Recipe for the Holiday Weekend!

The folks at Allens (frozen & canned veges) are sending me some free vegetables to try. I hear they have these new "steamer" items and I'm pretty psyched about trying them! They're going to be available at Kroger - so keep your eyes open for them.

Along with the free goods - they also sent me a recipe to try for the holiday weekend. It sounds really good and simple - thank God! That's the only cooking I know how to do! Where do you find chipotle pepper in adobe sauce - anybody know?

Give it a try over the weekend and let me know what you think!

Cincinnati Caviar

1 bag (12 oz.) Allens Frozen Super Sweet Kernel Corn, cooked according to package directions and chilled
⅓ cup finely diced green peppers
⅓ cup finely diced red peppers
⅓ cup finely diced red onions
1 can (15.5 oz.) Allens black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. minced garlic
1½ cups diced tomatoes
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce, finely diced

In large mixing bowl, combine corn, green peppers, red peppers, red onion, black beans, garlic, and tomatoes. In small mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour over vegetables and toss to combine. Chill 1 to 2 hours before serving so flavors can combine. Serve with pita or tortilla chips.

Serves: 16

Congratulations Sis!!!!!

My baby sister has done it...she graduated college. WOOHOO!!!!! After four years at Wittenberg - we had to celebrate!

Sis thoroughly enjoyed her experience and if you're looking for a small school to go to with an excellent reputation - you should check it out. It's in Springfield, just about an hour-ish north of Cincinnati.

The dining options in Springfield though are a bit slim - but I knew of one "nice" place - Seasons Bistro & Grille in downtown Springfield. Off we went!

Salads were the starters - caesar was Mom & Sis' choice. Pretty standard fare...

I went for the House Salad made with their homemade Lemon Vinaigrette. Not very creative as far as a salad goes but the lemon dressing is nice and not overpowering with lemon as you think it might be.

Larry got the wedding soup - really just for me. This was delicious - very delicate with lots of meatballs.

Sis is a chicken-head and got the Chicken Scaloppini with Gremolata ($20). I tried some (of course) and really enjoyed it - sorta wished I had chosen this. It was light but filling and very delicious.

I opted for their special which was a carbonara with lobster. It was okay - the veggies weren't really sauteed enough and the lobster wasn't in very big chunks. I think it also was overpowered by the alfredo sauce...

Larry got Maria's Mediterranean Salmon ($20) and this was really good. He's always on a salmon kick and I should probably start following him. Much healthier choice as well...

Mom got the Filet of Beef ($27) and again - good choice. The meat was really well cooked - I never like to get steak because it seems sort of basic and not much of a challenge. But Mom's get what Mom's want! haha

Here's me and the new grad - obviously one of us forgot to bring sunscreen.

Sis & Mom got the Warm Chocolate Cake ($7) - basically a molten cake. I should have - this was really good. I was able to coax sis into giving me one small bite - whew!

I went for the Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake ($6). It was awful. They described the shortcake/biscuit as moist - um no - it was like a hockey puck. It was sooooo bad! The strawberries, whipped creme and chocolate were fine - but the shortcake was horrendous. I needed a knife to cut it.

I have to say - overall - a disappointment. I had been once before when I'd gone up to see the Frank Lloyd Wright house and it was delicious and amazing. This trip was just okay. Far better than the Falafel debacle at Mela but nothing I'd run back for.

Why Should You Go? Well it's nice and better than anyplace else I found in Springfield. But really - head to Mike & Rosy's or Yellow Springs and you'll be happier.

Seasons Bistro and Grille on Urbanspoon

Pleasant Ridge Goodness!

Living in Pleasant Ridge we have a few interesting dining choices: Molly Malones, Gas Light, Loving Cafe, PR Chili, Emanu, Rasheeda's (and probably something else I'm forgetting).

This is on Montgomery - right across from PR Chili. It used to be Emanu before they moved down half a block to their beautiful new space. I've been wanting to stop since it opened and finally - just did it.

The location is very small and we were dirty from yard work so we went for takeout instead...

I've heard about the chicken so we went for that. I got dark meat with yams & mac & cheese. The chicken - delicious. The yams were good and plentiful but I couldn't finish them all. The mac & cheese was definitely homemade and better than most.

Larry went for the white meat with the butter roasted potatoes and beans. We both got cornbread. The beans came in a to-go cup and were delicious! Maybe my favorite thing about the whole meal.

We also got some wings and our other piece of cornbread. The cornbread was really great too - not the "yellow" kind I'm used to - not quite as sweet but really great.

