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$20 OR LESS : MIAMISBURG , Scrambler Marie’s

Sundays.

A day for rest, relaxation, and BRUNCH.

Woke up this morning daydreaming about eggs.

And mimosas.

Lots of mimosas.

There are certainly places in the Miami Valley with mimosas for brunch, but bottomless drinks I have yet to encounter (If you know of a place with bottomless mimosas for Sunday brunch, please let me know!).

But countless places for eggs. And the words appeared in my head like a cloud: “Scrambler Marie’s.”

A view from my table
A view from my table

I still hadn’t been there yet, and decided today was the day.

If you haven’t been yet, it’s in Miamisburg diagonally across the street from Lexis Nexis headquarters in the strip called “The Exchange.”

Situated on the corner of one of the strip mall facets of “The Exchange” next to an Indian food restaurant (Namaste India, a great one I’ll add), and a nail salon, you can’t miss it when you’re driving up 741 towards Austin Landing from the Dayton Mall.

The atmosphere:

The view from my table.
The view from my table.


When you walk in, you’ll immediately notice how bright it is. With windows surrounding the front walls of the restaurant, along with the brightly painted colors of the walls along with artwork lining those walls, its atmosphere is warm and inviting. There are tables of many different sizes all over the restaurant. It made me think of a puzzle, with different sections bound together by an oasis of bright colored planters at the top of these sections. I was seated in the far back corner of the restaurant. I had gotten there in the early afternoon, and I noticed empty tables in my section covered with remnants of what appeared to be families who had eaten there. The waitstaff eventually cleaned those tables up. Pleasant classical music played on the speakers above. The table I sat at was really big (seated 6), and had a cute little plant on it at the end, along with the typical diner accommodations (jelly/salt/pepper/sugar). There were also creamers in a little dish on the table, including french vanilla!

 

What I ate/drank: Regular coffee with French vanilla creamer & a South of the Border omelette (Chorizo sausage, green chilies, onions, salsa & cheese, topped with sour cream and chives), hash browns, biscuit & butter.

Price: 

Coffee – $2.29

South of the Border meal – $8.79

Total plus tax – $11.88

My thoughts:

A few minutes after I sat down, I was quickly greeted by a friendly server who immediately asked if I wanted coffee.

Any place that serves you coffee and water in an individual coffee pot / caraf like this, gets automatic points in my book.

photo 2(1) photo 1(2)Never had to worry about asking for refills during my time there, as you had it right in front of you. The coffee pot gets you about 3.5-4 cups, which is perfect for an individual or for two (I definitely drank my entire coffee pot).

Glancing over the menu, I knew I wanted eggs but couldn’t pinpoint what to get. If this ever happens to you, ask your server what they recommend. I had wanted an omelette, and my server recommended the South of the Border omelette to me. I’m so glad I listened to her.

South of the Border omelette with hash browns & biscuit.  $8.79
South of the Border omelette with hash browns & biscuit.
$8.79

Not too long after I ordered, this beautiful plate came to my table.

Two top criteria for a good omelette in my eyes are the eggs (are they moist/fluffy or flat/dry), and flavor (is it flavorful or bland).

This omelette is what an omelette should be.

The eggs were moist and fluffy, and not too oily/greasy. Each bite was PACKED with flavor, especially when you had the spicy, yet earthy kick of the chorizo sausage. Huge chunks of sausage in each bite, along with the massive, gooey blend of the cheeses on top and in the middle of the omelette.

I was introduced to salsa and eggs several years ago at a Waffle House. My dad and I were taking a road trip from Myrtle Beach, S.C. back to Long Island, and stopped at a Waffle House. I found myself pouring salsa and/or hot sauce on my eggs and grits there, as it was conveniently on the table. I’ve been doing it (for the most part) since.

The big chunks of tomato in the salsa along with the onions and herbs mixed together well with the rest of the flavors. And the sour cream and chives on top of the omelette were like the icing to a cake: magic.

The hash browns at first glance looked similar to those of the homefries at Friendly’s. They were alright, some had a little crisp to them, some didn’t. They weren’t greasy, but I added pepper and ketchup to them for extra flavor.

