There are few things that you HAVE to do in life. Some would say those things are to die and pay taxes. Most of us know that dieing is inevitable and paying taxes is questionable. I go against the grain and say that in addition to meeting your maker, you also, in life, HAVE to have sex and eat not necessarily in that order)
Travel is somewhere near the top ten of that list as well. Let’s combine the latter of the short list mentioned above with the joy of visiting other places to chronicle the some of the great places to ‘get your grub on’ while visiting Cincinnati, Ohio.
A Breakfast of Champions
It has been said many times over that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Mostly attributing to the fact that when you wake in the morning, it is indisputably the longest amount of spent without indulging in a meal. So when you are traveling, one must make sure that breakfast that you find will both satisfy your growling stomach and wake you up to get you started for the day. The combination of coffee with your morning chow is a great way to do this. This is one reason why coffee shops have expanded to serve much more than just your regular cup of java. Large coffee chains have added to their menus a different bevy of barista wares. This phenomenon has not been lost on the smaller, locally owned coffee corner stores. While in the Queen City, you should find your way downtown to Coffee Emporium, which is a perfect place to find the regular cup of Joe and more. For one thing, they roast their own coffee beans and have a mariade of coffee beans to choose from. They only have a select few that are readily available for the drink and go crowd, but you can wait a few minutes longer for whichever flavor you want.
If you are in town on a Saturday morning, it is one of the better times to go because you miss the sometime hurried bustle of the downtown crowd. Along with a Grande Carmel Latte, you can order a sausage, egg and cheese croissant. Again, something else that can not be found at that larger coffee stores (such as the one based in Seattle, Washington). Not only are the baristas very pleasant, the also know how to make a sandwich. Clad den with wireless internet access, if on a business trip, you can park yourself on the very comfortable couch and place your lap top atop of your lap to work on your business proposal and await your order. Stay awhile, relax with your cup of coffee and maybe you will run into one of Cincinnati’s who’s who. Coffee Emporium has another location in Hyde Park.
110 East Central Parkway
M-F 7a – 4p
A Touch of Paris
When looking for French cuisine in Cincinnati, there are a few different places one can frequent. Un-surprisingly there are all run by the famous Jean Robert, who has recently branched out and scudded across the Ohio River to quaint street of Greenup Ave to open the Greenup Café.
This café on Greenup Street in Covington, KY surprisingly brings a touch of Rue De Champs Elysee to this Northern Kentucky city. Its outdoor seating, few tables in the front and the side and a larger number in the back, was a perfect compliment to a Saturday morning of next to perfect weather.
You can walk inside the small service area where there were customers lined to by freshly made pasties on display, but most simply seats themselves, a great way to cut the tension and relax the customer.
Here you can ponder of a very limited but varied menu. If you make it here, you should try the Omlette Medley or buttermilk pancakes.
The Omelet medley is filled with mushrooms, tomatoes, gruyere cheese, asparagus and crème fiache, topped with parsley and accompanied by home-style potatoes, cut in quarters and seasoned with a slight spicy Cajon sprinkle.
308 Greenup St
6am to 4:30
Far East In The Mid West
Staying just across the river in Covington, KY, if Asian cuisine is what you fancy, you can try a taste of Korean cuisine. Riverside Korean Restaurant, located just blocks from the Greenup Cafe on Madison Avenue, is so named because of its close proximity to the water of both the Ohio and Licking Rivers. This small and quaint restaurant is nestled in Covington’s old downtown district. Opened limited hours during lunch and dinner (as are most restaurants in this area) a reservation is not necessary at dinnertime, but they are taken and highly encouraged.
Like many other Asian cultures, it is customary to serve dinner ban-chan, a number of small dishes that we would call appetizers. These are pictured in the white bowls. The ban-chan included kimchi, dried radish, cold kimchi, cooked yams and spinach, all delightfully seasoned with authentic Korean flavor.
Surprisingly, there are a number of selections for such a small and limited restaurant. Not too used to spicy food, if eating with a large group, you should decide that the consensus to order all of the dishes mildly hot, because they are meant to be shared.
I do have to say that there are a limited number of establishments that serve authentic Korean faire (I do believe there are only a handful in the entire Cincinnati area) but being a former Korean Linguist in the US Army and obtaining a degree in Korean Studies, after eating a meal here, I thought that I was once again in South Korea.
512 Madison Ave
Covington, KY 41011-1506
Mon-Fri 11:30am- 2:00pm Fri-Sat 5:00pm-10:30pm Sat 12:00pm- 2:00pm Sun-Thu 5:00pm- 9:30pm
Korean is not the only Asian fair that you will find in Cincinnati. Thai food is also very prominent here as well. While in Cincinnati, you should venture to the new Thai place in the Kenwood neighborhood of Cincinnati called MeKong.
This newly opened eatery specializing in Thai cuisine is located on the south side of Kenwood on Montgomery road just past Kennedy Heights and Silverton. It is located in a very non descript strip mall on the side of the road. You would pass it if you were not looking for it. The all boothed (all lined one behind each other) dining area poses a tight fit if you want to have a business luncheon but is perfect for the late evening dinner before heading back to your hotel for the night.
So the next time that you are in Cincinnati, do not bolster yourself in your hotel room and settle for that mundane hotel eatery. Get out and enjoy the different type of food that you can experience while in the city of Flying Pigs (no pun intended).