Friday, January 29, 2016

Restaurant Review + Giveaway: O'Charley's

One of the best things about the new move is all the new restaurants on our exit! 
I love getting to try new places!

Among a few new local places - we also have an O'Charley's on our exit. I actually hadn't been before - but I had heard tall tales of something called FREE PIE WEDNESDAY - so I was excited to try it.

First we started with fresh baked yeast rolls - they were super soft and warm and served with soft butter! They were delicious and we scarfed them down.

I wanted something other than soda so I decided to try one of their made-from-Scratch Strawberry Lemonades.

It was very refreshing!!! I loved it! I love when restaurants have something unique and different than just regular old soda or water.

O'Charley's has a bunch of new Southern Inspired menu items that we decided to try. The photos here are from a few different visits and one of those visits was provided by O'Charleys.

Fried Green Tomatoes ($5.99) - Crispy slices of tart, fried green tomatoes topped with tangy Tennessee Chow-Chow Relish and drizzled with our smoky sweet BBQ sauce.

These were shockingly delicious! I had Fried Green Tomatoes for the first time at Maxine's in Indianapolis and didn't really love them. They were okay - but O'Charleys were 100x better! The addition of the chow-chow relish and the bbq sauce was perfect! It added a juiciness and texture that were much needed. Plus the tomatoes had a cornmeal coating that made them very crunchy. 

Larry liked them so much (which I did not expect) that he ordered them again on our second visit! 


Southern Style Crispy Pickle Chips ($6.49) - Cornmeal breaded, crispy dill pickle chips served with our Old Bay Mayo.

I wanted to try the pickle chips because I'm obsessed with them. The pickle chips have the same breading as the tomatoes so they were very crispy. The portion size is large and definitely enough for 4 to share. The Old Bay Mayo was a zippy dip as well! 


Spinach & Artichoke Dip ($6.99) - A creamy blend of spinach and artichoke hearts topped with shaved parmesan cheese. Served warm with crisp tortilla chips and salsa.

Larry also loves Spinach & Artichoke Dip - so he gobbled this up. I thought it was a little watery myself. I'll save my calories for the vats of honey mustard I'm going to consume. 


O'Charley's Famous Chicken Tenders & Twisted Chips ($9.99) - Double hand-breaded Chicken Tenders served with Honey Mustard dressing and our Twisted Chips.

And this is how I consume some of that delectable honey mustard! O'Charley's has a great $9.99 menu with 9 meals to choose from! One of those is my FAVORITE! I always love me some chicken tenders and these were super crispy and still juicy inside. Then they also had the awesome twisted chips! I love those things and usually only get them at carnivals. Yum! 


Filet Mignon with Garlic Butter ($18.99) - Our most tender and juicy steak, a 7-oz. center-cut fresh filet mignon is topped with garlic butter and served with your choice of two side items. 

On another visit I tried the Filet Mignon and wowza - so delicious! This steak was prepared perfectly. I have also been CRAVING baked potatoes - I have no idea why - but I can't get enough of them so it was great to have a good one! 


Perfectly rare steak! So delicious!!!! 

(I like the cow to moo at me.) 

Here's a shot of some of their Southern inspired dishes...which I tried both of them!

Savannah Crab Cake - Pan-seared lump crab cakes served over creamy skillet corn with bacon and tomatoes, drizzled with our Old Bay Mayo.

First up was the crab cake - it was a little different than most I've had. I liked that there was very little breading - it was very crabby. Surprisingly the best part was the creamy corn skillet underneath! I ate every single bite of that! All in all - a good crab cake. 


Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich ($9.99) - Born in Nashville. Deep-fried boneless chicken breast that has been basted with our spicy hot chicken sauce, stacked on our Southern Coleslaw, topped with dill pickles and served on a toasted brioche bun.

Then there was the big guy - the new Nashville Hot Chicken - this is all the rage right now and I had to try it. I'm not a lover of spicy - but for research purposes - I went for it! (And I've been dying to try their Prime Rib Pasta - but I held off for this.) 


The sandwich is HUGE! There was no way I could eat all of it so I decided to cut it in half and give it the old college try. It was really good. It was a thick, juicy piece of chicken that was super crispy on the outside and doused in hot & spicy sauce. Thankfully the coleslaw and pickles serve as a cooling factor. It really is a great combination.

It was a little spicy for me - by the time I got through half the sandwich - I had a little mouth fire going - but it wasn't so much so that it hurt. I would say if you like spicy - you'll like it. If you love spicy - you might still want a little more.

I was killin the honey mustard after that sandwich - dipping the fries in it and practically drinking it! It's so good...and cooling. :-)

Bacon & Bourbon Glazed Filet Mignon ($18.99) - A juicy 7-oz. center-cut filet mignon topped with our smoky bourbon glaze with chopped applewood-smoked bacon.  Served with your choice of two side items.

Larry went for the same thing on every visit - the Bourbon Glazed Filet. He is a creature of habit so when he liked it the first time - he kept going back for it. As long as he's happy - I'm happy. 

We used to be die-hard Longhorn Steakhouse people - because it was so close to the house - and while I really miss our bartenders over at Longhorn Colerain - we really like O'Charley's and will be going back...especially because of...


FREE PIE WEDNESDAY!!!! That's right - every Wednesday you get a free piece of pie with your order. And let me tell you - this is some damn good pie. They own a bakery in their franchise and they make the pies (they also make the pies for Village Inn - which is an Iowa place I used to go all the time.)

After chatting with the District Manager, he said that they do more business on Wednesday than some of their competitors do on a Saturday. Sounds like the free pie is working for you.

And - if you haven't had the Mint Brownie Blast - you have to try it. It's only there for a limited time (hope it's not gone already) - they bring it back every so often. Holy smokes it's delicious. I don't even really like mint! But it's a brownie on the bottom then a really light mint whipped topping and then chocolate. Yum!!!! I took home a piece and savored it over 2 days!

Southern Pecan Pie ($3.99) - Awarded a Blue Ribbon by the American Pie Council, our pecan pie is made with butter and brown sugar then topped with plenty of pecans for a deep nutty flavor. Served with a dollop of real whipped cream.

I also tried a piece of the Pecan Pie on a separate occasion. This was not savored. It was DEVOURED. There's just something I love about Pecan Pie and I will never ever ever turn down a piece. Oh so good! 

So there you have it - 3 visits to O'Charleys rolled into one. We really liked it - obviously since we went back before they even hosted me! But now - it's your turn to try some of these delicious menu items because they gave me a handful of O'Charley's bucks! 


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O'Charley's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Recipe: Creamy Parmesan Mushroom Pasta

A while back I was sent a little bundle of goodness from Murray's Cheese. They sent cheese and some recipes - one of them caught my eye right off the bat - Creamy Parmesan Reggiano Penne Pasta - cheese, pasta and mushrooms - yes! 

I decided not to use penne - I've been obsessed with this straight macaroni lately so that was my choice and I think there were some elbows thrown in from the end of a box. It looks creamy & mushroomy doesn't it?!

They sent me a great packet with some Parmesan Reggiano to sample! 

Shredding a POUND of Parmigiano Reggiano is a hella lot of cheese!!!!! That is an 8x8 casserole dish right there! Whoooo!

While your pasta is cooking, you saute up onion, garlic and mushrooms. Then add chicken broth, butter and heavy cream. It will cook down to a delicious light and creamy sauce.

That's the thing I love is because it was so light. With only 1/4 cup of cream - it doesn't get weighed down.



Creamy Parmigiano Reggiano Mushroom Pasta from Murray's Cheese

Ingredients:

* 1 lb pasta
* 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
* 1 T chopped garlic
* 1/2 tsp oregano
* 2 T fresh parsley, chopped
* 1 T EVOO
* 1 cup diced onion
* 1 lb Parmigiano Reggiano, shredded
* 3 cups chicken broth
* 1/2 stick butter
* 1/4 cup heavy cream

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Strain.
2. Cook onions and garlic in olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Cook until onions become tender. 
3. Add mushrooms and oregano to the pan and cook thoroughly.
4. Add butter and 1 cup of chicken broth. Simmer for a few minutes. 
5. Add chicken broth and simmer over medium high heat. Whisk in heavy cream. 
6. Remove from heat and whisk in Parmigiano until creamy and smooth. 
7. Todd pasta with sauce and sprinkle with parsley and cheese.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Food Hussy Makeover at Cincy Blow Dry Bar & Salon

There are times when the Food Hussy's filing system breaks down - so my apologies to my good friend Jennie at Motherhood Support and the good folks at the Cincy Blow Dry Bar & Salon - I wasn't required to blog about my trip but I had a great time so I definitely wanted to share with my online friends. :-)


The Blow Dry Bar & Salon is in West Chester just past the new Liberty Way development (which houses Brio where I stopped last fall). The decor inside is really pretty - I didn't get any pictures but it's lots of white, pink and mirrors - it's very shiny.