My biscuit was good, especially with the butter. If you order a biscuit from its “bread pantry” (when you order omelettes you pick something from its “bread pantry” along with a “Scrambler Side”), it comes with a little packet of honey. I opted out of using honey, thought that would be too sweet. It wasn’t super flaky, but for what it’s worth, it was good.

Why you should go:
You need to go for the eggs. Hands down. Fluffy and packed with flavor. You also need to come if you’re a coffee lover and would like your own little pot of coffee to start your day. The atmosphere is relaxed, and you’ll find people of all ages and groups big or small inside this bright, airy establishment. There’s also the option of sitting outside, which I was tempted to do on this nice cool day. It’s a no frills breakfast/brunch/lunch place with good food at good prices. There’s options for your eggs: from omelettes to skillets to “benny’s” (eggs benedict), and if you order a full order of pancakes or waffles it comes on a “bottomless” plate. There’s also a selection of burgers/sandwiches if you’re looking for lunch. With locations not only in the area but in other parts of Ohio, it’s convenient too!

Location/Hours:

Scrambler Marie’s

9600 Springboro Pike (RT 741)
Miamisburg, Ohio 45342
(937) 439-2685

6:30 a.m. to  3 p.m. daily

DAYTON: Half Price Sushi Wednesdays at Sima

I love a good sale.

And when I went to Sima in Kettering tonight and discovered it was half price sushi night, I couldn’t resist.

Owners Mr. and Mrs. Kim are all about having high quality, fresh ingredients in their menu items.

And with many creative sushi rolls to choose from (that the owners and staff come up with), some of those being on the special rolls menu (which at normal price, can get expensive), trying rolls like this at half price is a great deal.

Sima has a very friendly staff where if you go, they will remember who you are. Depending on the server/staff, they will also remember things you like on the menu.

The restaurant has a sushi bar, as well as booths, tables, an area for Korean BBQ (grills and all), as well as a separate room that can be used for parties.

If you order off the sushi menu on half price Wednesdays, the staff gives you a sheet of paper and pencil where it lists the rolls in play that night. You can mark off which ones you want and how much you want, as well as a listing of their prices including the discount.

Here are the rolls I had:

1) Monkey Brains (not actual monkey brains, and a special dish that’s listed on the wall above the sushi bar. One of the owners came up with this dish, which is actually deep fried mushrooms stuffed with spicy crab and cream cheese, topped with masago and sauce). Loved the mix of the creaminess and meatiness of the mushrooms/cream cheese along with the crunch from the outer coating, as well as the nice kick from the sauce on top.

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2) Playboy roll (on special menu, its a roll that’s set on fire and gives off a nice grilled taste, along with a tanginess from the sauces on top.)

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3) Left: Shrimp Crunch roll (on special menu, a deep fried tempura roll with shrimp, cream cheese, etc., great flavors with the shrimp and a little crunch from the veggies inside and the coating outside along with the creaminess inside of the cream cheese), Right: golden California roll (deep fried California roll. Melt in your mouth. Amazing.) Loved the sauce on top (what appeared to be a spicy mayo sauce).

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If you’re looking for a good deal mid week whether it be with friends, or going solo, Sima half price sushi Wednesdays equals good food and good times.

Sima Restaurant

1771 Woodman Dr

Kettering, OH 45420

Mon – Thu: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, 2:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Fri: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, 2:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Sat: 12:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm

TOLEDO: Real Seafood Company

 

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TOP PHOTO: Toledo skyline BOTTOM PHOTO: The Docks, Toledo.

There’s something magical about the water. The salty air, the breeze that sweeps your face, and when the sun shines on it, how that water glistens.

I really wanted to be near the water this past weekend. Living in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey growing up, I remember from being a little kid up until now always connecting with water, whether it be a beach, lake, pond, etc.

This past week I was really craving that experience. Cincinnati and Columbus are both cities I’ve been to here in Ohio that are on the water, but as I love to explore and venture to new cities, I decided to travel north to Toledo.

When traveling to any new city, a great guide to check out before you go is the city’s tourism (CVB) website. In this case, I was browsing Destination Toledo for my “plan.”

Perusing the restaurant section, I read about this place near the water called “The Docks,” in which the website described it as the following:

“Discover acclaimed waterfront dining at The Docks, a restaurant complex on the banks of the Maumee River. Savor daily fresh catches from Real Seafood Co., which also features a raw oyster bar. ”

I immediately knew I needed to check this out. After driving through the downtown area (which reminded me of the city of Dayton except Toledo on a huge body of water), I drove over to The Docks, which is directly across the Toledo skyline (see picture above, great photo opportunities here!)

I got there in the afternoon, so it was perfect timing for lunch. I had a choice to make, there were choices such as  Zia’s, an Italian restaurant, Real Seafood Company with its fresh seafood, El Vaquero at The Docks, Mexican food.

Of those three, I next consulted with the app Urbanspoon for user reviews of these restaurants.

After reading them, ultimately, my gut was saying, “I WANT SEAFOOD!”

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I’m SO glad I made that choice. Here’s why:

Lobster!
Lobster!

The atmosphere: Immediately walking into the restaurant, I was impressed by the decor, and the friendly waitstaff. Right off the bat the staff were very kind and as the hostess escorted me to my table, I had told her how it was my first time to Toledo. The waiter I had overheard this, and later in the meal, chatted with me about Toledo, as well as Dayton (he used to come to the Gem City to visit). Two words to sum up the decor: classy and bold. There are details in the walls, from the nautical paintings that were painted on the walls, to the words above the open kitchen listing the fish the restaurant serves, to the colorful display on the wall that’s near the restrooms, to one part of the restaurant with the beautiful mesh covering a section of booths. This restaurant is HUGE,  an open floor plan that has different levels, including a big glass fireplace in the middle of the restaurant you can be seated next to. There’s a hanging lobster from the ceiling (see picture above!). The seating itself was comfortable, tables and chairs as well as booths (I sat in a booth). And with it being right on the water, there were great views of the Toledo skyline that you can sit and look at. Another thing I loved, love songs were playing throughout the restaurant (i.e. “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal).

What I ate/drank: Rolls, bleu cheese cole slaw, Parmesan Encrusted George’s Bank Lemon Sole with skillet fried hash brown potatoes , chocolate decadence cake, diet coke.

Price: The Parmesan encrusted sole was $14.95, which came with the homemade rolls and bleu cheese cole slaw, on top of the side dish of the hash browns.

With the cake, diet cokes, and tip, I paid a total of  $31.90.

My thoughts: When I first got there, I had asked the waiter to break down for me the popular dishes. He explained how the fish is fresh caught and fresh delivered to the restaurant each morning. He took me through the lunch menu and which fresh fish I should look out for, the featured specials (which change frequently), but it was when he got excited about the Parmesan encrusted sole in the lemon sauce, I got excited and was sold on that. The service was a good pace: I wasn’t rushed yet the food came out at a reasonable time. The waiter first brought out warm homemade rolls with perfectly cut triangles of butter.

House made rolls. These came with my lunch entree.
House made rolls. These came with my lunch entree.

The fact these were served warm really made them amazing. When you cut these open, there’s fresh garlic inside, on top of the poppy and sesame seeds you see on the top there. They were light and not overly dough-y. Delicious.

Homemade bleu cheese coleslaw vinaigrette
Homemade bleu cheese coleslaw vinaigrette

The waiter then brought a small dish of its homemade bleu cheese cole slaw. It wasn’t the creamy kind, which I loved. The cole slaw was light, the vegetables were crunchy, not soggy, and the blend of the big chunks of bleu cheese and the fresh black pepper I had the waiter put on was a great “appetizer” before the main event.

PARMESAN ENCRUSTED GEORGE’S BANK LEMON SOLE.
PARMESAN ENCRUSTED GEORGE’S BANK LEMON SOLE with skillet fried hash brown potatoes, $14.95 (LUNCH PORTION)

The main event was incredible. I’ve had a fair share of seafood in my life thus far, and this was really some of the best I’ve had. The crust and the lemon sauce really brought it over the top, along with the scallion garnish. The sole itself was cooked great (moist, not dry, bright white inside). The crust was crisp but not super greasy. The lemon sauce, paired with the Parmesan from the crust was a nice sweet/savory blend I enjoyed. And the waiter recommended I get the hash browns crispy, which I’m glad I did, because those were great too, not greasy, but with a great crunch.

Homemade decadence chocolate cake.
Homemade decadence chocolate cake.

My sweet tooth couldn’t resist the also homemade chocolate decadence cake: a flourless chocolate cake in a tart berry sauce. It was magic. Creamy, chocolate filled bites of heaven.

Why you should go:  The seafood was some of the best I’ve ever had. The atmosphere is beautiful: you can take in views of the city of Toledo on the water while enjoying VERY fresh seafood. The restaurant is a 2014 Diners Choice winner from the popular online reservation site OpenTable, and if you go on a busy night or weekend, especially now that its getting warmer, I recommend making a reservation either on that website or by phone. If you go in the afternoon however, you won’t have trouble getting a table. The restaurant also has a six-foot raw bar with clams, mussels, and other fresh catches. The restaurant is so big it can accommodate big parties as well.  And if you don’t love seafood,  not to worry. The menu also has chicken and steak entrees as well as a variety of sandwiches and burgers. There’s something for everyone. As I flat out said on my personal Facebook page, RUN, don’t walk to Real Seafood Company!

Location/Hours:
22 Main St.
Toledo, OH 43605

Reservations at:
(888) 456-3463 (DINE)

Hours of Operation
Mon-Thursday 11:00am-10:00pm
Friday 11:00am-11:00pm
Saturday 11:30am-11:00pm
Sunday 12:00pm-9:00pm

Happy Hours
Sunday-Friday 4:00pm-Close (drink specials end at 9:00pm)
(Bar & lounge area only)

realseafoodcotoledo.com

DAYTON: Tank’s Bar & Grill

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“Stories in these walls.”

As I sat on a cushy, wide bar stool at Tank’s Bar & Grill in Dayton, that’s the phrase I kept thinking of.

There are stories about the items hung on their walls. There must be. And I left this afternoon with many questions as to the stories behind all of it.

It’s Sunday.

And Sunday means one of two things: Sunday brunch, or Sunday dinner.

A fun favorite of my friends and I is to get brunch. Living on Long Island/Connecticut/Syracuse it was all about the diners and breakfast places. But when visiting a few of my friends in Manhattan ( and now Queens where these ladies live), we would partake in a brunch on Sunday, and yes, some booze would be involved.

Living in Dayton, I haven’t found that go-to “diner” yet. In fact, I haven’t seen a 24-hour diner here at all (if you know of one, please! let me know).

But today’s mission was to find a brunch that not only had good food, but a good breakfast beverage to go with it.

Which brings me to Tank’s. I’ve been here in Dayton officially 9 months now, and while I’m good at directions, I definitely had to use the GPS on this one. I had no idea where I was when I pulled into the neighborhood where Tank’s is situated. All I knew was, I was somewhere in Dayton, but nowhere near downtown.

I’ve read many reviews about Tank’s, on Urbanspoon, Yelp and Google, many praising its breakfast and staff, “best bar food ever”, a “watering hole”, “dive bar,” , and others saying its prices are “getting out of control” and one going out on a limb saying “you might break your legs leaving the place because of the stairs!”

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Clearly, there’s a lot of hype about the place, and today I wanted to see what the fuss is about.

The entrance
The entrance way.

The atmosphere:  RELAXED. The entrance is on the side, not the front, so you want to make sure you park on the side road next to Tank’s or actually on the side street parallel parking (that’s what I did). On weekends it definitely gets crowded. I walked in and you have to walk down this interesting set of stairs to enter (you’ll see what I mean in the picture), it felt like I was about to enter another world. I walked in to a crowd of people sitting at tables in an open atmosphere. I didn’t see a host. So I went straight to the bar and found a seat right on the end. It’s definitely not a new place whatsoever.

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Tank’s has been in business since 1987, and there was a lot of wooden decor to go around, including the wooden bar and the big cushy bar seats to sit at. There was a TON on the walls and at the bar alone to look at.  In one corner, on the ceiling, a working traffic light. In front of me, a stained glass sign that says “Tank’s Whine Bar” and a picture of a wine glass. The staff was VERY nice, I felt welcomed flying solo at the place. They were very friendly. On the speakers, an eclectic mix, from Bob Dylan, Mumford and Sons, to James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing”, which really stuck in my mind sitting there. There was a wooden card catalog on the bar, and right in front of me, a glass-enclosed cabinet, one shelf having bobbleheads in it (one looking like a Dayton Dragons one? possibly?). Above me, hanging plants lining the bar, as well as lining the restaurant’s walls. All of this left me thinking what it all symbolized and why it was put there, it made me think.

What I ate/drank: 1 mimosa, and the Country Gentlemen meal (three eggs, choice of ham, bacon or sausage, toast and hash browns) with scrambled eggs, sausage links, whole wheat toast and hash browns with cheese.

Price: For both plus tax, $15.54.

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Mimosa, $5.25.

My thoughts: The mimosa was perfection. It tasted like Orangina in a glass, which to me says they know how to make a perfectly balanced mimosa, those pros! My waitress was telling the guy next to me that they can customize it to your liking too (i.e. adding strawberries, a splash of cranberry, etc.). The drink was excellent, and a big mimosa at that. I noticed they used Cook’s Spumante little bottles as the champagne of choice, which is a good, cheap option. I had only wished it was a little less than $5.25 per glass.

Country Gentlemen plate (L-R: Hash browns with cheese, toast, scrambled eggs and sausage links)
Country Gentlemen plate (L-R: Hash browns with cheese, toast, scrambled eggs and sausage links)

The food came very fast, which was great. The first thing I noticed was the toast had a piece of char on it (which I took off), and that it wasn’t buttered, which surprised me. If you’re at the bar, however, there are little cups with butter packets near you that you can grab, as well as a syrup bottle and other condiments. The bread itself was good, but it could’ve been toasted more. The plate was a good size: not too big, not too small. The portion of hash browns with cheese was huge, and delicious: not overly greasy and the cheese added a nice kick of flavor. The sausage links were BLAND. I even added my trusty syrup on them, and it didn’t help.

What really impressed me the most were the eggs.

Oh my god, the EGGS!

The eggs were fluffy, soft, airy, but not super buttery. It reminded me of how my mom makes them, which for eggs, I haven’t had in awhile.

Overall my breakfast was good,  but not super amazing. Was it on the higher end of the price scale for breakfast? I think so. $8.79 for the plate plus an extra $.80 for cheese.

Breakfast menu. There's also a lunch & dinner menu (separate from this)
Breakfast menu. There’s also a lunch & dinner menu (separate from this)

What else is on the menu:  Tank’s has breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Here are the highlights: for breakfast it has omelets with toast for $9.99 (any combination of green peppers, banana peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, salsa, ham, bacon, sausage, American, Cheddar, Provolone, Swiss, Pepper Jack), or you can get a “girlie size” omelet for $5.99 (another unanswered question for me leaving the place, why is there even such a thing as “girlie” size on the menu?).

There’s more choices of combinations of eggs/hash browns/toast/pancakes, and then there’s a Biscuits and “Bull Dog” gravy option for $5.99 (Girlie Size $3.99), which is two homemade biscuits in homemade sausage gravy, and then goes to say “Grandma’s original recipe, except we use Oakwood Possum” (I’m assuming that’s a joke…). There’s also French toast, waffles, and “Road Kill” chili. Breakfast is 7 days a week, anytime, so if you want breakfast anytime, you’re in luck.

For lunch & dinner, there’s an array of food from burgers to overstuffed sandwiches. A few highlights: for $7.49 you can get the Tankburger, which is a half pound of ground Chuck on an Onion, Kaiser or Wheat roll. The “My Way” Grilled Cheese for $6.49 includes Swiss, Cheddar, Provolone, American, lettuce, tomato, banana peppers, mustard, mayo and horseradish on dark rye. You can get chips & a dill pickle spear with its burgers and sandwiches, and for $.99 cents more you can add a side of onion dip (which I noticed people talking about a lot in reviews, good things!). On the overstuffed sandwiches menu I also noticed you can get a peanut butter & jelly club as well as a plain PB&J.  In the “other stuff” part of the menu I noticed there’s one thing called “Couch Potatoes” which is essentially chili cheese fries. The Batter Fried Shrooms I noticed people talking good things about in reviews too. There’s also daily specials on its menu too.

Why you should go: This place is so relaxed that you could go with friends, family, or by yourself. Its exactly what I witnessed today: group of friends, families, older people, younger people. It was a gathering place. A place where I bet if you go frequently, they would know you by name, and know your order. I definitely think it’s a good place to have a “boozy brunch” with people on a Sunday afternoon. Would I frequent every week? No. The prices are definitely a little too high in my eyes. Is it worth the hype? For the decor and for the atmosphere, yes. For the drinks? Yes. For the food, definitely the eggs and hash browns, but I’d have to try some of the other food to give a full thumbs up.

Location/Hours:

2033 Wayne Ave.

Dayton, OH 45410

937-252-2249

Bar: 7 AM to 2:30 AM daily

7 days a week

Kitchen: 7am to 2:00 AM

Breakfast served any time

MIAMI VALLEY: Miami Valley Restaurant Week EXTENDED!

Photo credit: dineoutdayton.com
Photo credit: dineoutdayton.com

One of the amazing things about restaurants, and the love of food, not only just here in Dayton, but every place I’ve lived thus far in life, is RESTAURANT WEEKS.

It’s the bang for your buck, and an amazing way to explore your (for me in Dayton, still fairly new) city, and try new foods.

Three or four course meals, for a great price.

Last week, was Miami Valley Restaurant Association’s Winter Restaurant Week. Many restaurants across the Miami Valley joined forces for a week of three course meals for price points of $20.14 , $25.14 and $30.14 .

And by participating, you’d be paying it forward, as a dollar from each meal goes towards local charities, according to MVRA’s website.

Well tonight, I have some great news for all of you Miami Valley foodies out there.

Its been EXTENDED until Saturday the 8th!

Here’s the list of restaurants still participating:

Amber Rose

Wellington Grille

If you click on this link, you can check out each one’s restaurant week menus.

Enjoy, bon appetit, and please let me know if you try some new restaurants!

DAYTON: Guess Who Dined At Butter?

There’s just something so compelling, so moving about “Adia.”

I remember watching this video constantly as a child. I’m fascinated by music videos. To this day, whenever I watch the “Adia” one I analyze it. The singing-in-slow-motion-as-the-rest-of-the-world-moves-quicker. She’s one of my favorite singers (and the tally count is now six seven times I have listened to the song via YouTube as I write this).

Earlier today, Dayton Daily News reported Ms. McLachlan dined at a breakfast spot in Dayton: Butter Cafe.

In fact, according to the Dayton Daily News, she liked Butter so much, she visited twice in her short stay in Dayton. She had visited to perform in a benefit concert with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra for the Kettering Health Network at the Schuster Center.

And here’s what she had, according to Dayton Daily News:

Saturday: Southwest scramble, one cappuccino

Sunday: Two cappuccinos, yogurt, side of sausage, oatmeal with chopped pecans, bananas & strawberries.

Also, according to Butter’s owner, Amy Beaver, McLachlan and her companion who went with her to the restaurant also shared “an omelette and bacon” together, as well as its French Toast Kabobs (which look and sound AMAZING: two pieces of French toast skewered with grilled strawberries and pineapple, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with toasted coconut, served over a strawberry puree. $7.95, and only available until 11:30 a.m.!). Sarah made excellent choices.

I’ve been to Butter Cafe several times since moving here to Dayton.

It’s situated in the U.D. district, on Brown St. You can’t miss it, with it’s bright, cheery yellow hue, and sign with indeed, a stick of butter on it.

When you walk inside, the first word that comes to my head is “cute.” There are white tables and chairs scattered through the main floor, and a stairway up to more tables in the back. Artwork lines the walls. One in particular that strikes me each time I’ve been is a skyline, which I believe is Dayton’s. To the left as you walk in, a case filled with house-made baked goods, that according to its website, are changed daily. And a chalkboard with the “wait list” to get in.

On weekends, it DEFINITELY packs a big crowd, so if you want brunch, get there early. The times I went, I got there earlier in the morning, and it wasn’t so crowded, but when I left, started to get a bit of a line.

The water comes in mason jars.

The wait staff, friendly.

And breakfast is served all day at Butter.

Yes.

All. Day.

Here’s some pictures from when I visited last month for the first time:

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Spring Omelette (minus sprouts). $9
Coffee. $2
Banana Nut Pancakes. $6.75
Banana Nut Pancakes. $6.75

Its omelettes are full of flavor: light, airy and fluffy eggs, and utilize a smart choice of ingredients. The spring omelette has chevre cheese, tomatoes, turkey, lemon creme fraische and sprouts. I opted out on the sprouts, which I did not miss. The creme fraische on top balances the omelette, it’s a touch sweet, with herbs for a fresh texture. The seasoned house potatoes are different from any potatoes at a breakfast place I’ve ever had. If those weren’t Yukon Gold’s I’m not sure what they were, because they sure looked and tasted like fresh Yukon Gold’s, with herbs and spices. Not greasy at all.  And the banana nut pancakes were fluffy and chock full of fresh bananas and pecans. If you’re a coffee drinker, its coffee is delicious; a nice strong roast.

One thing I recommend as well is to try the make-your-own-omelette. You can add in a slew of ingredients, such as turkey sausage, avocado, and goat cheese.

The prices are right too: you’d probably spend about $20 for two people for breakfast.

If you’re looking to do brunch in the Dayton, I definitely recommend Butter. No doubt about it. Love the food, the atmosphere, the staff and decor.

And Sarah McLachlan likes it too!

Butter Cafe

1106 Brown Street

Dayton, OH

937-985-9917

buttercafedayton.com

DAYTON: Happy Fall (& National Ice Cream Cone Day!)

Ah, Fall.

The time for leaves, apples, pumpkins, corn mazes, hay rides, Halloween (!), and so much more.

Happy Fall, friends.

And today is also a very important day in the foodie world: it’s National Ice Cream Cone Day!

So who invented the all-mighty cone that holds our delicious ice cream scoops?

The International Dairy Foods Association names a few different people, here’s what they say on their website:

“The first ice cream cone was produced in 1896 by Italo Marchiony. Marchiony, who emigrated from Italy in the late 1800s, invented his ice cream cone in New York City. He was granted a patent in December 1903.

Although Marchiony is credited with the invention of the cone, a similar creation was independently introduced at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair by Ernest A. Hamwi, a Syrian concessionaire. Hamwi was selling a crisp, waffle-like pastry — zalabis — in a booth right next to an ice cream vendor. Because of ice cream’s popularity, the vendor ran out of dishes. Hamwi saw an easy solution to the ice cream vendor’s problem: he quickly rolled one of his wafer-like waffles in the shape of a cone, or cornucopia, and gave it to the ice cream vendor. The cone cooled in a few seconds, the vendor put some ice cream in it, the customers were happy and the cone was on its way to becoming the great American institution that it is today.”

Marchiony’s the main person who was granted a patent in December 1903, but at a World’s Fair a year later, Hamwi made his wafer-waffles, hence, the waffle cone’s birth.

So I thought today, here’s a list of ice cream places with Fall flavors, so you can combine the best of both fantastic worlds:

1) Graeters (multiple locations): Pumpkin Pie (limited edition)

2) Ritter’s Frozen Custard (multiple locations): Ritter’s has a few different Fall flavors, including pumpkin, to check out.

3) Dairy Queen (multiple locations): I definitely saw on one of its signs recently something about a Pumpkin Pie something or another (perhaps a Blizzard?)

4) Cold Stone Creamery (multiple locations): One of its seasonal flavors is Pumpkin, so it should be there by now…And you could always get the “Apple Pie A La Cold Stone” creation too! 🙂

5) MaggieMoo’s (Centerville): On its flavors list are Pumpkin and Pumpkin Cheesecake.

6) Young’s Jersey Dairy (Yellow Springs): The week of Sept. 30 they’ll have pumpkin as its “Flavor of the Week.” Check its website too for when it’ll come back!

7) JD’s Frozen Custard (Englewood): JD’s has a slew of holiday flavors to check out…You can even start ordering holiday flavors to take home (which includes Pumpkin!)

Any other ones you spot with Fall flavors? Please let me know, to add to this list 🙂

Enjoy, and happy Ice Cream!

Cool Article of the Week: 8/24 – 8/31

Photo credit: garyleitzell.com

Happy (Almost) September!

My cool article of the week is a local to Dayton article.

These two authors are fellow foodies, fellow food writers and have launched an idea that to me is a great thing for Dayton: Food Adventures.

I met Superfry and the Big Ragu at one of their Food Adventures and these guys are really cool. They have a TRUE passion for food. They write for Dayton’s Most Metro. 

If you haven’t checked out one of their Food Adventures yet, you should. There’s always delicious food involved, and these guys make it so much fun, with prizes, speeches, good laughter and good times. AND, they write about locally owned restaurants too.

So honestly, when I saw this article, deemed my cool article of the week, I was not surprised they were hanging out with Dayton’s mayor Gary Leitzell!

They’ve run into him at several community events, and this article is an encompassing collection of the places our mayor likes to go eat, as well as some fun facts about him too, and of course, as the Superfry and Big Ragu always have, an awesome photo gallery too!

Cheers to you guys, you all rock!

Enjoy. 🙂

DAYTON: Lebanese Festival

One of the many cool things I’ve noticed while living here in Dayton are all of the festivals for different cultures that happen throughout the year.

In the past few months alone, I have checked out the Celtic Fest, the Germanfest Picnic, and today, I checked out the Lebanese Festival.

All of them have been rich in the culture, full of authentic food, and of course, FUN!

I’ve never been to a Lebanese Festival before, and was really excited to check it out this afternoon. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, head on over to this festival.

It’s not a super huge festival, but that’s what makes it so great. The location, St Ignatius of Antioch Maronite Catholic Church, is very centric location for people to access it.

There’s a huge tent (where the authentic Lebanese food is at!), plus other tents of food if you don’t want to try the authentic (which you should!), such as hot dogs and ice cream. And there’s a separate beer and wine tent just outside the big tent, and different sodas on sale.

There’s also face painting, some rides, and little shops you can check out where there are belly dancing wraps you wear around your waist, jewelry, and more.

But to me, the three huge stars of the Festival are the people, the dancing, and of course the food.

So what did I choose for my lunch? It was a tough choice.
Here’s the menu:

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There were a number of sandwiches to choose from, with or without meat, and some great sides, including tabouli salad, hummus & pita, stuffed grape leaves and spinach pies. The people behind the counters were SO friendly and greeted me very warmly.

I decided on the Kafta as my sandwich ($6):

IMG_4469Kafta, according to the menu is freshly ground sirloin seasoned with salt, pepper, allspice, onions and chopped parsley, shaped and grilled over an open flame, topped with hummus, lettuce and tomatoes, wrapped in pita bread. The meat was almost of a soft meatball consistency, and was sweet with the seasonings inside it. I loved the balance of the sweet with the savory, creamy fresh hummus. A great wrap, indeed.

And as my side, I decided on the stuffed grape leaves ($3):

IMG_4466Now I’ve had grape leaves before, but never like these. I loved that these were meatless. It was a refreshing, the rice mixed with the tomatoes made it very light and not overly filling.

But after I had my lunch ($9 – a GREAT deal!), my sweet tooth came a calling.

There was a homemade Lebanese pastry table where you could get 3 pastries for $5, and also get a little cup of Arabic coffee for $1:

IMG_4471The pastries reminded me of Greek pastries (i.e. baklava): there was a presence of filo dough and nuts (I noticed a great presence of Pistachio nuts in the desserts I saw). Each one was very good in its own way, sweet, a little sticky, yet very very good.

And the Arabic coffee. I was told by the woman that if I loved coffee I’d LOVE this! Normally I don’t drink my coffee black, but I actually liked this little shot of black coffee. It was super strong, yet it balanced really well with the sweeter pastries. Delish.

While I was taking in all the delicious food, there was plenty of entertainment inside the big white tent. There were TONS of awesome belly dancers, including ones that danced with swords and veils. There was also a local group of musicians that played on a stage for the first time, that did a great job covering some pop songs instrumentally.

IMG_4475

The festival wraps up at 11 p.m. tonight, but don’t worry, if you want to take in some yummy food and check out some awesome dancing and music, the festival runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow!

The verdict: Lebanese food and the Lebanese Festival = awesome.

The Lebanese Festival

Saint Ignatius Maronite Catholic Church
5915 Springboro Pike (Route 741)
Miami Township

 

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