Sunday, November 3, 2013

Cincinnati Restaurants BENEFIT Us All - and a Give-Away

I am continually amazed by the many local chefs and restaurants who not only endure the frenzy of each night’s service at their respective businesses but also give back to the community and great causes. Since I last posted on this blog, I’ve been fortunate to attend and volunteer for several. A few highlights.

Eat Local for the Globe

September's Eat Local for the Globe drew a record number of local chefs bringing their A game for a spectacular dinner to benefit Findlay Market. One of the fun things about volunteering for it was watching the chefs collaborate as they joined in plating each other's dishes. Also, that moment when Jean-Robert de Cavel pitched in at the bussing station. Because, you know, dishes were starting to pile up, and he's not above doing whatever needs to be done.

Top local chefs also turn out to give back to Jean-Robert and his wife Annette, who lost their daughter Tatiana to SIDS and host an annual fundraiser for SIDS research in her honor called Always delectable!

Cincinnati Chocolate Festival

Cincinnati Chocolate Festival is run be all volunteers helping the Isaac M. Wise Temple Sisterhood raise funds for their year-round projects like Interfaith Hospitality Network, Over-the-Rhine Soup Kitchen, Freestore Foodbank, The Assistance League, and the YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter. I got to sample savory chocolate-laced dishes from their new Cheers for Chocolate wine and food booth in between watching demos and "wrangling" some local all-stars serving as judges. They were happy to participate and didn't need much wrangling after all.

Slow Food Cincinnati Tomatoland Dinner

I am especially grateful to all who helped raise funds for Slow Food Cincinnati (a cause dear to me - I am on the SFC Board). From Molly Wellman's bourbon + tomato syrup cocktail to Megan Ketover's olive oil basque cake with honeyed tomato butter, lemon rosemary ice cream and fennel, and her amazing mignardise plate, we were lucky to have Slow Food Cincinnati Snail of Approval award winners Todd Kelly and Megan Ketover of Orchids, Stephen Williams and Bhumin Desai of Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar, and Local 127's Steven Geddes and Kyle Johnson prepare us a fabulous feast.

LLS Taste of the World at the Newport Aquarium

Here's another great benefit coming up Sat., Nov. 9 that raises funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Tickets are $100 for general admission, or $150 for the Top Shelf Room. But you can win a pair of tickets by commenting here, on the Eggplant To Go facebook page or tweeting/retweeting at @eggplanttogo by 11:59 p.m., Wed., Nov. 6. Participating restaurants include Alfio's buon cibo, Andy's Mediterranean Grill, BB Riverboats, Coffee Emporium, Dewey's Pizza, European Imports, Food Match, Frisch's, Fusian, Keystone Bar & Grill, Palomino, The Party Source EQ, P.F. Chang's, Pit to Plate BBQ, Madisono's Gelato, Red Roost Tavern, Stone Creek Dining Company, Taste of Belgium, and Yagoot.

My thanks to blogger friends Laura and David Arnold of Cincinnati Nomerati for all their work on the LLS benefit and making this giveaway possible. Disclosure: they are also providing me a pair of tickets. I hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Second Sunday on Main Chef Demos Start Tomorrow!

Squid cooked in ink, blood sausage, black chickpea puree,
black mint, bull's blood greens,
created by Chef Jackson Rouse for Cincinnati's Diner en Noir

Have you been to the Second Sunday on Main Celebrity Chef Demos? I hadn't until last year, and now I can't get enough. This season's May-Oct. series launches tomorrow, with chef Jackson Rouse and beverage dude Rom Wells of The Rookwood in Mt. Adams as featured demo-ers, in a new location this year: the side room of Mr. Pitiful's, at 1323 Vine St. Come watch – and taste – what these talented guys create tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. for FREE! City Cellars will return this year with wine pairings, and there should be some sweet gifts to be raffled off as well. Did I mention this is all FREE?

When I learned about the SSOM Chef Demo series last summer, I couldn't believe it had already been going on for more than five years and I'd just caught wind of it. That was one of several experiences that led me to take this blog (more often its fb page) in the direction of sharing news of under-reported local food events that get me excited, and seek them out myself. In the casual environment of these demos, I had the opportunity to taste the food of some of Cincinnati's top chefs and learn a bit more about them. I talked friends into meeting me for OTR brunches beforehand, explored whatever wacky events were going on in middle of of Main St. (closed to vehicles between 14th and Liberty between noon and 5:00 the second Sunday of each month for this street fair), checked out some businesses and eateries unfamiliar to me, and usually ended up with a StreetPop at their shop on the north end of Main.

