Monday, March 19, 2012

First Bite, Take #2: The EAT! Food Truck

Sorry about yesterday's posting glitch. Here's my full report.

The new EAT! food truck has been out and about in various locations for a month or so now. I finally had a chance to see what they're up to when they appeared on Fountain Square last week. What's better than a warm early spring day and a nice line of interested customers!

Here's the menu EAT! posted the day I stopped by (sorry about the shadows cast by the downtown office buildings). Based on my previous experience as a supporter of Cincinnati food trucks, I would suggest you not be surprised if they pare it down or alter it once they get their feet under them and see what their customers want in various locations.

EAT! is offering mix-and-match combinations of proteins you can add to pasta and salads or find in sandwiches, including shrimp, scallops, turkey, Amish chicken, and paneer.

I went with the Indian cheese called paneer because, well, I could. Here's a look inside at the grilled paneer and accompanying tamarind chutney, on a great multi-grain bread with fresh greens.

I also tried one of EAT's soup specials that day, pureed lentil soup, another unique offering among Cincy food trucks, with their own croutons.

I'm happy to see EAT! join the Cincinnati Food Truck scene with fresh alternatives, and I will be staying tuned to see how our food trucks jockey for position in the limited space on Fifth St. adjacent to Fountain Square now that that space has been opened up by City Council and as warmer weather unfolds.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Culinary Smackdown Reminder: Battle Spherical Food

As last month’s Smackdown winner for her amazing Corned Beef and Cabbage Pizza, Leah of Eat, Drink and Be Married becomes this month’s Culinary Smackdown host, theme-picker, and judge. With the ball now in her court for this friendly little monthly cooking/blogging contest, Leah has challenged us with a sports-inspired theme, Battle: Spherical Food. Details here.

Leah is off to Paris, but I'm still here holding down the fort as the resident Smackdown Cheerleader.

Everyone is invited to join in, and newcomers are always welcome. If you're interested in entering the fray and wondering what this is all about, you can find lotsa linkage on my sidebar.

I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with for this one by March 31!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mourning Moscow, and a Sweet Spot: Ghyslain in Louisville

I was looking forward to a quiet weekend at home to catch up on blogging about my recent travels and tastings. Then came Friday’s tornadoes, which tore through nearby parts of Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, including the riverside village of Moscow, OH, which my best friend since 8th grade and frequent Culinary Smackdown compadre Cindie has called home for nearly 30 years. I was immensely relieved to hear her voice Friday night and know she, her family, and her dog are safe. But a good friend of theirs was not so lucky – she was killed when her house a couple blocks away collapsed on her. The storm took off the back half of Cindie’s roof, blew out a sliding glass door, and apparently sucked out some contents. A tree did some damage to one of their cars, and she said there is glass everywhere. That was just the preliminary report. Her house has now been “red tagged,” meaning deemed not safe to enter. Moscow is a gutsy little town that 15 years ago endured a major Ohio River flood. But this is even more devastating. Click here for a Cincinnati Enquirer article and video. You’ll find a few of my photos from happier days in Moscow at the bottom of this post. I will remember the lush green,  towering hundred-year-old trees, and care-free days in Moscow fondly. They’re pretty much all gone, at least for now.

While I wait to hear from Cindie with today’s update, I’m trying to distract myself with happier thoughts and bringing you a few photos of the goodies from Ghyslain, one of my recent stops in Louisville.
Located on East Market Street in the vibrant NULU District of Louisville, Ghyslain is a bustling French bistro (menu here) that also offers sweets that will make you swoon. The pastries and chocolates are true works of art.

If I hadn't been full from lunch across the street at Taco Punk, I would have tried Ghyslain's gelato. But I settled for bringing home a few candies and a pastry, which were every bit as delectable on the tongue as to the eye.

Ghyslain also has two locations in Richmond, Indiana, should you find yourself traveling in that direction, and you can mail order some of their chocolates – including a family of their turtle-shaped chocolate-caramel-nut turtles – via their website. The Louisville location has some patio seating, a great place to rendezvous with old friends – or meet new ones, as I was lucky to do when I happened to run into Joyce Pinson of Friends Drift Inn and her friend Rhoda, who I was scheduled to have dinner with at nearby Harvest. You can read Joyce's hilarious recap of our criss-crossing journeys and meet-up here.

Warm, sunny, food-filled days with friends are always a pleasure. And I have decades of memories of them at Cindie and Odie's. That's not apt to happen again in that particularly lovely spot on the Ohio River anytime soon.

Great memories of teaming up with Cindie and Odie at their house for our first effort at the Culinary Smackdown, Battle Lobsta.

We were tickled with our win for Battle Picnic Basket.

Cindie and I joined forces to bring the Culinary Smackdown back last summer. And had a blast taste-testing for Battle Bacon in her kitchen. Just 11 months ago we were hanging out on the deck after Easter dinner.

I am grateful to all my friends who have checked in on me and asked after Cindie this weekend. Also glad that, as far as I know, my KY blogger and farmer friends are OK. Please keep the folks impacted by these storms in your thoughts and prayers. There is a long road ahead.