Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Morton's Power Hour revisited:

You may remember one of my first posts about Morton’s power hour deal. David and I were unhappy to find no drink specials, no taps, and worse, the audacity to charge 12.00 for the “house” martini made with Smirnoff vodka.

Yes, seriously.

What is Stoli doing on the top shelf?

I seem to have ended up on Morton’s marketing companies email list, to I’m happy to report either my post or the fact that people don’t want to pay 12.00 for crappy vodka has finally percolated into Morton’s management and they have now introduced a few drink specials.

Here’s the lowdown on the new and improved power hour—taken from the press release recently received:

$5.00 "Bar bites":

Mini Prime Cheeseburger Trio – Morton’s USDA Prime beef, topped with cheddar cheese, tomato slices, iceberg lettuce and onion, and served on silver dollar rolls.
Four Petite Filet Mignon Sandwiches – Morton’s signature filet mignon sandwiches with mustard mayonnaise sauce, served on seeded ciabatta dinner rolls.
Chicken Goujonettes – Crispy fried chicken strips served with mustard mayonnaise.
Jumbo Lump Crab, Spinach & Artichoke Dip served with toasted bread croutons.
Blue Cheese French Fries
Iceberg Wedge Bites
Three Mini Crab Cakes.

During Power Hours, fresh Oysters on the Half Shell are available for just $1.50 per piece and Colossal Shrimp are $2.50 per piece.

Power hour runs from 5-6:30 PM and then continues from 9-11 PM, Monday through Friday.

The new drink specials introduced include select wines and beers (bottled, still no taps) from $4-7.

The (still overpriced) beers for $4.00 include Sam Adams seasonal, Budweiser and Bud Light. Wine includes $5.00 Coastal Cabernet, Canyon Road Chardonnay, Cavit Pinot Grigio and Columbia Crest Merlot.

There is a Morton’s spritz being featured for 6.00, Lunetta prosecco, Aperol and orange juice.

The special 7.00 cosmo is still made with loathsome Smirnoff, but at least it’s not quite as expensive. There is also a regular Martini made with Finlandia or Pearl vodka and blue cheese olives, and the power hour palm beacher, which is sky vodka infused with pineapple and mint.

David and I decided to give power hour another shot, and bring the camera along for pictures.

After a rocky start running down to Radio Shack to get a set of replacement batteries, I decided to start with a Palm Beacher while I waited for David. They were very pleasant, though I did not taste any mint, mostly pineapple.

David arrived shortly and decided to try the Pearl vodka martini, also $7.00.

We decided to get four different “bar bites” .

The mini crab cakes:

Filet sandwiches:

Mini cheeseburgers:

And a few oysters, with one colossal shrimp.

I also was offered the Morton’s spritz, which I was curious about. I could taste the procecco a little bit, and the orange was nice and refreshing.

OK. Now that you’ve seen the pictures—when we ordered our sandwiches and burgers, they asked how we wanted them cooked, which surprised me. We said medium. I don’t know why they even bothered asking, because the sandwiches were rare and the burgers were medium well. C'mon guys--I know you know how to cook meat. Or at least I hope you do.

Morton’s likes to toast their buns, which I approve of....although someone got a little too enthusiastic on this one.

We were talking about Scotch with the bartenders when they mentioned they had some Lagavulin 16 year scotch around. David was curious, so he ordered it. However, what we didn’t find out until later was that this scotch was 15.75 a glass. With Nicholson's, which offers a multitude of very similar scotches for more reasonable prices down the street, you think Morton's would take the opportunity to be competitive.

For dessert, I ordered a brandy Alexander ($9.00). I was curious. It was very tasty.

David also tried the Rye 1 whiskey ($11.25).

After the scotch, we decided to stick around for dinner. David ordered two other appetizers, the bacon wrapped scallops ($15.00) and the lobster bisque. ($14.00)

We thought the lobster bisque was incredibly bland for a place of Morton’s caliber. The sea scallops were served with some sort of fruit chutney that was simply awful. Way too much black pepper and horseradish, which does not mix well with fruit at all.

Morton’s really didn’t do much to redeem itself, unfortunately. They were not very busy while we were there, and it’s pretty easy to see why. They seem to be making some concessions with their drink specials, but if they still are going to mark up their spirits the way they do, not cook food to order when you specifically ask the customer, and serve bland, overpriced bisque and terrible chutney, I would not be surprised if they eventually had to close.

Sorry, Morton's, David and I are just not feelin' it.

Morton's - the Steakhouse on Urbanspoon


The finished product of my super fun Oakley extravaganza a few weeks ago, 48 hours in Oakley, is running over at Cincinnati Soapbox magazine.

Check it out, and let me know what you think.

I think this calls for an Oakley photomontage!

I really like the Cincinnati ArtWorks murals

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tröeg’s beer tasting at Teller’s:

Attended the Tröeg’s beer tasting at Teller’s last Thursday. Teller’s happily managed to get the co-owner and Vice President of Tröegs, Chris Trogner, in to host.

The deal, as we were told, were samples of five Tröegs brews, some special food and two vouchers each for full Tröeg beers of your choice. The price? $20.00. It seemed very reasonable to us. We called and made a reservation. The tasting was an open tasting, with people standing around and wandering in and out. It was held in the Vault, which is nice, but kind of small and dimly lit, which is bad for the picture taking.

