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Friday, July 30, 2010

GIVEAWAY DAY! QDOBA!!!

So the folks over at Qdoba have been very generous with me and now - generous with you too!

They gave me 5 gift cards with 4 entrees each on them to giveaway to my readers! Yeah!!! I'm giving away 20 Qdoba entrees to you guys!

The best part is - you'll be the rockstar of your group (friends, work, family, whatever). You win and get to treat 3 of your friends!!!

So - today is all about the giveaway for you guys. I already told you how great the mango chicken salad was...last week I had a burrito and man oh man - it's big! I was stuffed!

Let me know who you'll treat with your Qdoba card and 5 of you will win!

ALSO BE SURE AND POST AN EMAIL OR TWITTER ACCOUNT SO I CAN LET YOU KNOW YOU WON!

I'll randomly select 5 winners next Friday...I only wish I could enter. Do you know how hard it is giving these away? I could just go to Qdoba every day for the next 20 days for free! But no - I wouldn't do that - this is all for you!

Happy Giveaway Day!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

B-Dubs...

A while back we headed to Buffalo Wild Wings or "B-Dubs" as all of Cincinnati refers to it. This whole "B-Dubs" was new to me - as was the "BW3s" - there are 3 W's??? It's Buffalo Wild Wings - where's the 3rd W?

Anyway - Larry and I were starving and he likes B-Dubs so we decided to head to the one in Deer Park.

We started out with boneless wings with the medium sauce. These were tasty - I have to say even the medium is pretty spicy! I think it was like $8 for 8 wings - a little pricey to me.

Then Larry got the "slammers" and we shared - they were really pretty good for little burgers. They were a little overdone but not too shabby.

I got the Buffalitos - always a fan of these. I got the chicken and they were yum. The chips and salsa aren't my favorite...but they're ok.

Why Should You Go? If you're looking for wings - it's the place most people go. It's also the environment - the tvs and the trivia.

Buffalo Wild Wings on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Norwood - Meet Mexican. Mexican - Meet Norwood.

In the space next to Frisch's on Montgomery Rd in Norwood there's been a big empty hunk of restaurant just waiting for something to come and fill it up. Finally - someone took the challenge and that someone is Cancun Mexican Bar & Grill.

This space used to be occupied by Wings & Rings but I'm not sure when it closed as I never saw any cars in the lot even when the sign was up...

Inside - it's very "Cincinnati Mexican" - I love the chairs. I would love to buy some for my house...they're so bright and happy.

Of course - we started with chips and salsa. The salsa was a bit tomato-pastey - I didn't like it so much.

Larry got taquitos with beans & rice. They looked pretty decent but I didn't try them...so just a picture show for this one.

I ordered the fajita taco salad. I was a bit disappointed - the picture showed the "bowl" in the taco shape and I got a traditional bowl. No idea why - but I never like the bowl as much. The fillings were fine but nothing stand-out.

Why Should You Go? Well if you live in Norwood and you don't feel like driving - I guess you could go. I didn't love it. I'd rather go to Kenwood Mall and go to El Rancho Grande.

Cancun Mexican  on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Free Qdoba for me!!! Mango Chicken Salads...good or no good?

A while back Qdoba offered me 2 free Mango Salads to try if I'd blog about it...never one to turn down such an offer - I had me some salad!

Qdoba is one of the "Chipotle-esque" "mexican" places where you can get burritos, tacos, salads, etc... Pick your shell, pick your meat, pick your toppings - voila!

I don't tend to go there - strictly because of location. They have 3 in the area: Blue Ash, Florence and Mason. Because of the free salads - we sought one out and chose Blue Ash.

The Mango Chicken Salad has a mango salsa on top of chicken & romaine lettuce with a cilantro-lime vinaigrette. It costs around $6 from what I can remember. I added salsa, sour cream and cheese.

I have to say - it's really good. I'm not a salad-orderer but I would DEFINITELY order this again. I'm really glad I got to try these because I never would have ordered it and I know Larry wouldn't either. But we both really liked it! The shell was light and crispy, the chicken was good and most of all - the dressing was really great. Needless to say - I was a bit shocked. I fully expected to be craving a burrito after - but we were both full and happy.

Nutritionally - my order is around 900 calories most of which is consumed in the tortilla bowl. They have a great nutritional calculator on their site and I figured up that my normal burrito order would be about 1200 calories (good lord). That said - it's not the healthiest salad I've ever eaten but it tasted great!

