Friday, October 29, 2010

Good BBQ? Meh...

Another place I'd been in my previous incarnation off Buttermilk Pike was Hoggy's - but that was pre-Food Hussy so I decided it was worth a try again...

It's in Crestview Hills Mall on Dixie Highway but it's tucked in a bit - so you can't see it from the road. 

I remembered that the cornbread was really good...but I think it used to be pieces of cornbread. Now it's muffins and they weren't very good. BIG disappointment!

There's a veggie combo of kabob, asparagus and mashed sweet potatoes. Kelly wasn't a fan of the potatoes at all. We each had the veggie kabob - it was okay but nothing special. The zucchini was tasty and really the only thing that held the marinade.

The onion rings look really good...big and horrible for you. 

I got a Pick 3 with a bbq pork sandwich + 2 sides (mac & cheese & kabob). The bun on the pork sandwich was HARD AS A ROCK - I couldn't even eat it. The bbq inside was okay. The kabob - previously mentioned - fine but not flavorful. The mac & cheese was bad! It was lumpy and gloppy - not creamy at all. Very "homemade" but not good - bland bland bland and a consistency that wasn't so good.

Why Should You Go? Well - I'm thinking don't bother. I hear City BBQ is much better. Thus the poll on the top left - what is your favorite bbq in town? (Hoping not everybody says Montgomery Inn - I'm not a big fan.) So vote in the poll or comment below if your favorite or a "must-try" isn't listed.

Happy Friday!



Hoggy's on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Indian Buffet = Happy Day!

One new place I found on my Buttermilk Pike dining quest is an Indian Buffet!!! Thank goodness! Guru India is near the Outback/Staples off the exit.

As most Indian buffets - it's in a strip mall...nearby is the new location of It's Just Crepes as well - tried that out last week - still awesome!

Typical buffet stuff - naan, curry, basmati rice from the heavens, saag, etc...

Tandoori, masala and my favorite - mater! Now it wasn't Mushroom - but the Chicken is fine too.  And who can forget those little bites of crunchy battered veggies - never remember the name - but I am addicted to them.


They also have the "salad bar" with desserts - I'm not too big on venturing into new things in the world of Indian food - so I typically pass right by this. Any of you?

So yes - here's my plate - Mater, naan, veggie crunchy things, a little saag (although I prefer the saag paneer) and then a pastry thing. It was empty - thought it might be filled with some goodness - that said - didn't much see the point in it - I prefer the naan.

Why Should You Go? Well - it's an Indian buffet and I've heard it's owned the relatives of the Ambar/Baba/Kanak groups - so it tastes like that. If you like that - you'll like this. Price for buffet & drink was $11.



Guru India on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shout Out to Philly Cream Cheese and Giveaway Day Winner!!!!!

First - just a thank you to Philly Cream Cheese and their twitter account. They asked people what was in their fridge and offered to help come up with dinner! I had steak, mushrooms, Philly cream cheese of course and random other items.

Voila! They sent me their recipe for a mushroom sauce and that was dinner! Served over Basmati rice - it was delish! They have other sauces that are quick and easy as well - but here's the Mushroom one that I used:

Mushroom

Sauté 1/2 pound of fresh sliced mushrooms in 1 Tbsp. of oil until tender. Add 1/2 cup of hot broth and 1/4 cup of dry white wine (or 3/4 cup of broth) and heat through. Whisk in 1/2 cup of Philly until cream cheese is melted. Add 1 tsp. of fresh tarragon or thyme and serve over grilled chicken breasts or beef tenderloin filets.




Next up - Giveaway Day!!!! A few weeks back I went to the Buick Discovery Tour and met Chef Michael Psilakis and ate some fantastic meatballs! Buick passed along a copy of his cookbook for me to give to one of my readers.


Congratulations to @Twitricia on being lucky number 7 in my drawing for the cookbook! I'll be meeting up with her sooner than later to gift her with the big book of Greek knowledge & fun!