Laura Chenault has been the organizer of the SSOM Chef Demos for the last five years, and it was through this series that I met her and learned about her new business, a "flexible event space + urban kitchen" called Pallet23, which has hosted, among other food events, pop-up dinners by Jose Salazar as well as Diner en Noir, organized by Rom Wells and featuring the dish at the top of this post created by Jackson Rouse (wish my photo did better justice to it). Great collaborations!

I hinted on fb that I had an announcement coming up. If you (like my parents) were wondering what the heck I was talking about, here it is. Laura reached out to me for assistance now that she must tend to her new business. Wearing my hat as a Slow Food Cincinnati board member (I'm the Communications Chair), I will be pitching in as a volunteer organizer for this year's Chef Demos, along with friends, Slow Food compadres, and the delightful Cat Amaro of The Birdhaus, which hosts fun out-of-the-box classes with local entrepreneurs of all sorts.

Please join us tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cincinnati Restaurant Week: La Poste

I was almost going to skip this spring's Restaurant Week, as I scurry to pack and leave for Knoxville and a jam-packed few days at the Southern Food Writing Conference. But I'm glad I didn't.

Restaurant Week is always a great opportunity to try a new restaurant or return to one you've enjoyed in the past. It's hard to beat $33.13 for three courses (two-for-$33.13 and other deals available at some lower-cost venues within the Greater Cincinnati Independents/Eat Local Cincy consortium). The only thing I don't understand is why these restaurants and the parent organization don't do a better job of publicizing their Restaurant Week offerings.

In any case, La Poste has been on my list for some time, and I took advantage of this opportunity to try it out. Delightful and delicious. Here's a quick look.

Fruit salad amuse with crispy bread

Diver scallop with hot bacon vinaigrette, wilted greens, gorgonzola, 
specks of rye croutons, and a beautifully runny egg

Seared tuna salad with Meyer lemon vinaigrette, wasabi tobiko, and baby radishes

Salmon (cooked to a perfect medium rare) over Israeli couscous 
with brown butter sauce and asparagus

Oh, and that lovely chocolate mousse tart with raspberries and creme anglaise at the top of this post. Here's La Poste's Restaurant Week menu, which I couldn't seem to find anywhere else online. (Apologies for the folds; I'm not above walking out of a restaurant with a specials menu.)

I thoroughly enjoyed myself at La Poste and look forward to going back and checking out more of what Chef Dave Taylor and crew have in store. (I overheard a server describing one of tonight's specials that was, understandably, not on the $33.13 Restaurant Week menu that included foie gras and sounded divine.)

I hope you'll take advantage of Cincinnati Restaurant Week to get out and try something new too. If Restaurant Week doesn't work for you, there are more fabulous food and craft beer events going on in the city this weekend than I can possibly link to. I picked a heck of a weekend to head out of town. I'll just have to content myself with adventures at the conference that include dinner at Blackberry Farm, a field trip to Benton's Bacon, and lunch at the Knoxville location of Asheville fave Tupelo Honey. And I'll be back in time to check out the Asian Food Festival at The Banks on Sunday (it runs 4:00-midnight Sat. and 1:00-9:00 Sun.). For now, I gotta run.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Slow Food Dinner at Jean-Robert's Table May 15

Big news! Slow Food Cincinnati is partnering with Jean-Robert's Table for a very special dinner May 15. The Ark of Taste is a Slow Food program that aims to preserve and promote heirloom vegetables, heritage livestock breeds (such as the Red Wattle pig, raised locally by Dean Family Farm), and other threatened culinary species. Only the best-tasting endangered foods make it onto the Ark! Thanks to the dogged efforts of my fellow board member Jay Erisman over the last two years, Slow Food Cincinnati has succeeded in getting another local foodstuff accepted to this roster: the American paddlefish!

Based just across the river in Bellevue, KY, Renée Koerner raises this relative of the sturgeon at Big Fish Farms on a sustainable model where the paddlefish feeds on naturally occurring plankton and the farm uses no additional food, improves the quality of the water, harms no other fish, and provides excellent meat as well as caviar.

To celebrate the acceptance of American paddlefish onto the Ark of Taste, Jean-Robert de Cavel will create a four-course dinner highlighting the paddlefish produced by his long-time friend Renée Koerner (including caviar and smoked and fresh fish) Wednesday, May 15, at 6:30 pm.: $90 per person including wine pairings, tax, and gratuity. You can find more info on Slow Food Cincinnati's facebook page. But to secure your reservation, you MUST call Marilou Lind at JR's Table, 513-621-4777. The event is open to all.

