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Monday, September 28, 2009

Take a break from eating out...just for a day...

You all know how much I love food. I write about it all the damn time! Well today - I'm taking a break from dining out. I packed my lunch today so I could take that $5-10 I'd spend on food and donate it to a good cause.

I've lived here for 5 1/2 years and still remember the first person I met when I got out of the car after the long 9 hour drive from Cedar Rapids, IA.

It was the guy you see in the picture to the right. His name is Jason. He and his wife were moving into the apartment below mine at the exact same time as I was. Seemed a little odd since it was a Sunday night around 8pm...but hey...things happen for a reason.

Later that summer, a repeat offense drunk driver killed Jason.

Since then I've become very close to his late wife. If it hadn't been for his passing - we probably would have kept passing in the halls until they moved into their new house and then gone our separate ways. But, that's not the way the cards were dealt.

Danielle organized a team to walk in the annual MADD fundraiser the next year and we've been doing it ever since. Dani is pretty amazing because her team keeps coming in first every year. It's a testament to the kind of person Jason was.

Here's a message from Danielle:

On July 9th, 2004, Jason Presley, my husband and the love of my life, was killed by a drunk driver. He died from a cause that is totally preventable, and after a year and 7 months of marriage, I became a widow at the age of 27.

My family was contacted by MADD, and as we went through the court procedings, a representative from MADD was there to help us through the process and to make sure the judge knew that he was being watched by the public as he determined a sentence.

MADD has done and continues to do a great deal to eliminate drunk driving. Not only do they offer victim services and put pressure on judges to act as justly as possible given the laws, they are working hard to have laws changed.

One of these laws they are working to get passed in all states involves the interlock ignition device. With this device, a passenger must breathe into a device before the car will start. They are working to make it mandatory for these to be installed for offenders. There is also new technology that uses the sweat from your hands on the steering wheel to determine if it's safe for the vehicle to start. With these new technologies, GREAT STRIDES can be made to end this horrific crime!

One in three people will be affected by drunk driving in their lifetime - those are NOT good odds for any of us! Stand with me in supporting MADD as they work diligently to see an end to drunk driving and the needless injuries and deaths that occur as a result of it.


Thanks,

Danielle

One in three...that's a big number.

So take a break from eating lunch out tomorrow and donate that $5-10 to Walk Like MADD. It's easy - all you have to do is click on the photo of Jason and Danielle in the top right of this page or click here.

Thanks...and now back to our regularly scheduled food blogging.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

If you'd like to be insulted and get an awesome bagel...

Marx Bagels is an experience. And it's not for the faint of heart. The staff is curt, bossy and quite often - rude. But - it's all in fun. I don't know how "PC" this is - but it's a Jewish bagel shop with lots of Jewish things like Challah bread. They have a ton of bagels, lox, cream cheese and all sorts of stuff. You can buy Marx Bagels at some Bigg's locations...not sure where else. They're good.

I stopped in the other day and got my standard. Salt bagel with 1/2 egg salad and 1/2 tuna salad. The tuna salad used to be Weight Watchers recipe - not sure if it still is or not - my friend says it tastes the same...so maybe? I have to get 1/2 & 1/2 because all of one would be too much - but the split is nice. And truly - unless I'm really hungry - it's nearly two meals!

On this day I also tried a cookie. They aren't made on site - come from another state per label. Honestly - I didn't like it. I didn't realize that it wasn't probably just a regular old sugar cookie...it was drier and not as sweet.

I love Brueggers and Panera - but sometimes - I like to be bossed around while waiting for some fantastic tuna salad.

And if you think I'm kidding - once I walked in during the winter. Someone came in behind me in shorts. One of the main guys hollered "Heads up everybody - somebody from Kentucky just walked in...talk slower when you ask for his order."

I totally laughed...

Marx Hot Bagels on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Restaurant Week - Iron Horse 2.0

Earlier this year I went to the Iron Horse/Brackers Tavern in Glendale and didn't have a very good visit. The food wasn't good, the service wasn't good, it just wasn't so good. But I have a lot of friends that live in Glendale and they begged me to give it another shot.

Restaurant Week came around and Iron Horse has a new chef, new menu and they've sort of merged the "two" locations. Brackers Tavern is the upstairs and Iron Horse is the more formal area downstairs. Previously they had two separate menus but now it's all one menu. The upstairs does have $6 apps during happy hour, etc...

But - back to Restaurant Week - here is a link to the full RW menu.

Here's the outside patio area - it's on the parking lot side. It's a nice view - looking onto the courtyard and local businesses.

Dinner started with a basket of bread and crisps. The crisps are really great - well seasoned. The bread was also tasty and came with seasoned butter. The butter was really just plain butter with salt and seasoning sprinkled on top. It was pretty salty and I love salt. But - the butter was soft!

We were greeted with an amuse buche. It was a salmon mousse (I think - it's been a week) and tasted like flavored cream cheese. But it was good - two perfect little bites.

My friend went for the Sweet Tomato-Basil Bisque w/Blue Cheese Croquette. I took a bite or two. The bisque was just okay - it wasn't near as tasty and flavorful as the Red Pepper Bisque I'd had before. My friend did greatly enjoy the croquette. It was very very cheesy!

Also - I'll say now - the service was IMPECCABLE. The server was clearly very very knowledgeable and very accommodating. One of our guests had to leave to take a business call. He then brought out the courses for us but held his back and then accommodated us again when I had to leave early. It was night and day compared to my last visit in the service department!

Because I have to get something different, I chose the Steamed Mussels w/Sweet Chili, White Wine and Basil. They were good. I think I like my mussels cooked just a little longer. They weren't raw but maybe "rare". I'm not sure whats ideal in the culinary world but for me - a little rare. But the broth that they were cooked in was very tasty. I dipped every mussel in the juice and it added a lot of flavor.

They also had Matt Snow, a Frank Sinatra impersonator, performing upstairs. There was also a Marilyn Monroe impersonator mingling with guests - not sure if she performed as I had to leave early. He was okay - not sure how much he sounded like Frank but he was entertaining the above 50 crowd nonetheless. (Our table was the youngest by at least 30 years.)

Onto the next course. I think we each wish we had each others! My friends selected the Spinach Salad w/Fried Onion, Bacon, Egg & Maple Vinaigrette. I had a bite - the onion rings were perfectly cooked and I thought it was great!

I chose the Iron Horse salad (Pickled Red Onion, Goat’s Milk Cheddar, Pecans, Blackberry Vinaigrette). It was fine...I liked the other one a lot more.

One of our party got the Pan Seared Tilapia w/Warm Lump Crab & Brussel Sprout salad & Lemon Brown Butter Vinaigrette. I had a couple bites - it was okay but not wowing by any means. I kinda think if you're bringing people in for Restaurant Week - you should try and wow them - at least a bit.

Two of us chose the Braised Pork Osso Bucco w/Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes & Sauteed Spinach with Apples & Bacon. This was wowing! First - it's beautiful. Second - it's delicious. Third - it's enough for 2!

They also had a Vegetarian Spaghetti and "Meat"balls. The Osso Bucco was just too tempting to resist.

Overall the food quality and service was much better than my last visit. I still think the prices are too high and apparently - they cater to the over 50 crowd. It depends on what the goal of the owner is - does she want only that crowd? Does that crowd sustain the costs? I'll let her decide that.

Here's my beef - and it's across the board for Restaurant Week - if you're bringing people into your restaurant - maybe you should serve things that are actually on your menu! The soup, mussels, spinach salad, tilapia and osso bucco - none are on their menu! (At least according to the website.)

It doesn't make much sense for me to come and try your food if none of that food is actually on the menu?! I loved the Osso Bucco and want it again...but it's not on the menu?!

But again - much much better time than my last visit - so job well done on improving food and service.

Iron Horse Inn on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

chickenjoy? pretty sure it was chicken...not so sure about the joy

There's a new joint down in the food court in downtown Cincinnati and it's chickenJoy! The BF and I were enjoying our Friday lunch together and the line at the other chicken place was too long so we decided to try out the new guys.

Well - it looks nice. The menu (you can click on the photo for a larger shot) has rotisserie and fried chicken along with some sides. There is also a breakfast menu.

I chose the dark meat with a roll and cole slaw. We both went for the rotisserie. The chicken was just okay. Not much flavor - the fat was fatty rather than crispy. It was also sort of sticky-chewy. You know what I mean? Sometimes it sticks to your teeth when you chew it.

The cole slaw was fine...nothing to brag about. Not as good as the OTHER other chicken place.

The roll was borderline gross. It was cold and dry.

BF felt the same about his chicken choice. The wing for his was an oddly whacked off hunk of bird. Very fatty. He said the taters were fine but he's not too discerning when it comes to food - he's only begun his food journey - unlike me. (it's a joke people - don't start flinging the taters at me.)

Overall - not too much joy. I'd rather have Chicken #1 or Sbarro's. And they looked lonely...

Side note - owners of chickenJoy are supposedly linked to sushi place going into former Churchill's spot upstairs of food court.

ChickenJoy on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 21, 2009

Skinny Legs - Bellevue's Best!

Recently I headed out to lunch with a friend and decided to see what Bellevue, Kentucky has to offer. Well the answer was quite a lot! As Polly Campbell recently displayed, Bellevue has a lot going on when it comes to dining out!

Skinny Legs is on the the main street that takes you through Bellevue. If you're not sure where this is - go like you're going to Newport on the Levee but instead of a Left towards the Levee - turn right...in about 1 mile - you're there!

Inside it's surprisingly open. The ceilings are tall and there is a 2nd floor but it's not used for the public right now. The bar area is very nice and there's a separate room off to the left with booths.

My friend got a burger. The owners of Skinny Legs used to own Zola's so she'd heard great things about the burgers. Her choice was one with a fried egg on top! She was VERY pleased!

One of the sides was slaw and she had to try it - again - very very happy with this selection.

I went for sin on a plate. My trainer BF was not very pleased when he saw this photo. It is grilled chicken under all that mess - give me a little credit! It's the Miss Kentucky Chicken Sandwich - I remember that much. There was pepper jack, cole slaw (same as photo above), avocado and bbq sauce I think. Then, because that's obviously not enough, I made the fries bacon/cheese fries.

It was delicious! The whole thing - I basically licked the plate. I can't wait to go back!

And because sandwiches were on special that day - it was like $5.75 or something like that (plus a little extra for my cheesy goodness on the fries).

No idea what this sign is selling - but dude - they have a Bimbo sign in the bar. It cracked me up.

Also must note - the server did a great job. She was attentive, knowledgeable and very friendly. It's a pub so I don't expect much - but this was over a week ago and I still remember her - so that's saying something.

Skinny Legs on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cafe Martin - a hidden gem!

My good friend John wanted to meet up for lunch because it had just been far too long since he'd shared space with the FoodHussy! He suggested we hit up Cafe Martin on Garfield.

This place really is hidden - because if you're on Garfield - you won't find it! It's inside the hotel BUT it's not the lounge! You have to walk around the wall...

The easier entrance is on Vine St - right across from the library and next to LeBoxx.

Just a pretty shot of the lamp - I like that they have these custom lamps - they're nice.

Generic inside shot - I have to say though - I was recognized! Our server actually said, "Um are you the Food Hussy?" Why, YES I AM! It was pretty fun.

I got the smothered chicken ($8.95) which comes with one side and I chose onion rings. Very glad I did - they were AWESOME! The chicken was good too - and I felt $8.95 was a nice price for something other than a sandwich. The chicken was juicy - the veges were a little big and maybe could have been sauteed a little longer. BUT the onion rings were perfection!

John got the Louisiana Wrap for $7.95. Blackened chicken, lettuce, tomato, and caramelized
onions rolled with Pepper Jack cheese and spicy Cajun remoulade sauce. He was pleased and the fries were fine but he was very very jealous of my onion rings.

You've probably walked by Cafe Martin a thousand times and never wandered in - I would recommend stopping next time and trying it out! They also have pizzas which is what the server recommended but they take 20 minutes and we didn't have that much time that day.

Cafe Martin on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 14, 2009

All You Can Eat Sushi but not tonight - it's Birthday Hibatchi!

My dear fabulous young gorgeous intelligent captivating and just plain amazing friend Marla recently had a birthday (thus all the niceties) and we all went out for hibatchi and sushi to Tokyo Japanese in Sharonville!

(for the all-you-can-eat info - you gotta read the whole thing!)

Shot of Marla and Steve in their completely awesome huge ass classic convertible.

Marla mainly wanted sushi - and this is close to her beautiful home in Glendale - so it's why we went. This is the rainbow roll and some Japanese beer - very fancy!

I think I went for the Reds Roll - I like rolls best with avocado and cream cheese and all the things that shouldn't be in sushi. Oooh and some big ol' shrimp tempura. You know - how the hell are you supposed to eat the tempura on the ends - I mean really??? But I managed.

The sushi was good - friends also got sashimi and such. Pretty impressed.

But it's also a hibatchi grill (ala Benihana) so here we have the soup and salad. Both kinda sucked. The soup - hell what's the point? It's just broth. And the salad - the dressing had huge chunks in it and wasn't good. I skipped in favor of sushi!

As with any hibatchi grill - you get the fun chef that flips his spatulas...

and makes happy faces out of oil...

and then sets them on fire!

First up, fried rice. He did the whole spinning egg thing too - my camera wasn't quick enough. If you haven't been to one of these - it is great fun!

You can choose from vegetables ($13), chicken ($14), steak ($18 maybe), shrimp or scallops ($19 maybe) to have with your rice/vegetables.

I went for chicken and my fried rice...very very tasty!

BF is allergic to eggs so he skipped the fried rice and got steak. His plate looks so sad! They also cook up shrimp and give everybody a few - cooked perfectly.

Then, of course, the onion volcano...

which has it's flames put out by a little plastic peeing boy...it's fun.

After the rice/meats are done - then we get veggies - they were really great. I do love them.

It's always a little odd because you sort of get your meal in chunks - rice...meat...veggies... I try and hold off so I get to mix them all together at least for a few bites.

And we'll end with a shot of the birthday girl getting some surprise cake from the staff. Always a nice end. It was funny - you know every Chinese buffet has the little squares of bland odd cake. Well they took four squares and set them together and then put a gallon of whipped cream on top - but hey - made it easier to share!

Overall - it's not the best hibatchi place I've been to. Strangely enough - that was in Marion, IA (Osaka)! I haven't been to Benihana yet - it's the BFs favorite so we're saving that for something special. But this is a good place - especially considering it's in Sharonville.

Also - the title of the blog - yes - All You Can Eat Sushi on Wednesday nights for $25.95. That's about the cost of 2 of the expensive rolls. If you can eat enough sushi to justify it - go for it! I love rolls - so I probably could. Sashimi is probably $2-5/each - so that adds up quickly as well (you have to eat the whole thing though - no just eating the piece of fish and leaving the rice).

Tokyo Japanese on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Another Day, Another Diner

On another trip to see my little sis in Springfield, we had to explore a new dining spot! Sis and I actually drive around looking for new little diners to go to...and we found another!
Elton's on Main is your typical diner - nice little family-owned place. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner - things like chopped steak, chicken fingers, country-fried steak and even my blessed pork tenderloin!

While on the way to Elton's we drove by a used car lot and saw this Mustang. The BF loves loves loves Mustangs and this was somethin else so I had to take a picture.

Drinks come in big ass Mason jars...you know that's a good sign of things to come!

I got a side salad and have to say - it may not look like much - but it was really great! There were carrots, radishes, cheese, fried onions and best of all homemade ranch.

Here's a shot of the diner...the tree in the corner stays up all year I'm guessing and gets decorated for the seasons...it's a fall tree now. It's not fancy - but it's homey.

Sis got the California Melt (veggie burger, swiss, mustard, pickle, rye) and liked it - she said it was darn good for a veggie burger. And for $2.50 extra you get two sides!

There are so many sides to choose from: salad, red beans & rice, black beans & rice, baked potato, french fries, home fries, mac & cheese, broccoli, green beans, cottage cheese, cole slaw, applesauce, pickled beets/eggs (um ew), corn nuggets (wtf), onion rings, california blend, corn, sweet potato casserole and mashed potatoes! WHEW - that's a list!

I got the pork tenderloin because I get them whenever I can. They aren't the same as the ones back home but it was good. Crispy breading, juicy thin tenderloin, mm mm good!

As you can see - I got the mac & cheese. it was good - very velveeta shells & cheese but I think homemade because the shells were huge. Very good.

Overall Elton's isn't anything too special or stand out - but if you're hungry and in Springfield - it's worth a stop.

Elton's On Main on Urbanspoon