Friday, April 29, 2016

Restaurant Review: City Barbeque's new Double Smoked Brisket TaQos

City Barbeque really changed my mind last time I went with their ginormous Big Bone Beef Rib - so I was excited to try their new creation - Tacos!!! (well they call them TaQos). 

I went to the location in Eastgate - it's the closest to me - but they also have spots in Highland Heights, West Chester, Blue Ash & Florence (+ Indiana, Kentucky & North Carolina).

They also have a new app that is pretty cool - it's called City Rewards (Download Info Here). You can find the location closest to you plus...

Get rewards points for purchases ($1 spent = $1 point) and you get $5 for 100 points. And if you've gone before you got the app - you can scan your receipt in so you get your points! Plus there are special offers when you use the app.

City Barbeque was nice enough to throw some $$ on my app (you can do that too) so I would be able  to try their new TaQos. It's really slick how the app works and there wasn't a hitch to be found in it - so I highly recommend it!

I love the extras at City Barbeque - they have really cool sodas (Big Red?!) along with Tea & Lemonade.

They also have dessert! Peach cobbler, banana pudding and Triple Chocolate Cake!!!! Yeah - not on my Weight Watchers plan so I drooled from afar. :-)

The counter is open to you when you come up to order so can see everything as it's coming out. More drool.

And if the sauces are your favorite - you can take a bottle home. I didn't realize they had so many options!

Larry got fries - which I stole a couple of - they're very Penn Station - which means YUM! (The other fries they offer are green beans with bacon, mac & cheese, sweet vinegar slaw, corn pudding, corn bread, hush puppies, greens, potato salad and a side salad - because - of course - it's all about the sides!)

He also has been obsessed with baked beans and I think the world knows that City Barbeque has the best - they have chunks of beef in them and are so thick and dark and rich - oye - so good. He got pulled pork too but I couldn't really focus on that with those beans nearby - again - I stole some.

And then the TaQos! (3 for $9) They are Double Smoked Beef Brisket TaQos and come with some accoutrements to enhance them: blistered jalapeno pepper, lime, pickled red onion and pickles. The Taqos themselves come with the double smoked beef brisket and then this great roasted salsa - with red peppers, corn, onions and so much more I can't even tell you!

You get three TaQos and they're small - but with three they are filling. I also love the toppings - the salsa adds so much but the pickled onion was my absolute favorite! I would definitely get them again.

Thanks to City Barbeque for the gift of dinner and be sure to check out their app so you can start racking up those rewards!
   
City Barbeque Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Restaurant Review: Lebo's Bar & Grille, East End

With Larry's job - it's not often that we get time together to just drive around and try new things - but luckily we found time one Saturday afternoon. Thankfully it was also for my friend's birthday! 

First we decided to stop at Lebo's Bar & Grille - which I've literally driven by a thousand times. Turns out Larry used to go there all the time - "back in the day".

They've got quite a craft beer selection! There's a huge patio on the back as well...

Inside is a large bar, pool table and games. It's been around for years - and definitely is a place that has "regulars".

I was just starting to eat healthier at this moment - so I went with the turkey burger ($6.95) and loaded on the veggies. It was good - especially for a turkey burger! What I've noticed since being on Weight Watchers is that IF you have toppings - you don't miss the cheese. Now if I'm at Quatman's - I'm getting cheese - or Terry's Turf Club (aka Goat Cheese Heaven) - but if it's something else - I'll just add on the veggies.

Larry got a BLT - which never fail - I'm always jealous of what he orders. Luckily he's nice and let me have a bite of bacon that fell out.

Why Should You Go? I was really surprised by the quality of food. It's a dingy place but the patio is great and the food was really good. I would DEFINITELY go back - especially for biscuits & gravy at breakfast!

Lebo's bar & grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

After we had some grub, we headed over to Bad Tom Smith Brewing for some birthday beers for my friend Kelly! Bad Tom Smith is right next to Bella Luna - I had no idea it was even there. It's a cute little spot!
Inside they had a few beers on tap - no ciders :-( but they had a decent selection - Larry was happy for a hoppy IPA as usual.

All in all - it was great because my Kelly was happy for her birthday! It's a very small little tap room but they have quite a few tables and popcorn.

