Local Spotlight // Kanji OTR- The Best Ramyun and more…

Wasabi Shumai – Six (6) steamed pork dumplings in a wasabi wrap and drizzled in ponzu sauce at Kanji
Choonchun Chicken at Kanji

Looking for a restaurant to cozy up to this Fall? Love ramyun and sushi? Kanji, a Korean Cuisine restaurant, I have been drawn to for the past couple of weeks, has captured my heart. Kanji is owned by Inho Cha, and is located in the heart of Findlay Market ( specifically OTR ) in Cincinnati, 0hio, the flavors that accompany the beauty of the dishes, more than highlights Kanji’s take on Korean classics. As soon as we walked into the restaurant, the decor, sushi bar to my left, bar to the right, large windows overlooking the hustle and bustle of Findlay market, live music outside, shops nearby, and with an amazing aroma not to be ignored,I knew we were in for a treat. My husband, Franz, was along for the eating quest to Kangi, and ready to try all the eats. Franz is a self proclaimed ramen connoisseur, and he is pretty serious about his noodles and broth. Franz, prior to living in Covington, Kentucky, lived in L.A. for over ten years, where his love of authentic tacos and ramen, that matches mine, truly began. When heading into Kangi, each table in the restaurant is more than gorgeous to dine at, but my favorite table is to the right of the door directly by the windows. I also cannot wait until it starts getting colder outside, as a streetcar and a stroll to Kanji in the snow, with ramen and hot wasabi shumai waiting for us at the end, sounds more than wonderful.

Let’s talk about my favorite appetizer in the city right now, Kanji’s wasabi shumai (pictured at the very top of this post). These six steamed pork dumplings in a wasabi wrap and drizzled in ponzu sauce, are the perfect boom of spice. I could honestly eat about 12 of these beautiful delights, so don’t feel ashamed for ordering two orders of this damn good tiny package of heat and meat. One of my favorite dishes at Kanji right now is their Dolsot Bibimbap (pictured below) with carrots, soybean sprouts, shiitake mushrooms, zucchini, spinach, fried egg on top of a crispy bed of rice in a hot stone bowl with Marinated Beef purely had me in bliss. The presentation mixed with the tastes, completely won be over. This dish is definitely apart of the Kanji experience.

Dolsot Bibimbap with marinated beef
Ramyum – Korean-style ramen noodles and egg, in a spicy broth and three additional dumplings

Another dish, Chefs Mr. Lee, Thanh Nguyen, and Letixia Cabrera have mastered that we need to talk about is Kanji’s Ramyun, which as of right now I am definitely stamping as the BEST ramyun in Cincinnati, Ohio. Their Korean-style ramen noodles and egg, in a spicy broth, with three added dumplings, really has the ability to livin’ you up, make you feel like a person again, and with each sip and slurp, you enjoy different flavors. This ramyun, I swear has magical powers, whether it’s the ingredients, or the soul that goes into making it, the recipe and energy involved in the creation of the ramen, brings in fact more than joy to the soul, and Franz said “joy to his belly too”.

Another delicious and gorgeous dish at Kanji, is the sizzling Choonchun Chicken. A stir fried, marinated chicken, with sweet potatoes, onions, green onion, carrots, sweet and spicy flavors and a rice cake – pictured at the top. We can’t wait to go back and try more dishes! We absolutely have to order the sushi, with Sushi Chefs, Juan Cabrera and Hankil Cho creating just as delicious sushi. My top picks for the next time we go are the Juanito Roll – Shrimp Tempura, Spicy crab, avocado, spicy tuna, yellowtail, and jalapeño on top with spicy mayo and eel sauce and the Santa Monica Roll- Avocado, cucumber, crab stick, topped with spicy tuna, eel sauce, spicy mayo, tempura flakes, did I mention Kanji is also half priced sushi everyday for dine in and carryout. Enjoy and you will definitely see me there.

https://www.kanjiotr.com/

1739 Elm St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Covid Hours
Monday
closed

Tuesday — Sunday
11am — 10pm

Phone
(513) 873-8350 –

Email
kanjiOTR@gmail.com

Local Spotlight // 20 Restaurants to Visit Summer 2021 Cincinnati, OH + NKY

KHORA

The food scene is fiery HOT in the cities of Cincinnati, OH and NKY this Summer. The Chefs are turning out brilliant banging eats more than ever. If you are looking to put a spotlight on art and its relation to your entire existence on this planet, then you will want to check out these 20 restaurants this Summer, that are more than making a splash. With decadent flavors, colors, plating and more, these restaurants are procuring the finest farm to table eats, wine lists that pair perfectly with any course, and a staff to match the entire experience. Khora is where our food journey begins. Chef Edward Lee and Chef Kevin Ashworth, are absolutely spoiling us with wonderfully curated meats, pastries that are out of this world, memorable presentation, and the ability to put sex on the table with melt in your mouth savory and sweet eats, that more than make you fall in love. With that being said, Khora is THE dining experience you want for a romantic night out on the town. So put on those heels, buy that new outfit, and get ready for one of the most delicious moments of your life. Please check below for more restaurants taking the lead in bringing this 1920s food renaissance to 2021. Pop the champagne bottles everyone, our food scene is kicking ass and taking orders. Let’s go!

Khora
  • Kung Food Chu’s AmerAsia
  • Kung Food Chu’s AmerAsia
  • Happy Dining!

    Peace and Love,

    V

    Local Spotlight // Hierophany & Hedge

    I absolutely love living in history filled Covington, Kentucky, and now I have to say I have another reason to love this side of the river. Witches and Wizards and everyone alike, welcome to my favorite shop in all of Covington, Hierophany and Hedge. Covington, Kentucky is full of mystery and magic. From the cobblestone streets, to the ghost filled mansions, lining the tree lined streets. I have been identifying as a witch for years, with my gift and craft honing in on the use of Tarot Cards, which were given to me over fifteen years ago. I am always looking to learn more about the occult, and this shop is the place for it all. As soon as you walk in you are met with the most beautiful woodwork housing everything from books, stones, jewerly, custom wax stamps, tarot cards, pendulums, stones, as well as bulk supplies of candles, incense, crystals, Pharaonic tomb sand, hermetic devices like eclipse reliquaries, and a wide range of off-the-rack and made-to-measure talismans and wands. The owners Augur + Coil, are the most knowledgeable people of the occult, that I have ever met. I encourage all to visit and shop at this amazing establishment. I literally am already planning my next trip back, it does help that Hierophany and Hedge, is within walking distance from our house. So you could definitey say I am one happy witch. Happy Shopping, and I hope to see you there!

    Hierophany + Hedge

    19 West Pike Street

    Covington, Kentucky 41011

    Electronic Mail

    http://www.hierophanyandhedge.com

    Local Spotlight // 7 Places for Plants + Le Fleurs

    I have always loved seeing the origin of where our food comes from, learning about the amount of science, community, and labor that goes into each flower, each vegetable, each herb, and getting to know the people that help make our outdoor and indoor spaces a bit brighter. The longer that I live in the city, however, I find myself even more appreciative of all that goes into our local fresh produce and gorgeous stems. I grew up going to greenhouses and florists like Rahns, and Adrian Durbans, and I even worked on a pumpkin and tomato farm a couple Summers back. I did it to study a bit more in depth the root of where our food comes from, to know the hard work that goes into it, and to bring me a bit closer to nature. I will tell you one thing, working in the hot sun, picking tomatoes, will definitely make you appreciate your produce and flowers the next time you walk into a farmers market, grocery store, florist, or nursery. Below are 7 places for plants and le fleurs. The list of greenhouses and florists to visit this Season will keep on growing throughout the Summer – but how brilliant is it to see and know that even after a crazy year like 2020, the blooms still keep growing.

    1. White Oak nursery
    2. Fern Shop
    3. Adrian Durbans
    4. eve floral co
    5. AJ Rahn Greenhouses
    6. Funke’s Greenhouses
    7. Kist Gardens + Greenhouses

    Peace + Love,

    Chef Spotlight // Sam Mischenko of Lonely Pine Steakhouse

    I have been slowly getting back into writing about food, and with the city starting to wake up, I am seeing creative minds in action everywhere. The momentum is helping me to really put a spotlight on our local magic makers, our restaurateurs and chefs. On top of highlighting all things culinary on the blog on Foodie Fridays, I will be highlighting the Chefs in our community on a weekly basis. I have had my eye on the community of Pleasant Ridge, which is one of my favorite communities in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, of which the restaurant ,The Lonely Pine Steakhouse, is most pleasantly nestled. The entire experience at Lonely Pine Steakhouse was more than phenomenal. Even before we stepped foot inside the restaurant, a fire greeted us, upon entrance a prosecco was presented to us, if we did so choose to drink, and oh we did. Every detail was sought out, every plate gorgeous, the service impeccable, and the design/decor was a mix between a western, and a 1950s James Bond film, and goodness did they make me feel like a bond girl that night. Now lets talk about Mr. Sam Mischenko, the chef behind the most delicious steak in Cincinnati, Ohio right now.

    Sam is the butcher, baker, and Chef at Lonely Pine Steakhouse. With an in house butcher, who is also the Chef, there is no question that he knows how to pick out, and cook his meats. What also is not to question is his respect for animals. I can guarantee 8/10 people cannot tell you what a proper cut is, what makes for a tender piece of meat, and more, but you know who can, Sam Mischenko, the Chef that can do it all. In acting many people say you need to have a triple threat to really put a knife in the competition, Sam Mischenko is that triple threat, and not only is he in the competition as one of the best chefs in Cincinnati, the butcher knife he puts in the fight is not one to be missed. Sam also throws down in the baking world, really showing his ability to be versatile. To make a steak sexy in the era of salt bae, isn’t that uncommon, but to master that with passion for the culinary world, and the ability to want to care to have the knowledge and history of what you are cooking, is not only respect for the culinary world, its really respect for humanity. The only bad thing about this bloke, his goat cheese chocolate cheesecake is more than sinful, and you’ll want to eat ten of them. So lets start with what we ate that made me come to the conclusion that Pleasant Ridge has one of the best chefs in the city cooking up a storm in that neighborhood. We started out with a dozen of Don Juan style oysters, broiled, with tomatillo-cream, urban stead quark cheese, nixtamalized corn gremotola served with 16 bricks bread. The start to the night was brilliant and upon some research about Chef Mischenko, I found out why, he learned much of what he knows from Grandma Mischenko as well as his father, and even at the beginning of the dinner, I could tell it was a generational gift passed down. The nod to southern appetizer classics, were divinely executed with spins on cooked oysters and the Kentucky favorite, pimento cheese.

    Now lets talk about the entrees we ordered, including what I am definitely stamping as THE best steak in Cincinnati, Ohio and maybe in all of the midwest. The best steak in the city right now is most definitely at Lonely Pine, and is the Wagyu 8 oz Patricks petite tender from Sakura farms, the platting, the cut, the juices, and every bit of wonderful buttery goodness, made this rich delight even richer. Readers, get your masks on, and head to the wild midwest, of the Lonely Pine Steakhouse, for literally the most wonderful steak of your life.

    We also ordered the New York strip steak a 20 oz dry aged steak from revier farms, with trusty sidekicks like the onions and mushrooms, which were slow roasted with fresh herbs, and butter, the asparagus which was roasted and topped with citrus cinsoy miso butter, the fingerling potatoes, which were delightfully twice cooked and roasted with fresh herbs and butter. We then ordered one of the dreamiest, creamiest, gooey macaroni and cheeses, cooked with smoked gouda, cheddar and cellentani pasta. Then when we didn’t think we could eat anymore, Chef Mischenko surprised us with the perfect pairing to a heavy steak dinner, the most gorgeous cheesecake. Now one may ask how can you indulge so much and still have room, well this cheesecake, is not like any other cheesecake, which seems to be the theme with Chef Mischenko, the ability to take a classic recipe and put his own Mischenko touch on it, so even though steak has been done in this city, I havent seen a steak and potato dinner this fantastic in a long time, and yes I know we live in a Jeff Ruby town.

