On my first night, we went to Nada, a trendy downtown joint, for Mexican and margaritas. I had heard good things about Nada before so I was looking forward to trying it out. My friend and I split two orders of tacos: shrimp and pork belly and both were fantastic.
|Pork Belly Tacos|
On my second night we dined at Nada's sister restaurant, Boca, which happens to be my friend's favorite restaurant and had recently relocated to its current downtown space, right next to Nada. I somewhat wish I had taken photos of the interior of Boca because it is elegant and luxurious with an old-world charm (you can find some professional photos here). Over a bottle of fancy wine, my friend and I split the signature Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, topped with scallops, which were nicely done. I also had the Mediterranean Sea Bass, served with a bouillabaisse sauce, braised leeks, and mussels. The sea bass itself was pan roasted to crispy goodness. The service at Boca, like its food, was also top-notch.
|Caramelized Brussels Sprouts|
|Mediterranean Sea Bass|
Before leaving Cincinnati, I made a stop at Findlay Market, an awesome public market in Over-the-Rhine. There, I found my favorite place in Cincinnati: Colonel De Gourmet Herbs and Spices. Talk about a kid in a candy shop! Colonel De carries an impressive (500+!) collection of spices, herbs, blends, rubs, salts, and more. Many of these products I have never even heard of, and some are the shop's own creations. The Colonel himself was there—great guy, by the way—and I spoke with him for some time about recipe ideas. I only picked up a handful of items that I knew I could use, but I would really love to try out some of his specialty spices sometime in my recipes, once I figure out how to use them. Luckily, Colonel De offers online shopping.
All in all, it was a lovely visit to Cincinnati with good food, good company, and a really good find!