Bad Tom Brewing Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, April 25, 2016

Cincinnati Event: Spring Historic House Tour 2016

One of my favorite annual events is in just two weeks and it's going to a new neighborhood! 

Explore a hidden Cincinnati treasure as part of Cincinnati Preservation’s (CPA) 2016 spring historic house tour. The tour will take place on Saturday, May 7 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Raeburn subdivision in Mount Airy.  


The walking tour will showcase four exceptional houses from different periods in the neighborhood’s fascinating history, including the grand Cote Bonneville built in 1902. This historic home and Cincinnati treasure was at the heart of the former Raeburn Estate and has never before been open for public tour. It features a circular tower, octagonal turret as well as a carriage house.

Also featured on the tour are: 


  • Faber House: This home was inspired by one of the homes in the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. It was built in 1946 for Stuart Faber, the son of Herbert Faber who was the second owner of Cote Bonneville, and features a distinctive brick design. 

  • Wright House:  This is a modern, architect-designed “green” residence built in 2011 which achieved LEED Gold certification. 

  • Kaneshiro House: This is an Asian-inspired California contemporary home built in 1985 with a private entry courtyard.
Advance purchase for the tour is highly advised.  Tickets are $25.00 for CPA members, $35.00 for guests and $35.00 for everyone on the day of the tour. To purchase, call 513-721-4506 or email
info@cincinnatipreservation.org. Cash, checks, Visa, Discover, American Express and MasterCard are welcome.

This is a walking tour of approximately 1.1 miles. There is no transportation provided but parking is available on the streets in the neighborhood for those who do not want to walk.

Many thanks to this year’s tour sponsors: Cincinnati Historic Homes.com, 19/19 Investment Counsel, Hicon, Inc. (Masonry and Stone Repair Division), Phillip J. Nuxhall, and Urban Sites.   

More about Cincinnati Preservation Association

Cincinnati Preservation Association is a private, nonprofit, membership organization that serves the Greater Cincinnati community.  CPA works to preserve historic buildings, neighborhoods and cultural resources through education, advocacy, and technical support. Additional information may be found at http://cincinnatipreservation.org

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Why Does the Loss of Prince Hurt So Much?

I'm taking a departure from food for a moment. It's 5am and I'm awake - not because of Prince - because of my husband. (grrr - don't ask). But what's running through my head? Delirious. Purple Rain. It. Sign O The Times. Lyrics upon lyrics just keep circling. What is scoobaloop? And why is it on his face? (If you don't know that...this may not be the post for you.)

Why is it hitting me so hard that Prince is dead? Even typing that makes me tear up. It can't be true. He's an icon. You knew Michael Jackson was going to die early - he was so f'd up. Whitney had gone off the deep end. BOBBY! BOBBY! (Just remember her wailing that in Africa) But not Prince. He was kind of "the normal one". 

I have so many memories. His music got me through tough times. His music brought me joy. His music is part of why I'm the Food HUSSY. It's his fault - so don't blame me. He brought out this life in me. 

I remember my brown "leather" cassette case. I was a bit OCD as a child (no idea where that went) but I loved to have things in order. I would order and reorder my cassettes - alphabetical based on artist, based on album name, based on my favorite at the moment, etc. But after a while the case was full of only one artist. And for a while - he didn't even have a name. 

I remember Thieves in the Temple. You see - his best songs never even hit radio stations. That was from his 3rd movie - Graffiti Bridge. Never saw it? Well - it was no Purple Rain. But I choreographed a dance to that song in my living room after school. I performed it for the dust bunnies under the table every day after school. That song brought out LIFE in me. 

Love come quick
Love come in a hurry

There are thieves in the temple tonight
They don't care where they kick
Just as long as they hurt you
There are thieves in the temple tonight
Love if you're there come save me
From all this cold despair

I can hang when you're around

But I'll surely die

If you're not there
Love come quick
Love come in a hurry

There are thieves in the temple tonight
I feel like I'm looking for my soul (Soul)


Like a poor man looking for gold (Gold)

There are thieves in the temple tonight
Voices from the sky say rely on your best friend to pull you through
But even if I wanted to I couldn't really truly 'cause my only friend is you
Looking back on those lyrics - no wonder that song spoke to me. There were thieves in my temple at that very moment. I was a senior in high school and I was being molested by a family member. It had been happening for 8 years at that point. I danced in my living room with desperation - I still remember it - looking around to the sky - reaching for a rope to pull me through - but I didn't have a rope. I had the music. 
Later - after college - I dated a douchebag that wore too much man jewelry. But he introduced me to the realization that "sex is natural, sex is fun" as George would say. And he played a Prince song while we were...ahem...having a moment. 