    Dessert, lets keep talking about this cheesecake. This light yet rich cake was not to be missed, and much like the meats, this dish highlighted Chef Mischenkos ability to kill it in the skillet and oven. The goat cheese chocolate cheesecake, had a grippos pretzel crust, which is another nod to a Cincinnati establishment, Grippos. Chef Mischenko has the community in mind in each dish it seems, not only highlighting the animals that we have grown so accustomed to mindlessly devouring, he also seems to put a spotlight on hard working people in his community, by incorporating a bit of himself, a bit of Cincinnati, in all of his dishes.

    Cincinnati, get your knife sharpener out, because we have a new contender in this kitchen fight. Welcome to fight club Chef Mischenko.

    Lonely Pine Steakhouse

    Address: 6085 Montgomery Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45213 Menulonelypinesteakhouse.comPhone: (513) 351-1012

    Follow Chef Sam Mischenko on instagram CLICK HERE

    V’s Bento Favs: 10 Bento Box Lunch Ideas

    1. Japanese Fried Chicken Bento

    I found the most mod bento box online the other day, and I just had to share the box (CLICK HERE TO FIND THE BEST BENTO BOX), as well as ten ideas for bento box lunches with my readers. Being newly engaged, I’ve been looking up acts of love, traditions, and rituals throughout the ages in different cultures. The act of making a bento box for your loved one or child, has been a tradition for centuries in the Japanese culture. I have two degrees, one is in Art History and the other is in Cultural Studies. The acts of love through different cultures absolutely instills my belief in love more and more, with each tradition and ritual I learn about. Love transcends through different languages, different foods, different dances, art, and more, but above all there is LOVE. Every other week, starting this week, I will post the Bento Boxes I make for Franz on this blog, complete with recipes and pictures. What act of love for yourself, or a loved one, do you practice? Just because Valentine’s day is over, does not mean you cant start new love traditions now. By putting different rituals in your life it does not just benefit you, it also benefits those around you. So again, my act of love this month is creating bento boxes for Franz and highlighting women in our community, by featuring them on my blog. Learn a bit more about the bento box history below:
               ” For the Japanese aristocracy bento boxes were rich and detailed. Bentos were decorated with complicated designs depicting tranquil landscapes and iconic figures of grace and poise. These lunchboxes were expensive and sophisticated priced passions of the upper class and were embellished with deep hued lacquer, inlayed with precious metals such as gold and silver and adorned with mother-of pear accents. During the Noh and Kabuki intermissions affluent audience members marked their status by socializing with famous performers while eating bento (Ekuan, 2000, p. 190).

    In stark contrast to these elaborate bento lunch feasts were the deliberately straightforward and one could argue utilitarian bentos in the monastic Zen community. Different from the first bento festivities that popularized bento a formal and ritualized bento commemoration occurred during traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The bento meal accompanying contemplative and ritualistic tea ceremonies has been termed kaiseki ryori which literal meaning is “ stone in the stomachband.” This refers to the practice of resting a warm stone on one’s stomach during periods of hunger when no food was available. As a Zen concept it changed to convey a warming meal that was just enough to satiate immediate hunger. According to author Kenji Ekuan, author of The Aesthetics of The Japanese Lunchbox,

     As stated in the text, the great perfecter of the tea ceremony Sen-no-Rikyu is credited with adapting the kaiseki banquet style to the tea ceremony during the late 1570s. The present form and style in terms of both content and box shape were reached during the eighteen century. The main difference between lunchboxes for theatre goers and for picnics and the tea ceremony lunchbox style is the gorgeousness and plentifulness of the former as opposed to the austere elegance of the latter” ( 2000, p. 191).

    The bentos used in kaiseki are generally rectangular but the preferred moon-shaped bento favored of Sen-no-Rikyu is also used alongside round, fan-shaped, and oblong bento lunchboxes(Ekuan, 2000, p. 192). Since this sacred initiation of bento into Buddhist spirituality the bento has been incorporated into many ceremonies both sacred and secular.

                Although the bento became widespread in Japan throughout the course of the Edo Period it was not until the Meiji Period (1868-1912) that the bento became an icon of convenience for all travelers,

    The first station lunchbox appeared with the opening of the new railway line that linked Tokyo’s Ueno Station with Utsunomiya in 1885. It was quite a simple affair containing two wrapped rice balls flavored with pikled plum (umeboshi) and covered with grilled sesame seeks, with a couple of slices of radish pickle (takuan), the whole wrapped in a piece of bamboo bark, and sold for five sen, or a few pennies (Ekuan, 2000, p. 193).

