Food Hussy's Top 10 Instagram Posts of 2015!

It's the last day of 2015 - let's celebrate by reviewing Food Hussy's Top 10 Instagram Posts of 2015! (Hint: Food + Road Trips = Gold!)

10. Steak Tagliata from Hello Fresh
A photo posted by Heather Johnson (@foodhussy) on

9. Hussified Ribeye
A photo posted by Heather Johnson (@foodhussy) on

8. Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls Sunset
A photo posted by Heather Johnson (@foodhussy) on

7. Wedge Salad in Wooster
A photo posted by Heather Johnson (@foodhussy) on

6. Beer Chili from BJ's Brewhouse
A photo posted by Heather Johnson (@foodhussy) on

5. Brown Sugar Salmon
A photo posted by Heather Johnson (@foodhussy) on

4. Hocking Hills
A photo posted by Heather Johnson (@foodhussy) on

3. Raspberry Lime Shrimp Tacos

2. Pasquales Pizza
A photo posted by Heather Johnson (@foodhussy) on

(By a landslide) 1. Caprese Salad
A photo posted by Heather Johnson (@foodhussy) on

Road Trip: Main Street Wooster (aka Stars Hollow)

I love my blogger road trips - grab a couple girls and hop in the car and head to some new town where we get wined and dined and - usually - drop some cash in their neck of the woods on take-home gifts. My recent trip to Wooster was no different. 

Wooster is three hours away and is smack dab in Amish Country. A couple of crazy guys invited myself and a couple other Cincinnatians to come tour the town (Courtney from Optimistic Mommy & Krissy from All in a Days Work). It was a trip that my friend Adventure Mom would love - because we packed about a week of visits into a little over a day! 

Main Street Wooster reminds me of Stars Hollow. If you don't know Stars Hollow then you're DEAD TO ME. JK - I still love you - but I love Gilmore Girls more. It's such a quaint little town - and you literally expect Kirk to come busting out of Doose's Market.

First stop on the tour was our hotel - the St. Paul Hotel. Now let me say - when you're in Wooster, OH - you don't expect much from a hotel - but when you get a room at the St. Paul - you'll be JOYFULLY surprised. This hotel is amazing - it's super chic, has heated floors in the bathroom, excellent customer service, free soda/water and more. I would go to Wooster just to stay at the St. Paul!

After our pit stop to drop off our bags (and get a plate full of homemade cookies) - we went to lunch!
I've been to Broken Rocks before - on a trip with my friends at Certified Angus Beef - but this time it wasn't all about the meat - so I decided to try something else.

Before our lunch came - we had some fresh bread and olive oil. The bread was very hearty and still warm - good stuff.

I went for the Wild Mushroom Pizza (wild mushrooms, carmelized onions, pine nuts and gorgonzola cheese - $12.25). I was just in a mood for pizza and I knew I was fixin to eat a big hunk of cow at dinner.

This pizza was delicious - the crust was light and crispy and the mushrooms were plentiful. Thankfully - the gorgonzola wasn't too pungent. It's a blue cheese (does everybody know that? not sure) which I'm not fond of. Sometimes it can be too strong - but in this case - it was pretty mellow. Everyone enjoyed their lunches for sure.

After lunch, we started shopping. (Oh those poor boys that were stuck with us.) When we shop - we SHOP! I mean - it was the week before Christmas - what did they expect????

Local Roots is an awesome place - it's a Co-Op - which I don't think we have here in Cincinnati. I remember going to New Pioneer Co-Op back home and loving it. Basically it's a market where people can sell their own things as well as support other entrepreneurs. You can pay a fee or you can volunteer your time at the co-op (most choose this because it's the mentality that goes along with it - it's really fantastic).

They had a really cool market with jewelry and home decor from all sorts of people around the area. I love the sentiment - it's a bit hippie - but that's why I love it.

Then there's the food side - which had me drooling. Two of these three things came home with me - not hard to guess which two. They had so many amazing local items - it was really hard to just not spend spend spend!!! But this was our first stop - so I had to pace myself.

We went to Motts Olive Oil & Vinegar shop and let me just introduce you to Serrano Honey Balsamic Vinegar. Sweet followed by a kick in yer tail!!! Yum! This is going to be AMAZING on salmon or steak.

