Category Archives: Food

A Short Stop in Cincinnati

Today I drove to Cincinnati, went through it, and kept right on going across the Ohio River into Newport, Kentucky. I checked into a hotel, then walked across the Central Bridge into downtown Cincy. One of the first things I noticed upon entering Cincinnati was that the WWE was in town. A fleet of large trucks with large decorated trailers were parked by the waterfront.

John Cena’s trailer.

I walked down Broadway Street, then turned left on 5th Street. I was very impressed by the symmetrical building(s) with the garden in front of it.

Building(s) and gardens in downtown Cincinnati.

I had lunch-dinner at the Rock Bottom Brewery. I ordered tomato bruschetta and cod fish and chips with a Summer Honey Ale and a Red Ale (and I had a taster’s glass of Belgian White Ale). The meal was very good. I particularly enjoyed the Summer Honey Ale. After eating I sat at a table in the grove section of Fountain Square, which is directly in front of Rock Bottom Brewery. A band called Ten Foot Big was playing on the P&G Music Stage. I listened to them and watched people feeding the birds while I tried to will my food to digest so I could have dessert. In the picture below the stage is to the right of the fountain. On the left front edge of the fountain you can see crossed legs and a photographer walking towards them. The legs belonged to a model, who was lounging all over the fountain and being photographed. She was attracting just as much attention as the band.

The grove in Fountain Square.

There were also pigs in the square. I liked the camouflaged pig.

A pig.

I had Graeter’s Ice Cream for dessert. Coconut Chip. I must say that I rate it above the Coconut Chip produced by The PSU Creamery.

Graeter’s Coconut Chip ice cream.

The Chaquita Building.

As I was walking back toward the Ohio River I saw the Chaquita Building. This was of interest to me because I just read a book about the banana and the banana industry last week (Banana: Fate of the fruit that Changed the World by Dan Koeppel). Chaquita plays a large role in banana sales in the U.S. You probably already know that if you notice the stickers on bananas. When I was inside Great American Ballpark I saw a large Chaquita billboard on the outfield wall. Two people sitting behind me noticed it as well. One of them asked the other about the size and competition of the banana industry. It took all my willpower to refrain from turning around and dropping a wealth of banana knowledge on them.

I bought a ticket at an automated ticket machine (ATM) at the ballpark. It was the first time I have used one, and I thought it was a good design. It made the ticket purchase quick and easy–and it did not charge me excessive fees. I got a field box ticket in Section 111, Row E, Seat 10. When I got to my seat I was very surprised how close to the field I was. I was three rows from the left field ball boy.

In the concourse framework I spotted one of my favorite ballpark cuisine quotes:

A quote on the Great American Ballpark concourse.

I enjoy watching the grounds crew get the field ready before a game. The left field foul line was applied with chalk poured from a coffee can into a stencil. Pretty cool.

The grounds crew prepares the left field foul line.

Mascots frolicked on the field before the game. But Mr. Red seemed to be afraid of me–he stayed on the other side of the park. Gapper was friendlier.

Gapper poses with a fan.

I had a good view as the visiting Padres went through pregame warm-ups.

Pregame warm-ups for the San Diego Padres.

I was very happy to see Scott Rolen play again.

Scott Rolen!

Scott is one of my favorite players of all time, and I wish he was still in Philadelphia.

Scott Rolen at the plate.

It ended up being an ugly game for the Reds. They scored 3 runs in the 1st inning, yet gave up 5 in the 2nd inning. It got worse from there. Dusty Baker made many pitching changes.

Dusty Baker walking to the mound; a common occurrence on this night.

When a Reds pitcher struck out a batter the PNC Power Stacks released three spurts of flames. It was pretty cool.

The flames.

All baseball games now seem to require a mascot race. Instead of stuffing an intern into a costume, the Reds use animation. I think the real thing is better.

Who needs a real race? Uh, I’d like one, please.

So the game ended as a loss for the Reds. I really wish I would have gotten to see Aroldis Chapman pitch, but that didn’t happen. After the last out was recorded I slowly left the ballpark.  The WWE event was just ending at a neighboring building, so I walked back to my hotel in a sea of wrestling fans.

Great American Ballpark after the game viewed from across the Ohio River.

It was a very enjoyable half day in Cincy.

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Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY

I arrived in Cooperstown, NY in the early afternoon, checked into my 0 star motel (more on that later), then headed to Brewery Ommegang. Ommegang brews Bavarian-style beers.

When you arrive at the brewery you drive right through the brewing facility, which is pretty cool.

The entrance to Brewery Ommegang.

The visitor center and café are located behind the brewery. I registered for a tour as soon as I arrived, then went to the café to pass an hour.

The Ommegang cafe.

I ordered a Witte Wheat Beer, a turkey baguette sandwich, and Bavarian fries (frites) with Abbey ale and cumin flavored ketchup.

The tour of the facility is quick, but there is time for questions. It concludes at a tasting bar. Alas, I did not participate in this, for I had to drive to my motel and I had consumed my alcohol limit before the tour.

I heard a great exchange between a customer (she looked a lot like Diane Sawyer) and an Ommegang employee.
Customer: “Do you have any light beers? I like light beers. Like Coors Light.”
Employee: “We don’t make anything like Coors Light, but you should try our Witte, it’s the lightest beer we make. I think you’ll like it.”
Customer: “Okay, I’ll try it!” (With enthusiasm)
Unfortunately I did not see the outcome.

I enjoyed the tour, and the café was great! If you find yourself in Cooperstown I recommend visiting Ommegang.

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The Boyer Candy Factory Outlet

When I was a kid both of my grandmothers worked in the same office for a period of time. It was at the family business, located next door to where I grew up, so I was able to visit them at work frequently. And I did.

I must admit that one of the most alluring reasons to visit was the healthy stock of candy and drinks that my grandmothers would grant me access to. The best candy: Boyer Milk Chocolate Mallo Cups (I wrote a post about them a couple of years ago. The best drink: Yoo-hoo, of course. (I suspect the major reason I liked the color yellow as a kid was that both of these sugary treats used yellow labels and packaging.)

Visiting the Boyer Candies Factory was on my list of things I wanted to do while I still live in the middle of Pennsylvania. Yesterday I made it happen.

The Boyer Candies Factory in Altoona, PA.

I was sort of hoping the building would be yellow.

When I walked into the little factory outlet I realized that childhood me would have considered it heaven. In addition to the familiar Mallo Cups there were other candies I did not know Boyer produced. I also learned that Mallo Cups came in different sizes, too. As I walked around I had to fight the urge to buy more chocolate than I could carry to my car (this is not hyperbole–I really had to fight this urge). The 5lb bags of discounted factory rejected candy (with crinkled labels or crooked seams) made me start thinking outrageous things: I’ll get a bag of these, and these, and these, and these, and these, and these, oh wait that’s 30lbs of chocolate. I guess I should put one back. . . 

I exercised some restraint, but still bought a lot of chocolate.

In the end I bought a full display box of classic Milk Chocolate Mallo Cups, a 5lb bag of factory rejected Dark Chocolate Mallo Cups, and a small package of fun bite sized Butterscotch Smoothie Peanut Butter Cups. I had never had the dark chocolate version of the Mallo Cup before (instead of getting one package to test them I bought 5lbs–I was confident I would like them, and I was right). I had also never heard of the Smoothie (they’re good, but not 5lbs good).

If you have never had a Mallo Cup (perish the thought) or if you like them, visit me. I feel like the John D. Rockefeller or Bill Gates of Mallo Cups right now.

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Strawberry Pie: Spring or Summer

The weather has been so beautiful it has me in summer mode. What does summer mode entail? Well, one critical component of summer is strawberry pie. No respectable summer lacks strawberry pie. So this evening I made my first strawberry pie of the year (many more to follow). It might not be summer officially yet, but it is in my heart.

I love the summer.

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Wild Salmon!

Last week I picked up a few wild caught salmon fillets. Tonight I added salmon to my list of 2012 fish. I baked a fillet, then squeezed lemon juice over it and added a dash of pepper. I had some broccoli florets, so I boiled them briefly and seasoned them with a touch of salt. I tossed some carrots in a frying pan with a little butter, salt, and pepper. Then after they had softened a bit, I added some honey. Honey glaze is a beautiful thing.

Fish, florets, and roots. Sounds like dinner.

Salmon moves right to the number one spot on my fish hierarchy, though it has to share the ranking with haddock. I’ll need a larger sample size before I can decide which one of them I like better.

I’m busy right now with writing, analyzing, and thinking about running a short experiment this spring.

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