Brewriver

  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.) 

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  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. 

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   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. 

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  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.)

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  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)

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   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.

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 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.

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  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.

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 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

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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. 

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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*

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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

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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.

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

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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. 

 

 

 

Cox Arboretum/Pedal wagons @ Sawyer point

  I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. There is so much to do in Cincinnati. And so much of that stuff is cheap or FREE! Last Saturday we went back to Sawyer Point to try out the pedal wagons. Lauren had been begging me to do them since our first visit there this year. It was $20/hr for the rental. And honestly an hour is all you need to get from one end of the park to the other. imageimageimage The wagons were a lot harder to pedal than I expected. It took a lot of strength to get up the small hills. I was surprised, so I wouldn’t recommend this for an older couple. There were a few families that I saw that had to hop out and push it up hills. (Luckily I saw them first and sent the less bumpy path!) We ended up going from Smale park to the end of Sawyer point pretty fast and had enough time to go back to the water place to let Lauren splash around a bit in the free splash park. It was a really cool experience for only $20.

imageimageimage Again, I just love Sawyer Point. Cheap/free family fun.

 

 After that we met up with Chad and Haleigh and did a little Monster mini golf in West Chester. We had a coupon for this place from the entertainment books. It is a neat glow in the dark golf course. Haleigh was a little scared of the moving monsters and sound effects, but for most kids ages 6+ its a great place. We might even have Laurens birthday party there she liked it so much. 

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  We ended our day with some Cracker Barrel and a quick visit to Cox Arboretum. This place is a must visit if you are up in the Dayton Ohio area. Its FREE and gorgeous.  The grounds went on and on and everywhere you turned was something neat. From the giant turtle/Coy pond imageimage to the landscape maze for the kids imageevery inch of this place is unique and special. There is also a giant treehouse with sweeping views of the countryside. imageimage 

After you go back into it a little bit there is a butterfly house much like Krohns Conservatory. 

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We walked around the park until closing but I could have easily spent another few hours there. It is the perfect place to explore and relax. imageimageimageimageimageimage

New neighborhood/Sweet tooth Candies

I’m new to Newport and need some cool spots to check out. Either comment here or facebook me. I’ve been to Packhouse and Mokka but that’s about it. I want to explore my new city and take it all it has to offer so let me know your favorite places here.

I got a new house! I cant post pics of the outside (so random internet burglars wont find me) but I can show you some of the inside! I’ve been a decorating nut the last few weeks and now that I’m done I just want to redo it all again.

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and every girl needs a makeup space!

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My little bar area  is finally complete too!image

I did find this little gem in Newport. The Sweet tooth candy shop. Its so old fashion and quaint. Plus they have snow cones with Ice cream in the middle. It reminds me a lot of Schneider’s candy in Bellevue. Even the decor is about identical. And like Schneider’s it is equally as good.  I stopped in and got an ice ball then tried a variety of candies. The truffles were delicious as were the caramels. I didn’t care much for the nut roll but she warned me it was sugar free and I didn’t listen. The ganache was thick and rich just like it should be. I had to eat the one small piece on two different occasions because it had that rich fudge like quality to it. Very good.

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Having a new house I don’t have a washer and dryer yet; so to the Laundry mat I went. I’m glad I did though. I stumbled across this restaurant called Beef O’Bradys. You know how I feel about chain restaurants but it seems like most places in Newport are chains. I decided to try it out. I ordered fried pickles and Beignets. I have loved beignets ever since I went to New Orleans. I knew they wouldn’t be as NOLA’s but it was worth a try. They were ok.  Beef O’Bradys is your typical sports bar. Its reminiscent of Applebees or BW3’s. Lots of TV’s and lots of beer specials. The food was good but just average. The beers were buy 1 get 1 so this would be a good place to go get drunk and watch the Bengals game on the cheap. I’ll probably be back for that but save my money on the food.

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Cincy weekend

There was so much to do this weekend is Cincinnati. I love this city because contrary to popular belief there is NEVER a dull moment. You just have to go find it. Today is Labor day and its buy one get one free at the Renaissance Festival with kids free if you are bored. Or there is the American sign museum, Sculpture park, Washington park, the Levee, the list goes on and on. So get out and have fun!

Thursday we went to root on the Bengals and watch them kick some preseason Colts butts. Fingers crossed they play like this all year!

imageimageSaturday my love and I went to Florence Freedom to see Montgomery Gentry concert. I liked them but after the amazing concert they put on in the rain; Im a huge fan now

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Sunday was soccer and the WEBN fireworks. A big thanks to Chris for getting us on the Roebling bridge for an awesome view!

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A Tavola

Ever since I’ve raved about Incline House pizza, everyone’s told me to go to A Tavola.  We were in OTR before Laurens soccer game and decided to give it a go. I like the atmosphere, its your normal OTR restaurant. Cool decor with limited seating room. I loved the tables made of reclaimed wood and the bar that allowed us to sit right in the kitchen and watch the food being made. That is  where we sat because Lauren loves watching people make food. (My little foodie in training.)

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We started off with the dates stuffed with sausage and wrapped in bacon. These were topped with tomato sauce instead of the sweet sauce that devil on horsebacks are normally made with. They were ok. The sausage overpowered the flavor, and I was wanting that sweetness the dates and sauce usually have. Probably wont order again, just because I’m partial to the traditional recipe.

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Then for a second small tapas plate we got the bacon tapenade.  This was really good. French bread topped with goat cheese, tons of bacon, and a sweet balsamic reduction.

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My biggest disappointment with this place was their pizza. We were at the kitchen bar so we were watching pizza after pizza go out burnt, crossing our fingers that ours wouldn’t be among them.  It was. I know there is a bit of a char on oven fire pizza. I like the flavor. But there is char and there is burnt. The flavor goes from smokey to bitter fast. Me and Lauren split a pizza. Her side was banana peppers and bacon, mine was pepperoni and sausage. The toppings were good and the sausage was homemade.

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Ill go back and try it again just because everyone raves about it. Im hoping this one time was a fluke. Besides I need to try the fig and prosciutto pizza and see if it holds up to Incline public Houses pizza.