CMH Gourmand – Eating in Columbus & Ohio

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The Brew Your Own Big Book of Clone Recipes

Posted by cmh gourmand on August 30, 2018

The Brew Your Own Big Book of Clone Recipes was released in May of this year. If you are struggling to find a gift for the home brewer in your life, get him or her a Columbus Brew Adventures gift certificate and a copy of this book. It was produced by Brew Your Own magazine which has helped home brewers clones recipes from their favorite breweries since 1995. The book features 300 recipes that have been tested and retested and troubleshot by the magazine.

So what is a clone beer you ask? Is it related to Star Wars in some way? Thankfully, no. Clone beers are created to very closely resemble the famous and infamous commercial beers they are modeled after. In the case of Brew Your Own Magazine, they often work with the actual brewers to make sure they get the recipes right. So why would a home brewer want to make a clone of someone else’s beer? There are many reasons. For some it is an homage to the beer that inspired them to start brewing. Sometimes it is price, they don’t want to pay retail for a beer they love. Other times, it may be to create a beer that is no longer on the market or impossible to find. In some cases it is a quest to take that base and tweak it just a bit to determine the what if’s of brewing.

The book has a brief forward and overview of the philosophy of clone brewing then very quickly jumps into the actual recipes. These are the 17 categories the beers are divided into: Pale ales, India Pale Ales, Specialty IPA’s, Amber ales and lagers, brown ales, porters, stouts, Imperial Stouts, Barleywine and strong ales, Belgian Style ales, British style ales, European ales and lagers, North American ales and lagers, Pilsners, fruit, spice and vegetable beers (pumpkin), Sour, Wild and Wood Ages beers and Winter beers. If that seems like a lot, it is, the book is 272 pages. You will find a wide variety of beers in here including Dogfish Head, Southern Tier, etc. This definitely not a book for beginners but it is worth having as a reference or inspiration for anyone that have the home brewing bug. I also like the title, when I was a young lad, I recall there were a lot of Big Books of __________ but I never saw one of beer. Now I can take that off my bucket list.

(I was offered a free copy of this book by the PR firm working with the publisher and I responded to that e-mail query very quickly. My vocation puts me in almost daily contact with home brewers and home brewers whose hobby has gotten out of control causing them to then start breweries, so I knew I would find a good home for this book when I was done with it, some day will actually make one of these recipes).

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Del Sroufe: The China Study Family Cookbook

Posted by cmh gourmand on August 29, 2018

I met Del Sroufe in the mid 1990’s. The first time we crossed paths he was making vegan baked goods in a small bakery tucked away in the back of the Clintonville Community Co-op. I was intrigued by him choosing to make vegan items but I soon as I tried one, I did not care, so I took close to a baker’s dozen away and ate most of them. I’m not always the brightest bulb so at that early moment in my culinary life I equated vegan with fat-free. So when I took the last one to my girlfriend at the time she was flabbergasted that I offered he such as thing not because it was vegan but because she could see the grease from the item saturating the bakers paper it was on as I handed it to her. She was on a diet and I had apparently consumed about 90 or more fat grams during my drive to deliver my treat to her.

Not to be discouraged by something like reality, I kept going back to Del to try more things (although fewer at one time and with more moderation). In doing so we struck up conversations about why he had decided to shift to mostly vegan foods, what got him into baking, etc. In our fourth or fifth conversation, he mentioned that he was starting to work on a book and it was kind of hard. As a fellow writer I encouraged him to keep at it and did not think much of it. That interchange fell off my radar but my connect to Del did not. I took some of his cooking classes and work shops. I sent a lot of people to his new business. I’d run into him more often at the library than anywhere else. Then lo and behold I heard about Forks Over Knifes and that he was connected to and working with the founders. In 2012, he released the Forks Over Knives Cookbook and things really took off for Del. I’m very happy for him.

