Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Restaurant Review: Axis Alley - Newport on the Levee

Recently Adventure Mom and I were invited to Axis Alley to try out their menu - yes they have food there! It's more than just bowling! :-)

Axis Alley is at Newport on the Levee. It's owned by the same company as Redondo Taqueria. This is actually the only Axis Alley in the country - the company has different types of venues depending on the area they're in and what's needed.

There are a couple of craft beers on the menu - Larry went for Rhinegeist Truth. They were out of the Ciderbomb so I tried the Not Your Father's Root Beer. I've been wanting to try it for a while and it's pretty darned good - it definitely tastes just like root beer! Which could be dangerous - so try one with caution!

The bowling alley is pretty nice - it's got funky Ikea-ish furniture and lots of bright colors and fun music videos that play.

There's also a large bar with tvs every 6 inches - so if you're wanting to watch a game - you can do that too!

Axis has quite a menu and they wanted to show it off. You don't typically think of great food at a bowling alley - but we were ready to try it out! We started with chips & fire roasted salsa ($4). This was fine - I love fire roasted tomatoes - but they followed up so quickly with the rest of the treats that the salsa didn't stand a chance. :-)
 
Next up they brought out soft pretzels with pepperjack fondue ($7) and southwestern egg rolls with sriracha aioli ($8). The egg rolls have chicken, avocado, corn, black beans, jack and cheddar.

The pretzels were delicious! I mean - I am a complete sucker for them - so it's not surprising that I liked them. I had just started on Weight Watchers when this came up - so I was very careful with my food consumption. I knew my day was blown but I was just making sure that each bite was worth it. I went for one egg roll and two pretzels. Mr Adventure Mom really liked the egg rolls - so he helped bat clean up. They were good as well - but if there's a competition - salty bread and melty cheese pretty much always win in the world of Hussy.

We got loaded tater tots as well ($8 - I think).These pretty much got killed by all of us - I mean - they're tater tots with cheese and sour cream. Again in the balance of all things good - this deserved a few Weight Watchers points! (Mind you - I ate more here than my whole day's allowance - which I knew going in - but they give you flex points for the week to use in these very situations.)

Next up were the wings!! Plain, BBQ and Buffalo - they were all tasty - very crispy and none were too sweet or too spicy. Mind you - there was a kick - but a good kick. These are $9/pound and come in Buffalo, Spicy Garlic, BBQ, Sweet Chile, Chipotle, Old Bay and Mango Habanero.

Oh yeah - there's my other pretzel - I had to - it was so good! Oh how I love pretzels - they truly are my favorite appetizer.

For March Madness (there's a little left right?) - they have Taco Pizza. They have the regular and spicy - the spicy have the Pepperjack Fondue as the base so that one was SUPER SPICY. Like - too spicy for me to eat. It also has taco meat, lettuce, tomatoes, sriracha aioli, tortilla strips and probably some more stuff.
 
Now the one that did NOT have the pepperjack fondue base was much better for me. Nedra liked the spicy but I liked the not. I like the pizzas there - they're definitely homemade with those misshapen crusts and you could share one pizza between two-three people.

I'm a sucker for taco pizza - it's really my favorite - this was okay. I'm more of a traditionalist with big hunks of Doritos.

Now they also have burgers and this is where you should stop, drop and roll right into Axis Alley because by far this was the star of the night! This is the Burger Bomb ($11). They're going to serve this for Burger Week and I can see why.

It's a burger topped with smoked pulled pork, bbq sauce, slaw, pickles and crispy onions. The burger is hand-made - you can tell - it's not some freezer patty perfectly round hockey puck. It was DELICIOUS!!! Larry wasn't in the mood for his 1/4 of the burger so I had his.

Up until this point - for the point count - we've got 2 pretzel sticks (1 whole - since they were cut in half), 1 egg roll half, a half-dozen or so tots, 1 piece of taco pizza and 1/2 burger. I think I just chalked the night up to 60 points and called it a day.

But we weren't done yet...oh we should have been but we weren't.

You see they have dessert. Oh my my. Brownie Sundae ($5) - I have been dying for a brownie for I don't know how long - so I went for it. I didn't kill the whole thing - I think I ate half - but oh boy was it a good half. It's a good deal for $5 too. Nom Nom for sure. :-)

They also have a separate area with a few lanes for private parties. We used it for a work party one time and it was great.

Why Should You Go? Well it's a super clean and nice bowling alley - which is definitely not the norm in the realm of bowling alleys. But also - there are some great food options. I was invited for the pizza - which I did like - but the hero of the meal was definitely the burger. It was delicious! So even if you're not up for bowling - Axis Alley is a great option for lunch or dinner too!

Axis Alley Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Food Hussy Recipe: Make Ahead Breakfast Bowls

I'm trying to pack my breakfasts and lunches - it's so much healthier and affordable. The thing is - I never have any time in the morning - so I am trying out different ways to make breakfast - or its components ahead of time. 

 My first swag was Make Ahead Breakfast Bowls - this was before I started Weight Watchers so I didn't really care so much about the ingredients - just things that I liked and could make ahead.

I started with roasted potatoes - the key with roasting potatoes is to make them a uniform size so they cook evenly. I sprinkled on top some of the Potato Ole seasoning mix I made along with olive oil.

I had a package of pork sausage that I'd gotten for free last fall on a trip to Ryan Raised Farm that I decided to use.

 I sauteed the pork sausage with a yellow pepper left in the fridge - I love sausage & peppers - they're my favorite pizza toppings so of course they'll be good for breakfast!

I roasted the potatoes for 30-40 minutes at 400. It depends on the size of your potatoes - they should be fork tender. You'll also be microwaving them so they could be a little underdone. 

This was the one area I went awry a little - if I was to do this over again - I would use larger pieces of potato - this was a fairly small dice - and cook them a little less. When I heated them up - some of the pieces were too done and there wasn't much "potato" texture left too them - just overdone crunch. So don't be like me - give yourself bigger chunks. :-) The flavor was great though! 

I also scrambled a batch of eggs - I used 7 eggs knowing I was making 5 bowls. Having a little more than 1 egg in each bowl seemed about right. I like my scrambled eggs pretty simple - eggs, a little milk, salt & pepper.

Once everything was together - I had bowls with all of the ingredients I prepped + cheese & salsa.

Then the layering and bowl-building begins! First potatoes! 

Eggs +

 Sausage & Peppers +

 + Cheese + Salsa

= Breakfast Bowls! 

 I had enough left over to try one for dinner on Sunday night. After all the prep - I just couldn't wait until Monday morning!

The potatoes with their Potato Ole seasoning and the salsa really added a lot - love the juiciness of the salsa that it adds to the whole thing. The eggs stayed pretty fluffy as well even after a reheat.

These bowls were a great first try for make ahead breakfast and it was so great not having to think in the morning about what I was going to take for breakfast. I don't know why but I just can't eat before 830am - so eating at home is not an option. The whole week I had a great grab & go breakfast week!

Make Ahead Breakfast Bowls

Ingredients

* Roasted potatoes (400 degrees - 30 minutes - until fork tender)
* Scrambled eggs (eggs + milk - 7 eggs for 5 bowls)
* Sausage & veggies (sauteed & drained)
* Shredded cheese
* Salsa

Instructions

* Assemble!


Monday, March 28, 2016

Restaurant Review: Dilly Cafe - Mariemont

A few weeks back I got takeout from Dilly Cafe in Mariemont and it was so good I wanted to try the whole experience and dine at the cafe.

My friend Kelly and I met up for dinner on a Friday night. It's a cute spot in the square of Mariemont. There are a few spots in the front near the store (they sell wine & beer) but there's a big lot in the back. 

I would highly recommend reservations on busy nights like Friday/Saturday - there wasn't a wait when we got there but about 10 minutes later it was packed! They also have live music that isn't too distracting on weekends. The menu is shown here - they've got a good variety of apps, sandwiches and entrees.

I have decided I'm done with beer so I asked for a cider - the first one they brought had ginger (yuck) so I swapped out for an apple cider. Pretty good stuff.

Kelly got a Seared Ahi Sandwich ($12) - sesame crusted tuna on a ciabatta with herbed cheese, marinated cucumber, arugula and cilantro vinaigrette with a side of sweet potato fries.

She really enjoyed the sandwich and I thought it looked great - I wouldn't think to have a seared tuna sandwich.

I got the Grilled 15 oz Ribeye ($26) which is a huge hunk of Ohio raised cow served with whipped potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts with house-made maple bacon and tangy steak sauce. The ribeye was pretty good. I think I need to branch out - steak always sounds so good but I make a mean steak at home - I need to go for things I don't usually make at home. But if you like steak - it was a good one. 

Larry was getting home from work late and asked me to bring him something and on their lunch menu - they had a BLT ($8) so I asked for that to go. I forgot to mention the egg-allergy so the first one came with mayo. I grabbed someone (not our waiter - he had disappeared) who I think was a manager - I profusely apologized and admitted it was completely my fault but could I get another sandwich. The manager not only obliged but was so pleasant and sweet and did it in record time. It was a very positive customer service experience - especially knowing it was my own fault. 

Then the sandwich - it smelled soooooo good. It took every fiber of my being not to beg him to go back and bring me the one slathered with mayo! Then I had to drive home with this beautifully smelling sandwich of gold. Finally Larry got home and ate it - and he's STILL talking about it. So - if you want a great BLT - you now know where to go. 

Why Should You Go? It's a fun place and that BLT is worth its weight in gold! 


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

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Restaurant Review + Giveaway: Parkers Blue Ash Tavern

The generous folks at Parkers Blue Ash Tavern reached out to me and sent me a gift card to enjoy dinner for two last fall - but my move and life got in the way - luckily I was FINALLY able to get there and try it out! (Plus - goodies for you!) 

Parkers has had a few chefs throughout the years but the GM has been there since it opened in 1981. Executive Chef Joel Gregorcyk has been there since 2015 and was previously at Local 127, Palomino and Coopers Hawk.

It's a great property and is very welcoming - don't you want to just run on in?

The interior is designed with horses in mind at every turn. Historic saddles of big race winners adorn the front entry. We were seated in near the huge stone fireplace and we were hungry!

I started with the Tavern Wedge ($8) with Iceberg lettuce, Maytag blue cheese, applewood smoked bacon and tomatoes. Did you know the Maytag blue cheese is from Iowa? Just like me! 

The salad was great - blue cheese has definitely grown on me - it's not my favorite but I appreciate it for sure. 

 They also brought out fresh whole grain bread and soft butter - oh how I love (and miss) soft butter. (I'm on Weight Watchers now - bye bye butter.)

Larry was pleased as punch that they had his favorite beer on tap - Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. Their tap room has quite a selection of craft beers.

Larry went the simple route and got the 7 oz Filet Mignon ($34) - he did ask for the bearnaise on the side (eggs - no can do) and mashed potatoes instead of the gratin. He thoroughly enjoyed his steak and the mashed potatoes were great too (I snagged a bite).

I went for the 7 oz Filet Mignon Oscar ($42) - It was served with a side of fontina potatoes au gratin.

Oscar style was named after Swedens King Oscar II who loved the ingredients of asparagus, crab and bearnaise sauce. The bearnaise is a sauce of clarified butter and egg yolks with tarragon & shallots. So consider your history lesson done for the day. :-)

Of course I ordered my steak medium rare and it was perfect. I'm a fan of the mooing cow - and this fit the bill for sure. I liked the Oscar portion of the steak but think I still prefer it straight up with Worcestershire.

The fontina potatoes gratin were pretty good - I love the thin layers of potato basically melded together with a cheese sauce. I think though - I may not love fontina cheese - it's a rich, soft Italian cheese and in my head - I thought I smelled truffle at the time - but it may just be the cheese which is pungent. I hate truffle oil - so the thought of it prematurely ended my joy devouring of the potatoes.
 
The restaurant has a very cozy feel with a variety of rooms and fire places all with the barn-like atmosphere.

Here's the tap room which was very popular on this particular evening - definitely someplace to stop.

I couldn't help but take home some dessert - Jeanie's Carrot Cake ($8) fit the bill because I'm mildly obsessed with carrot cake. It was packed with goodies like golden raisins, pineapple and walnuts.

Why Should You Go? It's great all around. The food is good and the atmosphere is cozy. I've heard their brunch is even better. So much so that I'm giving away Brunch for 2!


  a Rafflecopter giveaway

  Parker's Blue Ash Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato