Tuesday, April 04, 2006


By Elie Wiesel

I read the book Night for the first time about 6 years ago. I recently decided to read it again upon hearing that it had been re-released in a new translation. This new edition was translated by Wiesel's wife and therefore is meant to be closer to original message the author was trying to communicate.

If you have never heard of the book or don't know what it is about, it the author's account of his own experiences in the Nazi concentration camps. He was teenager at the time and went through the camps with his father. For some reason, I have always been fascinated about this period in history and especially in regards to stories of the Holocaust. I feel that Night is one of the best. Everyone and anyone should read this book. It is not a very long book, only 100 pages, but the impact that the story leaves is staggering!

For me, one of the fascinating parts of this book is that it is so short, but Wiesel gets across a tremendous amount of emotion and meaning. He does this with simple phrases and sentences. He uses simple language so that everyone can understand.

Wiesel won a Nobel Prize for his work regarding educating people of the Halocaust. He wrote several other books besides Night. I have not yet read any of the other, but would like to! I once read in an interview with the author that his goal was to educate people of the Holocaust so that something like this does not happen again. It amazes me when I read these stories that, in the modern world, the Holocaust was allowed to happen in the first place! I hope that by reading these stories we learn from them!

You should definately read this book! It is not a long book and could be read in an afternoon! Then sit back and reflect on how lucky we are to lead the lives we lead!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Coming Soon

I just wanted to take a moment to say sorry about lack of posts! I have been busy with my new job and with the wedding being moved up!

I am working on a few posts though. I have one coming soon on the book Night, by Elie Wiesel. I will also be doing a restaurant entry on Bon Vie at Easton!

Sorry for the wait!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Z Cucina

You may have heard of Z Cucina before if you ever read Columbus Monthly. It was voted best new restaurant of 2005 by Columbus Monthly and has received attention from other publications as well. It is a small restaurant located on Grandview Ave across from Figlio. Z is owned by Rick Ziliak, owner of Pastaria in the North Market. If you don't know anything about Pastaria, it is pasta deli of sorts. They sell homemade pasta, mainly ravioli and gnocchi. The ravioli they make is wonderful! Adam and I have made pasta from Pastaria and a couple of times so we were anxious to try Z Cucina.

A couple of weeks before Valentine's Day, Adam attempted to make reservations for us. We were put on a waiting list and lucky got a reservation. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of Z. It is kind of a mix of the trendy with the classic. All the tables have white tablecloths and candles. We were seated on the side of the restaurant that has the bar. The tables on this side are a little uncomfortable. They are the tall bistro type tables. Adam was a little uncomfortable in them.

Anyway, we started of course with drinks. Our server suggests a beer to us called Chamay. It is a Belgian trappist beer. A trappist beer is a beer that is brewed by monks. There are only 7 breweries in the world that can be called trappist. Adam loved Chamay and this has given him a new thing to obsess about, that being Belgian and trappist beers.

After drinks we started with an appetizer. We decided to try the Z Tavola, which is a sampler appetizer. It has 3 of their normal appetizers and 3 toppings for crostini which change from night to night. The 3 appetizer we tried were calamari, pan seared gnocchi, and mozzarella. The calamari was good. It was very tender and not over breaded or over fried. The mozzarella on the other hand was wonderful. It is homemade in the restaurant. It is topped with sun-dried tomatoes, red bell peppers, and basalmic vinegar. It is worth a trip to the restaurant alone. The pan seared potato gnocchi was also very good. It is pan seared in a butter sauce with mushrooms and sage. I think there is enough on the appetizer portion to made into a dinner! The crostini toppings for that evening were a mushroom mousse, artichoke and tomatoes, the 3 one is escaping me at the moment. We both really enjoyed the mushroom mousse. I think this appetizer would be best enjoyed with a group of friends. It was definitely a lot of food for just 2 of us, but I highly recommend it!

Since the appetizer wasz so large, we decided to skip salads and went directly to the entrees. Adam had the veal marsala which was accompanied by mushrooms and veal stuffed ravioli. If you enjoy veal you would like this dish. The veal was very thin, as it should be and the sauce was rich and tasty, but not too sweet. I think marsala can sometimes be too sweet. The ravioli, however, is the best part of this dish!

I went a similar route and had the beef tenderloin. I think this is probably one of the best things on the menu. It was served with steamed green beans and a kind of gorgonzola potato lasagna. Sounds a bit strange, but it was very good! The tenderloin was nice and thick, very juicy and flavorful. If you enjoy beef, as I do, you can't go wrong with the tenderloin.

Z Cucina offers a variety of dishes. They have several pasta choices as well as entrees. (Entrees being a serving of steak or fillet.) They have a daily fish option and also a duck entree that I have heard very good things about. I did not try any soup while I was there, but I have read other reviews that have raved about the daily soup offered there, apparently it is some of the best soup in the city(according to the Columbus Monthly review).

Z Cucina is an excellent spot for a quiet, romantic date or a great place to get together with friends and share a couple of dishes and drinks. I really enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. I would gladly go again with anyone who wants to give it a try! Just give me a ring!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Memoirs of a Geisha

By Arthur Golden

I had been wanting to read this book for a couple of years when I finally picked it up about a month ago, because the movie was out and I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie.

While reading Memoirs of a Geisha, I really had a difficult time understanding the concept of what a Geisha is. I, like many other Americans, assumed a Geisha was a prostitute, but this is not exactly correct. The character telling her story, Sayuri, describes a Geisha as a "kept woman." I suppose this is an accurate description, but usually kept woman are married to the men that keep them, though I suppose not always. A working Geisha, on the other hand never marries. Geisha were beautiful young women who were masters of the Japanese arts of dancing, music, and tea ceremony. They used these skills to entertain men who paid them for their company. Though they were not prostitutes, there was a sexual aspect to it in the suggestion of bare skin and female sexuality. But a respectful Geisha would never accept money from a man for sex for just one night. They would instead set up a more long term relationship with a man, who would pay the Geisha's living expenses, classes, and give extravagant gifts in exchange for "privileges". The man was then called a Geisha's danna.

The novel follows Sayuri as a young girl when she is first sold by a man she trusts to start her training as a Geisha. She is very stubborn in the beginning and overcomes many obstacles to get where she ends up. The story is not just of Sayuri's life as a Geisha, but there is also a love story at the core of the book. When she is a teenager she meets an older man who becomes the focus of her life and the motivation for everything she does.

This book is wonderful in its richness of detail. The rituals and traditions that went into being a Geisha are described in a wonderfully unique way. Sayuri tells the reader what it was like to be a Geisha from the type of clothing she wore to the hair styles she wore to the food she ate, even to the different relationships she had with men. The novel truly transcends the reader to a different time and place. I lost myself in this book and had trouble putting it down.

I have not yet seen the movie. I did not rush out to the theaters after I had heard a few discouraging comments from people who had seen the movie and read the book. People who had read the book were terribly disappointed by the movie, however I am still interested in seeing the movie. First of all, I am just curious how different the movie is from the book. I also think the movie could assist me in visualizing things like the clothing and the setting. I also think that the movie just looks like a beautiful movie, visually.

I loved this book and I think you all would enjoy it as well.

Brazenhead of Grandview

After finding out that a couple of my friends are actually reading my blog I thought I best add some updates! So here you are, Brazenhead.

Adam and I frequent Brazenhead quite often! If you don't already know, Brazenhead in an Irish Pub located on 5th Avenue in Grandview. They have a nice selection of beers by tap, as well as by the bottle. Though don't go strictly by their menu as far as beers as tap, they seem to have more available than what is listed on the menu. Brazenhead as your typical Irish Pub atmosphere with unusual, mismatching chairs and all different sized tables. I do wish they had more TVs. They have a couple, but I think if they had more it would be a nice place to watch a game.

My favorite thing about Brazenhead is their burgers! They have awesome burgers! They have your run of the mill burger that has a choice of toppings. Adam and I tend to go for their specialty burgers. I like the Cracked Black Pepper Burger, which has black pepper in it of course and is topped with smoked mozzarella, though I prefer it with Gorgonzola. Adam seems to like the Blacked burger with is topped with cheddar and chili sauce. That's my Adam, he loves his hot sauce! If you order nothing else at Brazenhead, you have to at least try their potato chips, which can be ordered as an appetizer. They are homemade and come with this amazing garlic dipping sauce!! The chips are great to split with a couple of friends!

Brazenhead also offers happy hour specials depending on the day. Adam and I like to take advantage of their burger special Wednesday night. They offer $3 burgers from 4pm until 9pm. They are a little smaller than normal nights, but it is still plenty of food to fill you up, and what a great deal!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Thom's in Grandview

I must apologize, it has been awhile since I have updated things on my blog but I just haven't been the mood to write lately. However, I am back now and I am planning on adding some new posts in the next few days.

I would like to begin my first post in February with Thom's in Grandview. Thom's is a new restaurant located on Grandview Ave in the building that used to house Braddock's. This new restaurant is named after its owner, Thom Coffman who also owns The Clarmont in Columbus. Thom's differs from the Clarmont, however because its prime focus is on seafood where Clarmont is most known for steaks.

Adam and I decided to try Thom's a couple of weekends ago before going to an Opera at Ohio State. We chose Thom's mainly because Z Cucina was booked, but we thought we might as well give Thom's a try. I must admit we were at first a bit hesitant of Thom's only because every time we passed the restaurant they seems to be empty, but after eating there we were presently surprised.

We began our experience with the appetizer special which was a blackened sea scallop on a jalapeno cornbread cake with a mango salsa. The whole disk was on top of some kind of sauce, though I dont know what it was. This dish was very good and probably my favorite of what we tried that night. The sea scallop was especially good. It was blackened on the top and bottom just enough to take on a sweet grill taste. Thom's also served us a basket of bread before our entrees, which was also very good. Their bread was warm and tasted fresh baked. They offer a pumperkinkel or a rosemary focaccia roll. The rosemary option was especially good!

For our entrees, I had a swordfish which was accompanied by sauteed broccoli rab and roasted potatoes. I really do not have much to say about the accompaniments with the swordfish. The potatoes were just roasted with sea salt and were not anything special, as far as the broccoli rab goes, I think I am still trying to decide if I like broccoli rab. It is very bitter and was a strange match with the swordfish. The swordfish fillet was a nice size. My only complaint about it would be that it needed a little something, in fact I took my lemon out of my water and squeezed on it. This helped it tremendously, other than that I enjoyed my meal.

Adam chose salmon for his entree. He had no complaints about his salmon, which was accompanied by Thom's lobster mashed potatoes. Now as far as I am concerned, they should put these mashed potatoes on every dish. They were very good! They were creamy and had nice sized peices and proportions of lobster, therefore not making the lobster over powering!

We did not have dessert at Thom's because we were pretty full and had to get to the show! But I would go back to Thom's and would recommend it to others. I don't think I would recommend it for an extra special dinner out, but it serves as a good casual dinner with friends.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Pillars of the Earth

By Ken Follet

This novel is not a recent read for me, but one I read over the summer. I wanted to add another book entry however, before January ends. I also really loved this book and wanted to include it on my blog.

The story begins with the hanging of a thief in a public square. The scene is described with loads of detail and imagery. The author, however, does not fill you in on who the man is who is being hanged, nor does he tell you anything about the other individuals who are present at the execution. There is definately a mystery in this scene, and Ken Follet hooks the reader in right away.

The book really centers around a monastery in Kingsbridge, England and the building of a beautiful cathedral. The monastery is run down and bankrupt when the reader is first introduced to the little town of Kingsbridge and its people. However, the Prior Phillip, who takes over after the old Priory dies, raises the monastery back to grandeur.

Pillars of the Earth is very rich with characters and history. The novel takes place during the 10th century and talks a great deal about the politics of the time and the Kings of England, which can be very confusing, but also very interesting.

There are a great deal of characters in this novel. I do tend to get pretty involved in the characters when I read a book, but I really had a wide range of feelings for these characters. Some I loved and could not wait to read about, others I hated and could not wait for them to get what they deserved!

This is a long book, but I highly recommend it! I don't think I have ever read a book as quickly as I read this one! (I'm talking no less than 100 pages a night!)I hope if you pick it up you enjoy it as much as I did!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Columbus Fish Market

Always a perennial favorite, Adam and I went to The Columbus Fish Market on Monday night. As always we both started with the Lobster Bisque. Though the Bisque at Fish Market is not a true bisque in that it has pieces of lobster in it and technically a bisque should be smooth, but it is truly wonderful. It is creamy and rich and an excellent starter!

I had trouble deciding what to order so I went with the Market trio, which consists of Blackened Mahi Mahi, Cedar Roasted Salmon, and Shang Hai Scallops. I had to modify it a bit though, as I have been ordering scallops a lot lately and wanted a change of pace, so I had Shang Hai Tuna instead of scallops. The blackened Mahi Mahi was interesting. It was pretty spicy so if you are not into spicy I would suggest avoiding anything blackened. However, it was not only spicy but it had a nice flavor to it as well! I hate things to be spicy just for the sake of spicy and lack in flavor! Next, I ate the cedar roasted salmon. This preparation of salmon has a little mushroom salad on top with goat cheese. I really liked the goat cheese they use. It is very creamy but does not have the strong pungent goat cheese flavor. The salmon did need a little salt, but otherwise it was juicy and flaky and yummy.

However, as this never ceases to amuse Adam, I saved the best for last, the Shang Hai tuna. (yes, I eat my food in a particular order) I am confident in saying that the Shang Hai preparation is truly their best preparation! I ordered the tuna medium rare, which was an experience for me because I have never actually ordered tuna from a restaurant and was not aware the you choose how much you want it cooked. The tuna was awesome! I was amazed at how meaty this fish is!! I actually felt like I was eating steak! I loved it and next time I go I am not messing around with the trio, I am just going to stick with the Shang Hai tuna.

As the Shang Hai is the best preparation, Adam ordered the Shang Hai salmon. It was the second time he has ordered it, and he says that it was just as good as the first. He was a bit lost on whether to order the Atlantic Salmon or the Wild King Salmon. Our server steered him toward the Atlantic. It was a bit chewy and too mild. He knows now that in the future he should order the Wild King. No matter what you put with the Shang Hai, the sauce and sticky rice are always well worth it! (As you can tell we really like the Shang Hai)

The Columbus Fish Market is always a great choice when picking a restaurant to go to in Columbus. The service is always great and the bread is awesome!! We have eaten at some very nice restaurants in other cities, such as New York, but we have found that it is hard to find a combination of great food and excellent service that we always seem to experience at the Fish Market.

In Her Shoes

So here is when the "reading" part of Reading Cuisine kicks in. I just finished reading the book In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner. The novel centers around the lives of 2 sisters. Rose is the older responsible sister. Rose is slightly over weight and dorky with very little fashion sense. What does lacks looks, she makes up for in brains. She is a an intelligent and very successful lawyer. Maggie on the other hand is not so successful. She is flighty, irresponsible, and has had dozens of different jobs. Maggie is also very beautiful and irrestitable to men. Both girls have less than perfect lives and struggle with the void in their life from their mother's death.

The novel is told from the perspective of a couple of characters. Not only do we, as the reader, read from Maggie's side and from Rose's side, but we also read from the side of the estranged grandmother, Ellen. After her daughter's suicide, Ellen was cut out of Rose and Maggie's lives becuase of the silent anger from her son-in-law. Therefore, much of Ellen's side of the story deals with her own regrets.

All in all, I enjoyed this book, though it did take me some time to get into it. It is definatley a book for sisters. Though not everyone has a younger, irresponsible sister or an older, dependable sister, but it is mainly a story of the bond and connection that sisters share. I did not enjoy the character of Maggie very much because I really got angry at how selfish she was. The last 3 chapters had me in tears! I am not sure that I would recommend this book to everyone. I would recommend it to a female reader, maybe the young professional type since that is where Rose and Maggie are in their lives and I think it was written for a younger generation.

The movie In Her Shoes, which was released this past year, was based on the novel. I have not seen the movie yet, but now that I have read the book I am anxious to the movie. I am curious to see how much they changed for the movie.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Moretti of Arlington

Last Saturday night, after I had spent all day trying on wedding dresses, Adam and I went to dinner at Moretti's of Arlington at Tremont Center. Moretti's is an intimate, neighborhood Italian restaurant with a very "trendy" atmosphere with rich reds and blues. The restaurant's setting would be romantic, except that is always seems to be a bit noisy inside. Upon sitting down, we noticed that they bought new chairs. The old ones were very uncomfortable. The new chairs are better, but not by much.

Adam and I both started with a beer. Moretti's has an Italian beer on tap called Moretti, fitting right? If you like exotic beers, you would probably like Moretti. It has a wonderful floral aroma and flavor to it. It is much better on tap than in the bottle, as is usually the case with beer

Since we both ordered entrees, we started with our choice of the soup or salad. We both opted to start with the wedding soup. I love wedding soup and I very much enjoy the wedding soup at Moretti. My only complaint about the soup is that the meatballs are a little small and they are the best part!

For an entree I chose the Veal Moretti, which is a Veal cutlet breaded and stuffed with provolone cheese, served over a bead of fettucine with mushrooms in a cream sauce. Moretti's has 6 different preparations that you can choose with Veal or Chicken. I have had most of these at one time or another and all very good. My only complaint about the Veal Moretti I had on Saturday was that the cheese in the center of the veal was not completely melted, or rather it was and then it sat in the kitchen for a couple of minutes before it was actually served to me. But I dont think that is usually the case there.

Adam on the other hand had one of the specials. It was veal sausage links prepared a particular way, however Adam chose to have in prepared in a spicy tomato sauce with peppers and onions. He loved it! He really enjoyed the flavor on the veal sausage. He is on a spicy anything kick these days so I am sure he loved the tomato sauce just because it is spicy.

Dinner at Moretti was enjoyable! It is a great choice if you live in Arlington and dont want to go too far from home for dinner! We have taken carry-out from there quite a few times and it works well as carry-out also! I recommend it the next time you are in the area.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Birth of Reading Cuisine

Welcome to the first post of my blog!! I plan on making Reading Cuisine a blog about books and food. I will be posting reviews about books I have read. My book reviews will most likely center around fiction and literature titles, as those are the types of books I usually like to read. However, you can expect to occasionally find a comment on a cookbook.

I also love to cook and eat, therefore I also plan on including restaurant reviews and such.
Since I live in Columbus, Ohio my reviews will focus on Columbus restaurants. If my travels take me around the globe, I will include my experiences abroad in my posts.

Welcome and please keep reading!!