I’ll begin with the end: This will be the last planned post and update for www.whatiatethisweek.com. There, I said it. It’s real now!
When I started this site, nearly three years ago now, my life was in a very, very different place. Reeling from a divorce that shook me to my core, I was searching for meaning in a variety of places. Like an early-onset mid-life crisis, I went into full-scale learning mode. I took cooking classes (some of which were detailed in the early weeks on this site), got a guitar teacher, and decided to get out there and explore our local world of food, something which isn’t necessarily on the top of every couple’s to-do lists. I also wrote, a lot. Writing for me was kind of the ultimate catharsis, a way to make sense of thoughts and feelings, when no other medium would do. At first, I wrote about grief and sorrow, and then conjecture about life. As most writers of sob stories will tell you, that’s tiring work. At a certain point, it became more of a drain than a relief, at which point I promptly stopped.
But the desire to write remained. So, with my new culinary discoveries taking place, I combined the two into the idea for a silly way for me to maintain self-expression. I owe my friend Kyle much thanks for the concept of the blog, and we even collaborated on the name. He was with me Week 1, when the idea was hatched over Zingerman’s Donut Sundae, and he’s been with me for many of these delicious weeks. What started on a lark as a way to get me out of the house (by forcing myself to eat a meal in a new place every week!) actually somehow became interesting or helpful for a few folks- no one was more surprised than me, since I have never written this for anyone but myself. But it has been awesome to learn about new places and commune with like-minded individuals in the community. It’s exactly that kind of exploration and interaction that has kept me at this even beyond the point where I needed the blog for self-expression. A special tip of the hat to Julie Niesen and Liz Abdnour, both of whom offered tons of early encouragement- both also have tremendous food skills as well. (I know all of you know Julie’s Wine Me, Dine Me blog. It may be one of the best “personal” food webpages I’ve ever read.)
So, why now? A few reasons, really. The main reason is a pretty big one: We’re moving to Boston. Corporate life has its quirks, one of which is you need to be at the ready when that mysterious and fateful phone call hits. So, that’s exciting- we love Boston and I think we can look forward to a few years of tremendous exploration. But you know what Boston needs even less than Cincinnati? A self-indulgent amateur food writer with a once-a-week scattershot approach.
But even more important, this is harder than I gave it credit for, and it actually can get a little stressful. At times, it even feels like a part-time job, rushing home from a weekend in Michigan on a Sunday, knowing I can’t get into my evening routine until I’ve done my post for the week. Now, I’m not looking for sympathy–after all this IS a hobby, not a job– but it does explain a little bit of my reasons for wanting to change it up a bit. So, as with other things in life, this provides an opportunity to make a positive change as we start exploring a new life together!
So… that makes it pretty final. It feels appropriate that I am typing this as a team of movers is gliding through the house, hauling boxes of our prized possessions to a big truck we’ll next see in Boston. We leave today, and we’ll head north to Michigan for one last football game, then eastbound we go! Exciting stuff! So, we decided to make last night a “one for the road” last dinner in town. The past week or two, we’ve been hitting up some nostalgic haunts (see last week’s post) and we had just a couple left.
We started at Dewey’s Pizza. I do love that place. I know pizza places are supposed to be judged on “authenticity,” and I value that as much as anyone, but Dewey’s simply makes an outstanding pie. Thin, pillowy, and replete with toppings that taste fresh, Dewey’s makes a very consistent, very tasty meal. S loves the salads, too- the harvest salad is full of autumnal, smoky goodness, thanks in part to Nueske’s applewood bacon, a food that has made a great many appearances on this site. The meal wasn’t overly nostalgic, but it was good, and it reminded us of why we always feel so comfortable here. We had a 1/2 Bronx Bomber (sausage, pepperoni, green peppers, onions, olives) and 1/2 Hawaiian. An excellent last dinner!
For a nightcap, I wanted to go to Mulligan’s on Madison, as there was college football on. Of course, at this point I’m really dating myself, as Mulligan’s had changed hands and become the Pig and Whistle… until they closed. So, no luck there. As a result, and as with virtually every week of the last 150, we ended up someplace new: the Cock and Bull Pub on Hyde Park Square. I’m not generally a fan of these always-packed, faux-Irish spots as they tend to have loud customers, little genuine character, and mediocre food. Hard to judge this place on those merits- being a Thursday night, it wasn’t too packed or loud, and we didn’t eat. (The character, though, was full-on faux-Irish.) they had Bell’s beers on tap, which was excellent as it may be a while before we encounter those again!
And our final stop of the evening was across the street at Graeters. Is there anyplace-food-based or otherwise-more iconic than this ice cream chain? I came to Cincinnati an ice-cream liker, but Greaeters sends me away 13 years later an ice-cream lover. (They’re also sending me away a few pounds heavier.) We got our waffle cones (a black cherry for me, a coconut chip for S– our favorite flavors), wandered out to the square and took a seat, taking it all in.
And for me, this was where it started-like for so many new transplants to Cincinnati. I lived just off of the Square and nursed my how-will-I-get-by-since-I-am-not-in-college-anymore anxieties by walking to and from dinner spots, and I’ve always had a connection with this neighborhood. Like Cincinnati itself, it is interesting, genuine, and comfortable. It was a lovely evening,
So, I suppose I’ll say bye for now. You’ll likely see me again in some sort of online venture when boredom hits, so I’ll never say never! But for those of you who have been reading, thanks, and keep tabs on this place for me. When work brings me back (as it inevitably will), I’ll need to know what spots I need to hit up!
Until then have fun,