Friday, April 30, 2010

Very Funny Chain Of Emails

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Every month Chris (Marketing Director and my son) sends out the music calendar and events to local media. We are going topless on May 16th (courtyard roof coming off and more details to follow). He had wrote just the topless part on the calendar. Here is an exchange he had with a local media person and their editor. I have removed their names.

From: (name removed)
Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 3:37 PM
To: ""
Subject: RE: Arnold's Music Calendar
My editor and I are trying to figure out what this means:
John Reddell (Blues)
(Arnold's going topless party)
Wed May 16th
You guys moving in a different direction or something?

From: Chris Breeden []
Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2010 11:09 AM

Subject: RE: Arnold's Music Calendar
Since Arnold's is the oldest Bar in the city and we have an old liquor license in the state, we have been granfathered in on several laws and we have recently discovered that we can allow topless cocktail waitresses as long as it is in a completely shut off setting. We have converted the second floor into a "parlor" of sorts and the bathtub is actually a bar now, neon runners along the floors, and we have mirrored all the walls. Ok, ok, ok, that was a joke. Actually we are just having a party in conjunction with the new Rivertown Brewery to celebrate us taking the roof off in the courtyard. We will be sending out a press release pretty soon.


From: (Name removed)
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 2010 09:46:09 -0400
Subject: RE: Arnold's Music Calendar
I read this yesterday, and I think I just stopped laughing enough to form an e-mail…
I was stoked there for a second! Haha…
Thanks for the info and the reminder that I can be gullible.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Making of Yucatan Turkey Soup and The Help I had Making It.

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Most of the time this is how a soup comes about at Arnold's...
Turkey was baked yesterday for today's special Turkey Feast and a rich stock was made.
Joe (Kitchen Guy) made the gravy this morning for the special.
Joe says to me, "Got left over turkey and gravy today. You want it for soup".
I say to Joe, "Yes, of course".
In my head I say "what to make, what to make".
I get my new soup cookbook out (The Daily Soup) and start looking around. To be honest there aren't many new soups I ever find in a cookbook. Most soups are a repeat of something else just with something different. If you know the spices then you just alter things. Like TexMex, Thai, Oriental, Cajun, Italian, etc.

So I see a recipe of Yucatan Chicken and Lime

It calls for a lot of familiar things but avocado leaf is the new ingredient! All the staff is sitting at the table eating lunch and Chris is just past them on the computer. I yell for him to google avocados leaf. He reads it and says you boil this leaf then you remove it. It taste similar to anise. No anise in the restaurant. Okay servers what other ingredient taste like anise. Charlotte (Diva Dishwasher) says fennel. No fennel, I go down to the storage room to check the spices. Ah! Tarragon. I bring it up, let everyone smell it and poof, we have our "near" ingredient.

Recipe for Yucatan Turkey Soup Arnold's Version
The leftover baked turkey about 4 cups
The leftover Gravy about 4 cups
2 cups of water
a big handful of tarragon leaves about 1/4 cup
2 TBL of chopped chipolte with adobe sauce
Salt to taste
2 TBS black pepper
In a sauce pan sauteed in oil 2 TBS garlic, 1/4 cup onions, 1/4 cup green peppers
Then add to soup pot with rice. I had leftover Jasmine rice so I used this but any rice will work. It was cooked and I added about 2 cups. If you use uncooked us about 1/2 cup uncooked rice.
Right when it was finished I added a can of Coconut milk, a small bunch of cilantro and 1 whole lime processed in the food processor with 1/2 cup water.

This soup is bold and quite delicious

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Anyone Need A Compost Bin Fed?

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Starting tomorrow our bottles will be recycled (provided Rumpke brings our cans tomorrow). This has been a long effort on my part that I don't care to talk about. But, now the day has come. Our bottles will be recycled.
Over a year ago we started recycling our cans. For a really long time we have recycled our cardboard, paper and grease.
To get our bottles recycled is a huge success for us. What does it take for us to be consistent in our recycling? It takes a staff of 35 people to all be on the same page. Luckily for us, that is what our staff wants also. So a big thank you to the dishwasher who rinses out the cans we use and the cleaning guys that tear up the boxes, the cooks that take the fryer oil and the bacon grease to the bin and now, to the bartenders who will be responsible for getting all the bottles in the cans. I am proud of us all today for making our world just a bit better. Anyone need a compost bin fed?

