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On The Sauce
111 Main St, Milford Oh
Last month we showed you Dark Star brand Srirachi sauce. Three more sauces are in the Padrino line up as well; Extreme Hot Sauce, Thai Sweet Chili sauce and Bourbon BBQ. Being a fine sauce fanatic, I bought them all.
The Heat. Dark Star’s Extreme Hot Sauce is too hot for many. Take notice of the ingredients; Ghost Peppers, garlic, herbs, spices, balsamic vinegar. Those Ghost peppers are the hottest on the planet. Lightly touched to the tongue.... wwhhoommppp-BANG! But unlike most uber-hot sauce, it’s steeped with flavor. The herbs & garlic add rich complexity, the balsamic adds a clean finish. Many hot sauce makers are consumed by mere heat, forgetting true flavor. This is ripe with intensity and layered with balanced flavors. If you’re a heat freak, buy it immediately.
The BBQ. Dark Star’s Bourbon BBQ is my new fave. I popped the top and sucked down a tablespoon of it right off. Even before it hits your lips you get a big whiff of bourbon. After it hits your lips you get a big bourbon flavor. It’s no wonder why, it’s the first ingredient on the (short) list. After the whiskey kicks in it’s mellowed with a rich sweetness. That would be the molasses and honey (the next two ingredients on the list). Finally you get a clean spicy bouquet that sings with mild-medium spices and a crisp finish due to the balsamic vinegar.
The flavors please my palette perfectly. Bold bourbon, mellow sweetness and crisp clean finish with just enough spices & heat. It couldn’t be better.
Slather this conservatively over smoky meat off the backyard grill and you have a BBQ treat worth staying home over. I also put it on pot stickers, grilled cheese and all dogs, I soak burger buns in it, put a dab in my chili and dip chips in it. It’s beautiful.
The Thai Chili. Honestly, I do more woking than grilling lately. I mainly cook Asian food. It’s fast, easy, healthy and cheap. It takes more practice to perfect than any other cuisine I’ve ever tackled but it’s so worthwhile I bother. Good Asian noodles, a fistful of fresh veggies, sesame oil, scrambled egg, and a well seasoned wok are basically all that’s needed. Except the sauce.
The sauce makes or breaks the dish and I insist on good sauce. Make my own? Done that, it’s difficult and expensive. Choose a true Asian import sauce from Jungle’s? Done that 27 times, only found two I like (Pearl Gold Bridge and Panda brand). You gotta watch those labels for msg, yeast extract, EDTA and other such toxins, they run rampant through the Asian sauces. Ever ate Asian and got a rapid belly bloat followed by a fast jog to the big bowl and a small explosion? That’s msg. How about a Chinese buffet complete with blinding migraine, hot flashes, sudden sleepiness or three trips to the big white bowl? That’s msg. You gotta watch out for that crap. Or you’ll be taking a crap, in your pants perhaps. MSG is BAD (un-kay).
Well wasn’t that appetizing! My (too-well illustrated) point is that Asian-At-Home is easy with practice, but not easy to sauce. Most Asian sauces have toxic additives. Not Dark Star. You think the chef’s in the back of Padrino are tasting a new batch and mutter nonsense to one another such as “It’s flat, needs more MSG.... a bit more EDTA... it’s too pale, more Red # 40? I think not! Here’s the recipe; “Peppers, honey, garlic, herbs, spices, balsamic vinegar. No preservatives”.
From the first spoonful your senses will be enlightened. First, the honey hits for an instant you think this is a sweet sauce.... then the balsamic shines bright. Next the peppers take hold with a pleasant warming heat. Finally that honey and balsamic wash away the heat with a soothing clean sweetness, almost fruity. It’s all about balance. Slather a bit on your morning eggs for a wonderful wake up kick. Dip fried appetizers in it or smear some on a burger or dog. It’s going to wake up anything you put it on.
Fresh ingredients, chef created recipes, home town bottling, I can’t wait ‘til they come out with the Dark Star salad dressings!
Get it at Padrino or 20 brix. Look for it soon at Jungle’s.
Kiss 107.1 Jock Joey puts her belly where her mouth is.
Joey was trash talking Man vs Food’s Adam Richman on air when Padrino called her up with their Spaghetti Challenge. Joey took it up and her first Woman vs Food episode quickly followed. Fame or Shame was to follow as well.
Joey came out of the gate fast & furious, she killed the garlic knots and most of the meatballs in the first 10 minutes. But you gotta kill it all to win it little lady.
After the first 20 minutes Joey’s pace slowed to a crawl.
A massive pile of pasta stared her in the face, she was fast approaching the dreaded “Wall”, few overcome it.
Even before the clock wound down, Joey knew she was out matched. “It was tough... I let the time beat me (45 minutes) but really I was finished after about a half hour.”
Joey’s trash talking earned her a space on Padrino’s Wall of Shame. But she has nothing to be ashamed of. In this Woman vs Food, Food won, but damn if it wasn’t fun!
Are You Up For The Challenge
Anyone who has ever seen Gordon Ramsey’s shows knows how much Gordon emphasizes 3 things... fresh, fresher and freshest. Ingredients are key, no other factor can compare or replace it.
Padrino has fresh. Lots of it. Gordon would likely nod in approval to Padrino’s simple menu, fresh ingredients and overall quality. That’s saying a lot.
The menu is simple yet well equipped. . It features well rounded selections and several vegetarian entree and sandwich selections aside from pizza.
Six starters, one soup, five salads, nine sandwiches, ten gourmet pizzas and a 4 pound Spaghetti Challenge all fit on a folded 8.5 x 11 glossy paper menu. At under $17 for entrees & pizza, under $9 for the sandwiches & salads and $6 or less for appetizers it also fits in your budget, for lunch or an evening out.
The attention here is not on a eight page listing of every Italian dish every copied in America as you commonly see. The focus is on freshness and it shows in the flavor.
The food has an obvious chef flair because it’s chef driven. Chef Paul Barraco, (chef of 20 brix next door) also has his spoons in the pots at Padrino. It’s Padrino’s good fortune to serve under the same flag as 20 brix. The little Italian bistro borrows much of their quality stock from the 20 brix coffers. Including the wine. When the flavor of the red is as important to you as the marinara, Padrino will please.
The spirits continue at the bar. Full service and fully stocked it’s quite capable of handling several large football parties. With $6 wings and cold top quality brew during the games expect to see wall to wall orange and black. The appetizers alone will probably bring most folks back.
Here’s two examples of Padrino’s fine product. A white pizza ($9). A lusciously creamy whole milk ricotta cheese blend with fresh mushrooms and pepperoncini. Simple yet so satisfying. The crust is buttery, it snaps on the edges but retains a soft chew. First rate dough cooked fast and hot. Perfect.
The second is the roasted vegetable open face melt ($7). Think of it as French bread pizza. Thick slices of eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash atop grilled garlic bread with a slash of marinara. Kick in the extra $1.50 for the Parmesan fries. The kettle chips are good but the fries really make it a meal. A delicious meal. Especially for a vegetarian option. Padrino has enough other veggie choices to be considered “veggie friendly” in our book.
Will they start stealing Ferrari’s patrons? Maybe. Will they jar their fresh made marinara and get rich? Maybe. Will they serve you a meal that exceeds your expectations? Certainly.
Padrino’s Spaghetti Challenge sounds interesting. It’s 2 lbs. of pasta, 1 lb. of meatballs 1 lb. of marinara and garlic knots.
There is a 45 minute time limit and no leaving the table. They don’t appreciate “returns” either. Finishers will walk out with a T-shirt, a photo on the wall of fame and the $30 bill taken care of.
What happens after that is your (and your plumbers) problem. If you plan on taking Padrino up on their challenge send us an invite, we’d like to bear witness and snap a photo, maybe even a video of your ordeal to post on our site.
You don’t have to be up for a gut busting exercise to get your money’s worth at Padrino. They’re quality conscience far more than most yet maintain prices for the budget conscience. That’s a true bistro.
