of cream sauce on it. It was good though, and with a Greek salad included in that and most every meal, it's a good deal, too. Anyone else been there?
  • And finally (this post will soon end, worry not, loyal readers) my dear friend Rob, a former college roommate, is coming home for Christmas. He's a hip, fabulous guy who lives the posh life in D.C. I'm going to show him that Queen City's way better than it was the last time he was home, more than six months ago. We're going to start with a drink at Twist, followed by a walk to Fountain Square. (He's never seen Fountain Square 2.0.) I'm thinking dinner at Via Vite, Nada or Sung (Ooh, or Riverside) then maybe Below Zero or Cue. It's so nice to have too many options for dinner and drinks!

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at 3:42 PM Blogger Mary said...

Irish Oatmeal is the best. If you add raisins or other dried fruit and top it with a little cream or soymilk it will last you til dinnertime. Honestly Stepf, sugar cookies are not supposed to be healthy. Some things are just good to eat and taste best with refined sugars and no tofu.

at 5:08 PM Blogger Stepf said...

You're absolutely right, Mary. Sugar cookies are delicious but not healthy. I think I'm just judging them because mine weren't that great. I think I'll leave sugar cookies to the experts. :)

at 10:52 AM Anonymous Chad Edward said...

Seny recos:

If there is one thing to try at Seny, it's the cured beef loin. They got the texture and flavor perfect.

Stay away from the muscles steamed in chorizo. It might be personal, but I don't understand why you'd ruin the delicate flavor of muscles by overpowering them with chorizo...unless the muscles aren't fresh.

Also, I really like the boringlin traditional tortilla. Nothing fancy, just delicious.

at 11:14 AM Anonymous TJ Jackson said...

who is Fred?

at 12:56 PM Blogger Stepf said...

He's my boyfriend. I usually don't mention him by name.

at 11:21 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, i like my um, muscles fresh too...real fresh!!

(sorry, couldn't resist! ;^) )

at 7:41 AM Blogger Kate The Great said...

The clams are served in shells on top of the pizza?? That's crazy.

That's not how it's done on the East Coast.

The folks at Palomino need to take a trip to see how clam pizza's REALLY served!

at 11:03 AM Blogger Stepf said...

Right on, Kate!

at 11:03 AM Blogger Stepf said...

Right on, Kate!

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