Why Should You Go? Well if I was faced with Chipotle or Qdoba - I'll still probably pick Chipotle but I really did enjoy the salad and if I get a job in Blue Ash (I'm interviewing for a couple) then I'll definitely be ordering this again! Thanks Qdoba!

Qdoba Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon




Monday, July 19, 2010

Gotta love Cincy Chic!

Quick blog post for today cuz IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

Yes - I'm relaxing a bit on the job search long enough to celebrate being 37 years old today! Woopedeeedooo!

Besides a few tangible gifts that I do love very much - I got one online gift that I am loving! Cincy Chic featured me in this week's issue for my Food Hussy blog and mentioned FOODspeaks!

So check it out!

I even got to be in a photo shoot...whoo! Photo by Neysa Ruhl.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Farm Fresh Delivery Winner & Recipe!

Another week has come and gone...most of my days are filled with job searching...oh the joy! But it is Friday and that means it's time for this week's giveaway! A bin of fruits and vegetables from Farm Fresh Delivery!
Just to refresh the memory, Farm Fresh Delivery is a company out of Indianapolis (practically local - with 2 shops there and here) that delivers organic produce & vegetables to your door. They provided me with a free bin last week and now I get to share the love and give one of my lucky readers a bin too!

But first...what did I do with my bin?

Look at this great produce! I had tomatoes, fresh green leaf lettuce and corn on the cob...what to make?

BLT TIME! I'm a huge fan of BLTs - many times I leave off the L - but today I had it all! Plus an ear of corn for each of us. I'm a bit of a bacon freak - so I piled it on. It was a delicious and fresh dinner. The tomato was really ripe and the lettuce was crisp. Yum!

Next up I'll share a quick recipe with you - I forgot to take a picture of the finished product - but you'll get the idea. We've all had this dish I'm sure - but it's a good reminder of how something so easy can taste so great!

Pasta Salad

1 pound box rotini pasta (preferably the tri-color)
8 oz. favorite cheese - cubed (cojack is my fav)
1/2 pound cubed chicken (or pepperoni/salami)
McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning
1 bottle of your favorite Italian dressing
1 can black beans (drained & rinsed)
Veges! (I used cucumber and sweet peppers today)

1. Boil the pasta and drain (duh)
2. Mix it all together
3. Refrigerate overnight

I like to put in about 3/4 of the bottle of dressing the night of and then stir the rest in the next day. This salad really has to sit overnight - tastes much better. The next day - add the rest of the dressing to juice it back up.

The best part is you can add so many vegetables! I mean - just look in your fridge and see what's there! The choices are endless: broccoli, pepperocinis, grape tomatoes, carrots, etc... The black beans were my addition - I figure it's more protein - so why not!

My best friend Amy made this when I was back home and told me about the seasoning mix - it really adds some zing! We make this at least twice a month now...it makes a big bowl and is great for parties or a quick lunch.

And now the winner - this week I used the Random Number Generator to find our winner. I also removed the folks that just commented but did not enter. This week's winner is #15!!! So congrats to DIANA!!!

Diana was a fan of asparagus and that got her a free $35 bin from Farm Fresh Delivery. I'll email Diana with the details.

Also - I have to say - every bit of produce from my bin has been really great! The peaches were my favorite! Ripe peaches just can't be beat and I think it's very hard to find them. These were deliciously juicy and sweet.

Thanks again to Farm Fresh Delivery for the free bins!

No giveaway this week - I'll be having another one next week though!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

When one door closes, another opens. Say hello to FOODspeaks!

Wise men often say - well they've said it to me in the past week - when one door closes, another opens. Here I stand - with one door closed...preparing to open a new door.

What the heck am I talking about?

Well - I was laid off last week. Yeah - it sucks.

BUT I think this is the perfect time to announce something I've been working on for quite a while now.

In Outliers they talk about the "10,000 hour rule" which claims that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.

So what have I done for 10,000 hours? I came up with 3 things: watched reality tv, eaten out and worked on the internet. That said - I decided to combine two of those into an idea.


What the heck is that besides an awesome logo? It's my new business.

FOODspeaks is a consulting business aimed at helping restaurants with their online voice. This includes their website, social media presence and public reviews on sites such as UrbanSpoon and Yelp.

This combines my love of eating out with my work history of over 15 years of consulting with businesses on their web presence. It also throws in everything I've learned about social media - which is a TON!

I've been working with a couple of businesses on a freelance basis and am ready to help more people! Honestly I think independent restaurants are some of the best treasures this city has to offer - but sometimes their websites are awful!

So - here it is - all you restaurant owners out there - fill out the Contact form on my site and let's get together! My consulting services are affordable and I can't wait to get started with more businesses.

There it is - my next door is open!

FAQ #1: Will this conflict with the regular Food Hussy reviews? Nope - I won't review places I'm working with.

FAQ #2: Am I going to have a "regular full-time job"? I definitely plan on it! I have a long history of project management in the interactive/software industries. Ultimately I would love for FOODspeaks to be a full-time job but for now - I'm hoping to find something full-time and launch this on the side.

I hope you'll all support me in this new venture!

Thanks to Lisa Alexander and Jordan Thomas for their hard work on the website.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Burger Truck oh Burger Truck - Wherefore art thou my Burger Truck?

I am a bit embarrassed to admit this - I think I'm the last of the Cincinnati Food Bloggers to visit the food trucks! If you didn't know - food trucks have been popping up all over the city - there's the taco truck, the burger truck, the pizza guy, the Coldstone truck, etc...

It's not that I haven't wanted to try them - it's just they were always FAR away from me! Fortunately the City Council recently approved for the barrage of food trucks to park in 3 city owned lots and one was at 5th & Race - which was very convenient for me!

Cafe de Wheels was thankfully in the lot the day I went. It's right across from Macy's by the hotels...very nice!

I've been wanting to try this one for a while - and by the looks of their UrbanSpoon page - I'm the LAST blogger to do so!
The makeshift line forms near the window. There are menus you can grab or there is one on the truck itself. Just like at the Muscatine County Fair elephant ear booth - you walk up and shout your order to the happy face behind the counter. (That's a little shout-out to my home town.)

There's the taco truck next to the burger truck...next time it'll be your turn Senor Roys - I promise!

While you wait for your order you can gander at the cars/trucks that go by. Like this one for example. Larry was with me and was eager to point out that they're open 365 days/year. Yes - even on Christmas you can go to Cheeks! What a Christmas gift that would be!

We each got the Wheels Burger ($5.50 comes with cheese, lettuce, mayo, tomato & balsamic onion marmalade). We also ordered 2 sodas and a cup of sweet potato fries ($3).

These were damn good burgers! Larry thought they were smaller than the ones at Five Guys - which I'll agree with. That said - he did think it was good - as did I. The onion marmalade really added a lot to the burger.

The sweet potato fries were also EXCELLENT! They actually tasted like sweet potato and were smothered in salt - w00t for me - cuz I loves me some salt!

The menu also has a pretty wide variety and although a lot of things were jumping out at me - I decided to start with what they're best known for - that fat juicy burger - and I'm glad I did.

Why Should You Go? It's fun ordering from a truck - I don't know why - but it just is. Now it's still $8-10 and you have no place to sit when you're done - so know that going in. We did split the fries and there were plenty for that! If you're hitting up the 5th & Race spot - walk a block over to the Duke Convention Center building - try a few doors and you'll get in. It's dead during the day and air conditioned!

Have you hit up the food trucks? Where else should they go?

Cafe de Wheels (Food Truck) on Urbanspoon

I also want to thank the friendly face at the truck. Not only did she recognize me as the Food Hussy (gotta love that), she also - without telling me - comped my burger. It took me five minutes and the calculator on my phone to figure that one out! But thanks again happy burger girl!

Friday, July 9, 2010

GIVEAWAY DAY! Red Lobster & Farm Fresh Delivery

So this whole Giveaway Day is becoming quite the habit! I've got some for a couple weeks to come! Kinda fun!

First - the Red Lobster winners from last week.
I asked my fiance Larry to pick 2 numbers between 1-19 and he chose 9 & 14! So looking through my comments - the lucky winners are:

James & S Dugas

WOOOOHOOO!!!!!

I have each of their emails and will contact them about mailing the $10 gift card to each. Thanks again to Red Lobster for this giveaway - and for those Cheddar Bay Biscuits!

Next up - Farm Fresh Delivery! (The giveaway is at the bottom if you're impatient!)

I recently saw them on Twitter and had to find out more! Farm Fresh is an online home delivery service that provides organic produce and natural groceries to its members in Indianapolis and Cincinnati. They're also working with local farmers and artisans for the product.

You can sign up for different sized bins and delivery frequency. They range in cost from $25-49 and can be delivered every week or every other week. You can find out more specifics in their online store.

The nice thing is that you can even customize the bin to the fruits and veges you like more than others! (The sample bin shows beets and my apologies to Dwight Schrute - I'm not a beet fan!)

