Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Le Bon Vivant Does Third Friday Choucroute Garnie Tasting and Man v. Food Does Cincinnati Wed. Night
How many kids volunteer to go to summer school? I confess I did. After attending Walnut Hills in 7th and 8th grades (where Latin is required of all students), I had some fitting in to do when my family moved to a new school district. To switch languages and catch up with the students at my new high school, I spent mornings that summer taking French. While memorizing the genders of common French nouns and learning to conjugate French verbs in le passé compose et le subjonctif (verb tenses weren't even taught in my English classes during that era, and they sound so much more compelling en francais), I learned a bit about French geography and culture, and was smitten. As much as I enjoyed my local branch library, I dreamed of stepping inside a Parisian bibliothèque, a book stall on the Left Bank, and more.
Le Bon Vivant, a lovely new shop on Woodburn Avenue, just south of De Sales Corner and just north of Josh Campbell's restaurant, The Skinny Pig. The neighborhood has changed a lot, not only since the days I rode the bus home from Walnut Hills High School but more recently.
The streetscape outside is inviting (there's also a free, well-lit public parking lot across the street from Le Bon Vivant), and once I stepped inside, I was charmed by the simple elegance of the high-ceilinged space.
Le Bon Vivant offers a mix of French table linens, dishes, and serving ware, as well as bath and body products.
And then there are the French food items, which of course were my focus.
In addition to imported packaged items, Le Bon Vivant carries baguettes, cheeses, duck fat(!), and wines. Among the specialties Cindie and I purchased were Fleur de Sel, Piment d'Espelette, and truffle butter. You can also find the amazing locally made chocolates from Chocolats Latour here.
Le Bon Vivant has embarked on a series of Third Friday "wine and cheese explorations" spotlighting different regions of France. This month, on Friday, Oct. 21, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., you can taste Alsatian wines and sample two different recipes for choucroute garnie for $30. Space is limited to 30 people and is not open to the general public, so call or email owner Catherine Meguire at (513) 221-2921 or firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot. I was so bummed when I realized I'd missed the first one, featuring the Loire, that I RSVP'd immediately for this one. To stay up on news of Le Bon Vivant's products, events, and all-around cool France-related links, like their active facebook page or subscribe to their e-newsletter.
Meanwhile, a quick reminder that this Wed. night (10/12) at 9:00 p.m. on the Travel Channel, Man v. Food Nation airs its Cincinnati show. I was lucky to be present for the portion filmed at Tom + Chee, and am crazy curious to see how the show's 4 days of filming in my city get squeezed into this half-hour episode. Local food blogger Kitty of Cincinnati Nomerati has a great new post up about her friend who actually tried to eat the ginormous meal at Izzy's for MvF.
I'll be watching with friends Wed. night and back later with more from my Lexington trip.