Showing posts with label tour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tour. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Road Trip: Certified Angus Beef Council - Day 1

Recently I was invited by the folks at the Certified Angus Beef Council to come up to Wooster, OH and learn a little LOT about Certified Angus Beef. 

We were tapped with a full 2 days of beef, beef and more beef! We learned about beef, cut up beef and - most importantly - ate beef! So let's get to it! Bring on the cow! 

If you've never been to Wooster - it's between Columbus and Cleveland in Amish country! I love me some Amish (i.e. a bit obsessed). I did not photograph any Amish - because that's not cool in their world - but let me tell you the sight of a little Amish boy running up his driveway with his hat and suspenders - ADORBS!

Besides the Amish - there's a whole lotta cheese. We stopped at the Guggisberg Cheese store to check it out. They make the cheese there and sell every kind of cheese you can think of. I came away with a tub of mixed cheeses and it was some good stuff!

We stayed at the St. Paul Hotel in downtown Wooster and it was AMAZING! I absolutely loved everything about this hotel. It's a very small boutique hotel that was originally built as a hotel in the late 1800s. They've remodeled and it is beautiful. The bed is extremely comfortable, the staff is friendly, the complimentary breakfast is DELICIOUS - I could just go on and on! But I have to say - my favorite thing was the heated floor in the bathroom! Who knew heated floors would be that magnificent - but they were!

Hands down - if you're ever in Wooster - stay at the St. Paul. (They do have a college in Wooster - beautiful campus - so it could happen!)

After checking in at the hotel, we hopped on a bus out to the Chippewa Valley Angus Farm. Cows!!!! When we got off the bus we met the owner of CVAF - Rod - and his cowboys. Seriously - all the girls went "Ooooooh cowboys!" It was pretty funny.

Rod and his two ranch hands run the farm and raise "seed cows" - which are the cows that make the babies for all the cows of the world. People buy their cows to make more babies or to grow into cows we eat. They were very patient and knowledgeable with all of us. (Besides me - there were other bloggers and journalists on the trip.)

With all the hype around natural and organic - combined with the videos and issues around animal cruelty - these guys got a LOT of questions. I have to commend them on how they dealt with the fire drill that was us.  We learned so much! Here's a few things:
  • Didn't know there were "seed" and "feed" cows - the feed cows are the one that are being fed so we can eat them. 
  • There's a cow in another field - that his whole job is to come sniff when the lady cows are "ready" (what a life?!)
  • All cows are grass fed. ALL. COWS. Many cows get grain for the last couple of months because the grain adds flavor to the meat. 
  • Certified Angus Beef has their own standards - above the USDA. 
  • All black cows have some Angus in them - but they may not be 100% Angus. 
  • Fast food Angus is NOT the same as Certified Angus Beef! Look for the symbol! (for example: Jersey Mike's has it on their menu)
I learned a lot more - but that's a bit of the knowledge that was dropped on us. But - after grilling them for a couple of hours - they decided we needed to see some cows :-) Woohoo! 

We literally saw cows running in the pasture! There is something about the country - it just smells better. I'd rather smell manure in the country - than exhaust in the city any day. I could have just sat on a lawn chair in that field all day - it was just beautiful. 

We also got to see the cowboys in action - herding the cows and bringing them toward us so we could get a closer look.

This is Jet and I love him (the horse not the boy). While everybody else was in the field admiring the cows - I decided to snuggle with the horse for a bit. He was so sweet!!!

After our fill of cows - we headed back to the hotel for some down time and then - back out again!

Before dinner we decided to walk around downtown a bit and stopped in at the First Amendment Public House. They had that Certified Angus Beef logo on the door - so we had to check it out!

They had a ton of craft beers on tap and we decided to check them out. Larry tried an IPA while I went with something light and fruity. The staff was really nice and the food that came out for other folks looked AMAZING!

The First Amendment Public House on Urbanspoon

But we didn't eat there because we had a big ol' steak waiting for us! 
We went to Broken Rocks Cafe and were showered with lots of delicious food. Everything was homemade and so good. We started with bread & olive oil - then moved onto pizzas! Hand-crafted dough - my favorite was the Italian Sausage because it had some dollops of goat cheese on it. Yum! The salads were great too - Larry even tried beets!

He ordered the Certified Angus Beef New York Strip. As we found in a recent steakhouse trip - he likes NY Strip and I like Ribeye. He really enjoyed it - even the blue cheese butter - although he said, "That stuff is a bit funky." Haha - yes, yes it is.

I went for the Certified Angus Beef Ribeye and it was delicious! It was soft and buttery and just amazing. Broken Rocks was an amazing host for our dinner and the food was all delicious. I would definitely go back.

Broken Rocks Cafe & Bakery on Urbanspoon

All in all - it was a great first day full of beef! We learned as much as we ate - which is a good ratio for me. :-)

Disclosure: The Certified Angus Beef Council provided this trip for us but all opinions are my own. 

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Road Trip: Cincy Brew Bus (the original Cincinnati Taproom Tasting Tour)

If you saw my recent Top 10 Things To Do in Cincinnati list - then you probably saw a new business you may not have heard of - the Cincy Brew Bus! I had the fortune of going on the tour and LOVED IT! I've done numerous tours in Cincinnati - but this combined a historical tour WITH drinking! How can you go wrong? 

We started the taproom tour on Fountain Square at Rock Bottom Brewery. Now - while Rock Bottom is a chain - it's also the FIRST craft brewery (well - since Prohibition days). What I love is that the great folks at CBB realize - you're putting together a school bus full of people and handing them beer tickets - you might want to make sure they eat! How do you do that? Tie a Servatii's pretzel around their neck!

And yes - that's my husband - Larry - beer & pretzel in hand! He was recently recognized by someone at an event from all of his appearances on my blog! He felt like a celebrity - although he really let it go to his head - he's been offering autographs at Kroger...oye.

Next up - we hopped on the bus! Mike Stokes - our fearless leader - started this company because he loves beer and thought it would be fun to take a bus full of people and drive around enjoying each other and some great beer. Mike - YOU'RE A GENIUS! Good on Mike to keep a bus load of drinking adults together and not losing any of us! 

Where was the bus taking us? 50 West in Newtown! You can't miss it with their little VW bus outside. There we got a flight of 6 beers and were able to just hang out for about 45 minutes or so. They have a great patio area with this really intriguing and creepy tree (seriously!).

We were also able to get a little more food while at 50 West. We tried the hummus plate - good stuff! We definitely cleaned the plate!

Next up was Moerlein Tap Room - this is different from the Lager House - it's in OTR. We had a great time - the Tap Room is in the former Kaufman brewery and has a large open floor plan with life-size jenga as well as cornhole and...

Shuffleboard! I used to have a tabletop version when I was a kid so it was fun to play with our new friends that we met on the tour. 

Lastly - we headed over to Rhinegeist and it was hoppin! It's on the 3rd floor of the original Moerlein brewery so prep your legs for a hike - but it's a great time. In addition to their own brews - they have a lot of other great things on tap. I found VanderMill's Blueberry Cider which was AWESOME! At Rhinegeist - kids are welcome - and they have cornhole, foosball and ping pong.

The Cincy Brew Bus was a great afternoon of fun! It goes from about 12-5 every Saturday (seems like a long time but it really flew by!) and you can find their brewery schedule on their site. They go back and forth between 8-9 craft breweries in Cincinnati and NKY and tickets are $65/person ($30 for Designated Driver and call for discounts if you have a group). Beer tickets are plentiful - anywhere from 3-6 depending on the locale - so you won't be thirsty! And when you go - be sure to tell Mike that the Food Hussy sent you! ;-)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Road Trip: Cincinnati Heritage Tours from Cincinnati Museum Center

As regular Food Hussy readers know - I like tours. I think I've uncovered nearly every tour in Cincinnati. Maybe that should be my bucket list - go on every tour in the city! :-)

There's a whole new set of tours I found out about this year - the Cincinnati Heritage Programs by the Cincinnati Museum Center! As you'll know when you check out their schedule - about half of them are sold out - and they go quick! Why? Because these are once a year tours - when they announce that schedule - BOOM - they fill up! But there are still some great tours available! 

We chose the Treasures of the Queen City Tour - which is a RARE opportunity to view collections at the Geier Collections & Research Center. The Geier is the one with the big mastadons out front...that's how Larry remembered those from when he was a kid.

David Conzett is the curator of History Collections and Fine Art. He's originally from Iowa - so I liked him right off the bat. He had a bunch of wonderful pieces set out and he just started going through years and years of history. It was fascinating! They had seats set up so you were comfortable and it was a small enough group that everyone got to ask their questions as well.

I'm terrible about taking notes - so you'll just have to go on this tour yourself next year to get all the details but it was really cool to see this uniform from the Civil War. We also got to see the actual General in the uniform as well from an old photograph. The museum really has a great reputation and get a lot of donations from families that want their Cincinnati history to stay here.

Some of these items were just gorgeous - in addition to being historic. They're not sure but the fire hat is a very early one - potentially from Independence, KY. The gun in the bottom left was Christian Moerlein's. The stained glass door in the lower right was STUNNING. 

We took a 20 minute break and had refreshments (lots of choices) and then came back for more knowledge dropping. Then - the fun began - they took us into the back. It was just shelves and shelves and shelves of history! It's amazing how much they have just waiting to be displayed!

They rotate these pieces in and out of display depending on the collections of the time. It's pretty fascinating to see some of the items that aren't on display!

This bed for example is a Henry Boyd Bed. Who's Henry Boyd? Henry is a slave that bought his freedom. He then moved to the Cincinnati area and became a carpenter. He became fairly successful and then helped other folks on the Underground Railroad. Pretty cool stuff.

 This is a bed - looks comfy right? Um no - it was from a Cincinnati insane asylum and people were locked in it!

And what tour about Cincinnati history is complete without BEER?! There were a few historic bottles shown to us (Moerlein on the left) but then in the back we saw crates and crates from the former breweries of Cincinnati. Growlers, bottles, cans and so much more.  If you're not familiar with the beer history of Cincinnati - I highly recommend one of the Underground Tours.

Then there was a lot of just Cincinnati history - the door from the first Skyline, the Rookwood tile rose from the Kahn's Factory and General Ulysses S Grant's baby crib. Pretty cool stuff.

But my favorite? By far - the Crosley Car. So cool!!!! Larry saw that and said "oh Lord - we're gonna be here a while".

I have so many more pics but I don't want to show you everything - you'll have to check it out for yourself! The Geier is open by appointment only but if you have the opportunity - it's not to be missed.

The Cincinnati Heritage Programs run through November of 2014 - and there are two coming up quickly - May 13 is the Crosley tour and June 4 is the Historic Churches of Newport. If you are at all interested in Cincinnati history - I highly recommend these tours and can't say enough good things! I hope you get the chance to enjoy these tours as well!

Disclosure: Cincinnati Museum Center provided me two tickets on the tour in exchange for this post but the opinions are all my own. 

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Road Trip: Ultimate Date Night Tour with Stratus Helicopters

Every once in a while - I get an idea in my head for a blog post. Sometimes I should not listen to those ideas! (haha - just kidding). I had an idea to take a helicopter ride with Stratus Helicopters - thing is - I'm scared of heights! 

Look at how NOT scared I am when the helicopter is sitting in the garage.  

And this is how I look as we're about to take off! It didn't help any that they saw that I brought a camera and said, "Oh we'll have to fly with the door off - you'll get better pictures that way!" GRRRR! But I braved it. I might have been hugging the pilot who kept telling me the seat belt had me and I wouldn't fall out. Suuuuuuuuuuure! 

We took off from Lunken Airport and flew over to Coney Island. On the way - we flew over these guys. I wanna do it again and figure out where they live and go hang out with them. Something tells me that fun is had on this road.

After going over Coney - we headed to University of Cincinnati! The helicopter ride is simply exhilerating - even with the door off. ;-) It's really cool to just be up so high and see things from a totally different view.

Then we headed downtown and my goal was to get some good shots of the stadiums so we could print them off and hang them in the man cave. Side note: our man cave had just flooded the day before the flight and Larry had been totally pre-occupied by this. During the flight he said, "I totally forgot about the basement for this whole flight!" MISSIONS ACCOMPLISHED.

These pics are great and we are definitely getting them printed off for the basement. You can buy pics like this - but it's so much cooler to think I TOOK THIS PICTURE!

And finally - safely back on the ground. 

We were on the Ultimate Date Night Tour which is $65 per person for first two passengers (you can add a 3rd for $55 more). There is a two-passenger minimum. I have to say - this ranks right up there with the Segway tour as most fun activity in Cincinnati. I have already told so many people about this - I mean - think about it - for the cost of a nice dinner out - you can get a totally crazy and unique view of your city! 

You can also do these tours at night - just keep in mind - you may not see as much at night because not everything is lit up. They also told me that an iPhone camera won't really cut it - so keep that in mind. The other advice I would give - is if you take a camera - take some pics of things you REALLY want a picture of - but also put the camera down - sit back and enjoy. 

I encourage everybody to give Stratus Helicopters a call and set up a tour for you and a friend/loved one today. It's so exhilarating - do it with the door off! (If I did - you can too).  

Disclosure: Stratus Helicopter provided this tour free of charge. All opinions are my own. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Road Trip: American Legacy's Rookwood Pottery Tour (Rookwood Pt 1)

If you've got relatives coming to town for the holidays or you'd just like to get to know the Queen City a little better - then you should check out American Legacy Tours

I signed up for the Rookwood Pottery Tour - which takes place on Fridays through December 20. I'd previously been on their Queen City Underground tour and had a blast. The Rookwood tour started at Findlay Market. Our guide gave us a bit of the history of OTR and Findlay Market.

Then we headed out towards the Rookwood factory with stops along the way for history. One stop was the Rhinegeist Brewery - it's in the original Moerlein brewery. They have a tap room that we have now added to our list of "things to do" in Cincinnati.

Directly across from the Rhinegeist is the original Moerlein home (on the left). The vines you see on the far left are actually hop vines! The home has traces of fancy that let you in on the historical significance. The building on the right is the former office of Moerlein. It's pretty great to see that Moerlein is now back (with new owners) and brewing again (in a different space). 

There is a church on the walk that has an interesting feature as well. This was the Moerlein's church and the finger at the top is pointing to heaven. 

 We made it to the Rookwood factory and saw a gorgeous mural painted by the folks at ArtWorks. There are 67 murals around our city from ArtWorks!

Once inside, our guide told us the history of the Rookwood company - which involves many of Cincinnati's "royalty". There's marriage, bankruptcy and everything in between! Once we knew the history, we started the tour and saw each of the steps to making this beautiful pottery.

After seeing all the phases (some of which I couldn't photograph) - we headed into the showroom to check out the finished products. This beautiful vase was hand painted by a local artist - there are a series of them - and they're only $7500 a piece! (oye!)

Rookwood Pottery is known for it's perfection and for it's durability. It's really exquisitely made. They don't take shortcuts - and you can tell. The pottery for sale ranges from $20+ - so there really is something for every price range.

I was able to take some photos in the casting room and then of the finished products on the showroom floor. The variety of glazes are so beautiful - it was really fun to see. 

Rookwood Pottery is also working with students from DAP to incorporate more technology into their creation process. For some of their architectural work, they're even using 3D printing in the process. This vase though is not one of those uses - I would love that in some bright beautiful color. 

The "More Joy" tree is one of their signature holiday pieces. This tile sells for $78. I loved this piece - and dropped a few hints to the hubby. :-)

Lastly - we saw the Rookwood Fireplace they recently installed. The price tag on this - oh it STARTS at $100K. Nice to know they included a drunk wiener dog in it - haha!

Rookwood Pottery really is amazing stuff - it's definitely something to aspire to. I know a lot of homes in Cincinnati have Rookwood Fireplaces - it's fun to find out the history behind something so unique and beautiful in our city. We're very lucky this is still here and wasn't bought up by someone that didn't care as much about the quality (it almost happened!).

The Rookwood tour is going on through December 20 - but if you can't make that - no worries - American Legacy Tours has holiday tours and a brewery bus tour coming up! Check out all their tours at their site

As the title states - this is Part One! For Part Two - we'll visit another Rookwood landmark in the city...and boy am I hungry (hint hint).

Disclosure: American Legacy Tours provided me two tickets for this tour but all of the opinions are my own.