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Monday, October 27, 2008

The next great Cincinnati burger?

So there's been talk of a new burger place in town that has awesomeness on a plate - at a good price to boot - so I had to check it out!

I'm talking about Gordo's in Norwood - it's right across from the Norwood Library on Montgomery Rd. They don't have a website that I could find - if someone knows it - please send along and I'll link it!

So now - the important stuff - THE BURGERS!

The top photo is the Gordo burger - which has boursin cheese (I think? really creamy ala goat cheese but begins with a b) as well as mushrooms, bacon and some other stuff.

The second photo is a blackened burger with tomato, bacon and more good stuff...

All burgers come with fries at around $7.50.

They also have a wide variety of other items on the menu - appetizers, sandwiches and "entrees" such as pasta, etc...

The atmostphere is nice...it's recently been redone and looks great on the inside.

All that said - the service was a bit slow and it wasn't very busy (4 tables out of 20). Secondly - the burgers were all overcooked and dry. I asked for mine medium rare and everybody else asked for medium - they were all pretty much well done.

But the service (other than wait time) was great and the taste of the burgers was good. I like that they are trying unique flavors and the menu does look great. I'd like to go back and try them again...

I really love the burgers at Terry's - these are good but not as good as those - IMHO. BUT I do want to go back and try some of the other menu options...

So - the burgers - a 2.5 star - but I'm going to give it another whirl because it's close-by, affordable and has unique options. So let's say 2.75 stars!

Gordo’s Pub & Grill
4328 Montogmery Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45212
413-351-1999
M-F 4pm-2:30am
Sat 11:30am-2:30am
Sun 11:30am-12am

Updated addendum: 12/6/08

I finally tried something else - got the chicken breast entree with bacon and mushrooms. It came with 2 sides and I chose roasted veges and potatoes gratin. It was delicious! Terry's has the best burgers in town - hands down. But Gordo's - you got that right! I can't wait to go back and try the other entrees!


Gordo's Pub & Grill on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Will they make it?

I felt this was the artsiest of all the photos so we'll start with that.

Today, in between my hip hop classes (yes I teach hip hop - I have to with all the damn restaurants I go to!) I decided to grab a bite with my friend Rachel. We decided since we had just worked out - we should TRY for healthy.

I remembered that the Peapod Cafe had recently opened in my neighborhood! It's next to the library in Pleasant Ridge in the spot formerly occupied by Buster's Pet Palace.

There's my fabulous friend Rachel at the counter! They have a wide selection of tea & smoothies as well as a medium-wide variety of food items - but hey - they have food - so we were happy!

I'm not a smoothie person - I hate yogurt and it all tastes like yogurt. But Rachel got one and I tried a sip - it was good! Not good enough for me to order one - but I didn't spit it out! She liked it very much.

As you'll see by the next photo - they have a nice case of cold beverages. They have the fizzy

drinks but I decided to try Virgil's Rootbeer. Very root berry-ey!

The food is all in the cooler for the most part as well. They have wraps, hummus, a few varieties of salad and quiche. It all looked and sounded good. They are an organic cafe - not sure the extent of that - but there are signs up and everything sounds very healthy!

The wraps are $2.50 but they are fairly small - so I'm guessing one and a cup of soup might do you - or 2 wraps. I had a very hard time deciding - it's really hard for me to turn down hummus...but we both decided to go for the quiche.

I had the pepper quiche (sweet red peppers & swiss cheese) while Rachel had the tomato basil. I really wanted that one but have issues with ordering the same thing as anyone I'm with (thanks for that gift Scott!)

They heat the quiche up - takes 10 min - and it was good. It was juicy (not sure that's a good way to describe it - but it wasn't dry). It was heavy on the pepper - and by that I mean - black pepper - I'm not a fan and it had a lot. Also - there wasn't much cheese. Problem is when your only veggie is pepper - it needs a little something else or more cheese. Rachel really enjoyed her tomato/basil. They also had a spinach quiche...maybe I should have gotten that.

All in all - it was a pleasant lite lunch. $8 for me - $11 for Rachel.

I'm a big fan of any business that starts up in Pleasant Ridge - it's a budding neighborhood and we need more fun things like Emanu and Pleasant Perk.

I also want to mention - they strongly support the community and have community events such as music, etc...

BUT - I think there are a few issues that have me worried for the Peapod...

1. Their hours - 11-4 Tuesday-Friday and 11-7 on Saturday. Really? That's what killed Ridge Market - crappy hours. You know how nice it would be to stop by quick on my way to dance class after work when I have literally the 15 minute if I hope to eat before 8pm? But no - they close at 4. Then they aren't open on Sunday? When do I have a leisurely day? Usually Sunday!

