Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Wedding Cake CAN be an Ice Cream Cake:

"No, we don't make wedding cakes." David and I were standing in front of the counter at Graeters, mid December 2007.

"Okaaaaay." David said slowly. "Do you make ice cream cakes?"


"Could I potentially take that cake to a wedding?"

"I guess so."

"Then yes, you do make wedding cakes. We'd like black raspberry chip."

photocredit to Studio 3Z

It was day 20 of our 28 day wedding and honeymoon planning gauntlet, and we were wrapping up the final details. Most of the decisions, David had left up to me, but he was particularly adamant that he wanted an ice cream cake. After perusing the local options, we went with Graeter's.

Despite disagreements with the counter clerk about what exactly did and didn’t constitute a wedding cake, we placed our order for pickup on the morning of the ceremony. Initially, the Celestial said that they would not garnish outside cakes, and would simply just cut them, but the kitchen staff that evening kindly plated and garnished the slices beautifully. As of today, only this grainy, first gen iphone picture remains, but we can assure you, it was delicious.

What you don't know it that he's asking me "OK, we're married, is it time for cake yet?"

So, in short, Graeter's has a special place in our lives. When we were offered the chance to try their newest flavor, white raspberry chip, we certainly were not going to turn it down. The taste is very similar to black raspberry chip, but it is a little lighter. We thought the blackberry is more muted and not as tart, which goes well with the milder flavor of the white chocolate.

We served ours on top of a brownie with whipped cream. This new flavor will be available to sample (for free) and to purchase at this weekend's taste of Cincinnati, and is also available in all Graeter's locations.

***Disclosure: We did not pay for our pint. We were contacted by Graeter's and asked if we would like to sample the new flavor. We accepted. What, like you wouldn’t?***

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Quail Eggs, Bacon and Scallops:

So…are you guys going to blog about this?”

At that question, I looked up from monitoring the toasting French baguette. David paused cooking nitrate free applewood smoked bacon and gently cracking quail eggs into the skillet.

We both looked at each other, then at 5chw4r7z. “eh, maybe.” we both shrugged. “Meh.”

Food blogging in restaurants is fairly easy if you factor out the situations where the light is off and makes pictures grainy or difficult to take. The food is cooked by someone else, then presented in front of you; you snap some pictures and go about your meal.

Blogging while cooking, on the other hand, is totally different. We’re always cooking and finding lots of fantastic, tasty things—chili, carnitas, chicken alfredo. Steaks and roasts and cultured cream biscuits. Why haven’t you heard about it? Lots of reasons.

Taking nice pictures while cooking is a delicate balance. Snapping away, keeping an eye on the food itself to make sure it’s not burning while you’ve got the camera glued to your face. Look out for the cat, which is always underfoot in the kitchen, don’t step on his tail. Don’t get food on the camera. And don’t drop the camera in a skillet of bacon fat. And you need both hands to handle the camera, which means putting the beer down. The devil is in the details.

But 5chw4r7z’s question made me pause for a second. We were not working with the usual proteins here. I had drug David into Findlay Market’s oriental market and walked out with a carton of quail eggs.

We added bacon, smoked gouda and toasted baguette to make cute little appetizers that tasted fantastic.

We still had some quail eggs left over the next day. Determined to not miss this opportunity, we decided to up the ante, and purchased sea scallops to substitute for the baguette. We resolved to cook them that evening. And blog the bejeezus out of it.

Consider yourself warned: If you're hungry now, it's about to get a lot worse.

Quail eggshells are tough, use a knife to help with cracking. Otherwise you will have a big mess, broken quail eggs and a sad face.

We made homemade herbed bread to go with our plate. With plenty of butter.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Vito's Cafe:

We went to Vito’s Cafe for a Hoperative Happening a month or two ago. We got a chance to try the offerings of the Red Ear Brewery, which are respectable. We also got a chance to check out Vito’s, whose style I would say is new and classic Italian and restaurant schtick is singing servers. Really, really good singing servers.

This isn’t like one of the national chains where songs crackle on over the loudspeaker and suddenly your server is begrudgingly dancing to a song they hear 6 times a shift in semi sync with other restaurant staff.

Vito’s has live music-- piano accompaniment to singing waiters-- who are often aspiring vocal and musical students. It’s certainly a unique concept.

As for the food, our recommendation is to get the chef’s tasting menu. At less than $40 a person, it is an excellent value. David and I both opted to get regular menu items, and it was a decision that we regretted— we felt his mussels were not as fresh as they could have been and my spaghetti and meatballs were overpriced for what came out of the kitchen. As a contrast, the dishes from the tasting menu came out beautifully presented. Everyone loved the dishes and the portions were just right.

disappointing mussels

We do want to mention that Vito’s seems a to be a bit preoccupied with the singing part of the singing servers, and we feel that it contributed to some time and service issues. Most notably, the regular menu items that David and I made the error of ordering came out with the final course of the tasting menu. We received our dishes after watching our table mates enjoy not one or two, but several courses. We felt rushed to finish our meal, and cranky after watching everyone else ohh an ah over their tasty dishes for almost an hour. I would have ordered another cocktail as well while we waited, but our server went MIA for a very long time, making it impossible to do that either.

there's a reason that this limoncello martini comes in a small glass--it's insanely strong and potent

Other than the tasting menu, one of the things we enjoyed most about Vito’s? This impressive, flaming, tasty cocktail, known as the flaming skipperino. Pricey, but worth it. See the video below:

Vito's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Kitty wants steak:

I think we are well on our way to creating a foodiecat. The other day he was eating wheatberries. He also likes to steal slices of cheese off my cheese plate when I am not looking.

And he goes absolutely nuts for Dojogelato.