Monday, April 26, 2010

2 people for 27.10 Dine Out Often Week Menu

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This offer is valid until 4/30/2010


Tossed Salad or Caesar Salad

GUINNESS SWISS STEAK – Ribeye steak pounded thin, coated in flour and pan seared until tender. Served with garlic mashed potatoes and country green beans. Topped with a rich sauce of tomatoes, stock, Guinness beer, peppers, cracked pepper, onions, garlic and fresh rosemary.

BLUEBERRY CHICKEN – Boneless breast of chicken coated with seasoned breadcrumbs and pan seared. Finished in a sauce of blueberries, brie, garlic, walnuts, fresh basil and cream. Served with garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed fresh vegetable.

DRUNKEN SALMON – Salmon fillet marinated with a margarita and grilled to perfection. Topped with pepper pineapple chutney. Served with rice and sautéed fresh vegetables

PASTA ANDROSKI – This dish’s name was started as a joke many years ago. Of course it has become a very popular dish and now everyone knows our name! Roasted red peppers, wild mushrooms, artichokes, red onion, sun dried tomatoes and fresh spinach sautéed in white wine sauce. Served over pasta and dusted with fresh grated Romano.


Crème Burlee or Blueberry Bread Pudding with Bourbon White Chocolate Sauce

Sunday, April 25, 2010

It Has Served the Public 79 Years

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Scott Ross was at the Cincinnati Public Library doing some research for himself and came across this article. I am so glad he thought of Arnold’s and photo copied it. He even put it on disc for us! I do have the original copy and a photo copy of this picture is hanging on the wall in the "boothroom" at Arnold's.

This is an article dated Thursday, April 25,1940 written in The Cincinnati Times-Star

The above photo of Arnold’s Grill, 210 East Eight Street, was taken in 1869. Simon Arnold’s saloon, as it was called then, had been in operation eight years when Simon, and his son Hugo, decided to have the photo made as a family heirloom. And that is exactly what it is today.

Simon Arnold opened the saloon in 1861 at about the time the Civil War started. It has been in continuous operation and owned and conducted by the Arnold family ever since. It probably is the oldest in that respect in all Greater Cincinnati.

In the photo, as you will note, is a pile of empty kegs betokening the popularity of Simon’s saloon in 1869. At the extreme right in the photo is Simon Arnold himself. Seated upon the kegs is his son Hugo, who was destined to own and operate the place to the end of his life. Between Simon and Hugo is an unidentified customer who certainly must have been a young veteran of the Civil War, so soldierly is his stance. Standing on the balcony, a structural adjunct dismantled many years ago, are two daughters of Simon Arnold.

Simon called his place of business a saloon.

His son, Hugo, on inheriting it, called it a café.

Hugo’s son, Elmer H. Arnold, present-day proprietor, calls it Arnold’s Grill

Except for its balcony, its window panes and the gas-lighted street lamp, the ancient place has changed but little in its exterior although its interior has been extensively modernized.

An unbreakable policy in the conduct of Arnold’s Grill is never to be open for business on Sundays or holidays. Its owner and manager, Elmer H. Arnold, goes to his church on Sundays and prefers employees who do likewise. Apparently it is an old Arnold Family custom.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dine Out Often Week

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Dine out often week is next week. It is organized by the Greater Cincinnati Restaurant Association (GCRA). Next week will give you an opportunity to experience dining for a really great price. The price is 27.10. Some restaurants are offering that price for one 3 course meal and others (like us) are offering that price for two 3 course meals. You can view the restaurants involved at

The following paragraph was taken from GCRA's website to better explain what it is about. When you join the National Restaurant Association you are also joining the Ohio Restaurant Association and The Greater Cincinnati Restaurant Association. This group helps all Greater Cincinnati Independant restaurants by working with us as a group.

