As we dine…

Wendy and I continue to enjoy the many different types of restaurants around us, north of the city. We were talking last night and realized that a few of our favorites are no more than 5 miles away from where we live.

Those favorites are pretty varied… From the Spaghetti with Mizithra and Browned Butter at Old Spaghetti Factory to the overwhelming variety of food at the Taj Mahal Indian restaurant, or the restaurant that has quickly become one of our very favorites, Song Phung Vietnamese Restaurant.

Wendy and I dined there last night and finally gave in to the owner’s gentle insistence that we try Lao De — Goat Soup. We had some misgivings about eating Goat, but because we’ve never had anything that wasn’t excellent at the restaurant, and we trust the owner, we decided to give it a try.

We’re quite glad we did! A giant bowl, looking a bit like an angel food cake pan with Sterno at the bottom was brought out, along with a plate full of cooked noodles, and a giant plate filled to overflowing with fresh green vegetables. We were instructed to put the vegetables into the boiling (!) soup and let them cook for a few minutes.

The resulting broth was thick and very strongly flavored. The goat meat was tender and rich, and the entire experience was exceedingly pleasant. I would eat it again, but we’d probably take more than just the two of us — it’s a BIG bowl!

5 Star Dinner at The Maisonette, October 2, 2002

On Wednesday, October 2, 2002, Wendy and I had the pleasure of dining at The Maisonette, Cincinnati’s 5-star restaurant and the recipient of Mobil Travel Guide’s 5-Star Award for the past 38 consecutive years (longer than any other restaurant in the world).



Our host was Pat Berry of 55KRC radio. The guests of honor were Kitty Morgan — editor of Cincinnati Magazine and Charles Desmarais — Director of the Contemporary Arts Center. We were joined by Gary Burbank of 700WLW radio.

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On Saturday, November 15, 2003, Wendy & I opened our house for the second annual HIGH END APPETIZER & DESSERT PARTY.

What’s a HIGH-END APPETIZER & DESSERT PARTY, you ask? We asked that each couple bring a high-end Appetizer OR high-end Dessert, and (at least) ONE bottle of wine (or other beverage of their choice), all for sharing with the group. Attendees were strongly encouraged to bring a HIGH-END Appetizer and Dessert — no Twinkees and Vienna Sausages!

The HIGH END theme was taken very seriously by the nearly 30 attendees — they brought amazing dishes that were as beautiful to behold as they were tasty to eat. The wine and conversation flowed freely.

Special thanks to our friends Meg & Doug for their invaluable assistance in the kitchen during the party!

Our dinner on Saturday — a hearty winter menu

On Saturday, December 4, 2004, Wendy & I hosted a few people for a ‘let’s roll into the holidays’ dinner at our house. The meal also served as our ‘official’ unveiling of our new dining room (we decided because of the type of entertaining we like to do, that we should switch our large-and-mostly-unused living room with our small-and-often- used dining room).

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RECIPE: Three Chocolate Bark With Spiced Pecans & Dried Cherries

-= Exported from BigOven =-

Three Chocolate Bark With Spiced Pecans & Dried Cherries

EMERIL LIVE with Emeril Lagasse From the TV FOOD NETWORK – (Show # EM-1B08 broadcast 06-12-1998) This recipe can be divided. This recipe fits on one standard baking sheet.

Recipe By:
Serving Size: 4
Main Ingredient:
Categories: Candy/Nut, Emeril, Desserts

-= Ingredients =-
4 tablespoon Butter ; Softened
3 tablespoon Butter ; Optional Softened See * Note
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 cups Pecan Pieces
1 pinch Salt ; To Taste
1 pinch Cayenne Pepper ; To Taste
1 pinch Nutmeg
1 pinch Cinnamon
1 pound Semisweet Chocolate ; Cut Into Pieces
1 pound Milk Chocolate ; Cut Into Pieces
1 pound White Chocolate ; Cut Into Pieces
2 cups Dried Cherries ; Rehydrated And Chopped

-= Instructions =-
* NOTE: If you melt the chocolate using the microwave in step 4, below, do NOT add a tablespoon of butter to the melted chocolate. If you do, the chocolate will sieze.

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a large saute pan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the brown sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves and is bubbly. Season the mixture with salt, cayenne, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Add the pecans. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar mixture starts to caramelize and coat the pecans evenly. Cook for about 4 minutes.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and spread the pecans over a parchment lined baking sheet. Place the pan in the oven and roast the pecans for about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely. Once cooled, break the pecans into small pieces.

4. Either microwave the three chocolates in separate bowls until melted or fill three small saucepans half way up the pan with water. Place the pans over medium heat and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. In three separate mixing bowls, add each type of chips into the individual bowls. Place the bowls over the saucepans. After about 2 minutes over the heat the chocolate will start to melt. Stir each chocolate until totally melted.

5. OPTIONAL: Remove the chocolate from heat and stir 1 tablespoon of butter into each bowl of chocolate — do not add butter if chocolate was melted in the microwave!

6. Pour each type of chocolate onto a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a metal spatula, spread the mixture out evenly back and forth to about 1/4-inch thick, mixing the three chocolates. Sprinkle the spiced pecans and cherries over the chocolates. Gently press the pecans and cherries down into the swirled chocolates to set them.

7. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator or allow to sit out until set, about a couple of hours. Break the bark into medium pieces and serve.

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