30 June 2009

Biagio's Bistro: Best Chicken Salad

I have promulgated my sandwich theory before which is this: a sandwich is a simple concoction and so really the only difference between a good and bad sandwich is quality and freshness of the ingredients.

I don't know what makes the chicken salad sandwich at Biagio's Bistro so good but I like it better than any other. I would ask Biagio but he's out this week. Maybe he uses pastured chickens, maybe he makes his own mayo, maybe it's just the grapes. I don't know, but whatever it is, it works.

The sandwich is pricey at $8 but it does come with a good side (pasta salad, caesar salad or soup) and a basket of bread and butter (yes, the butter is soft). Service is always attentive and friendly and the place has a friendly, relaxed vibe in general.

It would be a serious omission not to mention the desserts. There are many options on display and you will pass them on the way to your table. If you are on a diet I advise that you do not even look at them. Story: the first time I went to Biagio's it was for dinner and when the server came to list the dessert options, we told him to just cut to the chase and tell us what had chocolate and raspberry. To our delight they had FOUR options. I've loved the place ever since.

While I am only writing about the chicken salad sandwich (because lately I've only gone for lunch), I should mention that I've had pasta dinners in the past and they've been great. This place is an under-the-radar gem.

Biagio's Bistro is on Ludlow Ave. across from Arlin's Bar and the IGA. It is closed on Sunday.

The overview.

Pasta salad: tomatoes, black olives, green olives, red onion (yes!), oregano, parmesanesque cheese (but it's good) and olive oil.

Chicken salad with celery and grapes.

I like the window seat.

Biagio's Bistro on Urbanspoon

28 June 2009

Thou Shalt Have No Other Gun-Toting Gods Before Me (UPDATED!)

A Louisville pastor is welcoming gun owners into his church's sanctuary Saturday for what he says is a show of support for the right to bear arms.

Ken Pagano is asking visitors to bring their unloaded handguns in a holster at a late afternoon event at New Bethel Church in southwest Louisville.

Pagano says he got the idea after some members at the Pentecostal church expressed concern over the Obama administration's views on gun control. He says the gathering is meant to promote safe gun ownership.

The "Open Carry Celebration" will include a handgun raffle.

It has prompted a coalition of peace and church groups to stage a peaceful, gun-free event across town at the same time on Saturday.


UPDATED with priceless excerpts from the NYTimes:

“But for a deep-seated belief in God and firearms, this country would not be here today,” Mr. Pagano declared from the church’s pulpit.

Amens rolled forward from the congregation of about 180 people who were celebrating their ability to bear their arms almost anywhere in Kentucky, including in church.

“There’s a time coming when we may need to protect ourselves from bad things in the world,” she said. “We’ve been hearing the rumors about restricting ammunition so that it all expires, so people won’t have the right to protect themselves.”

Her husband noted that there could come a day “when we’ll need to protect ourselves in church.”

Mr. Frank said that he attended because he loved guns and that he had no qualms about taking them into church, although he left his double-barreled shotgun and bolt-action shotgun in the car.

“I don’t see a thing wrong with having a loaded gun in there,” Mr. Hillerich said. “If the pastor’s in there and he’s got a concealed weapon and somebody comes in and starts shooting people, he can take him out. That’s his right.”

He added: “I think everybody should carry a gun.”

25 June 2009

Twittersphere on Gov. Sanford

From MediaChannel.org here are some funny tweets about Gov. Sanford:

pourmecoffee: “I don’t think it’s good that a main takeaway of Sanford’s press conference is how really awesome his mistress is.”

Bagyants: “Sanford turned down one stimulus, accepted another. Flip flopper!“

TeresaKopec: “So instead of walking the trail, he was chasing some tail.“

pandagon: “The next Republican to have an affair will have to outdo Sanford. I predict a tryst ON THE MOON.“

GregMitch: “One day after Obama’s “gotcha” press conf we got Sanford’s “gaucho” press conf.”

JayRodriguez: “Oh my God - The Gov. Sanford story was SOOOOOOOO much better than I thought it’d be. I was expecting a pain killer addiction, tops.”

Spinelli666: “At least Sanford proves that not all #gop members hate all foreigners“

waitwait: “Anyone else feel let down when Sanford finally used the pronoun “she” to describe affair partner? me: *raises hand*”

maxsparber: “None of us are in a position to judge Sanford until we too have had sex with a woman in Argentina. Now who is up for a road trip?”

alanpdx: “The reason the #gop is so upset with #sanford is that he outsourced his hookers to a South American country.“

David_in_Austin: “Sanford outsourcing affair. What a slap to the face of American homewreckers”

flywithelphaba: “Ah-ha! Not surprised at missing SC gov’s escapades. Note to Sanford: South America is NOT a good place to hide! Remember Mengele?”

johnmoe: “I was most surprised when Sanford apologized for calling his son Lamont a “dummy” all those years.“

My picks for winner and honorable mention:


michaeljhix: “Revelations of Sanford’s South American love fling brings new meaning to S.C. first lady’s comment this week: “He does this sometimes.”

Best of Porn Spams for June 2009

Brazilian freshy and three boys ploughing.

Latin cheerleader and her boss churning butter.

Dark-haired beginner and three chaps unwinding.

Tramp-stamped chavette and her ex doing pump-n-dump.

Yummy lassie and two guys potting pink.

21 June 2009

Beer Fail

I was staying at a cabin in Kentucky one time and I went out to get some beer. Went to a couple country stores but they didn't have any beer. The third one also didn't have any but this time I asked the guy at the counter why no one had any beer. "Largest dry county in the United States," he told me.

But he had some Olympia in the back which he sold me for an unreasonable price. I opened one up later that evening. It was so bad that I could barely swallow it. I've had crappy beer, I thought... I should be able to do this. But all I could manage was a few gulps, that's it. It tasted like swamp water marinated with Godzilla's old, sweaty underwear. Absolutely unpalatable.

I believe that disgusting batch of Olympia has met its match with the inexplicable recrudescence of a bad beer hall-of-famer, Burger. When someone who wants to drink beer won't drink a Burger, it means the line between "brewery" and "chemical processing facility" has gotten a bit fuzzier.

Just walk away.

17 June 2009

Lies, Damn Lies and UrbanSpoon Statistics

The UrbanSpoon site is a good resource to find restaurant reviews when looking for a place to eat. More so when visiting another city but it's plenty useful here as well. The site links to all restaurant reviews, including local blogs. Last week I found the "Cincinnati Blog Leaderboard" page which lists local blogs that do mainly restaurant reviews. It lists them by views (which I presume means clicks from UrbanSpoon to the blog) and posts (only restaurant review posts, since that's what the site is for).

I immediately recognized the opportunity to geek out over these numbers. What I wondered is how the blogs rank under the combined statistic of views-per-post.

Why? Mostly because I like playing with numbers.

This statistic reveals whether two things are correlated. In this case, views and posts. The Correlation Coefficient is 0.96 which means # of posts and # of views are closely correlated (0 means no correlation; 1 means strong correlation). This is not surprising; the more reviews that are available, the more opportunity there is for clicking to them.

After calculating the standard deviation I realized something interesting: although all the blogs have different views-per-post numbers, the difference is not statistically significant. Statistically, they are all the same except for two. One is lower than the others by a statistically significant margin (barely) and another-- and this was the interesting part-- is so far higher than the others that I had to remove it from the calculation because it skewed the numbers so much.

There is no special widget for it but if there were it would belong to Chickpeas, Please which is an astonishing FIVE standard deviations beyond everyone else. Congratulations on being #1 by this mostly meaningless statistic!

15 June 2009

Where the Jobs Are

From the Business Courier:

Jobs in Ohio’s clean energy economy grew 7.3 percent while overall jobs declined 2.2 percent in the state between 1998 and 2007, according to new research by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Ohio was part of a national trend that saw job growth in the clean energy economy outperforming overall job growth in 38 states and the District of Columbia between 1998 and 2007. Nationally, jobs in the clean energy economy grew at a rate of 9.1 percent while total jobs grew by only 3.7 percent over the same period.

12 June 2009

POTD: Spare Tire Covers as a Medium for Self-Expression

Bumper stickers aren't good enough any more

The script translates to "Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator on Board"

07 June 2009

Virgil's Cafe: Great Food at a Great Price

I took a tip from Food Hussy and checked out Virgil's Cafe (FYI, the site plays music in the background) for lunch a few weeks ago. Since then I have been back two more times, both for lunch. Let me say at the outset that I love this place. The recap:

Lunch the First
I started with the potato & mushroom soup, which was the special. Creamy (but not overly so) and delicious. Then I got the other special for my meal which was the mac & cheese. Yes, a whole plate of mac & cheese for lunch. It was a fat-filled plate of cheesy, creamy goodness with a few vegetables thrown in (as if anyone would care). It was stupendous. If this mac & cheese was a person, you would take it with you to a cabin you rented for the weekend and massage it from head to toe with your lips and tongue before making sweet love to it all day and night. This is not mac & cheese, this is booty on a plate.

Lunch the Second
I again started with a soup, this time the sweet potato & corn chowder which was the day's special. It was absolutely delectable but I did wish it was slightly less sweet. I should say, however, that my palate hits the sweetness redline before most others. If you like Graeter's and Agalamesis but wish they were 10% less sweet then you are like me. If that is not what you think then you'll be taking this soup to the cabin with you.

Thankfully, Virgil's did not have a mac & cheese special so I opted for the less salacious and more sensible ham & swiss sandwich, which was delicious. Great bread, great ham, gooey melted swiss and HOMEMADE potato chips. If you're gonna do something simple you may as well do it right, and they did.

Lunch the Third
Once again I started with soup and once again it was delicious. This time I ordered soup off the regular menu, the tomato shrimp bisque. It is the favorite of our server, Ben, who is a good guy. You won't see him until August, though, because he'll be hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail.

The crostino, as you can see, was perfect which indicates attention to detail. Martha says that's a good thing.

For the entree I ordered the pastrami reuben which was good but nothing special. A reuben is not a complicated sandwich and the only way for it to vault over the high bar is to have a lot of dressing which was not the case with Virgil's reuben. I still like mine the best.

Virgil's uses quality ingredients, prepares them well and offers it all for a great price in a nicely designed space. Anyone who doesn't like Virgil's is on meth.

Virgil's Cafe on Urbanspoon

02 June 2009


Seen just outside of Eden Park. About a dozen people were cleaning and planting.