I contacted Farm Fresh about doing a blog and they offered me a free sample bin to try out ($35 value) so I said SURE THING! Even though I get "freebies" like this sometimes - I'm always honest with my opinions...

My bin arrived Wednesday and I excitedly unpacked it! Lots of brown bags of goodness - I couldn't wait to dig in and see what there was (obviously - bananas).

Holy cow!!! First of all - click the picture right now to see how great all of these fresh fruits and veggies look!

Let me give you the rundown of my $35 bin: bananas, shitake mushrooms, tomatoes, green leaf lettuce, red potatoes, broccoli, mini sweet peppers, corn on the cob, strawberries, cucumber, blueberries, peaches and a pluot. WTF is a pluot? A cross between an apricot and a plum.

So - is $35 a good deal? I'm actually planning on taking the item list to the store and pricing it out to check and see. I'll circle back next Friday and let you know! Seems good to me - and it's already in my fridge - I'm definitely more apt to cook it now!

That said - I had a hungry fiance to feed - so I dug right in! There was chicken in the fridge and a packet of Simply Asia Beef & Broccoli seasoning. I was dying for the sweet corn - but it ended up being held back for another night...

I started out with the organic broccoli from the bin - sauteed that for a little bit. I love sauteed broccoli so much more than boiled how my Dad used to make it!!! It's still crunchy and so much greener!

Cut up my chicken and browned them together...

I mixed the seasoning packet with water and soy sauce - then poured it in the pan and stirred until it got a little thicker.

Okay- is it as good as something I'd get at Suzie Wong's? Well heck no - but for 15 minutes in my kitchen - it was damn tasty!

And the Farm Fresh Delivery broccoli - delicious!

So here's the Giveaway part - you were still reading right?

Farm Fresh has given me a $35 bin to giveaway to one of my readers!!! It's a one-time bin like I got - which is not the norm for them - you typically have to sign up for the service (you can cancel any time). As I said - they're customizable too - so you can give them an idea of what you like - or just get whatever they have that's fresh and delicious that Wednesday!

Leave a comment here WITH YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION about your favorite fruit or vegetable and you're entered to win! I'll announce the winner next Friday!

Why Should You "Go"? Okay - nowhere to go but the website - but you get the point. I know I could go to Farmers Markets and Findlay Market for the same type of goods and I do - but the option of a delivery service really is a great idea! Plus a lot of people just don't take that extra step to go - so having it at your doorstep when you come home - awesome! I really love the idea and hope to someday be able to sign up for the service (a little broke with the upcoming nuptials).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's Tapas - not Topless!!!

I'm not sure how many times we had to tell one of the guys in our group that - I'll go to a Tapas restaurant but not a Topless one!

For those that aren't familiar - Tapas is Spanish for "snacks". It was the "in thing" for a while in restaurants (Bootsy's started out that way).

One place that has held their ground on tapas is Relish in Mason. It's in the Deerfield area right across from the movie theater. It's a very nice restaurant tucked away a bit. The inside is very modern and funky plus there's a big outdoor patio.

There was a big group of us - so I'll do the best I can at remembering what we all ordered...

Relish Signature Salad ($4.75) with goat cheese, candied pecans, cranberries and more with an asian sesame dressing - good stuff.

Jen got the hummus of the day with tortilla chips ($4.25) and it was avocado. Very good stuff - different taste but definitely tasty.

Sauteed wild mushroom served on bruschetta with goat cheese ($8.75) - this was mine - mushrooms + goat cheese - how can you go wrong? Actually it was just okay. The bruschetta really needed something like tomatoes for that contrast in flavor and I thought the goat cheese would be on them - not just plunked on a salad I didn't know was in the dish. It was okay but I wasn't giddy over it.

Empanadas ($9.75) - they each had a different filling (steak, pork, seafood, veggie) and were really good. The romesco sauce was sort of like a thick, creamy spaghetti sauce but they stood well on their own.

Jen also got the sauteed spinach ($5.50) - I tried a small bite and for sauteed spinach it was good but being the non-vegetarian I'd never even think of ordering it!

Looking over their online menu I'm pretty sure this was a special. I tried a bite and liked it but wasn't bowled over. I'm thinking it was mahi with a crab cake...

This could be the least appetizing looking dish around - but it's probably their best seller. Chorizo in Medjool Dates wrapped in bacon ($9.75). I had a bite of those another time dining her and they are pretty good - since I don't like dates. I wouldn't really choose it but it gets rave reviews from 99% of those that try it.

Here's the disappointment for the night - the desserts.

