No one is happier to see signs of spring than locavore chef Julie Francis, chef and owner of Nectar (1000 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout; 513-929-0525). She’s anticipating the growing season the way most of us wait for Santa Claus, with visions of sugar snap peas dancing through her head. Right now, Julie’s serving Turner Farms Spinach, Dean Farms Red Wattle Pork, and she’s really excited about Big Fish Farms paddlefish.
“It’s like sturgeon,” she explains. “Almost more meat than fish. And they harvest the roe (fish eggs), too — it’s wonderful!”
CityBeat: What’s the last great meal you ate and where did you eat it?
Julie Francis: I had a great snack at Pho Lang Thang, the Vietnamese place at Findlay Market. But for a meal, I’d have to say the pork and kimchi stew at Sung Korean Bistro downtown. It was almost a soup, really brothy, nice and fatty, spicy, bitter and pungent, with loads of hot red chili pepper.
CB: Someone just told me that there are too many ethnic restaurants in Cincinnati now. Agree?
JF: Oh, no — there’s room for more! I still don’t think we have enough authentic Thai food. Something beyond Pad Thai. And more Greek food, too — not gyros and French fries. I’d love to see more really genuine styles of every food here.