I have never looked forward to Taste of Cincinnati like I did this year. Ask Date. I even comprised a document of places to check out—his preferences and mine. He and I also downloaded the app so that we could plan all of the great places we wanted to try. I’m a planner, what can I say?
Rules: 1) No dishes that we have previously had, and 2) Foods/restaurants that we could take advantage of eating for very cheap.
In about two hours, Date and I got to try eleven dishes offered at this year’s Taste. My “must haves” included deep fried PB&J, veal short rib ravioli, and gourmet chorisco chili dog, while Date wanted to be sure that we had some Asian food and German food. I’m happy to report we covered all the bases, as given in detail below (in the best left to right, top to bottom fashion that I can):
Gourmet Chorisco Chili Dog (20 Brix) — A deliciously messy treat. Such a wonderful, gourmet take on a Cincinnati treasure.
Deep Fried PB&J (Strasse Haus) — A place that prides itself on greater Cincinnati’s German heritage provided this delectable treat. I’d been wanting to try it for about three Tastes, and I finally got to in 2014. It was as awesome as I expected.
Gelato (Buona Terra) — I will never shy away from how much I love Dojo Gelato, but if any place will make me stray, it’ll be this.
Veal and Ricotta Meatballs (Via Vite) — I’m glad I got to try these, especially since they were a Best of… winner, but I wasn’t totally in love.
Crab Rangoon Best of… and General Tso’s Chicken (Thai Taste) — This was one of the last dishes we got, so we were pretty full from our marathon eating expedition, but the crab rangoon was really, really good. I think Yat Ka Mein still has my favorite, but these are certainly up there.
Grilled Cheese Donut (Tom + Chee) —BEST OF TASTE, in my opinion. Lived up to and 100% surpassed my expectations. I know, cheese AND a donut? The cheese is hardly noticeable and it tastes like a grilled, hot, crispy, glazed goodness donut. Seriously. Incredible. This is also something I’d been wanting to try for YEARS, but could never justify buying for myself (how I usually eat at T + C). Taste was the perfect opportunity.
Sauerkraut Balls and Pickle Chips (Laszlo’s Iron Skillet) — Sauerkraut Balls are a must at any Cincinnati festival, and they were delicious as always. I also liked the fried pickle chips, which were Date’s choice.
Veal Short Rib Raviloli and Tiramisu (Alfio’s Buon Cibo) — Yum and SUPER YUM. I really liked the ravioli, but the tiramisu was just incredible.
All of it was really, really good, although I was probably least enamored by Via Vite’s Veal and Ricotta Meatballs. But that’s like saying you were offered $5 instead of $20. Who wouldn’t take the money regardless of the amount?!
I am so thankful to not only live in a city with amazing food, but that I have someone with whom I can try so many new things and with whom I can share all of the greatness. Taste, you were just awesome in 2014.