An evening out… February

I just spent last night with my oldest daughter and sister for a night on the town dining and seeing the broadway play, Anything Goes.

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Before the play we tried another new restaurants in Over The Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati. We headed to The Mercer. The Mercer is an American/European style bistro. It is a swanky eatery with a sleek Euro vibe. The wine list was extensive and we each enjoyed a by-the-glass selection. I loved the cote du rhone selection. We decided to share our meal selections and began with the ricotta, onion compote with grilled bread. Yum! We then moved to the starters menu and enjoyed the pork belly with jalapeno cheddar grits, with cabbage and apples. The pork melted in my mouth and the jalapeno cheddar grits paired beautifully with the sweet apples and earthy cabbage. We then move to the salad selections where we choose the beets with goat cheese with arugula and apple mostarda and a wild bitter greens salad with pearl onions and lardon egg. The beet salad was the best. Beets were cooked perfectly and the dressing was a perfect balance with the sweet beets. The bitter greens were ok. They lack a bit of seasoning.

The entrees we selected were quite good. We enjoyed mezza rigatoni which included rapini, wild mushrooms and vegetable brodo as well as risotto, pork belly, green onions and truffle and blueberries. For desserts we enjoyed chocolate and strawberries along with the tiramisu. Both were to die for!

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If you would like to check out the menu for yourself, click on the link below.

www.themercerotr.com

We enjoyed the play and our evening out. Can’t wait until next month when we see the Lion King.

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Grande Vino

Spending some time at our home on Marco Island, Florida, I found a great pinot noir. Foodies was created for culinary-minded wine lover seeking delicious, balanced wines to complement any number of inspired dishes. According to the label, Foodies California pinot noir is a medium-bodied wine loaded with black cherry and raspberry flavors. Best served with lamb or pork chops. I enjoyed this wine on our lanai as an evening nightcap. Hope you enjoy as much a I did.

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An evening out…

My youngest daughter and I had a night out last week with dinner and a play.  I am a season ticket subscriber to Broadway Across America Cincinnati.

Each month I have dinner prior to play and have really made an effort to explore the restaurant scene in Cincinnati’s Over-The-Rhine (OTR).  It has been fun exploring the food in OTR.  My daughter and I decided to try Quan Hapa, an Asian fusion joint, with a really cool vibe.  We were pretty excited to try this place and explore the culinary offerings.  We ordered the Hapa Ramen (Tonkotsu style) and the chicken Banh Mi.  The ramen included homemade noodles, poached egg, pork belly, green onions, sunflower shoots, shiso and burnt garlic chili oil.  The chicken dish included adobo sauce, broccoli rabe and pickled cucumbers. Unfortunately, we were really disappointed with the dishes.  The chicken dish was bland ( not what I was expecting with an adobo sauce) and the ramen were just so so.  We didn’t even finish half of either dish. Maybe it was a bad night for the chef.  Here is the link in case you want to check it out for yourself.

http://www.quanhapa.com/

We were still hungry leaving Quan Hapa, so much so we decided to grab a donut at Holtmans Donuts. http://www.holtmansdonutshop.com/  These are by far the best donuts in Cincinnati.  Very cool place with a warm inviting atmosphere.  A must-try if you are visiting downtown.

After a quick carryout at Holtmans we headed over to the Senate.  Senate is a trendy American restaurant in the heart of OTR.  They serve gourmet hot dogs with creative toppings and feature local beers.  We loved it!  We started with a crispy potsticker made with housemade ginger-pork, sweet chili, miso cream cheese and sesame seeds.  It was fantastic.

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We then moved on to the star of the show, the gourmet hot dog. We ordered the “Trailer Park” which consists of bacon wrapped beef hotdog, american cheese, coleslaw, crushed grippos on a brioche bun.

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Very yummy. Overall, I would recommend Senate. The menu is interesting, the service was great and the place was hip. Here is the link to check it out for yourself.  http://senatepub.com/

After the Senate, it was off to the play. We saw Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Wonderful show and evening with my girl.

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Hiking in 2015

One of my new years resolutions is to do more hiking.  I have always loved to hike and have gotten away from it over the years.  I rounded up a group of friends and we went for a three-mile hike at Miami Whitewater Forest.  It was pretty cold here in Cincinnati that day but very sunny.  We really enjoyed our time on the trail.  So much so we collectively decided to do a hike-a-month this year.  We are busy planning next months hike already. IMG_4524

 

 

What a great way to start the year with wonderful friends. The remainder of the day was spent with family. Cooking and celebrating the new year. Each and every year I make pork, sauerkraut and mashed potatoes on new years day. Growing up my mom made this meal quite often and for sure on every January 1st. My understanding is it is good luck to eat pork and sauerkraut to begin the new year. The symbolism and story of these foods lucky nature are as follows; green cabbage(life) and pork/ham (pigs root forward as they eat, embracing challenges). I have kept this tradition alive in our family, so we enjoyed the meal below.

 

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2015 is off to a great start!

New York, New York

New York, New York- January 2014 I traveled to New York in mid-January for a quick work trip.  I tried some great food at a restaurant in Soho named Boulton & Watt.  http://boultonandwattnyc.com/index.php?id=menu.  There were several of us on the trip and we shared some great appetizers.  We tried the following Kirby cucumber with house pickle brine Brussels sprouts with garlic and dill Pineapple with habanero, mint and basil My favorite was the Brussels sprouts followed closely behind by the cucumbers.  All were really delicious.  For dinner I kept it light and had the organic quinoa salad with warm wild mushroom vinaigrette, kale, roasted butternut squash, pomegranate seeds and crispy shallots.  It was so flavorful and delicious.  Loved it!

Serene Sunday

Hey everyone.  I hope you had a great Sunday.  I spent this cold Sunday doing a lot of cooking.  Broccoli-cauliflower soup, roasted beats, chicken salad and slower cooker chicken and gravy.  I love spending the day cooking, using real, organic ingredients.  Speaking of organic ingredients, I subscribe to a delivery service that brings fresh, organic and local produce and natural groceries right to my doorstep.  GreenBean Delivery is the name of the service and I have included the link to their website.   www.greenbeandelivey.com.  Check it out and see if they deliver where you live.  Next week I’ll take a picture of my goodies on delivery day.

I’m not sure if I have shared with you my current eating plan.  My goal is to eat healthier and lose some weight.  I have been making great progress so far this year.  Since Jan 1st, I have lost 8.7 pounds.  I’m really focused on finding a way of eating that is sustainable for life, not just to lose weight.  I am eating healthy, real food; not the manufactured, tasteless food found in most grocery stores today.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

One last thing for tonight.  I wanted to link to the recipe I mentioned above from the website Simple Nourished Living.  Easy slow cooker chicken and gravy(www.simple-nourished-living.com/2013/easy-slow-cooker-chicken-and-gravy-recipe/.  It was a delicious.

Have a good week.

Lisa

 

 

 

 

Freezer Tomato Sauce

If you are like me you have too many tomatoes this time of year.   I can’t even think about eating another tomato.  Last weekend I decided to preserve the wonderful tomato flavors to use sometime deep in the heart of winter, when I’m craving the flavors of summer.  The following is the step-by-step process to make freezer tomato sauce.

Start with several pounds of tomatoes.  I used about 20 tomatoes various sizes.

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Next, grab your largest pot add enough water to cover to tomatoes about half way when they are added to the pot.  Bring water to boil and add 4 to 5 tomatoes to the pot.  Leave tomatoes in pot for 5-6 minutes or until you see the skin start to pull away from the tomato.

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As you can see as the tomatoes start to cool the skin begins to almost fall off.  Peel all the tomatoes and prepare your blender or food processor to puree the tomatoes.

 

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Place 4 to 5 tomatoes into the blender and blend until smooth.  Continue process with the remainder of the tomatoes.

 

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Prepare freezer Ziplok bags to hold your pureed tomato mixture.  Pour tomato sauce into the freezer bags.  Be sure you remove as much of the air as you can.  I was able to get 4 bags out of the 20 tomatoes I started with.  Place in freezer and enjoy throughout the winter to make soup, spaghetti sauce any recipe that requires the freshness of a summer tomato.

 

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Enjoy!

Real Life Foodie

I decided to start a blog because of my passion for food, good, real food.  If you look up the word foodie the most common definition you will find is: “A person who has an ardent or refined interest in food; a gourmet.”  This is a fine definition but I’m not sure it really captures the heart and soul of a foodie’s passion and love for food.

 

To be a foodie is not only to like food, but also to be interested in all aspects of growing, preparing, tasting and serving really great food. A real foodie wants to learn everything they can about food, and then savor each and every bite.  I hope you will enjoy my blog.

 

Lisa