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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Get Naked! (Pizza that is)

I was hungry hungry hungry for pizza last week but wanted something different. I love my Italianette but it's pretty heavy. I'd heard about Naked Pizza and that it was a lighter, healthier option so I decided to give it a try. 

They deliver - in the Hyde Park/Oakley area - but not all the way to Pleasant Ridge so I just called in and drove over to pick it up. Their site is helpful with all the different kinds of pizzas they have and with their allergen info!

It's a cute storefront - oh how I miss the Roly Poly. We don't have ANY left in Cinci. :-(


We got the Omnivore - pepperoni, hamburger, ham, bell pepper, mushroom, black olive.  (10 inch - $12.99)


It was a good pizza - not amazing but good. You could definitely appreciate the fresher ingredient and crust.

I also got an order of Cheesy Breadsticks ($5.99) and was asked if I wanted to add basil. I did. Two things on this add:

1. The guy didn't tell me it was an additional charge - but it was. Found that out on my bill. Maybe they should mention that.

2. Hubby is not a fan of basil - at least not in the form of big leaves of it. I thought they were okay but a little pungent. He took one bite and was done. I wouldn't do the basil again.

Why Should You Go? If you're looking for a "healthier" pizza with better ingredients - I think you should try it. If you're looking for something for a crowd - it's probably a more expensive option. I did like it but due to the fact that I have to pick it up and there's no dine-in - not sure how often I'll order again.

Naked Pizza on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Road Trip: East Fork Campground

So - I am an Iowa girl - which most people think means I'm a farm girl. Well I'm not. I grew up "in town" - granted - it was only a town of 3000 people with a Maid Rite, a Caseys (I do miss their pizza) and a flashing red signal light - but it was town.

Why do I mention this? Well - this "farm" girl has never been camping. Never. Never ever. 

My hubby wanted to go and I was up for the challenge. I like fresh air - why not?! We borrowed camping equipment (why buy if I end up hating it - thanks Marla & Steve for the loaners!) and headed off on our camping journey!

We went to East Fork State Park Campground - it's close by and a pretty nice park. It's in Batavia. I didn't even know the process - but these wonderful folks in the office told us to drive in - pick out our campsite and then come back and take care of the payment, etc...

Driving around to pick out a campsite is fun! They have areas A-L - all are electric, pet friendly - and all have a picnic table and a grill. We found a great shady spot in a quiet section and were off! We got a frequent camper card and everything. One night of camping at East Fork is $27 - fyi.

I had downloaded a camping checklist and went to town packing. And yes - DOG DOG was making the trek with us!

Larry got an ice cream bar at the office - he needed sustenance. Who can blame him right?

There's Mysty all excited about the trip! I have to say - you can sort of see it here but she had some CRAZY EYES. She was sooooo excited and had no idea what was going on.

I wasn't so sure about bringing her on a camping trip - she's a bit hyper (that's like saying Kim Kardashian has a bit of a booty). I was worried she would be too much to handle...would my worries be warranted????

There are our neighbors and our perfect shady spot.

We set up the chairs first - had to have our viewing area set! (thanks Bridget for the chair loan).

And - after 2 phone calls to Marla - the tent is set up! It's kinda cool that it's all mesh so it let's air in, etc... Luckily - it also had a rain fly which we put on later when we found out it was going to rain. Yikes! Thank goodness we found that out before we went to sleep!

And the answer to the question: Could we handle Dog Dog on the camping trip?

Um yeah. She was fantastic. It's like the fresh air and open land mellowed her (hallelujah). This was her position about 75% of the time. The rest of the time we were throwing the frisbee (she caught it in the air a few times) or she was escorting me to the bathroom. She's a great protector!

Taking her made the trip even better - she was a blast!

Hubby decided to start a fire - mainly because he was hungry. 

Mmmmm charcoal and a grill! w00t! 

And dog found a stick that was ripe for chewing...this occupied her at least until the hamburgers were grilled...then she turns into "sad eyes begging dog".

And since this is - at it's base - a food blog. Dinner is served! Sometimes there's nothing better than a plain burger with some good old American cheese!

On the way to the bathroom I found that parsley was growing wild. Interesting find! Although it's proximity to the bathroom made me not want to use it in any cooking...but it still smelled good.

Hubby, dog and I went for quite a few walks around our nook of the campground. It was so peaceful! We had a quiet nook thankfully - a few times rowdy folks drove through looking at spots - but they all wanted to be around other rowdy folks and quickly moved on - woohoo! All I wanted was a quiet night with my hub and my dog.

As it got dark - I forgot about taking pictures. Luckily we did stop and buy some firewood - I wasn't sure how much would be laying around - so we decided to just grab a bundle at the store by the campground - it was only $4. Came in very handy!

We also made s'mores - I'd never had one (shocking I know) and Larry was very excited about them. He's an expert with the flaming marshmallows.

The video is just a few moments of fire - who doesn't love a crackling fire?!

And there he is - just relaxing after his s'mores and finishing off one more hamburger.

Why Should You Go? Well if you like the outdoors and tranquility - then you should try camping. I had a fantastic time and am itching to get our own gear and go again - like yesterday!!!!

Any recommendations from folks on good spots? I know Red River Gorge is on the list...

And hey - if anybody has a tent, air mattress, chairs, etc... that they don't use and want to unload - let me know!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I = Island Frydays

For the letter I - the alphabet list is a bit lacking - so I decided to take this one into my own hands and chose Island Frydays in Clifton as the choice.

It's on Short Vine next to the Firehouse and you can't miss it. Seriously - how could you miss that yellow?

Here's a quick look at their menu - and yes - they have goat and oxtail. Here's a full menu.

Also - fun drinks! I was dying for a regular boring Coke but wish I'd tried the Kola Champagne and how can you not drink something called Ting?!

I got the small jerk chicken dinner - yes - that's the small ($8). That's rice and beans (or you could choose yellow rice), steamed vegetables, chicken (choose dark or light) and plantains.

Zomg. De. Lish. Seriously - it was fantastic. They put some of the gravy on the rice - even better. It was sweet & spicy. The steamed vegetables were even good! The plantains - perfect. Love love love this place!

I also got one of their "patties" - they have beef, chicken and veggie ($2) - I got veggie...but didn't really know what I was getting. I saved this for later...

My good friend Karen got the small chicken curry ($6). I THOUGHT I didn't like curry but Karen told me to at least try this - I owe it to you guys to try it. And I liked it!!!! Who knew?! She said it was really good - so I guess maybe I hadn't had really good curry?

Karen - God love her - can eat (and she's tall and thin - seriously - not cool!) - but I love going with her - because she jumps in feet first! She also decided to try the Jerk Wrap ($3). We split this and the pattie and this was delicious. It had the jerk chicken but was definitely like a Subway version of my dinner. It was good though and for $3 - um hells yeah!

Here's the inside of "the pattie" - it was okay. The veggies were juicy but the bread was a bit dry. I think maybe some cheese would make it more to my liking - shocking I'm sure. Actually I don't think there's anything on the menu with cheese!

Why Should You Go? Seriously - it's so freakin cheap!!!! I mean - the sandwich (also recommended by another friend) and the wrap are $3 each?! I really enjoyed the meals as well. Karen's curry had a lot of bones that she had to watch out for - but the flavor was great. Definitely a hidden gem in Cincinnati!

Island Frydays on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 23, 2011

Go Cincinnati 2011 - Did you Go?

A couple of weeks ago - I participated in Go Cincinnati. It was an amazing day and so fun to give back to the city I now call home. If you're not familiar with Go Cincinnati - check out this video (produced by Crossroads):

Here's the thing - who doesn't have FOUR HOURS one time a year to give to others? We all do. I decided this year that I needed to do something more. Having never participated in Go Cincinnati before - I decided not only was I going to volunteer - I was going to be a team lead! 

My project was the Giving Garden in Kennedy Heights. They've taken a property that did house a major drug ring posing as a landscaping business and have transformed it into a future community garden. Luckily - with Crossroads help - "future" just came a lot sooner!

As you can see above- they put together a LOT of garden boxes ahead of time for us. They plan on doing a host of things with this space (corner of Montgomery Rd & Tyne):

* Reclaim disused, vacant, blighted property
* Provide gardening education & programming
* Foster the beautification of public spaces

They're going to have gardening classes, community garden plots, a raise & release butterfly program, a greenhouse, composting area and so much more!!!!

What's this? One of two BIG ASS piles of dirt...part of our task was to move all that into the boxes that the Giving Garden put together.

Pile #2 - oye - can you say daunting? And thanks so much to my volunteers - I had to mark a list of what we needed and what did I forget? Um...shovels. Yes. I'm serious. I let the folks know ahead of time that were volunteering and we had shovels galore!!!! Thanks guys!!!

Before we could put the top soil in the boxes we had to put a layer of gravel in the bottom. The girls decided to pose on top and show our progress on the gravel pile as the first hour or so went on.

We also planted flowers and shrubs along the front and side of the property. Our flower team rocked!

Wheelbarrowing team members brought the gravel down a hill and dumped in the boxes with the help of these guys. Then as the wheelbarrows went back for more - they evened out the boxes.

The pile dwindles...

And dwindles a bit more - I had a team of nearly 30 people. Mine was considered a "major" project. Oye! In my first year even!!! You can sign up for landscaping, painting, serving, fellowship and lots of other things. It's really a great event with something for everyone!

Here's a shot from the parking lot where two of the piles were. The soil would have gone quicker had it not rained the day before. Luckily for us - the rain was only sprinkles on this Saturday. And EVERYBODY worked through the rain without one complaint!

Lysha and I creating our own version of American Gothic. And thank God for Family Dollar across the street - I ran over midway through and got granola bars for the team.

Thirty people - shoveling, wheelbarrowing (down and uphill), dumping, evening, repeat. Amazing stuff.

The boxes at the end of the day - all full! With a little top soil to spare...

Shrubs along their beautiful side wall...

Flowers added to their existing trees.

And the award for dirtiest volunteer of the day went to Ken! He was in the trenches helping the wheelbarrow team dump loads into the boxes - for four hours.

Marla gets runner-up for dirtiest. Her arms were filthy but she wussed out by wearing a poncho! hahah - JUST KIDDING MARLA!

Wow. 

This was a hella-task and our day started early but we all had such a great time. Everybody jumped in and just took care of business. 

Also - Pleasant Ridge & Kennedy Heights are having an Art & the Garden Weekend in June. It features a garden tour of homes in the two neighborhoods. Some of the folks from the Giving Garden have their homes on the tour. I went a couple of years ago and LOVED IT! You might even bump into me on this year's tour - I'm already looking forward to it. 

If you'd like to find out more about working with Giving Garden - email marty@givinggardencincinnati.org. 

And next year - get off your butts and volunteer with Go Cincinnati! You don't have to go to Crossroads to do it - but chances are someone you know did it. We had over 6000 volunteers work on 350 projects around the city. All of us - giving back to this great city - cuz we love Cincinnati! 

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Boobtastic BBQ

Yeah - I said it - Boobtastic BBQ. There's only one place you can get that - KT's Barbecue in Reading.

I'm not much for stuff like this - I think it's pretty dumb. When he first put the mannequins out there and it was on the news - I pretty much thought, "Um I don't want to go there."

So why did I go? Well Larry and I were hungry and wanted something different than fast food. And we were on the way back from his work on Reading Rd. So there she was - beckoning us to come on in.

She has a "girlfriend" inside the store too. 

Parking can be a bit of a mystery but he has an agreement with the car wash next door - so feel free to park there as long as you're not blocking a bay. It's basically take-out only with a table in front of the store if you're so inclined.

Larry and I each got a pulled pork sandwich ($4.99) and sides ($1.35 each). I think the sandwich came with chips as well.

Sandwich - he microwaved the meat before putting it in the sandwich and there's no sauce. But it wasn't too bad. The sauce is vinegary and thin but has a kick to it. Overall - I liked the sandwich. Not mind-blowing - but not bad either.

Potato Salad - didn't like. It wasn't creamy - more vinegary.

Cornbread - didn't like. It was dry and not very sweet. I know cornbread is very much a matter of taste - some folks probably love it.

Baked Beans (not pictured) - Larry didn't say much but he ate them and said they were good. He's kinda picky - so I take that as a compliment.

The owner is very vocal and can sometimes rub people the wrong way. He's definitely got a New Yorker vibe going on from his time there. But - I like that he's open and honest and chatty. I mentioned I was a blogger and whoooo - that sparked a conversation!! I have to say though - it's a local place and I like supporting that.

Why Should You Go? Well I wanted to love the food - because he's got such a big personality and it's very near to my house - but I didn't. It was okay. It was an eventful stop and I think that's always fun. And - I did like my sandwich.

KT's Barbecue on Urbanspoon