Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bacon Explosion?????

What the hell is that???? Well - courtesy of the BBQ Addicts Blog - it's something a coworker (Chris Dye in the hiz-ouse!) sent me...

It's called BACON EXPLOSION!

It's bacon rolled in sausage ROLLED IN BACON!

Yowza! And it's all got BBQ seasoning and sauce throughout.

I gotta schedule an appointment with a cardiologist for the day after if I ever decide to make this...

Enjoy!

:-)
-food hussy!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bootsy's - the hip spot...for now at least

I recently got to go to Bootsy's on a Saturday night with some friends and I was soooo excited! I'm a fan of his music and I love obnoxious colors! Prepare yourself - this review has lots of pictures!!! That's what happens with a tapas menu...it's basically like a big menu of appetizer sized portions - so you can order 4-5 tapas for 2 people and have PLENTY of food!
Those are the seat back cushions - random thing to take a picture of but they're so cute! The atmosphere is bright and colorful and not quite the stimulus overload I was expecting. It's a classy obnoxious...which is definitely fun!

We arrived for a 715 reservation and had to wait about 30 minutes - not a great way to start but understandable - it's brand new and really busy.

Most of our party decided on ordering a variety of tapas and we were very excited for them to come out! We asked the waitress for her thoughts - she basically read the whole menu - not exactly what we were looking for but we had our own thoughts anyway. I don't remember who ordered what but we all tried everything so I'll post photos and then comments (click and get the pic larger - sorry if some are a little fuzzy when enlarged):
Columbia Salad - Ham, Emmenthal Swiss, Tomato, Olives, Iceberg, Garlic Vinaigrette - 8
Kinda wish this had something other than iceberg but we were really pleasantly surprised. It was dressed very well and was like a chef's salad. Also very easy to split between 2-3 people if enjoyed with tapas.
Ropa Viej√° - Pulled Cuban Short Ribs, Arepa Cake, Queso Fresco - 9
I loved it...friend thought it was a little too salty (I love salt). This was probably my favorite of the tapas. The meat melted in your mouth and the sauce was delicious - the cheese added some "cool" and the arepa cake was a nice balance to the salty taste of the meat.
Fish Tacos - Corn Tortillas, Cilantro, Spanish Onions, House Sauce - 9
I didn't get to taste these but John said they were pretty good but he didn't seem to be overwhelmed.
Braised Pork Belly - Ulmo Honey, Onion Marmalade, Tostones - 11
I had a bite and it was the best Pork Belly I'd had before - I've heard it can be wonderful if cooked right. John was pleased as well...
Beef Short Ribs - Grilled Arepa, Queso Fresco, Rioja Red Sauce - 22
Judi enjoyed the short ribs very much - she had the grilled arepa - we weren't exactly sure what it was. I had it in the Ropa Vieja as well - sort of a solid cake of polenta maybe? I'd almost like to try the ropa, pork belly and short ribs all together and see how different they taste - it's hard to tell from just one bite.
Pappardelle - Spanish Fennel Sausage, Rapini, Chick Peas, Roma Tomatos - 11 Half
Excellent - such a nice flavor - very light and a lot of great flavor.
Gratineed Aged Goat's Cheese - Tomato Fondue, Grilled Cuban Bread - 7
Skip it - marinara is uninspired, goat cheese wasn't that good (and I love goat cheese), bread was fine but no real flavor.
Duck Tacos - Fresh Corn Tortillas, Queso Fresco, Apricot-Mango Salsa - 9
Loved them - Scott just thought they were okay but I thought they were almost as good as the pork tacos from Nada. Didn't realize there was apricot/mango salsa on it until just now!
I honestly don't remember which sushi we got but whatever it was - I didn't care for it. I think I'd rather just stick with sushi at all my thai places.

So overall - the food was definitely a positive! We all enjoyed the experience and I personally can't wait to go back. FYI - they even have a suckling pig you can order 72 hours in advance - they normally bring it out on a big cart, etc... There are also a couple of chef's menus...but we didn't feel like springing for the extra bucks that night.

Without drinks - if you order 4-5 tapas at an average of $10/each - you can get out of there for $25+tip - which I think is a great deal for the food, ambiance and variety!

Also - just make sure you check out the bathrooms...they're awesome! Pink Pink Pink! I love that attention to detail!

We left around 945 and by that time the bar area was PACKED PACKED PACKED!!!!! So - make sure and get your reservations made on OpenTable: Cincinnati Restaurants so you have a seat!