The Greater Cincinnati Restaurant Association is a non-profit membership trade group dedicated to education and programming. We were founded in 1920 and serve as the chapter for the Greater Cincinnati foodservice industry. The GCRA represents over 300 member firms including restaurants and trade companies, which provide products, equipment, and services to the hospitality industry. Our membership includes restaurants and purveyors in Northern Kentucky and Southern Indiana and in five counties in the Greater Cincinnati Area which include Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton and Warren. The GCRA is one of nine chapters within the Ohio Restaurant Association which has a membership agreement with the National Restaurant Association.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Weekend Happenings, Specials and Ballet Ticket Give Away

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This Weekend at Arnold’s


Friday 6pm Cat Fish Evans Trio

9pm John Kottne Trio

Sat 9pm The Rusty Van Band


Gnocchi Diablo… Tiny Italian potato dumplings sauteed in a rich sauce of cream and garlic. Finished in with Romano cheese and crushed red peppers. Served with grilled crustinis. 7.95

ORIENTAL TUNA STEAK… Ahi tuna steak encrusted with wasabi, sesame seeds and ginger then pan seared. Served over jasmine rice with bean sprout Kimchee. Drizzle with soy ginger béarnaise. 15.95

CHAR GRILLED BRET’S BURGER… ½ pound burger or veggie burger char grilled. Served on a bakery bun with Swiss cheese, sautéed onions and mushrooms, horseradish mayo, lettuce and tomato. Comes with French fries. 8.95

VEGGIE LASAGNE… Lasagna noodles layered with mozzarella, provolone, Romano, parmesan, ricotta, fresh spinach, roasted red peppers, garlic, fresh basil and herbs. Baked until golden brown and topped with cream tomato basil sauce. Dusted with Romano cheese. 12.95

Winners of our tickets to see Cincinnati Ballet’s “The Sammy Project” are listed below. If tickets are not claim before Thursday 4/29 other names will be picked. You may pick them up at the bar at Arnold’s.
Jarret (promised from another drawing)
Cathy Price
Beth Wartman
Alycia Doughman

Thanks Everyone!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wonderful Curry Cardamom Fruit Soup

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Yes this is a fruit soup. Yes it is hot. Yes it is delicious.

Slice thin with peel
2 apples
2 pears
2 yams
Add to 1 qt of vegetable stock and cook until yams are tender

Sauteed in olive oil 1/2 medium onion diced, 1 tsp crushed red pepper, 2 tbs curry, 1 tbs ground ginger, 1 tbs cardamom 1 tsp fresh crushed garlic. Once onions are translucent add 2 tbs flour to thicken. Add to pot.

Add 1 qt. of heavy cream. Cook until bubbly.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Streetcar Vote and Cheap Beer

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Come Celebrate at Arnold's during and after the voting by Cincinnati City Council to approve $2,585,000 in Funding for the streetcar. All Draft Beers 2.59 and 3 dinner specials for $2.59 Runs all night!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Sweet Smell Of Beer

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I grew up in Newport and on my walk to high school I had to pass two breweries to get there. I am trying to remember which breweries they were but I am not sure. One was on 3rd St. and the other one on 8th. I might not be able to remember the name of the companies but I remember that smell. I smell it every Saturday morning at Arnold’s before the cleaning people mop. It is a very sweet smell.

As I type this I realize I live above the new brewery coming to Over The Rhine. I am not quite sure how I will feel about the smell but I do know I am happy for the brewery. My good friend Greg Hardman just got everything finalized and will be moving forward for his beer to be brewed here. It has been a long 2 year road and I am very happy for him and his wife Patty.

Our city is growing fast. I am glad to be a part of that. I am just not sure about that smell…..

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Interview With Lisa Sullivan

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An interview with Club Blatz member Lisa Sullivan and how this group of misfits came to find Arnold’s as their monthly place to display their artwork.

What is Club Blatz?
Club Blatz is a group of photographers that was started through the Capture Cincinnati photography project in 2009, The third year of the Capture Cincinnati publication. We are the misfit photographers in the community, seeking out the random and unusual subjects and perspectives in the area to photograph.

What is Capture Cincinnati?
Capture Cincinnati is a project that builds a coffee table book each year with submissions from local amateur and professional photographers in the community, and voted on by the same photographers with help of their friends and family and others. This contest takes place for approximately four months and then Pediment Publishing working with the Cincinnati Enquirer, holds a book release and signing party in December where winners of categories are announced along with the cover and grand prize winner as well. These books are published in other parts of the country as well, including Chicago.

Do you have to drink Blatz beer to be in the club?
Nope, not at all. The name of the group came from a picture that was submitted in the 2008 contest by William Fultz, who incidentally was the 2009 cover photographer. Club Blatz is open to everyone of any age who has a different outlook on the Cincinnati area and takes photographs displaying that unique outlook.

Is this past year the first time you were published in the book?
No, I was published in the 2008 Capture Cincinnati book as well, which was just a complete shock and thrill for me. :)

How did your monthly art show at Arnold's come about?
It all started in an email conversation I was having with another Club Blatz photographer, I believe you may know him, Chris Breeden..he had asked me to display some of my work at an art show at Mockbee and then the conversation turned to doing something for all the Club Blatz members...we were discussing how we both worked at bars/restaurants and we decided that the place he worked was a more central location to have the shows and so far they have just been so great!

Is the art work you show at Arnold's for sale?
Absolutely. It is up to each individual photographer at the shows if they want to sell and the amount. One of the photographers at the March Show, Pete Foley, donated all his proceeds to help the earthquake victims of Chile.

Can someone join Club Blatz or do you have to be published? -
Absolutely anyone can join Club Blatz. We have a group on Facebook (!/pages/Club-Blatz/176344946851?ref=ts) and on Flickr, a popular photography sharing website ( do not have to be published, this group is open for everyone and anyone whether you are just beginning to take an interest in photography or have been photographing since your dark room days in high school. We want to let everyone have a chance to show their work, invite their friends and family to the shows, meet other members of the club, talk shop and plan photo shoot get togethers. This definitely is not your average "hoity toity" exhibit. :)

When will they start taking photos for 2010 Capture Cincinnati Book?
If it stays as previous years, the submissions for the contest usually begin around Memorial day weekend or the week after and runs for approximately 4 months - people who want to submit can save up submissions all year round and submit photos from previous years, in fact, a picture that was submitted in the 2008 book did not make it in, but the same photograph submitted for 2009 was published, so you just never know! I definitely appreciate the Capture Cincinnati contest, its editors at Pediment Publishing and the Enquirer, because I've met so many wonderful people and now able to have these monthly art shows at Cincinnati's oldest and best bar in town, Arnold's :)

Will you be submitting your work?
More than likely I will be, I have really enjoyed it for the most part the past two years that I have submitted photographs. I like to see returning photographers and see how their work has progressed since the previous year as well as noticing the progression I myself have made as a photographer as well.

Could you please provide a link to your work?

Sure! The link to my work on Flickr:

Club Blatz has there monthly show at Arnold's this Saturday at 6pm. You can view the details here!/event.php?eid=106314429399655&ref=ts

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spring 2010 Lunch Menu

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Free WiFi!
follow us on Twitter @ arnoldsbar
Arnold's Blog
513-421-6234 for take out!

Arnold’s offers four soups/stews daily. Please ask your server what is available for the day.
Bowl… 4.50 Cup…3.50

SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS… Bowl of pasta served with Toni’s sauce and meatballs. Dusted with Romano cheese. Served with grilled garlic bread ends.

BLACKENED TILAPIA… Tilapia fillet coated in Arnold’s homemade blackening seasonings and skillet fried. Served with black beans, rice and salsa. Garnished with taco chips.

PICNIC PLATE… Char grilled brat served on a bun with spicy mustard, kraut and onions. Comes with baked beans and potato salad.

SICILIAN PASTA… Diced tomatoes, onions, olives, fresh basil, garlic and capers sautéed in Arnold’s garlic sauce. Served over pasta and dusted with Romano cheese. Served with grilled bread ends.

BLACK BEANS AND RICE... Spicy black beans, brown rice, salsa, cheddar cheese and corn chips.

Any meat can be paired with black beans for no extra cost. Tortilla stuffed with rice, shredded lettuce, cheese, and salsa.


QUESO CHICKEN… Shredded chicken seasoned with jalapenos, onions and pimento. Served over shredded cabbage. Topped with cheddar cheese sauce and lime sour cream sauce.

CURRY VEGGIE… Mixed vegetables sautéed in Arnold’s garlic sauce. Slow simmered with a rich curry coconut sauce and rice. Served over shredded cabbage. Topped with cool lime sour cream sauce. Spicy!

PULLED PORK… Slow simmered pulled pork served over spicy slaw. Topped with corn salsa and cool lime sour cream sauce.

FISH TACO... Spicy slaw, blackened tilapia, smoked gouda and cool lime sour cream sauce.

All grilled cheese are served with a cup of tomato basil soup. They all start with mozzarella and provolone cheeses. They come on a crispy Italian loaf. Allow 10 extra minutes and .50 charge for bread substitutions.

Chris' Way... Pepper Jack cheese and durkee onions
Bret’s Way … Add sautéed onions, mushrooms and Swiss cheese
Janet’s Way… Pesto and Sundried tomatoes


Served on a grilled bakery bun with mayo, lettuce and onion. Tomato available upon request. Served with a side of fries.
KEITH’S WAY… bacon, cheddar and bbq sauce.
BRET’S WAY… Sautéed onions, mushrooms and Swiss cheese0‚
CHRIS' WAY... Pepper jack cheese, cajun ranch and durkee onions

Salads come over leafy greens or pasta. You can also get 1/2 & 1/2. Homemade dressing are ranch, red wine vinaigrette, sweet and spicy, fiery lo cal lime and cilantro, cajun ranch, and bleu cheese.

JULIENNE SALAD... 1 ounce each of ham, turkey, Swiss and cheddar served over leafy greens with grated egg and your choice of dressing.

GARDEN SALAD... Romaine and wild field greens topped with carrots, red onions, craisins and homemade croutons. Served with your choice of dressing.

SPINACH SALAD... Fresh spinach, bacon, red onions, mushrooms and durkee onions. Served with sweet and spicy dressing.


Served on a hoagie bun with shredded lettuce. Garnished with homemade potato salad.
Fries... 1.50
Italian Slaw... 1.50
Creamy Cole Slaw... 1.50
Potato Salad... 1.50
Add pesto... .75
Add Chicken ...2.00
Add Bacon... 2.00
Small tossed with entree ... 2.00
Sour Cream OR Avocados... 50

Available everyday Greek Spaghetti... Olives, bacon, tomato, mushrooms, onions and green peppers sauteed in Arnold's garlic sauce. Served over pasta and dusted with romano cheese. Also just bacon, just olives and bacon (both) or plain sauce.
Thursday Special... Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, gravy, more gravy, cranberry sauce and bread.
Friday Special... Fried or baked cod served with mac & cheese, cole slaw and homemade tartar sauce.

Parties of 5 or more a 20 % gratuity will be added to your check.
Please flag us down if your food has not arrived in 10 minutes.
Serving raw food products could result in health issues or serious illnesses.
We do not put lemon in your water unless you ask for them.
If you would like a copy of our history please ask your server to provide you with one.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Life With Jim Tarbell

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I guess I met Jim Tarbell about 25 years ago when I saw an ad in the Enquirer for a lunch server. I was out of work and needed a job. I was a single mom of an 8 year old kid (I was getting married in the fall). Man I needed this job and did this place ever look cool. When I walked into the restaurant it kept filling up with people trying to get the job. There were so many of us they had to put us on the 2nd floor. The then manager (Shirley Cunningham) and the chef (Tony Davena) sat in one room and herded us though one by one. I lucked out that day because I said I was just a mom raising my kid, college was out of the question at the time and I had been in the restaurant business since I was 16. That is exactly what they were looking for, a lifer. They were replacing one server, Kim Cole, whom was opening up her own restaurant. I didn’t know for a few days if I had the job. They called me back in for a meeting with the owner, Jim Tarbell. Boy was I nervous. I doubt that he remembers that day. I still remember it and I must have done well because Shirley called me back later that day and said I had got the job but they didn’t need me for 2 weeks. Argh, 2 weeks without pay was a lifetime but I knew I wanted that job so I said I would wait. The next day they called and asked if I could start right away because a few other people were no longer there. Looking back, maybe it was destiny. I would try to go away to work somewhere else and Jim always had something for me to do. Fill in for someone, private parties at Arnold’s or Grammars, or a catering. I moved up from lunch to pm server, assistant manager to general manager.

