With increasingly busy schedules my wife and I don’t find much time to enjoy a meal without our kids very often. So we recently started meeting for lunch during the work week. Revolution Rotisserie & Bar was our first destination. We had passed by earlier in the week with our kids in tow, but didn’t think there was much on the menu that they’d like to eat. The menu is limited to pita sandwiches all featuring their signature rotisserie chicken, along with a handful of salads and some chicken based specialty plates.

Inside

Inside

Upon our arrival on a Thursday for lunch, all the tables were occupied and we were told it would be a ten minute wait. We let the hostess know that we needed to be in and out in an hour and she was kind enough to pass this along to our server when we were seated a few minutes earlier than the quoted wait time.

George Washington Pita

George Washington Pita

We had already browsed the menu while waiting for our table and put in our order right away. I went with the George Washington pita sandwich with rotisserie chicken, arugula, feta cheese, red onion, cucumber, tomato, and tzatziki sauce ($8). With such a Greek influence on the dish, I’m not sure why it is named as it is, but regardless the taste was outstanding!

Nelson Mandela Pita

Nelson Mandela Pita

My wife went with the Nelson Mandela with rotisserie chicken, pepperjack, black beans, corn chips, cilantro, tomato, and chipotle ranch ($8). Again this was a very good sandwich, though I think I’d give a slight edge to Washington’s creation as it seemed to pair best with the pita bread.

Joan of Arc Side Salad

Joan of Arc Side Salad

My wife also ordered the Joan of Arc salad as a side ($2) with strawberries, toasted almonds, goat cheese, and raspberry basil vinaigrette. The portion size was very generous and the ingredients were really fresh. I tried just a small bite of the salad and it was excellent.

Tater Tots

Tater Tots

For my side I went with the tater tots served with chipotle ranch dipping sauce ($3). The price tag for this side is a little high when compared to the salad. If you are planning to order two or more sides of tots it might be better to split the tater tot poutine appetizer instead ($8), which features cheese, gravy, and chicken on top of a generous portion of tots.

The food at Revolution Rotisserie is excellent. Our service was fast and attentive to our needs. I will absolutely be back in the future, though I wish some more kid friendly dishes were on the menu.

Revolution Rotisserie & Bar on Urbanspoon

It took me quite some time to realize that Hyde Park Gourmet Food & Wine in Hyde Park Square is more than just a boutique grocer. It’s true that the store has an extensive selection of gourmet cheeses, crackers, chocolates, sauces, and not to mention the massive collection of wine, but they also offer quick salads, sandwiches, and soups.

Inside

Inside

There are roughly a dozen choices of panini sandwiches, all served on grilled Ciabatta bread. I chose the Hyde Park with turkey and pepper jack ($7.99). The bread was rubbed with an olive oil mix before being pressed on the grill, which added a great flavor to the sandwich. It came served with pretzels or chips and a pickle on the side.

Hyde Park Panini

Hyde Park Panini

I also ordered a chicken salad sandwich on rye with choice of lettuce, tomato, onion, sprouts, mayonnaise, mustard, and horseradish sauce ($6.00). I was planning to split the sandwiches with my wife, but I quickly discovered almonds in the chicken salad mix, which I’m allergic to, so my wife ended up with this sandwich to herself, which she didn’t seem to mind. Again this was served with chips or pretzels and a pickle slice.

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Overall the sandwiches were good and were offered for a fair price. As far as cold sandwiches go, it is hard to beat the nearby Carl’s Deli, but I think the panini sandwiches are worth at stop at Hyde Park Gourmet Food & Wine. We took our’s to go and enjoyed them on a bench in the square, or a small patio is available just outside the front door.

Hyde Park Gourmet Food & Wine on Urbanspoon

Recently there was an article posted by WCPO’s Jesse Folk asking the question, “Are there too many breweries in Cincinnati?” Most seem to be believe that we are far from the saturation point and I couldn’t agree more.

Jagged Mountain Brewery

Jagged Mountain Brewery

I spent the majority of last week on business in Denver. When I moved away from Denver in 2011 there were definitely less breweries in town than there are in Cincinnati now. And now there are over 100 breweries in the greater Denver metro area.

On my first night in town I explored a couple of these breweries in the newly revitalized River North Art District. There are currently ten breweries in this one neighborhood, none of which existed five years ago.

River North Brewery

River North Brewery

In fact there are so many breweries in the area now that even my friends living in Denver have become a little overwhelmed. There is definitely a long way for Cincinnati to go before I could become overwhelmed by the choices available.

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the Cincinnati’s Tunes & Blooms series. The first three weeks of this year had to be postponed due to severe weather in the area each of those weeks. Last night was the first make-up date and it seems that many people haven’t got the message about the rescheduled dates as this was the least crowded I’ve seen Tunes & Blooms in years!

Lion Cubs

Lion Cubs

There are still two more rescheduled dates, the first is tonight, Thursday, May 7. The second is next week on Wednesday, May 13. And now that Zoo Babies is going on, it is the perfect time to head to the zoo. Last night I took the kids over to see the three lion cubs and the ten African painted dog puppies. The energetic lion cubs must be driving their parents crazy as it looked like the keepers have given them phone books to explore and other things to chase.

African Painted Dog Pups

African Painted Dog Pups

The painted dog pups are just as rambunctious, but I think there are enough of them that they often leave their parents alone. The creek that runs through their habitat seems to give them plenty to explore as well. It’s going to be a fun couple of years watching these babies grow up.

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Over the weekend my family and I visited the Cincy-Cinco Latin Festival on Fountain Square. The 12th annual event took place Saturday and Sunday and featured Latin music, dance, and food.

Fountain Square

Fountain Square

While my wife and I were able to enjoy some Mexican beers and Latin styled food, our kids loved exploring all the children’s activities that were available. The highlight was easily the Home Depot area where everyone was welcome to paint a flowerpot and once dry a flower was added to it, all completely free of charge. The kids area also featured a variety of games and a prize was awarded after playing them all.

Children's Activities

Children’s Activities

My four-year-old had so much fun painting the flower-pot, that we ended up going back again on Sunday so that he could paint another. And the timing couldn’t have been better with mother’s day just around the corner.

A couple of weekends ago I made it into the newly opened Taft’s Ale House for the first time. Taft’s now occupies a previously abandoned church in Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati’s oldest remaining Protestant church building, which had previously sat vacant since 1993. Since Taft’s opening on April 6 I had seen plenty of pictures of the magnificent renovation but I was still completely blown away by the work.

Nellie's, The Downstairs Bar

Nellie’s, The Downstairs Bar

Our group started in Nellie’s, the downstairs bar, but couldn’t get a drink before our table upstairs was ready. One member of our used the NoWait app before our arrival to get us on the waiting list and I was impressed by how will it worked.

Bar Area

Bar Area

The main restaurant area occupies what would have been the church. There are two levels of dining areas, which make good use of the space while still allowing all visitors to marvel at the beautiful structure. Above the bar are some serving tanks and a list of beers on tap.

Tasting Flight

Tasting Flight

Taft’s has opened with a very impressive list of ten beers. Everything from a German Pilsner to a milk stout and eight other styles in-between. The Mooly Wooly coffee milk stout was a quick favorite of mine. Nellie’s Key Lime Caribbean Ale was another that really stood out and I’m hearing reports that this beer may soon be available in cans to go.

Full View of Taft's Ale House

Full View of Taft’s Ale House

I didn’t have time for dinner on this visit but I’m sure I will be back soon for a full meal. I did try a few tots with the house made ketchup and they were delicious. I can’t wait to try more!

Taft’s Ale House on Urbanspoon

My wife and I met some of my family members for lunch at Parkers Blue Ash Tavern over the weekend. Parkers is hard to miss at the corner of Reed Hartman and Cooper, though the large white Colonial style building looks more like a home than a restaurant. The walls inside are decorated in equestrian style and several distinct dining areas are offered.

Inside

Inside

Since the weather was so pleasant, we decided to sit on the patio, which was not as big as I expected. With so many tables inside I assumed there would be more than a handful of tables available on the outside. Even so our party of eight didn’t have to wait long to be seated at a table (or two).

The lunch menu offers plenty of burger and sandwich choices, as well as seafood and a selection of tavern favorites. I went with one of these favorites, the Tavern “Mac & Cheese” with cavatappi pasta, chicken, Andouille sausage, applewood smoked bacon, scallions, spicy tomato cream sauce topped with Parmesan panko bread crumb ($13). I’m guessing the mac & cheese was put in quotes as the dish isn’t really all that cheesy, but it is very good.

Tavern “Mac & Cheese”

Tavern “Mac & Cheese”

Parkers is known for their prime rib, and many in our group took advantage of the daily trifecta offering of prime rib sliders served with a choice of soup as well as fries, coleslaw, or house-made chips ($12). I didn’t try any of this, but everyone who ordered seemed very pleased.

A small variety of craft beer options were available as well as an award-winning wine list. Our service was very friendly, but a little on the slow side. However I think Parkers is meant for a relaxed and slow-paced meal. Though a children’s menu is offered, I’m not sure our kids would have enjoyed our nearly one and half hour visit to Parkers.

Parker's Blue Ash Tavern on Urbanspoon

Over the weekend I finally paid a visit to the Rivertown Brewing Company. With so many breweries opening shop on the eastern side of town, it took me way too long to visit one of the originals. But I can now say that I’ve been there and had a great time too.

Tasting Room Bar

Tasting Room Bar

Free Arcade Games

Free Arcade Games

Inside the tasting room is a decent size bar, along with a handful of larger tables, plenty of space to spread out. They’ve also recently added some classic arcade games to the space which are available for free for anyone to play.

Brewery Area

Brewery Area

While visiting the brewery we also took the 45 minute tour of the facility ($6 per person). Tours are currently offered Wednesdays at 5, Fridays at 6, and Saturdays at 3 and reservations can be made on their website.

Bottling Line

Bottling Line

Cellared Beers

Cellared Beers

The tour offered both general information on the brewing process and also things that are special to Rivertown including their awesome sour program. I truly hope it doesn’t take me so long to make a return visit to their brewery.

A friend of ours was in town for work last week and was staying in Blue Ash. My family and I met up with her for dinner one night. Originally we were going to go to the Firehouse Grill but she had already been there earlier in the day. Instead we made our way to Sammy’s Gourmet Burgers & Beers, which was just around the bend at the corner of Kenwood and Creek.

With the word beer in the restaurant name I was expecting big things and Sammy’s delivered. There were around 30 beers on tap and a good selection of local and regional favorites. A fairly large bar dominates one side of the building, while the rest of the one room space is filled with various tables and booths.

Inside

Inside

All burgers can be prepared with Angus beef, turkey burger, or house-made veggie burger and come on a honey-kaiser roll with fries on the side. I ordered the Tex-Mex veggie burger with ranchero cilantro dressing, green and red peppers, onion, and pepper jack cheese ($9.99). The veggie patty is made primarily of pinto beans, which was a refreshing change from the more standard black bean. It was well seasoned and I really loved the sandwich.

Tex-Mex Veggie Burger

Tex-Mex Veggie Burger

My wife ordered the turkey burger with bourbon sauce, fresh onion straws, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo ($9.99). I had a few bites of this burger and it was also very good. The fresh vegetable mix that she shared on the side with our daughter was also a great substitution for fries for the health conscious.

Bourbon Turkey Burger

Bourbon Turkey Burger

Others in our group had the chipotle burger, the maple bacon burger, and the guacamole burger all with very high reviews. A kid’s menu is available offering mini Angus burgers, grilled cheese, and more ($4.49 with choice of side).

Sammy’s reminded me a lot of Flipdaddy’s Burgers & Beers and not just because of the similar names, though both do have a focus on unique burgers and great craft beers. As much as I have enjoyed Flipdaddy’s in the past, I loved Sammy’s even more. I will absolutely be back to Sammy’s again especially as it is on the way to my parents house.

Sammy's Gourmet Burgers and Beer on Urbanspoon

Lucy Blue in Mt. Lookout has closed, and Bub’s Pizza Bar has opened in its place. The late night hours that made Lucy Blue a popular spot will be maintained (until 3:30 on Friday and Saturday) but the pizza has changed considerably. Bub’s features a stone fired crust and a big selection of specialty pizzas. Plus they offer local delivery, which my wife and I were happy to use recently.

Half Pesto & Goat Cheese / Half Coetta & Onion

Half Pesto & Goat Cheese / Half Coetta & Onion

We couldn’t settle on just one of their specialty pizzas so we got half and half. My choice was the goetta and onion while she wanted the pesto and goat cheese. Two sizes are offered, the 16 inch regular and a large 24 inch. The 16 was plenty for the two of us with leftovers for the next day. I’ve been waiting for a restaurant to offer a goetta pizza and this one did not disappoint. I will definitely order this again!

Bub's Pizza Bar on Urbanspoon