Saturday, May 31, 2014

Event: Passport to Healthy Skin - this Sunday @ Findlay Market

If you live in or near a bustling metropolitan area, you probably consider yourself pretty street smart. But do you have city skin smarts? Simple® Skincare surveyed* women in the top 40 cities across the country to uncover the truth about their holistic skincare habits. Although nearly 9 in 10 (89%) women describe their skincare habits as "healthy," their actual behaviors show there is room for improvement.
For starters, 68% of Cincinnati women know that stress affects their skin's health; however, more than half (53%) are not actively trying to reduce their stress level right now. A Simple® solution? Light a lavender-infused candle to help you unwind. The scent alone has been found to slow blood pressure and heart rate.
Want to hone your city skin smarts even further? Join POPSUGAR and Simple® Skincare for the "Passport to Healthy Skin" event in the local Cincinnati area! You'll learn how to better incorporate holistic habits into your city routine through:
  • Yoga workout sessions
  • Stress-relieving massages
  • Healthy treats and detoxifying teas
  • Skin-loving beauty samples
  • . . . Plus, get first-hand tips from our POPSUGAR editors and the Simple® Advisory Board.
Date: Sunday, June 1
Time: 11a.m. to 3 p.m.
Place: Findlay Market

Friday, May 30, 2014

Restaurant Review: Capital Grille & their new Burgers!

Capital Grille opened near Rookwood last summer and have been doing well ever since. They're a premium level steakhouse with prices on par with some of the higher end restaurants in Cincinnati. Capital Grille is owned by the Darden Restaurants Group which also owns it's neighbor Seasons 52 as well as Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Yard House and a few others. 

We started out with fresh breads which were definitely tasty. The rolls were better than the flatbread and the butter - soft & salty! (Just how I like it!)

The restaurant is definitely on the "fancy" side - we were sitting by a row of windows near the bar area and it was bright and comfortable.

While they are known for their steaks - they also have a great lunch menu and have recently introduced three new burgers that they wanted me to try out. Um - free burgers - I'll be there in five minutes! :-)

Kona Crusted Wagyu Burger with Shallot Mayo

We started with the Kona Crusted Wagyu Burger - it's a fairly basic burger. I decided to Google a little to figure out what the burger really is - Kona Crusted refers to encrusting the burger with Kona coffee and the Wagyu is a Japanese cow that is genetically predisposed to marbling. The burger itself was good - fairly plain - but a solid burger.

Their burgers are traditionally served with truffle fries - and by truffle fries - I mean truffle oil. I'm just not a fan - it's got a very strong smell and flavor that I do not care for. Many of the "big" chefs think the same - Anthony Bourdain has a severe disdain for it as he mentioned on The Taste this past season, "Let it be stated here, unto forever and eternity, truffle oil is not food." I felt so fancy when he said that because I agreed! :-) That said, the fries that weren't too strong with it were great - very crispy.

Wild Mushroom Wagyu Cheeseburger with 15-Year Aged Balsamic

Next up was the Wild Mushroom burger - and seriously - they had me at mushroom and balsamic. This burger was really great! I would get this burger again in a heart beat.

The bartender was our server (he was fantastic) and he didn't want us to just have the fries - so he gave us different sides with each burger. This time was fresh asparagus with a grilled lemon. The asparagus was great as well. I definitely enjoyed this whole plate.

Oscar-Style Wagyu Burger with Jumbo Lump Crab and Béarnaise

Lastly we tried the Bearnaise burger - this was one that we just knew was going to be eaten with knife & fork - which was fine. I'm a huge fan of crab meat - so I was looking forward to this and was not disappointed. The crab was light and sweet and the sauce was rich and creamy - it all balanced well with the delicious burger. If you're a crab fan - this is the burger for you.

For our side - we had the watermelon & feta salad - this was really great. It was so light and refreshing and paired well with the fairly heavy burger.

Why Should You Go? All in all - we really enjoyed our experience at Capital Grille. It's very nice and would be great for a business meal or a special dinner with friends & loved ones. The service was fantastic and the food met up to our expectations. I'm not sure I'd say it's my favorite burger in town - but I did enjoy it and am definitely hoping to go back!


Capital Grille on Urbanspoon


Disclosure: Capital Grille provided this meal free of charge but all opinions are my own. 


