Craig and Laura Decker seem to have a difficult time making up their minds. They also seem to have a knack for turning this indecisiveness into an advantage at every turn. When it came to opening their new business, for example, they briefly wondered whether it should feature a wine shop, a wine bar, or a gourmet bistro. Their solution? All three.
This spirit of inclusivity pervades The Wine Guy Bistro, where the Deckers pair seasonal wine varietals with globally inspired cuisine. Rather than choose between European elegance and New-American pizzazz, they settled on a compromise they describe as “Old World chic.” This label suits a menu that features small plates of housemade meatballs and bruschetta alongside assorted cheeses from around the world. The focus on small plates is in keeping with the Deckers’ have-it-all mentality and gives diners the option to sample several dishes without having to barter with adjacent tables.
Creating a custom-made wine is a lot more rewarding than producing questionable homemade toothpaste. At Tino Vino Vintners, the 6- to 10-week process begins with you “researching” (tasting) wine varietals to determine what you want yours to taste like. Five tastings will introduce your palate to its options in a round of speed dating for the taste buds. Next, the desired grapes are crushed, pressed, concentrated, and mixed with reverse-osmosis-filtered water, yeast, and other ingredients under the supervision of a winemaker. The winemaker will watch over your mixture’s progress during its two to three weeks of fermentation before stabilizing the wine with an optional clarifying agent and racking (removing sediment). Once your wine has been bottled, you may either pop it open and have a party or stash it away to let it age as gracefully as Burton Gilliam.
Though the family-oriented grill's atmosphere mostly recalls a comfy Mexican restaurant (down to the homemade chips and salsa greeting you at the table), the menu touts tastes from across the globe. Try the signature Hawaiian-style ribs ($13.99 half order, $24.99 whole) marinated and grilled in a secret-recipe Jack Daniel’s barbecue sauce, or take a Bavarian turn with the mett-n-kraut ($12.99), a German-style minced pork with sauerkraut on rye bread. Otherwise, opt for something more Italian such as the homemade meat or vegetarian lasagna ($12.99). Classic Tostado's burgers ($8.49) with your choice of toppings (including mushrooms, bacon, barbecue, and Swiss, Provolone, or American cheese) and reubens ($8.99) bring the around-the-world menu back home. True to its name, though, Tostado’s also serves up Mexican dishes that range from familiar burritos ($9.99–$11.99, depending on filling) and quesadillas ($9.99–$11.99) to the creative Mexican hot dog ($6.99), which comes with sour cream, mustard, and pico de gallo.
The Cincinnati Film Festival showcases moving pictures from all over the globe from October 8 to October 16. Your all-day pass (a $20 value) gets you access to a full day of screenings and workshops. Start your cineday with the Shorts Block 9, a collection of short films playing at the Esquire Theater, and then hop over to Main St. Cinema to catch "Runaways: Producing In Ohio," as a panel of local industry insiders discuss the past, present, and future of Ohio film production. Locavores can cheer on hometown heroes at the Esquire during 48 Hour Film Project: Take 2, a mash-up of mini-movies produced by Cincinnati filmmakers, before indulging in behind-the-scenes voyeurism with a screening of Saturday Night, a 90-minute Saturday Night Live documentary directed by actor James Franco. The weeklong film fest's Awards Gala will be held on Friday, October 15 at Memorial Hall, where a special award will be presented to musician/TV personality/producer Nick Lachey for his contributions to the local production community. A ticket to the gala (a $25 value) gives formal-loving filmophiles an excuse to break out tuxes and ball gowns, as this gala is black-tie optional with a required tweed-based business-dress minimum. Check the program guide for a complete list of screenings. Organizers recommend you arrive at all events 30 minutes ahead of time to procure the best seats in the house, away from the permanent front-row installations of 10-gallon hats and actual honey-filled beehives.
Neon Trees yokes together steady rhythms, catchy guitar riffs, and sing-a-long choruses, landing the band at #1 on the 2010 Billboard Heat-Seekers charts for its album Habits. All ages can come to experience Neon Trees' rollicking hooks and infectious sounds for a 1.5-hour show at Bogart's, a century-old, 1,500-seat venue adjacent to the University of Cincinnati. Having gone through incarnations as a vaudeville theater, a German film house, and a meet-up for the International Time Travelers Association, it now hosts top-notch sonic visitors scheduled by Live Nation.
The grill at Mayday sizzles and pops as cooks forge a menu of hot dogs, gourmet sausages, and homemade sides. All-beef morsels from the Avril-Bleh & Sons meat market are crafted with the epicurean thoughtfulness of a valentine from an oompa loompa and serve as mouthwatering canvasses for artful dogs. The Mayday dog wears house-crafted spicy mustard pajamas while bouncing gleefully on a warm pretzel-bun mattress alongside caramelized onions and grilled peppers ($7.00). Choose a gourmet dog foundation ($7.25), such as chorizo or kielbasa, and pile on toppings ($1 each) that include house apricot ketchup, beer cheese, or a miniature Lamborghini. Noodles ford warm rivers of golden cheese, dodging crusty pretzel breadcrumbs in the restaurant's macaroni and cheese ($4).