Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bad Girl Bread Brunch + Happy Valentine's Day

Birthdays don't take a holiday, but I like to make a holiday of my birthday. Alas, weekend getaway plans did not come to fruition. But Cindie and I had a fine food-filled morning today, an abbreviated version of the trip we'd planned to Columbus.

First stop: fork heart knife. Brunch doesn't get much better than this. Thoughtful twists on traditional dishes, made with carefully sourced ingredients, in a cozy, casual setting - just four indoor tables in the narrow storefront that also houses fhk's catering kitchen. You can taste the care put into every bite, and you feel like family as soon as you walk in the door and see the welcoming smile on Sierra's face. You could probably wear your bedroom slippers to this homey spot - although you might regret that choice if you had to wait outside for a table, even on a day as warm as this one in Cincy. We arrived when they opened at 10:00 and got a table immediately. When we left at about 10:45, the line was beginning to form.

Menus change each week for fhk's open-to-the-public Saturday and Sunday brunches and their Wednesday and Thursday dinners. I salivate every time I see a new menu, handwritten on butcher paper, on fhk's facebook page.

Today Cindie and I both opted for the Greek strata - artichokes, olives, feta and "Bad Girl" bread from local Blue Oven Bakery. (Yes, that's really the name of the bread.) It came with a salad of greens and blueberries with blueberry balsamic dressing. (Sierra and Leah, if you're ever giving cooking lessons, I would love to know how you manage to make your dressings so flavorful yet light.)
Don't let the perspective on that photo fool you. The strata portions are large and filling for just $8 or so. Cindie and I also split an order of fhk's signature potatoes bravas and had to ask for boxes for our leftovers.

Next stop: Park + Vine (a few blocks south of fhk on Main St., near 12th), a lovely shop with all manner of eco-friendly products, plus local and vegan foodstuffs, including offerings from Northside's Picnic and Pantry. I came away with a compostable birthday card (with seeds in the paper) for a friend, and the first in a series of sweets purchases, from local Chocolats Latour.

Then we hit Findlay Market, which was bulging with Valentine's Day specialties. I resisted the urge to snap a pic of heart-shaped filet mignon from one meat stall, but couldn't pass up this chocolate-covered baklava from Areti's Gyros. Seriously, could there be a more decadent dessert than baklava covered in chocolate?

Cindie and I were also powerless to resist Jean-Francois' Valentine's macaron assortment - baci (chocolate and hazelnut), mon chéri (chocolate and cherry liquor), kir royal, hot kiss (spicy chocolate), and bittersweet and passion fruit. Cindie made the mistake of trying to share hers with her husband. Me? I'm saving them all for myself.

And then there was the chocolate mousse at Fresh Table. Cindie asked for a spoon so she could eat hers on the spot. I'm trying to pace myself . . .

A couple of savory options I couldn't resist from Fresh Table were house-cured gravlox with capers and mustard sauce.

and, to be extra healthy :), a slab of Fresh Table's veggie lasagna:

Off to taste my purchases, and will report back once I come off my sugar high.

Thanks to all who commented on my refreshed look and fab new header designed by the inimitable Minx, my blogging partner over at AllTopChef. You can also find me on my new Eggy facebook page, where I'm having fun sharing tidbits and links in a different format from my blog.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Nancy said...

What a scrumptious feast! I am craving Macarons right now and your photos are screaming out "eat me" Happy Valentine's Day :)

fishy said...

Valentine delights!
Hearts sing out with love and joy
Food expressed content!

Happy Valentines day and ENTER a haiku :-)

Buzz Kill said...

Some fine eats in downtown Cincinnati. I hope you're going to share some of those macaroons with the old man.

Happy Valentines Day.

Jenny said...

Did I miss your Birthday? Happy Belated day and thank you for a visually beautiful post. I'm now so very hungry.

and.. Happy Valentine's Day!

Dani said...

Happy Valentines Day!

Karl said...

Good afternoon Eggy,

A belated Happy Birthday! So many fine looking treats. No wonder, I always leave here hungry.

Chef Dennis Littley said...

I love your new look, especially the header!! thanks for sharing your great day out with us, except now I am starving!!

WaterDog said...

Yes it was a lovely day out. Good food at FHK, but next time I am going for the sweets. As I sit here with my foot up due to toe surgery, I wish I had some of the food left. The sausage I bought at Eeckerlins was wonderful!

MakingSpace said...

I gained fifteen pounds reading that. Wow you have some good food in Cincy!!!

Happy Birthday!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a fabulous day. I would love to have the recipe for blueberry vinaigrette.

LaDivaCucina said...

Wow, girl,you know how to celebrate! It all looks so DIVINE! No fancy macarons or chocolate covered baklava for La Diva in Miami, I'm afraid! Why is there so much good food where it's cold? To make up for lack of sunshine? I'm glad you had a great birthday! xo

darkfoam said...

now i'm tempted to visit cinci just to dine at some of the places that you've shown. the food looks divine!

Sharon Rudd said...

Thanks to all for your greetings and birthday wishes!

Sam, I was able to get the blueberry balsamic vinaigrette recipe from the chef! I've posted it over on my new eggy to go facebook page:

theminx said...

You are taunting me with those macarons! Mmmm!

Courtney said...

Woah, macarons, fork heart knife, blue oven bakery, i love it!!!

chow and chatter said...

wow great food love macaroons looks like you live in a fun foodie city

Aunty Belle said...

macarons? Can they possibly be any good outside PAris' city limits? Jes' teasin'--they look delectable!

How's ya been--sorta worried since y'aint post in a few weeks.

Lemme know how ya is.

Aunty Belle said...

Eggy!! Come on over--play Haiku wif' us.

I'se a mite worriet about ya' --no posts over heah--is ya' doin' ok?