Wednesday, April 16, 2008

In Excess

Dinner plans are the last thing you should make when you're trying to cut calories.

Unfortunately this week marks the First Ever Kate Must Eat Out Every Day Of The Week Week.

Yeah, it's an unfortunate coincidence considering my super-ego wants to critique every entree before intake - and yet the id in me ultimately wins out, choosing fried decadence over raw roughage.

Monday marked the start of my round-robin restaurant tour, with a tasty trip to Oakley's Green Papaya. My dining partner and I both decided to set our meals up with some delicious bubble tea. Now, don't go thinking this is the sweet tea variety you've come to know and love in the Deep South. Bubble Tea actually has little to no resemblance to tea. I went with an avocado flavored version, complete with the gummy, purply black tapioca balls that lie in wait at the bottom of the frozen concoction. It was delicious. Don't be afraid, just grow some cojones and pick your own interesting flavor.

For lunch, I went with the box lunch, which is similar to a bento box you might find at a Japanese restaurant. My particular entree started off with a bowl of miso soup, then the server delivered a beautiful Asian box with compartments full of salad, a spring roll, orange slices, veggie pad thai and sashimi - tuna, salmon and other raw fish.

The sashimi was very fresh and tender and I loved the veggie pad thai, but it wasn't nearly as good as what I've had at other neighborhood spots.

Tuesday my mom and I caught a bite to eat before going to the theatre. We decided to visit my new favorite dining spot - Jean Robert de Cavel's Lavomatic in Over-the-Rhine. Mom went with the tarte starter that featured a flattened, puffed pastry rolled out like pizza dough, topped with bits of caramelized onions, bits of bacon and excellent cheese. I went with the charcuterie starter that included duck liver pate, country pate, prosciutto and a meat that reminded me of pancetta. The dish was served with a side of pickled vegetables including beats, Brussels sprouts, tiny onions perfect for a Gibson cocktail and one gorgeous baby carrot.

I sipped on a Leffe draught along with my fancy plate of meats - I last had Leffe at a quaint pub on the Leidenplatz in Amsterdam, and the flavor instantly brought me back to my fabulous trip last fall.

Wednesday was a double hitter of sorts. After starting the week with Thai and French food, I decided to keep the international flair going with a lunch of Korean food. I met up with a friend of mine for a bite at Sung Korean Bistro - I had never been there but a co-worker gave me a glowing recommendation of the bibimbab, so that's exactly what I had. I highly suggest getting the stone bowl bibimbab should you decide to venture to Sung for a meal. For two bucks more your heaping mix of meat, rice, fried egg and veggies come served in a bowl of carved stone. The stone is heated until its extremely hot to the touch (don't even think about it), continuing to cook the dish. The hot stone cooks the rice on the bottom until it develops a wonderful, crunchy crust that punctuates through the rest of the meal. I like my entrees with a little bit more flavor, so I chose to dump in the whole ramekin of spicy bean chili paste served on the side. In all, the dish was fabulous and well worth the 14 bucks.

Wednesday night I decided to take a break from the International Festival that had become my diet. I met Ground Chuck for our monthly dinner out - this time at Chef Sean Daly's Hugo. The restaurant prides itself on serving up sophisticated Southern food - the kind of dishes you could find at Paula Deen's Lady & Sons in Savannah. The restaurant's walls are covered in gorgeous prints showcasing the lowcountry and other Southern gems, just barely hinting at the masterpiece about to land on your taste buds. I went with a rabbit burgoo and the fried oysters topping mushrooms and pickled onions. The small plates were phenomenal.

The drinks were just as great. The bartender went out of his way to pour me a couple special glasses - the first was a deliciously tart lemon drop martini. The second (and my favorite) was a cocktail concoction of gin, simple syrup and muddled blueberries. The flavor was very crisp, fresh and not overly sweet like I thought. The name of the cocktail was great, too - Veruca Salt (But Daddy! I want an Oompa Loompa!)

The week of incredible dining continues tomorrow.

I'm meeting up with a fellow Junior Leaguer for a bite at a place that supposedly has spectacular slider burgers (no, not White Castle) and a great patio.

And Friday night isn't so much about dining out as it is having a beer with D Money's little brother. We're catching up at the best place a German-Irish girl can grab a brew south of the Ohio River.

Who's ready to dance on some tables?


Chris F. said...

Well, Kate, you just listed five more reasons why I want to live in Cincy one of these days aside from seeking a new career with the Bengals. I sure hope Marvin calls me. LOL.

Anyways, down here in Big Orange Country, I'm embarrassed to say that beyond the endless fast food places, chain restaurants (not bad, but I prefer variety) and what passes for Chinese around here, we are lacking in diversity.

The Notorious N.A.T said...


Seriously. I just drooled. Out loud.

YUMMMMM. I love how you describe your culinary adventures!