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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Taste of Northern Cincinnati!

The folks at the Sharonville Chamber of Commerce offered me free tickets to the Taste of Northern Cincinnati last weekend - so I grabbed a friend and headed to Exit 15 off I-75!

The event was held at Princeton High School and they showed off some of their talents with the Technology Education department. In the middle is a tootsie pop licker - pretty fun stuff.

As opposed to the Taste of Cincinnati, this event has a door price of $20 and is all-you-can-eat and drinks are provided as well (non-alcoholic). It's a much much smaller event but the one price for all is easier from a user perspective.

They had folks face painting and this guy definitely got in the game! 

We were also able to vote for "Best of" and Mitchell's got my vote for Best Soup/Salad. There were no salads but there were quite a few soups. They served up their clam chowder and it was really great.

We skipped the chains - but they were there as well: BWs, Gold Star, LaRosa's, etc... I figure at an event like this - space in my belly is limited - I'm not going to fill it with things I've already had or can get anywhere.

There was a big Red Squirrel there - representing his people. It seemed appropriate since we were so close to Glendale.

Parkers in Blue Ash served up bbq pork sandwiches topped with cole slaw. Kelly gave this her "People's Choice" vote and I have to admit - it was really good. Messy as hell but very tasty! After having a pretty good bite from them at the Art of Food and now this - I might have to actually go there for dinner!

Blue Goose was serving up ribs as well as some type of soup that I don't remember. We decided the ribs were too messy for such a public setting - but they seemed to be very popular. The soup was forgettable obviously. I've been there before - it's a pretty nice sports bar in the heart of Sharonville.

Oh my stars - it's my favorite place in Sharonville! The Root Beer Stand!!!!! (They open at the end of this month - hootie hoo!) They were serving up root beer floats - which I think are gross (no idea why) - but I definitely grabbed a cup of root beer and told them I wanted one of the first Timmy Dogs of the season!

Besides food, they had a variety of local businesses there - mostly for homeowners. Some folks were even getting massages!

There was a duel booth of Riverbank Cafe & Red Squirrel. I'd never heard of the Riverbank Cafe and the food sounded great - so I was pretty excited. (Can you tell where this is going?)

We had BLT Soup and a Chicken Quesadilla Rollup. The soup was a tomato soup with the B + L on top along with mayo maybe? It was cold - which made it suck. Kelly took one bite and if only I'd been able to capture THAT with a camera. I think it would have been much better hot - but IMHO they shouldn't have been serving this as it was. The rollup didn't fare much better - it just had a mushy consistency.

I think they likely made poor choices in what to serve in this atmosphere...but definitely not racing up there to try it.

The Red Squirrel booth next door had soups, sandwiches and cornbread. I just grabbed a bite of cornbread and it was delicious! I really enjoyed the Red Squirrel when I worked downtown. The cornbread was really sweet and moist but grainy like it should be!

You only get one guess as to who's booth this was! 

Pizzeria Uno was also there - I was getting full but Kelly grabbed a slice anyway - it sounds great now! I've been dying for some deep dish pizza...this summer when I head home - I'll have to go to Zoeys! That's my "original" for deep dish.

DessertWorks got my "People's Choice" vote. They had cupcakes and cake samples and mmm mmm good!

This chocolate layer cake was to-die-for! I almost went back at the end of the day for another piece. It was moist and not too sweet but very chocolatey. Delicious!

And how pretty are those cupcakes! 

Soups & Scoops is a new place in the heart of Sharonville as well. They serve soup and ice cream (shocking I know - as if you couldn't figure that out). The soup was pretty good.

Manor House is a restaurant at a retirement village. They had a turkey lasagna that Kelly tried - it was pretty bland - which I guess isn't a surprise. I give them credit for trying to make a go of being standalone from their setting.

I tried their bread pudding - it was okay. It needed to be hotter and have about half as much of the sauce - which also needed to be hotter. It was far too much and far too sweet.

Here's a note for the restaurants - in this type of setting - people are going to eat from nearly every booth. They've paid a flat fee and want to get their moneys worth. I was trying everything for the sake of the blog - but it was easy to see - so was everybody else. That said - give us smaller portions!!!! I don't need a full size sandwich or dessert portion when I'm just here for a taste.

After that giant bread pudding I wasn't exactly ready for more dessert but I did try a little cheesecake from J. Annette and it was pretty good.

The surprise of the day came from Golden Rule Catering! First - the smile on the staff was very welcome. They weren't annoying or cocky and they were so friendly. This girl especially deserves a raise!!!!

But the food was what won me over. They served Beef Burgundy (here's a recipe for an idea) - their version was filled with potatoes and carrots. It was a deep rich flavor - tender, juicy and delicious! I was definitely wishing these folks had a bricks & mortar location.

As we left - the folks at the ticket table were also commenting on how fantastic this was! Definitely my vote for Best Entree!

All in all - it was a fun event - especially with my friend Kelly. It's very different than the downtown Taste event - much more family friendly. I like that they're trying to get something going up on the north side of the city. I hope that they keep expanding and get even more local restaurants involved next year!

I hope all of you see something new from one of the vendors and try it out!
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