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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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Archive for the ‘Cincinnati’ Category

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 @ 08:01 AM

Well another year has come and gone and Pop Culture Cuisine is officially a two years old!  This year our lives have changed dramatically in many ways, including the addition of a new family member.  We also may not have traveled as far as in the past, but Adam and I still love finding new ways to seek out culinary hot spots wherever our travels take us.  We have compiled a list of some of our favorite and not so favorite spots to share with you with links so you can read our reviews for yourself.  We STILL love food and hope to continue to share lots of great finds with you all along the way.

Signature Dish:

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1. Al’s Beef’s “Italian Beef Sandwich” – Chicago, IL

2. Kim & Scott’s Café Twist’s “Twist Your Own” – Chicago, IL

3. The Varsity’s “Chili Dog” – Atlanta, GA

 

Taste:

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1. Hot Doug’s – Chicago, IL

2. Al’s Beef – Chicago, IL

3. The Depot American Diner – Chicago, IL

 

Ambiance:

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1. The Walnut Room – Chicago, IL

2. Slow’s Bar-BQ – Detroit, MI

3. Lynn’s Paradise Café – Louisville, KY

 

Service:

1. Tufano’s Vernon Park TapJoe and his staff – Chicago, IL

2. KouzzinaJohn – Orlando, FL

3. Emeril’sSpencer – Orlando, FL

 

Price:

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1. The Varsity – Atlanta, GA

2. Al’s Beef – Chicago, IL

3. South Side Soda Shop – Goshen, IN

 

Overall Top 5:

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1. Al’s Beef – Chicago, IL

2. Hot Doug’s – Chicago, IL (A VERY close 2nd place)

3. The Walnut Room – Chicago, IL

4. Kouzzina – Orlando, FL

5. Emeril’s – Orlando, FL

Top 5 Biggest Letdowns…Not worth the Hype:

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1. The Whale’s Rib – Deerfield Beach, FL

2. Brennan’s – New Orleans, LA

3. Camp Washington – Cincinnati, OH

4. Graeter’s – Cincinnati, OH

5. The Loveless Café – Nashville, TN

Best of the Rest…Honorable Mention:

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Most Fun Kim & Scott’s Café Twist – Chicago, IL

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Most Memorable Kouzzina – Orlando, FL

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Most Worth the Wait Hot Doug’s – Chicago, IL

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Most Outrageous Dish Bub’s Burgers – Carmel, IN

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Best Excursion Epcot International Food and Wine Festival – Orlando. FL

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Best Sandwich (Burgers Included) The Depot American Diner – Chicago, IL

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Best Sweet Treat Emeril’s – Orlando, FL

Friday, December 9, 2011 @ 02:12 PM

034Another week has almost come and gone and once again I’m trying to find time to blog…I don’t know how these full time mom bloggers post each and every day, because I can hardly find time to do it once a week!  But, I also have to admit I know how to waste time with the best of them…in addition to taking care of my lovely little girl, I find many a new way to waste time on a daily basis…hello Pinterest, Facebook, and making photobooks and videos of my little cutie pie.

But enough about my lack ability to prioritize my time and onto a topic I love dearly…ICE CREAM!

Adam will be the first to tell you that I am never one to turn down a scoop, nor one to even say it isn’t the right season.  I love ice cream year round and in just about any way, shape, and form you can get it.  I have lived a fair amount of places in my lifetime and I have come to discover than just about every city in the U.S. has its own favorite ice cream joint, and the next stop on our 2011 PCC tour is no different.

Being that my father was born and bred in Cincinnati, I was well aware of our next spot.  Graeter’s is a lifelong favorite of his, and in fact it was a pretty great day for him when Kroger began selling their famed ice cream nationwide. So knowing that we were going to be in Cincinnati last March, we knew we couldn’t visit the city without paying this famed ice creamery a visit, especially since we had just seen it featured on The Food Network’s “Food Feuds.”  Also, being newly pregnant at the time and fully ready to indulge, I was all about getting ice cream!

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Chocolate chip (the flavor they featured on “Food Feuds”) has never been my go to flavor, so I went with mint chocolate and double chocolate chip. However, looking back, I should have gone with the traditional after Adam gave me all the major chocolate chunks in his because they were dark chocolate and he doesn’t really like that kind.

We both agreed it wasn’t anything outstanding, but will still not turn it down if offered. It is Ice Cream, after all. 😉 In truth, I think ice cream in a nostalgic treat based on your city, and I have yet to have any ice cream anywhere in the country that was so out of this world I would have to go back to have it.  I’m not sure that any of them are really all that different or are more wonderful than one another.  Rather I think a lot of these famed sweet shops are more nostalgic to the people who grew up with them.  Meaning, I think that their ice cream, while for sure tasty, is really no better than many others I’ve tried. But if you grew up eating it, it is probably the best you have ever had!  Just ask me and Adam our opinions of Ted Drewes…it holds a much higher regard for me having grown up there than it does him for sure!

In the end, ice cream is like pizza…even when bad it is still pretty good!  So that being said, I LOVE me some ice cream and I enjoyed getting to visit Graeter’s and try it, but it wasn’t so life changing that I need to have it all the time. Bottom line, while we enjoyed it, we were not WOWED by it. But for all you Cincinnattians out there, I believe it is the best for you. We all have our home town favorites. This just wasn’t ours. While very tasty, I don’t know that it could ever come in first place.

SIGNATURE DISH: Ice cream made the old fashioned way…with butter fat!

TASTE: We went two nights in a row, so clearly it wasn’t inedible. It just wasn’t anything special and definitely not worth the hype.

AMBIANCE: This particular Graeters was neat in that it sat right on the center square of the city. We were able to get our ice cream and sit in the square and watch the scene.

PRICE: I am not positive what we paid exactly, but I remember thinking it was likely a bit pricier than your typical scoop.  In the grand scheme of things, we probably could have bought a gallon for what we paid for 2 scoops. I guess that’s the beauty of marketing and having a tradition like they have; and it doesn’t’ seem outrageous until you realize what you could buy it for at the grocery store.

SERVICE: Both nights we visited we were moved through the line very quickly and kindly. The employees never seem stressed at a line that is practically out the door and are very willing to let you make up your mind and move you through as easily as possible.

Overall, other than the fond memories of enjoying our scoop while sitting outside in the city square, I won’t dote on Graeters much.  I give it 1 ½ ‘Little Piggies.’

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011 @ 07:08 AM

048We are down to the wire as far as when this baby could arrive, 2 1/2 weeks to be exact; and while we are super excited, we are also a little nervous as far as what to expect bringing a new little one into our brood.  One thing you quickly realize is how drastically your life is about to change and how this little human will not only depend on you for everything, but they aren’t like a house guest who just comes and stays for the weekend.  So…you start to think about a lot of things. Like, although she isn’t going to be eating “real” food for quite some time, it does make you begin to really consider what types of food choices you will be making to feed your family. In particular, how will our grocery shopping change?

We live in a day and age where it isn’t as simple as just going to the corner store anymore.  Now there are choices from what types of food to buy to where it comes from, and even the type of store you would like to purchase it from.  Now I am all for healthy eating and I truly do try to feed Adam and me as healthily as possible, with limited amounts of processed food coming into our house. But it has become increasingly clear in the past 10 years that even WHERE you buy your groceries is a “BIG DEAL” to some people.  With bigger all natural food markets on the scene, it has even become quite political.

But I’m not here to get into all of that.  Instead I want to focus on the uniqueness of these newer age markets and how they offer unusual and hard to find products; and as you’re reading this, stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes are already popping into your mind….right? However, there is a grocery store near Cincinnati, OH that puts them all to shame…Jungle Jim’s International Market

Started in 1974 as a small food stand, Jungle Jim’s has since grown to over 6 1/2 acres, 300,000-square-foot food tourist destination, offering 150,000 different items from over 75 countries from around the world.  And we ain’t just talking about only organic, or international foods…or any one particular specialty. Nope…., rather it is anything and everything you can possibly think of with every country having its own section of the store, with a produce section that is as large as some grocery stores themselves, and everything in between.

Although we weren’t sure if we could enjoy a meal there or not, we figured as foodies we needed to experience just the shock and awe of walking around a store that large with that many products…, an amusement park of groceries of sorts.  We’d seen it on a few television shows, most notably Food Network’s “Unwrapped” and Travel Channel’s “Top Ten Public Restrooms,” but it was even more awe inspiring than we thought; and what was even more shocking was it appeared that many seem to do their regular weekly shopping there. I’m still not sure I would want to take on having to walk that much in search of my items weekly, but for unusual ingredients or fun items, this certainly would be the store to seek them out at.  Not only will you experience every food imaginable, they may even have a few surprises around the store…including the crazy bathrooms (which are meant to be deceiving!)…

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Pretty crazy huge huh?  Like I said, I can’t imagine ever “running to the store” and THAT BEING THE STORE!!! But if you needed everything under the sun or some really random ingredients, Jim’s would for sure be the place to go.

We were a little disappointed that besides a sandwich shop, they don’t have any other spots to get food. Still, we did enjoy our time walking around and taking in all the unique sights of this grocery store; so although it is a bit outside of Cincinnati, I would say if you are looking for something to do or kill some time when you are in the area, a visit to Jungle Jim’s would be a definite must…, heck, just for the shear SIZE of it!

SIGNATURE DISH: For this excursion that would be hard to say, because they aren’t really known for a dish, but rather ingredients; and although they aren’t dishing out food to eat per se, as a Foodie, I’d say their signature is that they have about EVERY signature thing you could ever want!

TASTE: Again, hard to qualify, because although we sampled a few things here and there around the store, they aren’t really serving up food; and unlike some grocery stores, they don’t have a place to really get a meal outside of the small sandwich shop that is attached.  They really are just specializing in the ingredients.

AMBIANCE: This is for sure the stand out category in the case of Jungle Jim’s. It’s truly another world EXPERIENCE!  I mean…how many grocery stores have you been to where there are animatronic food, cans, etc. throughout the store, a real full-size bathroom that appears to be a porta potty, and every food ingredient and type of food you could possible think of?  It takes quite awhile just to walk around and take it all in. 6 1/2 acres ain’t no joke!

PRICE: Because we chose not to buy anything, it’s hard to say how their prices compared. But, the prices didn’t look half bad as we were walking around.  Truthfully, it would be hard to know unless you were shopping there on a regular basis.

SERVICE: With a store this large, they have 300 or more employees and they seemed extremely attentive and well versed in all of the products that we carry.  We were able to ask a few employees some very specific questions and they could point or lead us in the right direction, even though we still managed to get lost!

As typically happens when going to stores like this, I was super jealous Jim’s is available in that area and that we have nothing even close to us like this; and while I likely wouldn’t shop their super often, I was so in awe of the shear size of this place, I think it would be fun to frequent.  Jungle Jim’s International Market is truly a “must see to believe” type of experience, so if you are ever passing through the Cincinnati area, the Jungle Jim’s Safari awaits! Perhaps you’ll even see a few ‘Little Piggies’…4 of them.

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