More good news for hungry people. The long-awaited Vietnamese diner at Findlay Market is up and running. Pho Lang Thang (112 W. Elder St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-665-4839) is offering a limited menu until its anticipated grand opening on Sunday, with loads of excellent dishes to try. I had their Banh Mi Thit Nguoi at last summer’s Asian Food Festival and it was marvelous. I can’t wait to get back and have the vegetarian version, Banh Mi Chay, with fried tofu. The Goi Cuon salad rolls look good, but so does the crispy vegetable salad served in a banh Trang Me bowl — a crispy, toasted, black-sesame rice paper bowl.
For now, Pho Lang Thang is open during regular Market hours, but they hope to stay open later as things get going. Show them some love when you’re shopping at the Market.
Also new at Findlay Market: Sushi Bears! Not bear sushi, please. That would be bad. But these guys have an extensive menu of vegetarian and vegan sushi and stir fries that look delish. I tasted just a nibble of their stir fry as I passed by and I’m looking forward to going back for more. Sushi Bears is right in the center of the Market House across from Taste of Belgium. You can find more information at vegisushi.com.
Another Findlay don’t-miss is the new line of relishes that they’re selling at Krause’s Cheese Shop. They’re called TJ’s Specialties. I’ve been enjoying the olive and feta relish that’s like a super-spicy muffaletta mix. It makes a basic cheese sandwich into an event. I really love it.
Also getting lots of good word of mouth at the Market is Fresh Table (pictured above), which opened last month and offers ready-to-serve takeout with a focus on healthy, sustainable ingredients. They’re not vegetarian, although they’ve got plenty of good-looking veggie dishes. I also spotted some roasted grass-fed beef with horseradish sauce. Look up Fresh Table on Facebook for updated info on its changing menu.
Moving south, there’s some cheese you’ve just got to try. Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese is made in Barren County, Ky. I first tasted it at the Farmer’s Fair in Covington and took home a hunk of their buttery-yellow St. Jerome to share with my neighbors. It disappeared in minutes, with much yumming and some drooling noises. I more recently tasted their Kentucky Bleu at the Cork ‘N Bottle and it’s equally impressive. Kenny’s is also sold at Lucky John’s Slow Market and is being offered as a cheese course at one of my favorite restaurants, Mainstrasse’s Otto’s. Go, mice! Get the cheese!
Speaking of local things to try, I have a wine suggestion. I know, I’m not the wine connoisseur that the late, lamented Michael Shiaparelli was. But since his recent alien abduction, I can only offer myself as a cheery substitute. Anyway! At the Northern Kentucky Wine Festival, I decided to pursue an all-blackberry wine tasting. Blackberries want to grow in Kentucky, while grapes sort of have to be coaxed. So I figured that the blackberry wine might just be the way to go. Genius thinking, right?
Well, it just so happens that I was right. It also just so happens that the best blackberry wine I tasted that day was Willa Mae’s Blackberry Wine from Acres of Land Winery in Richmond, Ky. It was smooth, rich and just beautiful. Owner Lowell Land named it after his sweet old momma and I can only hope that someone thinks that kindly of me some day. To give it a try, you can visit the winery and dine in their restaurant in Richmond. You can also get a bottle or two locally at the Cork ‘N Bottle. It’s mighty fine wine. For details, check www.acresoflandwinery.com.
CONTACT ANNE MITCHELL: