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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 13, 2008

Best of Cincinnati

OK, let's do this: In your pure fantasy "Taste of Cincinnati," where you're the only judge, who would be there and who would win the awards?


16 Comments:

at 11:02 AM Anonymous TJ Jackson said...

I'd let almost any food or beverage producer (no hemp flavored candies, or example, thank you) purchase a booth and offer their product

I would let ONLY local entities win awards.

Simple.

It is an absolute disgrace that the organization that runs Taste of Cincinnati allows non-local entries to be considered for awards. Those folks should be replaced immediately.

 
at 11:02 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anything by Pit to Plate could win "best" - their food is tasty!

 
at 12:06 PM Blogger Aggrazel said...

I agree whole heartedly with tj jackson. For example its very stupid that Carrabas (a national chain you can get pretty much anywhere) won an award at the "Taste of Cincinnati" last year. Come on guys, this is about CINCINNATI OHIO, not commodity food you can get pretty much anywhere.

Only locally owned restaurants should be invited, period.

 
at 12:50 PM Anonymous soozycue said...

Appetizer: Artichoke & Mushroom Strudel - Olives

Salad: Village Salad - Corinthian {not on the menu ~ you have to be "in the know"}

Entree: Scallopine alla Discepoli - Prima Vista

Dessert: Chocolate Panna Cotta - Nicola's

This is just off the top of my head.

 
at 12:50 PM Anonymous soozycue said...

Appetizer: Artichoke & Mushroom Strudel - Olives

Salad: Village Salad - Corinthian {not on the menu ~ you have to be "in the know"}

Entree: Scallopine alla Discepoli - Prima Vista

Dessert: Chocolate Panna Cotta - Nicola's

This is just off the top of my head.

 
at 2:23 PM Blogger Polly Campbell said...

Yo, TJ. Were you, like, mugged by a chain when you were a kid?

It's the Restaurant Association who runs it, along with the Downtown Council.

So you want them to tell a bunch of their members they can't participate?

 
at 3:24 PM Anonymous TJ Jackson said...

Naw

Local chains are fine....Mio's, LaRosa's, Skyline, etc etc....

It's not about chain or not chain, it's about Cincinnati, as in Taste of Cincinnati.

What would I tell the national chains? "you are ineligible to compete any of the awards."

Simple.

 
at 3:31 PM Anonymous TJ Jackson said...

The other alternative -- which is still disagreeable but notably better than the status quo -- would be to create a new category of awards just for the national entities. National entities would compete for "national" awards, while locals would compete for the existing local awards. Best damn dish would remain a local award, ergo no national entry would be considered for this award. The local award would carry a higher prestige than the national award of the same category.

 
at 12:17 AM Anonymous soozycue said...

I gave some REAL answers to the question posed {and my answers came up twice, because I forgot the "word verification" thingy}.

Does Polly, Rachel, Nicci, Lauren, Julie or anyone connected with this blog have any opinions?

There are some good restaurants in this city, with good food. I have worked in a few restaurants, and I know the costs out way the advantages in having a booth in the "Taste". But this is a fantasy of what you would like to see at the ultimate Cincy food fest.

I know my "entries" are almost impossible to recreate in a "festival" setting, but they are good examples of good "Cincinnati restaurant food".

"In your pure fantasy "Taste of Cincinnati," where you're the only judge, who would be there and who would win the awards?"

 
at 9:55 AM Blogger valereee said...

I'm not much interested in chain restaurants, either. I know it's the money talking when it comes down to participation in Best of Taste, but it would be nice to see something besides Carrabba's all over the awards page. I guess I blame the voters more than the organizers, though. A lot of them just loooooove that food service Italian food, I guess.

When I see chain restaurants winning Best of Taste awards, it make me think a better name for the event would be Lowest Common Denominator of Taste. This is food designed to appeal to EVERYONE. Maybe McDonald's should enter next year.

 
at 10:45 AM Blogger Polly Campbell said...

I think it would be great to have another event that was one day, maybe indoors somehow or in a smaller venue, where smaller restaurants could do the same kind of thing: show off their dishes, get some publicity, meet new potential diners. There used to be a nice event for SEcond Harvest like that that worked for more upscale places. Think Gourmet Sensation, but local.

It's hard under those circumstances to really show off, say, Nectar, or Boca, or Pigall's or Orchids' food. If people are looking for "best of" they'll have to rely on critics going and eating there, or votes of people who eat out--not an event.

It would be fun to have an ethnic taste of cincinnati. That could really introduce people to cuisine they haven't tried before: if the Peruvian, Guatemalan, Vietnamese, Indonesian, japanese, Middle Eastern, etc. restaurants all participated, it would be a great thing. And a lot of that food would really work in a "Taste of" setting and give people something new, not just cheese pizza.

 
at 10:47 AM Blogger Polly Campbell said...

Also, soozycue, I love your list. But I haven't had all those things! I need to try chocolate panna cotta now, and the scallopine. There is ceratinly no end of good things to eat around here.

 
at 10:48 AM Blogger valereee said...

If we had an Ethnic Taste, the longest lines would still be at the LaRosa's booth. :D

 
at 12:05 PM Anonymous vudutu said...

Perfect Val, you hit the nail on the head...

"When I see chain restaurants winning Best of Taste awards, it make me think a better name for the event would be Lowest Common Denominator of Taste. This is food designed to appeal to EVERYONE. Maybe McDonald's should enter next year."

The masses are the a**es. This why McCormick & Schmick's sauces are overly sweet and chain portions are three days worth of fat, salt and calories.

 
at 12:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

For all of you anti-chain folk: Does this notion extend to all parts of your life? Do you have your clothes made or do you make your own clothing (since Macy's, Target, Kohl's, etc... are (gasp!) chains? And do you only shop at farmer's markets for food?

 
at 1:02 PM Blogger valereee said...

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

I do as much of my food shopping at the farmers' markets (or directly from farms) as I can. Obviously they don't grow lemons or chocolate or coffee or olive oil.

If there were a local manufacturer of clothing, I'd at least check it out. And I wouldn't name a shirt from the Gap "Best Shirt in Cincinnati."

 
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