Summer Food Favorites and Can’t-Miss Events

We’ve already passed the middle of summer? Someone put on the brakes! I’ve barely scratched the surface on my summer must-eats list.

click to enlarge Putz's Creamy Whip
Putz's Creamy Whip

We’ve already passed the middle of summer? Someone put on the brakes! I’ve barely scratched the surface on my summer must-eats list. 

I’ve done pretty well on fresh fruits: I’ve had watermelon and peaches but could use a few heirloom tomatoes. But I haven’t yet indulged in my annual summer creamy-whip “fruit” — a blackberry pineapple Shake-a-Sundae — from Dari-Crest (3024 Madison Ave., Covington). 

Sure, I love some handmade Hello Honey or some fancy Madisono’s or Dojo Gelato, but there’s a part of me that has to have that soft-serve badness now and then. Westsiders swear by Putz’s Creamy Whip (2673 Putz Place, Mount Airy), so famous that people will cross town to try it. And folks in Norwood have the option of blue, Kings Island-style soft-serve at the Delite Creamy Whip (4490 Forest Ave., Norwood). Either way, you’ve got to support your local soft-serve stand!

In addition to ice cream, summer also means food trucks. I recently had a chance to try Urban Grill (, Cincy’s new mobile restaurant that specializes in smoked meats, sandwiches and skewers; I was truly impressed by their Washington Park sandwich, with chicken breast sliced on a grilled bun with pepper jack cheese and applewood bacon. On the short walk from Fountain Square back to my desk, half a dozen strangers stopped me to admire the picture-perfect challah buns. Topped with crispy lemon slaw, it tasted as yummy as it looked. 

If you didn’t get a chance to try Urban Grill’s offerings at Bunbury — their first big outing — you’ll have a chance again at the Taste of OTR ( on Aug. 10 at Washington Park. They will definitely be serving the OTR Club — a decadent stack of Glier’s goetta, applewood bacon and pepper jack cheese on that same pretty challah roll — and probably the punnily named Central Porkway, with marinated grilled pork tenderloin and homemade bacon jam. I’ll be there to hear my favorite band, Wussy, at 8:45 p.m., so I can dance off a skewer of Urban Grill’s candied bacon on a stick. 

Other vendors participating in the inaugural Taste of OTR include Dojo Gelato, Eli’s BBQ, The Lackman, Lavomatic, MOTR Pub, Taste 513, Venice on Vine, Cafe de Wheels, Lucy Blue, Kaze and streetpops. The event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. in Washington Park, will benefit Tender Mercies, an agency that provides permanent housing to formerly homeless adults with mental illness.

Another event you should plan to attend is Downtown Cincinnati Restaurant Week, which runs Aug. 5-11. The deal is that participating restaurants offer a three-course special menu meal for $35 — a bargain when you look at the places on the list: Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, Via Vite, Local 127 and more. There are more than two-dozen restaurants participating in restaurant week, each with their special menu posted online at Do Downtown Cincinnati’s site (, and some even provide the option of making reservations. 

It’s a great opportunity to try a restaurant you’ve been meaning to get to, such as the Metropole at the 21c Museum Hotel. Metropole’s menu will offer choices for your first course (either seared octopus, chickpea panisse or Grateful Greens’ mixed lettuces) and entrée (seared monkfish or braised pork shoulder with sweet corn polenta), then serve up dark chocolate tart with sea salt, olive oil, white chocolate ice cream and candied olives for dessert. 

I also like the sound of the choices at Jimmy G’s, where the starters include four-cheese terrine with a wood-grilled baguette and end-of-summer chutney, garnished with frozen white and smoked red grapes; or a white salad of handmade fresh mozzarella and calamari. The entrées? There are three — wood-grilled filet of beef, pan-roasted Atlantic salmon and plancha-grilled pork tenderloin — but knowing Jimmy G’s expertise with beef, I’d be all over the wood-grilled filet. 

Finally, Findlay Market has the summertime blues. That’s nothing to be sad about — they get them every year, right around the time of Cincy Blues Fest. Findlay’s Blue BBQ ( will be held on Sunday, Aug. 4, from noon until 4 p.m. Essen Strasse — the south side of the market adjacent to the beer garden — will be sweet with the sounds of boogie woogie Blues and smoky with barbecue sauce. Vendors will include market regulars like Eli’s BBQ and Velvet Smoke, as well as surprise guests. Music includes Tempted Souls, Ricky Nye and Noah Wotherspoon and Chuck Brisbin & The Tuna Project.

CONTACT ANNE MITCHELL: [email protected]

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