Bootsy's
Produced by Jeff Ruby

631 Walnut Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
513.241.0707

Bootsy's on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pigall's Closing Downtown on Feb 28!

Pigall's downtown is closing February 28 - so if you ever wanted to go - GO NOW!

Jean Robert is staying around Cincinnati...so most likely he'll open up something with someone else in the Spring. The Wade's say they'll re-open in the Spring without Jean Robert.

The other restaurants (Jean Ro, Greenup, Lavomatic, Twist) will stay open.

Check out my review from last summer!

Monday, January 19, 2009

My first taste of Hudy!!! And some chili...and some west side flava

Finally!!!! I've been trying to get together with the Westside Foodie Wannabes for over a month to go to Price Hill Chili!!! Things kept interrupting us around the holidays but finally last week - we made it!!!!

This was my first adventure to PHC and one of my first to the Westside at all! I was imagining that Price Hill Chili was just a chili parlor. I WAS SO WRONG! First, they tell me I can get beer!!! Beer and Chili?! w00t! Turns out PHC is only half of the restaurant, the other half is the Golden Fleece Lounge!

First - I must share - this is my first time for trying Hudy Delight and yes - it was in the Commemorative can! It wasn't bad - very light and I threw some lemons in...I'm down with that!

The menu is much larger than I originally thought. Are you getting gourmet food here? HELL NO! But it's good stuff - we tried a wide variety of things just because I had never been. First the Westside Girls got some Greek Bread. What the hell is Greek Bread? Hamburger buns with seasoning on them that are grilled and served with marinara.

Verdict: meh...it's fine...nice and salty. Marinara was sweet...not bad.

Next up, I had to get a cheese coney. I mean - it is Price Hill CHILI! Since the menu is so large - I had to try other things so I just opted for an appetizer of the dog...
Verdict: Good! Meatier than Skyline. The hot dog was really good - must be an actual hot dog. I still like Pleasant Ridge cuz the cheese is meltier.

Next up were the entrees. We had lots of choices between us. First the Stinger - hot roast beef with melted cheese and slaw. This was clearly the winner of the night on sight alone. Beth said she wanted gooey - and she got it!
Verdict: We were ALL jealous!

I'll touch on the other two patrons before my own - Scott had the gyro and Kristin had the grilled cheese. She admitted it was lame to get grilled cheese but again - gooey! Both were pretty happy but Scott said his gyro couldn't touch that of Mythos...
Verdict: only the gyro - wouldn't order again I bet...

Scott and I shared fries - cuz they said the basket was good for 2 and we got the Greek seasoning - which I'm a sucker for.
Verdict: AWESOME fries!

I ordered the greek sausage with homemade tomato sauce as well as onions and peppers.
Verdict: Good - a bit much bread. I liked the sausage, the sauce and the toppings...but would have liked to taste that more.

Overall - I was happily surprised with PHC - it was very busy and was really fun! That was probably the company though...it's always fun to meet the other foodies!

I'm planning on organizing a food blogger dinner out in February - so if you're a local blogger and you'd like to be included - let me know!

Price Hill Chili
4920 Glenway Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45238
Phone: 513.471.9507

Price Hill Chili on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 12, 2009

2 for $20 - A deal - yes? But is it worth it? Let's ask Johnny Carino!

My good friend Scott got a postcard offering a 2 for $20 special - it was an appetizer, 2 entrees (from a selected list) and 2 mini-desserts...we thought - what a deal!!! I was just surprised at the spot - Johnny Carinos at Voice Of America Park. Mainly I was surprised because Scott is one of the most anti-chain people and he hates the 'burbs! But off we went!

The entire "special" is based off of a limited menu - which is to be expected. Something odd at the moment is that the website lists it as unlimited soup or salad whereas the postcard we had and the menu we received said a free appetizer. We'd have rather had the soup or salad. The appetizer choices were fried mozzerella, italian nachos, calamari and bruschetta. We chose the bruschetta:
Two words - BUH-LAND! This was bruschetta that was in desperate desperate need of seasoning!!!! The grilled bread was fine...dry...but the tomato mixture was just not that good. It was chopped up bland tomatoes with olive oil and a little chopped basil. This needed garlic and salt!!!

So, next up, the entrees. There were quite a few options for this. I chose the Bowtie Festival. It was basically bowtie carbonara - there was chicken, bacon, cream sauce, tomatoes and bowtie pasta. It was good. I thought the pasta was a teenie tiny bit gummy.
The portion size was great and it was tasty. I took 1/2 home...and it didn't heat up so well. Not a surprise with any alfredo type of sauce. It just heats up as oil rather than cream. But at the restaurant - it was a great dish.

Scott got the Skilletini - which was spaghetti with marinara, peppers and onions as well as your choice of chicken, shrimp, sausage or a combo choice of 2. I was a little jealous of his - it was really really good! He got shrimp and sausage and we both loved it (we shared).
Click on the pic above - Scott covered his in about a pound of cheese so we mixed it up a bit so you could see more than cheese and skillet! I really liked his better - I thought it was great!

We saved a little room knowing we had our mini-desserts coming! There were 3 options: cheesecake, chocolate cake or tiramisu. I hate tiramisu - just don't like coffee so I don't like it...so Scott gave into me and let us get cake and cheesecake.
The mini-desserts came in little espresso cups and were about 4 bites each - which was perfect for a quick sweet fix! The cake was pretty good as far as cake goes - nuts and thick frosting. The cheesecake was also good - and had real cherries (not the cherry pie filling you get most places). Neither was earth shattering - but a nice end to a nice meal.

A couple other pluses to mention:

* the bread - as I mentioned in my Restaurant Rant bread is important. They brought bread out and a plate with olive oil and it was really good. It's crusty bread that's really soft inside - good bread! Woohoo!

* the service - we sat at the bar because the table wait was 25 minutes (expected on a Friday night at 630). The bartender Annie was great - she was on top of everything and was great!

So - Johnny Carinos final verdict? A Winner!

I mean - all that for $20 - it's a great deal and the food was good. It wasn't amazing or stunning - but it was good. And for $20 - it's hard to beat!

All in all 3 stars for the deal...2.5 without it.

7691 Voice of America Center Drive
West Chester, OH
513/779-6700 ph
www.carinos.com

Saturday, January 3, 2009

What's up Docs? Something GOOD!

So my friend Jen and I headed up to Lebanon, OH Friday night to see her fiance play at Doc's (right around the corner from the Golden Lamb). Since we were headed there, we decided to sample the food as well. We were very pleasantly surprised!!!

I was hungry and chose the Chicken Florentine pasta (info to come) which came with soup AND salad AND a breadstick! All for $12!!!! That right there is a deal!!!

First up, the chili...it was chunky, beany and spicy! A little tiny bit too spicy and it could have benefited from a garnish (shredded cheese, diced onion, sour cream, something). But - overall - good chili that definitely tasted homemade and not out of a can!

Next up - salad. It was nice. No iceberg lettuce (they must have read my last blog). It was topped with croutons, tomatoes, cucumbers, shredded cheese, and more! The dressing was a spicy honey mustard. Nice side salad...
Here's the star of the evening - well IMHO. Chicken Florentine pasta - linguine with shredded chicken, spinach leaves, portabello mushrooms and a chunky sweet marinara. First - the bowl is HUGE! I could barely eat 1/2! The marinara was nice - really tasty and a lot of it! The spinach could have been cooked just a TINY bit longer. The mushrooms - meh - I love mushrooms but these were tiny pieces. The chicken was the real star - it wasn't dry chunks of diced chicken (which was what I was expecting). It was a shredded chicken breast that was scattered throughout the dish and it was EXTREMELY moist and very tasty! I couldn't wait to gobble up the leftovers today for dinner! The breadstick had cheese baked on - it was okay.

My friend is vegetarian and she was happy with the choices - there were pasta and salad options but she chose the Gourmet Grilled Cheese (cheddar, provolone and bleu cheese) with a side of fries and a pickle. She said it was really good and hell - it was only $6!

Overall we both expected typical bland mediocre bar food - we came away very pleasantly suprised. The food was all really tasty and a deal! I definitely would go back!

I also need to mention the large menu! Besides appetizers (deep fried green beans - I wanted to try but wasn't that hungry), sandwiches, salads, soups (french leek - in Lebanon?), pasta and a full dinner menu (chateaubriand, steaks, chicken, salmon, catfish, shrimp and more!).

The chef came out and gave me a take-out menu so I could share some of these tidbits with you - they don't yet have a website.

Overall - we were very impressed with the service, the food and the atmosphere. It's a very cute little spot and has a lot of positives. I'm looking forward to heading back to Lebanon for a day of checking out the cute shops and heading back to Doc's for a burger (they looked really good too).

Doc's
12 West Mulberry
Lebanon, OH 45036
513-932-0287

Daily lunch specials. Live music Wed-Sat.