Ravens at Bengals, Sunday Oct. 26, 1 p.m., Paul Brown Stadium, CBS
The Ravens can apply a sleeper hold (if not quite a death grip) to the AFC North on Sunday with a win in Cincinnati, which for the geographically unacquainted, is located stunningly close to Kentucky (when I traveled there in college we stayed in Covington, KY, just across the Ohio River from the Queen City). Thirty or so towns stake claim to the nickname “Queen City," but Cincinnati is probably the best known. According to the Cincinnati Museum Center, the name is derived from the city's former status as the “the Queen of the West." At 0-2-1 in their last three games, the Bengals are heading south. They need a win desperately, which is part of the reason oddsmakers have made them 1 1/2-point favorites.
What to Eat: When the Bengals came to Baltimore last month I passed along a Cincinnati-style chili recipe that I made and can confirm is delicious. I still have black beans from that Sunday (I decided not to deviate from the recipe), which I plan to use this weekend when I make this vegetarian chili from Epicurious.com.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 1 2/3 cups coarsely chopped red bell peppers (about 2 medium)
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 15- to 16-ounce cans black beans, drained, 1/2 cup liquid reserved
- 1 16-ounce can tomato sauce
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Sour cream
- Grated Monterey Jack cheese
- Chopped green onions
Directions: Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell peppers, and garlic; sauté for about 10 minutes until onions soften. Mix in chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cayenne; stir two minutes. Mix in beans, 1/2 cup reserved bean liquid, and tomato sauce. Bring chili to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until flavors blend and chili thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For a Saturday warmup, head to Duda's Tavern, an often-overlooked Fells Point neighborhood bar at the corner of Bond and Thames streets. Although it's closed on Sundays, it serves tasty chili in a variety of ways, including on the Raven Manic, a 12-ounce grilled burger topped with homemade chili, cheddar cheese, and jalapeños.
What to Drink: The Cincinnati Cocktail is a half-beer, half-soda water concoction that would strike most people as insane to make. But if David Wondrich, the all-knowing cocktail correspondent for Esquire (and fan of Fells Point's Rye), says it's refreshing, then it's refreshing. Use a pint glass, split your two liquids equally, and enjoy.
If You Go: Cincinnati has deep German roots, which means its residents revel in drinking great German-style beer. The Moerlein Lager House (115 Joe Nuxhall Way) pours its signature Christian Moerlein Over-The-Rhine Ale along with another dozen or so brews made by the Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. at a riverfront restaurant that's close to the football stadium.
BrewCity Gastropub (2062 Riverside Dr.) features local craft beer and serves New Orleans-inspired dishes like po' boys and muffalettas from the kitchen of chef Michael Shields, who worked under Emeril Lagasse.
If you're feeling nostalgic for Maryland, hit O'Malley's in the Alley (25 Ogden Place) downtown. It's Cincinnati's second-oldest bar, trailing only Arnold's (210 E. 8th St.), which was established in 1861.