Just about every town across America has a special place with good food where they know the owner on a first name basis and call a close second to mom’s kitchen. In many way’s Tuckers is like this. I walk in and sit down and Joe, the owner and the cook starts up a conversation. He talks about how his wife was shot recently. Never in the decades that he has been at that location has the place been robbed. But a few weeks ago, something happened and his wife was in the crossfire. She’s doing ok, but it came as a big surprise. You’d think that this would affect business. But this place is wildly popular and can definitely withstand the problems of this troubled neighborhood known as Over-The-Rhine. Around the corner from this place is the Findlay Market which is hopping on the weekends and also keeps helps to keep the traffic moving in the area. Joe, is a bit of a rock star in the neighborhood. And you can direct any complaints about the food or the service to his mother, who is 90 and can be seen slowly busing tables during the rush hour. She’ll be sure to set him straight.
Tucker’s is the quintessential, family-owned slop-house, which serves up an amazing breakfast and lunch. He also claims to be the first to put tartar sauce on a double-decker burger, long before the local chains started doing the same. The biscuits and gravy are good, but the star here is the Goetta (prounounced get-uh), which is a dish of oats and pork that was invented by the Germans to help increase the life of the meat. In fact, Cincinnati seems to be the only real place where this dish is popular or even heard of. So in many ways, its pretty indigenous to the area and its really good.
This place is a real treat. Definitely a must visit if you are in the area. Now photos!
Red Flannel Hash – Potato, sweet potato, beets and onion hash
The Tucker Burger – a Double Decker Burger with Tartar Sauce
Biscuits and Gravy – Homemade from scratch biscuits topped with Sausage Gravy
The Infamous Goetta – Sausage and steel-cut oats sliced thin and fried crispy.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed over the last few posts, I am a huge fan of comfort food. Mac & Cheese falls into that category as well. Love to make it – Love to eat it even more. New York City has its own restaurant dedicated to this wonderful dish – and they do it quite well. Sizes range from Nosh (just above a snack size) to Mongo (for serious competitive eaters). And attention Celiac’s & the Lactose intolerant, they also offer gluten-free, and low lactose versions of their dishes (they also sell lactose pills at the counter).
345 East 12th Street, NY, NY 10003
Clockwise from top – Buffalo Chicken, Parisienne, 4-Cheese
With all of this cold weather, this is the time of year to make good wholesome comfort food at home. With the help of a lot of seasonal vegetables and a little extra time on my hands, I have been putting together some really awesome meals. The first is Ribollita, a tuscan inspired soup. Tuscany is known, amongst other things, for their unsalted bread. So this Ribolita is basically a minestrone soup with some chunks of sourdough bread thrown in. It makes for a nice hearty meal on a winter day. Its loaded with cabbage, carrots, onion, garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, cannelini beans, spinach and basil. Top it off with some shaved parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. It really is an amazing soup. Next time though, I am going to substitute the spinach for Tuscan Kale.
Next up is a middle eastern/greekish dish known as Moussaka. Its a beautiful casserole, traditionally layered with a meat and tomato sauce, eggplant and an egg custard on top. The spices especially bring out the flavor of this dish – hints of cinnamon and fresh grated nutmeg. We substituted Yves Meatless Ground Round for the ground lamb or beef that you would typically put in it.
Finally, I made a vegetable pot pie filled with fennel, onion, sweet peas, carrots, potato, and mushrooms. I also added a little rosemary which created some nice aromatics.
Melt Bar and Grilled has been serving gourmet grilled cheese since 2006 in Cleveland, Ohio and boasts The Melt Challenge – 3 different cheeses, 3 slices of grilled bread and a pile of hand-cut fries & slaw which adds up to over 5 pounds of food and was featured on the Travel Channel’s Man Vs. Food. There are over 25 sandwiches to choose from, some of which sound incredibly strange, particularly The Parmageddon – 2 potato & cheese pierogi, fresh napa vodka kraut, grilled onions, and sharp cheddar.