We both enjoyed the meal very much and they have specials on different days of the week - Sundays is Jerk Duck and I gotta try that very soon!

Honestly we weren't expecting much but we were pleasantly surprised. The meals (2 piece chicken, 2 sides & cornbread) were $8 each - not bad for home cooking!

One thing to note - because it's so small - they don't have much of a staff. They told us 10 minutes and we got there and waited for another 5. I wasn't real sure they knew I was there since nobody came out - but then magically - Rasheeda (I'm guessing) came out with bags of food for myself and the other waiting customers...

Why Should You Go? Home cooking for $8/meal - sounds good to me?! Plus its a different flavor completely than KFC or the like...

Rasheedah's Deli on Urbanspoon

Wicked-wich - Wicked-good?

I finally had the chance to meet up with my fantastic friend Marla and hit up the Wicked-wich on Sycamore.

I've heard really great things about this place - Get In Mah Belly even raved about it just a couple days ago!

They are very friendly - asked if we'd been there before and explained the whole menu and ordering system to us. They have some pre-chosen selections on the board but really encourage you to create your own 'wich.

They definitely pride themselves on their rubbed & roasted meats. This chicken does look damn good...

Also at the front counter - dessert! I got a carrot cake and it was okay. I'm not a huge carrot cake fan thus I have no idea why I picked it. The wrap is also creative as well. I liked it - just didn't love it.

Marla got their daily broomstick (aka special) - something with portabella and grilled onions. She really enjoyed it and the sandwich size is pretty good for a special.

On the reco of the gentleman above - I got the roast beef on some type of roll he recommended with goat cheese. I liked it - again - didn't love it. The meat was flavorful and plentiful. The goat cheese - as much as I love the stuff - wasn't near as good as swiss would have been. I always hesitate to make my own at places like this or Gilpins because I fear I won't make a good selection.

Marla got a tomato soup which she did like...I had a bite - creamy and mellow - very tasty! Not a ton of flavor - but that was fine by her...she's not a fan of something that reaches out and grabs you.

I got the bean soup - it was chunky and full of flavor. It was also full of salt. At first - I loved this - but after about 5 bites - the salt was overwhelming. The flavor was SOOOOO good - I just wish it hadn't been overcome by salt.

There is also a pretty neat mural on the wall...and I have to say the decor is great. It's very modern and funky - not what you expect in a deli.

One other thing to address is price - the sandwiches are $7-ish. Then the sides are $1.50 each. I chose soup ($2.95) instead because the sides just weren't sounding good that day (wheatberry salad, couscous crunch, etc...). I'm not a huge fan of those type of sides - just me personally. So add $7.50 for sandwich, $3 for soup, $2 for drink and probably $2 for dessert - well - it was a little pricey. I was trying to try bits of everything - so I went a bit more than I normally would for a lunch - but just be aware - it's not a $5 footlong. Granted - it's far more unique - but just know that going in.

Why Should You Go? If you really like a good sandwich - then definitely check it out. But maybe try their pre-chosen ones if you're not 100% sure what you want...

Wicked-wich on Urbanspoon

Finally - Five Guys!

My fantastic coworker Elvis...I mean Mark...has been hounding me about getting to Five Guys and finally - I made it happen! We decided to hit up the Rookwood spot for our trial date...

It's near Yagoot if you're trying to place the location...which is a great spot but would there be room for frozen goodness after a burger & fries from these Five Guys?

Walking in it sort of reminds you of Steak & Shake - red & white tile and very bright. The staff is super friendly and greets you instantly. There's a menu overhead - very simple - you order and then head to your seat. Also - you'll see it says "All Toppings Are Free" - that's awesome. They have a LOT of toppings!

There are also giant sacks of potatoes around the joint...I wonder if they really have potatoes in them or if it's just for show?

Ah peanuts...I was all polite and didn't throw the shells on the floor.

Larry got a cheeseburger as did I but with less toppings and we decided to split some fries. They are good fries...Very Penn-Stationish...

I got a burger with a bunch of toppings - American cheese, tomato, mushrooms, BBQ sauce and probably other stuff I can't remember. It was delicious!!!!! So good! I can't wait to go back and at least I don't have to plan my life around it - I love Terry's - but have been trying to go for WEEKS and can never get in for less than a 45 minute wait!

And we definitely did not have room for Yagoot :-( but we were happy to be full! Five Guys is great!

Why Should You Go? It's a great burger in Rookwood - which is definitely lacking on the excellent food options. Plus they have locations popping up all over the place - definitely a good stop!

Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

Glendale Wine, Beer & Food Festival!

My good friends Rachel & Marla live in Glendale and both told me about the Inaugural Glendale Wine, Beer & Food Festival so I had to go!

There were a half-dozen different food vendors and then tons of beer & wine! I think there were probably a dozen or more tents and each had a different brand of booze. It was definitely fun. The event was free but you bought tickets for beer/wine (beer was 6 for $10) and then paid cash for food. These were "tasting" sized servings - so about a 1/2 plastic cup of beer - fyi for next year.

There are so many wonderful areas on the square in Glendale - the Gazebo is definitely a good one to take a break at.

We were hungry so we stopped at the Grassfed Organic food cart. My mom (in town for sis' college graduation) got a burger and I got a sausage melt.

Here's mom's burger. They were very giving with the cheese and it was really great cheese. I wasn't too thrilled with my sausage melt - I was thinking more of a link sausage - with peppers & onions type of melt. It was just a thin sausage patty with not a lot of flavor. I should have gone to the Friendly Stop...but the cheese was good!

These are the truffle fries from the Daveed's booth. There was a really nice lady in line that let me take a pic of her and even try one. They were darned good. I've been seeing Daveed's at these type of events a lot more and they're selling their own products now.

You can't go to Glendale and not see a dog - the square is always full of dogs! These two Greyhounds regularly make the rounds at these local events and are soooo sweet! I'll have to bring our new pup to an event soon!

As we were strolling around - I saw a very welcoming sight - CUPCAKES! I instantly knew by the colors of the booth that it was Sugar from Milford. Their website is out of date as they've been open for a while. This was the chocolate truffle cupcake and man it was tasty! Melt-in-your-mouth goodness!

Next stop was the Grand Finale booth. They are right next door to my friend Rachel's house and I know the owner - always a good stop. They're best known for Sunday brunch.

From their menu they were serving their Bacon, Tomato & Lobster Deviled Eggs. This I had to try! It was pretty darned good and definitely a nice twist on a deviled egg.

Then I saw something and thought of my sister - wellies! She's a big fan of them and has gone through a pair a year through her college time. These are embroidered and have a funky design to them as well. They're $65 a pair and that includes the personalization. You can order them from Zou Baby - it's a local company - try them out!

Of course - had to have a squirrel - it is Glendale. If you don't know about the squirrels - here's the dish. They are adorable little fellas!

The Century House is also back open - they had a pretty extensive fire last year. It's a nice gift shop that has lots of unique items. Definitely a place to stop for a special gift! I quickly found my beer for the night - Leinenkugel Summer Shandy. This lovely young man and I were fast friends as I kept returning with ticket after ticket. It's a light beer with a lemon kick (my favorite). Hoping to find this at Party Source!

And my night wouldn't be complete without a stop to see Rachel & Kevin - slinging the good stuff.

I have to say Glendale is a very tight knit and friendly community. Everytime I go I see someone I know. Warm, friendly and fun - 3 words that perfectly describe this little community. And be sure to check out their street fair in September - Rachel sells her jewelry and it's fantastic! (If you need some sooner than September - shoot me an email.)

Hell Yeah for Hardees!

There are a few things I miss about Iowa...Cheese Rites from Maid Rite, Potato Oles from Taco Johns, Queso Dip from Carlos O'Kellys and yes Breakfast at Hardees. I realize all of these will cause heart attacks - why do you think I moved?

Alas, I was recently hungry in Kentucky and ran across a Hardees and had to stop! Unfortunately we weren't there at breakfast time so I settled for lunch...

Ahhhh familiarity.

They had quite a different menu than before - these are my cheesy bacon fries and they were pretty damned good. Not much different than I'd get at many "bar food" type restaurants.

They have these new Grilled Cheese Bacon Thickburgers - and I had to get one. I admire Hardees for always trying new things and having more than just a plain old burger. Their hot ham & cheese has always been a favorite. This thing was big and cheesy and for fast food - damn yummy.
They also have these new Berry Berry shakes and that was again DELICIOUS. Really it was my favorite part - Larry ordered it but then I stole it. He didn't even get a drink. That's how I roll.

I also must give some Kudos to this location - it was immaculate and had an incredibly friendly staff.

Why Should You Go? Well first - you gotta find one. Then - go cuz it's different than Wendys and far better than McDonalds (don't get me wrong - I eat that too). Their biscuits for breakfast though are really great - Loaded Omelet - awesome. Just go for a jog afterwards...

Hardee's on Urbanspoon