Food For Thought in Greater CIncinnati

In the hustle and bustle of downtown living, mornings could prove a daunting time. There are only a few short hours where most people are going to work or trying to get their children (or themselves) off to school. This is why coffee and the shops that sell them have become so very popular. This is also 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. Coffee Emporium 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 marinade of selections 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.

Saturday morning is one of the better times to go because you miss the sometime hurried bustle of the downtown crowd. Along with my Grande Carmel Latte, I order a sausage, egg and cheese croissant. Again, something else that can not be found at that larger coffee store based in Seattle, Washington. Not only are the baristas very pleasant, the also know how to make a sandwich, clad with wireless internet access, I park myself on the very comfortable couch and place my lap top atop of my lap (to actually write this article) and await my order. After many pleas form me to let me come up to the counter to get my order, the workers still make every effort to walk around the large counter and bring my food out to me. All though I would love to one day try their home made soups that are from Myra’s Dionysus restaurant in Clifton, I never seem to surpass that craving for their breakfast sandwiches. Stay awhile, relax with your cup of coffee and maybe you will run into a marinade of Cincinnati’s who’s who. Coffee Emporium has another location in Hyde Park. After my breakfast sandwich, I come to the end of my latte but still craving more. I decided to leave with a Grande Carmel Frapichino (pictured below).

Grade: A

110 East Central ParkwayHistoric Over-the-RhineDowntown Cincinnatit: 513.651.5483 Store HoursM-F 7am – 4pm

When looking for a touch of French class in Cincinnati, there are a few different places one can frequent. Un-surprisingly there are all run by the famous Jean Robert. One type of French cuisine that was assuredly left out was that of breakfast.

This changed just a few moths ago when Jean Robert branched out and scudded across the Ohio River to quaint street of Greenup Ave to open the Greenup Cafe.

This cafe on Greenup surprisingly brings a touch of Rue De Champs Elysee to this Northern Kentucky city. Its outdoor seating, a 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.

Remembering this recently opened cafe, we ventured to try the new digs. Expecting to have a wait, or at least be seated by a server, my friend and I walk inside the small service area where there were customers lined to by freshly made pasties on display. Speaking with a server, we were told that we seat ourselves, a great way to cut the tension and relax the customer. Obviously, we chose to take advantage of the summer’s fall-like weather and sit outdoors in the back.

Seating ourselves, it was not long before a slight speaking server approached our table and took our drink order. That was the fastest service we would get that morning. Having ample time to look over the breakfast menu before our drinks were served, I decided to order the Omlette Medley and my friend, an order of buttermilk pancakes.

From the wait for our food to arrive, you could tell that the space between the tables was not made for the servers to quickly move from table to table. The waters and waitresses did not look rushed at all. After about 30mins (despite the great conversation with my friend and those whom I knew who happened to be there fro breakfast as well), I started to wonder if our server had forgotten our food, let alone a re fill of our drinks.

When the food finally arrived, it was well worth the wait. My Omelet medley was filled with mushrooms, tomatoes, gruyere cheese, asparagus and crème fiache, topped with parsley. I was surprised that the omelets was accompanied by home-style potatoes, cut in quarters and seasoned with a slight spicy Cajon sprinkle.

My friend was not too impressed with his pancakes, mostly due to the lack in number of the patties, but I would suggest the omelet, for sure!

308 Greenup St
Covington, KY

6am to 4:30

My good friends who had relocated to Ashville, NC were in town for a few days so before they left, I wanted to treat them to dinner. The last night that they were in town, we scudded across the Ohio River into Covington, KY to try our taste at Korean cuisine. Riverside Korean Restaurant, located just blocks from the Ohio River 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. There were six of us but because of previous visits, decided to only order 3 entrees and share among the six of us.

Surprisingly, there are a number of selections for such a small and limited restaurant. As I looked over the menu, I skipped over the grilled cow tongue decided that I wanted to chomp my bit on Corn Hen Soup cooked with Ginseng (pictured below). Our other two dishes were Korean barbecue, tweegi bulgoki and stir-fried chicken and vegetables, tak doritang.

Not too used to spicy food, it was the consensus to order all of the dishes mildly hot, which we had requested to be mildly hot, seasoned with visible flecks of hot pepper. 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 tonight’s meal, I thought that I was once again in Nam Tea Buk.

Grade: A+

512 Madison Ave Covington, KY 41011-1506 (859) 291-1484
Mon-Fri 11:30am- 2:00pm Fri-Sat 5:00pm-10:30pm Sat 12:00pm- 2:00pm Sun-Thu 5:00pm- 9:30pm

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