Cincy trip '04

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MikeS.
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2004/08/22 01:00:32 (permalink)

Cincy trip '04

Sorry this has been so long in coming. I think at lot of this has been because the trip itself was so lackluster. This year there were very few, if any, real highlights.

I left Martinsburg, WVa. on Sunday morning July, 18th about 8AM after having worked all night. With the large ice chest riding in back with some sodas for the trip. The real reason for the ice chest will become apparent later :)I stopped at the WH for a quick breakfast of ham&cheese omelet with a double order of hash browns scattered. About 10 miles down the road I discovered that I had left my Cincy trip folder at the office. It had all my Roadfood info with maps on how to get where. It also had my reporting instructions for Monday and some other vital info. I thought about turning around and going back for it. Naaa... It wasn't that important.

I stopped in Zanesville, Oh for lunch and gas. I looked around for a local diner or something interesting but I wound up at Steak 'n Shake. See what I mean? Boring.

About 1630 (4:30PM) I arrived at Jungle Jim's huge grocery store just outside of Cincy. If you ever get close to Cincy, you have gotta go to this place. I picked up some special treats for the coming week. Apple smoked thick sliced bacon, with the rind. A couple kinds of Feta cheese. Some cold smoked salmon, ya know good stuff I don't usually buy at home. I also bought 4 of the bigger bottles of Cholula hot sauce (12 oz?), my favorite. A couple jars of Vidalia onion relish (wish I'd bought more) and a couple harder to find items to take home.

Next I went a little further up that road to the Viet/Chinese restaurant Saigon Dragon. The following is sampled from a TJ Jackson post. Thanks, TJ
In Fairfield, a few miles north of Jungle Jims on the right hand side as you travel north on Rt 4.
This hole in the wall is one of the best kept secrets in Cincinnati. Really, really great chinese and vietnamese food, really low prices. Easily my favorite lunch spot in Northern Cincinnati
http://www.mixconnections.org/CinciDiningChinese.html

I have to agree with TJ here. A very worthwhile stop if you like Chinese. Especially if you combine it with a stop at JJ's. I had a seafood combo meal (Happy Family?) with mixed vegetables and fried rice. A Spring roll or 2 and a small bowl of Pho noodle soup. I RARELY drink coffee but after an 8 hr drive plus being at work all night before I decided to try the French roast coffee with a sweetened coconut milk and then iced. Boy was this tasty! I ordered a second one. The waitress looked at me funny when I did. They bring you a coffee cup with a stainless steel device on top of the cup. In this device is hot water on the top and then in a different compartment are the coffee grounds. It brews 1 cup at a time. Pretty slick. In the cup is the coconut milk. When the coffee is brewed you pour it out of the cup into a glass of ice. Thus iced coffee. Very nummy.

Next stop, the hotel. I stayed at the Garfield suites downtown again this year. I really like that place. Older, but the service is great and the large rooms are bigger then some apartments I’ve seen.

Oh yeah, once I got settled I called work and had them fax me the most important stuff out of the forgotten folder

Next post, Monday

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    MikeS.
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/08/22 01:35:08 (permalink)
    Tuesday in Cincy:

    Tuesday morning is again bacon and eggs and buttermilk. No low cholesterol trip for me! Vacation time is supposed to be fun.

    Lunch is a whole corned beef Reuben from Izzy’s with potato salad and a trip to the salad bar. Izzy’s has great corned beef and is a popular small chain around Cincy. The only better corned beef I’ve had was 3 years ago in downtown Cleveland. A little combo deli/bar. I don’t even remember the name but if I ever get back to Cleveland I sure know how to get there.

    By the time we finish work we realize that we will be done Wednesday and not Friday as scheduled. So we start to make plans to get out of town early.

    Dinner Tuesday night is quite the story, probably the highlight of my trip. Not much of one at that though…

    I have hit it off pretty well with one of the doormen at the hotel. A black kid (22) who has lived in either Chicago or Cincy all his life. We had been talking about real slow cooked BBQ Monday and he had offered to take me to this place he knew. We had agreed to meet downstairs Tuesday night and we did. We proceeded out to his car and I’m surprised to find his wife and 3 small kids. Cool, I like a party. He gets us onto I-75 North bound and then off about 3 exits later. He then proceeds to take me through parts of town until I’m completely lost. I start to wonder, what have I gotten into? We wind up at this BBQ place and I must admit I have totally forgotten the name. It made that big of an impression on me. The food was OK, I’ve eaten a lot better Q and a fair amount worse. I was hoping to find some really good though. Desert was Grater’s ice cream for all of us and I bought. They make some great ice cream.
    #2
    MikeS.
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/08/22 02:18:57 (permalink)
    Wednesday;

    Breakfast was a bowl of Quaker instant oatmeal, cinnamon and sugar. Washed down by my favorite new soda, Barq¡¦s Diet Red something or other. I bought a 12 pack home with me but am having trouble finding more.

    Lunch was again Izzy¡¦s; can you see a pattern here? This time I had the bigger Reuben w/o the salad bar. Too many green can spoil your diet ƒº. Desert was a walk to Grater¡¦s for a double scoopƒºƒºƒº.

    Finished up work about 2PM for this trip so I decided to take a couple hours of vacation and walk around downtown some. I¡¦m walking at least 2 miles a day now so this was an interesting way of doing that.

    About 5:30 I¡¦m totally bored and so I decide that I¡¦ll take a trip to Indiana, about 30 minutes away and go to one of their riverboat casinos. I got directions from the front desk man and the Valet and it isn¡¦t too hard or very far.

    I decide to go to the Argosy since it is the closest and easy to get too. Boy was this a mistake! Argosy is a nice looking place with a friendly atmosphere until you get to the casino entrance proper.

    I valet park my truck and walk in to the facility. It has a smallish lobby and several signs pointing to the casino and the restaurant, both on upper floors. Somewhat of a strange layout until I realize later that you actually go onto a working boat for the casino. You go upstairs and then across then down to get to the casino. On my way in I stop for a comp card but then don¡¦t get one when they insist on having my social security number. I¡¦m real big on not giving that out!

    So I head on down to the casino when I get to a set of doors with an employee standing there. He asks me for my ticket. What ticket, says I? He says you have to have a 3$ ticket to board the casino boat. I am totally flabbergasted! Having to pay to get into a casino?! I have been into several casinos in several states and Mexico and have never heard of such a thing. Anyways as I start to turn around and leave he says he¡¦ll comp me in, this time.

    So in I go, I find a quarter video poker game and start playing one of these new fangled machines where it doesn¡¦t even take coins, so I poke in a 20. I play for about 20 minutes when the cocktail waitress comes around. I ask what kind of beer they have and she starts by telling me that domestic beer is 3 bucks and imported is five.

    That¡¦s it! I¡¦ve had enough of this casino and cash out my machine. I wind up with 20.75; I¡¦ve actually won 75 cents! Cool! The machine spits out a slip of paper and I have to take it to a cashier to collect my money. Vegas, where are you I plead.

    Next mistake, I decide to eat at the Argosy¡¦s buffet. I wait about 15 minutes in line which isn¡¦t bad; I get to socialize with several strangers, something I¡¦m not remiss to do. I get to the cashier and pay for my meal. Its 15.95, a bit more then I expected but not outrageous for what I expected. Well, you should have guessed by now, the food wasn¡¦t al that great. The fried shrimps were really scrimpy and the 1st batch was extra crispy. They had salad shrimp and when I pulled the breading off of the fried ones they were the same size. So I got more of the salad ones and added cocktail sauce for my own shrimp cocktail. The stuffed peppers were OK but they were barely warm. The fried chicken was greasy. And on and on and on. The sliced roast beef was pretty good and so was the ham. My favorite thing though? was the pinto beans. Now I like pintos as well as any other Okie/Texan/Californian and insist on them in my chili beans. But when you go to a buffet and the best thing there is the beans??? Something is just plain wrong!

    The desert bar was extensive and rather tasty. I had several dishes that I sampled from. They were making fresh crepes with your choice of fillings and toppings. Very tasty.
    But beans and desert were not worth 15.95

    My opinion? Stay far away from the Argosy casino in Indiana.
    #3
    MikeS.
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/08/22 02:46:57 (permalink)
    Thursday;

    A storm has passed through during the night and had awoken me a couple times with all the thunder and lighting. Cool, I like a good storm!

    I make a final breakfast of the apple smoked bacon and eggs and finish off my 2nd half gallon of buttermilk. I get everything packed and call for the bellman to bring up a cart. Told ya, I like the service at this hotel, the Garfield Suites.

    While I settle the bill he goes and gets my truck out of valet parking and we get it all packed up. He asks me why the big ice chest in back. So I told him about my buttermilk quest and the CW chili I was supposed to get. He laughs, just like some of you will ļ

    I stop at Izzy¡¦s for a Reuben to go and wind up buying a couple pounds of corned beef to go as well. Picky Peggy thanks me later ƒº

    I go back to JJ¡¦s because I had found out on Sunday that they do a real Santa Maria Tri Tip. I had called them Wednesday afternoon and asked them to freeze me 3 nice ones. I went up there and picked those up. They had frozen them and had even vacuum packed them for me. Great service and boy did the family love ¡¥em.

    I hit the road heading back for Columbus and it was wall to wall bears. I had my CB, as usual, and heard about them before they became a problem. Between mile marker 7 and about 50 I personally saw 7 cops. They were out in force that day.

    I made a final stop in Ohio, right near the WV border. There is a Kroger¡¦s grocery store that is easy to get into and out of. I picked up 10 half gallons of buttermilk there. I even got lucky and they had it on sale for 99 cents a half gallon ƒº Note from last year¡¦s trip. We cannot find regular buttermilk around the DC area w/o paying Whole Foods 3.69 a half gallon. When we find it, it is fat free buttermilk. How can it be fat free and be buttermilk??? So when I¡¦m out and about I try to pick up some.

    As I come into Wheeling WV I see this billboard for a place called Enzio¡¦s Italian/Pizza. They are offering wood fired pizzas and since I just love pizza, I decide to heck with the Reuben, it can sit in the cooler. Enzio¡¦s was easy enough to find, it¡¦s right off I-70 at 2085 National Rd., Wheeling, WV., 26003. If in Wheeling I¡¦d definitely stop again. The pizza was great and so was the house salad with house Italian dressing. I had a pepperoni and fresh mushroom pizza, the salad and a side of sausage covered in sauce and then topped with mozzarella and baked in the fire oven.

    The one thing I didn¡¦t like about them was they refuse to do modifications on their foods. I wanted a pizza with ham and pineapple too but they refused. Oh well, still a very good pizza and I¡¦d definitely go back.

    We¡¦ll that¡¦s about it. A nice short break from home and some new food, this trip just wasn¡¦t as good as last years. Here¡¦s looking to Cincy ¡¦05 when I plan on taking the wife and G¡¦daughter.

    Mike S.
    #4
    BT
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/08/22 14:35:09 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by MikeSh

    Thursday;
    The one thing I didn't like about them was they refuse to do modifications on their foods. I wanted a pizza with ham and pineapple too but they refused. Oh well, still a very good pizza and I'd definitely go back.

    Mike S.


    These are people I respect! Personally, I think anyone putting pineapple on pizza should be given a life sentence chained to a table at Pizza Hut.
    #5
    mayor al
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/08/22 14:56:55 (permalink)
    Mike,
    I am glad to read about another satisfied Jungle Jim's customer. On the thread about grocery stores it is compared to some premium chain stores, but in true roadfood fashion, this is a case of the Mom-Pop individualism wins it hands down over the chains. We love the place, and make a point of making the trip up to Cincinnati whenever we have visitors with us.
    #6
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/08/22 18:22:01 (permalink)
    Mr. Mayor, I figured you would comment on Jungle Jim's and thanks to you I discovered a neat gem. One of the neatest places in the USA I have discovered with the help of my Mayor friend.

    BT, I understand that you may not like pineapple with your pizza but why would you care if someone else would prefer that? A personal preference is that.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #7
    BT
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/08/22 23:06:12 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sundancer7

    Mr. Mayor, I figured you would comment on Jungle Jim's and thanks to you I discovered a neat gem. One of the neatest places in the USA I have discovered with the help of my Mayor friend.

    BT, I understand that you may not like pineapple with your pizza but why would you care if someone else would prefer that? A personal preference is that.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN


    I didn't criticize Mike for asking. I praised the owner of that parlor for saying, "No!" It's an important distinction. Hopefully, the pizza maker is a pro--and as such he should have standards of what constitutes ethical pizza making. If he tosses them out the window to make a craven buck by putting pineapple on pizza, he should be sent to join the pimple-faced amateurs at (you name the mass market chain pizza joint).

    PS: Is the tongue in my cheek not apparent?
    #8
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/08/22 23:36:28 (permalink)
    Dearfolk,
    Someone told me about a pizza place in Norcross or out in North Gwinnett County somewhere that makes the best wood-oven pizzas, but the owner is a real hard-core purist; you get it the way HE likes it or there's the door. The place has a huge sign that shouts "NO SUBSTITUTIONS MEANS NO SUBSTITUTIONS - NO EXCEPTIONS" - so you order the one you want by number and take what you're given. He tells me it's worth it, but the owner would rather throw someone out than to deal with what he terms "idiots" who don't know what a good pizza is.
    I'll have to investigate this place eventually. If the food is as good as my informant says it is, then the owner can pull off being like that, I suppose.
    Hungrily, Ort. Carlton in Lovely Athens, Georgia.
    #9
    mayor al
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/08/22 23:38:10 (permalink)
    BT I agree with you...but only because my personal taste in Pizza can't choke down a "Hawaiian Pie". I guess it's another case of "To each his/her own...".
    #10
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/08/22 23:40:06 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by MikeSh

    We cannot find regular buttermilk around the DC area w/o paying Whole Foods 3.69 a half gallon. When we find it, it is fat free buttermilk. How can it be fat free and be buttermilk??? So when I¡¦m out and about I try to pick up some.Mike S.


    Mike,
    Have you tried out in Maryland? I swear I saw it in a supermarket in Waldorf. That's really amazing.
    Your Clabberator, Ort. Carlton in Athens, Georgia.
    P. S. I wish I had me a nice cold glass of it right now.
    #11
    MikeS.
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/08/23 04:05:47 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by BT

    quote:
    Originally posted by MikeSh

    Thursday;
    The one thing I didn't like about them was they refuse to do modifications on their foods. I wanted a pizza with ham and pineapple too but they refused. Oh well, still a very good pizza and I'd definitely go back.

    Mike S.


    These are people I respect! Personally, I think anyone putting pineapple on pizza should be given a life sentence chained to a table at Pizza Hut.


    BT, all I can say to you is:
    I love pineapple on mine. It is stocked in many, if not most pizza establishments. Pizza Hut included, which does make a decent pie every once in awhile.
    #12
    MikeS.
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/08/23 04:10:54 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Ort. Carlton.

    Originally posted by MikeSh

    We cannot find regular buttermilk around the DC area w/o paying Whole Foods 3.69 a half gallon. When we find it, it is fat free buttermilk. How can it be fat free and be buttermilk??? So when I¡¦m out and about I try to pick up some.Mike S.


    Mike,
    Have you tried out in Maryland? I swear I saw it in a supermarket in Waldorf. That's really amazing.
    Your Clabberator, Ort. Carlton in Athens, Georgia.
    P. S. I wish I had me a nice cold glass of it right now.
    [/quote}

    Ort. we do occasionally get as far as Waldorf so next time I get that far I'll look there. So far we have found it at Whole Foods and then the closest has been Harrisonburg, Va at a Kroger's there. I also occasionally get into Pa so I'll have to look there as well.

    Mike
    #13
    MikeS.
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/08/23 04:12:56 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Al-The Mayor-Bowen

    Mike,
    I am glad to read about another satisfied Jungle Jim's customer. On the thread about grocery stores it is compared to some premium chain stores, but in true roadfood fashion, this is a case of the Mom-Pop individualism wins it hands down over the chains. We love the place, and make a point of making the trip up to Cincinnati whenever we have visitors with us.


    I found htis place last year on what is I believe your recommend. It is a real treat and an experience to go there. We loved the Santa Maria Tri-Tips :)
    #14
    MikeS.
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/08/23 04:18:02 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Al-The Mayor-Bowen

    BT I agree with you...but only because my personal taste in Pizza can't choke down a "Hawaiian Pie". I guess it's another case of "To each his/her own...".


    To you too Mayor. I love my pineapple on pizza. My favorite pie, either a thin crispy crust with cheese and several meats, mushrooms and pineapple or a thich slightly chewy crust with the same toppings.

    In Fresno, where I grew up, we had a local chain called Me n Ed's. they advertised 7 kinds of cheese and a 750 degree fire brick oven. It isn't the best pie I've ever had but it says HOME to me. I think that they have dropped the 7 kinds of cheese, but I'm not sure.

    MikeS.
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    BT
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/08/23 20:18:59 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by MikeSh

    BT, all I can say to you is:
    I love pineapple on mine. It is stocked in many, if not most pizza establishments. Pizza Hut included, which does make a decent pie every once in awhile.


    Sure it is, but it makes me queasy when I see somebody eating it. Actually, I have a good friend with whom I can no longer go out for pizza because he likes it--and insists on indulging this perversion when we are together.
    #16
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/08/31 15:22:35 (permalink)
    MikeSh: Sadly, I think you might be the last roadfooder to get a meal at Saigon Dragon.

    I've been by there a couple of times in the past couple of weeks and the door is locked, no sign on the door indicating why.

    They never did a lot of business like the cardboard cutout chinese places around them did, unfortunately, and I think that the popularity of the newer, mediocre restaurants aroudn them killed them.

    Crap.

    Easily the best lunch place in all of Cincinnati
    #17
    MikeS.
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/09/03 03:42:07 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by TJ Jackson

    MikeSh: Sadly, I think you might be the last roadfooder to get a meal at Saigon Dragon.

    I've been by there a couple of times in the past couple of weeks and the door is locked, no sign on the door indicating why.

    They never did a lot of business like the cardboard cutout chinese places around them did, unfortunately, and I think that the popularity of the newer, mediocre restaurants aroudn them killed them.

    Crap.

    Easily the best lunch place in all of Cincinnati


    TJ, I'm sorry to hear that. The food was tasty and the prices were right. The service was a bit slow, about what I expect from an oriental place though. When I was there that Sunday it was about 7~ PM and it was me and 1 other guy. Yeah, slow.
    #18
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/09/30 14:43:26 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by TJ Jackson

    MikeSh: Sadly, I think you might be the last roadfooder to get a meal at Saigon Dragon.

    I've been by there a couple of times in the past couple of weeks and the door is locked, no sign on the door indicating why.
    WOOOOOOO!!!!!

    I drove by today, and they are open once again. I was served by the owner, and I asked him about it, and he indicated they had gone on vacation.

    So....the Dragon roars once again
    #19
    carlton pierre
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/09/30 19:39:16 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by TJ Jackson

    quote:
    Originally posted by TJ Jackson

    MikeSh: Sadly, I think you might be the last roadfooder to get a meal at Saigon Dragon.

    I've been by there a couple of times in the past couple of weeks and the door is locked, no sign on the door indicating why.
    WOOOOOOO!!!!!

    I drove by today, and they are open once again. I was served by the owner, and I asked him about it, and he indicated they had gone on vacation.

    So....the Dragon roars once again


    All is right with the world, once again!

    carl reitz
    #20
    MikeS.
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    RE: Cincy trip '04 2004/10/01 04:00:57 (permalink)
    Good news my friend! I'm glad for you and all the roadfooders out there. :)

    MikeS.
    #21
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