    Depending on the occasion many or single tiered bentos are used. The first station bento had only a single tier for function and accessibility but in the passed bentos with three stacked layers were the tradition. However by the end of World War I two-tiered bento lunchboxes became more popular then as fashioned changed after World War-II and presumably because of economic strife bentos reduced again to a single-tier arrangement. A more utilitarian aluminum bento lunchbox arose to popularity during the Taisho Period (1912- 1926) during World War I. Many considered it a lavish bento box because of it’s shiny polished surface and the ease of maintenance and cleaning (Ngoc, 2010). The invention of the microwave, large grocery stores, and mass-produced bento boxes created a boom in bento accessibility.

                Bento in modern post-war culture has transformed into a whole new creature influenced by pop-culture, international foods, and the growing middle-class to name a few. Today bento lunchboxes can be seen at work, school, come prepackaged at stores and vendors, or at sit-down restaurants. Bento lunchboxes now come in a wide variety of materials spanning different types of plastics, aluminum, and wood. Bento box shapes vary but are usually rectangular and highly portable.”

    Find 10 of my favorite Bento Box Lunch Ideas for Inspo Below:

    For bento art CLICK HERE

    2. Zuchinni noodles caprese and baked chicken bento

    Several bento box lunches arranged next to each other on a countertop.

    3. Taco Salad Bento Box Recipe

    4. satay chicken salad or on spicy peanut noodles Bento

    5. Wild Rice Salad and Fruit Bento

    6. Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

    7. Slow Cooker Burrito Bento

    8. Turkey spinach and cheese pinwheels Bento

    9. Turkey Club Roll-Ups Bento Box

    10.

    4 bento box lunch ideas

    Get the recipe for the Pesto Chicken Salad HERE.

    Artist Spotlight // Mary Barr Rhodes

    To purchase piece above CLICK HERE – Artist: Mary Barr Rhodes
    Title: America Now
    Medium: Mixed

    Happy Women’s month! Meet featured Cincinnati, Ohio artist of the month, Mary Barr Rhodes. Mary has to be one of my favorite artists to work with, her art literally extends with the times, while still freezing history in time by capturing it through great emotion and color, with various mediums. Her pieces are absolutely stunning, they are more than thought provoking, and many of her pieces have really spoken to me. You can find many of her pieces for sale at VADA GALLERY, as well as many galleries in Cincinnati, and throughout America.

    Mary Barr Rhodes Artist Statement:

    “Painting is my personal journey, my spiritual practice, and the expression of my whole being, reflecting my reverence for the natural world and my place in it. I mindfully explore the colors, shapes, and textures in the vistas of our world. It is in this mindfulness that I feel the vibration, the rhythm, and the flow of the universal collective in the present moment…

    At the intersection of space and time is the point of creation. In that first moment of acknowledging the white of the canvas, to the beginning lines creating structure, to the final moments in the development of the composition, I mindfully balance the formal elements to work in harmony. And then, there is that moment when I know that I have created what I was meant to create; that direct knowing, which constitutes, for me, that space between thoughts and words, the wordless knowledge, where beauty, truth and justice are captured…

    Greatly influenced by the magnificent masters of abstract expressionism, I study the purity of color, as well as the magic of over painting, the stroke of the hand guided by my whole body, and the wonder of opening up space. My artistic mission is to create a balance, realizing mastery lies within the tension that is created by the rhythms of the back and forth.”

    Keep checking the blog for more spotlights on women artists this month + more.

    Peace + Love,

    V

    Local Spotlight // VADA GALLERY OPENING IN OTR SUMMER 2021

    VADA Gallery IS OPENING OUR OTR LOCATION THIS SUMMER 2021 and we are getting so excited! ✨We are needing more space, to bring you more incredible shows ✨Follow our progress on our Instagram story, leading up to our grand opening. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to the artists we represent, to our clients, family and friends, and to the community in @overtherhine ✨ Thank you for following us on our journey, and supporting a dream of ours. Let’s keep creating, creatives ✨www.VADA-GALLERY.com✨

    VADA GALLERY INSTAGRAM CLICK HERE