Friday, November 27, 2009

Who's got the best Raxx? Q's!

I have been driving past this former Hardee's location for a few years...it was a Mexican place for a little while...and this summer it started to change again. I could only wonder what it would become?

Finally - signs all up - and cars in the lot - it's a BBQ place! Q's Raxx has been open about 6 weeks now and according to Quentin (the Q in Q's) - it's going pretty well!

I swear - it had to have been a Hardee's - we have them in Iowa - I just know a Hardees when I see one.

Not sure which incarnation remodeled - but the "copper" ceiling is quite eye-catching...

You can order at the counter or sit down and the friendly staff (well she was that day) will stop by and take your order. It's a very casual feel.

Larry got the baby back ribs, baked beans and red beans & rice (oh joy for me later that evening).

I have to say - everything was EXCELLENT. The ribs were soooo delish - definitely rubbed with spices and the sauce is sweet and a little spicy but not too much either way. The baked beans - again - awesome. The red beans & rice were fine...

But again - the ribs - I was only able to snag one bite from him - but that bite was really great! He ate every bite and was talking about coming back the whole time.

I went for the pulled pork, mac & cheese with side of cornbread. The pork was okay - not the best I've ever had - maybe a little dry. The sauce - loved it! The mac & cheese - LOVED IT! I'm not usually a baked mac & cheese fan - but this was some good stuff.

The let down for me was the cornbread - it was like a pancake made out of cornbread mix. It wasn't what I was hoping for - but hey - I like the cheap-ass Jiffy stuff. I'm sure it's true Southern or something like that - I'm just not "in the know" for it.

The other awesome thing about Q's is the smell when you get out of your car! The smoker is behind the restaurant and it just smells freakin awesome! So you get out and the smell smacks you in the face like a cheap hooker when you ask her for change for a $10. YOWZA!

The other thing is the price - it's definitely affordable - it was like $17 for the two of us (sodas are 20 oz bottles). We will definitely be back to Q's Raxx and I'm urging you all to go there - NOW!

It's in an odd location - places haven't done well there - let's help make this place stick around for a while! It's right off 75 at Galbraith and Reading.

Q's Raxx on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

We're heading up to Mason gonna have ourselves a time...

God love my friends that live outside the 275 loop - they just don't know the lengths I go to for their friendship! You remember our two-days of traffic hell here in Cincinnati when I-71 & I-75 were two-hour rides home...well on one of those evenings we had dinner plans in Mason. So after an hour on Reading Road - we finally arrived at The Avenue!

Word on the street is that it's owned by the same family that owns the Houston Inn (frog legs and a huge salad bar). Also this spot has been a few different incarnations but now it's settled on a restaurant with a bar - it's got a definite sports bar feel. The new chef came from a country club in town (Kenwood I think) and has been at other restaurants in the area. They're hoping to make it more of a restaurant than a bar...

It's in a strip mall but is very nice inside. Dark wood - the whole manly vibe - but family friendly. Mike is the owner and he'll most likely stop by and say hi during your visit.

I chose the Lasagna and it came with a salad - really nice salad and excellent homemade ranch and croutons.

We also got bread - it was really great - didn't even use any of the butter (which is so NOT like me). It was warm and garlicky...Tasty stuff!

Here's my lasagna - portions are good sized and only $10.95. The pictures are a bit blurry - sorry - the camera doesn't do so well with dim lighting.

Now is this the best lasagna ever? No...but it's good. I enjoyed it and ate the whole thing...(I was hungry from all that driving).

Lar got the salmon - he's on a kick. It came with a choice of sauces - he chose lemon caper. It was good - cooked really well. The asparagus was nice as well. $14.95

Craig got The Avenue Fish Fry ($11.95). He had a hard time telling the fish from the fries. He's not a cole slaw person so didn't try that...but he thoroughly enjoyed the fish. The fries are huge and heavily seasoned.

Jen is such a girl - she got soup and a salad. Here's the tomato bisque - she really enjoyed it!

And her dainty House Salad with bleu cheese, pine nuts, dried cherries (ala Deweys salad). She enjoyed except for the frisee lettuce - I saw her pick it out - it's not my favorite either!

Larry also got fries with his salmon - had to show them to you - they were HUGE! Not bad - a little kick to them so if you don't like spice - probably not the choice for you.

Overall it was a good meal - about the same $$ as a night at a typical chain and good quality food. The atmosphere is pleasant and the staff does a great job. Will I head up from P-Ridge weekly? Well - no - but if I lived in that area - I'd definitely hit it up on a regular basis.


All in all - a really great evening out with our newlywed friends...awwww. Photo courtesy of PhotoSmith.

