Monday, December 29, 2008

Price Hill Chili for the Beginner

I went to Price Hill Chili in the company of a Price Hill Chili pro. I am not a pro, I'm not a native Cincinnatian, and worse, I live on the east side. But I was eager to discover this institution, and after a couple of wrong turns, I found my destination and a double decker with my name on it.

It's places like Price Hill Chili that make me wish I could eat like a hot dog champion. I don't want to order one thing, what if I pick wrong? My cheese and tomato double decker was fine, everything a cheese and tomato sandwich with cholesterol-free mayo can be, but I saw a parade of better-looking entrees floating by my table. The table next to us received a double cheeseburger stacked like a skyscraper. I wanted to leap out of my booth and snatch it right off their plate.

I didn't resort to stealing anyone else's food, I've just resigned to re-visiting Price Hill Chili until I get it right. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cookie Wreck

I attended a cookie decorating Christmas party over the weekend. Turns out I don't have a hidden talent for pastry decoration. Bummer! I was so hoping to send my resume to Charm City Cakes. Oh well.

I was also introduced to a fantastic blog called Cake Wrecks. It showcases professional cakes that turn out all wrong in very funny ways. Check it out, and happy holiday food decorating to everyone.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

French Shrimp Mold and Other Midwestern Delights

Mom broke out the stash of old holiday recipe books this morning. She was putting together a batch of no-bake cookies, the most wonderful cookie ever created, and I opened up a copy of the Holiday Recipe book courtesy the Iowa Public Service Company, published 1985. I was shocked and amazed. Salads with mayonnaise and mini marshmallows? Peppermint candies with no actual peppermint? Chinese Liver and Vegetables? What do they mean?

I can't stop reading it. Maybe it's more disturbing because I'm reading Omnivore's Dilemna, but there's some seriously scary stuff in here, like "French Shrimp Mold." The word "mold" is in the name of the thing. And there's nothing in the salad section that even remotely resembles a salad. Half of them call for a packet of lemon jello. "Pretzel Salad." "Mystery Salad." It's mind boggling.

There are also helpful tips on using your dishwasher and garbage disposal on the bottom of the page. This book is a gold mine.

Like it or not, these are recipes are stitched into our Midwestern history, the skeletons in our recipe closets. We still whip up a condensed soup casserole every couple of years. We love it. Do you have a casserole in your closet?

In case it sounded tempting, here's the Shrimp Mold recipe, submitted by Mrs. Martie Ech of Moville, Iowa:

French Shrimp Mold

1 can tomato soup
1 (8-oz.) pckg.cream cheese
1 1/2 tsp. Knox gelatin
1/4 cup hot water
1 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup green onion
1 cup shrimp, minced

Warm tomato soup and add cream cheese. Dissolve gelatin in hot water and add to above. Add mayonnaise, celery, onion and shrimp. Pour into mold. Let stand in refrigerator until firm. Serve with crackers.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wild Ginger Revisited

Wild Ginger in Hyde Park has a new hibachi grill, full bar, and a bunch of brand new Ikea lamps. At the old Wild Ginger, I waited for my table in the cramped nook by the entrance, usually in a stranger's lap. At the new Wild Ginger, I waited comfortably at the bar with my good friend Sam Adams. It was lovely. Our table was in the new section, and I liked the new decor. Occasionally, flames would leap view from the hibachi, adding a thrill factor to my dinner. I ordered the sunny roll, stuffed with crunchy tempura shrimp, mango, and cucumber. It arrived looking plenty sunny, but it actually tasted a bit bland. My friend ordered some sort of duck stir fry, and his review went something like "Eh." Then again, we don't go to Wild Ginger to be wowed, we go for the atmosphere, the non-Hyde Park prices in Hyde Park, and some pretty decent Asian food.

Wild Ginger on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

...And Sushi for All

A photo from Kyoto in Symmes Township. I met a friend there a few weeks ago so that she could try sushi for the first time. Overall, it was a success. Salmon wasn't a big hit, but that's okay. I think there's a sushi roll out there for everyone.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Nothin' says lovin' like lunch at the Echo.