Monday, September 29, 2008


top 5 things i loved as a kid that i can't get anymore

- jell-o pudding pops. bill cosby, where were you on this one?
- keebler's tato skins. such wonderful, fatty saltiness. made with potatoes and skins that are real.
- planter's cheez balls. no other cheez snack even comes close. this has a grandparent memory associated with it, but i'll keep it to myself.
- hi-c ecto cooler. far superior to other juice box beverages. my friend amy drank one everyday, for years.
- dinosaur eggs. like jawbreakers, only way better.

anyone else have now defunct favorites?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

the sweet tooth's hundred

this is a little late in the game, but it was suggested to me by a friend that i do a sweet hundred after she heard about everyone's takes on the omnivore's hundred (like wine me, dine me's carnivore's 100). and i am a fan of sweet stuff, so here it goes.
1. this list is in no particular order nor is it all encompassing. and i would love to hear other people's additions/subtractions. i tried to think of all different kinds of sweetness
2. cross out what you'd never eat, bold what you've had.
3. please comment if you've posted it to your blog, i'd love to see other people's lists!

the sweet tooth's hundred

1. buckeye candy
2. german gummi bears
3. chocolate covered cranberries
4. flourless chocolate cake
5. butter pecan ice cream
6. oreos
7. oatmeal cream pies
8. key lime pie
9. hostess chocolate cupcake
10. bubble tea
11. creamy whip with jimmies
12. creme brulee
13. eggcream
14. orange julius
15. opera cream chocolates
16. chocolate covered pretzels
17. strawberry shortcake
18. ganache
19. liqueur chocolates (ex: kirsch cherries)
20. a turtle made from something other than pecans
21. bananas foster
22. caramel apple
23. reese's peanut butter easter eggs
24. cracker jacks
25. brownies
26. guinness chocolate cake
27. s'mores
28. mounds bar
29. wendy's frosty
30. black forest cake
31. cajeta
32. german chocolate cake
33. meringue pie
34. pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream
35. ben and jerry's
36. ice cream soda (the old fashioned kind)
37. buche de noel
38. peanut brittle
39. malted milk balls
40. springerle
41. angel food cake
42. cheese danish
43. rainbow sherbet
44. marzipan
45. tiramisu
46. a real big swirly lollipop
47. cream cheese and jelly sandwich
48. licorice (black, not twizzlers)
49. sugar-coated nuts, warm, from a street vendor
50. tuiles
51. cotton candy
52. vanilla cream soda float (not a pink cow - no big red!)
53. fruitcake
54. torrone
55. fig bars
56. new york style cheesecake
57. boston cream pie
58. fluffernutter snadwich
59. odd flavored jelly beans: popcorn, jalapeno, earthworm
60. moon pie
61. chocolate on beef
62. ginger snaps
63. pineapple upside down cake
64. chipwich/chipwheelie
65. rice krispie treat
66. flan
67. pixie sticks
68. baklava
69. bazooka joe gum
70. syrup on bacon or goetta
71. fudge
72. homemade caramels
73. macaroons
74. candy cane
75. huckleberry pie
76. lemon bars
77. creamed honey
78. treacle tart
79. kinder surprise/kinder egg
80. lorna doones
81. almond granita
82. red velvet cake
83. tapioca
84. turkish delight
85. orange marmalade
86. mango lassi
87. chocolate souffle
88. poached pears
89. gelato
90. eggnog
91. french chew
92. sticky toffee pudding
93. panna cotta
94. icee
95. manner hazelnut wafers
96. wonka bar
97. cannoli
98. trifle
99. pez
100. fortune cookie

Saturday, September 27, 2008

two things about cows

thing 1: to celebrate my mom FINALLY selling her house (after being on the market since Jan 2007) brian and i took her to longhorn steakhouse last night, at her request. i never noticed this before, but at the top of the menu above the steaks, it says something about the meat being from 'midwestern corn-fed' cattle. i suppose they mean it to evoke warm fuzzy feelings, but it just made me picture these sad cows standing in mud, eating corn from a trough. i think i've been reading too many books by michael pollan.

thing 2: PETA asked ben and jerry's to use human breast milk instead of cow's milk. they declined. as much as i can appreciate and respect animal rights, the thought of human breast milk in my ice cream kind of grosses me out. interesting side fact: humans are the only animals that consume milk after infancy.

jim dandy's

so continue on the bbq theme, i had jim dandy's for the first time. yes i had the opportunity to try it at the contest and no i didn't. at any rate we went last friday night for dinner. we were debating between burbanks and jim dandys so i decided we should go to the one that we haven't tried.

we walked in and walked up the counter. i ordered the brisket and pulled pork with their hot sauce. i also got 2 sides which were the red beans and rice and macaroni and cheese (of course). it was all topped off with a nice piece of corn bread. eric had the pulled pork sandwich (hot sauce) and the reds beans and rice and cole slaw. the sauce was wonderful. in fact a little hotter than i had expected. i like things with heat and this came with heat. the meats were both juicy and tender. i preferred the pulled pork but the brisket was also good. while eating you could see the cooks taking the meat out of the smoker. the staff were very friendly and helpful. although its mostly a self service restaurant, there is always someone available to ask a question if need be. they have a drive through option if you would prefer to carry out. you could not leave that restaurant hungry. they also serve some beer/wine and dessert which we did not have. the total of the meal came to about $20. for food that is that tasty and affordable i can say that we will be returning.

sorry no pics.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

the big business of barbecue

we are going to try something new this blog. both of us are going to comment. we'll see how it goes. i'll be in green, and beth will be in black.

at the urging of bucky's barbecue and bread, beth and i, along with two of my fellow temporary p&g-ers, emily and tom, attended jim dandy's barbecue competition. unfortunately, we did not see bucky, but we did try some amazing barbecue. and i have to say, i may be converted to a barbecue lover.

myself, i was surprised at the intense competition in the community of barbecuers. one of the double d's bbq out of hudson, ohio gave us a little bit of the lowdown on bbq competition. he explained that there's kansas city bbq, and then there's everything else. the difference is more of a vinegar based sauce rather than tomato. competition is usually in 4 categories - pork, brisket, chicken, and ribs. some competitions have additional categories, such as 'anything but'. each dish has to be delievered to the judges at the appointed time. if there are more than 25 teams, it's a state qualifier. most teams camp the night before on competition grounds, since it takes so long to smoke the meat. he also said judges tend to like sweet sauce on the ribs, which is what i have decided i do not like, and may be why i have been anti-bbq until now. the ultimate goal is the jack daniels national competition. that's big time bbq, baby.

double d's is two guys, a cpa and a waste water management worker, who decided to get into bbq. we had the immense pleasure of trying their brisket. all i can say is wow. it was so tender and flavorful, and the sauce was ambrosial. even writing about it now my mouth is watering. tom has commented almost every day this week how it was the best brisket he's ever had. double d's says the key to superior brisket is consistent temperature for 8 hours. whatever their secret, magic was definitely happening.

one of my favorite bbq's is rudy's BBQ. the guys had double d's had also had rudy's and enjoy it almost as much as i do. obviously they are partial to thier own sauce which i think could certainly give rudy's a run for their money. more on rudy's later as we will be visiting one of the locations in early october during our vacation.

beth got the sauce on her shorts. and shirt. i couldn't have been there more than 15 minutes and then i was mess. i swear its like being with a child at times the frequency i have stuff all over my clothes. its not limited to food either.

i think i may become a double d's bbq groupie. in fact that may be the only way to have their sauce on any sort of regular basis as they don't bottle their sauce. but don't worry, we suggested it.

we stopped by the master basters and tried their anything but. their anything but happened to be macaroni and cheese. i asked what was in it, but was told that if he told me, he'd have to kill me. what i could identify: macaroni, cheese, bacon, and wonderful deliciousness. very unique. it reminded of of eating bbq potato chips, except in soft form. i can't describe the taste other than that. other people had done crab cakes and salmon as their 'anything but'. we weren't able to try either of those items and honestly i'm not sure that seafood has its place in the bbq world.

i got the mac and cheese on my shirt. white of course.

finally, we enjoyed some ribs by cincinnati natives sweet meat. while i can appreciate the art of bbq ribs, i am too much of a priss to eagerly gnaw meat off bones, smearing my face with sauce. just not my thing. we had arrived towards the end of the event. although their meat was good (and sweet which we have both decided is not our favorite) it was also a little cool. they were packing up and had refridgerated the meat and had generously pulled some out for us to taste. if anyone chooses to check out this event in future years i recommend arriving on the early side of things so that all the contestants have samples. basically they enter their meat in the contest and then any leftovers are available for on-lookers such as our selves.
somehow both of us avoided getting sauce on our clothes while eating ribs. we were able to snake some paper towels from someone's folding chair to clean up a bit. although we weren't there for a long period of time i think i can speak for both of us that we will make sure to check out the competition again next year. we didn't stick around to hear the results but we're still confident that double d's were able to take an award home.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

i have the power!

that's really all i have to say. i wanted to express my joy.

how is everyone else?

Friday, September 19, 2008

we're back, at least one of us.....

what a crazy week. just checking in here. unfortunately only one of us has power at this moment. what's funny is that i spent just over 48 hours without power and what is the first task i do with electricity? it wasn't watch TV or check my email (ok i admit i had power at work so i wasn't that far removed from worldly events)...... its can. yep that's right. i had originally planned to complete that daunting task on monday. that was a no go. so wednesday evening i ended up canning about 15 jars of either stewed tomatoes or spaghetti sauce. i get this huge feeling of success when its completed. i love sitting there and looking at the jars. the popping (sealing) brings a nice sense of relief too........

during the power outage we did locate a newer restaurant (chain) that i had never been too. we were driving up colerain ave (thinking they would actually have power) looking for lights and hoping for sanity one evening and ended up a logan's roadhouse. its exactly as one would expect. middle of the road prices coupled with middle of the road food. at that point anything might have worked for me, but now i can at least walk away knowing better the second time. eric feels i'm being pretty nice right now and would describe it as a small step above golden corral. words used to describe the food include bland and dull. all i can say is that we won't be returning......

hope everyone else's life is returning to normal and here's to hoping krissy has power restored quickly to her house.......

Friday, September 12, 2008

i wanna play, too

saw this on wine me, dine me, skinny fat chick, and food hussy today. i love reading these!

edit; i'm going to play too in blue.

Coke or Pepsi? one really good fountain coke a month. with good ice. diet coke. everyday.

Thick crust or thin for your Pizza? thin. although pan has it's place, usually in the dead of winter when i need to pack on blubber to stay warm. agreed.

Rare or Well Done for you steak? medium? definitely not rare, but definitely not well done either. i'm a medium-rare sort of girl - i began ordering this way when i kept getting over cooked medium meat.

Hot Dogs or Hamburgers? hamburgers. with cheese. although i do love hot dogs on the grill or at the ball game, the more mustard the better. i tend to do hamburgers as well.

Ketchup or Mustard on your hot dog? see previous. mustard. lots of it.

Cake or Pie? both. preferrably on the same plate. tough. i'm going to go with cake, but feel free to change my mind if its key lime pie.

Brownies with a fine, glossy crust, or soft cake brownies? glossy! agreed.

Nuts in the brownies? is there also caramel? i do love turtle brownies! plain and simple is the way to go.

Vanilla or Chocolate ice cream? vanilla. vanilla with something, chocolate by itself.

Blue cheese or ranch dressing with your Buffalo wings? blue. the chunkier, the better. its a tie i really can't decide. i love them both.

Soup or Salad? salad. and again salad.

Butter on your Popcorn? do people eat it plain? i normally butter it up, but just this week i purchased plain popcorn (natural) and i'm going to give it a try. will report back.

Pork or Beef barbecue? pork. i think. i don't have much barbecue experience. pork.

Coffee or tea? tea. neither, diet coke.

Beer from a can or a bottle? bottle. i'm not in high school. i don't have a preference based on taste, but cans sure save more space. and cheaper.

Oreos or Hydrox? oreos!!! regular, double stuf, chocolate covered, in a parfait, in a blizzard, cookies 'n' cream well put.

Little Debbie or Hostess? little debbie - oatmeal cream pies, zebra cakes, swiss cake rolls, etc. although i do enjoy every one of the 27 grams of fat in the hostess cherry pie. swiss cake rolls every time.

Bacon or Sausage? bacon. very crispy. (obviously, i have something against lightly cooked meat) i like me some crispy bacon as well.

Eggs Scrambled or Fried? if i have to eat eggs, like if i had absolutely nothing else in the house and i was somehow incapacitated to neither be able to drive nor walk to a store but could somehow still use the stove, i would say scrambled. hopefully i also find some moldy cheese in the back of the fridge i can grate on top. the only egg i will eat has to be hard boiled, so the answer is neither.

some things just aren't good

i composed this list while i was parked on 71 earlier today.

i'm a low maintenance diner, an equal opportunity eater. there are a few things i avoid (eggs, peppers, mayonnaise) but i will eat them in the right context (cake, fajitas, tuna salad, respectively). i'll try anything once, the good things twice. however, there are some foods that i will never touch again. like hearing pierce brosnan sing in mamma mia!, these are experiences i would rather not have had.

my top 5 most inedible foods:

- mussels. i'd rather swallow my own tongue.

- raw bacon. in high school, i went on a class trip to paris. at this sandwich shop, i ordered a blt. imagine my surprise when the bacon was raw.

- scrod. alton brown talked about scrod on the food network. it seemed like a harmless little white fish, so when i saw it on the menu at porkopolis, i gave it a try. never again. it is the only entree i have ever sent back and ordered something else.

- this swedish candy i don't even know the name of. when i had the opportunity to study overseas, one of my fellow students was from sweden. she shared this hard candy that is a blend of herbs (cloves and anise?) and apparently very popular. i (tactfully) spit it out.

- rumple minze. i'm not going into it. it knows why.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


this month i am working at p&g. it is the first time in my life i have ever been exposed to the open cubicle work environment. i have a whole other level of appreciation for office space now. and being easily distractable by nature, in this setting i am particularly easily distracted. for instance, at 11:46 today i sent beth the following email: "i smell cake. somewhere in this sea of cubes there are baked goods, dammit."

the smell lingered all afternoon, tantalizing and tormenting me.

these are the times i need a stash of little debbies in my desk drawer.

memories of bacon

i was perusing the internet today at lunch and came across the bacovore's hundred. not only was it hilarious, it also brought back several memories. and since i haven't told a story about my grandparents recently, i figured it was a good time.

this first story is actually about my great-grandmother. she was an excellent cook. excellent, and without any recipes. she could look at a cupboard and a refrigerator containing nothing more than crackers, canned peas, maraschino cherries, and ketchup and somehow come up with a meal. under the kitchen sink she kept a jar that served a special purpose. every time she fried bacon, she poured the hot grease in the jar. it solidified into thick gray-white goo, flecked with charred bits of bacon. my mom still does this. she tells me no one should pour bacon grease down the drain because it will congeal and clog the pipes. my mom throws the jars away. my great-grandmother did not. she used the grease to make pie crust. waste not, want not. my mom swears that crust was the base of the greatest pies in the world.

my grandpa used to let me make bacon in their huge, old microwave when i spent the night over there as a kid. i would line up the strips carefully on the plastic tray, trying to squeeze as many as possible onto it, covering them with a paper towel. he also let me pour the pancake batter on the griddle. and we would have entenmann's coffee cake. the raspberry kind. those sunday morning breakfasts were the best.

for a long time my mom would frequently get sick after she ate. upset stomach, nausea, etc. you know what was the last straw, what led to emergency gall bladder removal shortly before my college graduation? hot bacon dressing.

nothing tastes as good as a blt on toast with crispy bacon.

and yes, i do have a jar of bacon grease under my sink.

Monday, September 8, 2008

a brief history of chinese food and me

childhood: quebec gardens, the classy westside chinese place for fancy nights out with my parents, colored tissue paper in the fluorescent lights giving the room a soft glow. my biggest adventure was getting sweet and sour chicken instead of lemon chicken, which were really both just chicken fingers with different dipping sauces. quebec gardens has, unfortunately, long since gone the way of the dodo.

college: red pepper in clifton, frequently delivered to our pad on vine street. i still think it's the best chinese in cincinnati.

grad school/young professionalism: during this time, i did a brief stint in mt. lookout. i ate whatever chinese delivered or that someone recommended. still visited the red pepper regularly.

current: upon my return to the westside, tragedy struck. i was heart-broken to find no chinese delivery available in this particular zip code. which is why i eat pizza so much. i like wearing my pyjamas way too much to actually leave the house. plus anytime i have gotten take-out or eaten in westside style i have been sorely disappointed.

i had assumed for some time that grand china fit that same mold. i am happy to report, however, that i was pleasantly surprised to find it is actually quite delicious.
first of all, it's decorated super cute. next, the cocktails are served in super cute cups. i had the suffering bastard, cause let's face it, that is an awesome name for a drink. it was a mix of two rums, lime, and unidentified fruit juices. tasted pretty tart.
my favorite chinese junk food is those fried cream cheese puffs. dipped in some spicy mustard. yummy.

the shrimp kow was subtle and loaded with shrimp. sometimes places scrimp on the shrimp, but not grand china. and i really like water chestnuts. they kind of make me happy.brian had the cantonese beef chow mein, which he greatly enjoyed.the meal was finished off with fortune cookies, of course.

i used to save all my fortunes because i guess i had some dream of decoupaging a table or something with all of them. in retrospect, that probably would have been a little sisyphean. i did keep my favorite fortune ever though, which isn't as much a fortune as a philosophy. it's still on my bulletin board.

"the heart is wiser than the intellect"

Grand China on Urbanspoon

attack of the pod plants

yesterday morning i was attempting to tame some unruly bushes when i came across the vine that has been plaguing my yard all summer in its true form. vehemently attacking some bush branches twisted with vine, i threw a mass of vine over my shoulder and it was much heavier than expected. i looked down at the driveway and saw this:sweet jesus! now that my eyes had been opened, i could see the pods were everywhere. i was sure that at any moment they would rupture and alien babies with sharp teeth and claws would emerge, along with billows of noxious gas capable of incapacitating an adult female long enough for the spawn to begin to feed. luckily i was able to neutralize the threat by shoving heaps of the vines in impenetrable home depot lawn and refuse bags.

and people wonder why i can't sleep at night.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

pizza, pizza!

little caesars has finally broken out of kmart! their exuberance is clear - outside the new location is this crazy kid dancing and singing on the sidewalk with a paperboard guitar. genius marketing.
brian and kevin went to pick up some 'hot-n-ready' pizza for the bengals game today. i haven't had little ceasars in years, mostly because i'm sure as hell not going to eat in kmart. the crazy bread was nice and drenched in butter and garlic. the pizza was flat, crunchy and actually not too bad. the addition of the spice pak, composed of various dehydrated and partially hydrogenated vegetables, added extra tastiness. most importantly, the pizza was neat to eat. a lack of dripping toppings and sauce made it easy for the guys to watch the game and check fantasy football standings on their respective laptops without any mishaps.
2 pizzas, crazy bread, and a 2-liter - all this for a mere $14. hurray for cheap pizza!

Friday, September 5, 2008

yay, just cured!

just cured's half-smoked salmon will be featured by jean-robert in his dish this weekend at gourmet sensation. the even takes place saturday, september 6 from 7-11. proceeds benefit hospice of cincinnati.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

top 5 favorite fantastic ways to enjoy creamy whip

this top 5 is a homage to one of the most perfect foods in the universe, creamy whip. my mother is convinced if we could bring creamy whip to the people of the middle east, there would be peace.

the westside is inundated with creamy whip stands: buster's, putz's, keller's cone zone (formerly tummy treats), sweets and eats, general custer's last ice cream stand (i'm sure i'm forgetting some), and my particular favorite, the zip dip.

so here are my top 5 favorite fantastic ways to enjoy creamy whip, in all its glory:

- the twist cone. whether it be orange/vanilla or chocolate/vanilla, there's the sublime joy of the flavors mingling in your mouth.
- red dip. i think it's supposed to be cherry, but really it's that fabulous faux red-flavored solid shell. eat it fast. melting ice cream will seep through the cracks.
- oreo parfait. have you ever met a person, you say, "let's get some parfait," they say, "hell no, i don't like no parfait"? parfaits are delicious.
- jimmies. yeah, that's right, i said jimmies. that's 'sprinkles' for all you eastsiders.
- put it in a mini plastic baseball hat. sweet. just rinse it well before turning the hat over to the pug.

laura ingalls has nothing on us

this labor day, beth and i labored over a pile of tomatoes (from her garden) and peaches (from hollmeyer orchards).the morning was spent squeezing the guts out of the tomatoes, which was oddly satisfying and actually a lot of fun. beth had previously frozen the tomatoes, so the skins slid right off and all we had to do was express the seeds into a bag for disposal.

after the peeling and pressing, the tomatoes went in a pot with some spices to make sauce. while that simmered, we turned our attention to the peaches.

consulting the ball complete book of home preserving, we found that an easy way to remove peach peels was to boil them briefly and follow that up with a dip in cold water. we would like to go on record: the ball complete book of home preserving lies.
after what we felt to be a sufficient boil and ice bath, the peach skins would still not peel. we ended up using a paring knife. well, beth did. i don't do so well with sharp objects.

the peaches were cooked for 5 minutes in boiling sugar water. it didn't smell very good.

henry ford is a wise man, so we followed his example and made a canning assembly line. pour peaches, add a tablespoon bacardi (everything tastes better with liquor!), pour syrup, lid, ring, screw. perfect. and that funnel thing? awesome.

the jars were boiled for 25 minutes, held upright in the pot by a slick rack. removing them from the pot, the anticipation was palpable as we waited for the first pop as the jar sealed. finally, the sucking securement cemented, forming an impregnable barrier to the elements. soon tomato sauce and stewed tomatoes followed suite, and four hours of work had yielded three large jars of seedy stewed tomatoes, eight jars of marinara, and six jars of 'spirited' peaches. beth and i are now confident we could hold our own on the prairie next to laura ingalls wilder.

we figured with this haul, we could eat pasta twice a week with peaches for dessert, until, like, at least december. hmm. i don't think we'd make it through the long winter.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

the biggest little fair in ohio

the streets of cheviot are lined with chairs and there is a distinctive whiff of livestock on the air. this can only mean one thing - harvest home fair.

the festivities kick off tomorrow with the parade at 6pm. check out displays of everything from flowers to horses. there's even a 5K for the ambitious among us. see you there!

Monday, September 1, 2008

nick and tom's

i hadn't been to nick and tom's in ages, so when my mom and her friend diane (my second mom) suggested it for dinner the other night, i was game. i was also pretty curious to see if the addition of keno would change the milieu of the place.

the place was pretty packed, but we were seated right away and i ordered a glass of robert mondavi private selection pinot noir. unfortunately, the glass came out and had lipstick on the rim, which, as diane pointed out, wasn't my color. our server was very sweet and apologetic and brought another glass.

for a starter, i ended up with the soup of the day, mushroom. my husband had ordered potato soup, but was brought the mushroom. our very sweet and apologetic server brought him another cup and left the mushroom at the table for someone else. the soup was cream based and stuffed with large mushroom pieces, but the flavor was a little flat.
for dinner, i opted to have the appetizer of portabella mushroom, shrimp, tomatoes, onion and cheese. i felt like something small and light. i also ordered a side of mashed potatoes, which kind of defy small and light, but i wanted to see how they you can see in the photo, it's pretty much drenched in oil. it was also super garlicky. i had a hard time finishing it for these reasons. the mashed potatoes were real potatoes (which can be hard to come by on the westside) but a little dry.

my mom and diane had better luck than i did. my mom ordered the mediterranean pasta and diane the southwestern, loaded with beans and cheese. both of them enjoyed their entrees. brian had prime rib, which he said was good, especially considering it was only $17.

in my mind, no meal is complete without dessert. at nick and tom's, it was the blackberry cobbler that caught my eye. it wasn't too sweet, but i also discovered i prefer crisps or streusels to cobblers. i like the crumbly top better than the biscuit-like.
brian was enticed by the brownie. it was pretty intense - covered in whipped cream and crumbled reese cups and roughly the size of lichtenstein. he practically licked the plate clean.

overall, i would say the experience was mediocre and i think it will again be ages before i darken nick and tom's door. unless i pick up keno.

Nick & Tom's Alpine Inn on Urbanspoon