Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy Anniversary with a Peaceful B&B!

Larry and I enjoyed our trip to Greensburg and one of the best parts was obviously the bed & breakfast. I love peaceful, country life. Nana's B&B sets on a 10 acre farm just outside of Greensburg. 

It's such a beautiful farm with a porch swing, side deck, vegetable garden and just lots of tranquility. 

Inside the fresh flowers we added onto the room awaited along with lots of little angel-themed items to read.

The next morning - the view was awesome! After chatting with Ed we found out he used to ride his bike by this farm as a child. It used to be one large farm and now it's cut up into probably 10 different lots/families. We could just picture Ed as a little guy pedaling away on a gravel road.

While Joanne is the chef, Ed is the gardener. There's a vegetable and flower garden outside the house as well.

What a picture perfect farm view - I mean seriously! It's like a painting!

This used to be a historic barn...it was torn down (much to the chagrin of Joanne & Ed) - one of the many stories Ed told us about. They even had a barn book that had a picture of this barn when it was still up.

I mentioned this earlier in the week - I'm framing this picture.

And after the bed portion - we were ready for the breakfast!!!! Joanne started me off with zucchini bread and it was moist and delicious. (There was SO MUCH FOOD!)

For Larry and his egg allergy, Joanne made Dairy Free Berry Muffins (recipe to come in another blog). He said they were really good - then - after we left he said "I wish I'd been able to take some home - those were awesome! They were exactly what I always thought a muffin would taste like!" I felt bad - I'm sure Joanne would have packed the extras up for us. Thanks again to Joanne for sending me the recipe after our visit!

After our first course (man - 3 courses - all for breakfast!), Joanne brought out a giant parfait. Fresh fruit, yogurt, granola - yum! Now I hate bananas (HATE) but I ate pretty much everything else. Larry likes all of it and admitted later - he was full after this. We still had our entrees to come!

For Larry she made biscuits & gravy. For me, I got a small order of biscuits & gravy, a slice of quiche and some fresh tomato & orange. It was all delicious! I could barely finish my plate - because I was already stuffed! But somehow I found room - I couldn't leave any of this!

And, it's a farm, so of course - THERE WERE KITTIES! These guys were all a little too skiddish to pet but we had a lot of fun watching the little ones play with their mom.

I would highly recommend Nana's to anyone. They have three rooms - all very affordable with private bathrooms. It's great for a special occasion like ours or if you've got some girlfriends and you just want a little getaway - it would be fun and affordable! All three rooms range from $85-$105/night!

And when you go - be sure to tell Ed and Joanne we said hi!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The best tenderloin since I moved from Iowa!

So now - it's time to explore Greensburg, Indiana a little more in-depth - at least with the food. First up - was our first stop - Stories Restaurant. It's in the heart of downtown Greensburg and right across the street from the famous tower tree

As I mentioned earlier this week, we were just arriving in town when we came across a great couple and they asked us where "the tenderloin place" was - thinking we were natives. We had no clue but we followed them very quickly - luckily they were on the scent! 

It's Stories Restaurant - a very cute diner right on the town square. You could tell with one step in their doors - this was a gathering place in the community.

One of my favorite things to find in a restaurant are ads. I have no idea why but ads on the menus or, as in this case, on the tables - I love em! Gordon Ramsey would have sh!t fit - but they bring me joy. I just feel like I'm in a small town when I see them - something I love.

And yes - on the menu too! Along with a story of the restaurant and the tower tree.

Right behind my head was a wall full of fresh homemade pie. This went home with me - I love love love coconut cream pie. And I'll say now - it was delicious!

But we were here for the tenderloins! At least I was. Being from Iowa - I'm sorely disappointed by the "pig city" of Cincinnati not having a decent breaded tenderloin. They just aren't right. They're fine and mediocre but I'm used to GIANT thick tenderloins with homemade breading - the kind that make the bun look like an ant in a world of giants!

Stories did NOT disappoint! Look at that thing! It was huge and delicious! The fries were fine - I wasn't really caring about them - they're crinkle cut fries. The cole slaw was good too - I'm picky when it comes to slaw and really only like the old version KFC used to have - this was creamy and similar to that.

But that tenderloin - it was something to write home about. (That's what this is in a way - hey Iowa - you have competition!)

Larry went for a double cheeseburger and it was delicious. Homemade patties and fresh tomatoes (you can just tell by the taste) - good good stuff!

Why Should You Go? Well - it's a little over an hour away - but this tenderloin was worth the drive. Pair that with Stapps Circle S Ranch and you have a nice afternoon trip!

Storie's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 26, 2011

Road Trip: Greensburg, IN

Let's kick the week off with my First Anniversary Road Trip - we decided to have a little mini-vacation and spent the weekend in Greensburg, Indiana (exciting I know). As always - the drive is half the fun for us - so we took our time. 

One thing we spotted on the way was the Mt Airy Tanks - these are quite a sight to see - not your ordinary water tanks! Some very beautiful architecture on these.

After about an hour and a half we made it into Greensburg and they are known for one thing:

A tree growing out of the tower at the Courthouse. There's a whole story behind it - which I won't tell you here - but the link tells it all. It's a really cute little town - there's the older side around the town square and then a newer side that is more the strip malls and chain restaurants.

I'll be doing individual reviews this week of the stops on our anniversary trip - but here are some of the highlights:

Stories Restaurant was one of our first stops. We were hungry and looking around the square for someplace to eat and bumped into a nice couple from Indy. They asked us if we knew where the "tenderloin place" was. We didn't but we followed them instantly! This was it. Yum!

I think I snapped this shot on our way to the Pearl Street Pub in Oldenburg (15 min drive). Butterflies are so damn pretty! I got lucky with this one.

Then it was on to Nana's B&B in Greensburg. We were the only guests in this three-room b&b. The owners Joanne & Ed were wonderful! Since the room was so affordable (all 3 are less than $100/night) - we opted for the extra package that included flowers, champagne & chocolate covered strawberries.

The B&B is set on a 10 acre farm and this is the view we woke up to. Love. It.

Pretty proud of this shot too - I'm nowhere near my sister in terms of photography - but I do like to get some good pics. I might get this and the butterfly printed & framed.

Here's the house - I love that it's called Nana's - cuz it's like the grandma I wish I had! Mine was a bit cuckoo...

And of course we had a great breakfast the next morning - Joanne is a fantastic cook and Ed is a fantastic talker!

They even had kitties!!!! We couldn't pet them but they were fun to watch.

One of our last stops was Stapps Circle S Ranch between Greensburg & Batesville. It was really the main reason I chose Greensburg. It's like one of those safari parks where you can walk/drive thru and feed the animals.

This is Cinnamon the Capuchin Monkey - she plays an awesome game of catch with popcorn. She was Larry's favorite - he kept disappearing to play more catch with her.

He also wanted to tempt the llama. Our guide warned us she's a spitter - so Larry went over near her. I caught this great shot of him running away. Her ears went back and he heard her gurgling and he got the heck out of Dodge!

But the best time of the day was when we got to pet...

THE BABY TIGER!!!!! 

Yes - we both got to pet and play with Grayson, the baby tiger! They normally charge a little extra for this but he was technically too old to play with. But when he was out for his walk with the trainer - she induldged and let a group of us play with him. He is incredibly soft and so fun! Earlier when he was in his caged area he was meowing for someone to play with and you could tell he really enjoys it. As Larry started to walk away - he grabbed his pant leg and wanted more fun!

Every spring the ranch gets either a baby tiger or liger (yes - Napoleon Dynamite liger) and they keep it through the end of summer. They have certified tiger trainers (one is the youngest in the state) on hand to work with the baby and their adults.

The ranch was definitely one of the highlights of the weekend. While most people might drive thru Greensburg and not even blink - we truly enjoyed exploring and getting to know this quaint little Indiana town and will definitely be back!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Expensive & Mediocre Steak? Sure!

Hubby and I were on our way home from one of our road trip days and he wanted steak. Let me tell you - trying to find a place that has a reservation open for Saturday night at 530pm is not fun. We called probably 7 places!!! Finally we ended up at Polo Grille in the Deerfield area of Mason. 

It's like a non-chain Applebees classed up a bit - but I was hoping for the best. Inside there's a lot of wood and darkness - it's nice. Not "fancy" but nice.

We started with rolls and a butter/olive oil combo - this was good.

We each got the house salad (Larry got a different dressing) - they're in the same restaurant group as deSha's so it has their creamy herb dressing. This was a large portion salad with cucumbers, tomatoes and a heap of bacon. Either the dressing isn't very flavorful or there wasn't enough on it - cuz I couldn't really taste it. These also did not come with the meal and were probably $3-4 each.

I went for the Steak Frites which had a basil compound butter on top. All in all - underwhelming - especially considering the price. This was at least $18 (prices aren't online) and a piece of steak and fries - for $18?! The fries were bland and boring. The steak wasn't a very good quality - the texture wasn't good - it was like it had been frozen maybe? Like almost had a hamburger texture. For that price - they should at least serve it with the yucca fries. I don't even know what they are but it seems like they're a step up from these boring fries that I had.

Larry got the Filet Medallions - you could get 1 or 2 - thank goodness he got 2 - they're small. I think his meal was between $25-30. The grilled scallions - seriously? Limp green onions - what in the hell does that add? He took them off right away. The gorgonzola cream sauce (on the left - he asked for it on the side) was fine and did add some flavor. He can't have the potato cake (eggs) so he got the boring fries instead. His steak was better quality than mine - but we still felt the whole thing was overpriced.

Why Should You Go? Unless someone else is buying - I wouldn't bother. I know there are better steak places - they were just all packed until 9pm and we were hungry. It's a nice place and the server was fine. We just thought the food was "okay" and it was pretty expensive. Larry had a beer and the total was nearly $70. Next time, we'll buy our own and grill at home.

Polo Grille on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ali Baba - Grant Me a Wish for Awesome Food!

I'd heard a couple of rave reviews about Ali Baba's Mediterranean Grill on Red Bank and was really excited to try it. I love Lebanese/Greek food and this place is close by and affordable - sounds like a winning combination!

It's on Red Bank near the Walmart in a strip mall. This was the space that was supposed to have or had for a VERY short while someplace that was the "Home of the $10 T-Bone" - dammit - I missed it!

But now - it's home to Ali Baba's.

The menu is on the wall and there are printed copies on the counter - it's a good selection. I can't find a website but if you click on the image - it will enlarge and you can see the offerings.

Ahhhh...spits of meat. I have to say - the one on the right looked kinda gross - but it was chicken pieces stacked rather than just a big hunk of lamb.

Larry & Marla joined me and each got the gyro ($6). It was HUGE! The tsatziki was okay - but not my favorite in town. It varies so much from place to place - sometimes it's thick like sour cream (which I like - shocker) and other times thin like yogurt (not so much). The meat was standard but good. All in all a good standard gyro.

We also tried a side of hummus - I think Sabra hummus has me spoiled - I crave their roasted red pepper on a regular basis. This was of the plain variety made in-house and it was fine. Again - good standard hummus.
I got the Chicken Schwarma pita ($6). I have mixed feelings on this - there were LOTS of veggies in with it - which I loved and the chicken was flavorful. The sauce was a bit lacking and the pita was already torn when I got it so it fell apart quickly. It was also a bit stale. 

Aside from the food - service and atmosphere should be addressed. First - it's hot - there's no air and it gets a bit sticky in there. It wasn't too bad the day we went but it was noticeable - I can't imagine on a HOT day. Also - ordering there is a bit clunky - you order at the counter - but it's just awkward. Also - Marla's gyro was probably 5-7 minutes behind our two sandwiches. The kid forgot about it and we ended up going up and it was sitting there waiting to be taken out. They're very very polite and friendly - but it's just clunky and needs some work. 

Why Should You Go? The food is good - not amazing - but solid, good Mediterranean food and it's really affordable. The portion sizes are also very large - you won't leave hungry by any means!!!! 


Ali Baba Mediterranean Grill on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Food Hussy + Smart Talk = Project Runway Awesomeness?




I'm so excited to announce a new blogging partnership with the SmartTalk series! They're an amazing group that brings even more amazing speakers to the Cincinnati area every year. Lucky for me - and you - I'll be attending each show AND giving away tickets to each show! 

This year's speakers are very exciting as well - the series of speakers are targeted toward women. With SmartTalk you get to know the private, personal side of some very famous people. I'm SO excited!

Who does Cincinnati have on tap this year?
If there ever has been a fearless woman it would be Arianna Huffington.  In 2005 she launched a widely read and cited online news site called “The Huffington Post”.  Along with this she is a nationally syndicated columnist and an author of 13 books. (Wed, Feb 22/7:30pm)
 
Kara DioGuardi is best known for annoying me for an entire season of American Idol (haha). She's soon going to be on stage in Chicago as Roxie Hart on Broadway. Thu, Mar 22/7:30pm



Vy Higginsen has achieved some very impressive milestones including being the first black female radio personality in the prime time New York City market.  She was also the first woman in advertising sales at Ebony magazine, the first black woman to produce a drama on Broadway and the first black female writer, producer, director of the longest-running Off-Broadway musical in the history of American theatre.  Along with this Vy is the CEO of The Mama Foundation as featured on 60 minutes, ordained as a minister and has been named a Harlem Hero in “Harlem Is”. Tue, Apr 17/7:30pm


Actress and activist, Andie MacDowell. Most known for roles in Four Weddings and a Funeral and Groundhog Day, she's been in tons of movies.  When not in front of the camera, MacDowell is a devoted activist. Having lost her mother to heart disease at an early age, she has since dedicated her life to raising healthy heart awareness and helping audiences nationwide change their lives for the better. (Thu, May 24/7:30pm)

And then..I'm actually saving the first speaker for last. I'm GIDDY beyond belief to announce the first speaker. Tim. Freakin. Gunn!!!!!!! 


Yes - Project Runway's very own Tim Gunn is coming to Cincinnati and I'm gonna see him!!!! Beyond PR, Tim is also the CEO of Liz Claiborne and has a new daily show coming out in January 2012.  Sat, Jan 14/7:30pm 


If you don't want to take a chance on winning tickets from me - you can find out more about purchasing tickets here.

I'm so excited about this partnership with SmartTalk and I hope you are too! Can't wait to see all these amazing speakers.