Thursday, September 24, 2009

This week's happenings...

TV-
Last night's Glee was hil.ar.ious. I was dying laughing during the football players dancing to Beyonce on the football field. Seriously the funniest thing ever. I won't delete any of the Glees off the DVR (much to Rob's dismay, who likes his DVR to be clean at all times) but I like to go back to old episodes and just watch the musical numbers... I also do this with musical movies..and have been known to watch an episode of so you think you can dance 4+ times. Leave me alone. I'm also thrilled that Grey's Anatomy is coming back tonight for it's 2 hour season premier....Will Izzy live??? It was also a good weekend on the ranch for the cast of the biggest loser who got to keep all their players this week. I still love Abby....but Shay's sass is starting to grow on me.

Food-
Once a week, Wall, Suzi, Rob and I try to get together at eachother's houses for dinner....which we lovingly call "Taco Tuesday"...sometimes we have tacos, sometimes we don't....it's rarely on a Tuesday...you know.. just a chance to get together during the week, and eat/hang out/catch up, etc. Well we have decided to change TT officially to NRN (New Recipe Night) where you can use the night to experiment with a new recipe and then everyone else can tell you if it's delicious or gross...however we will, of course, have to throw tacos in there every once in a while for old time's sake and because, well let's just be honest, tacos are delicious. Tonight we are having basil and goat cheese stuffed chicken with a white wine mushroom sauce....look for reviews tomorrow!

School-
I started a new quarter this week and am taking "Nutrition for a Healthy Lifestyle" I was really excited to take this class, but now I'm not so sure. I can say with a fair amount of confidence that 3 of the dumbest/most annoying people in America are in that class.... there are also a couple of their runner-ups in this class...but the winners are in there..

First there is a set of twins. They have a comment to make about everything that happens.

Actual conversations in class on Monday:

Discussing Bowel Movements (gross I know):
Teacher: A healthy adult should go to the bathroom at least once every 3 day
Annoying Twin: Once I didn't go for 7 days and I felt fine...

Teacher: If you ever see those commercials for Dawn where the bubbles form around that fat, that is the soap emulsifying the fat.
Annoying Twin: mayonnaise is an emusification of eggs and oil.

you get the picture... then there is the guy who asks questions just so he can talk about himself.

Dude: Can traveling make you irregular?
Teacher: Yes, as it states on the slide, some things that can make you irregular are travel, diet, stress, etc etc etc
Dude: Yes, because I know when I traveled around the whole world when I was in the military...like I traveled here and here and here and here (he was saying names of places, but I was barely listening)... I was irregular all the time.
Teacher: yep

Then one more girl...

Teacher: If there are things you love, you shouldn't give them up completely, you should treat them as "special treats" and eat them in moderation..
Girl: I have eaten at Mcdonalds every day for the past month and when I went to the Dr. this morning I had lost weight.

Anyway... look for more ramblings from the dumbest people in America on Tuesday mornings on Random Ramblings. I am dreading this class so much because I'm not sure I can sit through this again, which sucks because I was really looking forward to taking this class...

Other-
If you remember back posts about my knee and the spontaneous bruising that was occuring from small amounts of running at a time.... it kept getting worse, swelling up from walking or standing up for a couple of hours...and one day after a fairly active weekend, making my whole leg numb from the knee down. I finally decided to go to Orthopedic Dr. on Tuesday and he saw some irregularities on the x-ray and really didnt like the sounds of a bleeding knee from such low impact...so tomorrow I get to get up early and head over to Proscan for an MRI... then it's back the the doctor on Tuesday to see what the heck is going on. I'm already getting anxious about everything and will be thrilled if he will finally be able to do something about it...so we'll see!...

Ok. that's enough rambling for today!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Restaurant Review-Mesh

Friday night I was super excited to hang out with a few friends and try out a new restaurant during another round of restuarant week. This time we decided on Mesh in West Chester. I called way in advance to make reservations for 6 people at 7:30 on Friday. The lady that answered the phone politely told me that restaurant week there only goes until 6 on Friday and Saturday, so I said that was fine, even though I knew it could potentially be pushing it for some people.... A couple of days later out of the blue I get a phone call from the same hostess telling me that her manager told her they are going to extend restaurant week to all night even on the weekends, she remembered me and called me to ask me if I wanted to push back my reservation to 7:30... I thought, if this is the kind of service we are going to get while we are there...we are in for a good night. I thought wrong.


The place is neat. It has a swanky bar and a big glass wall where you can see there large collection of wine bottles. We all ordered off the restaurant week menu (which was all stuff also featured on their regular menu) and most of us paid $15 extra to have a wine pairing with each course. We sat around for a decently long time before anyone came to take our order...when she finally did it probably took another 30 minutes to get our first course out...which I would have probably been ok with if we would have had the large basket of bread on our table that every other table seemed to have. We finally stopped a random waitress and asked if maybe we could have some bread....and she brought us out some. Our waitress didnt know this and didn't actually bring our bread out until after our first course was brought out. We were halfway through our first courses when we realized that she hadn't brought out any of our first course wine pairings..

I wanted to wait to actually drink the wine with the food, but also didnt want to sit there and let the soup get cold...we were all just getting pretty aggravated at this point, including Nicole who didn't get her drink order until she was completely finished with her first course.....but let's take a break from the horrible service for a minute and talk about the food.


Truffle Mushroom Bisque-

Tasted mostly like cream with not a lot of mushroom flavor. Also needed salt and pepper...and lots of it.


Mesh House Salad with sun-dried cherries, toasted almonds, feta cheese and a creamy balsamic vinaigrette.
I didnt try this but rumor has it the cherries were good but the lettuce was a little limp...
but not bad for a house salad.

Prosciutto wrapped prawn with grilled vegetables and saffron cream.

Next it was time for dinner. The waiter who was serving us decided to stand to my left, reach over me and serve Katie who was to my right....while proceeding to dump half of her oil based sauce all over my dress. While I am a card carrying member of the clumsy club and usually can forgive this kind of thing... I can't forgive the fact that there was absolutely no reason he should have been reaching over me like that to hand Katie her food in the first place. It was literally ALL over me...including on my dress, arm, leg and in my hair...yum. He apologized profusely and sent out a manager who gave me her card and told me to "feel free to send her my dry cleaning bill." I thought for sure at least I would get a free meal out of this mess...

Now onto the food.


Katie had the vegetarian option which was a red potato stuffed ravioli with spinach and a an emulsion of olive oil and something else...I can't remember.. She thought it was pretty good besides the fact that half the sauce was off her plate and in my hair... Nothing super special, but not bad.


Pan Roasted Chicken Breast- Saltimbocca Style...with crisp prosciutto, potato gnocci, asparagus and parmesan sage cream.

The chicken was dry and it wasn't that hot. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't that good either..

Prime new york strip with whipped potatoes, french greenbeans and blueberry bbq sauce.


I tasted this. It was one of the worst steaks I have ever eaten at any restaurant (including Fridays which everyone knows is disgusting)- it looked like it was cooked to the proper doneness so it must have been the cut of meat that was gross. It was chewy and dried out (even though it was cooked medium)...it was just really horrible. Everyone with steak attempted to saw at them with their butter knives until finally putting them down to wait for steak knives that were yet to come. When someone asked the waitress to bring them she said, "we don't have steak knives because people say you can cut our steaks with a butter knive because they are so tender" honey- those people are on crack. and they are wrong. and they have never eaten a decent steak in their life...bring me a steak knife. now. She disappeared in the back and re-appeared with 3 steak knives. The blueberry bbq sauce was interesting.....kind of smokey tasting with a hint of blueberry instead of the jam-like taste I was expecting....but who cares if the bbq sauce is good or not if the steak is awful.


curried seabass with shrim, scallops, pineapple and rice wine-

aaron liked this dish...I was too busy wiping a olive oil and truffle emulsion off my dress and trying to chew a piece of steak for 4 hours to remember what he liked about it...


Finally it was time for dessert. We all ordered this:


Roasted Banana Chocolate Bread Pudding.

To me it tasted like a chocolate brownie with ice cream on top, which I like so I was fine with it. But I was a little sad that I didn't taste any banana. Also I have actually never had real bread pudding, which apparantly was not what this tasted like... Katie (the bread pudding expert of the table) explained to me that real bread pudding was not that mushy and brownie tasting..... dessert was served with a glass of champagne, which made me happy.

At one point during the meal...Aaron had to go up to ask for steak knives and took the opportunity to let the manager know about our slow service and less than desireable food. She gave us all $25 gift certificates to come back and give them another try.... Also, apparantly to all restaurant week patrons, they were giving out 25% coupons to come back during a non-restaurant week time....our plan is to come for pre-dinner drinks, spend our gift cards...then go to dinner somewhere else.

I have read a ton of glowing reviews about Mesh...it is a shame our experience wasn't the same...but unfortunately there are too many delicious restaurants in this city to repeat the bad ones...


Mesh on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Biggest Loser- Season 8 Premier!

I read in my Entertainment Weekly Magazine that Season 8's Biggest Loser contestants were going to be bigger and have bigger issues than any other season's. This annoyed me. I hate when Jillian tries to act like a therapist and I usually fast forward through all the crying.

Last night's first episode had me in a teary mess. One of the contestants (who I promptly decided was my favorite) is named Abby and lost her whole family (husband, 5 and half year old daughter and 2 week old son) in a car accident. She believes she wasn't in that car for a reason and that she is meant to make a difference with her life, but first she needs to get healthy and strong to do so....how can you not love her already?



Abby said, after seeing her starting weight of 247 pounds: "It surprises me, but it doesn't define me. I choose to get out of bed every day, and now I choose to be here. And I'm going to be better." Seriously...what a fighter. I can't wait to root her on this season.

Anyway...the end of summer is always a little sad....but then your favorite TV shows start up again and you kind of forget about being sad.... Glee tonight!! Can't wait! I'm such a Gleek.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Restaurant Review- Bootsy's


Last week I helped out with some big meetings at work and as a thank you, work treated us to a delicious lunch at Bootsy's. I was thrilled because I've been wanting to try it out and haven't gotten around to it, and also I am cheap and refuse to spend more than about $7 on lunch (prefer around $5)...so it's always nice when work foots the bill.

Let's start off with the decor....it's crazy. Someone at the table asked, what exactly would you call this decor? I said, 25% spanish, 75% just eccentric.... it's very colorful and cool...the servers look swanky with their cute short ties on...and you don't really feel like you're in Cincinnati. I tried to take a couple of pictures, but I felt like a dork snapping pictures at a restaurant with my co-workers so didnt spend enough time to get the correct settings to make the pictures not be blurry...but this might give you an idea.....Huge pic of madonna over here....a random brightly colored fish mounted on the wall over there, colorful beads and pillows at the table.. you (kind of) get it... The thing I thought was really cool about it was the different seating areas.... a really nice outdoor area that overlooked the aronaff, a lounge area where you could pull the curtain closed for a little dining privacy, a big open area in the middle, etc...




When I looked at the menu I thought to myself... I dont know why everyone is always saying this place is expensive for lunch, it's not THAT bad.... but when people's appetizers started coming out, I started understanding why this place could get expensive....the appetizer pizza is basically a small piece of flatbread with pizza toppings....granted a pretty delicious piece of flatbread with pizza toppings....but not an appetizer that like a group of four could share or anything like that...

For lunch I decided on the shortribs...which were incredible.... I didnt order an appetizer because I figured the short ribs would come with a little pile of fresh greens on the side, or potato chips...or something...but instead the short ribs had a little pile of pulled pork on the side....interesting. They were both absolutely delicious...but I was really craving something fresh or different to compliment my short ribs, rather than just meat with meat on the side... But the flavor and tenderness of the ribs was really good. And I am not even usually a fan of pulled pork (mostly a texture thing) but this was a little bit spicy and super tender and not served on a bun (i HATe pulled pork on a bun) so it was delicious. That little cornbread thing on top of the pulled pork (I THINK that's what it was) was kind of flavorless...but maybe thats just because it was completely overpowered by all the other flavors going on on this plate.


Short Ribs - Grilled Arepa, Queso Fresco, Rioja Red Sauce

I also snapped a few photos of some co-workers plate. I didnt taste them (because they are my co-workers and Im not going to ask them if I can take a bite of their sandwich) but I did taste one of those potato chips and they were SO yummy. I'm not sure if they make them in house or anything but they were super crunchy and it made me sad that they were not on my plate.


The Boss - Jumbo Jeff Ruby Steakburger, Bleu Cheese, Peppers & Onions
on a Housemade Tomato-Olive Focaccia Roll

Seared Ahi Tuna - Ginger Wasabi Mayo, Sundried Tomatoes, Onion Sprouts on Toasted Focaccia

I also decided since it was a special occassion that I was going to talk everyone into ordering and sharing dessert. Since it was my idea I also decided I would pick the dessert which was a delicious rolled up chocolate cake with berries.



I plan to go back for dinner at some point because at dinner they have a tapas menu! ( I LOVE tapas because then you get to try a little of everything and never get food envy-which I suffer from often)....



Bootsy's on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 11, 2009

Come have drink on Fountain Square tonight!

Tonight, Rob and I will be volunteering at the Cincinnati Beer Festival. Look for us bartending after 8pm...at a tbd booth.
The weather is supposed to be perfect tonight! What better activity than having a drink outside with your friends? :)


THE Cincinnati Beer Festival
Friday, September 11, 5 p.m.
Cincinnati has a long and proud tradition in the brewing of beer, and The Cincinnati Beer Festival will bring local distributors and brewers together in one place for a beer tasting and sampling event. Over 170 different beers will be available! Expect to see your favorite national and local brands as well as some that are new to you.

Knowledgeable staff will be on hand to help guests navigate the selection and learn about the different brews.
Guests will purchase tickets (10 for $10) that may be exchanged for a 3-oz taste (one ticket) or a full 12-oz pour (4 tickets).

Abuelo's Mexican food will be available for purchase and Washington Platform will serve up several different flavors of chicken wings. Live music will run throughout the evening.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What I've been Cookin....

I have so many blogs to write including 3 restaurant reviews just waiting to be written. But first, let's start off with what's been cookin on Fulton Ave in the past couple of weeks.... mmmm.....

It seems as though this year has been a really good year for people's gardens...(which will be the first thing I do once I get a house...start an herb garden... I can't wait!) ANyway- it seems as though people's gardens have really been thriving... growing so much food they can barely eat it all...which is good for me who will happily accept the excess. In class the other day a friend gave me a gallon size ziploc bag of basil fresh from his garden. yes please! So the next night I obviously had to make something with it...and whipped up this DELICIOUS basil sauce for some whole wheat pasta and chicken..the basil was SO fresh...it didnt even really need anythign else. Just a little olive oil and salt/pepper and a whir around the food processor and it was ready....and so yummmm.

A couple of days later someone at work had a basket of tomatoes fresh from her garden out at work with little brown bags and a "help yourself!" sign beside it... don't mind if I do! So, not feeling very creative, whipped up a similar dish to the basil dish, only with tomatoes, onions, olives and a little parmesan... ohmygoodness. It just doesnt get any more delicious than fresh vegetables.



Other things I've been playing around with at home are my egg poaching skills:



and Various different stuffed chicken recipes-

Breaded chicken stuffed with low fat swiss and broccoli...with a side of spicy corn.



and this gorgonzola, ricotta and spinach stuffed chicken which was (very) heavy on the gorgonzola...but lucky for me I love gorgonzola so it was ok...however, next time, I will probably add a little less to the filling. A little blue cheese goes a long way!



and finally a big fail to Tuesday night's balsamic chicken with spinach and couscous... it was an Ellie Krieger recipe that was seriously lacking in flavor....but I have some ideas to improve it for next time....



Anyway, that's what I've been cooking...
stay tuned for some new restaurant reviews in the near future!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Milwaukee


Well we are headed to Milwaukee on Saturday morning for a wedding at a downtown Brewery! (so fun!)

I've already been stalking some local Milwaukee food blogs and Urbanspoon for some places to eat and visit...but if anyone has been there/eaten there/has friends that live there....any advice on what to do/where to eat/what to see would be greatly appreciated! I've only been to Wisconsin once (if Appleton, WI even counts.....) and it was the only time in my life I've had fresh cheese curds...which I would be VERY interested in having again...(you know they are really fresh when they squeak when you eat them)....everyone in WI told me this and I didnt understand what the heck they were talking about until we finally found a place that had super fresh ones and they were right, they totally squeaked in your mouth.. yummmm

Anyway. I'm totally rambling. If you have any super secret insider tips on Milwaukee... please share!!