When asked, my main suggestion was that it would be excellent to host similar events outside on the patio. More room, seats and it would also give the representative from the brewery or presenter more of a stage to work with.

The tasting was from 5:30-7:30, and as it was open, not everyone was trying the same thing at the same time, and Chris sometimes had to repeat himself about the different brews. Overall, though, I think it went pretty well.

David and I were early, so we sat at the bar for a little bit. I met the man in charge of the beer at Teller's. His name is John—or might be spelled Jon, who knows these days—and he seemed very nice. He stated that he would like to have more tastings at Tellers. I wholeheartedly agree. I ordered a Hopslam because it was on draft. Soon it will be gone for the rest of the year and I will be very sad and have to resort to other hop sources.

The tasting was a total Cincinnati beergeek convention. Adam Bankovich, the manager of Catskeller arrived, as well as our friend Kyle from HPWS and Gregg, the premium beverage manager who supplies many of the restaurants and stores in the Cincinnati area. I saw quite a few other familiar faces from the beer tasting at Catskeller and my trip to Quiz night at the pub a few Mondays ago.

After a little bit, the tasting began. First up was the Pale ale, which I thought was very pleasant and mild, an excellent choice to start out the tasting.




Next was the Hopback, which had a little more of a bite too it.

Teller’s was serving buffalo chicken egg rolls and barbecue to go with the tasting. David and I liked both.

After that, the Nugget Nectar followed. This beer has been dry-hopped, so it was a little bit hoppier. It was my favorite so far.

The Tröegenator was next, which is the double bock. I’d had this one before, and I really like it.I prefer it in the winter, though.

Lastly, the Mad Elf. This is a seasonal release, and packs quite a punch at 11% ABV. It was my favorite out of all of them because it is such a unique beer. I tasted a lot of wood, spices and cherries.

After we had tried all the beers and talked to everyone for awhile, David and I decided that we wanted something more substantial for dinner. We were led over by our server, Amy, who was manning the beer tasting crowd, to the table in the front, right by the window. I really like it when we get sat by the windows, because then we can watch the cars go by. You never know what you might see driving around in Hyde park.

David wanted the kobe beef burger, and I decided to get the baked potato pizza.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The pub and tennent's face:

Saturday afternoon, David came back from the office as I was just finishing vacuuming the apartment. It was such a nice, sunny day, I wanted to go sit somewhere and have lunch in the sunshine.

We had just been to Teller’s on Thursday, and David and I both agreed it was too soon to go back. We’re already at risk for being known as that couple that always comes in takes pictures of their food.

So we went with The Pub at Rookwood.

We sat out in the patio area, which was still closed off from the outside with a tent, and had a few heaters on to make sure it stayed nice and warm. The sunshine coming in through the big windows made it extra nice.

I decided to order a cocktail, the Penny Lane Hurricane, and David went with an Old Speckled Hen, since they were out of Belhaven. As we looked over the menu, we noticed that Pub has made a few changes on their menu. It also seems to us that the prices have increased overall.

The pub sliders, (4) with Guinness onions and pickles, are new ($8.95). There is also a more mysterious “slider of the day” offered for the same price. The Scottish egg has migrated from Nicholson’s over to the pub menu.

The desserts have expanded, including berry crepes, with Baileys cream cheese, tipsy berries and whipped cream ($6.50) and a chocolate cheesecake infused with Glenmorangie port wood scotch, (Nicks wee dram, $6.50)

The sandwiches and burgers have expanded too. The burgers have multiplied to include a BBQ burger ($9.75), and all burgers can be ordered on pretzel bun if you so choose. A brunch item, the Full Monty ($9.95), is now on regular menu rotation.

David was wavering in between a steak and the Welsh dip sandwich, ($10.95) a French baguette with sliced prime rib, green peppers and onion, melted mozzarella and provolone with au jus, and pub crisps. I urged him to try the sandwich, which sounded much more interesting.

My obsession with sliders and mini burgers was impossible to resist, so I went with those, choosing steak fries to accompany them.

I finished my drink fairly quickly, as it was very tasty. I decided to go with my standard twisted thistle, and David ordered a Tennents, which is another Scottish beer.

It didn’t go so well.

Hereafter, this shall be known as "Tennent's face"

Tennent's isn’t really a creamy ale, like Belhaven, which is also Scottish. It’s more like a lager. A yucky lager.

I mentioned this to our server, and she was kind enough to take it off our tab, which we appreciated.

David got his Welsh Dip and I received my sliders. Three things about the sliders. These have a lot of potential.

The buns are toasted, which I approve of. Unfortunately, these little burgers were cooked way too long, so they were very dry. They also desperately need cheese. I’d be curious to find out what the “slider of the day” consists of.

David liked his sandwich and thought it was very good, even though it got a little messy with the au jus for dipping.

David had been eyeing the berry crepes the entire time we were there, and decided to order them. I admit I was skeptical at first, but they were very good. The berries were delicious and the tartness contrasted well with the milder, sweet cream cheese.

Pub at Rookwood Mews on Urbanspoon