We had a very busy Easter weekend. Unfortunately I was stuck working nearly half of the time, but I still managed to sneak in some fun.

Music Hall

Music Hall

Saturday morning was the Easter Egg Hunt at Washington Park. This free event brought in a ton of families with kids of all ages.

Kenny Bunny

Kenny Bunny

My good friend Kenny is never one to shy away from a little added fun. Though the beard is probably better suited for Santa, he was happy to put on the bunny ears.

Easter Egg Hunt

Easter Egg Hunt

The egg hunt was a little chaotic but Trey still managed to come away with a few eggs.

Bunny Paige

Bunny Paige

I think the ears look much better on Paige, so thanks for sharing Kenny. She slept through the egg hunt but we saved a couple of eggs for her to discover in the playground. It’s always a good time down at Washington Park.

Recently we’ve had a few events downtown where we relied on a cab to get home. A couple of weeks ago I signed up for the new to Cincinnati service called Uber. We have now taken two rides home in their UberBLACK line of cars and have had such a wonderful experience both times. This services uses high-end sedans so that you arrive in style at your destination.

Gone are the days of standing on the curb trying to flag down a cab. With Uber you use an app on your smart phone when you are ready for a ride. The app will tell you approximately how long it will be before you can get a ride, and when you tell the app where you are going you get a price quote for the trip. The app also stores your credit card number in it, so when you arrive at your destination you can just get out of the car. The driver’s tip is already included in the fare, so there is no need to exchange any money.

If you’d like to give Uber a try for yourself, you can earn a $20 credit by using my code, vpoxe, when signing up.  Or just simply click my link and start the sign up process today. I think you will like it.

Last night my family and I kicked off yet another year at the Cincinnati Zoo’s Tunes & Blooms. This has become one of our favorite activities to kick of spring, and I don’t think we are alone. Years ago the crowds were nothing like they are now, but with a little planning ahead we’ve always had a great time.

Shiny & The Spoon

Shiny & The Spoon

The blooms have not really arrived at the zoo yet, with the cold winter weather earlier in the year. Fortunately there are three more weeks of Tunes & Blooms and I’m sure the tulips will be ready one of these days. Last week’s event was postponed due to weather and will now end this year’s season on the first Thursday in May. See you there!

This year is shaping up to be our busiest wedding year in history. So far we have six save the date cards and already know of another wedding taking place just after the new year. We kicked it off this past weekend with a wonderful party for one of my best friends.

Group Shot

Group Shot

Kenny and Hannah renewed their vows at St. Francis Seraph, the same church Kim and I were married, and held a reception at Washington Park.

Cake Pop Cake

Cake Pop Cake

We had a wonderful time celebrating and catching up with old friends that I don’t get to see as often as I would like. Fortunately some of these friends are getting married later this year, so I hope to see them again in the near future!

Tonight while most people’s attention will be focused on the NCAA basketball final, and I will definitely be watching, I will be more excited for this weekend’s Frozen Four!

Ferris St. vs. Colgate

Ferris St. vs. Colgate

A couple of weekends ago Miami University hosted the division 1 men’s ice hockey midwest regional at U.S. Bank Arena with the winner heading to the Frozen Four. My family and I attending all three games of the two-day mini-tournament. First we watched an exciting game between Ferris St. and Colgate Friday afternoon and followed it up with Wisconsin vs. North Dakota that night.

Ferris St. Band

Ferris St. Band

Saturday evening had the winners of the previous day’s games, Ferris St. and North Dakota, face-off for the regional championship. I’ve long been a fan of the former “Fighting Sioux” from North Dakota, so I was happy to see them play two games.

Ferris St. vs. North Dakota

Ferris St. vs. North Dakota

This championship game was very tight and at the end of regulation was tied at one goal each. An entire twenty-minute overtime period would then be played with neither team gaining a goal. Finally in the first couple of minutes of the second overtime period North Dakota claimed the championship! They are moving on to face Minnesota in one semi-final, while Boston College takes on Union in the other. Both games are on ESPN2 Thursday evening. The championship will be on ESPN Saturday at 7:30.

Late Friday afternoon I met up with a variety of my family members at Jefferson Social for a quick drink and a little food. We had evening plans starting at 4:30 and arrived sometime between 3 and 3:30. I expected it to be a bit more crowded than the handful of other customers found inside, especially for the prime Banks location. This could make for a great spot for an after hours happy hour, especially if you can sneak out early.

Tacos

Tacos

I snacked on a couple of tacos during our brief visit. I thoroughly enjoyed the carnitas taco ($3.50) with slow roasted pork, salsa verde, and pickled onions. The meat was tender and juicy and the pickled onions complemented the flavor quite well. I did not enjoy the chicken taco as much ($3.50). This was topped with chili spiced stewed chicken , corn and bean salsa, and cojita cheese. The chicken was not nearly as moist as the pork and I felt that the flavor was lacking too. Go with the carnitas tacos and order it as a platter with two tacos, rice and beans if you need a larger meal.

Jefferson Social on Urbanspoon

Yesterday I took a half day off from work and finally took Trey (and Paige) down to the Findlay Market opening day parade. My mom came along for the fun as well as my cousin-in-law (is that a real term?) and her three kids. We couldn’t have asked for a prettier day and we all had an excellent time. I’m already planning on how to make it even better next year. Finally going in for the game would be a good place to start!

My family and I stopped into Dibella’s Old Fashioned Submarines in Clifton this past Sunday for a quick lunch. This was our first time at any Dibella’s location and the staff was very eager to explain the entire menu to us. This is an order at the counter style restaurant with a variety of sub sandwiches available.

Kitchen

Kitchen

We were possibly the first customers of the day so we had plenty of room in their very spacious dining room. After placing our orders we were handing table numbers and our sandwiches were delivered with a few minutes.

Dining Area

Dining Area

My wife ordered a small chicken Philly ($6.29) topped with grilled chicken, melted cheese, peppers and onions. I wouldn’t say that this sandwich is going to win Dibella’s any awards, but it was fairly good and the multigrain bread was quite tasty.

Chicken Philly

Chicken Philly

I ordered a medium size old fashioned ($6.99) with turkey, ham, and Genoa salami. There are a wide variety of toppings to customize each sandwich just they way you like it. I chose the everything bread, which was an excellent choice. Their bread was easily what helps distinguish Dibella’s from every other sandwich shop in town.

Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned

The medium-sized sandwich was plenty big and I would have been okay ordering the small, which was more than enough for my wife. Kid’s meal’s are available for $5.99 and include a sandwich of your choice, cookie, fruit cup, and drink. The Calhoun Street corridor is crowded with sandwich shops (Potbelly and Firehouse are within a block) but Dibella’s offers enough variety to stand up to the competition.

DiBellas Old Fashioned Submarines on Urbanspoon

I’ve chronicled my adventures with homebrewing before, and I am ready to get back into it after taking more than a year off! Over the last year I’ve accumulated all sorts of new equipment to help with the brewing process. My family also got me a brewing kit from Listermann to really get me motivated.

This past Saturday I brewed a batch of American IPA using my new ten gallon “turkey fryer” setup. I thought for sure it would be impossible to boil over with this setup but I almost did the unthinkable. Luckily I was able to throttle down the burner and barely avoid disaster.

Outdoor Brewery

Outdoor Brewery

I also used my new wort chiller for the first time, and I must say that this should be at the top of every new homebrewer’s list. I was able to cool 5 gallons of boiling water to 70 degrees in twenty minutes or so. I don’t know for sure how long it took as my digital thermometer ended up breaking or at least in need of a re-calibration.

Overall it was a successful and fun day of brewing and the beer is now busy fermenting in the closet. Next up, besides brewing more regularly, would be to create a fermentation chamber out of an extra chest freezer.

To kick of March Madness last Thursday I met up with a group at the recently opened Milano’s Atlantic City Submarines in West Chester. Half of our group had already dined at Milano’s before, but this was my first time at any of their now four locations centered mostly in Dayton. I walked in to find an overly stuffed restaurant and bar with a ton of TV’s all tuned into the basketball action. Despite the crowd we experienced amazing service and food orders all surprisingly quick.

Baked Ham Grinder

Baked Ham Grinder

I enjoyed a half baked ham grinder ($6.59) with a side of Milano’s potatoes ($1.49). Lay’s chips are normally served on the side but I was easily convinced to try the thick potato wedges that reminded me a lot of those from Lee’s Chicken but tasted even better. The grinder was an interesting mix of ham, cheddar cheese, onions, crushed red peppers, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, and pizza sauce. I didn’t taste the mayonnaise and the sauce was a little light for my taste, but it was still a pretty good sandwich.

As Queen City Drink’s just wrote, the beer selection offers “plenty of good beer to keep you happy for days.” Their thirty taps allow for some solid representation from the local guys as well as some harder to find national brands. Good food and a great selection of beer means that I will likely be back to Milano’s in the future, especially if they open another location closer to home, like our server for the afternoon briefly mentioned.

Milano's Atlantic City Submarines on Urbanspoon