Thanks to everybody for entering & tweeting!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Barleycorn's on Buttermilk...not much else to say

I'm still exploring all of the places to eat near the Buttermilk exit now that I'm in a new job. One place I knew about but have never frequented is Barleycorn's. They have a few locations and one is just off Buttermilk on Dixie Highway - so it's really close by.

They also have this new special going on of Free Chicken Wednesday. It is what it sounds like - any chicken sandwich (not chicken salad we've found out) is free! They have probably 6 different chicken sandwiches so it's a pretty good deal! Fries are like a buck - so if you have water - your tab is very cheap!

We weren't there on a Wednesday - so went for regular menu options. I had the Reuben. It was pretty good - not the best ever - but average. It came with potato pancakes - they were okay - but pale in comparison to someplace like Izzy's.
They also have a special of 1/2 sandwich and soup - their website is kinda bad - doesn't mirror the actual menu very well - so I can't tell you what it costs or what your options are - but here's a picture at least of what you get! The soup is a big portion and both folks that got this option liked the sandwiches "okay". The soup was some sort of cheesy chicken something. Both guys that got it had mixed reviews on it...

Someone else got a giant burger and he liked it just fine - seems like there's a lot going on there...

Why Should You Go? I'd say - Free Chicken Wednesday is a good reason. Go on a Wednesday - try the sandwich and see if it makes you want to come back. The patio is very big and nice - I'll give them that. It wasn't great but it wasn't bad either. Just average.

(Side note - I've got a head cold and am on all sorts of medication - Barleycorns was a bit boring - and I'm in a fog. haha)



Barleycorn's on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 22, 2010

Is it a lender or a cafe? Apple Tree CAFE!

Okay - so the Lending company is actually Lending Tree - but Apple Tree reminds me of that. The sign they have doesn't help much either - I mean - the word cafe is under the apple and you can barely see it! But - all that said - Apple Tree Cafe is an eatery. It's in Dillonvale Plaza near Deer Park at Galbraith & Plainfield. We went for breakfast last Sunday because of the coupons in Reach Magazine. (Did you know you can go online and print the coupons out?) Really only a buck off but it also got us in the door.

When we went last weekend and found out they'd only been open for 2 weeks . They have been overwhelmed by the amount of traffic - which is great for a new business. I have to admit - there isn't much in that area other than chain-heaven by Kenwood Mall for the breakfast/diner crowd - so they may have found a good niche!

Inside it's all about red, white & blue Americana. It is consistent - I'll give them that. There aren't that many tables so if you're stopping by at a heavy traffic time - you might expect a wait. There's also no place for a party of more than 4 - that I saw anyway.

Larry of course had biscuits and gravy along with bacon and toast. The b&g - thumbs down. The gravy has a unique flavor that I can't pin down but it's awfully thick. The biscuits are a bit doughy (homemade). The bacon was cooked very well and the toast is HUGE! We easily shared that...

I got the Country Breakfast ($6.95) with eggs, grits, b&g and sausage. I'm not a grits fan - but I tried. They are heavily buttered - I tried a little sugar (Larry's reco) - nope didn't like that. Then I tried them with a little salt - it was better than the sugar but I still just set them aside. That's not saying their grits are bad - it's just a texture thing for me. The sausage patties are pretty fatty - which also means tasty! 

Our meal came to about $17. We sat up by the front and also noticed lots of fresh herbs growing in the front window - which is nice and makes me think they use them in the cooking.

At the counter just as we were about to pay - they brought out fresh donuts!!! They do pride themselves on their homemade bakery items - so I had to try them! They had powdered sugar & regular sugar - I went for one of the regular. At only 50 cents each - I couldn't resist.

They're really just biscuits with the centers cut out and then deep fried and covered in cinnamon/sugar. But the simplicity of it is just fine by me because it was delicious!

Why Should You Go? Because we weren't too impressed by the biscuits and gravy - we likely won't come back for breakfast. That said - I saw someone else's pancakes and they looked AMAZING! So if you can eat eggs - go there for breakfast! I do think we'll try them again for lunch or dinner sometime. The staff is very friendly - our food came VERY quickly and was exactly what we ordered. I think speed of attending to people waiting to be seated or waiting to pay might be an issue if they're busy - but they'll get that under control the longer they're open. So far...so good.

And don't forget to enter my cookbook giveaway from Wednesday!



Apple Tree Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

GIVEAWAY DAY!!!! Michael Psilakis Cookbook!

A couple weeks ago I went to the Buick Discovery Tour at Cincinnati State in Clifton. We discovered road food, mixology and cuisine! I was lucky enough to meet Chef Michael Psilakis during the day.

He has plenty of accolades and is one of the few Greek chefs to be so celebrated. His goal is to make Greek "peasant" food a little fancier and he does it well!

We were also lucky enough to get autographed copies of Michael's cookbook, How to Roast a Lamb! Now I'm always thinking about you guys - so here you go - I'm giving away a copy (thanks to the folks at the Buick Discovery Tour for an extra copy!).

With the sad news today that Mythos is closing - I'm glad to be passing along more Greek food to someone in Cincinnati!

GIVEAWAY TIME! 

To enter - post your favorite Greek food or restaurant ALONG WITH A WAY TO CONTACT YOU!!!! (email, twitter, SOMETHING!) Whether you like hummus or gyros, Sebastians or Mythos - let me know! (hey that rhymed)

I'll draw the winner with the help of the Random Number Generator next Wednesday, Oct 27!

If you tweet the giveaway - then post here that you did - you get an extra entry! Here's the tweet:

Enter the @foodhussy contest for Michael Psilakis' cookbook How to Roast a Lamb www.thefoodhussy.com!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jean Robert's Table & Jackass 3D - a classy combo!

A few weeks ago I put a poll on my blog about where I should go next. The readership of The Food Hussy spoke and I ate! So off to Jean Robert's Table for date night it was!


From the outside - you'd actually never know this was it. The only sign is a hand made one on the side of the Valet booth. I'm guessing the sign is coming and it's all a bit secretive for now. There's ample parking around it - which is something I value when dining downtown.


We started out with a drink since they hadn't started seating yet. Larry's a Bud Light kind of guy - so we asked for something fairly light. We inquired about a possible "cider beer" which they didn't have but they suggested this Belgian beer to us and said it was very effervescent - almost like champagne. It was really good! I'm not a fan of beer that you chew...and this wasn't that at all. It wasn't as light as a Bud Light but wasn't heavy. It had good flavor and lots of fizz. We both liked it a lot! ($8/bottle - there was a little sticker shock)


The artwork is nice - they are all paintings of individuals - some more realistic than others. It sure is hard to make a painting of a person look like a person. I keep thinking of that awful Polar Express movie - those were some creepy people!

The ambiance was quiet and cozy - even though it was fairly bright and the tables are close together. It's a romantic setting and just feels fancy but not too fancy. Although - Larry did put his napkin on his lap (he doesn't do that often).


We started off the night with fresh bread and butter. The bread was warm and so delicious. Very light and soft on the inside/crisp on the outside. The butter was perfect - solid but soft enough to spread. (I'm a stickler on butter temperature.)

SMOKED SALMON
with Warm Potatoes and Goat Cheese with Poached Egg 14.5

We went with this (sans egg) for the appetizer. I wanted the lobster but there was no way to avoid the egg on that one - so we went this way. It was really tasty - kind of my favorite part of the night. The frise wasn't bitter and the salmon was really tasty (not too fishy). The filling was like potato salad - really fancy potato salad.

ARCTIC CHAR
with pear and mushroom crust, brussel sprouts & purple potatoes served with a blue cheese & red wine cream sauce $24

This was a special on Saturday evening and I had char at Gordon Ramsey's The London in NYC and loved it. It's much like salmon. The fish was cooked perfectly - slightly on the rare side but not too much at all. The potatoes were delicious! The sprouts were maybe a touch underdone and didn't have much flavor. The crust - well it was ok. The pear/cream sauces were really good and added a lot to the dish although I didn't taste any blue cheese. I hate blue cheese - so I'm sensitive to it. All in all - good but not that memorable or wowing.