The one place we went that I didn't spend any money was Lucky Records - I'm just not into records - but it's a pretty cool place and if you're looking for records or record players - this is the place. I mean - JACK WAGNER?!? That's almost enough to get me into records. ;-)

Then we have Faithful Little Cupcake - oh holy night - the cupcakes filled my belly! (Sing that - I'm like Peyton Manning with that little Nationwide theme right there!) They have chocolates from another local vendor and then these freakin amazing cupcakes - and lots of church-y items as well (I got a cute bookmark with a verse on it for a friend).

But back to the cupcakes - this one is the Snowball. I - regretfully - only bought 1 - thinking - oh I have a plate of cookies in the room - 1 is enough. No it's not. This cupcake tasted EXACTLY like a Hostess Sno-ball. You know - the coconut covered, chocolate cake with filling and marshmallowey fluff balls?! Yes - this cupcake was identical - but 100X better!!! It was so soft and fresh and just damn delicious!!!

We also went to the Rubbermaid store - the Rubbermaid business used to be in Wooster - and it is no longer there - but the store stayed. It's four floors of Rubbermaid items - pretty amazing. It definitely feels like you walked into a 1950's store too. They have a monthly special item and a discount floor - so if you're in need - it's worth the trip.

Next up was Spoon - which is another local market. They have a restaurant, butcher shop and an amazing beer selection. They also have some homemade goods like these dog treats (which my dogs liked - but they got moldy after about 2 weeks - which I didn't expect).  I took home a hunk of Polska Kielbasa and totes ate it in my hotel room. They butcher and create all the sausage there - pretty impressive.

The restaurant looked great as well - I'm telling you - I'm going to try and create the Sloppy Joe - corned beef, pastrami, turkey, cranberry slaw, swiss cheese & russian dressing on rye. Um yes please. Except I might heat that bad boy up!

Here's the haul I came home with on Day 1 - boy oh boy - I have to say - the credit card took a much bigger hit on Day 2 - but I felt good about the damage I did. The chocolates were delicious, the carmel corn was scarfed, the cookies didn't even make it through 1 day at work and the trail mix is fantastic!

I absolutely love Downtown Wooster and can't wait to go back and visit! But this is only HALF of Day 1 - so you'll find out more about our shopping, Polka Santa, local beer and hunks of cow next week!

Thanks to Main Street Wooster and Wayne County CVB for sponsoring our trip. The hotel and meals were provided but all the shopping came from Casa de Hussy.

Recipe: Grilled Shrimp with Chesapeake Bay Spices, Garlic & Lemon from Raw Spice Bar

As a food blogger - I'm always getting to try random products - the folks at Raw Spice Bar reached out to me and sent me a couple of months of their spice packets - so I finally got around to trying one. 

You can subscribe to Raw Spice Bar for $6/month - and you'll get a few different packets of spice mixes and recipes to go with them. The overall theme ties them together - I had Indonesian one month and this month was the North East.

The one that grabbed me was the Grilled Shrimp with Chesapeake Bay Spices using the Baltimore Bay Spices. There's a pile of ingredients including celery salt, bay leaves, black peppercorns, mustard seed, paprika, cayenne pepper, mace, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, cloves, ginger and more.

The recipe was super simple - just mix the spics with olive oil, lemon juice, butter, garlic and salt. I whisked these together quickly...

then added the raw shrimp that I had thawed out. I definitely ONLY use raw shrimp so be sure when you're shopping for it - you get the ones clearly marked raw. The cooked shrimp are good for shrimp cocktail but really that's about it. The raw tastes much better when you saute it.

I tossed the shrimp and let them marinate for about 45 minutes or so...

Then I popped them on the grill pan. Raw shrimp are such a great protein - they literally only take a couple of minutes to cook! So - watch them closely - once they start to turn opaque - flip them. Don't overcook - they get rubbery quick. 

I decided to try the box of Cheddar Bay biscuits by Red Lobster that were sitting in my cupboard. They're pretty close to the original but seem to sprawl a little more. Brushing them with salted butter gives them that additional salty taste that you get at Red Lobster. 

The shrimp tasted magnificent - they were lightly sauteed but with a tart lemony flavor and a vast array of spices. I really enjoyed the shrimp.

Raw Spice Bar is a pretty affordable option for a gift pack - if you're an adventurous cook. The other packets that I got were a little to off the beaten path for me and had ingredients that were not things I would normally buy or know where to buy. But if you're an adventurous cook - it's something fun to add to the repertoire.

