Thursday, August 16, 2018

Thursday Thoughts

It's been a week since the last Thursday Thoughts but I cannot think of anything much to write. Last weekend we saw Thoroughly Modern Millie (loved it) and then dined at Butcher and the Rye. Sunday was chores and cooking. Not much has happened this week, which is nice when you're a homeowner still being annoyed over having to dry out your basement carpet from a hot water tank leak.
What We're Eating:

  • We used the grill rotisserie attachment to make a whole chicken. So it's chicken every night for dinner. Chicken served with tomatoes, green beans, and tortellini pasta salad.
  • Dessert: pizzelles, leftover ice cream

What We're Watching:

  • We finished Peaky Blinders and I'm ready for Season 5.
  • We started watching the latest season of Silicon Valley. Two episodes to go. 
  • Worst Cooks in America is back. We still enjoy the show and giggling over the worst cooks. Like the guy who was using the wrong side of a super sharp knife to cut meat and wondering why it wouldn't cut!
  • We watched Murder on the Orient Express. It was a good but not great movie. 
  • We also watched some Rick Sebak shows called Nebby: Tales of Greater Pittsburgh. There were 4 shows recorded, I think. Meat, Authors, Route 88, and Vintage Mixer. 

What I'm Reading:
I haven't had much interest in reading, which isn't good for the library pile of 3 books due in the next 5 days. Fortunately, the magazine pile is just half a magazine left. My lack of interest is probably because of allergies and eyes being watery and itchy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Butcher and the Rye

Last weekend after seeing Thoroughly Modern Millie (our favorite of the three summer CLO shows we saw), we went to Butcher and the Rye for dinner. We have always really liked B&tR even if we only get there 1-2 times a year. One reason we like it so much is the cocktails.
On the left is SP's Wild Kind (Old Forester 86 bourbon, smoked honey, ginger, lemon, habanero, peychauds bitters) and on the right is my Salinger's Sling (Bulleit rye whiskey, Grand Marnier, demerara, house coffee bitters). He loved his Wild Kind. It was a little too smoky and spicy from the habanero for me. I much preferred my drink.

We ordered some of our usual dishes and some new to us dishes (the menu has changed since we last dined here). Here's what we ate:
Spring Pea Vichyssoise (bacon confit, buttermilk, pea shoot).
Smoked Salmon Rillette (chopped egg, crispy caper, parsley).
Brussels (brown butter, dill, parmigiano reggiano, preserved lemon aioli).
Around this time, it was time for SP to order another cocktail. He chose Central Park Smash (Smirnoff vodka, watermelon, jalapeno, lemon, honey, angostura bitters).
Mac and Cheese.
Sunday Gravy (tomatoes, lamb neck, olive oil, ricotta, warm country bread).
Dirty Pasta (ground duck, rigatoni, sage, brandy, pecorino romano).
Scallop (blue crab risotto, asparagus, mushrooms, capers).
Decaf coffee with cream & sugar.
Cherry Cobbler with vanilla bourbon ice cream.

We still like B&tR a lot. Our server was terrific. Our cocktails were great. Our food was tasty. But we were a little sad that some dishes we really enjoyed are no longer on the menu. For SP, he was sad about no Crispy Pig Wing (Thai chili sauce, pickled mango salad, peanuts, cilantro). For me, it was the Cauliflower (roasted farro grain, romanesco, baby carrots, pine nuts, brown butter, harissa yogurt). I really, really loved that cauliflower dish. I also missed the Hand Pulled Burrata. 

We're pretty sure there used to be daily specials, but this time, there weren't any daily food specials, just cocktail specials. SP was a little sad because he almost always found a special he liked (octopus, oysters, crudo, escargot are some of the ones we've had in the past).

But we'll still go back because I really, really, really the Sunday Gravy and Mac and Cheese and SP can't get enough of the Brussels. 

Butcher and the Rye Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, August 13, 2018

Stout Pub & Kitchen, Revisited

Earlier this month, we went to Stout Pub & Kitchen for the second time. Here's what we ate:
Smoked Duck Nuts (mixed nuts fried in duck fat with shallots, garlic, thyme, and dried cherries). I didn't eat any because of the garlic and because I don't really like nuts. SP thought they were excellent.
Roasted Portabella Ratatouille (rustic tomato, squash, red onion, portabella, house made ricotta, lemon aioli, grilled bread, petite arugula salad). SP liked but didn't love this. When we think ratatouille, we think of chopped vegetables all together, not separate on a plate, and we think zucchini, bell pepper, tomato, maybe eggplant. We don't think carrot. This ended up being disappointing for SP with the bread and the "ratatouille" being heavy on carrots & onion. It wasn't nearly as veggie heavy & satisfying as he expected. He expected much more portabella in a portabella ratatouille.
Smoked Amish Chicken & Apple Baguette (open-faced chicken salad with cherry tomatoes, fresh apples, local chicken breast, and smoked heirloom tomato jam served on baguette). I chose sweet potato fried for my side. I really liked this chicken salad. There was a great smoke flavor and lots of cool apple chunks.

I want to like Stout, but I'm just not sure. The day we went, we had been out since early in the morning & spent the day running around. We didn't head out for dinner until nearly 6:30 pm. Before we went, we checked to see if they are on NoWait and didn't see them there. They are on OpenTable, so we checked there and there were plenty of time slots showing availability. We decided to just go - it didn't seem to make sense to make a reservation. When we were parking, we saw several couples/groups leaving. There was no line. There were empty tables. Yet the hostess informed us the wait would be 20-25 minutes. ? She asked for a cell phone number and told us they'd text when a table was ready.

I was pretty unhappy. SP was befuddled. How could there be a wait that long? The last time we went, after looking at their website right before going, it was closed for a private party. But there had been no note on the website (to be fair, they did manage to seat us in the back room, but shouldn't "closed for private party" be posted on the main web page?). This time, with available reservations on OT and obviously free tables, there was a 20-25 minute wait. Since she said they'd text when our table was ready, I asked if they were on NoWait after all, because we hadn't seen them listed there. Nope. Then I asked why they had available reservations on OT if there was a 20-25 minute wait. SP was fiddling with his phone, about to walk outside, make a reservation through OT, then walk back in and say we had a reservation for 6:30 pm. The hostess looked unsure how to respond, especially since we'd been obviously casting our eyes at the empty tables. Another employee who had recently come up to the front ended up responding, telling us they'd get us seated right away. They did. And our server was great.

I'm just so confused about the wait time. Maybe next time we just need to make a reservation, even if we make one 10 minutes before we show up? Maybe I need someone to explain restaurant seating and empty tables? Or maybe we just need to stick with our usual near where we live places when we're not headed into the city?

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Thursday Thoughts

Last weekend, after we got our hair cuts, we met some friends for lunch at Max & Erma's. It was Chocolate Chip Cookie Day so we all got a free cookie. Yum! After, we stopped at Bethel Bakery and got some treats plus another free chocolate chip cookie. More yum!

SP has been really busy with work. He's getting home even later and we're not finishing dinner until nearly 8:30 pm these days. That's getting a little too late for me, so hopefully we can change that soon. One day, the day he left "early," he was stuck in Taylor Swift traffic and was not pleased.

What We're Eating:

What We're Watching:

  • Peaky Blinders Season 4. One more episode to go. I love this show!
  • Succession ended. No spoilers, but I suspected who would be the winners/losers in the takeover, I just didn't know the hows.
  • Sharp Objects is still interesting, just kind of slow, and gosh the mom is nuts. I know I said that last week. But her wailing on the veranda when Amma couldn't be found. Yikes. Maybe she's the killer? Or maybe she's too nuts to actually kill? 
  • Trial & Error is back tonight after a week off for football. Ugh. I'm not ready for football.
  • Animal Kingdom is setting up for some big changes, I think. Baz is gone, looks like Nicky is gone, and looks like the Lucy storyline is done so she's gone. I'm wondering if they find out who really pulled the trigger and what happens to Lena (why isn't Smurf doing more to get her back?). Two more episodes, I think.
  • I watched All the Money in the World. It was a great movie, but gosh grandpa was kind of a jerk. 

What I'm Reading:
My reading pile was gone and then a new magazine issue arrived. I'm excited for the upcoming autumn issues because that's my favorite season, but I'm not ready for summer to end.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

French Crust Cafe

Before we set off on the 4.5 hour trip home from Cincinnati, we decided to have lunch at French Crust Cafe. It's at Findlay Market. It was pretty busy a little after noon on a Friday but we were seated right away. It's cute inside, bright and yellow. Here's what we ate:
For SP: Goat Cheese, Zucchini, and Tomato Quiche with a side salad. He said it was good but he didn't care for the quiche crust.
I chose Tomato, Avocado, Brie Flat Croissant with small salad. A croissant was smushed and toasted  a bit then topped with avocado, tomato, and melted brie. It was tasty, and definitely large enough for me for lunch. Maybe a little too large since SP ate my salad.

We'd go back for lunch. Tasty food. Good service. A good meal before hitting the road and heading home.

French Crust Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, August 6, 2018

Findlay Market, The Rhined, and Goetta

While we were in Cincinnati, we took the opportunity to explore Findlay Market, which is like our Strip District. Lots of food shops and other shops in one area. Waffles, gelato, fresh meats and seafood, cheeses, fresh vegetables and fruits, prepared foods, teas, chocolates, a biergarten. All the shop people we spoke with were really friendly, especially the husband of The Beautiful Bags Lady who talked Dr. Who with SP for a while (we were drawn into the shop by the inflatable dalek outside on the sidewalk). SP left the store with a Dr. Who cotton grocery bag. 
It wasn't super busy when we were there because it was a Friday morning. After taking a walk around, we decided to check out The Rhined for cheese.
As soon as you walk in, there is a case of cheese. Yum. We asked about our favorite cheeses from our time in France but they didn't have them. We did sample some similar cheese and then we decided to do a tasting.
The shop is accessible to enter, but there is a step up into the main area. However, there is an alley to the side of the building that takes you back to the rear off the shop and a patio area. It was a very cute and secluded patio area and we enjoyed looking at the old brick of the buildings and this window in a nearby building - it looked like the bottom of the window was a board of wood.
We decided to share The Mid-West Cheese Flight (close to Cincinnati cheeses). Each flight includes 3 cheeses of various textures and milk types, local jam, dried fruits, and house candied pecans, and
crostini. We also shared a glass of rosé . It was a little early, but we were on vacation.

From left to right, there was a goat cheese with vegetable ash, which was quite tasty. The middle cheese is a creamy brie-like cheese with habanero in the middle. At first it didn't seem too hot, but then it kicked in. I liked the contrast of cool, creamy cheese with the heat from the pepper, but it's not a cheese I would buy because it was bit much for me. The cheese on the right was like a comte cheese and was our favorite of the 3 cheeses.

It was a tasty post-breakfast/pre-lunch snack. The girl working that day was really friendly and helpful. They also offer charcuterie and from Tuesday-Friday and on Sunday they offer several grilled cheese sandwiches. Plus wine and beer. I wish we'd been hungrier to try another cheese flight and some charcuterie, or even a grilled cheese. Next time.

After The Rhined, we walked around some more, and the market was getting busier as lunch time approached. We bought some teas at Churchill's Teas and checked out Eckerlin Meats where we learned about goetta, which is meat-and-grain sausage primarily composed of ground meat (pork, or pork and beef), oats and spices. It was originally a peasant dish, meant to stretch out servings of meat over several meals to conserve money, so it's kind of like Pennsylvania Dutch scrapple, but instead of cornmeal it has oats. The ingredients are smushed into a loaf and then sliced, you fry it, and enjoy. We bought 4 slices to take home in our cooler. SP likes it, me, not so much because of the oats. But I'm glad I tried it. It's a Cincinnati thing, like our chipped ham bbq.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Thursday Thoughts - Aug 2

Last Sunday just as I started my shower SP came into the bathroom and told me to hurry it up because the hot water tank was leaking. Ugh! Unfortunately, after several phone calls, no one could come replace it until the next day. Happily, I got to shower, Unhappily, SP did not. Well, he did, later that day, in a trickle of ice cold water. Also unhappily, he spent the afternoon sucking a half inch of water out of our utility closet, clearing out the stuff that was stored in there, and trying to blot the carpet in the family room as water seeped out of the closet and into parts of the carpet. I am grateful that our friend T brought over his wet/dry vacuum and that my parents came over to take a look at things (since I cannot easily get downstairs, I wanted extra eyes checking out the disaster). They reassured me that it wasn't too disastrous, but we've been running several fans non-stop to dry out things. The tank was replaced by noon on Monday so I guess we're good for another 10-15 years? Hopefully. The old tank was 14 years old.

But ugh what a pain. 

I think we cursed ourselves because in June on the 10th anniversary of closing on this house, we were talking about being here 10 years, which we didn't really expect, and all the work/money we've put into the house - except for one thing. Pretty much everything else had been replaced/updated (kitchen appliances, furnace, a/c, gas line, roof, gutters, skylight, all flooring except for the already updated bathroom, the other bathroom was completely gutted and re-done) and then a month later that one thing decided to ruin a lovely Sunday.

Last Saturday we went to see Mission Impossible: Fall Out (fun summer action movie) and then to dinner at Downey's House. Instead of the usual Fried Zucchini, we started with Fried Mozzarella Sticks:
I love fried cheese sticks. 

What We're Eating:

  • Grilled Lamb Chops and Fruit Salad
  • Cobb Salad
  • Dessert: Chocolate Chip Cookies 

What We're Watching:

  • We watched Ready Player One, which SP enjoyed more than I did, probably because he got more of the 1980's nerd culture references.
  • We finished Peaky Blinders Season 2. We'll start Season 3 tonight. Really liking this show. And Tom Hardy.
  • Sharp Objects is confusing me with all the quick flashbacks. And gosh the mother is wacky.
  • The Succession finale is this Sunday. Curious to see if Kendall sticks to the plan.
  • Six ended last night. What an ending. I wasn't super surprised, but then again I was surprised at a few things that happened (no spoilers!). I hope there's a Season 3.

What I'm Reading:
The Other Woman, the latest by Daniel Silva, one of my favorite authors. I started Tuesday and finished yesterday. Another good one from Silva. I know life isn't always neat & tidy but gosh I sure wanted that woman to not end up where she ended up (again, no spoilers!).