Renée's paddlefish is prized by other top local chefs as well, and I've been checking them out whenever I've had the opportunity this season. Chef Stephen Williams of Bouquet featured it in the amazing dish at the top of this post, with mushrooms, buerre blanc, and beets that turned the accompanying couscous a rosy pink.

And to kick off the dinner celebrating Orchids' fifth year as Cincinnati Magazine's "Best Restaurant" in the city, Chef Todd Kelly offered up this spectacular "fried" egg with lobster salad and Big Fish Farms caviar cream.

We can't wait to taste what Jean-Robert will do with this very special ingredient. Check out this video for more about Renée's paddlefish caviar adventures, and call to reserve your seat at Table before this event sells out!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Noshes and News 4.16.13

After a busy week and a trip to Louisville and Nashville, I'm back and have lots of good news and events to share. Rather than clog your facebook feed with too many links tonight, I'm rounding up the best of the best here (although my facebook page is generally the best place to stay up to date with the local food news I have to share).

First off, cheers to Barrio Tequileria, which had its Grand Opening in Northside while I was away! Luckily, I had the opportunity to check out the neighborhood's newest taco joint, from Taco Azul food truck owner Gary Sims, during its soft opening. The food and drinks I've sampled so far – including the mango-habanero marguerita at the top of this post – are solid and delicious! I love the comfortable yet hip LA vibe and the quirky day-of-the-dead artwork (including a Día de Muertos-style Marilyn Monroe piece). Barrio's spacious fenced-in back patio will open Cinco de Mayo weekend with live music, and I could see it becoming my favorite al fresco spot in the city. I can't wait to explore more of Barrio's extensive tequila list, along with the black molé and an upcoming pig roast Gary is promising. For more photos, check out this great post by 5chwar7z.

If your tastes run to the adventurous, mark your calendar for next Tues. (April 23). During the afternoon Local 127 chef Steven Geddes and the ubiquitous Justin Dean will host a goat butchery session with Adam Danforth. Special goat dishes will be available that evening, along with the regular menu. Contact the restaurant for more details. A great opportunity to check out this underutilized meat and taste what can be done with it in the hands of skilled chefs. ETA: I just received the press release below. If you opt for the goat dinner, it is $35 for four courses. The butchering demo begins at 3:00 "and continues into the evening." Reservations strongly encouraged for both the demo and the dinner: (513)721-1345.

OTR's vegan-friendly green general store Park + Vine hosts a release party for the 2013 CORV (Central Ohio River Valley) Local Food Guide Wed. night (4/17) from 5:30-7:30. Other ways to lay your hands on this indispensable annual guide to farms, farmer's markets and other local/sustainable food resources in southwest Ohio, northern Kentucky, and southwestern Indiana: it's available for free in this week's City Beat or you can download or order a copy via CORV here.

What's better than Findlay Market staying open late on a spring evening? The chance to score discounts on tickets for the Bunbury Music Festival! This Thursday (April 18) from 4:00 to 7:00, Findlay kicks off a series of special events where you can get 20% off a 1-day or 3-day Bunbury pass by buying $50 in groceries OR showing receipts from 5 different Findlay Market vendors (discount limited to two passes). Even better, in keeping with Bunbury's "Bee Free" slogan, the first person to buy $120 in groceries AND show up in a bee costume will get one FREE 3-day pass to the July 12-14 music festival. You can savor an adult beverage in Findlay's OTR biergarten, enjoy live music, take in a Taste the World at Findlay Market food tour, indulge in one of the best pastimes at Findlay Market – people watching – and get your grocery shopping done at the same time. The same discount is on offer two more Thursday evenings, May 16 and June 20, as well as three Sundays from 10:00-4:00: April 21, May 19, and June 23. ETA: I read an item today that indicated the Findlay markethouse vendors would be be open until 6:00 this Thursday, with other events continuing until 7:00. I am trying to confirm, but you might want to get your shopping done first, before kicking back in the biergarten.

Nectar Restaurant is hosting another of its spectacular Dinner Clubs next Thursday (April 25), this one featuring artichokes, in conjunction with Daisy Mae's. At each month's Dinner Club Nectar chef Julie Francis highlights a given ingredient through five savory and sweet courses that will surprise and delight you. Check out this month's menu here.

Also coming up April 25, something cities across the country have been doing for years. I am glad to see Cincinnati restaurants FINALLY getting on board with Dining Out for Life, where restaurants donate a portion of their proceeds to AIDS service organizations. Click here for local participating restaurants. As I write this, they include Jean-Robert's Table, Mayberry, Kitchen 452, Park + Vine, 20 Brix, Melt, Cumin, and more. It will be a good night to support local restaurants that support a great cause.

I'll sign off for now with kudos to some of my favorite Cincy food folks who broke good news while I was out of town.

My talented, determined, hard-working friends at Tom + Chee held their first press conference last Friday to announce they will appear on the ABC show Shark Tank May 17 (locally, Ch. 9/WCPO). I was bummed I couldn't be there in person, but glad to catch this video. I've been rooting for them since they got their start in a tent on Fountain Square and was excited to be with them during the filming of their first TV appearance, on Man v. Food Nation. Whatever the outcome of their pitch to investors on this show, I'm confident they will continue to grow, thrive, and remain committed to what they do: bringing cheesy goodness at an affordable price point for families of all sorts.

And in case you missed Polly Campbell's piece, Jose Salazar's new restaurant will be called Salazar and it will be located at 14th and Republic. I've had the pleasure of tasting what Jose does on his own terms at his pop-up dinners at Pallet23, and I can't wait to see where he'll go next as he launches his new venture in a renovated OTR butcher shop.

So much food talent to be proud of in our city! Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pop-Up Dinner Round-Up, Part 1

Whether you call them “pop-ups” or “underground dinners,” these innovative one-off prix-fixe culinary events are blossoming more quickly than the daffodils in my front yard. Here's my first installment about some unique events to check out.

Last night I attended a Date Dinner, by Steven Shockley, who recently became Executive Chef at Cumin and previously worked at Pho Paris, Chalk, Jean-Robert’s Table, and Maribelle’s (when it was at its previous Riverside Drive/Eastern Avenue location). Steven takes thematic inspiration from a wide array of sources (the previous Date Dinner I attend was based on the music of Miles Davis). Although Steven is sometimes given to pun-filled constructs, last night’s dinner side-stepped the opportunity for April Fool’s Day jokes while, as usual, focusing on out-of-the-ordinary flavor combinations.

Lentil soup with pomegranate and sumac whipped cream

Flatbread with gorgonzola-potato puree and parsley

Braised lamb neck with grapes, quinoa, and cauliflower puree

Cardamom rice pudding

The schedule for Date Dinners varies, partly depending on Steven’s work schedule, and is usually limited to about 12 people, in an Over-the-Rhine apartment the location of which you learn after RSVPing (and, now, paying via Paypal). Like the Date Dinner facebook page to hear about upcoming events. Steven has a keen culinary curiosity, and I’m not going to try to guess where he’ll take Date Dinner next, although he says he’s switching the format to four courses for $35; still BYOB. He also occasionally pops up with snacks at Market Wines at Findlay Market and Neon’s. Steven has a personal proclivity for veggies, grains, hand-ground spices, and the occasional braise or venture into offal territory. I will definitely be curious to see where he takes Cumin’s spring menu, set to launch this Thursday. He will also be participating in the 1 Night, 12 Kitchens Midwest Culinary Institute April 21 on behalf of Cumin, in case you were one of the lucky folks who bought ticket before they sold out.

Steven recently collaborated for a dinner at Pallet23 in Northside with another young chef who is garnering a lot of attention for his pop-up dinners, Ryan Santos of Please. Ryan leaves tomorrow for a stage (internship) at Michelin-starred In De Wulf in Belgium and has another lined up at Castagna in Portland for September. I can't wait to see what inspiration Ryan returns with from his travels (for a terrific food-porn-filled blogger's-eye-view glimpse of In De Wulf, click here). After he returns from Europe, Ryan and crew will be shedding the "Arts and Lettuce" title for their pop-up dinners and taking them to Carriage House Farm for a new, rustic dining experience that will involve not only eating outdoors but cooking outdoors. No electric, thank you very much. Ryan has always cultivated close relationships with area farmers to source local and sustainably raised foods for his dinners. He has more intriguing collaborations in the works, with entrepreneurial aquaponics venture URBTank and a "beverage" partner.
Please: a Staff Pick for “Best Now-Above-Ground Underground Dinner Series 
Turned Into A Residency” in City Beat's Best of Cincinnati 2013 issue

Here are just three more pop-ups taking place in the next week. If you're interested, act quickly or they may be sold out.