Restaurant Review: Maxine's Chicken & Waffles - Indianapolis

Recently I was in Indianapolis for a business trip and we were headed back and my new friend and colleage Ali said she was hungry. She wanted something healthy - so she pulled out her phone and started searching. She stops and says "How about Chicken & Waffles?". Um healthy? But hey - I can't blame her for going with her gut. :-) 

We decided to head to Maxine's Chicken & Waffles in Downtown Indianapolis. The only chicken & waffles I have had before was Taste of Belgium - this is not that - and for me - that's a good thing. I'm not the biggest fan of Taste - it's fine - but the waffles are a little too heavy and the chicken was dry when I went - so I'm fine with trying something else. 

The first thing I noticed was the drink menu - there is something called Sunshine on the menu ($2.55) - so right there - I'm in. It's a mix of lemonade, fruit punch, Orange Crush and Mountain Dew - um yes please!

So here it is - my giant cup of Sunshine! I have to say - it was tasty! Ali got it as well and she's not much for soda - but even she couldn't resist! It was zingy and refreshing and not overly sweet.

Ali decided we also needed to try Fried Green Tomatoes ($6.99) served with a "southern sauce". I had never had them before so I was up for it. The sauce was a some sort of salsa ranch-type dip - I think - it was tasty. The tomatoes were okay - the breading was a bit flavorless - but it wasn't bad.

I mandated that we try the fried corn bread ($1.25) served with peach butter. For the bargain price - I could have just ordered 5 of these for dinner! I love the Johnny Cakes at Butt Shack - and these were very similar. I love cornbread - so then you make it bite-size and fry it in butter - yeah - I can't help but love that! The peach butter is their specialty (you can buy it in larger quantities too) and it's worth trying for sure! It's not overly peachy but it does have an extra sweetness and little pieces of peach. So delicious!

Ali got chicken tenders and a sweet potato waffle ($9.25). The sweet potato waffles are seasonal so she jumped on it. I tried a bite and it was pretty good and definitely had a sweet potato flavor. This is a LOT of food - so prepare your belly for it all!

I went for the traditional jumbo chicken wings & regular waffle. Holy moly - these must be some massive friggin chickens!! These were ginormous! The wings were really great - super crispy and super juicy - loved them. The waffle was good too - it's super thick and fluffy. I piled on the syrup along with the peach butter.

We found one of the chefs and I made sure to get a pic with him because this was a meal to remember!

Why Should You Go? There's plenty of "fancy" food in Indy - but if you're near downtown - this is NOT to be missed!

Maxine's Chicken and Waffles Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant Review: Americano Burger Bar, Downtown Cincinnati

The other day - I got invited on a DATE! Okay - so it wasn't really my date - it was a date between my coworker and her husband - but it was still a date! Luckily they were up for a 3rd wheel! 

Deuce works at 84.51 - a newer offshoot company in downtown Cincinnati that took over a whole city block by Macy's. He had us meet him at one of the new restaurants downstairs in their building - Americano Burger Bar.

Americano has only been open a few days - so I was excited to get to try it. We did have a 30 minute wait (more on that in a minute) but there are a couple of stand up counters to wait at or you could play some shuffleboard.

The ceiling art is pretty awesome - it's made out of beer cans - Bud Light, Budweiser and Miller Light. I might have gawked at it for a bit.

I'm including the menu since their full site isn't up yet. They're seemingly owned by the same folks that own Via Vite & Forno. The menu looked pretty great - I was dying to try the Pretzels and the server said the wings are great but I got a little distracted by something else (you'll find out). I also considered the hot dogs because I love love love hot dogs!

But before we could actually get seated - we had a 30 minute wait. Turns out it was a kitchen wait - as there were tables open all around us. Then - after we'd been waiting for 20 minutes - we saw Mayor Cranley come in. Magically - he got seated right away!!! They apparently didn't know that the FOOD HUSSY was there!!!! And yes - I made Deuce & Susie pose for a fake photo so I could get one of the Mayor.

We really would have rather been seated and wait longer to be served rather than stand and wait for a table when we saw open tables all over. Deuce isn't a guy to wait for lunch - especially on a work day - but we begged and Susie worked her wifey-magic on him so he hung in there. Whew!

One of us - not to be named - tried the Winter Ale - pretty glasses...

So the side that I couldn't resist were the Mini Corn Dogs ($5). Susie and I decided to split a burger & sides - so this was the first of our split. I was REALLY looking forward to these.

