Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Trade Secrets

Tips on dining in and dining out

Compiled by Polly Campbell
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Required Reading

The famous Windows on the World Wine School is being held these days at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square. It is still taught by Kevin Zraly, who directed the wine program at Windows on the World atop the World Trade Center from its opening in 1976 until it fell on Sept. 11, 2001.

To take the course at home, there is Zraly's Windows on the World Complete Wine Course,(Sterling; $24.95) which has just been updated for 2004. This is a simple but complete guide to wine for beginners or wine lovers and a useful reference book.

It's arranged by questions: What makes each Burgundy different? How long should I keep a beaujolais? What are the major winemaking regions in Chile? What's tannin, and is it desirable in wine?

It contains a lot of well-organized information about drinking, buying, serving and storing wine. I like the questions that might be hard to ask for fear of sounding stupid, such as, "What's a chateau?" or "What's meant by vintage?"

Out to lunch

The food court at Tower Place was crowded last week, packed with Catholic educator conventioneers. So instead of a slice of pizza at a stand-up table, I sat down at the new Mediterranean/Mideastern restaurant Mejana.

I ordered the musaka, as they spelled it ($7.95, a lot more than a slice of pizza). It's a meatless version, and not layered as this dish usually is.

It was chunks of tender eggplant in a rich tomato sauce that included plenty of big whole cloves of garlic that had been cooked to a spreadable softness. It was like slightly exotic comfort food.

Lunch started with a complimentary dish of salty, delicious olives and pickled turnips, and a interesting spread made of bulgur wheat-flavored tomato paste.

Mejana is new in the space where Cafe Cin-Cin used to be. It's been redecorated, with Mideastern fabrics and artifacts. You can't miss it, there's a guy out front smoking a hookah. 25 W. Sixth St., 333-0660.

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