HALIBUT
with Basil, Compote of Tomatoes, Zucchini Flower, Gallete of Potatoes & Squash and Oyster Mushrooms 26

Larry went for this one - and again it was all good. I stole a couple of bites - the chips were crisp and lightly salted. The tomato compote was a great contrast to the rich creamy sauce. The mushrooms were a bit tough but I'm guessing that's just the way oyster mushrooms are. Again - good - but not that memorable.

I'm thinking we should have gone for a beef dish or the trio conchon (pork) - that got good notes from another blogger last month.


MILK CHOCOLATE MACADAMIA NUT TART
with Whipped Macadamia Cream, Milk Chocolate and Caramel Sauce 9

Lastly - we had dessert. We had to - it was date night - we went all out. This had no egg so Larry jumped on the chance to have a real dessert (not just sorbet which is his usual option)! This was delicious. Almost like one of those Ferrero Rocher balls except bigger! It wasn't heavy at all - the outside was a crispy dark chocolate with this wonderful light milk chocolate/caramel filling and filled with macadamia nuts. This was a great way to end the night.

Service is also something to address - it was very good. They are attentive without being too annoying. They take plates away very quickly and are always bringing new silverware. It's something I definitely come to expect when it comes to a Jean Robert establishment and I was not disappointed in the least. I had also mentioned Larry's egg allergy on the Open Table reservation and they knew the minute we walked in the door. Our server was up-to-speed on what had egg and what didn't - which was really nice - not having to have her "go back and check" and we didn't hesitate to believe her either.

We also saw Jean Robert mingling at the bar with some friends for a bit before dinner service - his crazy hair always gets me. Like a mad scientist getting ready to make something awesome!

Why Should You Go? Well I have to be completely honest - the food was a bit underwhelming. After fantastic memorable experiences at Pigall's I had my sights set pretty high. Honestly I preferred my food from York Street in Newport and definitely remember the flavors more. Larry's assessment was right on - he said the food was an 8 and the atmosphere a 9. Our bill was $120 - which is a lot for us - so it's not something we'll be doing too often. Although my handsome brute of a husband said how much he enjoyed it and he wants us to have "fancy date night" once a month! Yeah for me! He even wore a button down shirt and dress shoes! That doesn't happen too often. The atmosphere is casual though - we saw everything from jeans to suits - so no worries about a dress code.

And after our fancy dinner out - we went and saw Jackass 3D. Cuz we're classy like that. I took a quick photo of a particularly Jackass-y scene. (The large man on his knees has an apple you know where - and the pig was nibbling on it.)




Ah the boys from Jackass never disappoint.




Jean-Robert's Table on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 15, 2010

Spicy Chicken Nuggets - for free!

I got the invite for Free Spicy Chicken Nuggets from Chick-fil-A and couldn't pass that up! I had the free spicy chicken sandwich downtown in June - this time I headed out to the Florence location.


I have to say - the Florence location didn't put on as good a spread as downtown. Downtown we had a separate eating area, extra special spicy sauces & toppings - and we got free fries as well! In Florence - we got a free drink and nothing else. They are a very busy location though with no extra space to spare.


Chick-fil-A hands down has the best fast food chicken in town - it's juicy and tender and just awesome. The nuggets - well - they weren't quite as spicy as the sandwich but they were fine. The real find was the Chick-fil-A sauce - it's my new favorite!!!! It even has its own fan page on Facebook! This stuff is like honey mustard and bbq sauce combined - damn good!

Why Should You Go? Well - it's Chick-fil-A - you've likely had it so you know if you want to go back. The spicy nuggets are far better than Wendys - because they're real chicken.



Chick-fil-A on Urbanspoon

Are you ready for some FOOOOOOTBALLLL?????

A couple weeks ago we were on a quest for college football! We had plans to watch my Iowa Hawkeyes kick the crap out of Penn State later in the evening but couldn't wait until then for football. So we jumped in the FJ Cruiser and found...

The Blue Goose Sports Cafe in Sharonville! It's on Reading Rd - but if you're coming from the South then you have to kind of do the round-about to get to it. 

Inside it's a really nice sports bar - it's very new - lots of seating near the tvs/bar and a decent amount away from all of the action. 


We were there for football and a bite - so we got nachos to share ($9.49) and they were pretty darned good! Lots of cheese - good amount of sour cream - not too hot jalapenos - crisp (not stale) chips - seasoned ground beef. Would have loved some guacamole - but you can't have everything in life can you!

Why Should You Go? If you live in the area and like football - you probably already know about it. They have the NFL Ticket and play lots of games. Plus the food is pretty good and it's definitely family-friendly.




Blue Goose Sports Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Buick Discovery Tour - Buick Regals as far as the eye can see...

As a food blogger - I get invites to random events - this time it was for the Buick Regal Discovery Tour. I wasn't really sure what to expect but it said there would be cars and food - so why not go?! 
It was held at Cincinnati State a couple weekends ago - I took a TON of pictures...so I'll just narrate along the way.

First - we parked in the garage and saw this bike. I had to take a picture. I'm not a motorcycle enthusiast by any means - but come on - this thing is cool as hell! And it's in Hawkeye colors like my truck! If the owner of this beast reads my post - can I have a ride?

After getting through the garage - we're greeted - of course - by a new Buick Regal. Much sportier than the "Grama cars" of the past.

Once inside - there was a nice breakfast spread. Although I wish I hadn't eaten anything since we got food later from our breakout sessions.

They had these Kind granola bars - Jen really thought they were good. Lots of fruits and nuts - no chocolate coating - so I passed. haha (I saw these bars at Biggs/Remke for 79 cents - not bad!)

They also had a table full of iPads for people to play with. I might have pulled up TheFoodHussy.com on all of them. Hahahahaha!

Our first breakout session was Travel. Michael Stern of Roadfood.com was there to share his thoughts on finding great food spots when you're on the road!

He shared some of his favorites for Cincinnati - it was really funny hearing him say "goetta" - he's so proper with his speech. One of the Buick staff introduced him to Grippos - which he loved. He said he never would have thought to buy them out of a vending machine - but he was so glad he did! He loved Tuckers in OTR.

Michael also shared things about other cities - like in Tuscon you have to have the Sonoron Hot Dog - it's a hot dog wrapped in bacon. Yeah - I'm in! Anybody had one?



Michael also had tips for how to find great food when you're on the road:
  1. If there's a communal table/counter - sit there! You're much more likely to strike up a conversation with someone and find out that area's "must-have" dish!
  2. If there's a collection jar for a community member at the counter - eat there and throw some $$ in! This is a sign of a local spot that cares about people in the area. 
  3. Looks for an ambulance or cop car in the parking lot! Why? Those folks know where the good food is...so follow them. 
  4. Roll down your windows and smell! He found an awesome bakery just by the smell. 
  5. Check before you go to see if you can find anybody that USED to live there! They're the best ones to tell you what food you can't miss out on. (Just ask me about food in Cedar Rapids, IA - pork tenderloins!)
  6. Go to RoadFood.com (shameless plug).

Next up for our breakout session was Jeannie Pelletier from Couture Cake House here in Cincinnati. She shared baking tips and ways to be creative when baking treats.

She made these wonderful pumpkin cupcakes but also said you could use the same cake batter for whoopie pies. My friend Sarah over at Food for Thought just made some whoopie pies if you're not familiar with them.

These little cupcakes were fantastic! She also makes "cake balls" by taking a cake and crumbling it up - then mixing in frosting. Then you scoop them with an ice cream scoop and dip them in chocolate (shortened version). For the exact recipe you can email treats@couturecakehouse.com and Jeannie will send it to you!

Next up was Mixology! We were about to get our drink on! We came to our chairs and were greeted with all the ingredients for a mock-tail. This session was led by Michael Green - his website - MichaelGreen.com. How do I know? We all had to repeat it after him to be sure we remembered it!

Michael is definitely a character. We were laughing through the entire presentation! He taught us about simple syrups and lots of other things. He warmed us up with some great one-liners as well - What's his favorite drink? The one in his hand right now. He also quoted Ben Franklin with this one, "You can't have great living, if you don't have good drinking."

There's Jen mixing our mock-tail. After trying a drink of our Ginger Green Tea Sour - I looked at her and said "Not bad." Michael caught me and said "Oh she thinks it's not bad - 3 months to create this drink and I get a 'not bad' from the girl in pink." It was hysterical!

We chatted it up after the presentation and he even posed for a picture. He also has all the credentials to back himself up. At the age of 26, Michael was appointed exclusive Wine & Spirits Consultant to a leading industry magazine and held the position for 19 years.

Next up - we got to drive the car! We walked out to a sea of Buick Regals. While this whole day is a fun learning experience - they're also trying to sell the cars dammit! There were enough cars for everybody to drive one. I of course left my drivers license in the car - so I just rode in the back.

The loaded version we drove had GPS and satellite radio. There are also heated seats - which is always nice.

It is sportier...drove nice too. 

Our last session got the entire group back together in one of the awesome rooms of the Midwest Culinary Institute. It's a teaching kitchen with stadium seating and 2 big screen tvs (which are really blurry). Cool space though.

Here we got to meet Michael Psilakis - he has lots of awards (Best New Chef in 2008 by Food & Wine) and was recently nominated for a James Beard award (like an Oscar for chefs). 

First up - we got a trio of spreads: Tsatziki, Hummus & Roasted Pepper & Feta Spread. Every one of these was absolutely delicious! If you'd like the recipes - leave me your email in the comments and I'll send them to you. (too much to type right now) I was realy impressed right off the bat - these were all unique and amazing. I think my favorite was the pepper and feta - but I love Tsatziki - so I can't wait to make that myself.

We also had a drink from Michael to enjoy with the food. Unfortunately it was too strong for me - it was a Scotch Bonnet Cocktail. Again - post your email and I'll send you the recipe.

Michael P gave us soooo many stories and nuggets of information - I'll share some here:

* His goal as a chef is to take traditional peasant Greek food (his background) and make it fancy - he does it well!
* One of his restaurants has a Michelin Star - one of only 2 Greek restaurants in the world to achieve this!
* He uses Wonder Bread in his meatballs - but cut off the crusts - they don't disintegrate in milk.
* Store fresh herbs in a paper towel to keep the water out of them.
* "Food is like a seed we plant - it grows into something beautiful like a memory."
* "Don't worry about pork fat - think about everything else we do to our bodies. Pork fat is the least of our problems." - in response to question about using pork in the meatballs.
* Add fresh herbs at the END of a dish to add freshness.

He also made these AMAZING Fried Pork & Beef Meatballs. These were so delicate and light. I was amazed by every bite. He fries the meatballs - then makes the sauce and adds the meatballs into the sauce as he's creating it. Again - want the recipe - post your email.

This was by far the best meatball I have ever tasted. I could taste the garlic, the fresh herbs, the onion, the cheese, the olives, everything. It was a party in my mouth and I can't wait to revisit that party!

I had to snag a picture with Michael - I can definitely picture him as a judge on Top Chef. He's got a great personality and a wonderful warmth about him. He shared a touching story of roasting lamb with his two year old son and remembering doing that same thing with his father. Moments like that are why he's a chef - food creates memories. 

And he told me a great tip for my egg-allergic husband (meatballs always have eggs) - he said just fry them a little longer and no egg needed! 

The best part of the day is that we got a gift! We were all given an autographed copy of Michael's cookbook "How to Roast a Lamb". I'll definitely be giving this a workout and will be sure to blog a recipe from it soon.

Buick, Food & Wine and Travel + Leisure also made donations to Feeding America as an additional gift.

All in all - what a fun morning. I think next time I get invited to something like this - I'll see if some of you would like to go with me. It's really fun and I love tasting new foods and trying new things. I felt bad that I only brought 1 friend with me (I could have brought 3!).

I hope you all enjoy your secondhand visit to the Buick Discovery Tour!