Portovino is the newest restaurant in Midtown Crossing, and it replaced Loft 610 last fall.
The short form: I was disappointed in a lot of things. The food wasn’t great. The music was too loud. And the oven that looks like it’s wood fired is actually gas-powered. One bright spot: a delicious, beautiful roasted beet salad.
Pictured above: Pollo pizza. Photo by Rebecca S. Gratz/OWH.
A handful of Omaha chefs were kind enough to answer a question or two about their holiday traditions for the paper earlier this week. I asked them all one more question to feature on the blog: “What is your favorite holiday dish?” See the first two here. Enjoy!
Chef Clayton Chapman, The Grey Plume: Cheesy potatoes! The traditional casserole with loads of cheese and sour cream.
Chef Jessica Joyce, New York Chicken and Gyros: Although I am honestly crazy about pasta and always ate more than my fair share I can’t help but mention turkey skin with mashed potatoes and gravy. I loved peeling the crisp, golden brown, greasy skin from the turkey and making little skin cups that I would then fill with mashed potatoes and gravy. As an adult I now gravitate towards more sophisticated things, especially tourtieres, except when nobody’s looking!
Chef Jesus Rivera, Rivera’s Mexican restaurant: Pecan Pie, and my wife’s pasta salad is to die for.
Chef Jon Seymour, V. Mertz: My family always had a bowl of mashed potatoes topped by the homemade chicken and noodles. It’s reminiscent of high school cafeteria turkey gravy over mashed potatoes, but exceedingly better.
Chef Gina Sterns, Dolce Cafe: Paraguayan corn bread, called Chipa Guazu. This is from a period of my life I spent in Paraguay South America.
Some of the chefs also shared recipes; find them here.
Last Friday I wrote a story about wine dinners in Omaha. I went to one at the Boiler Room and had a great experience.
The short form: Wine dinners are expensive but worth the money. You’ll get to try wines you wouldn’t be able to access otherwise and eat some great food while you do it.
At right: winemaker Mario Bollag, center, smells wine next to Boiler Room chef Paul Kulik. Photo by Corey Perrine/OWH
Today in the World-Herald I have a few Q&As with local chefs from Lincoln and Omaha about their holiday traditions. I also asked each of them one additional question and saved the answers to be featured on Omavore: “What is your favorite holiday dish?” I’ll share a few of their answers today and for the rest of the week. We’ll begin with two chefs from Lincoln.
Chef Kevin Shinn, Bread and Cup, Lincoln: It probably sounds odd, but I like the soup I make from the turkey after the main meal. I take the carcass, and make a stock, add the leftover meat, vegetables and seasonings and let it simmer away. I eat it daily until its gone. It makes the holiday meal seem like it lasts longer. (Kevin’s recipe for leftover turkey soup ran today in the paper.)
Chef Erik Hustad, GUP Kitchen, Lincoln: I almost hate to admit this, but my favorite holiday dish is actually green bean casserole. Now, sometimes just for fun, I like to make this dish with fresh green beans, homemade bechamel sauce, and fresh mushrooms. But, there is something about the version made from canned beans, canned mushroom soup, and canned fried onions that just takes me back to my childhood, and that’s really what’s so wonderful about food.
Dixie Quicks is one of my favorite places in the city, so when I realized I could review it, well. I was both excited and nervous. But I think it turned out ok.
The short form: Dixie Quicks is now in Council Bluffs, but the food is still amazing. And the third outpost is by far the hippest and fanciest. I’ll be making the trip across the river now for more than just occasional games of blackjack and thrift store adventures.
Pictured above:Dixie Quicks Public House. Photo by Alyssa Schukar/OWH.
So Chick-Fil-A and it’s soft opening and opening took over my life earlier this week. I can’t say I’ve ever seen so much frenzy over a fried chicken sandwich (or so much controversy over the politics of restaurant owners, for that matter.) I also had to finish writing my story that ran Wednesday about creative hostess gifts (seriously, check out the cheese board that’s featured with the story — it’s amazing) and write my review for tomorrow’s paper and of course compile dining notes. Tomorrow’s review is a good one. I can’t wait to share it here.
Oh yeah, and I have a little column called art notes that always seems to get lost in the fray.
On Monday, I escaped my desk for a photo shoot for the gift story. Yes, that’s my back at left (and my own hand wrapped gift and front door, I’ll add.)
So those are all the reasons that Omavore has been quiet this week. But I’ll be back on track next week, beginning with a recap of this weekend, which I’m spending in Kansas City with my husband. His favorite band is playing a show Saturday night — can’t wait. Next week I’ll tell you about all the good food we eat and the good things we drink over the weekend.
Update: The contest is now closed. The winner of the “Adventures with Chocolate” cookbook via a random number generator is commenter #11, RachelWarne. Congratulations!
I’ll give you the full scoop in my dining notes column tomorrow in the World-Herald about Chocolatier Blue coming to Omaha. I was lucky enough earlier this week to get a sample box of Chris Blue’s chocolatey goodness. My oh my. Some of these (and yes, I’ve eaten a few) are amazing. Below, I’m sampling my favorite so far, the White Russian (a.k.a “the caucasian.”) I’m saving the cardamom-flavored chocolate for last, because it just sounds so, so good.
To continue on the theme, I’m offering Omavore readers the chance to win a prize in my very first giveaway! The prize is a copy of the brand new just-released book “Adventures with Chocolate” by chocolate expert Paul A. Young. Young is a renowned British chocolatier, and his book recently won the Best Chocolate book in the World award from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Fancy!
The book includes 80 recipes — even savory ones. One that looks amazing to me is chocolate water biscuits that are meant to be served with cheese. This sounds like the best idea ever.
All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment on this post and tell me what’s your favorite way to eat chocolate? I’ll pick a winner randomly on Monday. Good luck!