Cincinnati recap

Cincinnati has a unique set of culinary touchstones that seem to have some connections with New York.

Montgomery Inn at the Boathouse: The place seemed to be designed for the casual business dining crowd. We tried the BBQ wrap and a side of their ribs. The ribs were tasty, somewhat like Kansas City ribs. They were tender, and sauced with a distinctive BBQ sauce, which not much of a smoked taste. The most curious dish was the “Cantonese Shrimp”, which are lightly battered butterflied shrimp which are then served with a dipping sauce composed of a mixture of plum sauce and hot mustard. The dishes were served with Saratoga Chips (which are essentially kitchen-made potato chips) , onion threads (thin shredded onions floured and fried) and a nice salad. For desert, we had Greater’s French Copper Pot style ice cream. – vanilla bean and the black raspberry chocolate chunk . BBQ: good; Ice cream: recommended; shrimp – acquired taste.

Skyline Chili: The thing that you have to understand about Cincinnati Chili is that while it may have some visual resemblance to what is commonly recognized as chili, that illusion is quickly dispelled once you dig in. It is probably better described as slightly overcooked spaghetti with Grecian sweet spiced (we’re talking sweet like sweet sausage, not sweet tea) meat sauce topped with thinly shredded cheddar cheese (the “3 Way”), and possibly diced onions and red kidney beans ( the 4 and 5 Way, neither of which are cooked in the sauced). Oyster crackers (the ones commonly used for New England clam chowder) accompany the dish – they are used to sop up the thin sauce at the bottom of the bowl. To mix the metaphor even more, they also serve chili dogs called “Coneys” (the name derived from Coney Island in Brooklyn), which are 5 inch German style wieners topped with the Cincinnati Chili and the shredded cheddar cheese . It is one of those foods like White Castle on the East Coast which are suitable for after –drinking munchies. If you are looking for traditional chili, you will be very disappointed. If you are looking for something to satisfy a craving you didn’t know that you had, and want to spend less then $5, fill up on Skyline Chili.

Renaissance Fair Good stuff: mead – a local company in the area made the heavenly brew from local honey. Fantastic – I had two glasses, and each had a distinctive taste based on the honey it was made with. The best bargain was the smoked turkey drumsticks – the dark meat tasted like tender ham on the bone. Very tasty. The fair itself was a bit kitschy – something between Medieval Times and Great Adventure. Glad to have checked it out.

Kroger’s: the things that we noticed: 1. lots of sausage and pickles – they had almost a aisle just for pickles 2. a lot of recalled item signs, including for cans of regular chili and even margarita salt. We bought grilling stuff, because it was inexpensive – grill gloves and apple wood chips.

Jewish favorites: during the bris, we had excellent lox and various cream cheeses, chopped egg salad, hummus, and excellent bagel, bialy and hallah bread A wonderful spread.

Labor Day Weekend!! We’re going to hop on a plane to exotic…

…Cincinnati ?!

We’re off to see the bris for P’s godson’s brother in America’s Heartland. It will be good to see one of P’s good friends, who happens to be going to law school right now. Now this is not exactly what I was expecting to do on Labor Day weekend – we as a rule try to avoid any sort of travel, not even to New Jersey. It’s supposed to be full of BBQ and the close of summer activities. It seems that the most exciting thing that’s going on is a full-fledged renaissance fair -I’ve always heard of them back in my D & D days, but never really went to any. The other thing to look forward to is the Cincinnati food – according to Food Network, the things to check out are the local style chili and Graeter’s French Style ice cream . We’re going to check out the Montgomery Inn at the Boathouse as soon as we touch down.