Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Taste of Cincinnati:

I’d been anxiously keeping an eye on the weather all week, watching in dismay as the forecast was for thunderstorms and rain and more rain on Sunday and Monday.

In the end, I decided not to let something I could not change, like the weather, stand between me, beer, BBQ, and a good time. I packed us umbrellas and resolved not to worry about rain.

We arrived at the Hyatt around 3:00 in the afternoon. We’ve now stayed at both the Hyatt and the Millennium, and we can undoubtedly say that the Hyatt is waaaay better. Last year, checking into the Millennium took over an hour. The Hyatt took 5 minutes.

The view from our room on the 5th floor

We checked into our room and got ready for our first go-round with taste.
We planned to meet 5chw4r7z and a few others down there in an hour or so.

yup, even in 4 star hotels, the bible in the nightstand

the obligatory $4.00 aquafina

I know I promised lots of pictures, but unfortunately that’s not the case. Why? Because, frankly, I was preoccupied stuffing my face. And drinking. You can see a few pictures on 5chw4r7z’s taste of Cincinnati blogpost.

I discovered that it is very difficult to take pictures with a beer in one hand and baklava in the other. I decided to keep the camera safe in the bag most of the evening. That way, I wouldn’t get it all covered in barbecue sauce or worse, drop it on the pavement.

I had a few things I wanted to try, but first stop was the Spaten tent for some Optimator. Next, I tried the Coconut walnut encrusted shrimp from Vitor’s. Honestly, I was taken aback that 2 medium sized shrimp were $5.00. They were OK. I think that their French toast was the star of the show.

While we were sitting down ruminating about the OK shrimp, a petitioner came up asking if we would sign his petition to put the Casino deal back on the ballot. He then engaged us in a conversation about the evils of our government system. David and I looked at each other, trying to keep a straight face.

We almost made it, but when he started to mention the Illuminati and conspiracy theories, I lost it.

David stopped for some sushi—a Cincinnati Roll— at Kyojin, which I tried some of. It was OK. He also got the tempura shrimp, which I enjoyed.

I wanted to try some ribs, so I grabbed Montgomery Inn to start. They were tasty, but messy. David stopped at La Petite France to get some escargot (yuck). We then went over to Wertheim’s to get David a mettwurst and wait for 5chw4r7z. I had a potato pancake, which was very good. It was not overloaded with onion, a complaint that I usually have with potato pancakes...but it needed something. Salt, maybe. We ran into Westender, who hung out with us most of the night. I also had the pleasure of meeting Julie of Winemedineme, and her burger and croissant reviewing boyfriend, Terry. David went back to the room to take a shower and a nap. I knew that if I went to sleep, I would not get up, so I opted to stay and continue to eat and drink.

WE and I went over to the Café Istanbul booth to try their lamb and chicken kebabs with basmati rice. The lamb was OK. It was not seasoned, so it was very boring. The chicken, on the other hand, was very good and juicy. Andy’s makes a good Shish tawook, and I like their marinade, but the chief complaint I have with them is that their chicken is always dry.

I led 5chw4r7z and Westender back to the Spaten tent for some more Optimator. I was very emphatic that they would not be drinking Budweiser. At this point, the third Optimator was kicking in and I was ready for something else to eat. I was already tipsily talkative to a very patient winemedineme and WE. I specifically remember being very enamored with my burt’s bees hand sanitizer spray, as well as my wet nap collection I have pilfered from various Cincinnati restaurants. We stopped by Pit to Plate and Terry got the pulled pork sandwich. I tried the Brisket. I talked to Julie for quite awhile, which I enjoyed. She is an interesting person and I’m glad I got to finally meet her! (and Terry too.)

It was getting dark at the point, so I texted David to wake up and come back. We met a few of our other friends and went back to Spaten for a franziskaner weissbier. I wanted something lighter and fizzy. 5chw4r7z also had a few as well. I was starting to get pretty scatterbrained—and full—at that point.I tried a bourbon slush from one of the booths, found it too sugary. I also had some baklava from Mythos.

Nifty alleyway on 4th street

It was getting later, so we started hearing toward the hotel to crash. I picked up some roasted almonds from Strasse Haus, which I shared with 5chw4r7z while coaching him on the proper way to say franziskaner weissbier. We both were pretty far under the table at that point, so I am sure we made a funny picture as we proceeded down the street.

“no, Fran-ess-konner”
“close. Franz-ess-konner”
"eh, closer."
"er...No. Here. have some more almonds."

We made it back to the Hotel without incident, and despite our substantial beer consumption, felt fine the next morning. We woke up on our own at around 9 AM.

bed head

We packed up and headed out of the hotel at around 11. Taste didn’t start until 12, so we had an hour of watching the set up. It started to sprinkle a little, but we had our umbrellas.

Taste kicked off at noon. David got a franziskaner weissbier, and I started in pursuit of a dream I’ve always had.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I had a dream. A dream of having white zinfandel, French toast and BBQ for breakfast. And I saw that dream turn into reality on Monday morning.

So I say to you—never give up on your stupid, stupid dreams.

I enjoyed my white zinfandel, it was very refreshing. We also got 2 “buck-a-bone” ribs from City Barbecue. We had some Chicken Satay and Crab Rangoon from Bangkok Bistro. I had never had crab Rangoon before. I’ve been missing out. It was delicious, thought I could have done without the sugar in the cream cheese filling. David tried the fried oysters over dirty rice from Washington Platform. They were pretty spicy.

David saw this display at the Sensodyne booth. We were both disturbed.

We also met one of my coworkers and her roommate slightly outside the taste area to see their new puppies—6 week old toy rat terriers, Hercules and Shayne. They were adorable. We also stopped at Taz, where David got the chicken Kabob sandwich. It had pickles, tzatziki sauce, tomatoes and juicy chicken. He enjoyed it a lot. I tried the crab cakes, which I liked; and the sweet potato fries from Behle street café. They were good, but Dilly Deli beats them…just barely.

OMG puppehs!

After the initial line had cleared out, we headed for the French toast from Vitors. I had heard about it before the Taste, but never made it over the restaurant to try it. I thought it was really, really good. It made up for my meh shrimp from the day before.

French toast ehn-HANCE!

We met my Mom down at taste for a little while and walked up and down to try and figure out where we wanted BBQ. David spotted Jeff and Allison walking in the opposite direction, and we chatted for a few minutes. We ended up at Eddie’s BBQ. While we were ordering pulled pork sandwiches and ribs, it began to pour.

Despite our umbrellas, we did get pretty wet. We sat in the Westin and ate our Eddie’s (we were not impressed. I think city BBQ or pit to plate wins the Taste of Cincinnati BBQ challenge.) We decided we should call it a day. It was still raining, so we got a cab from the Westin valet area and came back to our apartment, and a very hungry kitty.

I thought taste of Cincinnati was a pretty good event, and I can’t wait for Oktoberfest. I do have one question, though. Can someone please explain to me why at taste of Cincinnati there was no goetta? There better be a good reason.


  1. Great coverage and thanks for the mention. You're right, though, about goetta, it's absence was glaring.

    You take good pictures.

  2. Thanks Jeff! I did not realize how much we ate until I typed it out. wow. I think Bob was a little worse for wear the next day.

    I missed the goetta grilled cheese. Maybe at Oktoberfest?

    that did sum it all up, but I had forgotten about the almonds.
    Jez, that was a good time, glad I only had to stagger a few blocks home.

  4. Everything happened just like you said!

    re: goetta... there is a Goettafest every year in NKy. I think it came and went already, but I could be mistaken.

  5. Bob--you were hilarious. I'm glad you made it home OK. WE--don't worry, I WILL HAVE my goetta. one way or another. I may even have David make it for me.

  6. I dare you to claim cinci as your home if you don't love Skyline


I try to be honest, fair and keep a good sense of humor in my posts--I would appreciate if you follow the same policy with your comments.