CincItalia! 2011- St. Catharine of Siena

I missed CincItalia (an all Italian food fest, sponsored by St. Catharine of Siena, at Harvest Home Park) last year because my husband is opposed to all west side festivals. This year, CincItalia’s 2nd year, due to much bossing around and whining, I got my way and he agreed to go on Saturday night.

Friday night is Adults Only and he thought there would be a ton of drunk people to contend with. We’re so not party poopers, I swear. We’re just finished with that stage of our lives! Of course, I don’t know what’s worse – drunk adults or screaming kids?

So, I was ridiculously excited about going – more excited than a normal person should probably be. But, I am a food chic to the core and I’m at peace with my craziness.

I know that CincItalia has live music and games and wine tasting and shows but really, I just cared about the food. I told everyone going (me, my husband, my daughter, my brother-in-law and our 2 friends) that they had to order lots of food so I could try everything! OH, they so delivered for me.

I didn’t know where to start. There were probably 8 food booths – and I wish that I could name them all for you but I only remember what I ate. Sorry – I have the memory of an 80 year old. I had to scour the area before I could make food decisions!

We started at Noce’s – I have been to Noce’s before and I love it. They do, have some of the best pizza, ever. (which, I’ll start my pizza tirade later) But, because I was with Noce newbies, we ordered. The menus, for each restaurant/booth, were very short, which is GOOD. It seems like they made sure that each restaurant had different items.

We ordered the Garlic Knots and Stromboli…

Nice and garlicky – a tad too big for “knots” but…they were good, so Noce’s is forgiven. BTW – I’d love to give prices but that whole memory issue thing is kicking in. (which, that will be my second point – the prices)

The stromboli was HUGE – good with the right hint of garlic. HOWEVER – mine’s better. Just sayin’. And, my husband told me I was an egomaniac for saying that mine was better. I don’t really view it that way, but, whatever.

I took a couple bites of the garlic knots and stromboli and bossed everyone to the next booth.

That would be Gabby’s Cafe, with the Eggplant Parmesan.Thank you God for giving me a husband that will eat anything!

It looked good. I wanted to like it. But, it was mushy and we ended up throwing half of it away.

Keep up! Next booth – St. C’s Grill. (this would be the grill that St. Catharine runs!) The smell of italian sausage and peppers lured us in. We ordered the Italian Sausage Hoagie (hot) with onions and peppers.

DELICIOUS!!!!!! My husband almost didn’t want to give me my 2 bites. Turd.

My brother-in-law got a pizza burger there…

He’s a basic guy and thought it was awesome. It was good, but what you would expect.

This is so beginning to feel like food porn. And, I think I like it!

Off we go – next!

Pompilios – I’ve been to Pompilios many times but a few of my peeps wanted to get something there. So, I’ll take my bite, happily.

Meatball Hoagie – It wasn’t very good. The meatballs were REALLY dry. And, it was screaming for cheese.

I didn’t try the Rigatoni – but I added a picture just because I can. My friend said that it was okay but he was obsessed with the pasta at the Pastapalooza booth and didn’t give the Pompilios rigatoni a fair shake. He thought he was getting what he saw other people with and it wasn’t.

BRING ON THE DESSERT!!!!!!!!!

My husband wanted a Fried Oreo. There was a booth, with a sign above it that read “fried oreos and fried ravioli” – not sure who they were or affiliated with?

I didn’t want to like the deep fried oreo. Really, I didn’t. But, it was so damn good. Seriously. There are some things that just don’t fry well. An oreo DOES. Just, yum.

My brother-in-law got a piece of Fried Cheesecake from Pompilios…

Look at it. It was delicious. I would have appreciated some more raspberry sauce but…I really enjoy the sauce. All sauce. I’m not picky. (okay, maybe I am)

I was also obsessed with getting Cannoli from the sweet Italian ladies. I mean, come on, cannoli from REAL old, REAL Italian ladies?!?! But, I went too late and all of the cannoli was gone. Gone!!!!!! I was obsessed from that point on. (more later)

Look at my pictures – WHAT Italian food is missing? Hmmm? PIZZA! You know why? Because Larosa’s was the ONLY place that sold pizza!!!!!!! I know Larosa’s. More than a normal person should. I did not want Larosa’s pizza. I wanted to try a different pizza. But, noooooooooooo. Any person, over the age of 16, that ate Larosa’s at CincItalia deserves to have a fork rammed through their forehead.

That was my first vent. MORE pizza choices next year!

Second vent – the portions were HUGE and averaged about $4-$5 each. I would love to see smaller portions. Actual TASTES and BITES. I think if they operated that way, they would get more overall business. As it is, everyone has to pick the ONE thing that they really want (if they don’t bring 6 people with them, like I did!) and just neglect everything else.

The best thing I ate? EVERYONE agreed that if they had to pick ONE item to eat again, it would be the ITALIAN SAUSAGE HOAGIE!!! From the St. C’s grill – a non-restaurant. Gotta love it!

It was a good night – and I’ll be back again.

Oh wait, I was. The next day and you know why? Because I was obsessed with the cannoli. Yes, I made my husband go back up, in the rain, drop me off at the front and I ran in for this…

I’m glad that I’m absolutely nuts and we went back. Crispy shell and sweet, but not overly sweet, filling. Just a hint of chocolate from the chips. Lip smack.

Oh and if any wives out there want pointers on how to be bossy and win, let me know.

One thought on “CincItalia! 2011- St. Catharine of Siena

  1. Hi Patty,

    Thank you for the kind words about CincItalia. The Deep Fried Oreo and Ravioli booth was another St. Catharine-run booth as was the Pastapalooza booth with the awesome pasta your friend was “obsessed” with. We still have jars of CincItalia pasta sauce for sale if he wants some delivered. As for the pizza, we could easily have 5 pizza booths there, but we have just the one for a number of reasons; We want to show that Italian food is more than just pizza, we insist on no duplications (hence Noce’s without Pizza) and besides the fact that LaRosa’s is by far Cincinnati’s best-selling pizza. the LaRosa family has been HUGE supporters of St. Catharine’s for years and since no one represents the west side and the Italian community better than Buddy LaRosa, our choice for the exclusive pizza vendor was a rather easy and obvious one.

    Hope to see you again next year at CincItalia 2012!

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