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Love food? Love wine even more? Then listen up as we share details about the Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic in September!

The Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic brings some of the chefs, food, wine, and beer to the Queen City.
The Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic brings some of the chefs, food, wine, and beer to the Queen City.

Cincinnati’s booming food scene is one for the record books. With so many restaurants and breweries, the Queen City has become a major destination for foodies.

To help boost that image even further, Donna Covrett and Courtney Tsitouris launched the Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic in 2013.

This 3-day epicurean event scheduled for September 23-25 is designed to capture the energy and enthusiasm of the dynamic food scene in Cincinnati and beyond.

“The Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic is a celebration of Cincinnati and the Midwest as a longstanding destination for food, artisan beer, and spirit excellence,” says Covrett. “The event, located at Yeatman’s Cove, features local, regional, and national chefs showcasing a depth of flavor through grand tastings, competitions, demos, seminars, author talks, and panel discussions.”

The mission of the Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic includes inviting some of the top talent to Cincinnati, celebrating the flavor of Cincinnati as well as the Midwest, give attendees interactive experiences such as cooking demonstrations and classes, bring in national food and drink writers to get them talking about the Queen City, connect the Tri-State’s food and wine community, and to give those who attend the event a place to let loose and enjoy themselves.

The 2016 Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic will feature four signature events, many of which are new. “Each event includes a unique Grand Tasting, a wine, beer, and beverage pavilion, and 40-plus quality offerings,” explains Covrett. “The Grill Pavilion will showcase tastings and demos, an Artisan Marketplace, Dessert Pavilions, a live music stage and lounge, and much more.”

Here is a quick rundown of the Classic schedule:

The Grill Invitational kicks things off Friday, September 23 from 6:30-9:30 p.m., with a live grilling party and judged showdown featuring more than 30 top chefs from across the nation, and an opportunity for guests to grant the coveted People’s Choice Award. Along with live music, the event also includes three unique dessert pavilions: The Chocolate Factory, Cake Like A Boss, and Rock ‘n Roll Pie School.

Enjoy featured tastings from 30 restaurants as part of the Lunch Your Face Off event during Saturday Savor on Saturday, September 24 fromNoon-5 p.m. Two custom kitchens will feature demos and competitions with star chefs, and all-day programming includes the MasterClass Salon for tasting seminars, author talks, and panel discussions.

Listen to live music under the stars and celebrate Cincinnati’s history of fine dining with the unique lineup of more than 30 top local, regional, and national chefs as part of the evening Grand Tasting Feast in the Park, onSaturday, September 24 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Pastry chefs and bakers will be strutting their skills in the Dessert Pavilions, and live music sets the festive mood.

Wrap up the weekend with the Rising Stars Brunch (presented by The Haile U.S.Bank Foundation) and daytime programming as part of Sunday Savor on Sunday, September 25 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy featured tastings from up-and-coming sous chefs, chef de cuisines, pastry chefs, and spirits experts as well as a full day of demos, panels, author talks, beverage seminars, and competitions.

New this year is the event’s location at Yeatman’s Cove, also known as the Serpentine Wall Park. When asked what it means to the Classic that they were able to expand to a bigger location, Covrett says it means that the Classic is able to grow, allowing the team to throw a bigger party along the beautiful riverfront.

“With more than 150 chefs, vintners, brewers, artisans, and storytellers from around the country—plus a stage featuring popular local musicians—we’re inviting everyone to a feast of fun,” she adds.

You can purchase early-bird standard tickets for $75 until June 30. Beginning July 1, standard ticket prices are $95 and then $115 the day of the event. You can purchase single-day VIP tickets as well as a weekend VIP ticket.


You can view available ticket options as well as purchase your tickets for the Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic here. To learn more about this local event, visit You can also follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

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    This week, we gobble up details about two of the Tri-State’s newest eateries. Read on as we chat with the restaurateurs behind Mita’s to learn their salivating secret to success. Then, learn about the duo behind 1215 Wine Bar & Coffee Lab who’s brewing up a new restaurant concept, coming soon to OTR.


    If you like food, you’re about to love Cincinnati’s culinary scene a little more.

    Opening in Spring 2016 is a soon-to-be named restaurant on the corner of 15th and Pleasant streets in Over-the-Rhine. This all-day neighborhood restaurant will focus on “honest and carefully curated wine and simple, thoughtful food,” explains restaurant Co-owner Joanna Kirkendall. “It’s a Cincinnati restaurant, through and through.”

    Her business partner and co-owner Daniel Souder, says the inspiration for the new eatery came from the desire to find food that compliments the wine and coffee at the OTR-based 1215 Wine Bar & Coffee Lab where Kirkendall is the owner and Souder is the Wine Director. “They go hand in hand,” says Souder. “The wine program was the driving force behind wanting to open a new place, and we were influenced greatly by a day spent at Ordinaire, a natural wine bar in Oakland, California.”

    The duo says that it’s the simplicity and thoughtfulness that’s going to make the new location unique. “Serving three meals per day truly makes us a neighborhood spot; you can come any time and get a meal, a cup of coffee or a glass of wine,” says Kirkendall.

    She says that the dinner menu will be laid out in a “deconstructed tasting menu” format: it will have 10-12 items, all able to be ordered a la carte and everything at very reasonable price points. “We will stress it again and again: it is an approachable, neighborhood, everyday restaurant,” she adds.

    Souder says that what they’re most excited about when it comes to opening the eatery is bringing quality wine to the people and to open their eyes to what honest wine can and should be. “I’ve been visiting winemakers to open up the avenues to bring their wines into Ohio, as well as making a connection with importers to bring wines of this quality into our market for the first time,” he adds.

    “We are excited to change people’s perception about what wine is,” says Souder. “This type of wine is everyday wine, the same wine that winemakers drink daily. It is meant for sharing with friends, to be opened whenever there are guests, not just for special occasions.”

    Kirkendall says that once they select a name for the new restaurant they’ll have a website and social media pages that you can check out. But, until then, you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for the release of the name.

    While this new restaurant is in its final stages before launching, a new concept from JPS Restaurant Group founders Jose and Ann Salazar opened in August.

    Mita’s, which is a new concept featuring Latin American cuisine, cocktails and wine, brings a curated wine list bringing a new twist to the Tri-State as it is one of the only locations of its kind that focuses on the grand wine traditions only found in Latin America.

    Located in the newly coined 84.51° building, Mita’s is on the first floor dining space at 5th and Race streets. “The space seats 130 for full-service dining and private dining room that can seat 20,” according to the Salazars. “Guests can peruse an adventurous cocktail list in the cozy bar and watch the action in an open kitchen.”

    Hand painted Spanish tiles and Moorish architectural details set the mood for the restaurant. It;s concept was inspired by Jose’s Mita (the expression he uses for his grandmother), who is from Medellin, Colombia, a small town at the foothills of the Andes Mountains.

    Jose would spend his summers learning the traditional dishes in his grandmother’s kitchen. Taking what he learned from her and drawing inspiration from Medellin’s unique architecture, Jose and his wife were able to develop the concept for Mita’s.

    “Jose’s close relationship with his Mita, who turned 87 this past June, is a major artistic influence on the cooking philosophy of the restaurant menu, which includes several Colombian items passed along from her home kitchen,” says Ann.

    Mita’s serves its full menu in the dining room and bar from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. They’re open until 11:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The bar remains open for beverage service until 1:00 a.m. on the weekends and is closed on Sundays.

    The Salazars say to keep an eye open for a lunch menu they hope to launch soon.

    To learn more about Mita’s, click here. You can also check them out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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    You might know them for their animatronics, funny bathrooms and food from all over the world, but did you know that Jungle Jim’s also offers fun cooking classes? From pizzas and wine pairings to sushi and bread making, read on for all the delicious details.

    Jungle Jims Cooking School
    Jungle Jims international Market features The Cooking School, run by Leigh Barnhart Ochs.

    Jungle Jim’s International Market has come a long way from its days as a farmer’s market in 1971. Today’s it’s a nationally-recognized supermarket with two locations in Greater Cincinnati, known for its food, drinks and wares from all around the world.

    But one thing most people don’t know is that Jungle Jim’s began offering cooking classes 20 years ago. According to Leigh Barnhart Ochs, director of The Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s International Market, the market’s founder, “Jungle Jim” Bonaminio, thought the cooking classes would be a good way to showcase the variety of foods available at Jungle Jim’s.

    The Cooking School offers a variety of classes for all skill sets. “As a recreational cooking school, we are geared to helping students of all levels feel comfortable and learn,” says Ochs. Anybody can sign up for classes at The Cooking School. Depending on the class, students can learn anything from basic cooking skills, such as in Boot Camp for Beginners, to advanced techniques, such as Handmade Pasta. “We target adult recreational cooks who have a passion for learning new things in the kitchen,” adds Ochs.

    According to Ochs, The Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s is the best place to go to improve one’s cooking skills because, in addition to the convenient location for citizens of Butler County and nearby counties, “We are the oldest, most established school in the Cincinnati area. Our experienced instructors and staff are committed to providing the best experience possible. Our students appreciate that Jungle Jim’s carries all the food products and cookware that we use in classes—they can shop after class and get everything they need to recreate the menu at home. And, we serve wine at all classes!”

    The Cooking School provides a number of different classes. In August, it will offer the following: Italian Wine and Food, Hands-on Indian Cuisine, Celebrate Tomato Season, An Elegant Summer Table, Savor Summer, Summer Fruit, French Wine and Food and Hands-on Grilling. It will also offer a knife sharpening event on August 29.

    A new class brochure with a list of classes offered is published three times a year, and, as Ochs says, The Cooking School strives to offer something to appeal to everyone in each brochure and to make changes and improvements for the school. To learn more about the classes and view the current class brochure, click here. For more information or to register for classes or be placed on the mailing list to receive brochures, call 513-674-6059.

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    A local catering service is making waves at events large and small, corporate and residential, casual and refined. Read on for all the delicious details!

    Current Catering by Bensons
    . It might be a new name on the local catering scene, but they certainly aren’t beginners.

    Bensons Catering was founded by the Bernstein Family in 1981. Over the decades, Bensons was selected to cater in some of Tri-State’s most prestigious homes and venues, such as the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, Music Hall, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and The Western & Southern Open.

    But after three generations in the business, it was time for Benson’s Catering to get current — quite literally. “Current Catering by Bensons is a new and updated version of Benson’s Catering,” says Current Catering owner Terri Bernstein. “The third generation of the Bernstein family has now taken over the daily operations.”122214SOCIAL

    While Benson’s Catering saw much success, Bernstein says that they wanted to take those 33 years of experience and incorporate the fresh, new ideas of today. According to Bernstein, the business plan for Current Catering by Bensons was finalized in March 2014 and implementation of that plan got off the ground in October 2014.

    From corporate dinners and business boxed lunches to weddings and galas, or even family picnics and household holiday parties, this full-service catering business offers services to a variety of customers. “We do many small house parties all the way up to the Great American Insurance Christmas Party every year for 7,000 people,” says Bernstein, adding that they’re always looking to expand. “We have a whole team out and about looking for new ideas and business.”

    According to Bernstein, the team at Current Catering by Bensons will design a menu to fit nearly any taste, occasion or price point. Breakfast starts at $8 per plate, lunch starts at $10 per plate and a dinner menu is created starting at $14.95 per plate. And if you want to pair with your food with beverage service, Current Catering by Bensons also holds a Kentucky catering liquor license!

    Each year, Bernstein says Current Catering by Bensons, as well as their other family owned business BB Riverboats, always gives back to the community that supports them. In fact, she adds, when they consider the donations they provide, they’re giving tens of thousands of dollars to many local organizations.

    To learn more about Current Catering by Bensons, visit or send an email to You can also check them out on Facebook.

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      Erin Flugstad’s blog “Hot Dinner Happy Home” was inspired by a stressful work day. Today, it’s a place where three busy moms share all of their tasty triumphs, funny fails, and helpful recipes. Keep reading to get all the delicious details.

      Erin Flugstad just wanted to make a stressful day better with some comfort food. Turns out, she cooked up a lot more than just a hot meal that day.

      “After several years of wedded bliss, my husband arrived home from a particularly grueling day on the job,” she says. “With a downcast expression and a mighty sigh, he looked my way with the slightest glimmer of hope in his eyes. ‘All I want,’ he pleaded, ‘is hot dinner.’”

      Erin Flugstad, founder of the “Hot Dinner Happy Home” blog
      Erin Flugstad, founder of the “Hot Dinner Happy Home” blog

      From then on, Flugstad found that she can turn a bad day into something better by what she makes for dinner and decided to launch Hot Dinner Happy Home.

      “Hot Dinner Happy Home is a cooking and lifestyle blog featuring recipes and culinary know-how to help you turn your home into a haven, one meal at a time,” says Flugstad.

      Hot Dinner Happy Home launched in 2010, after Flugstad spent several years in Corporate America doing marketing and PR. Once her son was born in 2012, she said goodbye to her cubicle and started spending her days with the little one. “Through it all,” she says, “I’ve been making hot dinner -and everything in between-for my family and friends.”

      What makes Hot Dinner Happy Home special, according to Flugstad, is that it gives people a glimpse into her life and how she really cooks for her family. “I’m not forecasting food trends, I build my recipes around what’s on sale at the grocery store or the leftovers in my fridge,” she says. “I let you know when I totally botch something or watch way too much reality television.”

      With the blog, Flugstad says that she hopes to make cooking more approachable so that readers want to get in the kitchen. And since everyone has to get in the kitchen and do some cooking, she hopes to have fun doing it together with her readers.

      Recipes featured on Hot Dinner Happy Home come from everywhere. Flugstad is a self-proclaimed food nerd and says that she keeps cookbooks on her nightstand rather than traditional bedtime books. She’s also a fan of cooking shows and said that she finds inspiration from other food blogs.

      Thus far, some of her favorite posts include pumpkin chocolate chip mini muffins that were both moist and delicious and low in fat, which she jokingly says let her eat five for breakfast without any guilt.

      There’s also a roasted vegetable and goat cheese panini recipe that Flugstad says she recreated from a food memory and was just as delicious as she remembers. There’s a beef stew that Flugstad was once intimidated to make and something she was proud to accomplish. She says the first time she made this beef stew, it was a triumph.

      Other favorites of Flugstad’s include bread and butter pickles, roast chicken breast with herbes de provence, three cheese bacon macaroni, Sloppy Joes with crunchy coleslaw and sweet potato and chicken baby food.

      In addition to Flugstad, her fellow foodies Amy and Andrea also contribute content to Hot Dinner Happy Home. Amy is an Ohioan from Dayton while Andrea spent 15 years in the Tri-State. The duo met at Ohio University and Flugstad says they both offer fresh perspectives, humor, and Midwestern sensibilities to Hot Dinner Happy Home’s virtual kitchen.

      To learn more about Hot Dinner Happy Home, visit the blog You can also connect on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter @hotdnnrhppyhome.

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      There’s only one thing that makes the food at Mama Mimi’s even better: WINE! That’s why they’re now offering between 15-30 boutique offerings of small production wines at their Kenwood, Anderson and Oakley locations.

      These aren’t the boring, same-old-same-old wines you’ll find at Kroger. These are fun, specialty wines that were hand-picked to perfectly pair with the menu times at Mama Mimi’s. Brands include Don Bosco, Underwood, Borsao and Aves Del Sur.


      If you’re more of a beer buff, they have that too. Available at all locations, Mama Mimi’s carries options from Madtree Brewing Company, Breckenridge Brewery, Lexington Brewing (Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale), and Two Brothers Brewing (a gluten free option!).


      To learn more about Mama Mimi’s, visit Make sure you “like” them on Facebook and watch our exclusive webcast with Mama Mimi’s below!

      This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by Mama Mimi’s