Though the years I worked hard and always looked up to Jim. He was a guy that made dreams come true. He taught countless people how to stand on there own and start their own business or go on to better things. To name a few and I am sure there are many more, Mullane’s, What’s For Dinner, Northside Tavern, Burrito Joes, and of course Arnold’s. To drop a few names on chefs that started with Jim we have Chef Mark Pennington from Prima Vista, Ann Kearnie, Chef Bruce French, Chef Don “Stork” Rein, Paula Kirk of Paula’s. Jim Tarbell was the first commercial account for Shadeau Breads and The Bonboneri. Managers and former employees have top positions at other places like Bill Cunningham at the Comet.

Sitting in the courtyard of Arnold’s one chilly Sunday afternoon in November 1998 he made me realize I could own Arnold’s. A dream I never thought possible. He trusted me and knew Arnold's would be in good hands.

Though the years I saw Jim fight hard for many neighborhoods and many projects. Jim campaigned to get more housing, nonstop. He never stopped believing that was the answer to the vitality of our city. Broadway Commons was his heart and soul (no, Jim did not own that property).

I like to think I know Jim Tarbell pretty well. I like to think that Jim Tarbell makes things happen for the good of the city and the county. That should be obvious by now.

I don’t show my political side. Arnold’s has always and will always be a neutral place where all can come. Except for Jim. I know Jim Tarbell will make a great County Commissioner. Now more than ever our county needs a leader and a visionary like him. He has proven to all of us he is capable of the job. I trust him and know he can do the job for the county I work and live in.

Happenings this week at Arnold's

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There is always a lot going on at Arnold's and this week is no exception.
Tuesday Todd Hepburn will be back on piano from 8 - 10 pm
Wednesday Chris Goins from the Rattlesnakin Daddies will be doing a solo act from 8 - 10
Thursday is Jim Tarbell's Fundraiser then music by Wayne and Dottie in the courtyard.
Friday from 6 - 8 pm is always fun with Spare Change. They put out song request land you get to pick what they are going to play!
Friday starting at 9pm is the new band Blue Country with Natalie Cunningham and a bunch of good ole boys bringing sweet tunes to our courtyard.
Saturday is bringing up the rear the the fabulous Moonshine Drive starting at 9pm.

Also this Wednesday I will be changing the lunch menu for a lighter spring menu.

Thanks everyone for all the fun we had last week. I really appreciate your support for Arnold's!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Noon on Chanel 9 and a Steak Salad

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I have cooked on WCPO many times and I am always a nervous wreck. This time I wasn’t so nervous and just had a lot of fun. Although I looked nervous! I made a delicious spinach salad with london broil. The recipe is below.

1 London broil weighing at least 1 lb
Grill steak over hot coils or broil to medium rare (135 degrees). Once the meat starts to sweat on top turn over. Lightly press on steak. It should be very springy. Remove from grill and let rest.

1 pound of fresh spinach
1 roma tomato quartered
½ red onion sliced thin
4 TBS almonds
1 Minneola (large tangerine) peeled and cut into 8 sections

¼ cup smart balance oil (you may use any type oil)
1 Minneola squeezed
3 TBS cider vinegar
½ tsp cayenne
pinch salt
pinch pepper
2 TBS sugared ginger
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
4 large leaves of fresh basil

add all ingredients to a small pan or skillet and bring just to a boil. Turn burner off and let your dressing sit.

Slice London broil on the bias as thinly as possible

Pour dressing over spinach salad then add London broil to top. Your dressing will slightly wilt the spinach.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bret's Birthday and A Cool Waitress Story

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To surprise Bret (my husband), for his 50th birthday, I had a surprise party for him at Arnold’s on Wednesday night and tonight, his actual birthday, we had dinner at York Street Café. It was a delightful dinner of filet and halibut. The filet was cooked perfectly and the halibut was tender and delicate. They were hopping which is good to see. Growing up in Newport and attending high school right there it is always interesting to see how that area has changed. The server told us her grandmother retired from Arnold’s after working there for about 30 years. She was a single mom of three. How cool is that. My aunt also worked at Arnold’s in the 1940’s which I find totally fascinating. The old owner of the Green Derby actually worked at Arnold’s when my aunt did. There was a picture hanging up at the Green Derby of a staff at Arnold’s. My aunt and the lady that owned the Green Derby were in that picture together. I wonder if this girls grandma was in that picture too. How cool is this story? Is it as cool to you as it is to me or am I just sentimental.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The More The Merrier

