Ox tail, head cheese (that’s ‘tete de cuchon’ for all of you newbie head cheese eaters).
Not something I’d run out to with unabashed passion, but at least it was different. For the love of all that’s holy, I needed something different. Six weeks without a functioning kitchen – I couldn’t eat one more Fiber One bar or Chinese buffet. I hate those on a good day. No offense, Chinese buffet.
I need to preface by saying I did not order the head cheese (I believe it’s an order ahead kind of thing, no pun intended). But read on.
Bauer Farm Kitchen in Cincinnati, Ohio. Here’s the menu…
Look at all the schnitzel, spaetzle, and zweibelsuppe. Yeah, zweibelsuppe. Don’t forget the vollkornbrot and bucheron.
Seriously, I love this place.
If I can go to a restaurant that expands my vocabulary and titillates (yes, I said titillate) my taste buds, I’m all in. Like a field trip.
So I digress. Bauer sports a warm atmosphere, flickering LED amber candles, rustic paneling, comfy, comfy chairs, and divided rooms with fireplaces that add to the ambiance. I must say, I was most impressed by the staff. Super-friendly. Super-knowledgeable, attentive, helpful.
I loved everything I ordered, and I’ll get to that, but I must focus on one thing. The salad.
I’ll preface this by saying I am not a big salad fan unless it’s mid-July. I don’t like rabbit food in the winter. Iceberg salads in many restaurants actually make me angry. If I wanted to eat water in leaf form – well – I’d order…your iceberg salad.
But OMG this ‘salad of the season’. By jove, somebody finally got a winter salad right. A salad with winter greens, squash, lardon, bucheron maple walnuts, pear vinegar, and pumpkin seed oil.
Holy baby kale, people.
And the baby kale itself was sooo good. So light and flufffy and lacy, much more kind to the palate than it’s old, leatherish, aged counterpart. I hate to age discriminate, I love both kales, but the young one is better than the old one.
I had to google lardon and bucheron before I ordered it. I could have asked the waitress, but why wait two seconds when I could look it up myself? Anyhoo, I did admit to her that I had no idea what the H those two ingredients were. She smiled lovingly at me, and I hope I didn’t annoy her by not letting her do her job. I’m so impatient.
But when I found out what lardon was (yes, most of you probably know or could guess – it does have the word lard in it) – I was actually angry. Angry at myself, angry at all those years of improperly dressed salads and god knows what else I could have thrown this on.
It’s like bacon times 50. Super crunchy, crispy, powerful bacony taste. And there wasn’t a whole lot on the salad, but it heightened it to orgasmic levels. That super porky super salty crunch with the sweet honeyed walnuts. I can’t even tell you. If you put this crap on your salad everyday, you’d never have to drink a green smoothie again. I scraped the bottom of that oh, so cool big stainless steel mixing bowl with my fork like a depraved lunatic.
Did I mention Bauer Farm Kitchen also serves some dishes on chunky planks of distressed wood? Why that matters so much to me, I’m not sure – but I bet it has something to do with the four elements and feng shui and resonates in that fire/water/air based astrological natal chart of mine that begs for more grounding earth elements. Or, it just looks awesome. Whatever.
Then you come to the bucheron. If you already know what that is, good for you. I mean, really. Because you’ve been buying it before I have. And if you google it – it’s not the bucheron for women eau de sold on fragrance.net. Scroll down a bit. It’s freaking goat cheese, man!!
And sooooo good. I’m not going to get into totally educating you on bucheron because you can google it yourself if you’re interested. But it was the perfect, tart, creamy sidekick to that nut and lardon deliciousness.
I’m so exhausted from explaining that salad, and hungry because it’s a few days later and I need to eat breakfast.
So quickly, quickly, the meat. I tried ox tail soup and the dry aged Berkshire pork chop.
The oxtail was so earthy and beefy (ox-y?) and fell off the bone. The porkchop…more yumminess with pickled mustard seed. Who does that – and why don’t people do it more often?! OMG – the mustardy bite with a pork chop and the brown beer sauce. Get out. It’s like an elevated hot dog with spicy mustard. Not really, I don’t like hot dogs much. But you know what I mean – porky, mustardy, tart, spice, sweet, and on the chop – the decadent crispy fat on the edges.
I didn’t get desert, I was too darn full.
Oh wait – the wine – how could I forget the wine. Their wine list almost gave me a panic attack. Long, beautiful, deep, detailed. I really needed another hour to absorb it all. Just pick one damn it, pick one!
Again, props to the servers for having the wherewithal to absorb and disseminate that sensual saga.
What I did discover is that German vino is waaaay more than a sweet Riesling. Thankfully, the owners educate you on the wine list the depth and breadth of German wines. If you’re a wine-o – you must go.
I’d like to write more, but my stomach is digesting itself. I’m wasting away.
Go there. They call it elevated German cuisine. Throw in a French twist. The menu is heartily satisfying. Grounding and earthy, with the added bonus and balance of sweetness, air and fire.
I have no idea what that means, really – but I think you will when you experience it.
435 Elm St. Cincinnati, OH
More photos on my instagram @foods.everything