Frances Kroner, the talent who created the marshmallow dress at The Art of Food, is doing her second "edible installation" collaboration with Modern Makers and Pones, Inc. this Friday, called "The Big Dinner." Details here. Her "food event design" company FEAST was just featured in the Business Courier (sorry I can't share a link that gets beyond the paywall). I was out of town last week and missed FEAST's pop-up last weekend, but heard great things about the event and the food from friends. Can't wait to check out what she's doing this Friday!

Another series I'm excited to finally get in on is "Underground - A Hen of the Woods Production," which is celebrating Spring with a dinner Monday, April 8. Join their facebook event asap, then await instructions and get your cash or check to chef Nick Marckwald by Friday for this wine-inclusive dinner with sommelier Kevin Hart of wineCRAFT, who collaborated on an amazing pop-up at the Mercantile Library with the fine folks from Dutch's recently. (The talented Gina Weathersby of 513{eats} documented that event in full photographic glory here.)

Nick, Kevin, and other talented folks are also doing a pop-up of heavy hors d'oeuvres and desserts at The Rookwood in Mt. Adams April 10 to benefit the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America. Details here.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Pop-Up Round-Up. Lots of exciting ventures coming up!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Noshes and News 2.26.13

PizzaBomba Grand Opening Tuesday, February 26

The PizzaBomba food truck recently opened a storefront at 14 E. Fifth St. in Covington, and today they'll celebrate their official Grand Opening by giving away free slices of cheese and pepperoni pizza from 11:00 a.m. until they run out. If you love PizzaBomba's food as much as I do, rest assured their truck and catering operation will continue to operate. They've also added delivery to Covington, Newport, parts of Bellevue, Downtown Cincy, and Over-the-Rhine up to Liberty. The Covington PizzaBomba shop has a beer license and, better yet, an expanded menu that includes sandwiches, salads, pastas, and desserts. Although Grand Opening freebie slices are limited to cheese and pepperoni, you don't want to miss PizzaBomba's quirky combos and homemade breads and pastas, like this punchy yet ethereal Buffalo Chicken gnocchi! Find them on facebook, twitter, or via their website.

The Art of Food Opening at The Carnegie Friday, March 1

Food-inspired artwork will fill the galleries of The Carnegie in Covington through March 21. But  opening night for The Art of Food is the BIG deal. More than 20 of Greater Cincinnati's best restaurants will be giving out tastes of their food from 6:00 to 9:00. Now in its seventh year, this unique annual event delights all the senses - and it gets crowded quickly! To reserve your tickets before they sell out, click here.

Night Owl Market (NOM) Bockfest Edition, Friday and Saturday, March 1-2

This periodic gathering of food trucks, musicians, and other local artists in the parking lot at Main Street and Central Parkway in Over-the-Rhine was a hit with the late-night crowd last year. NOM kicks off its 2013 season this Friday and Saturday from 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. in conjunction with Bockfest! Event details here, and more about this great entrepreneurial endeavor from Cincy Chic here.

I hear the Red Sesame Korean BBQ Taco truck will be in attendance at this weekend's NOM. Haven't caught up with this new Cincy food truck yet? Keep an eye out for them via facebook and twitter. Seriously, you'll want to check them out soon!

Pura Vida Nomadic Nights Underground Dinner, March 2

If you've been interested in checking out one of Cincinnati's underground dinners, Jose Navales of Pura Vida Pop-up is doing his second Nomadic Nights Dinner this Saturday. I missed the first one, but I have tasted his food, last fall at the OEFFA tour at Carriage House Farm. Navales is passionate about local food - and full of ideas. I'm betting this will be unlike any other underground dinner Cincinnati has seen yet.

Asian Food Fest Cookoffs at Findlay Market, Sundays in March, 1:00-3:00

Do you love Asian food - or just want to learn more about the diverse foods of China, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and more? This year's Asian Food Fest is May 18 and 19 at The Banks, and leading up to it, like last year, Findlay Market will host a series of cook-offs Sundays in March, featuring congee (March 3), curry (March 10), rolls (March 17), and Asian BBQ (March 24). To enter, complete an entry form by the Friday before each event and bring 4 quarts of your dish. To taste, come and enjoy. People's choice and judges' winners will be awarded each Sunday. I look forward to being a guest judge for the curry cook-off, and hope to see you there!

Young Guns Awards

I've been learning about lots of young chef talent in response to my post last week about national website Eater's call for nominations for its Young Guns Awards. Eater's rules state they are looking for candidates who are under 30 years old OR (if you're over 30) have worked less than 5 years in the business. Please go to Eater's website to make official nominations and represent!!! And please continue to let me know your suggestions about our best and brightest upcoming talent in Ohio and Kentucky by contacting me. I look forward to sharing their names here - and learning more about them!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Call for Nominations - Eater Young Guns

The national website Eater is accepting nominations for its second annual Young Guns award, and I'd love to see Cincinnati (and surrounding cities) represent! I know there's a buffet of serious talent here in the middle of the country!!! Trouble is, I'm not sure who meets the "under 30" - OR has worked in the industry less than 5 years - qualification, and I'm certain there are lots more amazing up-and-comers out there than I've had the chance to meet yet.

Here's how Eater describes its search for Young Guns:

The aim of Young Guns is to identify the most promising up-and-comers in the restaurant and nightlife world, whether they're working as chefs or line cooks, sommeliers or bartenders, restaurateurs or maître d's.

The criteria are simple. Nominees must be under 30 years of age (or have worked in their chosen field for less than five years) and must be currently employed in the hospitality industry in the United States. Though you most likely haven't yet heard their names, they must show extraordinary promise. These kids are the future, those that will soon lead the business but have yet to receive critical attention.

Eater is opening up the nomination process to the public! Click here and complete the quick form to officially nominate a candidate directly to Eater. Additional supporting materials can be emailed to

Meanwhile, please make some noise locally by sharing who you think are some of our best and brightest young talents by commenting on this blog post, posting on my facebook page, tweeting me @EggplantToGo, or emailing me at eggplanttogo @ gmail dot com.

Eater's deadline for nominations is March 15. Let's get a groundswell going before that, people! And I look forward to acknowledging our worthy nominees right here.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Noshes + News 2.17.13

The Denver Chee at Tom + Chee Walnut St.

Tom + Chee Now Serving Breakfast

The little "grilled cheese and tomato soup venture that could," Tom + Chee is now serving breakfast at their Walnut St. store. Loved their take on the Denver omelet when I grabbed one last week. Breakfast sandwiches and stuffed French toasts galore! Downtown Cincy between 4th and 5th Streets in the Mercantile Building (next to Subway).

Six Reasons to Check Out Alfio's Tuesday Night

Tuesday evening (2/19) Alfio's buon cibo is doing an informal wine tasting of three Malbecs with a trio of their empanadas, which I loved on a recent visit to this cozy Italian-Argentian restaurant on Hyde Park Square (in the former Poco a Poco location). $20 for three bites and three pours, starting at 6:00 p.m.

Pierogies + Art at Park + Vine Friday Night

Every culture has its version of dumplings. In Poland they're called pierogies. Last week I tasted offerings from start-up Babushka Pierogies at Market Wines at Findlay Market with a friend whose mother-in-law was Polish. These were so good my friend bought extra to take home to her husband, knowing he would approve. Look for Babushka Pierogies at Madison's and Gramma Debbie's at Findlay Market plus vegan versions at Park + Vine.

Park + Vine, the "green" general store, vegan food mecca, and community gathering spot in Over-the-Rhine, is hosting a special Final Friday event featuring not only Babushka's Pierogies but whimsical pieces by artist and local farmer Emily St. Clair. Check out this "Secret Garden" opening Fri. (2/22) 6:00-10:00 at 1202 Main St.

New Non-Profit: Cincinnati Food Truck Association

I'm a big fan of the talented entrepreneurial folks in Cincinnati's great mobile food scene. They support each other in many ways, and now they've banded together to form an official non-profit. From the press release:

We are proud to announce the newly formed non‐profit organization, Cincinnati Food Truck Association (CFTA). The association is made up of small businesses that own and operate premium food trucks and trailers in Cincinnati focused on innovation in hospitality, high quality food and community development. The CFTA aims to reinvent food trucks vending in a way that is beneficial to Cincinnati, food truck entrepreneurs and their patrons.

Mission Statement: To campaign for safe, affordable and legal access to street food in metro Cincinnati area by fostering positive relations between street vendors and the residents and business of the communities they serve. Our mission is to create a market in which food trucks, trailers, vendors and patrons alike can work together for the betterment of the industry. The immediate goal of our newly formed organization is to work with the City of Cincinnati to increase the number of available mobile food vending spots within the pilot program. In addition, we hope plan food related events, create a welcoming environment for future Cincinnati food trucks, carts and vendors as well as create an online source with contact information, calendar of events and other relevant information.

Contact CFTA at:

Stay tuned to this blog for more news about Cincy food trucks and other great food in the city, and more frequent news updates on my facebook page.