Thursday, April 24, 2008

Nectar for Brunch

Couple weekends ago, some friends and I went to Nectar for brunch. Here's Liz's review on the place when we were there.

I agree with Liz’s review; the food was great but service and ambiance needs improvement.

I ordered a vegetarian asparagus frittata. It came with potatoes and fruit. Because I am always crazy for potatoes, I was happy they were one of the sides. The frittata was perfectly done and so were the potatoes. It's easy to over-cook a frittata if left in the oven too long, which causes it to become very dry. I've even had an undercooked frittata and that wasn't a pleasant experience. However at Nectar, they perfected the frittata. In addition to being done right, it had plenty of asparagus for the texture and flavor. We all also shared a French toast. I usually don’t opt to get French toast on my own but when Emma suggested sharing, I agreed. After the first bite, I was a little disappointed I didn’t order it on my own. The frittata was savoury and tasty while the French toast was sweet and heavenly.

Even though most of us were happy with our dishes, I was surprised by their limited brunch options. Since Nectar is one of the few restaurants that sources most of their food locally, I expected more vegetarian friendly dishes, or at least poultry dishes.

I will revisit Nectar for the food, and maybe by then the service is improved. And if they’re up for it, Liz, the other ladies and I can go back together.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Maker's Mark

As mentioned, here's my story about our trip.

On Saturday, April 5, American Culinary Federation (ACF) hosted a regional conference in downtown Cincinnati that included food demons, competitions, and seminars. All culinary professionals attending the ACF conference were invited to Maker's Mark Distillery. Early Saturday morning, other culinary students and I drove to Loretto, KY early morning to prepare for the roast.

After a 4 hour ride that should have taken 2 1/2 hours, we were finally greeted by the smokey smells of the roast. The pigs were dropped in the pit late Friday night.

After the whiskey rub- couple bottles for each pig.

Barrel Warehouse, where the whiskey "sleeps." The two warehouses hold 19,000- 25,000 barrels.

Inside the guest house- it had an historic feel to it. The carpet in the foyer was god awful ugly, turquoise with flowers- which proved both the carpet and the house had been around for a long time.

View of the large tent that sat 400+ people in the "backyard"

The Band

Presentation. The pictures aren't great but the food smelled delicious and the pigs tasted moist and tender. (When my parents owned a Subway sandwich shop, I briefly ate the processed bacon. Though really good, this roast is probably my last time eating pork.)

The pros setting up

Everyone's here. Let's eat.

Circus Cook's pants and shoes. My feet are saying, "I am tired, get me out of these."

our hot ride. really. The ride was was much better on the way back because some (not me) came away with few bottles of the good stuff and shared with the rest of us.

Even though I don't have pictures of all the food, it was all really good. The bread pudding was to die for.

Overall this trip was an experience. After arriving, all the students were given their responsibilities. Another student and I shucked 400 corns, others set up tables, chairs and tents or prepared salads. When the guests arrived, we were in charge of the buffet lines. Sadly, none of us cooked or learned a thing about the secrets of southern style macaroni and cheese, techniques for a good roast or bread pudding.

I am thankful to our chef and the culinary school for giving us this opportunity. Would I do it again? maybe.