CBD is a full service salon featuring the Blow Dry Bar in the front. For the Blow Dry bar - they can wash your hair or don't have to and you'll be seated in the front while they blow your hair out. That was fun to be in front and feeling like you're the feature of the experience.

And for me - they had their work cut out for them! I have thick, naturally curly hair which did - at the time - have a Keratin treatment to make it straighter.

They do have different styles of blow-outs which mostly all cost $35 each.  I know from my normal stylist that I have a LOT of hair and it takes forever to blow out - so I just decided on having it straight.

One of the other visitors went for the big curls - which I was COMPLETELY in love with. I really would love to have done this - but it takes almost an hour just to get my hair straight - I wasn't in the mood to sit for another 45 minutes for this.

And there we have it - the end result of my blow out! It was fine. I think others had a better experience with the hair side. My stylist pulled on my hair a lot and it wasn't very soft when it was done. I think Fayme at Salon M has me spoiled - when she's done with my hair it's super soft.  (If you have curly hair - you probably don't trust many people with your hair - you can trust Fayme - she's awesome.)

Jennie from Motherhood Support was one of our hostesses and she got a new cut the same night. It's so fun when we have these blogger events because it's a reunion every time! She's one of my favorites!

The Blow Dry Bar also has a make-up artist - Alexa Rae and she is amazing. Like seriously - I can't say enough wonderful things about Alexa. The above is a split-screen of the before & after makeup. There was a beauty blogger there and after seeing her do my makeup - she said that she would actually let Alexa do her makeup - which is a HIGH compliment! 

It took about 45 minutes - so this isn't something I could do myself. The service costs $40. (Thanks to the Blow Dry Bar for providing all of these services for free that night.) 

I love how much bigger my eyes look and how they really stand out after Alexa did her thing. 

Here's a better shot of the whole thing - I loved it. She did a fantastic job and was very gentle with her application and just super friendly all the while. I would not hesitate to go back again!

She was so good I had to get a quick pic with her - so yeah - she's adorable too - ugh!  

The makeup job was so great I did everything in my power to sleep in it. I know - you shouldn't sleep in makeup - but I needed more people to see me all fancied up! I literally did not move in my sleep. Frankly - I slept like crap - but it was worth it. :-)

So here's the trilogy - I'm not sure which makeover should be applauded more - Miss Congeniality, Princess Diaries or Food Hussy?! But I think mine is right up there. Thanks again to Cincy Blow Dry Bar & especially Alexa!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Restaurant Review: Music Cafe - Loveland

Recently we moved to the Loveland/Milford/Goshen area - it's sort of an odd spot that appears to be the corner of all 3. With this means lots and lots of new restaurants - I really like trying the locally owned ones first. I was really hoping that I'd find a fantastic diner close to the house...

On Rte 28 - every day at least twice a day I drive by the Music Cafe. They have a big electronic billboard that you cannot miss. It's a small place but there are always 3-5 pick up trucks in the parking lot - so I figure it's got promise! 

Inside - it could use a makeover. They have a stage and have performers on a regular basis - including Elvis impersonators. So there's that. There are a decent number of tables for a small place and a few stools at the counter. They have lots of old 70s records hanging around the place and scented candles (which you don't usually find in a restaurant - competes with the food). 

But we've done takeout now four times - so here we go! 

First - we tried wings - with mild buffalo sauce (12 - $8.99) They're fried and then tossed in sauce and they are DELICIOUS!!! I think the best and most surprising thing is how juicy they are! These were for Larry - but I had to steal a couple and I'm glad I did. They also have fried chicken - which I'm guessing is really good as well since this is so good!

I got the Reuben & fries ($5.99) - first - $6 for a Reuben & fries is pretty great. The fries are the thick crinkle fries and they're pretty good - I live really close by so they were still hot. I did add salt to them but I like that they don't come salted so I can decide for myself.
 
The Reuben was also delicious! There was a ton of corned beef and it went splendidly with all of the toppings. The sandwich was crispy, hot and juicy - definitely not a dry sandwich. Loved it! I would definitely get this again...

On another visit - Larry again got wings - this time they gave us the sauce separately - which is nice. He's not too fond of spicy things so he could just dip at will. I again stole some. :-)

Also the sauce is a good mild - it's got a tiny bit of spice but not so much it burns off your tongue and not so little that it's basically ketchup.

I went for the bacon cheeseburger with fries ($6.49) and added a side of macaroni & cheese ($1.99). The bacon cheeseburger - great - very thick - juicy and came topped with onion and tomato. Very solid burger.

The macaroni & cheese I really liked! Most of the time "homemade" has overdone noodles and is gloppy. This tasted more like cooked macaroni that was topped with a cheese sauce and not baked. To me - that's all the right answer! I liked it a lot!

Over the weekend Larry wasn't feeling well so I got takeout for breakfast. He really wanted gravy and that's too much breakfast to undertake on a whim.

I got scrambled eggs, bacon, toast and a 1/2 order of biscuits and gravy...(1/2 order with eggs - $5.99, bacon - $2.49, toast - $1.49). Everything on breakfast was fine - not the best I've had but pretty good. The bacon was probably my favorite - crispy but not fall apart too crispy. The eggs tasted like homemade scrambled eggs - not the fluffy wet-ish kind you get from Frisch's (which I actually like). Toast is toast. Larry liked the gravy but it was too spicy for me - it had a LOT of pepper. I'll stick with the Bluebird in Norwood for b&g.

That said - I'll definitely go back - they have omelets and pancakes and waffles - so there's plenty of other options for me!

Why Should You Go? I don't know that I'd go out of the way but if you're in the area - it's a solid choice. The wings are crispy & juicy and so far I've liked everything I've tried (except the gravy). I got a patty melt on another visit - it was really good (better than the burger, not as good as the reuben). Larry has gotten the wings EVERY TIME - so they're good. I can't wait to try the fried chicken - hoping it's as good as the wings.

A Music Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, January 22, 2016

Restaurant Review: Nela Tea Room, Bread & Pastry Cafe - Milford

So - yes I've moved to the Milford area - if you hadn't been able to tell by the abundance of Milford posts! I love my new neighborhood and it's really convenient for the hubby since he works there. 

He doesn't get much time for lunch so he usually packs but sometimes I'll go visit and try and grab a bite quick with him. We've seen the Nela Tea Room / Bread & Pastry Cafe and decided to check it out...

Once you're inside - you'll notice the abundance of pastries! They have so many - some are Mediterranean inspired while others are very standard. I was definitely trying something!

Nela is a tea room - while they don't have a full website so I can't give you many details - they do have some pics on their Facebook page. Oh and they have more pastries...

And more pastries - like a Meat Pie! 

I had a great chat with one of the owners. He and his wife opened this and she creates the treasures they serve while he comes down to hang out on the weekends. They also have a small boutique offering in the front with some clothes and jewelry. 

Nela - as you might guess by the name - makes a lot of fresh breads. We decided to try our lunches before buying a bunch of pastries and breads but they did look good.

Here's a quick shot of their menu since it's not online. There's a heavy Greek influence in addition to smoothies, coffee and their tea room experience.

Larry just wanted a simple turkey sandwich - no mayo. The bread was their fresh made bread. Larry loved this sandwich and for the bargain price of $3.60 - you can't pass it up! We also got a couple of breadsticks (75 cents each) - so hubby had lots of fresh bread to try. :-)

I went for the large Greek Salad ($4.40) which had tomato, olive, cucumber, Greek dressing and a small dolma (stuffed collard green/grape leaf). The menu says feta but there wasn't any on my salad. It was an okay salad but I think it would have benefited from more toppings - including the feta. I would also like the option of adding grilled chicken to it. I'm not big on a sandwich - so the with the lunch menu being so small - having a salad with protein would be good. The dolma was pretty good but it might have been good a little warm.

Oh the best part was the bread! They gave me a few slices of the warm toasted bread like Larry had his sandwich made out of. It was really good - I'd love that with a little butter! I'm a sucker for toast really - simple but true.

I had to try something from the pastry cases and Larry wanted to try the Tiramisu. We asked if it had eggs and they said no - which surprised me - but we went with it. So after a couple of bites - I told Larry to stop eating it. He had a couple more bites - and then stopped. I happily finished it - and it was absolutely delicious. Not a lot of coffee flavor but a little bit and seriously - it's delicious! I wish I had some now...like a pan of it.

That said - I had to make a drug store run and get him allergy medication. I knew there had to be eggs in it.

Why Should You Go? Although our experience wasn't perfect - there are definitely highlights worth revisiting. Larry likes the sandwiches so he'll definitely be back. He also likes stuffed cabbage so I think he'll try that. The bread was delicious for sure. I also will be back for the pastries! So delicious! And if you're in the market for a tea party - check them out!

Nela Bread & Pastry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato