Archive for the 'Food & Drink' Category

The Woodburn Brewery

I’ve slowly been making my way through the growing list of Cincinnati breweries. It is definitely a good time to be alive for craft beer drinkers! The Woodburn Brewery has been open for nearly a year in East Walnut Hills. So far they have been solely focused on their draft beer, but they will soon have limited bottle releases and I’ve always heard that cans would be in the future too.

Inside

The Woodburn has a beautiful space right on Woodburn Avenue with exposed brick and rafters, skylights, plenty of seating around an L shaped bar, and even more seating at picnic style benches in the back. There is also a nice courtyard at the back of the building for those nice weather days.

Tostada “Sliders”

They have partnered with Mazunte to offer Mexican themed small bites. I’ve long considered Mazunte to be my favorite taqueria in the city. The food served at Woodburn is equally as excellent. I would highly recommend the tostada “sliders” that stuff fried mini tostadas with pork in chile Guajilla sauce, scallion ricotta, pinto bean purée, cabbage, avocado, and arugula (3 for $8). My mouth is watering just writing about these!

Teku Glass

As far as the beers go, it is hard to go wrong with their always available chocolate cherry stout. The chocolate mint imperial stout is also delicious and truly like a Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie in a glass. Now that the temperatures have reached summer highs I need to get back to try some of their IPA offerings, and I’m sure I will do that soon. The Woodburn is one of my favorites around.

Cafe Mediterranean

My wife and I have ordered delivery from Cafe Mediterranean a couple of times recently through SkipTheDishes. In our handful of years living in the area, this might be the longest tenured restaurant in this spot on Erie Avenue. It was previously home to Cumin (for many years but not for long after our move to the area) and Ash American Fare.

Cafe Mediterranean has been around since 2008, first opening in Anderson. They moved to Blue Ash in 2011 and finally settled in East Hyde Park in 2015.

Falafel & Chicken Shish Kebab

We have ordered the same entrees both times and shared them. The falafel ($15) is served with hummus, grilled tomato, and grilled pepper. The falafel is of the flatter variety, but are much larger than other restaurants. The mix of chickpeas, lentils, and spice is very good and they are not dry at all. The hummus was also good, a little more standard compared to other area spots, but still a good chickpea taste.

The chicken kebab ($15) is served with rice pilaf and grilled green beans. The chicken was cooked perfectly, leaving it juicy and seasoned well with herbs and spices. The vegetables were good but I was glad I was eating this meal alone as it left me wanting some hummus, babaganoush, or something similar on the side.

Speaking of babaganoush, we ordered a side ($7) of the smoked eggplant appetizer and I would not skip on this in the future. The olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and yogurt that go into the mix make this outstanding for dipping. The pita bread that is included with all orders is not like anything I’ve had before. It is much thicker than store bought pita and a little hard to use for the dips. I found it easiest to slice it up rather than trying to tear it apart.

The prices seem a little higher than some other nearby Mediterranean spots, but the quality or ingredients and quantity of food at Cafe Mediterranean are top notch.

Cafe Mediterranean Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Singha Contemporary Thai & Sushi

Lately my wife and I have been trying all the newer food delivery services. One that we have used a few times is OrderUp and we’ve used it twice to order dinner from Singha Contemporary Thai & Sushi. We have yet to dine in, but if you are looking for their physical location they are in the space formerly occupied by Blue Elephant on Wasson.

Order #1

For our first order we tried the basil chicken, red curry with chicken, and the fresh summer roll. The basil chicken ($11.95)was my personal choice and included stir fried basil, onion, green bean, bell pepper, and mushroom. This was the best basil chicken I’ve had in the city! The ingredients were fresh and the serving size was very generous.

My wife chose the red curry ($11.95), which combines red chili paste in coconut milk with bamboo shoot, basil, bell pepper, broccoli, green bean, and carrot. The broth was thin as expected and easily soaked into the rice. This left the fresh vegetables to really shine on their own with just a bit of the spice soaking into those. Overall a really good Thai curry that we would order again.

My Plate

The fresh summer rolls (2 for $5.95) filled a rice wrap with lettuce, cucumber, carrot, bean sprout, basic, and noodles. Alone I found these to pretty bland, so I found it necessary to drown it in the tamarind sauce that was provided on the side. I would skip this in the future.

On our second order our appetizer choice was completely different. The mozzarella popcorn chicken ($6.95) is nearly like a cheese stick you find at most sports bars, but the breading is actually ground chicken. These are deep-fried and served with sweet soy sauce. Not an authentic choice by any means, but these were actually pretty good.

Mozzarella Popcorn Chicken

Not one to mix it up when I find something I love, I stuck with the basil chicken again on our second order. My wife did switch it up and went with the panang curry ($11.95) this time. This combines panang curry paste and coconut milk with lime leaves, bell pepper, broccoli, and carrot. I liked the sweet and spicy flavor of the curry better than the red curry that we had for our first order. However the vegetable mix from the red was slightly better in my opinion. I’ve heard the green curry is also really good so may to give that one a try too. Either way their curry options are solid.

Order #2

Overall, Singha is easily one of my favorite Thai restaurants around. It’s easily better than the previous occupants of the space, Blue Elephant, and is neck and neck with Ruthai’s for our favorite nearby spot.

Singha Contemporary Thai & Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

10 Barrel Brewing – Portland, OR

We didn’t eat at most of the breweries we visited during our tour of Portland, but 10 Barrel Brewing was an exception to that rule. There are so many breweries in Portland, that 10 Barrel sits directly across the street from Rogue Public House, which we also visited on this same outing.

Outside

The outside and inside of 10 Barrel is very industrial feeling, which mostly fits the neighborhood. There is an awesome looking rooftop patio, but it was much too cold for us to enjoy on our visit.

Sampler

Some of us had flights, which included 10 samples, while others dove right into the IPA menu. I took the advice of our friend Phil and thoroughly enjoyed their Joe IPA.

Pint

For starters on the food we enjoyed their Brussels Sprouts with bacon, lemon, Cajun spice, and harrisa ailoi ($7). These were cooked to perfection! The bacon added some nice smoky flavor to balance the citrus and spice from the other ingredients. These are highly recommended.

Brussels Sprouts

Our group of four split The Pesto Pie with mozzarella, grilled chicken, artichoke hearts, red onion, spinach, and peppadew peppers ($19). This was more than enough for four hungry adults, but the guys took one for the team to finish off the remaining slices even though we were nearly completely filled. The ingredients on this pizza were plentiful and I especially liked the sweet peppadew’s, which you don’t find available in restaurants all that often.

The Pesto Pie

10 Barrel is a great place to stop on our Portland brewery tour for some good beer and great food.

10 Barrel Brewing Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Byways Cafe – Portland, OR

Continuing on our whirlwind tour of Portland awhile back, my wife and I had our most memorable breakfast at Byways Cafe. Since 1999, they’ve “been serving authentic, yet creative home style meals to people from all over the world! … we’re the diner destination for tourists and locals alike,” boasts their website and after one visit we were sold!

Inside

The inside is a bit kitschy, but in a very Portland kind of way. Antique plates cover the back wall and coffee is served from unique mugs where no two are alike. Speaking of drinks, their cocktail menu had us hooked right away. My wife went with the bloody mary with bacon ($8) and I was immediately drawn to the “chef’s day off” due to the ginger beer. This drink also adds vodka, soda, and orange juice ($8).

Drinks

As for food I went with one of the specials of the day, which seems to be permanent addition to the menu now, the Mt. Tabor Monte Cristo ($12.95). This is a monster that combines grilled ham, turkey, and Havarti into a triple-decker French toast sandwich. I’m glad this was added to the permanent menu as this was outstanding! The raspberry jelly on the side was equally as amazing.

Mt Tabor Monte Cristo

My wife went with the space needle scramble ($9.75) that combines 3 scrambled eggs with onion, spinach, mushroom, tomato, Tillamook cheddar, and a choice of protein. This also was served with a generous portion of fruit on the side. My wife loves Tillamook so this was an easy decision for her and I didn’t hear any complaints. The scramble was packed full of quality ingredients and was very filling.

Space Needle Scramble

The Byways Cafe is not to be missed. This was not only the best breakfast we had, but it was one of the best meals and service we experienced on our entire trip.

Byways Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

TILT – Portland, Oregon

My wife and I had a couple of noteworthy restaurant visits during our quick trip to Portland. The first comes from TILT, a small local chain featuring handcrafted food with an emphasis on burgers and sandwiches. We visited with some friends who highly recommended this for our first meal of the trip.

Inside

Inside TILT the feeling is very industrial, and there are even pieces of old manufacturing equipment that the space is built around. The layout is cafeteria style with long counters where orders are placed, quick assembled, and picked up at the end. Draft beer and classic cocktails are also available for ordering at the same time, or there are a couple of bars where drink orders can be placed.

Shop Towels

This is a no-frills kind of place, with a tagline of handcrafted food and drink built for the American workforce. They also claim to be blue-collar inspired and feature shop towels rather than paper napkins. Meals are served on metal trays and silverware is minimal.

Freebird

My wife went with freebird sandwich featuring a southern fried chicken breast, bacon, Swiss, jalapeno slaw, and bacon honey mustard ($9). She also added an order of their original handcrafted cheddar tots (6 pieces for $4). I stole a few bites of each and her sandwich choice was excellent, as were the tots. I think this would be my go to order if I lived in the area. The sandwich was a bit spicy, but the honey mustard and bacon flavors helped to tame it down a bit.

Non-Union Club

I went with the non-union club featuring a grilled chicken breast, sweet ham, bacon, Swiss, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onions, and mayo ($10). This sandwich was massive! And while I enjoyed it I thought the freebird was a better choice. Perhaps the mayo needed a little something extra in it to really make this one shine. I also ordered some delicious beer battered onion rings on the side (6 pieces for $5). Serving sizes were very generous and this was more than enough food for a hearty lunch or dinner.

Tilt Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Streetside Brewery

Late summer or early fall of the last year, Streetside Brewery opened their doors on Eastern Avenue in Columbia-Tusculum. The tap room space is really large compared to other newer breweries around town, and their brewery appears to have plenty of room for expansion.

Bar

You can get a great view of their equipment that sits one level down thanks to a large balcony that overlooks the entire space.

Brewery

Beer is available in a four pour sampler, by the pint, or in growlers to go. My wife had ordered a flight and was happy to share some of her choices with me. I also sampled some of their IPA offerings, my favorite of which was their ruby toned “Sofa King” but that doesn’t appear to be on tap currently.

Sampler

I also enjoyed their New England style IPA, “Suh, Brah?” which will be available in cans for the first time this Saturday. I won’t be able to make this special event, but hope to sample this solid simcoe hop focused beer again in the future.

Pint

A limited food menu is available from Steamed Str{eats}, or you are welcome to bring your own. Steamed Str{eats} is a creation from the same people who brought us Gilpin’s, so if you’ve had that you know what to expect. For those not familiar, their sandwiches are put through a steamer to blend the flavors together.

Steaming Hot Ham + Bacon

A handful of sandwich options are available, served on a sub style roll with a side of chips. We tried the steaming hot ham + bacon which is topped with sharp cheddar and a house made spicy mustard ($8.95) as well as the spicy Grippo’s pulled pork, topped with spicy BBQ sauce, crushed BBQ Grippo’s chips, and lettuce ($8.95).

Grippos Pulled Pork

I’ve long been a fan of Gilpin’s and thought these sandwiches were pretty much on par with what I’ve tasted from their larger menu at their downtown location. I’m a sucker for their sandwiches with chips on top, and I love Grippo’s, so the pulled pork was an easy favorite of mine.

Frenchie Fresh

Late last summer Frenchie Fresh opened up at Rookwood Exchange in the place vacated by Lime Fresh Mexican Grill. This self described “fine-casual fast restaurant” was opened by Cincinnati’s well known Jean-Robert de Cavel to feature Franco-American food for everyone.

Outside

While the outside of the restaurant hasn’t changed much since its previous owner, and the layout on the inside is essentially the same, the decor has been updated from a cantina feel to reflect a modern French, and more comfortable feel.

Inside

The menu is painted on the wall to the right as you walk in the front door. Orders are then placed at the counter and delivered to your chosen table. The menu mostly consists of burgers featuring a choice of six proteins, a dozen or more fresh toppings, and both can be served the “Frenchie Way” (served open-faced atop a herbed, grilled baguette) or the “Yankee Way” (on a bun). There are also a handful of other sandwiches available, mac and chez, and kid’s meals.

The Martinique

After saying that I wanted to try the Pennsylvania turkey, I took the advice of the employee working the register and went with the chef’s choice Martinique. This burger comes topped with pineapple salsa and arugula ($8.50) and I added jalapeño cheddar ($1 more). This included a side of Parmesan and truffle fries or a small salad.

Overall the burger was just okay. The turkey appeared to be prepared from dark meat, rather than the usual breast meat that I am used to, and it was really dry. The toppings were plentiful and fresh but couldn’t make up for the base product. The fries on the other hand were really good but not worth a stop alone. I do not plan to make a future visit.

Frenchie Fresh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Frenchie Fresh

Lebrewski Cruise

We just hit the one year anniversary of The Lebrewski Cruise and I just realized I never posted anything about it. Once the cruise was announced, I knew it was a must do as it combined a couple of my favorite things good music (namely O.A.R.) and craft beer. I easily convinced Kim that we should leave the kids behind with their grandparents and set sail to The Bahamas. We had a blast seeing O.A.R. perform three shows, finding some new great bands such as Jared & The Mill, tasting a ton of craft beer, and seeing a couple of different ports. We would have considered going again, but unfortunately the cruise appears to be one and done. Anyway, here are some of my photos from that trip last year.

Old Ebbitt Grill

The last meal I’d like to write about from our trip to Washington, D.C. was at the Old Ebbitt Grill. This family friendly restaurant with upscale food is just steps from The White House. I made a reservation for our family of four on OpenTable for 5 P.M. and we were seated immediately upon our arrival.

Inside

Inside Old Ebbitt Grill is a massive space full of rich mahogany and velvet covered booths. The decor is described as Beaux-Arts, meaning rich, lavish, and heavily ornamented. It is probably one of the fanciest places my young kids have ever stepped foot inside. Our service was excellent and the pace of the meal was perfect for our young family.

Brick Chicken

For dinner I had the brick chicken, a semi boneless half chicken, served with smashed sweet potatoes, apple-cranberry relish, crispy Brussels sprouts, and chicken jus ($18.59). The chicken was juicy and cooked perfectly. The sauce was sweet and the vegetable base was filling. This is one of the better chicken dishes I’ve had.

Jumbo Lump Crab Cake

My wife tried their signature jumbo lump crab cake served with roasted fingerling sweet potatoes, sautéed Swiss chard, and Cajun remoulade ($19.99). She was very impressed with this dish and having the option of a single crab cake is a nice option for those with smaller appetites.

Grass-Fed Cheeseburger Sliders

As impressed as we were with our entrées, the children’s menu is equally as impressive. The list is lengthy and has something for all appetites. My son decided to enjoy the grass-fed cheeseburger sliders ($9). This was served with a choice of side which is nearly as lengthy as the entrée selections, fries, tater tots, fruit, salad, apple sauce, vegetable, etc. The serving size was very generous and he seemed to enjoy these. My three-year-old daughter loved the finger food platter with carrots, ants on a log, hummus, ranch, pita, and fruit ($9).

Finger Food Platter

Our entire family loved dining at the Old Ebbitt Grill. I can only wish that our hometown of Cincinnati might one day have something comparable to this. An upscale eatery that also caters to those with kids. I would absolutely return without a question on a future visit to D.C.

Old Ebbitt Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Old Ebbitt Grill