Sweet Italian, Sweet Tunes
By now most of you foodies know about Padrino. The light & airy pizzas, the luscious lasagne, marvelous manicotti, herb infused meatballs, the scratch made sauce and savory Italian sausage. Not to mention the belly bustin’ “Spaghetti Challenge”. The menu is chock full of soul satisfying Italian. It’s all chef made goodness, quality runs rampant here. After all, Padrino is the sister ship to the fabulous fine dining destination, 20 Brix. But, fine food is not the focus of this article. As much as I’d love to entertain you by digging up words to capture the fine flavors in Padrino’s dishes, for this print I’m thinking of words such as rockin’ & groovin’, movin’ & shakin’, drinkin’ & dancin’ and The Dead.
You’ll usually hear the Grateful Dead coming on quietly out of the 20 Brix speakers. But did you realize you hear the same groove coming on loud & proud out of Jerry’s Little Band’s speakers a couple doors down at Padrino? That’s the truth.
Padrino hosts many fine musicians for the Saturday midnight hour. I strolled in on a Saturday and was pleased to find Sonny Moorman sitting with his six string wooing the crowd with his power blues prowess (He’s second to none by the way). The band list is not nearly as massive as the insane Spaghetti Challenge but just like the food, quality is what it’s all about. Padrino doesn’t need to stock their Saturday schedule with great music, they just choose to, and they only feature the area’s best in show. In October they featured; The Rubber Knife Gang (Bluegrass), Hoopleheads (Guitar & Vocal Duo), Sonny Moorman (Blues), Spare Change (Rock Duo) and Harvest (Jam Band). The jam band/bluegrass/slam grass thing is often the main vein (and that’s just fine by me). November’s schedule already features; the Kevin Fox Duo (Rock Duo) on the 6th and Fairbanks 142 (Jam/Rock) on the 13th, more are coming as well.
If your looking for something fun but just to too damn old for the Saturday night rock scene stop by on the last Tuesday of every month and dine in style with “Cincinnati’s Sinatra”-Matt Snow. You can catch either the 5:30 or 7:30 dinner show. Reservations are not required (but highly suggested). It’s a dinner show Sopranos style. Entertaining for all ages.
Remember, 6 days a week Padrino is purely a romantic Italiano risorante. On Saturday nights Padrino is a rockin’ pub. Granted, a damn nice pub but the term still applies. Check out all the Padrino info on our site or theirs at padrinoitalian.com it features the food, the fun, the story and the weekly comfort food specials. Plus, the details on that insane “Spaghetti Challenge” If you eat it all it’s free, if you don’t your shamed. Famed or shamed, it’s still insane. Adam Richman needs to check this out. Preferably on a Saturday night too.
Livening Up Lonely Town
Old Milford is a charming example of what the Eastside once was. Quaint mom & pop shops, historic store fronts. It’s practically Mayberry. The same ideology worked for Mariemont. It’s yet to do the same for Milford though. A few short months ago Dom DeMeo (owner of defunct DeMeo’s) told us the area is so slow that inevitably the businesses will slowly dwindle down to their demise. “On a nice sunny Summer afternoon you can sit in the dining room and watch the tumbleweeds blow by” Dom joked. Dom predicted DeMeo’s demise and that was no joke. The food excelled at edibility but no one was there to eat it.
Enter Padrino’s. Padrino’s snapped up DeMeo’s spot and with a few changes turned it into a nice little eatery again. The theme is still Italian, but that’s all they have in common. Padrino’s claims “The site of the old Demeo’s... is a new affordable family pizzeria, from the family that brought you 20 Brix... Padrino will be the family restaurant in Milford. Padrino... is Italian for godfather; we’re not mafia, but the food is good enough for your whole crew... Serving the cities best pizzas... gourmet toppings like goat cheese, pine nuts, and prosciutto.”
The individual veggie pizza we ordered was decent enough for $8 (entrees are $7-$14). The decor is fresh, dining al fresco is a plus but is it enough to keep the boat afloat in these shallow seas? We’ll see.
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