Julie Niesen: Bits & Bites

91.7 WVXU welcomed food writer Julie Niesen in August 2018. Niesen will delve into local, regional and national food and restaurant trends, news of interest to local diners and food lovers, and the people and personalities in the Greater Cincinnati food scene.

Niesen has been covering local food since 2008. Her award-winning blog, wine me, dine me, has been featured in The Washington Post, USA Today, Serious Eats, The Cincinnati Enquirer (and its former weekly, Metromix), WCPO Digital, City Beat, WCPO-TV, Fox19, and many more. She is a longtime resident of Over-the-Rhine, where she lives with her menagerie of pets. When she's not eating food, thinking about food, cooking food or writing about food, she runs a thought leadership program for a technology company in Chicago.

Ways to Connect

Courtesy of Havayah

As some may know, Cincinnati is the birthplace of Reform Judaism. In 1853, Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise came here and enacted changes that drastically altered Jewish life, such as choral singing and seating men and women together in pews. His temple – now his namesake – still stands Downtown on Plum Street. In 1888, Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz started Manischewitz in Cincinnati, the famous kosher brand whose square matzoh (an unleavened bread) was revolutionary because it was made by machine (and thus no longer round). Manischewitz was based here until the 1930s, when it moved to New Jersey. 

Schwartz's Point Exterior
Courtesy of Justin Whittaker

Imagine the Hollywood-depicted dark, moody jazz bar: maybe it's in the Marais in Paris, or down an alley in Chicago. Carpets on the wall for insulation, warm lighting, a dark conversation corner so chatty couples don't disturb the musician, a chalkboard with drink specials, a surly-on-the-outside bartender who's actually a teddy bear, a woman making sure everyone's drinks are filled and that everyone is welcomed. 

Pixabay

We're in the midst of a restaurant renaissance. With more options and new joints opening regularly, dining out is hipper than ever. But there's something else amping up this gastronomic experience: noise.

Catherine Manabat and Julia Petiprin
Courtesy

Cincinnati can have a bit of a bad rap.  

Julie Niesen / WVXU

After a long Ohio winter, today is the first day of spring and, just a week from now, the first day of baseball season.

women run restaurants
All courtesy

Editor's note: March 8 is International Women's Day, and the theme for 2019 is #BalanceforBetter, the aim of which is to create a gender-balanced world. When it comes to the restaurant business, the numbers aren't encouraging. Except, maybe, here in Cincinnati. Below, WVXU food writer Julie Niesen gets to know a few of the local women breaking that mold, whether they mean to or not. 

downtown cincinnati
Michael E. Keating/WVXU

Valentine’s Day can bring about a variety of emotions. Some people are eager to celebrate their love, and others pine for a love of their own.

molly wellmann
Courtesy of Molly Wellmann

Molly Wellmann has been keeping a secret.

In December, Nightclub & Bar, the bar world's major trade organization based in Las Vegas, told Wellmann, owner of Japp's and Myrtle's Punch House, that she was nominated for their Best Bartender/Owner of the Year award. A week ago, she found out that she was picked unanimously for this prestigious award, making her the first winner in Cincinnati, or even outside of New York, San Francisco or Las Vegas. 

how chefs stay in shape
Courtesy Matt Kasee

Working in the food and beverage industry isn’t easy - between the hours, the heat, the physicality and the demands of the public, there’s not a lot of time for self-care.

food donations
Eric Risberg / AP

Many workplaces, businesses, places of worship and schools have food donation drives to help those less fortunate during the holidays. For those of us who want to help, what should we give?  

Provided/ Bravo

Season 16 of Bravo's popular Top Chef was taped in Kentucky, with 15 chefs from across the country, including Caitlin Steininger of Cooking with Caitlin, competing for the Top Chef title.

brad wenstrup
Courtesy of Brad Wenstrup

This election is going to be a nail biter... or cause us all to go off of our diets in an extreme way. 

chili
Courtesy of Julie Niesen

If there’s anything more iconically Cincinnati than our chili, you’d be hard pressed to find it. Spaghetti, topped with a thin, sweet-spiced meat sauce and a pile of bright orange cheese: locals generally love it, and everyone else is just a little confused. Where did it come from? Why do Cincinnatians love it so much? Is it even chili?

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