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Road Trip: Cincy Brew Bus (the original Cincinnati Taproom Tasting Tour)

If you saw my recent Top 10 Things To Do in Cincinnati list - then you probably saw a new business you may not have heard of - the Cincy Brew Bus! I had the fortune of going on the tour and LOVED IT! I've done numerous tours in Cincinnati - but this combined a historical tour WITH drinking! How can you go wrong? 

We started the taproom tour on Fountain Square at Rock Bottom Brewery. Now - while Rock Bottom is a chain - it's also the FIRST craft brewery (well - since Prohibition days). What I love is that the great folks at CBB realize - you're putting together a school bus full of people and handing them beer tickets - you might want to make sure they eat! How do you do that? Tie a Servatii's pretzel around their neck!

And yes - that's my husband - Larry - beer & pretzel in hand! He was recently recognized by someone at an event from all of his appearances on my blog! He felt like a celebrity - although he really let it go to his head - he's been offering autographs at Kroger...oye.

Next up - we hopped on the bus! Mike Stokes - our fearless leader - started this company because he loves beer and thought it would be fun to take a bus full of people and drive around enjoying each other and some great beer. Mike - YOU'RE A GENIUS! Good on Mike to keep a bus load of drinking adults together and not losing any of us! 

Where was the bus taking us? 50 West in Newtown! You can't miss it with their little VW bus outside. There we got a flight of 6 beers and were able to just hang out for about 45 minutes or so. They have a great patio area with this really intriguing and creepy tree (seriously!).

We were also able to get a little more food while at 50 West. We tried the hummus plate - good stuff! We definitely cleaned the plate!

Next up was Moerlein Tap Room - this is different from the Lager House - it's in OTR. We had a great time - the Tap Room is in the former Kaufman brewery and has a large open floor plan with life-size jenga as well as cornhole and...

Shuffleboard! I used to have a tabletop version when I was a kid so it was fun to play with our new friends that we met on the tour. 

Lastly - we headed over to Rhinegeist and it was hoppin! It's on the 3rd floor of the original Moerlein brewery so prep your legs for a hike - but it's a great time. In addition to their own brews - they have a lot of other great things on tap. I found VanderMill's Blueberry Cider which was AWESOME! At Rhinegeist - kids are welcome - and they have cornhole, foosball and ping pong.

The Cincy Brew Bus was a great afternoon of fun! It goes from about 12-5 every Saturday (seems like a long time but it really flew by!) and you can find their brewery schedule on their site. They go back and forth between 8-9 craft breweries in Cincinnati and NKY and tickets are $65/person ($30 for Designated Driver and call for discounts if you have a group). Beer tickets are plentiful - anywhere from 3-6 depending on the locale - so you won't be thirsty! And when you go - be sure to tell Mike that the Food Hussy sent you! ;-)







Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Product Review: BrylaneHome Sleep Tite Sheets

I have quickly become a fan of BrylaneHome and their fantastic products! I have gotten a deep fryer and some outdoor furniture and they're both fantastic! But this time - I needed some new sheets - so I wanted to check them out and see what I could find!

Their BrylaneHome Studio Collection has a lot of great options - but I was looking to solve a specific problem with these sheets. I have a big King bed but I also have a husband and two dogs - all three of them are BED HOGS! Every day I wake up and my fitted sheet has popped off the bed again!

Thankfully - I found these Sleep Tite sheets on the BrylaneHome site!! I was really excited by the fact that they had them in Slate Blue - it appeared that it would perfectly match the comforter set I had on my bed! I was really just hoping the Sleep Tite part worked!

The secret is that the fitted sheet has this seamless one piece construction with elastic sides. It's also ample enough that it fits a 20" thick pillow-top as well as a 7" mattress.  I have to say - this was also much easier to make the bed with (which is not easy in our wedged in space that fits a King bed with about an inch to spare!).

I wasn't kidding! Our king bed BARELY fits in our space - but it fits! And the Slate Blue was a great match!

Two plus weeks later - THE SHEETS ARE STILL ON THE BED - just in time for the laundry! I was incredibly happy with these sheets - the color, the fit-tight and even the texture. These were the 500 thread count sheets and were almost satiny! I love them and am definitely not turning back from these sheets! Now I'm going to have to get another set so I can change colors now and then.

Be sure to check out everything BrylaneHome has to offer! I love them!

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Restaurant: Seasons 52 Mini Indulgences

Recently I went to Seasons 52 in Rookwood to sample their Mini Indulgence desserts and got great dessert and a lot more! Seasons 52 has a great concept - FRESH food that changes frequently based on the seasons and each dish is less than 475 calories. That's right - fresh AND healthy! Sign me up! 

We started out with Flatbreads (top to bottom): Roasted Roma Tomato, Grilled Garlic Pesto Chicken and Artichoke & Goat Cheese. By far the best was the Roasted Roma - it had ample toppings and a ton of flavor. We gobbled that one down QUICK! The chicken was pretty good - but the artichoke was the least favorite of the bunch - there was little (if any) goat cheese and it was dry and lacking in toppings.

Kelly wanted to try the Honey & Herb Roasted Chicken - with spring vegetables, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and a roasted chicken au jus. We were lucky they had 1 left so she could. And it looked amazing! She was sweet enough to let me sneak a bite and it was tasty. I think I liked it more than what I ordered! 

Nathan went for the Plainville Farm Turkey Skewer served atop vegetable farro pilaf with a Zinfandel BBQ glaze. He was ecstatic with this choice! He was honestly a little shocked at how much he liked it - but I can fairly say he LOVED it.

I chose the Plainville Farms All Natural Turkey burger with a bbq glaze and Monterey Jack cheese. It was good for a turkey burger and I liked it - but was admittedly jealous of Kelly and her amazing chicken! ;-)

Then we moved onto the Mini Indulgence desserts - the real reason we were there! These are little shot glasses of delight. I labeled the ones I could remember...I can honestly say they were ALL delicious. We each picked out our favorite and were kind enough to share - but then gobbled it all up ourselves.

I confiscated that Pecan Pie right off the bat - and lucky for me they saw the drool and just let me have it. Delicious - amazing - Pecan Pie Perfection. I also tried a couple bites of the Lemon Curd & Blueberries - good stuff there too!

We decided to use the fruit one to dip into all the chocolate mousse ones- hehe. And I can't exactly remember the back one - but we devoured it.

Kelly killed the Carrot Cake one while Nathan took on the Chocolate Peanut Butter on the left - wowza. We were all delightfully in sugar comas the entire afternoon. Each of these less than $3 which is perfect after dinner for that little bite of sweetness you need without being overwhelming! It's all about the portion control!

Why Should You Go? The Mini Indulgence desserts are definitely worth a trip - these aren't just cake and whipped cream shoved in a glass - these are artfully created, fully baked decadent desserts! The rest of the menu is great too - I love the "under 475 calorie" concept as well - it's a welcome change in the restaurant world!


Seasons 52 on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: Seasons 52 provided this tasting free of charge but the opinions are all my own. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Recipes: Memorial Day Cookout with Allen's Vegetables and Slawsa!

I love Memorial Day cookouts and I have two really simple recipes you can make TODAY before you grill out! It's a new take on burgers and deviled eggs!

These may look like ordinary burgers - but they're actually sneaking vegetables in without the family even knowing about it!

Allen's Mixed Vegetables are great for this - you just pop open a can of mixed vegetables and mash them up to the texture of mashed potatoes. Add those to your favorite burger recipe and YOU just got the kids to eat veggies! 

I also jazzed up deviled eggs - more about that in a minute - but I wanted to share a little trick with you - if you don't have fancy piping bags - no worries! 

Just use a ziploc bag! I spooned the deviled egg mixture into a ziploc bag and then snipped off the corner of the bag - BOOM! PIPING BAG!

Now about these SPECIAL deviled eggs - how did I do it? There's a new product called Slawsa - they were recently seen on Shark Tank - and have now come to Cincinnati (but you can get them online as well). It's a combination of cole slaw and salsa - and it's delicious! I was really surprised at how great it was! It's in the relish section at Kroger and comes in multiple varieties (original, garlic, spicy, spicy garlic). (I also put the slawsa on the burger - DELICIOUS!)


Recipe: Allens BBQ Veg-All Burger 

Ingredients 
 • 1 (15 oz) can Veg-All Mixed Vegetables, drained and mashed
 • 1/4 Cup Dry bread crumbs
 • 1 Large egg
 • 1 1/2 lbs. Ground chuck
 • 1/2 tsp. Garlic salt
 • 1/2 Cup Barbecue sauce
 • Salt and pepper to taste
 • 8 slices American cheese
 • 8 Hamburger buns, split

Directions 

Combine first five ingredients in a medium bowl. Form into eight patties. Grill or pan-fry over medium- high heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked to desired done-ness. Brush with barbecue sauce halfway through cooking time if desired. Place burger on bottom bun and top with one slice of cheese and top bun.


Recipe 2: Slawsa Deviled Eggs 

Ingredients 
• 12 hard-boiled Eggs, sliced in half lengthwise, yolks removed and set aside
 • 3/4 cup Slawsa Spicy
 • ¼ cup Mayonnaise

Directions 

Thoroughly mix together yokes, Slawsa & mayo. Pipe into egg whites.

Optional 
For additional depth, add 6 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon and 2 Tbsp finely minced red onion to the yolk mixture. Garnish with paprika and a sprig of parsley.

Tip 
For perfectly cooked and easily peel-able hard-boiled eggs, put 12 eggs in saucepan, covered 1 inch over eggs with water. Add 2 tsp. of Baking Soda to water. Turn heat to high and bring eggs to a boil for 1 minute, then cover, remove from heat and let sit for 12 minutes. Remove eggs and place in ice bath to cool quickly before using.

And check me out on WLWT sharing these recipes with all of Cincinnati!



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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Restaurant Review: M Wood Fired Grill, Hyde Park

I love whenever I get a chance to get together with my friend Danielle. She's just an angel to me - she's been through a lot and yet is always giving and doing for everyone else - love that kid! She lives in East Hyde Park and we decided to grab a bite after work and were able to walk to M Wood Fired Oven and even sit outside!

We each ordered a pizza - Danielle went for the Sausage & Apple Pizza ($14). This is a thin crust, wood-fired and the portion size is large. I'd say this could definitely be shared if you accompanied it with an appetizer.

She really enjoyed this pizza and I think I liked it better than what I ordered. The apple was really unique on the pizza and was had a great crisp bite to it. The server said it's one of their most popular items as well.

I went for the Pesto ($14) which had pine nuts, pesto, prosciutto and goat cheese. And I have to say - pesto, prosciutto and goat cheese are all among my favorite ingredients on the planet.

Unfortunately - it didn't quite live up to my hopes. The prosciutto was cut too thick and the pesto was too overwhelming. The crust was fine - I just didn't love the toppings.

All in all - we weren't too excited at this point - but there was a major saving grace - and it came in the form of cauliflower. WHA?????

Danielle had told me about the Cauliflower Gratin ($8) and said we HAD to get it. This has cauliflower, brussel sprouts, spinach, cream, bread crumbs and pine nuts.

I cannot tell you how amazing this was. Seriously - this was one of the best dishes I've had in the past year (at least). This was comfort food at it's best. The vegetables, the cream, the crunch - oh man - I'm drooling just thinking about it!!!!

Why Should You Go? The Cauliflower Gratin. The pizza is fine but the gratin is life-changing.


M Wood Fired Oven on Urbanspoon




Saturday, May 24, 2014

Review + Giveaway: Olive Garden Prom Special + Giveaway

Hubby surprised me the other day by taking me to Olive Garden for dinner after work! Woohoo! There's one very close to our house but we don't get to go often. So my question to you is:

Soup or Salad?! I used to love the salad - until I had the soup! The pasta fagioli is my FAVORITE soup ever! It's comparable to chili but with the addition of pasta - so delicious!

Larry thought he was hungry enough for an appetizer too (wha?) - so we got the Smoked Mozzarella Fonduta ($8.29). The fonduta was a mixutre of smoked mozzarella, provolone, parmesan and romano - all oven baked - and served with Tuscan bread. 

This is REALLY REALLY CHEESY. As in - cheese, cheese, cheese and oh yes- more cheese. I have to say - I liked my breadsticks better than the Tuscan bread - but the dip itself was good. I really liked the edges where it was a little crispy. It was lacking a little seasoning - especially because the dip was piping hot - it was almost hard to get any flavor. But once it cooled down a little - it was better - and the breadsticks were a good combo because they added that garlic/salt. 

Larry tried the Baked Tilapia with Shrimp ($15.99) from their Lighter Fare Menu. This was served with garlic broccoli. It was pretty good - the white wine sauce was light and lemony. 

