August 19, 2012

Maribelle's Tavern

I dined at Maribelle's a few times when it was located on Eastern Avenue and each time I walked away with a different impression and experience.  My menu choices previously ranged from egg salad sandwich, to pesto pizza to scallops with risotto.  Although I loved the charm of their location in the old Du Drop Inn, the feel in the new location is more consistent and the menu seems more defined.

A burger isn’t the first thing that catches my eye on most menus but I had a feeling I wouldn't regret this choice.  At a reasonable price of $13 the burger was juicy, delicious and generously topped with all kinds of fresh ingredients including- bacon, white cheddar, tomato and greens and served with a side of duck fat Yukon gold rosemary fries.
I was expecting the burger portion to be smaller so I also ordered the chilled asparagus soup and the swordfish ceviche.  Both of these items were on the daily specials menu. As suspicious as I was of chilled asparagus, the soup was amazing.  Very rich and creamy and full of all kinds of things one should not eat on a regular basis; delicious none the less.   
This was the first ceviche I have tried and it was a very refreshing appetizer and enough to pass around the table for everyone to try.  Because it's so full on flavor, I don't really think it's something I could eat a lot of but I enjoyed the dish.  It was not served with enough bread and they gladly brought out a few more slices.

Overall I enjoyed my meal and will be back.  The menu was varied with a nice selection of starters, salads, sandwiches and some unique sides to choose from.  I can see myself going back to enjoy a Caesar salad and an order of the gravy fries if I’m not looking for something as substantial as the burger or other sandwiches, because, you know, fries topped with gravy is a lighter option;).  One of their daily soups and a light appetizer would make a great light lunch. 
I was much too full to consider dessert but the brownie trio sounds amazing. Excited for a new restaurant choice in the Oakley area, hope Mariabelle’s continues to enjoy much success.
Maribelle's eat + drink on Urbanspoon

August 4, 2012

Abigail Street

A recent stop for June ROTM (restaurant of the month) brought us to Abigail Street.  I've been to Abigail Street once before but it was more of light appetizer and wine evening and I was looking forward to returning to have my complete fill of their tapas-style offerings and, of course, more wine.

I started with a choose-your-own flight; enjoyed all three but my favorite was the La Posta Malbec. 
For the past month or so, sweet pea crostini seems to be popping up a lot around me- online on other food blogs, in magazines and now on menus at local restaurants.  When I saw the sweet pea and mascarpone crostini on the menu at Abigail Street I knew I had to try it.  It was everything I'd hoped it would be.  The sweet pea mascarpone had the subtlest hint of mint and the bread was soft with a slight crunch; I could not get enough of the buttery goodness. The portion was substantial and plenty to share around the table. 
I followed the crostini with the bouillabaise, a first for me.  It was different than I expected; in a good way.  The saffron broth was thick and creamy.  I thought boulliabaisse had more of a thin, tomatoey, not-creamy-at-all broth but I was wrong.  The rouille (after some wikipedia-ing I learned is a broth made with olive oil, bread crumbs, garlic, saffron and chili peppers) managed to be light, yet rich at the same time.  But not so rich that I couldn't finish it. Make sense? Amazing. The bowl was filled with shrimp, halibut, and mussels and a couple slices of bread for dipping in rouille.
I am a self-professed volume-eater.  I like to look at my plate and see a large amount of food.  This can cause a certain level of anxiety for me at tapas places.  The greedy little-girl in me comes out and fears she will go hungry and there won't be enough of something she likes and wants to keep eating.  No worries. Between the crostini and the boulliabaisse I was probably over-satieted.  I recommend the crostini for sharing as it contained a large amount of bread; especially if you order a dish that comes with sliced bread.  I would order both dishes again, although I can't help but be tempted by the other items on the menu.  How can I limit myself to the same two choices when there is so much to explore?

My friend ordered the fattoush and the portion was huge; family-style for sure.  We passed the dish around the table a couple times and she took home the rest.  The fattoush contained yellow pepper, radish, tomato, cucumber, pita and zataar- a dried mixture of Mediterranean/Middle Eastern herbs.
I didn't try the lamb sliders and I'm hesitant to put anything on the blog that I have not tried, but they looked and smelled so amazing that I can't help but talk about them.  They were topped with goat cheese and what I believe was a mixture of sauteed onion, tomato and pepper; don't quote me on that one.   
I walked away from my second visit at Abigail Street much the same way I walked away from the first- anxiously anticipating my next visit.

Abigail Street on Urbanspoon

What I've been eating lately...

Over the past month or so I've dined-out on numerous occasions, snapped lots of pictures and had every intention of blogging about each experience.  Right.  Didn't quite happen.  My jacked up laptop keyboard is not helping the situation but I'm coping; with food!  So instead of feeling bad-food-blogger guilt I've written another LONG post summarizing what I've been eating lately.  Enjoy!

First up is the quick stop I made to Blue Elephant for lunch.  I was pescetarian for a couple weeks recently, seriously, meat just didn't taste that good.  So I went with a veggie yellow curry and spring roll.  It was a solid meal but not so good that I've craved this dish since then.

A couple days later I met fellow food blogger Sharon at Second Sunday on Main and we went to Senate for brunch. SO happy we went with Senate as a few days later they made the sad announcement they were stopping brunch service. Completely understandable, and again, happy I was able to dine for brunch.  I loved the breakfast burrito; full of eggs, sausage (my vegetarianism was come-and-go), cheese and the sauces on top were divine.  A couple roasted potatoes on the side rounded out the dish and I had plenty for breakfast the next day.  My bloody Mary was probably one of the best I've ever had.  Since I've just started drinking bloody Mary I may not be the most seasoned critic, but I made funny sounds every time I took a sip, that's how I know it was good.

I stopped by the Market Garden with some co-workers during the World Choir Games festivities and tried a couple food trucks.  First up is the shrimp and grits etoufee from New Orleans To Go.  I also stopped by EAT! for the mixed green salad to balance out the meal.  Same with the order of fried Oreos, obvious part of a balanced lunch. 

The following Saturday I went to the City Flea at Washington Park and had a great time.  My heart was set on trying C'est Cheese but they were sold-out!  No worries, I will stalk that truck until I finally get my hands on their apple butter and pepperjack grilled cheese.  I coped with the loss by discovering brownies from The Mary Jane Brownie Company.  After sampling each kind I chose the caramel sea salt to take home.  These brownies are organic and so fresh.  The owner told me she wanted to mimic the type of brownies her grandmother use to make for her as a child.  A gift to the world if there ever was one!
The next day was Bunbury Music Festival and just as I headed downtown the heavens opened up.  I had no other choice but to pull over to the side of the road and find a restaurant until the storm passed, duh.  Since I was headed north on Monmouth I figured it was the perfect opportunity to add another stop to my tour-de-Monmouth.  I went with Sis's Family Affair for their brunch menu and chose a basic eggs over easy, biscuits and gravy, goetta and a single pancake.  The pancake was the best part, there's something about pancakes from a greasy spoon restaurant that makes me so incredibly happy. 

Bunbury was a ton of fun, the headliners were awesome but I loved some of the local bands on the smaller stages.  After several hours of music, sun and beer it was high time for dinner.  We went brick-oven pizza with Fireside Pizza. The margherita was delicious, I "mmmmmmmm'd" after each bite. 
The following weekend I was shopping with my sister for our upcoming girl's trip to Miami and hunger struck us both.  She recommended The Korea House in Harper's Point and I was elated to have my first taste of Dolsot Bibimbop.  I ordered it with beef and shrimp and the shrimp portion was extremely generous, the quality of the beef was so so. We also split the crunchy roll and it was amazing and we devoured it very quickly.  The bibimbop did not have as much flavor as I was expecting but I'd love to try it at another Korean restaurant to compare. 
There have been several stops at various Orange Leaf locations throughout Cincinnati.  The last few times I've visited, the white chocolate flavor has not been offered.  I've been told they are NOT discontinuing the it, fingers-crossed.  After tasting all the other flavors, cookies and cream seemed to be the best substitute; Heath Bar and rainbow sprinkles are my go-to toppings combo.
That sums up most of my food accomplishments for the last month.  I have a couple "real" reviews in the works that I would like to dedicate an entire post to.  Hope to get to that soon, but in the meantime I'm sure I'll keep eating more food than I can manage to write about, hope you do too!