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Every time a new restaurant or bar opens up someone will ask me how I feel about it. People think I am going to be upset about an opening. If you think about it, Arnold’s has seen every bar in the city open or close. We are the oldest! If no one ever opened then we would be the only place downtown. Then we would have no downtown.

Bring more businesses and more people downtown. I have all the confidence in the world that Arnold’s will survive and blossom from it. That is what we have been doing for 149 years.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Our Beautiful Courtyard and The Mystery of the Music

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The following article is taken from Cincinnati Magazine. This was number 44 on why they love Cincinnati. It was written by Katie Lauer some time ago. It still holds true to today except for Jim owning Arnold's and I now cover the courtyard in the winter. It is still a mystery why the music sounds so good.

44. Arnold’s Courtyard on a Summer’s Eve
Music sounds better when it’s played outside, and the best place in town to listen alfresco is in the courtyard of Arnold’s Bar & Grill at 210 E. Eighth Street. Nobody knows why it sounds so good there. An engineer friend says it shouldn't. “They’ve got a cement floor and brick walls,” he says, shaking his head. “All the surfaces are hard, yet it sounds better than anyplace in Cincinnati. It doesn’t make sense.”

Like so many things that are great about the city, Arnold’s courtyard doesn’t make sense, yet there it is: a paragon of acoustics and sensational sound. Even the clatter of plates and patrons has never diminished the sound of jazz bands;banjo pickers; fiddles, washboards, and jugs; even Jake Speed’s harmonica. Park your car and walk across the street on a starlit night when the notes of “Moonglow” rise from a clarinet like champagne bubbles. Or listen to a five-string banjo bearing down on “Shuckin’ the Corn,” and feel the rhythm flow through you like your heartbeat. That’s the courtyard in full bloom.

Jim Tarbell bought Arnold’s in the mid-1970s, and the story goes that he discovered the courtyard full of rubble, sealed off behind a concrete wall. After Jim reopened it, he brought everyone in to play—local musicians and talent passing through. One night in the early 1980s, he presented the acclaimed rhythm jazz guitarist Marty Grosz. Grosz was in town to play for the Little Chicago Jazz Society in Hamilton, and he came to Arnold’s to work with his old Cincinnati friend, clarinetist Frank Powers. The place was packed and the air was stifling, but it didn’t matter. No one moved for three hours.

So many interesting musicians have played at Arnold’s it’s hard to single one out, but Bobby Guyer was a favorite. He wandered in one night, looking bewildered, wearing polka dots on top and stripes on the bottom (like the test pattern on a television set, trombonist Bill Gemmer once said); then he put his trumpet to his lips and knocked everybody for a loop. In the 1940s, Guyer had played with Benny Goodman and worked on MGM musicals. He’d even dated Carmen Miranda—“the chick with all the fruit on her head,” as he described her in his raspy, whiskey-soaked voice.

I went to work at Arnold’s about a year after Jim took over, playing with different bluegrass bands and putting together my own classic jazz quartet, The Dream Band. Then, as now, there was music at Arnold’s year-round. But in my mind, nothing compares to those summers past. When it was hot we’d drink pitchers of water and aim fans strategically, and by the second set, it always seemed that a cool breeze had come up. We’d sweated out the tension and we came out swinging, like angels dancing on the head of a pin.

We played as long as the weather let us, which was never long enough. October brought a kind of melancholy, and we played “Autumn Leaves” and “Autumn in New York” as the yellow ginkgo leaves carpeted the concrete floor of the courtyard like gold coins. We stayed at Arnold’s through the winter so that we could have the summers in the courtyard; it was our season to dream impossibly romantic magic. Those were halcyon times, and though we put on sweaters to combat the October chill, we couldn’t stretch the nights. They were gossamer; we could not hold them. • KATIE LAUR