I think about IT baby all the time, all right

IT feels so good IT must be a crime, all right

I wanna do IT baby every day, all right

In a bed, on the stairs, anywhere, all right
I wanna do IT baby all the time, all right
Cuz when we do IT girl, IT's so divine, all right
Well you get the point. The fact is though - IT made me realize that sex can be great. IT can be liberating. And you do wanna do IT baby all the time - all right?! Yes - it's all right!!!! IT took away some of the shame from being molested. Bet he never thought a song about bangin' could do that?! 
But beyond helping me through shit...and it really was shit. Prince always had one message that came through in his songs. 
We all have our problems
Some big, some are small
Soon all of our problems
Will be taken by the Cross

A belief in God. The Cross is, in my opinion, his best song ever. It's from Sign O' The Times and starts as a ballad and then kicks into hard hitting rock n roll. It's best heard in the car when you're sobbing and played at full blast - make sure your car is parked though - don't need any car accidents from it. 

His belief in God is EVERYWHERE in his music. And whether or not you believe in God or not - it doesn't matter. His belief got him through all of his shit. And it really was shit. 

I wish radio stations had continued to play his music. Funknroll was one of his later songs - in his latest afro-filled reincarnation with a girl group called 3rdeyegirl. It felt like old school Prince and it was fantastic. 

I wish I had continued to listen to his music. I wish I could hear him live just one more time. I am so thankful for the two shows I did see. I wish I could hear him crack a joke one more time. (Cuz yeah - he was funny.) I wish I could see his strut one more time. 

I wish I could say thank you - one more time. 

I never met him. I never said thank you to his face. But every time I danced, or "sang" (my 2nd grade teacher said I had no pitch - screw you lady!) - I was saying thank you. 

So why is the loss of Prince hurting so much? 

Because I wouldn't be who I am today without his music. Without him. And that is something I cannot thank him enough for. 

Rest in Peace. 

Prince Rogers Nelson - 1958-2016


Friday, April 22, 2016

DIY Fun: DIY Terrarium at Delhi Flower & Garden Center!

The Cincinnati Flower Show was last weekend and I had a great time on my visit. 
They moved it to Yeatman's Cove last year and it was a great move - the space is all together and the river views really add to the ambiance!

This year I was invited to take the Delhi Flower & Landscape booth for their Terrarium and Air Wreath workshop. The workshop was $45 and came with everything you need including the tutorial from the great team at Delhi Flower & Landscape to take home a delightful garden treat!

Tim & Pam started us out by having us pick out 5 of their "minis" for our terrarium. They had quite a few to choose from - I selected:

* Top right (bumpy one) - Moon Valley
* Middle right (pink) - Pink Hypoestes
* Bottom right - Ming fern
* Top left - Spider plant (okay - not 100% sure because I didn't use it)
* Middle left - Pink Fittonia
* Bottom left (spikey) - Cryptanthus

We started with a giant Brandy Snifter! It was much bigger than we expected - we thought it was going to be like a regular sized brandy snifter - this was ginormous! (And a fun prop...wait for it)

First we put a couple inches of charcoal - we used Ferti-lome which Delhi Flower & Garden supplied for us.

Tim was super helpful - schooling Audrey on the next steps. After charcoal - potting soil!

Aren't we adorable? (And see - I'm wearing makeup again!)

We then took our plants and arranged them on the potting soil. You want to be sure that you have them in the right spots before you start planting. This way you don't have to try and move them. So arrange and then take them out and set them on the table in the same layout.

After they're out - make sure you have enough potting soil in - for this shape - you want it to the point where the glass starts to bend in.

And here's something I didn't know - this shape is perfect for a terrarium because the fact that the opening is smaller - keeps water from escaping and drying the plants out. Who knew?