This year we have been looking at a lot of what we eat and how we might change that to help CMH Griffin with some of his challenges. That prompted me to check out The China Study Family Cookbook. Other than the fact that Del is the author, there are a lot of things I like about this book. Just as I did to Del, I immediately took a liking to this book. The recipes are written and displayed in an easy to use manner. Each listing has color coded icons at the top so you know what types of ingredients (grains, legumes, roots, etc.) you will be using and what dietary audience the dish is intended for. Most recipes include Recipe Tips which give the reader/user suggestions such as things to consider if you want to change-up some of the ingredients in the recipe such as if you want to sub in broccoli for asparagus. Additionally there are also Notes for the Cook which share tidbits related to the techniques used in the dish or general factoids of knowledge to use the ingredients more effectively, etc.

There are also general knowledge areas in the cookbook to make sure you have basic skills or at least a refresher course to help you execute your recipes more effectively. Short overviews are provided in using equipment and tools properly (blenders, non stick cookware, knives, etc.). There are also helpful sections on how to integrate cooking with the kids to make it a family experience and ideas to get different ages to participate. The book as a whole is worth taking a look at and since it is written by someone who cooks for a living and teaches classes on it, the material has already been field tested and is conveyed in an easy to use manner. Good Job Del! Now how about working on some fat-free vegan muffins that taste like that have twelve sticks of butter in them. Tweaking the way you eat does not need to strip out flavor or feel like a chore it can be fun and help you feel better.

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The Columbus Ale Trail is a book among other things

Posted by cmh gourmand on August 28, 2018

Have you heard of the Columbus Ale Trail? Did you complete Volume 1, 2 and/or 3? Are you working on Volume 4? I am one of the founders of the project and have invested about 60 to 100 work hours each year to make it happen. While I have not yet published a book…Book, I suppose in some sense, this was my first book project. Each year I have helped get it to print doing various duties and for the last two years I have been a project manager of sorts taking care of gathering the content, editing it, determining the formatting and special features, deciding on the lay out, how the maps will be put together, etc. Each late March / early April I can count on having one or two really shitty weeks pushing to get all of this to print by deadline and I can always count on some last-minute glitch to come up the make sure we are cutting things right to the wire. The greatest challenge for Volume 4 was when I came to get the final copy of the book and do last-minute proofreading so I could hand off the USB of the product for the printers at noon. I arrived at the designers house at 10 AM to discover he thought the turn in day was the day after and the maps had not been started yet. In that situation only one thing could be done – take a shot, pull up two chairs and start making two maps from scratch. The maps look pretty good considering they were created in less than ninety minutes. As for the proofreading, I can tell you where the errors I could not catch in the twenty remaining minutes are located.

It has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In the case of the Columbus Ale Trail we were not flattered by the Route 33 Brew Trail, a product of the Fairfield County Convention and Visitors Bureau (aka Visit Fairfield County). Their first version was released in May of this year. It was not an imitation it was an outright copy (wording, layout, formatting, etc., etc.) to the point of being blatant intellectual property theft. When I met with their executive team in June they seemed baffled that I would have any concerns about what they presented as some type of misunderstanding. It was an absolutely frustrating experience to get stonewalled. At the time of this writing they have never provided a feasible explanation as to what happened. There are only two plausible options: 1) They made a conscious decision to copy the ale trail or 2) Their designer decided to make a twenty plus hour project a two-hour copy job and over-billed the good taxpayers of Fairfield County. Anyone that has put the two books side by side has come to the same conclusion, there is no way to accidentally copy whole paragraphs.

The end result is that they have now produced a new version of their Brew Trail which is closer to being an original work and by report they dumped 3500 of the 6000 copies they printed earlier. The bigger consequence of their lack of remorse and in my opinion professionalism and class in dealing with the situation is they and their Brew Trail have a big black mark with the craft beer community in Central Ohio. I could further explain the damage that was done, but by doing so, I would once again be doing them a favor for free.

Last year over 2370 people visited all 38 brewery sites listed in the Columbus Ale Trail (Volume 3). If you conservatively estimate that $6 was spent at each brewery then each brewery saw at an absolute minimum of $14,220 in business for a listing that cost them $600. A minimum total revenue for the craft beer community as a whole is $540,360. That is a minimum because that number does not count the people who only went to four, eight or any number less than 38 breweries. I’d settle for 1% of the revenue as compensation but I can assure you I have not seen anything remotely close to that. What I did earn was the respect of the people I worked with to have made this happen for the last four years. So if you happen to have an inclination to steal the creative property of the Columbus Ale Trail, you are making a lot of people very angry. That can not bode well for anyone or any organization, that is classic bad Karma.