The first - Ginger spiced chocolate cake ($6) - obviously served in 3 portions it's made for sharing - but the menu doesn't point that out. Plus - it just wasn't that great.

Worse yet was the Chocolate Mousse ($5). My friends that got the cake muttered something about what it looked like...luckily they waited to share until after we ate. It was glorified pudding and wasn't even very good pudding. To me - mousse is fluffy - this was dense and grainy and just not very good - and 3 portions of it - wasn't necessary. Also - they only know how to garnish things in one way (black rasperry, mint leaf and raspberry sauce).

Why Should You Go? I think Relish has it's moments. The atmosphere and the patio are great - some of their tapas menu items live up to their expectations. The prices on those are usually either around $5 or $10 - if it's a $10 - it's for sharing. I'd say - go and order a couple things for each person - just choose carefully and pick something you REALLY like.

I also have to mention - service has always been solid when I've gone. Last time I sent something back twice for temperature issues (came out stone cold TWICE) and they were very accommodating. This time we asked to move from inside to outside and were granted that request pleasantly.

I like Relish because it's locally-owned and unique and I encourage you to give it a try sometime!

Relish Modern Tapas on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 2, 2010

Giveaway Day! This time...Red Lobster

I've been contacted a lot by "chains" lately to do some giveaways on my site - I don't see the harm. I figure you guys deserve some love too! This time it was Red Lobster. They're remodeling a bunch of locations and "revamping" the menu a bit.

I'm always a big fan of their cheddar garlic biscuits (Bisquick's are nearly identical!) so I said sure! Up front here - they gave me a $50 gift card for dinner and then 2-$10 cards to give away (scroll to the bottom for the giveaway). I know $10 isn't much - but hey - go for lunch and it's free! Free lunch! Free lunch!

The Kenwood location is under going the remodel and they weren't quite done when I went a couple weeks ago but have since finished the front so I hear.

Inside, from what I can tell, they've remodeled the front desk and bar area but not the true interior where the tables & chairs are. Well I think they had new booths but I really couldn't tell much of a decor change.

Here's the new bar area - it's nice.

As always, we started out with salads. I'm a big fan of their Caesar salad...it was good this time but not quite as good as I remembered.

I think their dinner salad is nice as well - good amount of vegetables.

Ahhhh the cheddar bay biscuits...I could seriously just eat a meal of these and typically I do. We definitely got 2 baskets of biscuits. They are so delicious!

Larry got the seafood jambalaya ($12.99) - it's one of their specials right now. He liked it just fine - I had a bite or two for taste and wasn't too excited. He really likes the little scallops whereas I'm not a fan. I thought it was kind of bland.

My sister doesn't like seafood - but she likes free meals - so she came along. I like to refer to her as a chickenatarian since she eats vegetarian + chicken. She got the Cajun Chicken Linguine Alfredo ($12.75), low on the cajun. Again - she was happy - I had a couple of bites and wasn't too excited.

I went out on a limb and decided to try a special and got the Lobster and Bourbon Shrimp and Scallops ($23.99). There was a skewer of shrimp, skewer of bacon-wrapped scallops and a lobster tail served over mashed potatoes and roasted corn.

Truly - the roasted corn was the best - I loved it. The lobster didn't have a lot of flavor, the shrimp were tiny and the bourbon sauce/bacon overpowered the scallops.

I feel bad saying these things since my meal was free (well we went over and had tip) but I'm always one for honesty.

I typically get the crab alfredo but it wasn't as good the last couple of times either so I decided to try their seafood. They have a new wood-fire grill menu with fresh fish that, looking back, I wish I'd taken advantage of and tried that. I'd like to see how they do with just a piece of salmon.

Why Should You Go? While I didn't enjoy my meal that much - I obviously will go back to Red Lobster. Who doesn't end up there now and again?

Although - with the line being out the door and a wait of an hour by the time we left - I do sort of want to shake people in line and say - GO SOMEWHERE LOCAL!

If only the locals had those damn biscuits!!!!

GIVEAWAY DAY! GIVEAWAY DAY!

Although I didn't love the meal - Red Lobster has it's place in Americana and they've given me 2-$10 gift cards for my readers! So leave a comment below WITH A WAY TO CONTACT YOU about what you order at Red Lobster - cuz we all know! I'll randomly choose 2 winners next Friday.

I also have more giveaways coming - Farm Fresh Delivery (locally-grown fresh fruit & veges delivered to your door) and Brueggers are on the way!

Red Lobster on Urbanspoon