Chuy’s Mexican Food Blasts Traditional Tex-Mex Restaurants Out of the Water

Jathan and Heather love Chuy's Mexican Restaurant

Jathan and Heather fell in love with the hospitality and food at Chuy’s Mexican Restaurant (Photo © Esperanza Hurley/Jadeworks Entertainment)

While traveling cross-country for any reason, even moving, we’re always looking for new dining establishments to try. Sure, Bowling Green isn’t that far from Cincinnati, but when your moving truck only moves at 35 mph through the hills of Kentucky, it is easy to get hungry in a hurry. Besides, by the time we got there, we’d been on the road a while. Read more of this post

Simple Sauerkraut

Simple Sauerkraut

A staple in German cuisine, our Simple Sauerkraut puts a quick and delicious spin on a cultural classic.

When I lived in Dallas, I used to frequent a little German restaurant called Henk’s European Deli and Black Forest Bakery, because I loved their sauerkraut and sausages. When I moved to Ohio, I quickly discovered that the buckeye state’s culture and geography resemble certain places in Germany. Communities like MainStrasse Village in Covington and German Village in Columbus are steeped in a rich Germanic heritage and still hold many ties to the Rhineland. Here in Porkopolis, aka Cincinnati, German cuisine is easily accessible, and numerous festivals celebrate Germanic culture, like Oktoberfest downtown, the GoettaFest in Newport, Kentucky and the Sauerkraut Festival in Waynesville, Ohio. But you don’t have to wait for a festival or even go out to eat at one of our German restaurants to satisfy your sauerkraut cravings. It is quite simple to prepare at home, and it delivers health benefits like vitamins A and C, is high in phytonutrient antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which some studies indicate may help combat some cancers.

PREP: 15 minutes
COOK: 40 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup apple cider or apple juice

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add onions and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent, 5 minutes.
  2. Add cabbage, apple cider vinegar, apple cider, and 1/2 cup water to a saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer until cabbage is tender, 30 – 35 minutes.

TIPS: Serve over hot dogs, on Reuben sandwiches, or with bratwurst and mashed potatoes for a German-inspired meal.

YIELDS: About 4 cups

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Photo Friday: Findlay Market

Findlay Market

Potted plants welcome visitors to the west entrance of Findlay Market.

One of our favorite Cincinnati landmarks, Findlay Market is a foodie’s paradise featuring the freshest meats and produce in town. If you’ve never been, our first photo essay gives you a sneak peak of what to expect.

Heather grew up going to Findlay Market, where her mom stocked up on fresh meat, fish, veggies and more to feed her family of eight. Now we visit at least once a month, rubbing elbows with some of the best chefs and home cooks in the region, as we all seek great deals on top quality cuts of beef, pork, poultry, seafood and more.

Morning at Findlay Market

A street musician plays his drums as visitors begin arriving at Findlay Market's north entrance.

Street musician

A street musician plays the drums for a shopper at Findlay Market.

Weekends can be quite busy at the market. Visit on a weekday to avoid the crowds. The market is open six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday.

Findlay Market buildings

Many of the buildings surrounding Findlay Market have been restored and painted bold, pleasing colors.

Wall art at Findlay Market

Color abounds in and around Findlay Market, from food to art.

Some of our friends tell us that they avoid going to the market because of its location. In the center of Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine district, the community is experiencing a revival, as buildings are restored and colorful artwork adorns the area with vibrant color. Police regularly patrol the area to ensure safety as well, and in all the years we’ve been going we’ve never felt threatened there.

Daisy Mae's Market

Purchase everything from apples and carrots to yucca and melons at Daisy Mae's Market.

Daisy Mae’s Market offers fresh and organic produce, ethnic food and groceries. Talk to the owners if you don’t see something you’re looking for. In most cases, they will order it for you so they’ll have it on hand next time you visit.

Produce at Findlay Market

Find everything you're looking for at one of Findlay Market's numerous produce stands.

Pumpkins

A produce vendor sells pumpkins and other seasonal items.

Shoppers selecting produce

Shoppers wisely select the best ingredients to feed their families.

There are numerous produce stands on the north side of Findlay Market. Farmers and produce sellers alike deliver the freshest ingredients to their stalls daily, making it easy to always have something yummy on the table.

Mama Lo Hizo

Mark Whitworth's Mexican style food stand, Mama Lo Hizo, is a new addition to Findlay Market.

Craving something spicy? Visit Mama Lo Hizo for great Mexican food including flan, tortillas and other south-of-the-border favorites.

Luken's Poultry, Fish and Seafood

Mike Luken has been at Findlay Market since high school, serving up the best seafood and poultry in the Cincinnati area.

We love Luken’s Poultry, Fish and Seafood because they carry the biggest roasting hens, the best party wings and most succulent chicken breasts we’ve found. They also have the best prices on favorites like tiger shrimp, Chilean sea bass, enormous lobsters and fresh trout.

Colonel De's Gourmet Herbs and Spices

De Stewart is the colonel behind the flavor of Cincinati. His specialty blends of herbs and spices are used in the city's most popular restaurants.

What’s a recipe without flavor? Colonel De Gourmet Herbs and Spices has every seasoning you can imagine, and many more that you can’t! De Stewart creates amazing blends, rubs and marinades using organic ingredients. Many of our followers ask where they can purchase the spices we add to our recipes. This is the place! And if you’re not in Cincy, you can order the colonel’s blends online.

Findlay Market Mosaic

Yet another piece of art decorates the floor at the crossroads of Findlay Market's main building.

Taste of Belgium

Jean-Francois Flechet's Taste of Belgium delivers sweet and savory treats reminiscent of his homeland.

When Jean-Francois Flechet moved to Cincinnati to get his PHD, he discovered the wonders of Findlay Market. Now he’s a full contributor as the man behind Taste of Belgium, a stand that provides delicious pizzas, stuffed crepes, and big, sweetened waffles that are fantastic for either breakfast or dessert.

Kroeger and Sons Meats

A Cincy legend since 1972, Kroeger and Sons has the largest array of sausages in Porkopolis.

Ever since Paul Kroeger started Kroeger and Sons Meats in 1972, he consistently provided a plethora of fantastic sausages made from both pork and poultry. We love their Tazzo to use in our jambalaya, their hickory smoked thick cut bacon and Canadian bacon for breakfast sandwiches, and their Southern sausage for our sausage gravy and biscuits. Even though the business is now owned by a new family, the tradition continues.

Fresh Table

Fresh Table is another new addition to Findlay Market, offering ready-to-eat fare that is tasty and nutritious.

Meredith Trombly and Louis Snowden started Fresh Table to deliver a menu that meets the demands of individuals who want to eat healthier and make wiser choices about their food. They prepare an eclectic variety of dishes that are sustainable, locally and organically grown and pack them in compostable containers.

Mackie Quality Meats

Mackie Quality Meats delivers amazing steaks, ribs, pork chops and more at affordable prices.

Mackie Quality Meats has become my go-to place at Findlay Market for several reasons. First, they provide the best variety of beef cuts we’ve found. (Their New York Strips are out of the world!) Second, Phil Leurck and his team are some of the nicest people you’ll ever want to meet, providing exceptional customer service and advice on which cuts of meat should be used for different dishes. Most importantly, they are always happy to cut, prepare and package your meat however you want it.They’ve come to know us so well, if you decide to visit, tell them Jathan and Heather sent you!

Flowers and baskets

Vendors sell imported and hand-crafted art and flowers.

Hanging art

Hanging sculptures and other crafts can be bought at Findlay Market.

Outside vendors sell everything from fruit and honey, to imported and hand-crafted art, soaps, candles and more. Flowers and other items can be purchase on Saturdays at the farmer’s market too.

Eckerlin Meats

Before you go, make sure you pick up a pig ear for your pooch, a huge pickle for the kids, or any number of specialty meats for yourself at Eckerlin Meats.

Before you leave, be sure to visit Eckerlin Meats. We love their spicy Who-Dey sausages, vegetarian black bean burgers and their kitchen sink burgers which contain everything but. On weekends, visit them for hot-off-the-grill delights to fill your belly and satisfy your cravings before the trip home.

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Together You and I

Mums in the pumpkin patch

Huge pumpkins and beautiful mums announce the arrival of fall with big, bold color.


October 2011

Dear Friends,

Recently we dropped in on one of our favorite people and caught up on life, sharing our challenges, triumphs, and dreams. It was one of those philosophical conversations we all have at times that was filled with what Oprah always calls, “Aha!” moments. By the end of the afternoon, we walked away with a pocketful of little epiphanies, but one stood out more than all the rest: If we put aside judgments and live with an open heart, we rise toward greatness and make great strides toward finding peace and ultimately, happiness.

We loved that thought, for it was so profound, and yet really quite simple. Leave judgments in God’s hands, and simply love one another. Perhaps British novelist C.S. Lewis put it best when he said, “Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives.”

With that thought in mind, we decided to make a concerted effort to simply enjoy the people that populate our lives and demonstrate affection for them in whatever way we can. For an elderly housebound couple, we baked a cake and delivered it to their home. When we accepted a last-minute invitation to share a garden-fresh meal with friends and neighbors at their tiny cottage, we prepared our favorite Bread with Herb Butter and a tossed salad to share with everyone there.

Yesterday, we hosted our Fall Fiesta and served some of our signature Mexican and Tex-Mex inspired dishes like Toasted Flautas, Janet’s Chilaquiles, Spanish Rice, Chicken Enchiladas Salsa Verde, Seven-Layer Dip, Chunky Guacamole with Serrano Peppers, and more. The addition of libations like Margaritas, Strawberry Daiquiris and Pina Coladas rounded out the meal. But it wasn’t just the food and alcohol that everyone enjoyed, for all of us embraced the opportunity to gather together, make new friends and laugh with old ones. Happiness ricocheted through our house like a lightning bolt in a thunderstorm, striking all of us to the point that we thought folks were going to spend the night. We love parties like that! Nothing makes us happier than when everyone has a good time and asks to be invited again soon.

This month, we’re also taking pleasure in the tasks of the season, like planting mums, buying pumpkins, going to college football games, and canning and freezing the last of summer’s veggies. We also begin planning our big parties for later in the year, including our annual Fall Feast, Winter Brunch and Game Day, and a new celebration, our First Feast. It is a lot to do, but we love this time of year with cooler, crisper weather, tons of color, and reasons to indulge in seasonal treats like caramel apples, hot cider and yummy pumpkin pie.

We hope you have the opportunity to make special memories with good friends this month too. Take a group of your best pals to a local festival like the 42nd Annual Ohio Sauerkraut Festival in Waynesville, Ohio or meet some of your favorite authors at Books by the Bank, a local book festival here in Cincinnati. (If you go, be sure to visit our friends Brock Clarke and Michael Griffith and pick up one of their latest books!) Or you can simply host your own little soirée or movie night and hang out with good friends. Whatever you do, great people make for special memories and many more chances to add a little more happiness to your life. Live well!

With love,
Jathan & Heather

p.s. We love Dolly Parton‘s new song, “Together You and I.” We feel that it really embodies the epiphany we talked about earlier. Watch the fun video for this tune below.

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

September Song

Cincinnati fireworks

A Labor Day weekend tradition, the Cincinnati Bell/WEBN fireworks display by Rozzi's Famous Fireworks during the P&G Riverfest marks the end of the summer season.

September 2011

Dear Friends,

September always feels like a time of new beginnings for us. Even though autumn doesn’t officially begin until the 23rd, the Labor Day weekend is like the last blowout party of summer. Perhaps that feeling overwhelms me because I first arrived in Cincinnati in 1999, just in time to join a crowd of nearly half-million people for a day of family entertainment at the P&G Riverfest and the truly awesome Cincinnati Bell/WEBN Fireworks display. That also happened to be the weekend I forged some of my strongest friendships with people in the area.

But even as children, the first weekend in September was a time to take a last-minute vacation, go camping at our favorite state park (like Big Bone Lick State Park in Kentucky), or simply grill out at home with friends. Regardless of the activity, this always seems like a moment of transition, a time to get together with our favorite people and wrap up yet another summer of fun in the sun. This is when we send the kiddos back to school, brace ourselves for another year of hard work, get geared up for fall festivals, and reflect on how this summer changed us.

Last month, I wrote about a good friend who died, Nelda Paschal, and I later posted a recipe in memory of my great-aunt, Editha Hayes Spencer. When writing those dedications, I thought that even though these women are now gone, the impact they had on those who knew them was transformative. Both women were the epitome of grace, and when they smiled at someone, it was as if they sent out rays of positive energy and love that enveloped the recipient. Memories of people like them, people who truly impacted our lives for the better, make times of change, months like September, seem like the perfect time to focus on what is truly important: reassessment and fortification of our authentic selves, and the ultimate redirection of our life’s path.

Recently I read a quote by Maya Angelou that really resonated with me. She said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The more I’ve thought about those words, I realized that what she said is true. There are many instances in my life where the particulars of a situation are foggy, but the emotion surrounding it still burns within me, whether someone made me feel special, loved, inspired, or motivated. But I also remember those times when someone made me feel embarrassed, frightened, appalled, guilty, or angry.

Angelou essentially raised a question that makes each of us accountable for how we treat others. We all need to ask ourselves, ‘How do I make others feel when they are with me?’ Am I hospitable, empathetic and compassionate? Or do I criticize when I should praise? When I’m unsure how to best handle a situation, do I err on the side of kindness? Of course, none of us are immune from saying things we shouldn’t from time to time. But for the most part, is love the basis of my modus operandi? These are questions we all have to answer sooner or later. Doing so now, will help us improve our lives, ease stress, find contentment, and truly feel loved.

For as long as there have been writers, filmmakers, musicians and other artists, creative people have also focused on what brings true happiness. One of my favorite songs delivers a message I’m sure Angelou would approve of. Originally featured on Broadway in Do Re Mi in 1960, “Make Someone Happy” was composed by Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green. I first heard Jimmy Durante sing this song on the Sleepless in Seattle soundtrack in 1993. Most recently, Barbra Streisand recorded it on her Love is the Answer (2009) and One Night Only albums (2010). You can watch Streisand’s performance of this tune at New York’s Village Vanguard below. I’m willing to bet that the lyrics will haunt you too.

There are countless ways to make others happy though, and they usually boil down to putting others ahead of self or doing something special for someone else. At work, we can give the best customer service possible and make everyone’s day a little better. In our personal lives, we can give a gift or make ourselves available to others by freeing up our calendar. For Heather and I, our favorite way to make others happy is by demonstrating hospitality, cooking for friends and loved ones and dishing up something a little extra special when we do. If you want to try making something memorable for your favorite people, try one of August’s many featured recipes, including our Banana Crunch Muffins for breakfast-on-the-go or Mexican favorites like Chicken Enchiladas Salsa Verde, Toasted Flautas, and Jalapeno Creamed Corn.

Want something a little more traditional? Make our healthy Ya-Ya Chicken, dished up with Spinach Béchamel and Pasta Rouge. In the mood for Italian? Our Rotini with Sugo Fresco Giardino is light and goes great with Neapolitan Green Beans. Complete your world tour with Asian-inspired dishes like Kung Pao Chicken with Peanuts, Chinese Celery Cilantro Salad, and Cold Sesame Ginger Noodles.

Need a little comfort food? Jathan’s Split Pea Soup and Skillet Cornbread are awesome at lunch or dinner. And if you want something yummy to drink, pour our Hawaiian Breeze or Blueberry Mojito. They both go down smoothly and seem to make even the harshest day a little easier. Finish off your meal with sweet treats like Banana Cake or our gloriously pink Strawberry Dream Cake.

Not in the mood to cook? Visit our favorite new restaurant, French-inspired It’s Just Crepes, a revolutionary dining venue in Cincinnati with three locations that pack both savory and sweet goodness into a paper-thin crepe. So good!

Whatever you’re doing this Labor Day, have a marvelous holiday weekend, be safe and remember that September isn’t just the end of summer, but the beginning of what can be the best year of your life!

Love,

Jathan & Heather

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

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