The Avenue Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Stinky Chinese is not so stinky anymore...

I used to work in downtown Covington and it was always fun and there a lot of interesting restaurants in just a few block radius. One of our very favorites was AmerAsia - otherwise known as "stinky chinese".

Why "stinky"? Well - the smell of Chinese food wafting onto the street was a start...then inside - smoke smoke smoke! So it was "stinky" and it was "Chinese".

Ahh...AmerAsia!

Here the Lar-dog poses in the nicely madeover interior! They painted and spiffed up the joint! It's much more pleasant inside - I mean - doesn't he look happy?!

I got the General's chicken with fried rice...as always they're low on vegetables. Or should I say void of vegetables. Is there a word for someone that only eats meat? Well anyway - it was good. Sticky, sweet and spicy - pretty darn spicy. The fried rice is a little different than most but it's still good.

Lar got the sweet & sour chicken - I had a bite - it's pretty good! Batter dipped...moist and juicy.

Also - saw a sign for Who Arted? - haha. It's an upcoming art sale. Click on the image to see all the details.

Overall - spiffed up and non-stinky interior plus CHEAP Chinese food = great lunch! It wasn't even $12 for 2 lunches and 2 drinks.

AmerAsia on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thank you Kelly - you introduced me to Penn Station!

Nearly six years ago my good friend Kelly and I were heading to lunch and she said "Have you had Penn Station?" I said - "Uh no - what's that?" After picking her jaw up off the floor - she immediately drove me to the Newport Penn Station and my life has never been the same!

The parking lot is a little odd - it's near the Rio Grande that I also love (review coming soon).

And here it is - the amazing fantastic philly steak with mayo, cheese, extra mushrooms and onions. It was on special so it came with fries and a drink.

The fries are fried in peanut oil which gives them a unique and awesome (if you ask me) taste. They are also made from whole potatoes right in the restaurant - always a plus!

The bread is crispy - the guys that work there have it all down to a science - Penn Station is a favorite of mine in Cincinnati. It's also about 100x better than that Great Steak place (yuck!).

So if you're new to Cincy like I was almost six years ago - make sure you stop at a Penn Station sometime soon - you won't be disappointed!

Penn Station on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Edith - here's some crappy falafel!

My baby sister turned 21 last weekend and I took her and a few friends out to lunch. We were supposed to go to Seasons in downtown Springfield. Unfortunately (really really unfortunately) they are not open for lunch on Saturdays - BOOOO! I've been there once before and it's amazing. Instead we went around the corner to Mela Urban Bistro. It's in the Courtyard Marriott...I should have known.
Pretty logo...good start.

Here's Edith making her sad face...if only we knew what was coming to us...Happy Birthday Kid!

angus burger - 8oz burger served with a Caribbean jerk sauce, fresh avocado slices and crisp apple wood smoked bacon on a toasted onion roll served with cajun fries —$10

well the burger is a pre-made patty - yuck. The avocado was old and just not good. The cajun fries were just regular old fries slathered in some crappy seasoning. Not good.

smoked turkey melt panini - sliced smoked turkey topped with a white cheese spinach and artichoke spread —$10

The salad on the side was a bit odd - fruit and veggies - sis didn't really try it. other girl did - didn't compliment it. The chips were okay and the sandwich was okay. This was the best of the bunch although I'm sure betting that turkey was just deli meat.

parmesan & herb crusted salmon - salmon filet pan seared and crusted with parmesan and fresh herbs served atop grilled asparagus draped with bernaise sauce —$13

After the full plates covered in fries, chips and veggies this salmon looked really damn lonely. The salmon was okay. The asparagus was horrible. Dry, wilted, flavorless - just bad!

And now for the offending item of the day:

falafel stuffed pita - pita stuffed with falafel, house made hummus, lettuce, tomato and
dressed with a tahini sauce—$8

This was HORRID. Like there are no words to express how awful this was. Leslie nibbled away at the pita and lettuce mentioning something of an odd flavor but no real complaints. I asked to taste it so I could give an opinion on the blog. What happened next...just wow.

I didn't video my reaction to the taste - but decided to make my sister try it. And here is her reaction:




Yes it was THAT bad.

Why? Well it was cold - I just have never had COLD falafel. It's like a vegetarian meatball - I don't want to eat a cold meatball. Then it had this lemon-flavored smear - not sure if that was the hummus or tahini - but it was gross. I really couldn't get any further. One bite - two chews - spit. It tasted like dirt covered in lemon pledge.

Then the fun began - we made Karen try it...then Edith. The video was great...it was the gift that kept on giving! It is also a great trick for friends - Karen said her boyfriend will eat ANYTHING - so I hope she takes him to Mela and makes him try the falafel pita.

Since the meal was a bust we thought we had better get dessert. This was the snickers pie - $5.

Completely straight out of a box with Hershey's syrup squirted on top. Looks much better than it tastes - neither girl was impressed.

Edith got birthday key lime tart - $5. They did bring it with a candle. It was pretty good - I tried a little bite - light and fluffy. Edith was hoping it was neon green...she'd never had key lime anything before.

Then the final disappointment - cookie dough gelato. This would make the folks over at Dojo vomit. It was runny and flavorless - then there was a hunk of cookie dough in the middle of the liquid and topped off with non-ripe strawberries. Delightful!

I left this note (click on it and it enlarges) on the back of the receipt. The service was fine - and they brought more Mountain Dews than a busload of high school kids would need.

I know it's mean to leave a note like that - but really - it was horrid. Like I was SHOCKED that anybody would ever ever serve that! I can't fathom how anybody could eat it! I like falafel (Myra's in Clifton) but this was atrocious.

So to the folks at Seasons - please oh please open up on Saturdays for lunch. Springfield is short on options for restaurants and I can't ever go back to Me'la.

Me'la An Urban Bistro on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Graeters vs. UDF - Ah hell...we all win!

I always love when I find someone new to Cincinnati ice cream. Most people all say Graeter's is the best - but I have a soft spot (in mah belly) for UDF as well.

First up, Graeter's...

Recently the boyfriend's daughter was with us and she's grown up in Felicity and told us she's never ever had Graeter's!?! If you're not familiar with Felicity - well it's east...far far far FAR east (and south now that I look at Google) and apparently - they don't have Graeter's there!

I went for cookie dough chip and she went for chocolate chocolate chip. Amazing as usual...I practically licked my bowl.

There's really no commenting you can do - Graeter's is creamy and delicious. If you've never had it - the standout really is the "chips". They're huge - they're like half a chocolate bar.

My favorite Graeter's story is when I sent the Black Raspberry Chip & Montgomery Inn package from CincyFavorites.com to my Iowa friends for Christmas. I got a phone call from Amy and her 4 year old (my adorable boy) was covered in purple ice cream and had a message for me, "Thith ith the betht ithe cream EVER!!!!!" How can you not love that?

Should also mention - Graeter's has chocolates, candies and a lot more than just ice cream.

Graeter's on Urbanspoon

Then - on every other corner - there's a UDF. When I moved here I had no idea what the hell a UDF was - now I can't live without them.

I really love the ice cream - there are two brands - UDF and Homemade. There are $$ specials and flavor specials every month - this month - PEANUT BUTTER! There are:
  • Homemade Brand Peanut Butter 'N Chip
  • UDF Brand Mini PB Cups & Fudge
  • UDF Brand Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
I've been addicted to the last one - it's peanut butter ice cream with chunks of cookie dough. Oye- so amazing! I actually bought a hand-packed pint last night because I just couldn't resist!

UDF also has the Graeter's-traditional flavor of Black Raspberry Chip - their chips are much more like "chips" you're used to getting in store-bought ice cream. It's all good either way but not nearly the "wow" factor of Graeter's.

UDF - as many know - also has gas, milk and all the other convenience store type of accouterments (love using that word - reminds me of Michael from the Office).

Udf #51 on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Catering Review #2: Montgomery Inn

Last week we had clients in town and that only means one thing - CATERED LUNCH! Thus I had to continue the catering blog on TheFoodHussy.com.

Ah - Montgomery Inn. They bring quite a spread and it's nice to have something hot and more like "real food". Plus - it's always good to share the best of Cincinnati with the out-of-town clients.

Bib anyone?

Pulled chicken to the left - pulled pork to the right. I always go for the pork...ALWAYS.

Best part of MI catering - a huge pan of saratoga chips! These are delicious and pretty much everybody's favorite. There's no way we could polish them all off - but the rest of the office was happy to oblige!

Along with the chips - a jug o' sauce!

As if people want vegetables - we got some. I skip the coleslaw - not a big fan. Loaded up on a big plate of salad - pretty plain but tasty and balances out the chips and bun nicely.

I like that they give you GOOD ranch! It's ranchy-ranch - thick and creamy - DELICIOUS! Too many places use craptastic ranch now a days - not Montgomery Inn - it's the good stuff!

And here's the finished product - sammich, chips, salad and sauces. It was a great lunch. On a scale of 1-10 for catering - Montgomery Inn is definitely a 9.

I really don't choose to go there often - but for a catering option - it's great. Very different than cold sandwiches and saratoga chips go a long way with office morale!


Montgomery Inn at the Boathouse on Urbanspoon