I went for the Crab Topped Chicken ($16.49) served with spinach and garlic mashed potatoes. The chicken and sauce was really great as were the mashed potatoes. Seemed a little odd to serve this with raw spinach - I assumed it would be lightly sautéed. That said - it was really great - plus I had enough leftover for lunch the next day!

If these dishes seem new to the Olive Garden menu it's because they are!! They came out with over 20 new menu items and I had to try some of course!

Then - cuz I didn't have enough food - I got dessert for the road. Why? well - I just wanted to take a picture of it. haha

If you didn't know - Olive Garden has a great promotion going on through May 31. If you're going to prom and dine with Olive Garden - you get a free dessert with the purchase of two adult entrees!

That's my friend Kristin's daughter Hannah at her prom a couple of weeks ago! So pretty!

Then with our check - we got a handful of these little gems. There's nothing better after a plate full of Olive Garden - then a sweet minty treat like an Andes Mint!

Be sure to enter and win a $15 gift card to Olive Garden for yourself!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Olive Garden on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 23, 2014

Restaurant Reviews: Dining in Branson, MO

Recently I headed out to Branson, MO with my husband for a blogger trip. The trip was fun and very unique - but while there - I had to eat - right?! Here are the highlights of Dining in Branson!

When you're in the Vegas-like area of Branson - it's hard to even fathom there's anything else to the town - but there is. Just up the road - there's a mall with a bunch of stores, restaurants and activities. And one of the dining items in this mall area is Dino's 24Karrot Cake Co.

It's very close to the center of the open-air mall. Dino is a showman in Branson and had made his carrot cake for friends & celebrities and then his wife convinced him to open a retail location. Thank you Mrs. Dino!!!

This was by far the best carrot cake I have EVER had in my life. They sell it in different sizes as well (mason jar, loaf, piece, full cake). If you're in Branson - this is your first stop!

Dino's 24 Karrot Cake Cafe on Urbanspoon

Our first stop in the city was Mel's Hard Luck Diner. It's home of the singing waiters - which is their main selling point. The servers take mini-breaks from serving to sing you songs from a variety of eras. The singing is about as good as the food - but it's kitschy and fun.

The food was okay - I got the Sea of Love ($14.99) with shrimp, Texas toast, fries and slaw. The shrimp and fries were fine - the toast was a bit dry and the slaw was a vinegar style and didn't have much flavor.

Larry got the Hawaiian Burger ($9.99) with sweet potato tots that came with a marshmallow cinnamon sauce. The burger was good (better than my selection) and the tots were awesome. The marshmallow sauce was really unique and tasty.

Mel's Hard Luck Diner on Urbanspoon

Thanks to the folks at Montana Mike's in Branson for providing a gift certificate for us to try their food. We were really hungry for dinner and Larry wanted beer & beef! He went for steak & a sweet potato while I got the trout. Both were fine - nothing amazing but solid steakhouse meals. I think the trout was seasoned well and very light. We also had the pretzel appetizer and it was fine - served with queso & honey mustard - both were good. All in all, Montana Mike's was a good option - comparable to most chain steakhouses. 

Montana Mike's Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Another dining stop was the Showboat Branson Belle - it's a riverboat dinner cruise. The typical dinner menu consists of a salad, corn biscuit (yum!), honey dijon chicken, simmered beef roast, garlic mashed potatoes, sugar snap peas and a lemon torte. My favorite part of the meal was by far the roast - it was delicious! Such a rich flavor and it fell apart even looking at it. Yum! All in all for a large scale meal served to a few hundred people at once - it's pretty good.

Last up for the weekend was Waxy O'Sheas - the Irish Pub in the mall area I mentioned earlier. Most of the Vegas-like area of Branson is fairly "dry" - so if you want to grab a beer - head on down to Waxy O'Sheas. Larry came across this really cool Gulden Draak 9000 - it's expensive but it was some strong, good beer. I tried the nachos and they were pretty good! The guys next to us had just gotten their food when my nachos came and said "Well - we know what we're ordering next time!" 

Waxy O'Shea on Urbanspoon

Most of the food I had was fine - but the clear stand out was Dino's 24Karrot Cake Company - do not miss it!

Disclosure: Some meals were provided by Visit Branson but all opinions are my own.