Monday, September 12, 2011

Hot vs. Cold Weather Foods: Goodbye Fido Gazpacho, Hello Cincinnati Chili

Posted By on Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Despite my professed love for warm (even hot) weather, even I am having a hard time saying that I didn't like last week's taste of colder temperatures and drizzly rain. One of the biggest things I look forward to as the weather warms up is all the beautiful fresh spring and summer produce that fills up my favorite restaurants’ menus. But I can’t say that I don’t also like the eventual switch over to warm, hearty meals — not to mention squash, leek and citrus season as the weather cools down.

This time of year, I scale back on my addiction to the fresh salad specials and watermelon gazpacho at Fido and the Choo Choo roll at Samurai. I start looking more towards the fall/winter menus at places like Marché, which I can only hope boasts that incredible creamy seafood chowder that led me to put on five (okay, 10) unwanted pounds last winter. (I had a fantastic bowl of the special orecchiette with sausage Bolognese on a recent cold rainy day at Marché that really hit the spot.) Oh, and that damn Swiss-chard-with-fresh-ricotta pizza at City House — which is, truly, better than Christmas.

I even switch up my happy-hour routine at Eastland Cafe, exchanging Pimm’s Cups and gimlets (which aren’t actually on their happy-hour menu, but worth the extra few bones, especially when Lindsay is tending bar) for red wine once the weather cools down. And I was able to sample two of the autumnal seasonal flavors at Jeni’s Ice Creams that will inevitably keep me coming back for more, year round. (Salty Caramel, I wish I could quit you.)

As for home, as much as I am going to miss eating sliced and salted homegrown tomatoes, I’m looking forward to pulling out that ol’ Dutch oven (hold the fart jokes, please ... yep, keep holding them ... ) that I scored at the Lodge Cast Iron factory store on my way to Atlanta this year. It's perfect for making my own Cincinnati chili (keep holding them ... ) and chicken and dumplings.

If you asked me today if hot or cold weather foods are better, I’d probably steer towards the soups, chowders and casseroles. But ask me again in April and you’ll likely get a different answer. Is one season’s food better than another's? Are there restaurants or dishes you frequent more based on the season? What are you looking forward to making at home this fall?

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