Cincinnati’s Best Culinary Secret is 105-Years-Old

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The Queen City is in a bit of a renaissance right now, with many fabulous restaurants opening up all over town. So many great spots have debuted in the last three years that it is hard to keep up.

But that doesn’t mean the old isn’t great, too.

We recently dined at Scotti’s Italian, a small restaurant on Vine Street with a century of history in the city. We left asking, “Why haven’t we done this before?”

Places like this don’t come around every day. Immediately upon walking in, it is easy to feel transported to Italy. The charming décor features olive oil bottles across the ceiling, a hodgepodge of tile on the walls, low lighting, wine bottle candlelight, unique family artwork, and small tables that promote intimate dining.

The food is even better, and the menu might have the largest selection of pasta, veal, and Italian favorites in the city. I ordered mozzarella pasta, while my husband tried the breaded and stuffed loin of veal ala Guido. Both of our dishes came with minestrone soup, bread, and house salad. Our group also tired the spumoni for desert.

We’ll be back. You should go, too!

The Palm Beach Grill Serves Up Top Notch Smoked Salmon

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I love a good salmon. Especially a smoked one.

There’s just something about the savory and salty flavors that always draws me to it. I can’t resist. If I’m at a restaurant and it is on the menu, chances are–I’ll order it.

And recently, I had a smoked salmon that put all the others to shame.

The Palm Beach Grill is known as a ubiquitous gathering spot in Palm Beach, and it has served the community for the last few decades. A spot at the bar is tough to get on a Friday or Saturday night, and a reservation is even harder. Not only is this a fun place to people watch and socialize, it’s also a great spot for some delightful food.

And the smoked salmon here just might be the best I’ve ever tasted. I loved it so much, I had to take a photo of it. I had to write a blog post about it. I’ve spent the last few days dreaming about it.

In short, if you’re ever at this restaurant–order it!

Vino and a Visit to Southeastern Indiana

Most people wouldn’t consider Southern Indiana a hotbed for wineries and vino, but over the last two decades or so, the region has curated a number of vineyards. One of the best examples is Ertel Cellars Winery, located just outside the charming town of Batesville.

The vineyard can be found just short of a hour’s drive away from Cincinnati, and the property stuns immediately. Situated on rolling hills and surrounded by forest, Ertel’s  could easily be found in Sonoma County or Canada’s Niagara Falls region, but it’s not. It’s Indiana. And it’s beautiful.

Walk inside the main structure, and you find an inviting atmosphere. The tasting room offers more than a dozen wines, and tasting are complimentary. Yes, you read that right. Complimentary.

The winery also features a delightful dining room serving gourmet meals. We dined on ribs, French onion soup, salmon, pasta, and fresh bread. Servers suggested wine pairings for dinner, and our table ended up splitting a bottle. The best part, though— the chocolate basket. It’s a beautiful and tasty treat that blends chocolate, whipped cream, and strawberries.

We drove home with full bellies, a new perspective on the region, and several bottles of wine. Perfect!

Montgomery, Ohio’s Best Kept Secret Is…

The Pacific Kitchen.

Tucked away in a strip mall next to  Camargo Cadillac, The Pacific Kitchen is one of those fantastic, unexpected spots. The restaurant opened at the end of 2015, and so far has gained a following mainly through word of mouth. That means the place is not crowded…yet.

The menu focuses on an eclectic mix of Pacific favorites, and diners can enjoy things like fried rice, crab meat cannoli, chicken satay skewers, bibimbap, grilled Thai herb shrimp, and more.

Cincinnati Bengals player Rey Maualuga loves to eat there, so that should give you an idea of just how great the food tastes.

My husband and I stumbled on The Pacific Kitchen while in search of a different restaurant, and honestly, the clean, crisp look of the exterior drew us toward it. We dined on the patio and enjoyed the fried rice, homemade flatbread, and a dish called “Rey Maualuga’s chicken katsu”, which also featured spam.

Entrees range in price from $16 to $24. We’ll be back… and you should go, too.