March 5, 2012

What I've been eating and drinking lately...

It was a dark and stormy Friday night and I was especially happy for weekend time!  I started off with this wine tasting trip to Newport Kroger and with evening plans for live music at Sis's Family Affair in Newport, I kept it local and chose Newport Pizza Co. for dinner.

Fruity beer can be overdone and I'm picky when it comes to the strength of fruit flavor in the beer.  Sea Dog Wild Blueberry is the most authentically-blueberry-tasting beer I've ever tried and I love coming to Newport Pizza just to have a bottle.
For dinner I had the garden salad with the house creamy garlic dressing; it's a very substantial salad and I recommend it as a good precursor to their pizza which has an extremely thin crust.  We had 1/2 pepperoni and 1/2 Zeus.  The Zeus is topped with spinach, roma tomatoes, feta cheese, olive oil, garlic and asiago cheese which adds some depth to the mild flavor of the spinach and tomato.  This is my third time dining at Newport Pizza and my order has never changed and probably never will.
Sunday rolled around and with all my chores completed I texted my friend Katie to see if she wanted to get yogurt.  We're usually plain Janes and go to UDF for yogurt but I was feeling spunky and suggested Orange Leaf in Kenwood.  Surprise, surprise there's also an Orange Leaf in Hyde Park plaza which is closer to both of our houses.  This mess is a mixture of Oreo, brownie batter and cheesecake yogurt topped with baby cheesecake pieces, crushed Oreo cookie, peanuts and just about every kind of candy bar imaginable.  Delicious, of course, but next time I'm going to stick with one flavor of yogurt and a three-topping max.  I recommend sampling each of the yogurt flavors to see what kind you like best before you put it in your cup and commit.  Kind of like dating! 
The following Wednesday I celebrated Leap Day with my second trip to Taste of Belgium Bistro and a few Belgian beers- Blanche de Bruxelles and De Koninck. I prefer the Blanche, it's citrusy and refreshing and goes down oh, oh, oh so smoothly.

For dinner I went with the Carbonnades a l'OTR; slow-cooked braised beef served aside frites with garlic mayo for dipping.  Take a fork-full of beef, put a frite on the end and then shmear it with the garlic mayo if you want a little piece of heaven.
I topped it all off with a piece of the caramel toffee flan.  It was nice but not the best flan I've ever had.  Next time I'll stick with a selection from the dessert case or take a few liege waffles to-go.
Another Friday rolled around and we all left work early and headed to Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill at The Banks.  Not my first choice but I tried getting a table here a couple weeks ago and it was a three and a half hour wait so I figured this was my chance.  It's an OK place for happy hour if you want light beer and bar food but definitely not worth waiting for.  The typical chain restaurant food was decent and I am intrigued by the fried bologna but I'd say their signature dish is light beer in a mason jar.
We split almost every appetizer on the menu including potato skins, fried cheese, chili con queso, fried zucchini and chicken nachos.  The chicken nachos were the best tasting of all the appetizers and very substantial.   For $9.95 you get enough nachos to feed about 4 people so they get points for value.  I asked about happy hour specials and the server told me they didn't have any yet. Huh?  Also, just want to warn you, they don't allow more than 4 credit card transactions at one table.  We had 7 people with separate tabs and luckily 3 of us had cash or we would have been forced to combine checks and pay each other back later.  I thought it was suspicious for a national chain to be unable to handle multiple credit card transactions.
The following evening a friend of mine, who had previously decided she wanted to re-live her childhood, got a group of people together to go roller-skating at Fun Factory in Norwood.  We stopped at Gordo's for a quick dinner beforehand and all I have to say is the Gordo burger is delicious, and therefore, there is really no reason for me to try anything else on their menu.  I went with a side of green beans; nice and garlicky with some roasted mushroom and onion on top.  I also tried a bite of my friend's mac'n cheese and it is definitely one of the better macaroni and cheeses out there; LOTS of flavor in the sauce but not in an annoying way. 
Cerberus, by Thirsty Dog brewing company out of Akron, OH, paired well with my burger but because of the strong malty flavor one was enough. It's a Belgian Triple Ale and based on a description I read online, it's made with one grain and 4 different Belgian yeasts which gives it a very malty taste. 
The spinning Slush Puppy at the rollerink tempted me but I figured enough damage had been done.  Excited to see what this week will bring in terms of dining adventures!

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