February, 2016

Tripping on Chili(Cincinnati)

Posted on February 29, 2016

The snow has started to fly and than quickly stopped in Ohio and after an extended fall it feels like winter is finally setting in and than spring is here. This has been a weird weather winter but it still seems like chili time to me. It is one of my favorite winter meals. Warm bowl of Chili with some corn bread. It warms you from head to toe.  For many years that was the only way I enjoyed chili but thru my travels and the different places I have lived I have come to love Chili in so many other forms.

Chili Cheese Fries at Ed Debevics in Chicago. One of my first jobs out of college where I learned so much and made lifetime friends also holds up as the Chili Cheese Fries measuring bar for all others. Sadly they have shuttered their doors but in my mind they are the best ,if I ever find better you ll will be the first to know.

When I moved to Ohio I had never even heard of  Cincinnati Chili but once here it was a whole new flavor profile and one I have come to love. The history of this chili is fascinating coming from Macedonian and Greek immigrant restaurant owners. Like many great food inventions there are a few that take claim to its origin and who used it first on top of hot dogs and spaghetti. Lets just say it all came about sometime in the 1920’s. It is something akin to a medium dark mole in that it has a rich flavor profile and depending on the recipe may have chocolate added. Beyond that it is nothing like Mole. It is used as a topping for hot dogs or “coney’s” and Spaghetti. The spaghetti is served always with the chili and that is “two-way”. The “ways” as I have come to know them are all the different combinations you use to top your spaghetti. You begin with the”two-way” than you have “three-way” adding cheese than my personal favorite “four-way” adding onions to the chili and cheese. “four-way Bean” is subbing the onion for beans. and last the “Five-way” is all of the above topping the chili. The aforementioned Ed Debevics in Chicago had chili that they added macaroni noodles too along with all the “ways” toppings but I never really liked it as it always felt like a bowl of chili with way to much stuff in it. The Cincinnati way is much more balanced and feels like it all is meant to  go together instead of an afterthought of ingredients.

You can find “coney’s” all over the United States. They all have their little twists. Indiana Grills theirs . Michigan has taken their “coney’s”to a passionate level even having divided them into Detroit style, Flint style, Jackson Style all of these are listed on wikipedia but I am going to take my brother in laws word and say that the best Michigan “coney” comes from Senate Coney Island with several locations around the Detroit area. North Dakota has a place , as does Wisconsin  and you can’t forget New York has Coney Island. Growing up in Minnesota I do not remember having it be part of my culinary world.  Corn dogs were much more a part of my lexicon, in the course of a single State Fair weekend I could eat 10 or 12 of them.. When I moved to Chicago I was so taken with a Chicago Dog that putting anything else other than tomato,sport peppers, onions, neon green relish, mustard and celery salt somehow seemed wrong to me.

When I moved to Ohio someone was kind enough early on to introduce me to Skyline Chili.


Sweet tea and crackers @ skyline

A chain of restaurants serving Cincinnati Chili. Now My favorite chili is one without beans so this was a perfect chili for me before I ever even put it in my mouth I was a fan. Than when it was time to eat it I was blown away. The flavors of cinnamon and clove and the way the beef is finely ground. I loved the difference in it compared to the chili I was used to with the chunks of tomato and bigger chewable beef pieces.

I know there are many places all over Ohio professing they are the best Cincinnati Chili. I have even read about a few and one day would love to take a trip down Cincinnati way and try them out. If you make it that way before I do be sure to share with me your thoughts. Here are a few people say are great. Camp Washington Chili has won The James Beard award as an American Regional Classic. Pleasant Ridge Chili has been doing their thing for over 50 years. Blue Jay Restaurant has been owned by the same folks since 1967 and I am told making some great Chili.

I think the thing I love most about the Cincinnati Chili is that it is rich with history and much like a Chicago Dog it is Done a certain way, you know what to expect just like you won’t find ketchup on a Chicago Dog you will not find beans in Cincinnati Chili unless of course you order it 5-Ways.

I have found when I need a fix I head to skyline. I have eaten at several different ones and my new favorite is the one near Polaris Mall on Orion Place. It was the first one that did not feel like fast food the waitress explained to us about the history of skyline Its Greek origins. How to eat it by turning your plate the long way and using the end facing you as a scoop so you get all the ingredients of your pasta in the right amount and it makes cutting with your fork easier. This is not a restaurant review page but the waitress here was so nice and she explained that the Greek salad we were raving about was an original recipe just like the chili. I will say this it is the best Greek dressing I have ever had. Fantastic so be sure when getting your fix of Cincinnati chili don’t miss the Greek Salad if you are at Skyline…Thats as close to an actual review you will get here at Tripping Vittles.


Perfect Cincinnati Chili meal

Now get out there and trip on some Cincinnati Chili and share your favorites with Tripping Vittles we love to hear about our readers favorites. #Cincinnatichili #trippingvittles



Tripping with Mom

Posted on February 15, 2016

I have to first apologize for the lack of posts these past two weeks. I have been preparing for a special visitor.

My mom is coming to live with me for a month or two so she can further recover from the surgery she had in the fall. This will be a time for her to use all the great facilities I have here that she does not have in her small town. I am excited for her trip for a few reasons. The first being she is my mom and we do not live very close to each other and to spend some quality time together is going to be awesome!!

The second is I owe her some nursing care. Some 29 years ago she had the patience and love to nurse me thru 2 extensive rebuilds on my knees. She was patient with me when I wanted to read all her homemade cook books while laying in bed for months.


Lat Remaining Homemade Cookbook

She did not kill me when I decided to edit all of those cookbooks by removing anything with bacon or fat in them. You see my dad had been diagnosed with high cholesterol and In the morphine induced fog I was in I somehow thought cutting the word bacon or fat out of the recipe with a scissors would somehow help my dad and his cholesterol issue…. It did not… I also thought to rearrange the recipes with scotch tape and a creative layout would make them easier to read….It did not…. My medical chart now says I should not be given Morphine.

The third and most exciting for you my readers is my mom is the person that filled my with my love of food. She started when I was young by letting the kitchen be my play ground.


Learning to love the kitchen and food

I was never scolded for things I did in the kitchen even when it was bad. Like the time my neighbor Heidi and I tried to make peanut butter bars. We used all the ingredients except powdered sugar. It ended up being a running mess of liquid peanut butter and melted chocolate. No yelling just a lesson about reading recipes better and getting your ingredients ready ahead of time.

As Kids she and my Dad took my sister and I  to restaurants on top of mountains in Montana for steak. We ate board parties(Charcuterie & Cheese) on frozen lakes. We went to Booya cookouts each fall. We ate Escargot next to a fire pit while camping. Food was an adventure as was life. Miller time was a must after a day in the yard and all champagne should have a frozen strawberry in the bottom of the glass. Your cocktail should be full of ice before it was filled with anything else!! These are a few of the may things I learned from my parents about food and life.

This week mom and I start another adventure getting her healed so we can go tripping together many more times. I have some places here in Ohio I would like to take her if she is up for it.I am also hoping she will help me recreate some old recipes from my grandmothers recipe box along with some fun things from old cook books. I hope to share these adventures with you. Now I am off to put the finishing touches on my house  so I am ready for her arrival.

Keep on Tripping!!

Super Bowl Vittles

Posted on February 1, 2016

It’s that time of the year again. The time of year where everyone becomes a football fan if only for no other reason than to eat junk food have a few cocktails and get together with friends.

Football has always been a part of my life. When I was a kid my dad would tell stories about how as a college football player his team played Great Lakes Navel Station. Now that may not mean anything to you now but in the early 50’s with the Korean War going and the Navel Reserve making up the team at Great Lakes they had many a future NFL player on their roster and  in 1953-54 to The Salad Bowl in Phoenix. The same thing happened in WWII when Great Lakes defeated the #1 University of Notre Dame. Here is a article on the  Rich sports history of Great Lakes  . My dads stories were about how riding the bus home from Great Lakes they had a lot of blood a few broken bones and were very sore. Their little Blue Devil team from the University of Wisconsin-Stout got destroyed by an honorary Big 10 team.

My parents spent many a cold winters Sunday at The Met watching the Vikings play football.  It was the days of Bud Grant, Fran Tarkington and the “Purple People Eaters” Alan Page, Carl Eller, Jim Marshall and Gary Larson.  They faced the likes of the “Fearsome Foursome” of the Los Angeles Rams and the “Steel Curtain” of the Pittsburg Steelers. The early 70’s were where I formed my love/hate relationship with the Vikings. Much like being a Chicago Cubs fan the moniker Theres Always Next Year has become all to familiar. I still can’t stand the colors Black and Gold!!

I have close family that are “owners” of the Green Bay Packers. I still love them even though they are horribly misguided in all things Green and Yellow.  My Uncle Bill and Uncle Jeff  are Owners and they have never let me forget it.  Founded in 1919 and joining the NFL in 1921 they are currently the oldest NFL franchise in constant play in the same location. The Super Bowl Trophy is Named after their storied coach Vince Lombardi….. I could write more but my eyes will start to bleed. That was the most painful paragraph I have had to ever write and that will be about all I can do on the Packers.

When I was older and living in Chicago a group of friends and I would have fun food filled fests on Super Bowl Sunday. The best part about that is we were all fans of football but only a few were from Chicago and home grown Bears fans. So I was spared the talk of Super Bowl shuffles and punky QB’s for the most part.  The rest were fans of many different teams from  all over the country and it was really more about eating and drinking than watching  football. I have continued this tradition of friends and football here in Ohio. The funny thing about Columbus Ohio is everyone is a Buckeyes Fan and than the NFL teams come second. That makes a Super Bowl Party really all about the food and drinks. Which I guess from my experience a great way to cope if you are in a state that has football teams that never win. It is obvious to a Vikings Fan when football has become more about Gastronomy than Gridiron.

So what better place to create a fun Old Skool Super Bowl party. Where the food can become the topic of conversation as there is no team in close proximity that is playing in the big game this year!!

I have a vast collection of old cookbooks. I find it something akin to archeology when you peel back the pages of an old cookbook and see how people ate and the ingredients they used. What they were like and how the viewed each other. I read cookbooks like others read Nicholas Sparks novels. Some years ago I was given an old cook book my mom had in her collection. National Food Lovers Cookbook. Published in 1980 it was a collection of some of your favorite players coaches and personalities of Football and their wives recipes for game day. This cookbook is what i am going to base our Old Skool Super Bowl Feast around.

The parties of the 70’s were not just cheese and crackers, buffalo chicken dip and brownies. That is what much of our entertaining has become. We are crunched for time. We tell everyone to bring a plate and it is easy. Back in the day you still broke a meal into parts. You had the Appetizer, Soup or Salad, Entrees, Desserts and any accompaniments that went along with the meal. The host provided the meal and guests came with a hostess gift. To this day I love to throw this type of party. It maybe a control thing on my part. I am able to control the food and how it is laid out for presentation. I have control of all the flavors and how they present together. I also love getting hostess gifts. Seriously we all know a gift is fun and exciting no matter how big or small. In one of the cocktail recipes I created For this years Super Bowl I am using a Hostess gift some friends who travelled to the tropics  brought back and presented to me.

I took a recipe from each section of the book and made it. Following the exact directions and using the exact ingredients from 1980. The result a meal fit for consumption on Super Bowl Sunday that as it turns out was quite good.


Super Bowl Sunday Supper

The following is a Super Bowl Sunday Supper easy to make, delicious and Old Skool right from the pages of the National Food Lovers Cookbook

The Pre Game Warm Up(appetizer) 

“wing-T” Chicken Wings : By Peter Cronan #57 LB Seattle Seahawks

  • 4#’s wings split
  • 1 jar apricot preserves
  • 1 bottle of Wishbone Russian Salad Dressing
  • 1 Envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix

Mix preserves,dressing and soup together pour over chicken marinate over night. Bake at 350 for half hour until chicken is brown. Stir Often. Serves 10-12


“Wing-T” Chicken Wings

The Kick Off(Brunch/Tailgating)

“Suicide Squad” Garlic Pizza: By Vivian Niccolai (Armand Niccolai, former Pittsburg K)

  • 2 Loaves frozen Bread
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves of Pressed Garlic
  • 1/2 Tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 Tsp Oregano
  • salt & pepper

take the 2 loaves partly thawed frozen bread cut into one inch pieces in a well greased shallow baking dish or cookie sheet with sides. After you have covered the baking dish grease the dough with coating of olive oil cover with wax paper and let raise over night. The next day put the olive oil in the garlic bring to a boil. While hot spoon over the bread dough sprinkle with oregano parsley salt and pepper Bake at 350 for 45min or until desired brownies. serves 6


“suicide squad” garlic pizza

The First Down(soup/salad)

“Strongside” Sicilian Salad: By George Pernicano part owner, San Diego Chargers

  • Ripe Tomato Sliced
  • Red onion thinly sliced
  • Cucumber peeled and sliced
  • wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper, fresh ground
  • oregano

Arrange tomato, onion,cucumber slices on plate. combine vinegar olive oil (3/4 vinegar to 1/4 oil portions) Add salt and pepper to taste then sprinkle oregano to taste.


Ingredients for “strongside” Sicilian salad

The Big Play(Entrees)

Purple People Eaters Pepperroast : By the Vikings favorite butcher Jim Biglow

  • Boneless sirloin tip roast or top round, 1/2 pound per person
  • 1/2 cup course black pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp Cardomon seed
  • 1 Tsp Catsup
  • 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tsp Paprika
  • 1 cup Soy Sauce
  • 3/4 cup Vinegar

combine black pepper and cardoon and roast in a large plastic bag. Rub the seasonings thoroughly on the roast and let it sit for 30 min. combine remaining ingredients and pour over roast, refrigerate overnight turning the bag often. Wrap the roast in aluminum foil with the marinade. cook for 2 hours.( a 5# roast would be med. rare) slice roast thin strain the juice and pour over the roast.


Purple People Eaters Pepper Roast

The Extra Effort(Dessert)

Denver’s Mile High Pudding Pie: By Susie Morton(Craig Morton #7 Denver Broncos QB)

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries
  • 1-#2 can Vanilla Pudding or equivalent amount of cooled cooked pudding
  • 1 cup sour cream


  • 1/3 cup berries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp Water

9″Baked Cookie Crust

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup(1 stick) Butter or Margarine softened
  • 1/4 cup Pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Heat oven to 400 degrees with your hands  mix ingredients till they form a ball. press into bottom and sides of 9″ pan not on the rim. bake 10-15 min until lightly browned.

For the glaze stir together the sugar and cornstarch in sauce pan gradually stir in water and berries boil over heat for 1 min. , cool

For the filling arrange the strawberries in the cooled crust. Blend pudding and sour cream, pour over berries refrigerate for 8 hours. Top with whipped cream and or glaze.


Denver’s Mile high Pudding Pie

The Sideliners(accompaniments)

John Brodie’s Mushroom Au Gratin: By Sue Brodie(John Brodie, sportscaster NBC, former San Francisco 49er QB)

  • 1# fresh mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 Tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Flour
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup swiss or mild cheddar, shredded

clean and slice mushrooms lengthwise thru the stem into about 1/4″ thick slices.heat butter in frying pan, sauté mushrooms until lightly browned. Cover pan for about 2 mins. until they exude juice. Blend the sour cream with salt and pepper and flour until smooth. stir into the mushrooms in the pan and heat. stirring until blended and beginning to boil. pour into shallow rimmed oven proof plate. this can be done in advance. Shortly before serving place uncovered in a 425 degree oven sprinkle with cheese and heat until hot and cheese is melted.


John Brodie’s Mushrooms Au Gratin

I can not tell you how fun it was to prepare these dishes. I had a few friends over and we tasted all of them and each one was great. The Pepper Beef and the Mile High Pie were my favorites but as you can see we put a nice dent in all the food


Done Eatin

The cook book had a little section about wine but nothing about beer or cocktails and as you know I love to create me some cocktails. I got it in my head I should make a cocktail for each team participating in this years 50th Super Bowl. I will warn you ahead of time these are on the sweet side because I not only went with taste but color. It is pretty hard to make something orange or blue without it being on the sweet side.

Let’s start with the Bronco’s. I am going to root for Payton Manning and his team because there is something cool about seeing an old guy comeback and take a team to the top.

The Orange Bronco

  • 3 Luxardo Cherries
  • 3/4 oz Monin Orgeat Syrup(almond syrup)
  • 2 oz Cherry Vodka
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • 1 oz Or-G Vodka

Place the cherries in the bottom of a martini glass. Put rest of ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake shake shake and shake some more. Strain over cherries and enjoy cheering for the Denver Broncos


The Orange Bronco

This is one for you all rooting for Cam Newton and his team. The Carolina Panthers did not even come into existence until 1995. Fifteen years after the National Food Lovers Cookbook was published. So it is fitting one of the ingredients in this is Silver Sweet Corn Whiskey bottle 36/1000 of only the 25th batch from The Indiana Whiskey Co. I call this..

Carolina  Blue Lightning

  • 1.5 oz Creme Brûlée Vodka
  • 2 oz Silver Sweet Corn Whiskey
  • 1.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • Cream Soda
  • Spiked Cherries

Fill a tall glass with Ice add the Vodka, whiskey and Blue Curacao give a stir with a long spoon top with Cream Soda and 3 spiked cherries.


Carolina Blue Lightning

Have a fantastically fun Super Bowl Sunday. #superbowlsundayeats #trippingvittles #MoninUSA #BlueIceCremeBruleeVodka #TheIndianaWhiskeyCo