That is one story of the Ale Trail, there are literally thousands more and most of those are significantly more upbeat and positive.

Posted in Food For Thought | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Book Review (and Cultural Discussion): Cook Your Marriage Happy

Posted by cmh gourmand on August 27, 2018

I have been receiving many offers for books to review over the last six months. I have declined all of them for various reasons, but most importantly, I don’t have the luxury of time to read for fun. However, this book title caught my eye: Cook Your Marriage Happy by Debra Borden LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) aka The Sous Therapist. The pitch was well written but what clicked for me was the blending of two worlds psychology/therapy and cooking. In a previous life, I earned a bachelors degree in Psychology and then went on to get 1/3 of a Masters Degree in Social Work supplemented by other graduate courses in counseling. I worked in a related field for nineteen years. I have also been the informal counselor to the local food truck industry and breweries for the last seven years. The concept of cooking therapy held some appeal. More importantly, a cook book is not complex reading and can be consumed and evaluated quickly. Most of the reading I needed to make time for in 2018 is very complex and clinical and sometimes depressing. I felt I could take a minor reading break and still stay on theme.

The basic premise of this book to present a marital issue with a heading such as “Cook Your Financially Frustrated Marriage Happy. The writer/therapist presents the issue in a broad sense then a few details on how issues may arrive by a couple not having the same style or being in synch. Recipes are presented to cook through the issue often with a punny title or one laced with innuendo such as Tune in and Talk to Me Tacos or No More Monotony Meat Loaf related to the topic.

The book was a fast read since is was about one-half recipes. At the end I did not find I had more insight on couples therapy, cooking or how I would actually do this in my own marriage. Would have liked more therapy examples or more detailed recipes and ideally both. Overall, I’d give this a C+. It was not a waste of time to read it but had I found it at a book store, I would have skimmed it for a minute and put it back on the shelf.

The background message in this book, which I agree with, is that cooking together is a good recipe for a good marriage, it promotes teamwork and communication but it also reinforces that on occasion one person has to lead and the other needs to follow to get a task done and depending on the dish (or the family crisis) – who is the executive chef and who is the sous and we will change who is calling the shots based on what skill set is needed for what is in front of you as a couple.

To sum up, I did not connect with the book on a personal level, but it did cause me to think of the culture of cooking, specifically kitchens. Many in the restaurant industry refer to it as a sickness, something they can not get out of their blood. Those that love it hate the hours, more often than not do they not earn much and get burned out by a community that has a high rate of substance abuse and other dysfunction that leads to constant staff turnover. In spite of those things, there is a strong if somewhat incestuous community and sense of purpose in a well run kitchen that is addicting. And it is a place where things will quickly fall apart if everyone can not get on the same page, even if they think the ship is going on the wrong course, they have to blow with the winds or walk the plank if they want to survive.

(Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book via a PR promotion. I do thank the author and the publishing company for the opportunity to check out the book. I will make sure it finds a good home).

Posted in Food For Thought | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

It’s Book Week at CMH Gourmand

Posted by cmh gourmand on August 26, 2018

There was a time, long, long ago, in a lifestyle far away when I read many of books of all varieties and types on a weekly basis. I may have read three books in the last five years. I do not have much unstructured free time in my life so when I have it, the choice is choose between reading a book or sleeping or trying to find something to do that generates money to pay bills. I do miss reading books the way I used to. I hope others still read. I know a good many of book clubs out there are really secret happy hours but I don’t have time for that. But I do have hope for other bibliophiles out there.

I don’t read blogs like I used to either. In fact, most people do not. Although all types of studies and statistics show blogging continues to grow, it is not what it started out as which is a Web Log, information and stories with an authentic, personal spin on it. Marketing people will harp on the need to blog to drive web traffic and increase SEO etc., etc. Studies show about 43% of blog readers just skim content and do not read the actual post. I certainly understand that, we are all pressed for time and a lot of blog content out there does not seem genuine, more often it is self promotion or boiler plate (did I get enough work count, buzz words and links to attract promotional dollars) written to attract Google Bots or ad money.

