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Friday, February 28, 2014

Road Trip: Indianapolis - Part 1!

For my husbands birthday - we decided to take a mini-vacation and headed to Indianapolis thanks to Visit Indy. My husband is a HUGE Colts fan - so we had a sports-filled weekend planned! 

It was really great when we pulled into town and saw Lucas Oil Stadium - we had a tour planned in a couple of days but Larry having a view of this out our hotel window - well - that pretty much made the trip! He woke up every day and just stared at it. :-)



Monument Circle is so great! It's in the heart of downtown and they do all sorts of great activities there during the summer. I have to say - I was so impressed with downtown Indy! First - they have more monuments than any city other than Washington DC - so there is a TON of history.

Second - they LOVE their Colts. There was Colts signage - EVERYWHERE! Every block, so many businesses, city walls, etc... - everywhere - #ColtsStrong. It was really impressive. It's not even football season - but this city loves their team and they show it 365 days a year. It was great to see a city supporting their teams so vocally.

Third (and more) - they have so much to do! Just in downtown you can see baseball, basketball, football, museums, shopping (a really nice mall), theater, markets, restaurants, etc... Indianapolis has just done an amazing job making their downtown clean, safe and fun!!

We were really excited about the weekend fun we had planned...first up

the NCAA Hall of Champions. It's an interactive museum of sorts dedicated to NCAA sports. This mural in the front is pretty cool - looks neat from far away - then you get up close and...

It's made up of pics of athletes from around the country! There are interactive videos and sports exhibits that go through each of the 23 NCAA sports along with their Hall of Champions honorees.

Upstairs was a little room where you could test your skills in football, soccer, basketball or baseball. Larry was burning up those pitches of course.

All in all - the NCAA Hall of Champions was fun. It's a fairly quick visit - we were through in about an hour but if you're a sports fan - it's a great stop to add to the list.

After the drive we were a bit hungry and decided to head to Indiana's oldest bar - the Slippery Noodle - for a bite to eat. The Slippery Noodle is known for their blues and has live music 7 days/week. We were there a bit early - but still got to take a peek around.

We just grabbed some chicken nachos - they were okay. The Noodle is much more known for their music than their food. The menu is large though - so there's a lot to choose from.

Our server took us on a little tour of the back bar and basement area and shared some of the history along the way. In the back bar - there are slugs in the wall from the days of John Dillinger.  Downstairs are rooms used in the days of the Underground Railroad.

Slippery Noodle Inn on Urbanspoon

All in all - Day One of our Visit Indy trip was pretty great - I'm definitely on my way to say that I #LoveIndy.

Disclosure: Visit Indy provided lodging and some entertainment for our trip but all opinions are my own. 




Thursday, February 27, 2014

GIVEAWAY: The Glendalia Culinary Studio (+ discount code)

The Glendalia Boutique Hotel & Culinary Studio is one of my favorite businesses in Cincinnati. The hotel is adorable and of course I love a culinary studio. They offer cooking classes 2-3 nights/week and are in Glendale Square. 

The classes are a lot of fun (don't they look happy?) - you break up into teams and cook different recipes and then, at the end of the class, you sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labors!

I'm giving away two seats in their knife skills class coming up on Tuesday March 11 where Chef Rachel will teach you tips & tricks as well as the proper way to use a knife. While in class, you'll make salsa, guacamole, a delicious chicken dish and...

...Fried Bananas with Cinnamon Sugar Tortillas! Um - do you wanna just grab a spoon looking at that? I know I do! Scroll down for the entry form - be sure that if you enter - you can make the class - it's on Tuesday March 11. 

There are so many great classes in March - and Robin (the owner) has also decided to give Food Hussy readers a BUY ONE GET ONE FREE offer! That's right - use the code BOGO when signing up online (or you can call) and you'll get buy one get one free on all March classes!!! 

They have a Culinary Journey to Napa Wine Country coming up on Friday March 7 - it sounds amazing!!! Gnocchi, asparagus, pork belly - man oh man - seriously gotta stop drooling on my keyboard. And you can get 2 classes for just $60! 

The Glendalia is also BYOB - so bring your favorite drink to class with you and enjoy a little wine while you dine! 

And now it's giveaway time - free knife skills class for 2! I'll be drawing the winner on Friday March 7 - so be sure and come back to the post to see if you won or check your email!

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Restaurant Review: Bonbonerie Cafe

Once every month or so I take my favorite (and only) project manager out to lunch so we can talk about how things are going and also just get away from the office. Lucky for me - she had to pick up a cake for her boyfriend's birthday - so we decided to go to the Bonbonerie Cafe in O'Bryonville. 

The cafe entrance is on the backside - there's a small parking lot. Bonbonerie is known for their bakery but the cafe is great too! They do a lot of tea services as well.

It's very quaint with a lot of animal art around the cafe - even a wall of cat tea pots (one of which I own as well).

Anne got the Chicken Salad Plate ($9.95) which had two big scoops of chicken salad with almonds, celery and green onions tossed in a light curry dressing. The plate also has field greens with house Balsamic and fresh baguette slices. 

Anne offered me a taste and I wasn't too excited - I'm a purist with chicken salad - I don't like anything weird in mine - but I have to say - IT WAS DELICIOUS! 

I went for Jocelyn's Quiche du Jour - I'm a big fan of quiche from my Mom making amazing breakfasts for years. This was asparagus and cheese - yum! I went for a side of soup - I think it was a red pepper lentil or something like that. Another table was leaving and said how fantastic it was so I tried it. She was not kidding - it was delicious! I really enjoyed this lunch!

And while Anne was picking up the birthday cake - I explored their bakery store - and there was so much to choose from! How would I choose?

Oh wait - that's how. 

Why Should You Go? The Bonbonerie is much more than just the home of the Opera Cream Cake! The cafe is wonderful for lunch and has a lot of nice options. And then - that cupcake - wow. I actually am not THAT fond of the cake portion but wow - that opera cream - heavenly. I could eat that with a spoon!!! If you haven't been - you should add it to your wishlist!

The Bonbonerie & Cafe on Urbanspoon



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Restaurant Review: Chuy's Tex Mex + GIVEAWAY!

I'm a big fan of Mexican food - my husband is not. That said - the kind folks at Chuy's sent us a gift certificate to check them out (and give one to some lucky fan!) - so he went. Chuy's is a Tex-Mex that started in Austin, TX and has now expanded across the country. 

Chuy's is just down the road from Kenwood Mall in the former location of Chi-nnati's and Margaritas. It's had a paint job and new decor but the same layout for the most part. I was wondering how reminiscent of one of my favorite Iowa restaurants - Carlos O'Kellys - with the very Americanized menu with some Mexican flair.

They also have a definitely 50's automotive theme with hubcaps lining the ceiling in the patio room. The staff is also very kid-friendly - they have hidden legos and secrets for kids - I saw them walking a couple kids around and giving them hints here and there.

I love all the primary color decorations - I would love to have this one in my front yard! 

We started with chips and salsa (complimentary) and really enjoyed them. The chips were SUPER light and salted. They were so thin - I wish I could find some like this at the grocery store. The salsa was also great - it was light and not very spicy. Larry doesn't usually touch the stuff but he nearly finished the whole bowl!

Larry ordered the taco salad with ground beef and got a side of Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette dressing. He finished nearly the whole thing - which is impressive since he doesn't like Mexican or salads for the most part. He really liked the dressing also - it was light and tangy.

I went for my standard order - it's basically a test to see if I'll like them - cheese enchiladas with cheese sauce. If the cheese sauce is good - I'm good. :-) The cheese in the enchiladas wasn't great - it was melty but tasted a bit like a CoJack mix. The queso on top though - AWESOMESAUCE! This was the closest to the magical queso at Carlos O'Kelly's that I've tried. If nothing else - I'll be back for that. The rice and beans were pretty good as well - I cleaned my plate. :-)

It turns out our gift certificate covered a dessert as well - the server (who was fantastic) barely got the words out of his mouth - and I said, YES!! What were the words? Tres. Leches. Cake. This cake was great! I worried that the extra leche (milk) would make the cake soggy - but it totally didn't! I even took most of this cake home and it was still not soggy even the next day. It was a firm enough cake that it could handle all of the cream.

Why Should You Go? Well besides the GIVEAWAY (see below) - I liked it. It's definitely not authentic (or trying to be) but they have burritos as big as yo' face - so how bad can that be?! If anything - you should go for the chips & queso. I might actually go this weekend!

Chuy's on Urbanspoon

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Recipe: Knorr's Creamy Shrimp Alfredo

This post brought to you by Giant Eagle. All opinions are 100% mine.

I'm always trying to find quick and easy dinner recipes - tonight I decided to use something normally left for side dishes and make it a main dish! Knorr Pasta Sides are available in 13 flavors - from Alfredo to Scampi and Butter to Chicken. They're delicious and FAST - which is what I need after working all day.


Knorr and Giant Eagle have teamed up to provide a Free Recipe Book for their side dishes. You just add a couple extra ingredients - like shrimp, spinach and cherry tomatoes - and you'll have a main dish that everybody will love!

Giant Eagle also has a special going on now through March 4 - buy $10 in Knorr sides (10 for $10) and save $3 off frozen cooked or uncooked shrimp in the seafood department on your next shopping order!  (Offer valid 2/25-3/5)


I chopped a large handful of spinach into smaller pieces and sliced a cup of cherry tomatoes in half. They're so bright and colorful - definitely the kind of veges I like to eat!


For the recipe I chose - Knorr Creamy Shrimp Alfredo - I used the Alfredo Pasta Side dish and cooked according to package directions. Then I added the spinach and tomatoes while I sauteed the shrimp in a separate pan.

I like to use the frozen RAW shrimp that is peeled & deveined. It's typically right NEXT to the precooked in the freezer section. Once I tried the raw - I never went back. The precooked are really great for shrimp cocktail though.


Once the pasta is cooked - you add the freshly sauteed shrimp and give it a quick toss. It looked and smelled delicious - I was definitely ready to dig in!


I really love these Knorr Pasta Sides - I've been using them for years. It's so great to know that now I can use them for entrees too! I'm not sure why I never thought of it! :-) I have already downloaded the Free Recipe Book so I can find even more good stuff to make for dinner tomorrow!

Creamy Shrimp Alfredo

Ingredients:
1 package Knorr Pasta Sides - Alfredo
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
1 lb uncooked medium shrimp , peeled & deveined
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: 
1. Prepare Knorr Pasta Sides - Alfredo according to package directions, stirring in tomatoes and spinach during the last 5 minutes of cook time.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in large nonstick skillet and cook shrimp, stirring occasionally, until shrimp turn pink, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir cooked shrimp into hot pasta and sprinkle with cheese.

And don't forget - Giant Eagle has Knorr Pasta Sides on special 10 for $10 and when you buy $10 - you get $3 off cooked or uncooked shrimp from the seafood department on your next visit.
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Friday, February 21, 2014

Restaurant Review: Meatball Kitchen

Short Vine in Clifton is really exploding into something fun and interesting food-wise. One of my favorites is Island Frydays - a little Jamaican place but there's so much more now! My coworkers and I heard about the latest addition and had to check out - Meatball Kitchen!

It's fairly stark and has the whole Chipotle-vibe going on. It's down a couple of blocks from Bogarts on the right. It reminds me of the tv show - America's Next Great Restaurant - there was a meatball shop on that show too.

The menu is simple - choose your base (salad, sandwich, pasta), choose your ball (spicy pork, turkey, beef, veggie) and then choose your sauce (tomato, meat, bechamel).

There are also sides - but being a bunch of girls - we didn't try any of them. They're a little off the beaten path - but I've heard good things - some of my girls were just wanting a bag of chips. It might be nice to add that as well.

The sides are things like spicy kale, onion/garlic bread pudding (stuffing - right?), sriracha sweet potato mash and more.

This was veggie meatballs on a salad - one of the girls actually wanted turkey meatballs but got this by accident. These veggie meatballs are really full of veggies! I have to say - it looks pretty good - and healthy.

A couple of girls went for beef with tomato sauce on a sandwich. They were a bit underwhelmed. The bread got soggy pretty quickly but they said the flavor was fine.

Amy got the pasta with meat sauce and beef meatballs - I have to say - it looked delicious. She was underwhelmed though as well. She said while it all tasted fine she never really has a craving for this food so wouldn't have any hankering to come back.

I went for the full on heart attack in a container - pasta with beef meatballs, bechamel and - aw hell - a slice of provolone! I loved everything - but the meatballs :-( They were okay - but they were a little mushy in the middle. I was hoping for something a little firmer. That said - the pasta & bechamel were delicious! This is also the way to go if you're getting an order to go - there's no way the bread would hold up.

Why Should You Go? If you really love meatballs - you have to go. They have meatball tacos and a meatball burger as well. Nobody in our party of 7 came away saying, "I can't wait to come back!" - that said - I actually liked it for the most part. It was really warm and comforting - especially in this snowy winter. So - sort of a mixed bag - worth a try for sure.


Meatball Kitchen on Urbanspoon



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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Road Trip: Danville, KY (Craft Bourbon & Craft Beer)

Our little road trips are a little less frequent in the winter - but no less fun! Recently we headed out to Danville, Kentucky (south of Lexington) to explore a bit. 

A quick search led me to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail (not surprising) but last year they opened a Craft Trail Tour! There are 8 distilleries on the craft tour and we were excited to check one off the list!

Wilderness Trace just opened last fall and they are a Craft Bourbon Distillery - which basically means - a heckuva a lot smaller. They actually just had their grand opening a couple months ago. What does that mean for bourbon? You won't be drinking any for a few years...

But they are selling vodka and rum in the mean time to supplement the income until the bourbon is ready. We came in right as they were closing - but we were able to chat with the head distiller for a few minutes. I also want to say they had the most AMAZING boubon candles! We bought a big one and it warms and scents up the whole house!

After learning about the newest bourbon in Danville, we decided to grab a beer at the Beer Engine Tap Room. The Beer Engine is actually Danville's oldest brewery! (It's kind of a town joke - it opened in 2011 - Danville is a SMALL town).

After trying to figure out what the heck their beers were - and what I like - the bar-keep settled on the Tremens Delirium for me. It's a very fizzy light Belgian beer and let me tell you - he hit the nail on the head! I loved it! I loved it so much I went to Jungle Jim's and bought a bottle ($10!!).  There was absolutely no bitter after taste - but let me warn you - it packs a punch. One of these and I was HAM-JAMMED!

It's a really small place - but cozy and inviting. The painting of Colonel Sanders, the chalkboard FULL of unique beers and THE DOGS! The bartender has two dogs that came in and hang out with him - oh they were so sweet! They are pretzel-beggars - but their dad doesn't want them eating them - just fyi! :-)

They have a very limited "menu" - I'm not even sure it counts as a menu - but they have some snacks for purchase. We got pretzels and beer cheese for $4. The beer cheese was really good and had quite a kick. It's great to see the tap room movement spreading through the countryside.

And what a beautiful countryside it was. We had gone down on a Friday afternoon and came back at sunset and it was so beautiful. This photo is au-natural - no enhancements whatsoever. So beautiful.

Then I couldn't resist messing around in my photo editor - enhanced a couple of things - pretty cool huh?

Why Should You Go? If you're ever in Danville - both spots are wonderful to check out. The distillery team at Wilderness Trace is very friendly and knowledgeable. The beers at Beer Engine are thirst-quenching. It was a good trip. :-)

Beer Engine Microbrewery & Tap Room on Urbanspoon