Monday, October 31, 2016

Food Hussy Giveaway: Izzy's Reubens & National Sandwich Day!

Izzy's provided me a gift card in exchange for this post + giveaway. 

I kinda love Izzy's - a reuben is probably my favorite sandwich and don't even get me started on the potato pancakes! Other than Gold Star Chili - it's probably my favorite "Cincinnati food"! 


Izzy's recipes can be traced back to their relatives dating back to 1901! That's quite a long time to be slinging corned beef - but they do know what they're doing. 

So this Thursday, November 3 - I'll be heading to Izzy's because it's National Sandwich Day! The only thing left to decide is what will I order? 

But first - what the heck is National Sandwich Day - well this is a fun story! It commemorates the birthday of John Montagu, of whom it is said was so wrapped up in a 24-hour gambling match that he needed the convenience of eating with only one hand and instructed one of his servants to serve his lunch meat between two pieces of bread, and thus, the sandwich was born! Thank you John!

There's the Izzy's Mex with corned beef, onion, jalapenos, melted Swiss and Izzy's own chipotle sauce on rye. 

There's the Joe Walter with oven roasted turkey, Black Angus roast beef, American cheese, lettuce and tomato on whole wheat bread - and those amazing pickles!!!

And of course - Izzy's Reuben - piled high with corned beef, sauerkraut, Izzy's special sauce and melted Swiss.

My favorite might be the Pastrami Reuben with Izzy's pastrami, sauerkraut, spicy mustard and melted Swiss all on top of a pretzel roll! 

Then I just saw a sandwich I never saw before on their menu - the Beef Franks Reuben! Izzy's beef franks butterflied and broiled, then topped with sauerkraut, melted Swiss, onion and spicy mustard on rye toats. I love any sandwich with hot dogs! I'm a simple girl. :-) 

So no matter what Reuben or sandwich you choose - be sure to ask for a potato pancake and pop open that container of pickles at your table and enjoy National Sandwich Day with my friends at Izzy's! 


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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Food Hussy Halloween Recipe: Caramel Apple Bar

When you get the call that the troops need you - you answer the call! Am I talking about a military ad? No - my friends at Local 12 said they had a spot open - so I said sure! So here we are - making something for Halloween! 


And here's the details of how I did it!

I like the thought of caramel apples but never understand how you're supposed to actually eat one? I have a hard time eating an apple - let alone when it's coated with sticky good!?! So with a caramel apple bar - you can have your apple and actually eat it too! 

What to top it with? I started with a base of chocolate and caramel and then made a toppings bar with all sorts of snacks from around the house - it's actually a great way to use up leftover candy! I came up with Nilla wafers, white chocolate pretzels, Heath bar, Biscoff cookies, Hershey's chocolate, coconut, Whoppers and peanuts.

I laid out parchment sheets and grabbed the hammer! One sheet down - then put candy on top (whoppers, heath, nilla wafers, etc) then another parchment sheet on top. Then smash with the hammer!! And a bonus: you get out some aggressions!

The nice thing is - you can make whatever you want and have a different apple with each bite! I even named my wackadoodle bites! For the base I used a whipped chocolate frosting and the caramel dip.

So enjoy caramel apples you can actually eat without losing a tooth!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Food Hussy Review: Historic BBQ: a company to LOVE

There are times when I'm introduced to a business and they really grab a piece of me. Certified Angus Beef, Queen City Sausage, Midwest Best BBQ and a handful of others have introduced me to their brands and created fans for life. Late this summer I was invited to visit the folks at Historic BBQ in Lebanon. 3 words for the visit: Fan. For. Life. 

Historic BBQ isn't a restaurant and it's not a traditional food truck - it's a competition BBQ team that also serves as a food truck in its spare time. Their sponsored by Smithfield Foods and are most definitely award winning.

Historic BBQ is run by these two - John Gambill Jr and Tony Bunce. John is the CEO of GO Concepts - an IT consulting firm in Lebanon and Tony is an IT Consultant for them as well.  As well as being coworkers, they share a love for meat and that love grew into Historic BBQ.

It's a love they take seriously - they have the best equipment - they were like beaming children showing off their first day of school outfit when they were telling me about their smokers! They're pretty special and I was drooling from the smell of the truck - so I was pretty sure they produced a great product.

I think this thermostat taught me something in itself - just take a look at the difference in temperature needed to smoke vs barbecue vs grill. Learn something every day!

That's another thing - John's wife is a teacher and I think that's engrained in him as well - he was explaining and sharing his knowledge with us on our visit. Then I got inspired by him to try smoking something on my own grill - I texted him for a recommendation - he replied within 30 seconds and walked me through every step. We've since become pretty good Facebook buddies and he is a wealth of information!

This statement says it all. John and Tony are great guys and they love what they do. It's also a family affair - when they're running the truck - the whole family gets involved cooking, serving and helping run the show.

The competition team aspect of the business takes them on the road - all over the country - and luckily with an internet job - they're able to do their "day jobs" from their BBQ truck - so it's afforded them the flexibility that makes it all happen.

Historic BBQ is also a pretty high tech operation. The screen you see in the background is connected to the smokers so they can look up and monitor the temperature of the smokers at any time.

And for the competition team aspect of it - all you have to do is follow them on Facebook or Instagram to follow their escapades and drool all over their creations. I know I do. (Oh - and they didn't pay me for this - they gave me a plate of meat and some sauce which you're about to see - I just fell in love with the whole group!)

So yes - after educating me and informing me about all they do - John finally decided to feed me!

First up I tried their smoked sausage and it was so freaking good. They said they get their sausage from somewhere special and then smoke it and seriously - I could have eaten a pound of it. But...

I had this staring me in the face! Brisket, pulled chicken, pulled pork and burnt ends. Burnt ends? Oh my - just wait.

They also let me try their sauces - and they have one that they're putting the finishing touches on that was by far my favorite (and it's about to go into official production)! That said - you can't go wrong with either of their sauces (Original or Spicy) that they have available for sale right now.

So here we have the plate of beauty - and while it was all good (look at that pink smoke ring on the brisket) - the burnt ends were my absolute favorite. I found a recipe to make burnt ends that I'll be sharing with you soon - it's not the same way they do it - but it's the best I can do without a real smoker and all their intelligence.

This stuff was amazing! I killed every bite of the burnt ends and the brisket - then made a dent in the pulled chicken and pork.

John and Tony sent me home with a bottle of their original sauce as well as two other products that I HAVE to tell you about. First - their rubs - they have a Black and a Red - the Black is for Beef and Bird and the Red is for Pork and Poultry. (yes - bird in both really) This was super helpful though because when I was working with a brisket - I knew - Black - when I had pork ribs - I knew to go Red. So simple and so delicious. These blends are their own blends and have a lot in them - and all I can say is trust them - it's magic.



Then the Sweet Vinegar Dressing - I quickly went home to try a bite and it's sweet and tangy. The guys recommended it as a cole slaw dressing - the nice thing about this dressing though - NO EGGS! So I made a cole slaw type salad with it and my hubby loved it! Since then I've used the rest of the jar as a marinade for chicken and even a straight-up salad dressing. It's that good and that flexible! I love it!



I'm not usually one to say - go buy this right now - but I will say - GO BUY THESE RIGHT NOW: get yourself a jar of Red, a jar of black and a bottle of the Sweet Vinegar Dressing - it will be money well spent - and you're shopping local and helping local guys do even more in our area. (the jars might be out of stock - you can buy the larger package - but the jars should be fully stocked in the next two weeks)

And if I've sold you - you can have them cater your next event! Which has me thinking about our Christmas party - I mean - we can make that work - right?! And hey - next summer be sure to watch for them at the street fairs in Lebanon - until then - you'll just have to keep an eye on their events page so you can taste for yourself!

They're headed to KC for the American Royal competition right now - so here's hoping they bring home some trophies!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Food Hussy Review: Vinoklet Winery Dinner

Recently I went to a birthday party at Vinoklet Winery in Colerain. 

Photo courtesy of CincinnatiUSA.com
Vinoklet is on the grounds of their vineyard and there's also a pond where lots of folks have weddings and parties. They also have movies on the lawn on a large inflatable screen as well as a fire pit.

The path and grounds are really pretty in the summer - with black eyed susans and giant hibiscus!

Here I am with the birthday Hussy - she is a long-time friend and I was thrilled to celebrate with her!

Vinoklet has a dinner menu to choose from for parties - everyone got a salad as well as a choice of entree, dessert and a half-bottle of wine. The nice thing was if you're in a pair - you got a bottle but if you were a single - you literally got a half-bottle! W00t!

The salad bar was fine - pretty standard stuff - but good ranch.

For the entree you could choose from NY Strip, chicken breast, salmon, shrimp kabob or pork chops. I went for the steak for sure. Now there's a little oddity to me in a grill your own restaurant - since I could just do that at home - but for a party - it was really fun! We all hung out around the grill and got to chat and give tips to each other. I have a lot of experience cooking steak - so I hope I was helpful.

Along with the steak & salad they have a buffet of sides with potatoes, veggies and bread. It's pretty standard fare and nothing really special. To me, it's much more about the scenery and the event rather than the food. But the steak was good quality.

The sunset is gorgeous from the restaurant. I will say the restaurant itself is a little worn down but again - the view is nice. We also had a selection of desserts - I think I snagged up some cheesecake - it's all pre-plated and we were full at this point - but we definitely found room in our dessert pockets for it. ;-)

Dinner - including the wine - was $39 - so it's a bit pricey considering you have to cook it yourself - but I feel like it's about the event - not the food - so it was definitely worth it.

I totally can't remember which wine I got but I really liked it. I'm guessing it was a sweet white - that's what I typically go for. They have a good selection to choose from and everybody seemed to find something they liked.

Why Should You Go? I would definitely go for an event or a wine tasting but I probably wouldn't go just for dinner with a friend.

Vinoklet Winery, Restaurant, & Vineyard Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, October 24, 2016

Food Hussy Giveaway: Bonefish Grill Dinner for Two!

Recently I was invited to have dinner with a friend at Bonefish Grill in Hyde Park to try their special Dinner for Two menu! I'm excited to not only share my thoughts with you - but also one of you will get to have your own dinner for two thanks to Bonefish Grill! 

Bonefish Grill has three locations in the Cincinnati area: Rookwood, West Chester and Crescent Springs KY. We chose the Rookwood location which is across from the full Rookwood Plaza in a strip mall.

We were asked to try the Dinner for Two for $50 menu - which sounded delicious - so we were definitely up for it! This menu is only available through the end of the month - so hurry and get there this week to try it out!

The dinner for two starts with a Bang Bang Shrimp to share - then you choose two entrees and share a dessert. The entrees you can choose from are Fresh Swordfish + Pumpkin Ravioli, Wild Snapper + Shrimp, Cedar Plank Bourbon Salmon and Crab Crusted Cod.

In addition they have some wine specials for $9/glass.

I got some fun fruity non-alcoholic drink - I think it was a Blackberry Smash or something - it was pretty and tasty!

Then - there's the Bang Bang Shrimp. If you've never been to Bonefish - it's is their signature dish and you MUST order it. It's fried shrimp with a spicy chili mayo dressing served on a bed of lettuce.

It's so good - it's the freshness of the shrimp, the spiciness of the chili sauce and the cool lettuce. It ends up being a salad underneath and is really my favorite dish at Bonefish. Again - if you haven't been - it's worth going just for this dish!

We also started with a fresh warm loaf of bread served with oil and pesto - delicious. You could have a meal of bread, oil and Bang Bang! The bread is really good and warm!

Danielle got the Swordfish + Pumpkin Ravioli - I'm not a fan of Pumpkin Ravioli typically but this was pretty good. She liked it as well. She also killed so much of the shrimp that she had leftovers to take home. :-)

She also enjoyed the swordfish - it's a very hearty fish but also light. It's got the texture of tuna but it's still a nice light white fish.

I knew immediately I was going for the Crab Crusted Cod - I love crab and cod - so easy choice for me. I got a side of broccoli and then added on the truffle macaroni & cheese with mushrooms. 

The crab crusted cod was really good - the cod was fried but still very light and crunchy. The crab was big sweet chunks of crab and was delicious! I love crab so I'll always go for that on a menu!

I'm not a fan of anything "truffle" because it's typically truffle oil which I abhor. The smell is just too pungent and I don't like the flavor. This didn't smell or taste too strongly even though it was in there. I liked the corkscrew noodles and big chunks of mushrooms. It was pretty good but a little rich for me to eat the whole thing. 

For the dessert, we decided to try Jen's Jamaican Coconut Pie which was a creamy coconut custard with Myers's Rum sauce and fresh whipped cream. I am a coconut lover - and you really need to be if you have this dessert. It's not a coconut cream pie - it's a very thick coconut pie with a little custard in there and the rum sauce is definitely RUM sauce. 

Why Should You Go? It was a great dinner and the 2 for $50 is a great deal - especially when you start with Bang Bang Shrimp and then have two delicious seafood courses! It's good through the end of the month so be sure to get there!

Then tell me below which of the entrees you would like to try and you might win $50 for yourself! (Crab crusted cod, swordfish + pumpkin ravioli, bourbon salmon or snapper + shrimp)

Bonefish Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Review + Giveaway: Rusty Bucket at Liberty Center

I love being invited to new restaurant openings - it's always fun to try new foods and get a little bit spoiled. Last week the folks at Rusty Bucket invited me to try their new location in West Chester's Liberty Center. If you haven't been to LC - it's the new Kenwood Mall - at least in "cool factor" - they have everything - it's this whole little neighborhood with new stores, restaurants and a ton of cool stuff! 

Liberty Center has an interesting neighborhood type layout and there are parking lots and a garage but there's also street parking in front of places - so if you're lucky and have a specific place you're going - you can get a good spot. The meters are monitored 24 hours/day and the money goes to local causes.

There's a huge patio area in the front that they open up on nice days like this one! 

They have a huge beer selection with draft beers galore! 

They fed us so much food! Luckily they boxed up the extras for us to all take home - so here goes - I feel like we tried the whole menu! First up was Hummus served with grilled pita and tzatziki. I think what I liked most was the marinated tomato & cucumber side salad - it was so good! The hummus was good too!

Now for one of my FAVORITES of the night - Spinach con Queso - spinach, white wine and cheese - served with chips. I could have killed this whole thing - it was sooooo delicious - and I totally called dibs on the leftovers for this and it may have been my breakfast the next day. :-)

The Deep Fried Pickles at the bucket are a signature dish and really good - they batter dip spears and serve them with yummy ranch. Hot and zingy.

They also have wings in three flavors - these were buffalo and were a bit spicy for me - I'm a wussy mild girl but the rest of the table loved the spice.

We tried Pork Potstickers as well that were pan seared and served with a sweet chili and ponzu sauce. These are fine but definitely my least favorite of the apps.

After getting some food in our bellies (smart idea) - they took us to the bar!! You really can't go wrong with that!

We got to try multiple signature drinks - the first was the Blueberry Bella - which had Blueberry Vodka, muddled blueberries and fresh lemon juice. It had good blueberry flavor but I'm not much of a drinker and the vodka was too much for me.

then we tried the Bourbon Raspberry Smash - with mint leaves, ripened raspberries and simple syrup - then mixed with lemon juice and strawberry puree. I think it's called a smash because I was about to smash that drink!!  So good - and I hate bourbon.

Of course - here's me and my girl Jennie from Motherhood Support. She is a walking party - so I love getting together with this hussy!

Next up was the Pink Gin Fizz with Rogue Pink Gin, fresh lemon juice, sparkling water and a Pinot Noir float. And yeah - it was great too.

Kristin from Mason Me-Tu also helped me get my drinky drink on - we had to share so we didn't all go home schmammered.

Then they introduced us to this wackadoo cherry - it's really rich and syrupy and it's some kind of Maraschino but not like the kind you put on ice cream. Whatever it is - it's thick and tasty.

The bartenders here are great too - they hand make all their drinks and don't cut corners anywhere. They also make their own Pineapple Vodka and more. It's just one of many touches of personal customer service that you can see there.

Then they made a special drink called The Hemmingway Daiquiri - it was my FAVORITE. I might have drank the whole thing. Not saying I did...but just saying maybe I did.

Now - onto the entrees - Veggie Pizza! This was loaded up with roasted tomatoes, mozzarella, provolone, mushrooms, bell peppers, red onion, banana peppers, green olives and spinach. It was really good pizza - I could have eaten a lot more but there was so much more to come.

Then there was the Asian Tuna Wrap - soy marinated yellowfin tuna, seared rare with wasabi mayo, sticky rice and a veggie medley. I think everything else was so decadent this got overlooked a little. If you're looking for something a little healthier - you might check this out.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Juicy Lucy - this is a Happy Hour burger with two hand-made patties topped with caramelized onions and American cheese.

Everybody that took a bite of this burger LOVED IT! I mean - this is a fantastic burger!!!! We all loved it and I would honestly go back just for that burger.

Here's another instance of the customer-focus that Rusty Bucket has. The manager came out and told us that while this is a "Happy Hour" burger - if you ask for it at another time - you can still get it. Basically - they are there for you - so if you have a special request - they'll do everything they can to accommodate you.

We also tried the Mahi Mahi Tacos - well we could have. I wasn't too interested in trying them with all the other amazingness we had - but people seemed to enjoy them. They were served with cajun rice and beans.

A staple from their menu that everyone raves about and all my friends order is the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich.Panko crusted and slathered in their "regular" sauce - topped with bleu cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo. This is spicy but tasty.

Close behind that burger for me is the Fish& Chips - beer battered cod and crispy french fries. I ate a giant piece of fish on my own and could have killed the other one too. So delicious. I hate breaded fish - battered is the only way I go and this was perfect!

Then we ended with dessert - the Triple Chocolate Cake was perfection - like seriously - perfection. I think I ate most of this. There were a few on the table and everybody else was full but I have that special dessert pocket so I was able to store it there. :-)

They also served Sticky Bun Bread Pudding which everybody else enjoyed - but I was too obsessed with the chocolate cake.

Why Should You Go? It's a great restaurant with so many delicious dishes and they put customers first - as well as employees. They had a couple of employees chat with us too and they couldn't say enough wonderful things about the Rusty Bucket. They are accommodating and really want their employees to grow. It's great to find places like that. They're based out of Columbus so while they are a "chain" it's locally-owned and operated.

Rusty Bucket Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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