All of that being stated, I though this would be a good time to reconnect with writing in some way. Last year, during the early dog days of August, I created Sandwich Week in a mad grab for ratings and to challenge myself to create more than one post per month on this dying media.

There are other reasons why I choose this month / week for Book (writing) Week. Twenty years ago I was paid to write for the first time for a publication call the Columbus Web Observer. I then went on to do a lot of freelance work for publications throughout Ohio that would typically go out of business or change format a year or so later. I had a giant article on Ice Cream in Ohio Magazine nineteen years ago. While I always enjoyed writing it was never more than a supplement to my income. I really wanted to be a travel writer but I could never connect to anything that would stick or try to pretend I could support myself doing i and I did try hard to land with Frommer’s and Rick Steves. My early content was more about the web and how to use it but in time I found my best shot at getting published was food so I stuck with that. Eighteen years ago, I started my masters degree in Library and Information Science. I learned a lot in the program but I did not accomplish my primary goal of getting the degree, a job at OCLC. I did not accomplish my back up option which was the presidential merit scholar program which would have had me spend one year with the Social Security Administration and one year with the Library of Congress….because my advisor forgot to send in his recommendation. While all of this was distracting me I overlooked the fact that for a one year period that was a shortage of librarians that could have finally gotten me to Australia as a citizen. I was so focused on one goal I forgot about the other, I missed that window by two months. Fifteen years ago I saw my first book deal fall part (pizza) and fourteen years ago my second (regional sandwiches). Twelve years ago my pal Saucisson Mac suggested that I take up blogging so I did. August has been the alpha and omega of many major events in my life. In some aspect each August I await a Charlie Brown moment of something important to being pulled away as the last second.

I the spirit of the above, I thought I would write a bit about books this week (all with a food focus) to try to reconnect with this old school media. I will also use some of my library training in my analysis and treatment of these books using some of the following criteria where I see fit and most likely somewhat randomly.

American Library Association Selection Criteria

Examining and Evaluating Books / Reference Sources

Evaluating Internet Sources

Most good writers will tell you if you want to be a better writer, you should read. A few good writers will tell you that you can’t be a good writer or even a good person unless life has punched you hard in the face a few times. As a “master” of the library and information sciences, one of the things I learned was to objectively and critically look at all types of media to assess it’s information value, credibility, authority, etc. In the world of so called fake news this is an invaluable skill because I have a very strong and effective bullshit meter and can sniff out fakery pretty quickly.

And now….Book Week.

Posted in Food For Thought | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Cuco’s: A Columbus Classic

Posted by cmh gourmand on August 21, 2018

These was a time, in a Columbus neither long ago or far away when our choices for Mexican food were Chi Chi’s, Garcia’s or Talita’s. The only plus of that era was that we also had Zantigo. Today, our vibrant Latino population gives us access to phenomenal taco trucks, authentic restaurants, grocery stores and even a tortilla maker. But during the transition of the 1990’s a little place called Cuco’s on Henderson Road came on my radar. It started as a grocery store with a small taqueria in the back. Over time, the grocery space shrank and the square footage of the taqueria grew. Then a patio was added and expanded. Then, because this is Columbus, the food truck capital of the Midwest, a food truck for catering was added too. Throughout this journey to the mainstream Cuco’s has not cut quality and many of the dishes are still authentic to tradition and culture.

Strangely, I have never written about Cuco’s in the history of this web log other than a very brief mention in 2008. How bizarre. I can thank the Grumpy Old Man for leading me to Cuco’s recently. The Grumpy Old Man often views me as the bane to his existence with my constant plying of hipster stouts, fortified Shiraz and challenges to his world view. My one redeeming quality with him is my ability to obtain/purloin old bricks. The three readers of CMH Gourmand that are also Bricks of Ohio Blog fans may know my ability to sniff out old bricks for repurposing is legendary in very small circles. Having recently acquired a large quantity of Hocking Block for his needs, I proposed that he compensate me with lunch. As fate would have it, on the day in question, he was having work done at Midas on Henderson Road so he offered either Neighbors Deli or Cucos since both were within walking distance. What a Sophie’s choice for me. I opted with Cuco’s because it dawned on me it had been at least 18 months since I had been there. We agreed on the destination thus the deal was done!

There are several bonus features at Cuco’s that ad value. My favorite is the salsa bar which offers several choices of self serve salsas as well as pickled carrots, onions and such. Cuco’s was one of the first places in town where one could consume real deal fish tacos. Breakfast is served most days of the week as well. The meals are filling, the melted white cheese is addicting and the prices are a reasonable value. Their chips are always fresh and free. There is a lot to like about Cuco’s.

The Grumpy Old Man has spent a lot of time in Puerto Rico and when he goes he is quick to share the running total of how many pork tacos he has consumed at our favorite taco purveyor in Old San Juan, Charlie’s Taco’s. Both he and I have high standards for Mexican and Latino fare and our standards were not compromised in any way during our lunch. We shared barbacoa tacos and tinga. I had some caldo de res (beef soup) to boot. I also introduced The Grumpy Old Man to the concept of the salsa bar, a feature he had not been aware of….how bizarre. I’ll end my post encouraging you keep am old school Mexican restaurant rotation even through we have added so many great new places over the last decade. I’ll also thank you for keeping an old school blog in the rotation even though we are oversaturated with other medias to choose from, I still think writing and stories trump excessive photos and emoji’s.

Cuco's Taqueria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sunday Brunch at Rockmill Tavern

Posted by cmh gourmand on August 19, 2018

Breakfast…..number five on my list of preferred meals after Lunch, Dinner, Second Lunch and Brunch. One of the downsides of my meal preference matrix, is my most available time to socialize….is breakfast. However, brunch does bridge my fifth favorite meal with my first creating an opportunity for balance and perhaps some open-mindedness towards breakfast food. My new favorite brunch spot, specifically on Sunday, is Rockmill Tavern. Unlike the Short North and other local hot neighborhoods the Brewery District has plenty of easy and cheap parking options but Sunday offers easy access to free meters on Front Street. Hence, this creates a win for visit to Rockmill Tavern.

I’ve written about Rockmill Tavern -> before and it has been a favorite lunch spot for me over the last year. The bonus for brunch at Rockmill Tavern is access to plenty of fresh Belgian Beers with their phenols and esters (aromas related to yeasts using in brewing) which the kitchen very consciously works to compliment and pair with the dishes the chefs create. Another bonus is access to some of the best items from the lunch and dinner menus, in particular, the Tavern Burger. I’m really enjoying their Egg in a Biscuit option. Since day one, I have been so enamored with their biscuit choices that I have lobbied to make them a source of currency. The Basic Egg in a Biscuit is a soft egg on top of an extra sharp cheddar biscuit with a half-dollar sized slice of crispy ham and some oh so health cheddar fat hollandaise! Another version of this adds in some Fried Chicken.

Another good option is Pimento Grilled Cheese on Challah Bread. This takes the most simple and basic of sandwiches and upscales the flavors to make a rich and pleasing sandwich which pairs well with a beer or even a cocktail.

There are several more dishes worth exploring including, but not limited to: Spicy chicken sandwich, roasted and braised beets and Chilaquiles. Rockmill Tavern, under the oversight of Andrew Smith in the Kitchen has always excelled at making vegetables that anyone would want to eat. You will find plenty reasons to eat your vegetables among the selections. What I would like to see added – a simple side of home fries with sausage gravy. Maybe someday.

As if these were not enough reasons to drop in for Sunday Brunch, let me make a very different pitch. As Vice President of the Brewery District Trade Association, I want to let you know that the neighborhood wants and appreciates your business. Please come early and come often. Sunday Brunch is from 10 AM to 3 PM. Just do it.

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A Sad and Unexpected Demise for CBC Restaurant

Posted by cmh gourmand on August 2, 2018

CBC Restaurant, Formerly known as Columbus Brewing Company Restaurant closed with little notice on Sunday July 29th. I visited many times over the years and as the operator of the local brewery tour company used the site as a meeting place for well over 50% of our tours. To say the closing is devastating to me is a vast understatement. The restaurant has a long story and I was happy to share that story weekly for the last five years.

The origins of the restaurant go back to 1997. At that time, Columbus Brewing Company which was fighting hard to keep crafting beer in Columbus made the big step of moving to a production space to allow them to crank up more fermenters to keg and bottle more beer for more people. A unique, synergistic partnership was created by attaching a restaurant called Columbus Brewing Company Restaurant to the front part of the building. The restaurant was owned and operated by Cameron Mitchell but per the operating agreement would be called Columbus Brewing Company Restaurant. The restaurant showcased CBC’s beers and hosted special events for the brewery. The opening general manager Doug Griggs teamed up with Mike Campbell, to buy the restaurant from Cameron Mitchell in 2007. The brewery/restaurant relationship continued, even though the ownership of the brewery has changed a few times along the way. While that synergy soured in the final years, the pairing was historically good for both businesses and all of the customers. For many years, it was one of the premiere craft beer destinations in the Midwest and it was not uncommon for people to drive from out of state for a meal and a few growlers of Bodhi to take home.

At the beginning of the summer, I was excited about their plans to change to a new concept called Oxbow on Short in the fall and our company planned to continue to call them our homebase for many of our tours. I looked forward to adding to the the story of the space. After surviving some hard times over the last few years due to extended construction and in some cases reconstruction on Liberty and Short Streets, things were looking up for the whole team. Several factors combined which led to a rapid decision to pull the plug on CBC Restaurant, with a primary reason to be the failing health of owner Doug Griggs. I miss the extedned CBC Restaurant family and I have been trying to help the workers find jobs with our other partners. All in all, the restaurant had a great run of twenty one years and it is sad we did not have more time with them. The space was important to the growth of the craft community in Columbus and is sorely missed.

Special thanks to Jamie, Jamie Lynn, Vince, Jen, Rusty and Kate for so much extra help and attention over the years.

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LaRosa’s Pizza – Greater Cincinnati

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 27, 2018

In some previous posts or ramblings depending on your point of view, I have alluded to an inability to connect with Cincinnati. Oddly, my first ever intentional food only trip was to Cincinnati around 1994 or 1995. During a day trip I went to Camp Washington Chili, Gold Star Chili and LaRosa’s Pizza and a few places I have forgotten. The subsequent year I skirted the suburbs with a trip to tour the United Dairy Farmers Ice Cream Plant and Aglamesis Brothers Ice Cream, both were exceptional. Otherwise future trips were mainly limited to Jungle Jim’s runs. I have watched and studied the growth of LaRosa’s Pizza which has been a southwest Ohio institution for many decades. Even though there is now a location in Dublin, I decided that since CMH Family was in the metro area to visit the Newport Aquarium we might as well give LaRosa’s a visit. Two other deciding points: although we avoid chains in the food education of our son, my wife and I do find the large booths of chains are CMH Griffin friendly (mainly for containment); and we have been experimenting with a Gluten-free diet for the young fella and LaRosa’s has Gluten Free Pizza. We found a LaRosa’s near EnterTrainment Junction (a great family spot) and decided to explore what LaRosa’s had to offer via a late lunch.

I lead a pizza tour and as part of that ask people about their favorite pizza places. Whenever LaRosa’s comes up people always mention the sauce. My vague memories of a pizza consumed over twenty years ago was that the sauce was sweeter than even Columbus style pizzas. This is definitely still the case.

We ordered a regular thin crust pizza Buddy’s Deluxe (named after the owner): pepperoni, sausage, spicy sausage, banana peppers and capocolla ham; a gluten-free Hawaiian Pizza and an order of Rondos – oven-baked blossoms (sheets of balled dough) brushed with garlic-pesto sauce, stuffed with provolone cheese and pepperoni. I’ll start with the last item because it was my favorite. A Rondo is reminiscent of a mini calzone or pepperoni roll. These were light, fresh and filling. A group of six come with a side of sauce. Our server mentioned that (at least in Cincinnati) for about 1 month each year specialty Rondos are available with Montgomery Inn Pulled Pork and other toppings in them. She said these were very popular and sell out fast. These also held up well as next day snacks. Our regular pizza was OK. The toppings were higher end, premium ingredients. The gluten-free pizza was also OK, it is hard to get excited about Gluten Free – but there are some exceptions (a later post) but this was not one of them. Overall, we found the pizza to be better than average but not something to rush back for. If we are near a LaRosa’s in the future, we will come back for more Rondos and try some subs.

However, there were a lot of things that I liked about LaRosa’s and thought they did really well to the point it is worth writing about (I rarely write about a chain). Our service was good and we really liked the gigantic kid friendly table mats with a side of crayons.

Other little things I liked added up to a lot. Each table was well stocked with shakers for Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and oregano. A riser is provided at each table to place your pizza on. The paper napkins are a dense, high-grade of fancy paper napkin which I am sure cost an extra cent or two. Several varieties of locally made Husman’s potato chips are available to buy at the pick up counter. The lobby has a variety of neighborhood and LaRosa’s history posted on the walls. This location, since it was in Mason, had information on the famous, 500,000 Watt WLW radio station. Collectively these small items which show an attention to detail and attempt to localize a chain makes a place that serves average pizza worth mentioning.

LaRosa's Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Silverton Donut Shop, Cincinnati: The Ohio Donut Trail

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 26, 2018

Followers of the Ohio Donut Trail may falsely believe that the roads of these adventures are paved with sugar and carbs and everything nice. However, the Donut Trail and blog posts in general are not always the non-stop joy they seem to be. Sometimes the trail can lead to intense disappointment. There is a long wind up to this pitch so get comfortable. When my Ohio Donut Trail adventures started it was as a distraction during a time I felt lost. People I had worked with for over seventeen years, people I had helped advance in their careers, served loyally and in one case, helped move, very casually decided to fuck me over and destroy my career without warning or cause. Not for anything that I did, but so that they could unseat someone who had been out to get for years and hid a personal grudge as a departmental change. Instead of dealing with one person, they reassigned an entire department. I was the collateral damage. My brain could not process how or why this could have happened and how these people I had supported for years could each allow me to be ground up by this train wreck of a political decision. So I did the only thing I could – invested my time into numerous side projects that I thought might distract me from my rage. Ultimately that did not work. So that is part of the origin story. Next, I have never been able to connect with Cincinnati in the way that I do with Athens, Cleveland or even Dayton. Cincinnati has never felt like Ohio to me, it has always felt somewhat foreign to the Midwest. In addition, I have always hated driving in Downtown Cincinnati, the ribbons of freeway create some elaborate Rube Goldberg Device designed to create confusion, chaos and death. However, the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few or the one, so I felt a duty and calling to fill in the holes on the Ohio Donut Trail and many of those left are in Cincinnati. Now, finally, for the current disappointment, when I pulled up to Bonomini Bakery on Blue Rock Street I saw this……….

It happens more often than one would think. I often visit places that I opt not to write about and sometimes, I just can’t get into a place. So my only alternative was to go to the next place on my list, Silverton Donut Shop about 15 minutes away.

This shop has a bit of back story to it. It started as Pleasant Ridge Donut Shop in 1989 and then moved on 2011 to become the Silverton Donut Shop. It should be noted that this is a certified Kosher Bakery (which may be the first of this kind on the trail to date). The shop is pretty generic on the outside and barebones on the inside. I was happy they still had donuts left since many online reviews indicate they often run out early in the day. The signature donut here is called the Klunker (sometimes called Clunkers at other shops). Klunker’s are German in origin (and Cincinnati has deep German roots). These are muffin sized donuts without any holes that are encased in a thick sugar glaze.

CMH Spouse has a hierarchy of donut needs which follows this order: Blueberry, Eclaire, something creme filled or something with fruit. Using this criteria as well as what was left on the shelves, I obtained a Bavarian Cream Donut for her and a Buttermilk Glazed donut to round out the trio. My wife thought her donut was OK. I liked the Klunker and the Buttermilk donut but was not moved to any emotional or irrational exuberance by what I tried. This is a good, basic donut shop that has a reputation for having great coffee. The most notable feature for me, is the proximity of an Esther Price Candy Store only one minute away which allowed me to stock up on some hard to find Dayton area chocolates (and these shops offer plenty of free samples including a gummy army man for CMH Griffin).

There will be more Ohio Donut Trail adventures…..but it will be a while.

Silverton Donut Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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