Thursday, December 30, 2010

New York, NEW YORK!!!

I can't help but sing the name of this restaurant. I've driven by it a million times - it's on Beechmont right in the heart of Mt Washington - the New York, NY Classic Cafe.

We were starving and avoiding chains and this seemed like a good spot. Larry is always wary of small places but he ventured in with me. It's got a gym next door and is right near the Kroger.

Inside it's really cute - immaculately clean as well. There are lots of NYC tchotchkes (side note: spell check thinks that word should be "crotchless" but I did google it and it's spelled correctly) all around the restaurant. The sandwiches are all named after iconic NYC items such as Bronx Bomber and Lady Liberty. (If you click on the photo - it makes it larger and you can see the menu.)

The deli has fresh meats and desserts - they looked pretty darned good!

The soups are all homemade so I decided to try the bean soup. I have to say the flavor was very good - a bit salty - but I like salt. There were lots of herbs that I could taste and the soup definitely tasted great. Unfortunately it was barely warm. We were there right at 11am when they opened and I don't think it was heated up quite yet. I told them after the meal and they apologized...mostly just wanted them to know for future customers. The portion size was quite large as well.

I went for the New York Rueben ($6.75) and chose a side of the potato salad. I'm a Ruebenaholic so I had to try it. It was good - not great. I like mine a little hotter and with more sauce. The bread was good though. The potato salad was the real star - it was DELICIOUS! Pretty sure there was bacon in it and it was crunchy, creamy and not to mayonnaise-y. Definitely will get that again! 

Larry went for the 12" size of the Empire State (turkey, ham & provolone - $7.75). We quickly realized that we should have just got this and shared it. My sandwich was good but his was FANTASTIC! And it was gargantic (that's his word - he made it up: gargantuan + gigantic = gargantic). This sandwich was really good - the ingredients seem really simple but the crusty bread and the toppings made it excellent.

Why Should You Go? Although we started off rocky with the nearly-cold soup - they definitely redeemed themselves with the potato salad and his sandwich. We'll definitely be back. Especially in the summer - the Creamy Whip is just a block away!


New York NY Classic Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Giveaway Day Winner!

Congratulations go out to the #10 post Adam Sandfoss (aka @kickingdonkey) for winning the $25 gift card to It's Just Crepes!

I hope he posts here a little tidbit about that twitter name - cuz I love it!

Keep watching Food Hussy for more giveaways (Mrs. Renfros anyone?)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Fairfield-bound! Rick's Tavern & Grille

My hubby's family is up in the Fairfield/Hamilton area so we're getting quite familiar with the drive and Route 4 (which I love!). On the first snow of 2010 - we headed up for a visit but needed to get some lunch first. Larry took me to Rick's Tavern & Grille - which was one of his favorites when he lived up there.

It's your average bar & grill - lots of tvs and I guess they have a dance floor area at night. It was crappy weather so it wasn't too busy but the staff was ready and waiting for us.

First I ordered a cup of the white chicken chili (picture wouldn't upload - argh). It was delicious!!! ($3.99) I was freezing cold from the snow and this was a great way to warm up. There was a lot of flavor and the tortilla strips were a great crunch addition. I definitely would get this again!

I was in an odd mood and got the grilled cheese with bacon ($6.29) - it was just a grilled cheese kind of day. This was great as usual. I'm not much of a fan of the cheap chips that a lot of places provide - but the soup had me pretty full so I just ignored them for the most part. The pickle was huge and very tasty too.

Larry went for the turkey club ($6.29) and it looked fine. I never think club sandwiches have much flavor so I avoid them at all costs. But the husband was happy and that's all a girl can ask for!

Why Should You Go? While it's nothing earth-shattering - if you're in the area - it's a good stop. The food is good and the staff is friendly. I do hear it's hoppin on Friday & Saturday nights if you're up there and looking for that as well.

Rick's Tavern & Grille on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Somebody left to buy a gift for? Maybe food!

Hickory Farms sent me a free sample box this Christmas and I thought I'd share with you my thoughts on the box and all it's goodies! Hickory Farms is one of those staples of Christmas - it's a great gift for those folks on your list that maybe you're not sure what to get them. It's food - everybody eats.

 
They sent me the Beef & Turkey Hearty Hickory Box ($36) which contained a log of turkey summer sausage, beef summer sausage, a slab of smoked cheddar blend & jalapeno cheddar blend as well as 2 jars of mustard: sweet hot & cranberry mustard.

I have to admit - I'm not much for presentation - to say the least - but it was just me, my husband and my mom - no real "company".

Here are my thoughts on each item:

* Beef summer sausage - pretty typical summer sausage, good seasonings
* Turkey summer sausage - bland, no real seasoning but for someone that doesn't like spicy - it's good
* Smoked cheddar - it's VERY smoky smelling - the cheeses are "processed blends" so not real cheese
* Jalapeno blend - I liked this better, definitely a kick but again "processed blends"
* Sweet Hot mustard - it's fine...nothing special
* Cranberry mustard - this one shocked me - I thought it sounded gross but it was delicious!

Why Should You Buy? I guess it's one of those gifts for people you just don't know what the hell to buy them. Maybe an uncle, a coworker, etc... The sausage is a bit oily, the cheese is processed, but all in all - not too bad. I'd definitely buy that cranberry mustard again! The Hickory Farms kiosks are typically in the malls - I know there's one at Kenwood and Eastgate.

Honestly - I'd more likely buy someone a gift certificate to a great local restaurant - but hey - if you don't have any time and you need something quick - it's a good option!

Also - here are a couple notes from HF about the holidays:

Hickory Farms offers FREE shipping for Christmas on all orders over $35. And for every new fan on Facebook they will donate $1 to Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry Campaign. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bruegger's Free Bagel & Cream Cheese Today!

 
The girls from Bruegger's sent me a note that they want to say "Happy Holidays" and "Thanks" to their loyal customers and Bottomless mug holders.  Today 12/22, any person with a 2011 bottomless mug can show their mug or key fob at the counter and receive a free bagel and cream cheese. 
 
Don't already have your 2011 mug?  Buy one today and receive your bagel and cream cheese on the spot!  
 
Bruegger's has partnered with Children's Miracle Network and is donating a portion of every mug sold to the local Children's Hospital in that area.  
 
And don't forget to enter my $25 giveaway to It's Just Crepes!  And check out the poll on the left side of the page and help me choose where to go in 2011!


So coffee, bagel and schmear and a charity donation! Sounds like a great deal to me! 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Giveaway Day! $25 to It's Just Crepes!

Working in NKY got a little bit better recently. Why? It's Just Crepes opened a new location on Buttermilk Pike! w00t! I discovered this gem while working downtown and definitely missed it with my work-move to NKY.

The new location has a very similar look and feel to downtown but in a smaller spot. There are probably 7-8 tables. The parking is fine - there's a big lot that always has space. It's nestled between Sweet Basil and Penn Station.

I'm a sucker for watching people cook - so this is fun too. I am always reminded of the window at Happy Joe's Pizza back home. In elementary school, the cool rich kids (i.e. not me) would have their birthday parties there and if you were lucky enough to get the invite - you couldn't wait to perch in front of the window and watch them make the pizzas!

mmmmmm

The crepe of the month definitely caught my eye. I typically get the Red Goat (goat cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms, red peppers and balsamic truffle sauce) which started out as a monthly special. But this Ultimate Veggie Pizza - well - I had to try it. I mean - it's the ULTIMATE VEGGIE PIZZA!

One bite and I was in love. So here it is - my plea to the IJC ownership. PLEASE ADD THIS TO THE PERMANENT MENU!!!!! I BEG YOU!!!!!

A coworker got the Benedict and loved it.

Why Should You Go? Well I gathered up 8 coworkers - many of whom had never been before. They all said they'd be back! The guys were even surprised at how filling they were - these aren't any old girly crepes! So definitely go back...and if you're going...you might as well enter to win a $25 gift certificate from them right here!!!!

GIVEAWAY DAY!!!! 

It's Just Crepes has given me a $25 gift certificate to give to one lucky reader of TheFoodHussy.com! To enter, please post a comment about what crepe you would like to try from their menu - or if you're creative - what new crepe they should add!

BE SURE TO INCLUDE A WAY TO CONTACT YOU!!!! I throw your entry out if I can't figure out how to get back in touch with you.

And get an extra entry when you tweet or Facebook about the contest. Be sure to come back and post another comment letting me know you did. Here's a post for you:

Enter to win $25 from @itsjustcrepes and @foodhussy! www.thefoodhussy.com #giveawayday

I'll pick the winner next Tuesday! 

It's Just Crepes on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 20, 2010

Giveaway Day! Ingredients Gift Card goes to...

Congrats to "hoosierlauren" on winning the $20 gift card from Ingredients! In her entry she said that she goes there 2-3 times a week - so she definitely could will use the card!

Congrats Lauren! I've got a TON of giveaways coming up - it's gonna be crazy-time here at Food Hussy central!

And there will be one starting up tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wendy's New Fries

As a blogger - I get lots of emails and belong to lots of sites - and I really don't make any money doing this - I lose money! I have to eat out all the time on my own dime. So every once in a while - I get offered something free - and hey - I take it. But I always disclose that it was a gift...and this was.



This week, I went to Wendy's to try their new natural-cut fries thanks to Wendy's & Foodbuzz. They provided me with a gift card for the visit and Larry and I decided to check them out.

Foodbuzz is a pretty fun site - they have thousands of food bloggers across the country that share their recipes and photos with all of us. I really enjoy checking out new recipes and have found some truly amazing stuff (yes - I'm talking about the chocolate bread pudding cupcakes from @saltandchocolat).

But back to Wendys...

Unless you're living under a rock - you've probably heard about Wendy's new fries. They are natural-cut fries with sea salt. Here's a close-up. You can definitely see the potato skins on them - so no doubt they're cut from an actual potato rather than processed with other junk.

They say they're using sea salt now - and I don't mean to be a detective here - but couldn't help notice the big box of salt they used at my area Wendy's. It doesn't mention anything on their site about being "sea salt" - so you decide.

Most importantly - how were they?

Well - I judge all fries against McDonalds. I can't help it - they're the best. These were not as good as McD's but better than their old fries. The main difference is that they were thinner. I actually have had them on 2 occasions and the second time they were a bit overdone and too crispy for my taste.

The salt - well - as I read somewhere else - when I think of sea salt - I think of the crunchy bigger pieces that I get when I use the sea salt grinder I have at my house. This wasn't that - it was fine salt and I couldn't tell a lick of difference between that and table salt.

Really - I think if they were going to make a change - it should have been a drastic one - to something like a Penn Station fry - (peanut oil & real potatoes cut on site). This was a pretty minor change - I would bet half the people wouldn't know they were different if they hadn't been told.

Who knew I could analyze fast food french fries so in-depth? I would say overall - not as good as McD but still better than Burger King - those things are awful!


I also had a chicken club - which I have to say - was pretty good for a fast food sandwich. I'm typically a burger gal but just was in the mood for chicken. It has veggies, bacon and swiss cheese. 

Why Should You Go? Well - if you're thinking of going just to try the new fries - I don't know if I would make the trip - but they do have coupons right now so they're free.All in all though - I do like Wendys - especially the chili!

Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ingredients GIVEAWAY DAY!

Yes another giveaway - and this is the first of many to come - very excited that I'll be able to share lots of good stuff with my readers in the coming weeks!

Today though - it's a giveaway for Ingredients in downtown Cincinnati!



This was actually one of the first reviews I ever did - before I took pictures even! So long ago! (over 2 years!) Admittedly - we didn't love everything.  But I went back many times...

While working downtown, Ingredients became a staple. Why? Convenience and quality. If you're not familiar with them, they're located in the Westin lobby, open from 6a-6p and basically have 3 options:

* pizza - really big and definitely tasty!
* sandwiches - didn't really ever try these because I like the other options so much
* salad - the line from hell! Great "make your own" salad with so many options!

I tended to get the pizza - mainly because the salad line was sooo long. But really - the salad was my favorite. You stood in line then you had so many decisions to make! (menu here) For those trying to eat healthy - it's a great option because they had a lot of fat-free options to choose from.

So why a giveaway? They will be serving their ONE-MILLIONTH CUSTOMER this week. Fun fact - they have sold nearly 300,000 salads in the past four years - wow - that's just crazy! Something else I didn't know is that they also have breakfast items! Nice...

Ingredients is going to be giving away a $20 gift card to a lucky Food Hussy reader! (how awesome!) But if you don't win from me - you can still win from them. Starting today, drop your business card off and they'll be drawing for a catered lunch for 10 and a free weekend stay at the Westin

GIVEAWAY TIME!

To be entered in my $20 Ingredients gift card giveaway - post below (with a way to contact you!) what you'd like to try from their menu! Or if you frequent them, what do you always get!

Post this message on Twitter and/or Facebook and comment below that you did and you'll get a 2nd entry!

"Enter to win $20 from Ingredients and @foodhussy! www.thefoodhussy.com #giveawayday"


I'll select the winner next Monday!

Be sure you leave me a way to contact you!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Oh Kona Bistro...how I miss you!

I loved Kona Bistro in Oakley. I mean seriously - LOVED - it. It was one of my favorite restaurants in the city. The decor was OBNOXIOUS! With bright pinks and oranges all over - giant utensils and vegetables on every wall. And we can't forget the bathroom! It was the best! It was pink & orange with quotes about food painted on the walls. I loved it. I was sooooo sad when they closed. Kona does still live on in their original location in Oxford and I really need to make the drive up there one of these days.

So why am I going on and on about my long lost Kona Bistro? Well - I went to Sonoma American & Mediterranean Grill last week in the old Kona spot on Madison Road next to Deweys.

Larry is always a bit wary (haha that rhymes) about new types of food. I assured him he'd had this type before but it took a little convincing to get him in the door. Once we did though - it was easy to get him hooked!

We started with complimentary pita bread with olive oil and spices. The bread was nice - a little crispy but soft and the olive oil was very flavorful.

Can't help but comment on the "improvements" to Madison Road. They took a greatly congested spot and instead of widening or adding more parking - they made a big giant area in the middle for landscaping. Yes - that makes perfect sense. I'm sure whatever this monstrosity is will look pretty when it's done - but it seems ridiculous!

What is this picture for? To show the boring beige wall that now lives where my green pepper used to. Ugh - the decor is boring and bland.

  Nice bar though...

I got the Spanish Fried Cheese Pita ($7.95) with a side of the cumin roasted potatoes and onions. The pita was delicious! Lots of vegetables and the cheese was delicious. There was also this bright pink crispy vege and I had no idea what it was - but I ate it. It was a pickled turnip and it's pink because of the beet juice. Who knew? Really great! The cumin roasted potatoes & onions were also pretty good - a little crispy and maybe a little burned - but not too bad. Definitely a nice change from plain old fries. Would like a sauce with them.

Eating this dish reminded me of what was one of my favorite Greek dishes back home at the Vernon Inn - Saganaki! Flaming cheese! I love cheese and the only thing to improve it would have to be flames. Anybody know of a Greek place out here that serves it?

Larry got the gyro combo and it was really good as well. I grabbed a bite of the meat and loved it. (insert "that's what she said" joke here) He just got fries but I like that they have 7 sides to choose from. The tsatsiki was pretty good as well.

I'm really boggled by how different tsatsiki is from place to place...such a wide variety from runny to thick from yogurty to sour creamy. I'll pass along Michael Psilakis' recipe (who I met a month ago) - figure he's written a cookbook - we'll go with his!

After lunch we decided to have a free entertainment Saturday. First we went to the Krohn Conservatory - what a fun free thing to do! I love going when it's cold outside because it's HOT inside! They are all decorated for the holidays with their tree of poinsettias. And I love walking by a waterfall and seeing an orange tree when it's 25 degrees outside! If you haven't been - you should go. (It's in Mt. Adams.) We also stopped by the Art Museum to check out the wedding dresses and armor displays that are on now. Good stuff! Another free fun activity ($4 for parking) in Mt. Adams!  

Why Should You Go? Although Sonoma isn't Kona (tear) - it is pretty good. I'm a big fan of Mediterranean food so I really hope it makes it. Deweys was PACKED next door but as we were there - the lunch traffic did pick up. I don't think it's as good as Cafe Mediterranean but it's much closer - so we'll be back!

Also - our service was kinda bad. The server was very slow and disappeared a couple of times. Folks that had the hostess as their server faired much better on this day. But I'll just chalk it up to her being tired. She was good - when she was around. Just slow.



Sonoma American & Mediterranean Grill on Urbanspoon

PS. Thanks for voting in the "What Should I Buy Larry" poll! I love that "He doesn't need a gift, he already has you" won the vote. hahahaha

Monday, December 6, 2010

Flip Who?

Finally! Yes FINALLY! We got to Flipdaddy's in Mariemont!
We had driven by quite a few times but it was usually right after we had eaten somewhere else...this time we were in the vicinity and hungry- SUCCESS! It was a Sunday and probably around 11:30am or so - pretty busy!

Who doesn't love Underdog? The wall is dedicated to underdogs in history - pretty fun stuff. 

Larry got the Asian Fusion Burger: Teriyaki sauce, grilled pineapple, red and yellow peppers and lettuce situated atop our proprietary beef blend. ($8.99) He's a sucker for pineapple so I knew that's what he'd order. And he definitely liked it! The fries were good too - a nice seasoning on them - some were crispy and some were bendable - just the way I like em!

I went for the El Paso: Topped with roasted red peppers, freshly made corn salsa, lettuce, queso cheese and piquant chipotle mayonnaise. ($8.99) Again - happy customer (see below for more details). I also went with onion rings - they were delicious and HUGE! Neither of us were incredibly starving so we had some fries & rings leftover...but they were very good.

I was also surprised to find out they have a Brunch menu called Kegs & Eggs. It's shown above and looked pretty enticing as well. But - I had to have a burger before I tried anything else!

Why Should You Go? Well I decided to hold the real review of the burger for this area because it's the main reason I went. It is a pretty damn good burger - definitely tasted like someone made the patty (i.e. not frozen). Although it wasn't a very large patty in itself - the really great toppings made it very very filling. I love the uniqueness of the toppings and the pre-defined combinations they have put together. If I want to eat a hamburger and really taste the cow - then I go to Terry's. But more often than not - I'd rather go some place like Flipdaddy's where the toppings are unique and fun and it's a bit more convenient to get in and out any old time I'm hungry.

All in all - we both really liked Flipdaddy's and it really was for the toppings. I can get a simple burger I love just down the street at Quatman's but when you want something a little more complicated - this is a great spot!

Also - the service was really good for as busy as they were. They were a bit stunned this day by the amount of traffic for a Sunday morning and a few folks were bitchy with them. I thought the team took it in stride and did a great job. It was a little slow - but completely understandable.

Flipdaddy's Burgers and Beer on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 3, 2010

RECIPE TIME! Mexican Chicken Casserole


I wasn't planning on writing this one up - until I took a bite. Then I knew I had to share! 

Sometimes I come across hidden gems and this one came from Kraft's website: Mexican Chicken Casserole!

This was so incredibly easy to make - which is one reason to love it - just put something in the pan - then 2 minutes later - put something else in the pan. Lather, rinse, repeat. 

What a great find - and the best part is the tortilla parts not covered by chicken & cheese goodness - they get crispy! It's like a Mexican lasagna and we loved it. Top with sour cream and you're golden!

Mexican Chicken Casserole - KraftRecipes.com

What You Need

3/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces (I used breast & thighs - we always have a bag of each in the freezer)
1 tsp.  ground cumin
1 green pepper, chopped (I used yellow - tasted great in there - sweeter)
1-1/2 cups  jar Salsa (I used Aldi - again - fantastic)
2 oz. (1/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
1 can  (15 oz.) no-salt-added black beans, rinsed
1 tomato, chopped (they aren't in season - so I didn't use - didn't miss it either - the salsa had plenty)
2   whole wheat tortillas (6 inch)
1/2 cup Shredded Cheese, divided

Make It

HEAT oven to 375ºF.
COOK and stir chicken and cumin in nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium heat 2 min. Add peppers; cook 2 min., stirring occasionally. Stir in salsa; cook 2 min. Add Neufchatel; cook 2 min. or until melted. Stir in beans and tomatoes.
SPOON 1/3 of chicken mixture into 8-inch square baking dish; cover with 1 tortilla and half each of the remaining chicken mixture and shredded cheese. Top with remaining tortilla and chicken mixture; cover.
BAKE 20 min. or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese; bake, uncovered, 5 min. or until melted.

Top with sour cream & guac (if you have it) - DELICIOUS! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

NKY's Hidden Gem - Kremer's Market

As you know - I'm now working in Northern Kentucky and frankly, the dining options aren't so hot. I mean - there are some good but a lot of mediocre. A coworker recently told me that he got a sandwich at a place off Buttermilk past the Walgreens. I was shocked! I didn't know there was even anything past the Walgreens!

So I hopped in my car and went on the dining adventure known as Kremer's Market. My old boss lived in Villa Hills so I realized that I have driven past it before - but always just thought it was a grocery store. Never knew they had a menu!!! (that's just their specials - but they have a wall of food options!)

Once inside - I was in love! It's an adorable little grocery store with lots of great finds. The deli - wow - looked fantastic. That's also where you'll find the menu - so many sandwich options. It was hard to choose one!

While my order was being made - I had to wander (camera in hand). They have a great fresh salad bar.

And - desserts from the BonBonerie - can't go wrong there!

The deli also has lots of salads and things like hummus, tabouli and dips...hard to leave here without bags and bags of deliciousness!

Here was my favorite thing ever and what got me  here. My coworker brought in this bag of pretzel bites - one bite and I was IN LIKE FLYNN! They are soft and salty and just freakin amazing! I went 3 days in a row - it was becoming an addiction!

And let me say - I love me some cheese. Like seriously - I have a problem. This was a display I could fall in love with!

And now - my sandwich! Sorry for the blur on the photo - momma needs a new digital camera for Christmas! (Mom, Larry - that's a hint)

I got the Reuben on a pretzel bun - went for the traditional corned beef - although they offered turkey pastrami as well. This was a very round sandwich and very thick. Typically I like my thousand island on the sandwich but the size of this made it easy for dipping. The corned beef was delicious as was the pretzel.

I will definitely be back to Kremer's for more lunches. Actually - pretty damn sure I'm going today! This made me hungry.

Why Should You Go? Well I've been pretty blunt - I love it. I can't believe I worked on this exit for 2 years before and didn't go! I feel like that was 2 years wasted! Derek (coworker that introduced me to it) said they have the best Muffaletta he's ever had. So go now and enjoy!

Kremer's Market on Urbanspoon