Friday, July 29, 2011

Restaurant Review- Skinny Pig

I have been dying to go to the skinny pig. It is owned by the same people as Mayberry and was a brand new restaurant, a byo and had a menu full of flatbreads... yes. please.So after spending the morning at the Findlay Market wine tasting (more on that later!)- we brought a couple of beers from market wines and headed to the skinny pig.

It's located in Walnut Hills right off of Madison. A little one room restaurant with about 6 tables and a small open kitchen with a few small ovens and an ice cream maker... we cracked open an afternoon beer and perused the menu..

We decided on a vegetarian and not vegetarian flatbread for a little variety...
First up: wild mushroom pate, beets, sweet & sour eggplant and a curry cucumber yogurt. ($6.99)- This was really delicious.. I think I would like it even better if the curry was a little spicy!...but it was a fun and interesting combination

Then a garlic beef, horseradish, asparagus, goat cheese and tomato chutney flatbread ($7.99)- this is essentially 5 of my favorite things in life on one flatbread so needless to say I loved this one... the tomato chutney was just delicious...

Next time I think we will order small side salads with our flatbreads to make it more like a meal ($4) During our lunch one of the owners stopped in and was chatting with us. I love asking questions about these brand new start up places and he seemed to like answering them so we chatted away for a while about how the neighborhood originally had asked them to open a little grocery store and they declined that but said they would open a new restaurant. It didn't take too much for them to move in, some tables, a small kitchen and some artwork on the wall.... I also learned from him that they were going to be grilling outside on the weekends and setting up some outdoor seating... He said they plan to grill anything from chicken to octopus and we should definitely stop by again for dinner.

soooo... we did :)
We called ahead to see if they were grilling and what they were grilling and headed over there armed with a mini cooler of frosty beverages. (a 6 pack of blue moons with orange slices chopped and neatly stored in a tupperware container to be exact)- it was little hot for sitting outside, so we grabbed a table inside.
The night's menu:

We started off with the garlic beef flatbread pictured above for an appetizer to split among the five of us...everyone agreed that it was pure deliciousness....

We all ordered the Flat Iron Steak with Arugula Salad and Lemon Vinaigrette... $10
Seriously? $10 for this whole plate of perfectly cooked steak. Seasoned simply with salt and pepper and cooked over a small charcoal grill out back. Oh summer.

On the side Rob and I split a bacon wrapped drumstick. This thing was The bacon was crispy, the meat was tender... I've never had bacon wrapped anything this always sounds soo much better in theory than it ever ends up on the plate, but this was bacony chicken drumsticky perfection.

Jason agrees:

Even though we were all full we still wanted to try some of their delicious looking desserts. so we did. Between the five of us we split this cinnamon sugar flat bread, belgium chocolate, fresh ground peanut butter and bananas.....

and this house made strawberry softserve

a little spoon of each and you are in GOOOD shape. Seriously.
Also Bernadette got really excited about the various pigs scattered throughout the store. (Spiderpig not pictured)

All in all this place is great and will hopefully change their menu around every once in a while to keep it interesting. It's a little warm in there (I think they have eventual plans to upgrade the AC)- but just make sure you dress accordingly...


The Skinny Pig on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 8, 2011

Grilled Pizza Deliciousness

Don't get me wrong... I love outside and not having to turn the oven on on a hot summer night is awesome...but I quickly get sick of the regular grilled food... burgers, dawgs, burgers, dawgs... blah. This year I've been trying to mix it up a lot to use our grill for lots of veggies, shrimp skewers, marinated chicken thighs, etc... but the most recent deliciousness has been grilled pizza... yes, that's right. The best thing to come off my grill so far this summer. Let's discuss....

First we whipped up an easy and delicious homemade pizza dough using this recipe.
Ingredients: flour, yeast, oil, water, salt. That is it.

We whipped up the dough:

Had to do all the dough related things like letting it rise, punching it down, etc etc...
Then froze half of it for another delicious night and broke the remaining half into four equal pieces to make four individual sized pizzas. We let them rest under a clean damp cloth for about 10 minutes and then got to rollin!
Next we threw them on the grill for a few minutes to get grilled on the toppings side...

Then brought them in and got to topping... I love individual pizzas because then no one can tell you no when you want 10 different delicious (to you) toppings...

I topped mine with a layer of homemade olive tapenade (basically just threw some olives, garlic, parsley, olive oil and lemon into my mini food processor and whirred it up a bit) and then some tomatoes, zucchini, red onion, goat cheese, prosciutto, basil and a little bit of parmesan cheese. To me, this is the perfect pizza.. to others...maybe not so much...but that is the joy that is a personalized pizza.... make it however you want!

We threw them on the grill to get the bottom size crisped up and melt the cheese and then voila....seriously grilled pizza you are delicious. You are crunchy and warm and you have pretty grill marks. You also have little grill divets that are just fun to eat. You make me happy..(and thinking about you makes me hungry).

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Restaurant Review- Doodles

This weekend we wanted to go somewhere we've never been before and randomly found Doodles (dumplings + noodles) on UrbanSpoon... I had never even heard of this place...but not much was open becuase of the holiday so we decided to head over to Erie Ave (a little bit down the street from the new cock & bull) to try it out...

I was half expecting strip mall chinese food...fried rice, beef and broccoli, sweet & sour chicken, etc etc...but I was very wrong...I was suprised to see a menu full of interesting flavors and combinations and a waiter who was very knowledgeable and took the time to explain the different dishes to us...

Also, we were excited to learn that Monday and Tuesday are half price wine night! We shared a nice bottle of Sav Blanc for about $12.50...

We started with the chicken spring rolls...these weren't really anything out of the ordinary....I love a sauce medley but really only loved one of the sauces...the tangy soy garlic sauce...yes please! Watch out for that mustard!

I got the Cantonese Pan fried noodles with spicy sauce and assorted fresh chinese vegetables with beef. The noodles were pan fried until they were nice and crispy, but then the assortment of vegetables and sauce on top of it made it just a little soft but still with some bite. So fun to eat! It was spicy and flavorful with lots of interesting textures. Really impressive!
Rob got the Singapore noodles with piquant curry-garlic sauce, beef & shrimp.
Also really interesting flavors. I really liked the fresh yet spicy flavor of the curry....

Doodles- we will be back!

Doodle's on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

OTR Brewery Tour

Last weekend we decided to head to Findlay Market to take the Over the Rhine Brewery Tour... Sometimes it's so fun to be a tourist in your own city and see buildings you see all the time in a whole different way...

In 1890, Cincinnati was the 3rd largest beer producer in the country by population, annually producing 4.2 barrels of beer per resident and shipping it across the country and around the world. This economic and social powerhouse was primed by the city’s excellent transportation options and fertile farmlands, and fueled by the large amount of German immigrants that comprised over one quarter of the city’s population by 1840. The immigrants who settled in Over-the-Rhine brought with them a strong brewing tradition, work ethic, and cultural identity. (source)

Anyway, I thought I would share a few pics from our tour!

Our tourguide, Jim, was very knowledgeable on the topic and very passionate about Cincinnati and particularly small businesses in Cincinnati, particularly downtown. Love that.

This was once Christian Moerlein's House!:

Old Bottling House- did you know back in the day it was illegal to brew and bottle in the same building?
We even ended up going into an old cave that was used to bottle lagers. It was a HOT day so this was a very nice part of the tour...

And of course on this hot hot day we ended the tour with a frosty beverage at the Findlay Market Biergarten while listening to some live music before picking up some food for dinner that night.

If you are interested in Cincinnati history or beer brewing history in America (or both!) you should take this tour!