2. The prices - $8 for a quiche and a soda...$11 for a quiche soda & small smoothie - seems a bit high.

3. Pleasant Perk is a block away - do we need another smoothie place? Perk has coffee...not sure about their food selection. We need a nice little lunch spot and quick dinner spot - but another smoothie place?

So Peapod gets a 2.5 stars from me. I liked the food - but the price and the hours bring it down for me. I guess Peapod if you're listening - I hope you read this openly and think about my constructive criticism. You have a cute place - I'd love for it to make it.

Peapod Cafe
6227 Montgomery Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45213
513.351.2460

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bread, Boar, Booze and Broadway????

Look at that guy - doesn't he look like he's having fun??? Oh he was - he just hates to admit it!

I have to admit - I'm hard pressed to put up pics of food after this night!

So if you haven't been to Vito's Cafe - which you most likely haven't - it's an interesting and entertaining evening!

The restaurant is located in Fort Thomas, KY just off the corner of Grand & Highland. It's a really cute little "village" of buildings and Vito's is at the back.

It's very old-school Italian - red walls, white table clothes, etc... but they bill themselves as the only restaurant with SINGING SERVERS!

Yes - it's like you're stuck in High School Musical 3 - randomly throughout the evening - they break out into song! And it's just not singing - it's musical theatre!

The singers are pretty good - the female is more trained operatically while the male is a bit more "musical theatre" - but both are good. Honestly - it's pretty cheesy - but it's also a lot of fun! Just while you're eating for them to come up and break out into Phantom of the Opera - it brings about a giggle!

They were very fun too - they came and sang Happy Birthday to Ron and brought him Key Lime Pie with a birthday candle! Then the soprano sang a song from Carmen to all the boys at my table. Thats the picture of Scott at the top...I have equally incriminating photos of Ron & John on my Facebook page!

Should I finally talk about the food? Oh fine - jeez!

Vito's has a new chef - Romy Jung - previously from The Palace in downtown Cincinnati. He's
instituted a new menu and it's got some fancy nice stuff! (That's the technical term for it!)

I started with the Gorgonzola Garlic Bread (top food photo). AMAZING! Literally delish! Has a white wine sauce and was so good. The bread was garlicky but yet buttery and flavorful - oh i just can't say enough about it!

Next up - our entrees. I had the Wild Boar Ragu - which is a reminder of a Palace Dish (Lamb Ragout). It's a strong dark sauce - the Palace serves it with goat cheese and this was lacking that - so I asked for some and Vito brought some for me! Oh it made ALL the difference in the world. I really love this dish - and the boar instead of lamb was nice. It is missing veggies - mushrooms would be a very nice addition to the dish.

My friends had the trout, shrimp and Lamb Stinco (last photo). They were all tasty - I tried each and I'd say the trout was my 2nd favorite. My cohorts also ordered the warm goat cheese salad (delish) and the mushroom croquettes (pretty good).

The food is definitely "fine dining" - the dishes are different than you find at a normal Italian place (ala Buca di Beppo, Maggianos, etc...). There are a few pasta dishes but there are a lot of meat/fish dishes. The prices aren't cheap - entrees range from $20-$30...salads are $8-12. So by the time you're done with a drink and a tip - you're easily at $50 per person.

And...the singing. In my opinion, it's a bit of a schtick, but you can tell the owner is very passionate about it. Vito even gets up and sings throughout the evening. The patrons were a bit older than our party for the most part and it seems they go for the entertainment.

I really enjoyed myself at Vitos - part of it was the company but the food is really good and unique and the entertainment contributed to our good time. It was a hoot! I do think it's a bit of a special occasion place. I can't imagine going on a regular basis...but it was fun. My mom would LOVE it! I think it would be really fun for a group of people too...

I would say if they want to become more of a regular stop - lower the prices and sing a little less. I mean - just a LITTLE - I know that's part of the charm - but maybe one song at a time rather than three.

So for the rating - 3 stars - the food is really enjoyable but the prices are a bit high... For a special occasion, give it a try!

Vito's Cafe
654 Highland Ave. Suite 29
Ft. Thomas, KY 41075
(859) 442-9444

Vito's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fried Chicken Fabulousness

So the other night my buddy Scott and his family headed to the Greyhound Tavern in NKY after a big day at Keeneland! They were lucky enough to have me join them! haha

I started out normally with a side salad...nothing interesting there - iceberg lettuce, blah blah blah. The honey mustard was good though. They also had sesame sticks on the salad which is nice crunch.

Then I decided to try the fried chicken for my main dish - I've heard so much about the chicken - I had to get some!

I must also mention the crusty bread - it was perfect! Crusty and soft and served warm with softened butter. Good job Greyhound Tavern!

Before we visit the chicken - lets discuss the sides - pretty bad I have to say. The only plain vegetable they had to offer was mushrooms. (spinach casserole and carrot souffle weren't peaking my interest - gak!) They were kind of tasty but really salty and just an odd "vegetable" side - I mean - broccoli or beans - yes - but mushrooms? Then, the mashed potatoes - gak! They were like the kind I used to have in the Swanson Frozen Dinners as a kid! You remember how they kind of came out all in one chunk and you had to eat them just so your parents would let you have the brownie? Oh man - those brownies were good - but these mashed taters weren't!

But now - the chicken - really great chicken!!!! We got 4 pieces (leg, wing, breast, thigh) and they were perfectly cooked. Extremely flavorful, the seasoning was tasty but not too much of anything! With all the extras - I only ate the leg & wing - so I had 2 pieces left to take home!

All in all - the meal was up and down - great fried chicken - I'd recommend that - and the bread - very very good. The rest - meh...

Then the price - I had a soda, fried chicken and salad and it was $22 - that seems high to me...I just kinda felt like $20+ was a bit much.

Because of the awesomeness of the chicken - I'll go with 3 stars...

Re: atmosphere - I would say it's been well documented as sort of "an old people place" - and that held true...but hey - good fried chicken is good fried chicken! So - if you're looking for a place to take your family - head to the Greyhound Tavern off Buttermilk Pike in NKY.

Greyhound Tavern
2500 Dixie Highway, Fort Mitchell, KY. 41017
(859) 331-3767 (859) 331-3409 (fax)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

We went for Italian and came away loving a pot pie!!!!

Well it was Fancy Lunch Day again at work and we had decided up on Scotti's Italian Restaurant. I hadn't been and it's a very traditional Cincinnati experience.

The restaurant itself is extremely quaint. As you can see by my artsy attempt photo - the entire place was tiled by hand and there are pictures everywhere. It's a dark restaurant but there's never a lack of something new to look at.

The lunch options on the menu are great! You can basically get any pasta with any sauce - and they have a lot of choices! You also get a side of sarcasm - which is always fun. My friend asked their specialty and they said "Sauerkraut and Egg Rolls".

I decided on the half/half with ravioli & spaghetti and then had a sauce I can't remember the name of (haha - what a terrible blogger i am). It was a dark sauce with meat sauce, meatballs and mushrooms...that's even how it's described...so you could just ask for that.

But the picture of my dish wasn't near as interesting as Jennifer's. I mean - come on - how phallic is that?! (In the original post - I misspelled phallic - I was so distracted - I couldn't focus on my spelling!) So I guess if that makes you hungry , then dig in. Somehow all I can think of is "that's what she said".

So the food did look good - but how did it taste? It was okay - the bread before the meal and the garlic bread was stale and hard...not good. The pasta and sauce was pretty good. It's a very dark sauce - for a dark sauce - it's good. I just happen to prefer the sweeter marinara type of sauce.

So - we all left - seemingly full. And on our way back to our cars - we notice Tom's Pot Pies just two doors down!

So after drooling on the window - Tom came out to greet us! He started describing his pie's to us - they sounded so good. Then we spotted something in the case - A DESSERT PIE!

Sure enough - it was an apple & cinnamon pot pie! One of our coworkers offered to treat - then realized he had no cash. A gracious Tom said "Oh - just pay when you come back!" and he was serious! Tom then pulled chairs up outside for the three of us to enjoy our pie in the fresh fall air...perfection!

The dessert pie was completely AMAZING! Warm and crispy and juicy - just so fabulous! The main dish pies are very affordable and only $6 - I really don't even know how much my apple pot pie was... Tom will even deliver if you have an order of 6 pies or more. So next time you and your coworkers are hungry - give Tom a call! 513-582-2575 (915 Vine St).

So honestly - next time I'm over that way - I'm heading to Tom's! I think Scotti's is great if you're looking for old school Italian - but I'm much more intrigued about Tom's Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pot Pie that was staring at me longingly from the window.

All that said - Scotti's gets a 2.5 star and Tom's dessert pie gets a 4 star!!!

Scotti's Italian Restaurant
919 Vine St
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 721-9484

Toms' Pot Pies
915 Vine St
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 582-2575