So the planting begins - just dig a little hole enough to get the mini-roots in place and then you pat the loosened soil back around the plant. I knew this from all of my years gardening as a child (slave labor). You want to wrap your fingers around the stem and press down lightly.

We decided to put the tall fern in the middle - it's wispy but the tallest so it will grow up and the other plans can grow around it and take up the rest of the space. Also - when you're taking the plant out of the pot - you just pinch the pot around the edges - pinch and turn - pinch and turn. This loosens the plant from the pot and you can pull it out easily. Once the plant is out, loosen the roots a bit too.

After all your plants are in place, we used this fantastic thing called Sheet Moss! It's fun stuff! It's very wet - but you put it around all of the plants and tuck it in all the nooks and crannys. This keeps the soil moist and helps prevent drying. It's so fun - you just tear off pieces in whatever shape you need and tuck them in and then press lightly into the soil. It was like I was putting mini grass in my mini yard! 

After the plants and sheet moss were tucked in - we added Reindeer Moss (the bright neon green) in spots that needed a pop of color. I loved that!! It almost looks like morel mushrooms - again - tear it off - tuck it in.

Some other folks at the event were making air wreaths. These were super cool and literally live on air! They need to be in 70-75 degree weather all the time - so outside in the summer and inside the rest of the year.

And did you wait for it - here's me being a dork and drinking from the Brandy Snifter! The thing is - I wasn't the only one - I took it back to the office and my boss did the same thing. :-)

They told us we could put little gnomes or fairies in our terrarium and I exclaimed, "I'll put Peyton Manning in mine!!" I had a little mini-Peyton on my desk and he was looking for a home. So when I got back to work - in he went. Now I need a goal post or another little man for him to pass to.

I have to say - thanks so much to the Delhi Flower & Garden Center. Tim & Pam were fantastic. And - here's something cool - if you want to do something like this - or any other type of potted adventure - Delhi F&G has a Potting Bar! If you bring in your pot (or you can get one from them) - they'll help you plant it all! You just pay for the plants (you do need to buy their plants) - but they'll supply the charcoal, potting soil, etc.

Be sure to check out the Delhi Flower & Garden Center and the Cincinnati Flower Show next year!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Restaurant Review: Tap House Grill, Montgomery

Larry and I are always looking for new places that have craft beers so we decided to try out the Tap House Grill in Montgomery. 

Tap House Grill has 34 beers on tap and pride themselves on their selection of local beers. You'll find all the usual suspects like Rhinegeist, 50West, Mt Carmel and more. 

They had all the normal suspects on the menu but Larry and I were drawn to the Build Your Own Salad. The price starts at $7 and includes 3 traditional toppings and one cheese. Larry and I went a little crazy with our toppings. :-) Larry was all about fruit - I think he got every one that was a possibility!

Me on the other hand - went for my favorites + veggies. Their menu bragged up their filet tips so I went for that and goat cheese and my new favorite - Raspberry Vinaigrette (plus other goodies).

Inside is a festive atmosphere with over 20 TVs - you can tell by the crowd it's the local sports bar for families - I can't tell you how many people came in seeing people they knew and wearing area school team apparel.

Here's Larry's salad with romaine, cucumbers, pecans, sunflower sees, green olives, strawberries, watermelon, pineapple, almonds, fresh mozzarella, bacon, chicken ($3) and balsamic vinaigrette. He loved it! He could barely eat all of it - but he loved it. He wasn't expecting the mozzarella balls - he thought it would be shredded - but I could have told him that. He liked them just the same - it was just different for him. Fresh mozz is fancy to him :-)

Mine was super loaded as well with romaine, dried cranberries, green olives, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, avocado, hard-boiled egg, filet tips ($6) and raspberry vinaigrette. I loved it - the steak was cooked to perfection and all the toppings were great. There is nothing better together than goat cheese and steak - so good!!!

Now...the bill. Because we put sooooooo much stuff on our salads - the starting price of $7 was doubled to about $14 each. I had a more expensive protein but Larry had more toppings.

Why Should You Go? It's a nice atmosphere and the build your own salad was great - it was tasty, fresh and we both liked it. If you're looking for a great salad - this is a great option!!!!

Tap House Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato