Firehouse Subs

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to join several local bloggers to hear from Firehouse Subs Co-founder, Robin Sorensen. This resturaunt was founded by former firemen who are brothers.

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I was not familar with the national chain before but I’m definitely excited to go back. Firehouse Subs was started by fireman. They have a love of quality food, a passion for excellent customer service and a heart to give back.

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Findlay Market – Taste the World – Food Tour

Findlay Market - Taste the World - Food Tour A few weeks ago, I joined Heather from the Food Hussy for a “Taste of the World Tour” at Findlay Market.

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The tour started at Daisy Mae’s Market.

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First, we sampled different jams and jellies from Yoder’s Amish Farm at Daisy Mae’s. All of them were really good. The pepper jelly might have been my favorite.

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We also tried a homemade strawberry mango salsa. I would have never have thought to put those ingredients together but it was really good. The cilantro was an unexpected ingredient that added a lot of great flavor. Daisy Mae’s provides local produce when it’s in season and also tries to keep healthy produce accessible to all.

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The group was divided in two and our leader was Barb. She let us know that the tour was beginning when we saw her put on the hat.

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The hat also helped us locate her in a crowd of people as we moved around during the market. I did feel the urge to start a conga line and sing the “Chiquita banana” song but I resisted.

inside market

Our tour took us inside and outside of Findlay Market. Our next stop was bread from the Bean Haus.  They started with coffee and then branched out to baking. They make all of their bread with the mixer that you see in the picture below.

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We tried a focaccia bread with provolone and pepperoni.

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They make 1500 loaves of hand formed bread a day.

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During the tour you will learn a lot about the history of Findlay Market.  There are 35 full time merchants who are there everyday but Monday.

We went to a nearby brick and mortar bakery and cafe next.

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S and J bakery and cafe uses local ingredients for their cafe items, makes pastries and cakes, dressings in house and also makes their bread fresh daily.

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We sampled their incredible chocolate mousse with blueberry.

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The tour also gives you the opportunity to hear from the business owners and top employees who really give you insight to why they are so passionate about their businesses.

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Barb did a great job of telling us the history of Findlay Market and the surrounding area. There is so much in this area that can be overlooked if you don’t know what to look for.

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Our next food sample came from Eli’s BBQ.

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I just did a review on their other location a few weeks prior. We received a generous sample of their pulled pork sandwich.

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Eli’s uses a rub blended from Findlay Market vendor, Colonel De.

Our next destination was Churchill’s Fine Teas.

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The owner’s wife was from London and wanted good tea in the states and always struggled to find it so they started Churchill’s. Their store carries 263 teas from all over the world.

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Churchill’s Tea is sells loose leaf tea by the ounce.  My sample was the lemon drop tea.

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Our last food stop of the tour was Taste of Belgium.

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We sampled their waffles. The Taste of Belgium’s waffles are denser than waffles that you might be used to . I’ve had their amazing chicken and waffles from their sit down restaurant location. I’ve also tried a few of their other desserts from the Findlay Market location. I don’t think it’s possible to make a wrong selection. Everything is really good.

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The end of our tour offered the optional wine or beer tasting add on for $5 more.

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Heather and I joined Barb at Market Wines to sample a few of the wines.

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I really enjoyed the tour and the opportunity to hear the heart of some of the vendors who make Findlay Market such a great jewell in Cincinnati.

Findlay Market

The tour gives you a great variety of food vendors and a lot of history and information about Findlay Market that most people aren’t aware of.

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I’m so excited about all of the great improvements and the development happening in Over the Rhine. Our families loves going downtown. If you are a little more intimidated by the unfamiliar, this is the perfect tour for you. The vendors vary on the tour depending on availability. What’s great is that you have someone to guide you through the experience, who will also give you confidence and knowledge to not let it be your last visit to Findlay Market.

If you enjoy local foods, you have an insider giving you information of vendors who can help you enjoy or create a great meal.

You can find out more about Cincinnati Food Tours from their website.

There are some tours coming up that take place during special Bunbury Festival discount days at Findlay Market. The first date is this Thursday, May 16 at 4 pm. Guests can apply the price of their Taste the World ticket toward the 5 receipts needed to get a 20% discount to Bunbury. There’s another special Bunbury day with a tour on Sunday, May 19.

Cincinnati Food Tours also provides custom tours for groups of 10 or more–birthday parties, family reunions, corporate events, etc.

Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary tour for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

I also have some exciting news!

I’ve been given 2 basic tours ($40 value) to give away.

Congratulations to Taylor Greear for winning 2 tickets.

To Enter

Comment on this post by sharing why you would want to win the tour before Monday, May 20th at 9am. (required to enter). 

 

 

*Bonus entries (comment separately for each one)

Become a fan of the adventure mom on facebook and comment here that you did.

Subscribe for email updates and comment that you did

 

 

Winner will be randomly selected by random.org and will be contacted by email and must respond within 24 hrs or a new name will be drawn. Must be 18 or older to enter and be able to drive to Cincinnati to use the passes. Winner cannot have won a previous giveaway in the past 30 days.

 

 

Eli’s BBQ in Cincinnati

Eli's BBQ

My foodie friends in different circles have been sharing with me about Eli’s BBQ over the last few months. I had enough people rave about their food that I decided we needed to find out for ourselves.

Here is what I had heard.

-The bbq could rival Montgomery Inn

-The only advertising sign was a pig

-The jalepeno grits were amazing!

-This is where the cooks go to eat.

We decided to make a spontaneous visit after a trip to Sawyer Point. As we slowly approached our destination, our noses told us that we were in the right place.

We parked in the back and passed by the smoker on our way inside.

Eli's BBQ

The inside is decorated with a vintage vibe.

Eli's BBQ

Eli's BBQ

There is a small space for eating indoors.

Eli's BBQ

The menu is reasonably priced. Before you go make sure you have cash or a check. I did a little research with my smartphone to double check if we needed to swing by the ATM.

Eli's BBQ

Eli's BBQ

We visited on a beautiful day so we opted to eat outside. The pulled pork sandwich was AMAZING!!!! The sauce had a sweet vinegar taste and the pork was really tender.

Eli's BBQ

My kids both got the ribs and were nice enough to give my husband and I a taste of them. They were more of a dry rub and had a great flavor.

Eli's BBQ

Also, one of my favorite parts was the jalepeno cheddar grits. They had a great kick to them! I love spicy food and I’m not normally a big fan of grits. These grits made me a believer. Their mac and cheese was another great side that was really creamy and cheesy.

Eli's BBQ

For drinks, we opted for Kentucky’s soft drink Ale 8. This is always a favorite of ours when we go camping.

Ale8

Eli’s BBQ is located at 3313 Riverside Dr  Cincinnati, OH 45226

You can find out more from their website.

 

A Dining Adventure at Seasons 52

A dining adventure at Seasons 52

I’m going to start with a confession. I really hate cooking… but I love eating really great food!

I’ve tried for brief moments to take interest in the art of all things culinary.  I think there are two main reasons for my lack of culinary skill, my kids’ unsophisticated palettes and my lack of desire to really take the time to research meals.  I also despise going to the grocery store for the few ingredients that a recipe needs that I don’t already have.  The experience leaves me feeling irritated and not rewarded by a job well done.  The times I have tried to make meals that are a lengthy process have usually ended in disaster.

My lack of cooking desire does make me appreciate eating a really good meal out.  Probably because it gives me the opportunity to try something that I would never attempt to make at home or have the ingredients for anyway.

I love a dining experience.  I was invited to a complimentary preview dinner at Seasons 52 to experience a unique dining experience of a 7 course meal with wine pairings.  This invitation made my heart happy on so many levels because the meal was the adventure.

Here is a little bit about Seasons 52

Known for its seasonally inspired menu and fresh approach to dining, Seasons 52 offers notable menu selections such as: Steak and Cremini Mushroom Flatbread, Cedar Plank Salmon, Caramelized Sea Scallops and Maui Tuna Crunch Salad. Menus change four times a year with weekly specials that truly capture the flavors of each season. Nothing on the menu is more than 475 calories, from the signature flatbreads and appetizers, to all entrees and the popular Mini Indulgence desserts. 

In addition, Seasons 52’s Master Sommelier George Miliotes has developed a diverse international wine list featuring over 100 wines with more than 52 selections offered by the glass, highlighted by several organic wines as well as Miliotes’ ever-changing selection of “Drink Them Before They’re Famous” recommendations. 

Confession #2 – I’m a wine novice.

I don’t know very much about wine at all.  I don’t know which labels are the super expensive ones and which ones are the cheap ones other than by checking the price tag.

A dining adventure at Seasons 52

I found out that our dinner would have our wines paired by a Master Sommelier.

Confession #3 I had no idea what that was before receiving the invitation.

My husband, who is the foodie, loves to cook and watches food network often, had to educate me that a Sommelier was a big deal in the wine world.  There are less than 200 in the world and that makes them wine rock stars and the ultimate “go to” for pairing the perfect wine with a meal.

The new Seasons 52 Cincinnati location is a short distance from the Rookwood Commons and Pavilion shopping area at the Rookwood Exchange.

Upon arrival, we got a tour of the restaurant and each room was set up beautifully for guests.  The inside design of Seasons 52 was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright.

A dining adventure at Seasons 52

The detail of design really cultivates a relaxing atmosphere for groups large or small.  Seasons 52 offers outdoor patio seating, exclusive chef’s table, three private dining rooms for private and semi private business and social events along with a piano bar with live music nightly.

A dining adventure at Seasons 52

A dining adventure at Seasons 52

Our night was unseasonably warm and was perfect for showing off the adjoining room’s ability to convert to more of an open air environment by adjusting the glass panels that connected with the patio.

A dining adventure at Seasons 52

The kitchen is a “no need for secrets” open design concept that features a brick oven.

A dining adventure at Seasons 52

You will never have to worry about what to drink because Seasons 52 carries upwards of 2,000 bottles of wine in their climate controlled wine chateau.  Seasons 52 also has live music every evening. The singer did a great job of singing a variety of music that evening that included a song from one of my husband’s favorite bands Weezer.

A dining adventure at Seasons 52

The food that evening was incredible!

A dining adventure at Seasons 52

Chipotle Shrimp with roasted poblanos, grilled pineapple and feta cheese

paired with Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Sainte Anne, Champagne MV

The salad was first presented inside a glass cylinder by the server who then lifted and rotated the cylinder to disperse that salad on our plates.

Organic Field Greens, Grilled Mushrooms, Toasted Pistachios, Truffle Dressing

paired with Sinskey Pinot Noir, Carneros 2009

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli, Roasted Garlic, Basil, Organic Tomato Broth

paired with Retromarcia, Chianti Classic 2009

Mesquite-Grilled Piedmontese Striploin & Manchester Farms All-Natural Quail, Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Red Wine Sauce paired with  Alto Moncayo Garnacha, Campo de Borja 2009 & De Toren Z, Stellenbosch 2009

Each course was a celebration in my mouth.  I didn’t show you every course because at this point I already feel like I’m bragging.  I’ll just say that I loved every course that I tried and it was fun to explore wines from around the world.  I should also remind you once again that each item on the menu is 475 calories or less!!!  This means you are getting healthy, fresh, menu items that are in season when you dine at Seasons 52 and can leave without dining remorse.

Confession #4 – I ate two desserts.

If I was with a group of friends, we probably would have been passing around each one so that we could try all of them.

I wasn’t quite at that level with my dining acquaintances, so I tried the chocolate Peanut Butter Mouse and the Red Velvet Mini Indulgence desserts. My friend tried the Mocha Macchiato and Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cannoli.

We were not the only ones who went for two after some nudging from our servers.  I feel like we broke the ice and everyone else who was curious about another item felt free to go for another round.  I was happy to take one for the team on that one.

The Seasons 52 staff was incredible that evening.  Each staff member was eager to help educate, not out of arrogance, but because they were passionate about what they do.  There is a huge labor of love that goes into creating food that is fresh that also creates an experience for your taste buds. If you enjoy wine, you will be elated over the options that the staff can recommend to enhance your meal.

During our dinner I received some additional information about wine and places to visit from guest Mike Rosenberg who was seated next to me. He writes for The Naked Vine which shares “wine advice for the rest of us.” He was the perfect person to confess my wine novice knowledge to.

Seasons 52 is perfect for a date or night out with friends. My husband couldn’t make it that night so I’m looking forward to sharing this food adventure with him in the near future.

Price wise I feel like Seasons 52 offers something for all budgets between their lunch and dinner menus. You do not have to spend a fortune to have an enjoyable meal there. You can really chose your own dining adventure.

 

You can learn more about planning your Seasons 52 dining adventure from their website.

 

The Seasons 52 Cincinnati location is located at 3819 Edwards Road and opens February 4th,2013. There are currently 23 restaurants located in 13 states across the country.

 

Disclosure: I was given a complimentary preview meal. All opinions are my own.

Simple Crock Pot Beef

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I asked my friend Erin to share an easy dinner idea for someone who doesn’t love cooking. I’ve known Erin since I was a little girl. She was creative before pinterest and has always been super crafty ever since I’ve known her. Her family is also super adventurous and introduced me to my first repelling and spelunking experiences. Erin is a lot of fun so make sure you stop by her site “a bird and a bean” and get inspired by her creativity. Take it away Erin!
I want to share with you a great recipe perfect for an adventurous mom who will try anything from fencing to mud runs, but isn’t super excited about the adventure of cooking!


I spied this little beauty on Pinterest and just knew I had to try it out.
It’s a simple recipe, with only 6 ingredients and most of the work is done by a crock pot!!!
It’s a great dinner.  A family pleaser.
I made a few adjustments based on what I had in the fridge that I wanted to use up, so it’s very forgiving!

The original recipe is from The Food Pusher.  She called them Chile Colorado Burritos.  I’ve never seen those on a menu when we go out for Mexican.  But, these are so delicious, I’m going to start looking.  But, actually now that I can make them at home, I guess I don’t have to!  haha
My husband kept asking (with his mouth full), “You really made these?”

I made rice and beans to go with them.
But, chips and salsa would be great too!
I would’ve dressed them up with sour cream and olives and cilantro or something, but I was fresh out.
You could do a whole Mexican thing for dinner or you could just have these! They are that good!
Crock Pot Beef Burritos
(aka Chile Colorado Burritos)
adapted from The Food Pusher
What you need:

2 pounds beef cubed (top sirloin or other)
I used round steak and cut it into large 2 inch squares

1 large can mild enchilada sauce (at least 19 oz.)
I used one large can and one small can

2 beef bouillon cubes

5-7 burrito size flour tortillas

1 cup or so of shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 can refried beans (optional)
I opted out since I made a side of rice and black beans

 


I also added a diced onion, a diced bell pepper and diced tomatoes since I had them.
So, you can really adjust this to suit your family.

What you do:

Put beef, bouillon, and enchilada sauce into a crock pot and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until meat is very tender.
When beef is done it’s very tender and flakes off when stirred.
Mine smelled fantastic about 4 hours in.  I tasted a piece.  It was delicious.  I thought it was perfect.  But, I let it go ahead and cook the rest of the time and I AM GLAD I DID!
It was sooo tender after the full 8 hours.  Much better than it was at 4 hours.
When it’s finished…….taste and add more salt, if desired.
If you are opting in for the refried beans, heat them up now.
Heat up a tortilla (in the microwave covered in a damp paper towel or in the oven on broil for a minute)
Lay out the warmed up tortilla.
Place about 1/2 cup of the meat, drained by using a slotted spoon, and a spoonful or two of beans on the tortilla.
Roll ’em up into a burrito like so.
Pour some of the remaining enchilada sauce from the crock pot over the burrito to cover it.
Sprinkle with some cheddar cheese.
Broil until cheese is bubbly and melty and perfect.  (about 2-4 minutes)

LOOK AT ALL THAT CHEESY GOODNESS!
Thanks for having me!  It’s fun to be a guest of the adventure mom!  If you liked this recipe, come on over to a bird and a bean sometime and have a look around.  We’d be happy to have you!

Tom + Chee = ♥

outside

 

One of the items on my list this year was to eat at a “Man vs. Food Nation” restaurant.  We love when we get the chance to sample a restaurant featured on the Food Network.  I saw the “Man vs. Food Nation- Cincinnati edition” episode featuring “Tom + Chee” and knew I had to check it out for myself the next time we were in town.

What could be better than a place dedicated to taking a twist on everyone’s favorite comfort food, grilled cheese?

Tom + Chee is the place for all things grilled and greasy in a good way.  You can couple your sandwich with a dipper of soup to dunk your sandwich in and you are in complete bliss.  Actually, the bliss comes from trying one of the grilled donut desserts.

Tom + Chee

 

There are A LOT of creative combinations listed on the menu board to try from.  They also have different daily creatively named and combos of sandwich choices. Your bread options are white, wheat, rye, sourdough, or glazed donut.  You also have 9 different types of cheeses to chose from.

Tom + Chee

I decided on the “Man vs. Food” choice of the “Armagoetta.”   The “Armagoetta” uses goetta, which is a breakfast sausage popular in the Cincinnati area that blends pork shoulder, steel-cut oats, and spices.  (One piece of dark rye toast + one piece of sourdough+  goetta + pepper jack cheese + hot peppers + fried onions + sweet hot mustard )

Tom + Chee

It was everything I hoped it would be. I love spicy food and this was the perfect choice.

Tom + Chee

My husband got the “Bacon and Blue” ( Bacon + Blue cheese +  mozzarella + Sourdough) with a tomato soup dipper.

Tom + Chee

My oldest son got the BLT + Chee  minus the tomato ( Bacon + Lettuce + Cheddar + White)

 

Tom + Chee

My other son ordered the Mac and Chee sandwich.

 

Tom + Chee

We could not leave without trying a dessert, stuffed grilled donut. The hardest part was picking out which one off the menu….so I chose two.  We split two grilled donuts between 7 people so that each of us got to try a taste of each one. First, the “Blueberry Bleu” ( blueberries compote + mozzarella + bleu cheese + was with blueberries and was featured on “Man vs. Food Nation” and the second one combined Andes thin mints and strawberries.

Tom + Chee

Tom + Chee

Both grilled donuts were AMAZING!  This is definitely a place to visit in moderation.  If you are really disciplined,  you could order a salad ……..but why would you do that?

The food is reasonably priced and offers self serve fountain drinks.  No waiter, just get your food order number to place on your table.

If you want to try some grilled chee amazingness – check out Tom + Chee.  They currently have three locations in the Cincinnati/ Northern KY metro area.  Be on the look for their upcoming expansion to a few new cities too.

 

Ice Cream in Hell….. Michigan

 

Hell, Michigan

First, let me start out by saying that I don’t want to go to hell or have anyone I know or don’t know go to hell.  Hell, Michigan is the closest I ever want to come to the namesake.

I first learned about Hell, Michigan from an episode of unique places to visit on the Travel Channel.  We had thought it would be funny to visit in the winter to see “Hell freeze over.”  We didn’t make it in the winter and couldn’t justifly the 1.5 hour drive ” just for the hell of it.”

Ice Cream in Hell, Michigan

We decided the best strategy would be to check it out while driving back from a trip to Cincinnati because it would be along the route.

Our journey started by taking the “highway to hell.”  The town of hell is very small with only around 266 residents.  It has a bar, an ice cream shop with mini golf in the back,  and a general store with pizza shop and post office.  You can read about how the town got it’s name here.

Ice Cream in Hell, Michigan

When we asked our kids if they wanted to stop for ice cream, they said “Hell yeah” ……ok no, they didn’t because we don’t let our kids talk like that.

Ice Cream in Hell, Michigan

As we entered the store, the worker greeted us with,” Welcome to hell.”  I was curious what had brought her to Hell, Michigan. She said 9/11.   She had a job on the east coast that was shut down as a result of the crisis which meant starting over.  Over time she fell in love with the area that reminded her of the town she grew up in.  She was familiar with Michigan from past visits to Traverse City.  So ironically she works and lives in Hell.

While in the store, the first thing we had to do was take in all of the funny novelty stuff.

My son had to get a pic with “the seven deadly mustaches” for his uncle Ryan ( a former longtime mustache owner)

To be honest, even though the place is a joke this “good girl” still didn’t feel totally comfortable there.

Ice Cream in Hell, Michigan

The ice cream store/ novelty shop “Screams,” had many great ice cream flavors to choose from, complete with a topping bar that rests on a casket with all types of clever renamed toppings.

Ice Cream in Hell, Michigan

Ice Cream in Hell, Michigan

The boys each got a kids cone and my husband and I shared “the gravedigger.”  It has 3 scoops of ice cream on top of a banana body laying on oreo dirt and then gets buried with as many toppings as you choose.  Because this can be deadly to your diet you get a death certificate with it.

Ice Cream in Hell, Michigan

Ice Cream in Hell, Michigan

I did not feel comfortable enough to put my name on a death certificate, so I chose the name “Ben Dover.” ….We still had 1.5 hours of driving left before we got home and that just felt creepy to me.

Ice Cream in Hell, Michigan

After that, we stopped next door to visit the post office/ pizza parlor/ convenient store.

Post office in Hell, Michigan

We purchased our stamps and filled out our postcards. The mailroom employee then lit a candle.  I was a little bit concerned at this point wondering what they do with their mail in Hell, Michigan.

Post office in Hell, Michigan

I was relieved that they just give your mail the smoky effect…. no creepy chants or anything dark.

Post office in Hell, Michigan

Later that week, my mother in law got her postcard from hell.  Good thing she has a good sense of humor.

There is a country song that says ” If you’re going thru hell, keep on going.”   I agree, and if you are going thru Hell, Michigan…. stop for ice cream and as you depart you will hear ‘”Have a hell of a day.”

 

The surrounding area is really pretty with 7 lakes nearby that offer canoeing and camping.  If you want to make a visit to Hell, Michigan click here for more info.  You can even get married there.  They say ,”If your marriage started in Hell, it can only get better.”

Screams Ice Cream Shop is located 4025 Patterson Lake
Hell, MI 48169