Benito One NYC

Kate, Shasta, and I went to NYC for the beautiful wedding of Nicole. We had a few days there beforehand to explore. One of our first stops was, of course, Chinatown and Little Italy. There are hundreds of places to choose from for food, but the server that was outside talked us into this stopping at his restaurant called The Original Benito One on Mulberry Street. And I’m so glad he did. The decor was super cute. It reminded me of actually being in Naples. From a giant picture of a saint on the back wall to the wine placed throughout, it boasted a certain charm that the Italian restaurants in Cincinnati lack. The owner was sitting in a chair outside just observing everything and people kept coming up joking around and talking to him. You could tell this was a guy people liked. Even when he was talking to us a former employee came over and razzed him. Very fun and lighthearted feel which was different from the other places on the street.

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We started off with wine (obviously!) and bruschetta. The Moscato was delicious, I wished I would have gotten the name, but the bruschetta was just ok. All you could taste was tomatoes and the juice from them. I would recommend a different appetizer.


But the entrees were delicious! I ordered the buffalo mozzarella ravioli. I’m not big into spice or heat, so I was worried, but this was PERFECTION. I ate every single bite. I wish I could bottle that sauce; I’d put it on everything. Kate’s Chicken Parmigiana was really good too and the portion could have fed a family of 5.


The food was great, the atmosphere and staff were excellent, and the prices were reasonable. I highly recommend you go there and will definitely be back next time I’m in NYC.

Oh- also the worlds best cannolis ever are on the same street. Check out Alleva. TO.DIE.FOR. We went back on our last day in the city and got 12. Then ate them all before we got back to Cincinnati. While you’re there pick me up some. They aren’t traditional Cannolis, but once you eat them you will never want a traditional one again.

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Price Hill Chilli

I married into the west side of Cincinnati and resisted it with all my might. In doing so I probably missed out on a lot of places. I lived over there for 10 years and only now that I live in Ky, am I reviewing Price hill chili. (duh)


Its the kind of place that loves Pete Rose and Cincinnati as apparent by the artwork on the walls. They are proud of being a west side restaurant and love Elder. Nothing fancy but the food is good and the beer is cold. the Greek man who owns the place is always walking around talking to everyone. I love that! Its also the kind of place where you walk in and the bartender knows you by name and already has your long island waiting. Speaking of Bartenders, they have an awesome one. Her name is Katie- go see her. Its also deceiving from when you first come in, because its huge. There are like 5 rooms including a diner and a patio.

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For lunch I got the Bengal sandwich and the onion rings. Hot ham, bacon, tomato, and cheese. And this thing was loaded with ham!  The onion rings were to die for. I don’t know what that batter was, but I was just eating it by itself. And the sandwich was a beast. I ate a little over half, and I know I was waddling out the door. They were so nice, they even offered for the owner to give me a tour, but I was in a hurry to pick up Lauren.  Good, quality food. I can see why this place is a staple in Price Hill. Its not over the top or expensive. It is the perfect place for families; and a restaurant where everything on the menu is good. Try it out, you’ll love it too.

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Miami/ Carribean Cruise

I was suppose to go to Haiti for project medishare but my passport was stolen, so I didn’t get to go. (Long story, but I get to go in January now.) Instead I had my birth certificate overnighted and was able to go on a cruise to Mexico.

First Miami. It was really cool just hanging out down here and seeing all the shops. I would love to come back down when I actually plan on being here and have money saved. I did eat at some amazing cuban restaurant called YUCA.


And then at this deli out of a gas station called down below that was out of this world good. (I ate there three times in two day!) The beach was wonderful and public transport was pretty easy to figure out.

The cruise I went on was carnival. Our first stop was Cozumel. I’ve been here before and its so pretty. This time I went to dolphinaris and swam with the dolphins, snorkeled with sting rays, and paddle boarded. Oh yeah and dislocated my knee cap and tore my MCL :( Just not a lucky trip for me! But riding on the dolphins belly and seeing all the fish were worth it. There were puffers, clown fish, and I got to touch one of the stingrays!


Hurting my knee pretty much altered everything excursion wise for me. I had to change it up from action/adventure things to pretty much laying around. The food on the boat was pretty good. A lot of exotic things like alligator, rabbit, escargot, ox tongue. (gross BTW).  It was really awkward at first because I didn’t know anyone and the table they sat me with spoke Spanish. But I met some people and moved tables after that.


The second port was Belize. I’ve always wanted to go here and was pretty bummed I couldnt see the ruins like I planned. I would love to go back and really see the city and culture. But for me and my hurt knee I took it easy and just went to Starfish Island. It was really nice and pretty. GORGEOUS water but sharp shell beach, and tons of starfish in this one area. I kicked back, relaxed in the hammocks and just hung out.


The third port was Mahogany Bay, Honduras. I though this one had by far the best water because it was the warmest, and the beach was soft sand. It was however, the busiest with people. I swam a lot, drank a little, and ate some seafood.


The last port was probably my favorite- Costa Maya. Its not too far from Cancun, but this one had so much to do! The town was very poor and the shanty’s people lived in reminded me of south Africa.  But everyone that lives here seems very happy and in touch with their mayan culture. Its like being in a different time period. (Kinda mad me sad thinking about what an emphasis I seem to put on material things when they have so little.)


We got to drive by some neat ruins but didnt get to stop. (And I couldnt get my camera out in time.) The snorkel site was 45 min into the jungle. The water wasnt as pretty as the other places, but the snorkeling was better because there was an area with an underwater plane and cars. We saw a lot of ocean life also including lots of colorful fish, a baby stingray, urchins, and starfish again.

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After the snorkeling, i went kayaking on the ocean. They also had a big blow up fun island thing but I couldnt do it with my knee.

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Then I found my friends from the boat and we drank, and drank, and drank. (hey its the last port and it was free ;) We even caught a crab!

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That was the end of the cruise. I loved it but ran out of money fast! The onboard entertainment was good, and even though the medical center cost me a fortune to put my knee back into place- it was worth it. (ps. you cant use insurance on a boat. The directly charge your sign and sail card. No billing. )

Back in Miami I did an everglades tour before heading to the airport. Got to hold another baby alligator and ride on an airport. Pretty neat and a good way to kill time.

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Elis BBQ

Hey yall. Sorry it’s been a while. I was on an impromptu vacation for a week and did some damage to my knee. (More on that later). But before I left I had a family dinner at Eli’s. I have eaten it before in small portions at the Yelp dinner cruise, but I had never been to the restaurant.


I really like the actual restaurant. There are some good features and some weird ones. the logistics of how it is set up is a little weird to me. A small 4 table dinning area in the front, then you walk to the side of the house and order, then go outside and eat on picnic tables. Its really cool for summer but I don’t understand how it works for winter. My biggest problem with Elis is that you eat outside and there TONS of bees everywhere. My daughter was screaming and freaking out. They are everywhere, all over the food, the prep area where they give you the food, in your drink- EVERYWHERE! So if you are allergic- don’t go here! I really like the BYOB aspect of Elis though. That is cool and I would definitely go back and drink/eat if it weren’t for the bees.


The food was pretty good. The pulled pork and brisket were awesome. I didn’t care for the cracklins on everything. I wish I hadn’t ordered them and I would have liked my meal a lot better. I also wish my bun wasn’t toasted so much on my hot dogs and that pulled pork was on it. It was burnt and I had to tear some black pieces off. The ribs were WAY over cooked. They were tough to eat so Lauren wouldn’t eat them. But all in all the food was good. My heart for BBQ still belongs to Walts BBQ though. I’d like to go back and get the pulled pork again; just not eat outside where all the bees are!

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  I went to Brewriver this afternoon to use my foodieus $10 card before it expired. I had been wanting to try this place for a while since it opened but our times never matched up. It seems like I only want to eat out on Mondays when all restaurants are closed. (go figure) So I made it a point to drive all the way down there on Sunday. First off, parking is a little odd.  Their lot is across the street and down the road a little. Its not a long walk but the lot is on a super steep hill so your car feels like its going to tumble down the lot. (Think serpentine wall grade steep.) 


  It was relatively empty for being after church time. I got there about 1pm and there was a few people on the patio but only one other person at the bar.  The menu was brunch :( I am one of those few people in the world who do not like brunch/breakfast. I think its the third shifter in me but when people are eating eggs and bacon, I want wings and burgers. The whole brunch menu was pretty much egg-centric. I like eggs- but I like eggs on burgers and flatbreads, not Benedict style. But you cant go wrong with bacon, so I started looking at the bacon options. All of their bacon products are made with a beer and honey marinade. It sounds like an odd combo so I figured I’d get an appetizer with it on there before I ordered the egg BLT. I went with the bacon doughnuts. In my mind I’m thinking these are going to come out like Holtmans maple bacon doughnuts (get there right now if you haven’t!) but I was really disappointed. 


   They were doughnut balls, not regular doughnuts. And the beer honey bacon- DISGUSTING! The dough from the balls and the hoppiness from the beer made it so yeasty and gross. Then it didnt help that my bacon was burnt to a crisp. Like BLACK. If you’ve ever had burnt bacon you know the bitter flavor that you taste. Now add burnt honey to that and its so foul i had to spit it out. 


  I just left. I really dont see myself even trying this place again. Its now 6 hours later and I still have that taste in my mouth. The decor was nice, as was the setup of the restaurant; but the parking wasnt great, the bartender was kinda arrogant, and those doughnuts could be the worst thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. So my advice, skip it- drive 2 more minutes down the road and go to Elis barbecue; its so much better. Just remember they don’t take cards, cash only so go to the ATM beforehand.

Bakersfield OTR/ Abby girl cupcakes

  I’m late to the party on reviewing this one, but in my defense every time I tried to go here it was packed. And Senate is across the street and beckons me to go there instead. Today however, I was hellbent on not getting sidetracked on all things glorious across the street. So we went (me and my little mini me Lauren) and braved the wait. When we finally got a table the restaurant had pretty much cleared out, which was nice. I like the decor its very wood like and has that bistro pub feel sorta like M Oven Pizza in Hyde park. I like the setup with the picnic tables and chalkboard walls. Yes, we indulged and colored on the walls. (She’s 7 and I act like I’m 7 so we had to.)


  The drinks looked spectacular and I cant wait to go back and try a margarita, but I had little bit so no alcohol for me. 

  Now onto the food. I ordered the queso to start out with. This I loved!!! Rich, creamy, ooey, gooey goodness in a bowl with some of the best chips I’ve ever had. Good enough to say I like them way better than Chipotle. (Blasphemy I know)


   I asked the server what the most popular tacos were and he said the short tib and fish, so that’s what I got. As blown away as I was with the appetizer I had high hopes for the tacos. They were good tacos, but the ratio portions were a bit off for me. I will say that the presentations were really pretty. (Short Rib taco is braised short rib with queso fresco, crema, onion, radish, cilantro.) There was way to much short rib and I was craving some sweetness to go with it. I think the amount of short rib dried it out. Just to get some moisture I ended up spooning some salsa and Queso onto it.



 The fish taco was better, and if I come back I’ll probably get this again. (crispy mahi, cilantro, coleslaw, and tobasco lime sauce.) This time it was the coleslaw. There was just too much and it was too dry. I will say it was MUCH better when I took off 1/2 the slaw and could taste the lime sauce. It’s not fair to Bakersfield that I was comparing it to Nada’s fish tacos but I was. Nada’s are more expensive but they are bigger and you get more fish.



  The guac looked great and I wish I would have tried some, maybe next time. I’ll definitely be back even if its just for a margarita, guac, and queso. 

oh yeah, this was Laurens quesadilla.  She said it was too bland, but she doesn’t really like tacos, so I didn’t think she would eat much here regardless.



 After we left Bakersfield, we werent quite done and needed to satisfy our sweet tooth’s, so we ran downtown to Abby girl cupcakes on 5th street.  I’ll let the pictures do all the talking on this one. YUM



Jimmy G’s Downtown

  I really like this place. Its located downtown on Elm street, right down from Hustler Hollywood. (I know you all know where that’s located! lol. )  Its just a really cool, chic place with the neatest decor. I drool over the wallpaper every time I drive by.  It has the ambiance of a hip NYC restaurant but without the same big price tag. This is the PERFECT date place. And they have amazing specials. (So quick side story, the bartender was so sweet to actually type me out the specials and like a idiot I left that and my mac and cheese sitting on the table when we left. In my defense someone I didn’t want to see walked in so I had to skedaddle.) We went on Tuesday which is service industry night. So it was half off all food and beverages!! We ordered EVERYTHING on the small plates menu I think and our bill was barely anything. 


imageisn’t it perfect. I need this for my house.


  Now the best part of this place- the food. My god is it delicious. Like, worth the 10 lbs I probably gained eating it all- delicious. Lauren was with me and you know she’s my little foodie. She made suggestions on what she thought we should get so I just went with that. It was fun for her to pick and with the price being 1/2 off it didn’t matter. I did  order one thing on my own though. I had seen it all over Yelp and urbanspoon and had to try it: the Potatoes Raclette 10
*Crisp Potatoes, Caramelized Onion, “Gratin” of Cheeses, Up Egg*


I don’t really like potatoes so I have no idea why I ordered this. Ok, I do- the pictures made it look really really good and it was only $5. And it was good. But me being not so into potatoes, I ate a few, then just ate everything off of them. This is so filling it could be a meal in itself. 

The next were all Lauren saying what she thinks Ill like. She saw bacon on this next one and ordered it for her, but wouldn’t eat it when she saw it. Have no fear; I finished it off for her.  Apricot, Bacon & Pork Tummy-Tuck   11 (so $5.50 halfprice) Confit Pork Belly, Applewood Bacon, Harissa & Marcona Almonds, House Olives


I feel like this was another twist on Devils on horseback, but it was much better than A Tavola’s version. The Apricot made it sweet, then the brininess of the olives cut the sweetness just enough. I will definitely order this again. 

I got the Mac and Cheese to go (originally $7) but didn’t take a picture then left it there :( 

My other food for me was the crab cake. I wasn’t going to order it but Lauren said I HAD TO get it because I love crab cakes. This was more expensive at a whopping $15 (so $7.50 half price). I’m still floored by these prices for this quality of food! Even at full price its really reasonable. Back to the crab cakes. I’m glad she ordered them for me. It was my favorite part of the whole meal!  It was a large cake with this pesto mix and i don’t even know what was under it but it was amazing. I ate half then saved the rest for the end, because I wanted to savor it. No one will ever compare to the Oceanaires crab cakes ($35 pair) but these were the closest so far. image

Lauren got the fries, she was insistent that she would eat them. 4 Fat Fries   $7 ($3.50)
Smoked Black Pepper-Duck Egg Aioli, Appenzeller  They were good and the Aioli was outstanding, but I think she ate maybe 4 because she was full from the ribs and I was too stuffed to even attempt them.


These were Lauren’s favorite.Vietnamese Street Stall Style Spare Ribs  $13
Ginger, Garlic-Lemongrass Glaze (half off only $6.50)


So much so that she wouldn’t even let me try them so I cant attest to the taste except to say that she devoured them and said she wanted to come back and get them again soon. Next time I’ll have to order some for myself.

Now even though we were some serious fat kids and ate pretty much everything we couldn’t leave without digging into some creme brulee. Its just wonderful, melt in your mouth, everything you need out of dessert good. I wish the portion were a little bigger, but this time it didn’t matter due to the special. I would venture to say that they have (ok its a tie with bonefish) the best Creme Brulee in Cincinnati. imageimage\


Also heads up if you cant make it there on Tuesday for the special- there was a livingsocial for half off! I bought one of those too, so I can go back and try a steak.