The hot dogs were a good quality but I didn't care for the breading. Maybe ours were over done but it was so crispy that it basically just crumbled when you bit into it. There was none of that sweet breading that you should have.

We also got the House Sour Pickle ($4) to share. First - the stick goes into the pickle a long way - so watch out. Also - is everything served on a stick? We were REALLY disappointed in these. This was no different than a grocery store pickle. For $4 we were expecting something akin to the pickles at Incline Public House - and those are only a dollar!

Americano is also one of the places where the burgers don't come with anything - so fries are $3 for half order or $5 for a full.

But pickles on a stick do make for an automatic FOOD HUSSY FACE! See my boss follows me on Instagram and said "Do you have your mouth open in every photo?" Uh - yeah - pretty much - and now I definitely do! Well the FOOD HUSSY FACE gets contagious after a while...

(And - that's not my hair or a scarf - it was a sweater with a faux dead animal around the neck. I felt like I was in a production of Cats all day long!)

Oh yeah - Susie tried it but all the stick food made her laugh - it takes talent to make stupid a$$ faces and not laugh! Amateur hour... ;-)

Now - onto the burger - Deuce got the Americano ($10) and we got the Porkopolis ($12). This is the Americano - Deuce had just been to Chandlers on the West side (which I've heard is fantastic) and said he liked this burger better.

Susie and I split the Porkopolis - which was shocking since I'm a rare/medium rare and she's a well-done - but we compromised on "Not Pink" and were both happy. I don't think it's the best burger but it was good and I liked the fact that the burger wasn't 10 feet high. This was a burger that was actually edible! Good job!

After our burgers - Deuce took us on a tour of 84.51 - his workplace. The view from the outside deck is great! Selfie time!

It's quite a company/office! There is "digital dust" when you walk in the door (video floor - pretty cool) and inside there are all these funky cards hanging from the ceiling that seem random but when you stand on a specific spot - they spell out messages. Pretty cool.

All their kitchens have different designs - I'm a bit obsessed with pink and loved the Flying Pig kitchen - pink walls, pink stools, pink gumball machine - I might have started to lose it at this point!

Then there's a BigFoot hanging out and he busted into my Neanderthal selfie - how dare he!

It was fun to check out a different office space and I will say - this one was impressive! Meditation rooms, a gym, hot cocoa Friday and more. Thanks to Deuce for the grand tour!

Why Should You Go? While Americano wasn't my favorite burger and they seated Cranley before me - it was still a good burger. I would recommend splitting a burger and some sides - there are so many sides to try - I think I'll do that again sometime soon! It is a bit pricey for coming alone - but I guess that's the world we live in right now. Americano Burger Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant Review: Parkside Cafe - Walnut Hills

A few weeks back we went to Brew House because of the Cincinnati Magazine Best Burger list - while on our way - we saw Parkside Cafe right across the street! 

I'm sure it takes you about 2 seconds to figure out that Parkside Cafe used to be a Frisch's. They opened in 2007 after the Frisch's had closed in Walnut Hills and they've been going strong ever since. They had quite a crowd the day we went which was a good sign! 

We decided to start out with fried pickles ($5.99) - it's a large portion size (8 oz) and deep fried. I like the chips rather than the spears - more opportunity for crunchy! They were tasty and served with regular and Cajun ranch. 

Susie went for the Stuffed French Toast - authentic French toast stuffed with orange flavored cream cheese, sprinkled with powdered sugar and fresh strawberries. ($6.99) We can clearly say they are very friendly with the portion sizes! This is not just French toast - it's stuffed! And there are four slices! Susie said they weren't overwhelming with the orange cream and were definitely tasty! She's not usually one to finish her lunch - but she did her best with this one!

 Dawn went for the New York Ham & Cheese with thinly sliced ham, Swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato on thick sliced Texas toast. ($6.25) The chips were super crispy and the sandwich was again plentiful in portion size!

I chose an omelet with wheat toast. I really can't remember what I got - I think ham & cheese ($5.99). Normally they're served with potatoes or tater tots but I made a little substitution. The omelet was pretty good - but I would have liked a little sauce on top or extras like sour cream, etc.

I subbed out biscuits & gravy for the potatoes because I have to try them wherever I go. They were OK - I didn't love the biscuits but the gravy was pretty good.

Why Should You Go? The portion sizes are huge and it's a really great diner with good parking close to downtown - sounds like a good reason to me!  They also have free wi-fi and Sunday brunch (just $7.95).

Parkside Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato