This past weekend I had the absolute pleasure of spending some major down time in the little known city that not many people may have ever heard of called Cincinnati Ohio. I was fortunate enough to have 2 of the most passionate tour guides I can ever even dream of: Nick Pinkerton and Peter Van Hyning, both Cincinnatians by blood.
Nick Pinkerton lead this worldwind tour, we had our first meal at Park Chili, a “greasy spoon” in Northside:
I learned about a local phenomena called “goetta“, which is a very wonderful thing on the same level as scrapple, made of various ground guts of who knows what and extended with oats, giving it a very delicate crispy flavor and texture when fried. We had it with our breakfast in place of where bacon or sausage would normally be. It rules, it is so good, I don’t care what is in it, and I pounded it so hard.
Afterwards we looked at a lot of beautiful things that we haven’t scene in a while such as trees, flowers, wide open roads, until we got hungry again, leading us to take the Anderson Ferry to Dixie Chili in Newport Kentucky:
Now, Cincinnati is apparently world-renowned for its skyline chili, which is basically a beanless chili with especially finely ground meat poured over spaghetti and topped with finely shredded cheddar, and additionally topped with kidney beans and diced raw onions upon request (3-way, 4-way, 5-way). Oh yeah, and a packet of oyster crackers. There are so many chili places in Cincinnati, luckily, Nick Pinkerton has filtered through many of them, and Dixie Chili he had declared “good.” Dixie Chili offers the same sort of fare as the famous chain Skyline Chili, and I will agree with Nick, it’s very good.
I had my chili “4-way” : onions, cheese, chili, spaghetti. Oh, one more thing! Cincinnati has a very funny way of eating hot dogs they call “coneys”. These hotdogs are about 3 inches shorter than your typical dog, so cute, and typically topped with skyline chili, shredded cheddar, onions and mustard. Dixie Chili offers a very funny hot dog called the “alligator” which is a coney-sized hot dog with a dill pickle spear, mayo, and shredded cheddar. It tastes unbelievably American.
We all washed this down with our respective sodas, rubbed our bellys, groaned in satisfaction and moved on. We continued on with our Cincinnati-related activites, which included driving up to various hill tops in the city and looking down in marvel at what a wonderful and breath-taking city it is, going to the top of Carew Tower, visiting historic sites, looking at the fountain at Fountain Square, and then going to Arnold’s the oldest pub in Cincinnati, located downtown and established 1864. They have this weird bath tub vehicle in the front:
Peter and Nick were pretty pumped about these Hudypohl beers, which is apparently hard to find any where else but Cincinnati:
I had a sip of this light beer and it was not so good, pretty lackluster and a little old tasting if anything else. We also munched on their fried green tomatoes, which also weren’t so good– bland, thickly sliced, and heavily coated in a very dense batter and served with a tomato horseradish sauce which took away from any subtle nuance the fried green tomato ever had to offer. It was so unexciting, I did not even take a photo.
We went to a Reds game afterwards at the Great American Ball Park. To our delight, it was “bobblehead night” and we recieved at the entrance of the stadium, Joey Votto, collectibly boxed and ready to bobble at our own personal conveniences. A hotdog and a Christian Morlein beer later, the Reds won and it was cool, and to continue on with our heavy eating adventure, we went to Terry’s Turf Club soon after:
This place looks really cool because the interior is entirely lit with a bunch of old neon signs from Cincinnati’s past. There was a live jazz band playing popular jazz hits, it was packed, so we sat outside since it wasn’t too cold.
This is the one place I would really love to visit when I am hungrier. At this point, a little before midnight, and still digesting all the local varieties of ground meats that I had ingested earlier that day, I opted to order a something a little lighter here. I went for the Shrimp Burger, which granted, was juicy and delicious. The shrimp was fire-grilled to juicy perfection, topped with grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, mayo, on an amazing soft and sweet bun.
I was totally jealous of Nick Pinkerton’s hamburger though:
It’s a hamburger topped with fresh crabmeat, some sort of red pepper mayo sauce, raw onion, lettuce, what more do you want. I watched him chomp down repetitively in ecstasy and in slow-motion until the burger disappeared. We were both so full by the end of the day that we could not get drunk if we wanted to.
Phew! The next day, Peter, Nick and I had a much more relaxing day, hiking through various parks and woods including Ault Park, Eden Park, Mount Adams, etc looking at leaves, smelling trees, calling our moms, blah blah blah, it ruled. At some point we went to an incredibly charming ice cream parlor called Aglamesis:
Peter and I got sundaes and Nick got a scoop of a fresh strawberry chocolate chip:
I got a sundae called the “Bourbon Street”, which had a scoop of vanilla, chocolate, and coffee, topped with hot fudge and marshmallow cream. Holy shit, this was awesome. The coffee ice cream here had the best flavor ever, really strong and BITTER, which was so awesome. Peter meanwhile got a delicious banana split.
We did and ate a lot more stuff this weekend, but I definitely left Cincinnati with about 8 pounds of it inside me, and a new affinity for this Midwestern city. Thanks Nick and Peter for an amazing weekend!