March 31, 2014

BUSSING IT TO OPENING DAY

Parades. The first signs of spring. The first game of the season. While Opening Day for the Cincinnati Reds has been long-awaited, one things baseball fans aren't looking forward to are the wait times on the road. The Queen City's unofficial calendar holiday is expected to draw in 45,000 visitors and with several road closures and ongoing construction Downtown, this year is also expected to have the worst traffic congestion to date.

In addition to the parade route closing intersections at 8:00am, two major infrastructure projects: Dunnhumby at 6th and Race Street, and a hotel at 4th and Walnut, have blocked off lanes for equipment. Other streets have narrowed to one lane due to ongoing streetcar construction and utility relocation. Then, of course, are the parking garage fees, which can range anywhere from $20 to $35 for lots up to 14 blocks away from the stadiums.


Don't ruin a fantastic day with the headache of driving -- there is a better way.



METRO*Plus bus is Cincinnati's first bus rapid transit route, which offers speedier connections than traditional buses. By utilizing limited stops, METRO*Plus transports passengers between Kenwood Towne Center (Nordstrom) and Downtown every 15 minutes.  It's just as fast as driving, and you don't have to worry about navigating road closures or finding a parking spot. If you live along the I-71 corridor, check out the map to find a METRO*Plus stop near you. You can also search for bus routes on Google Maps by typing in your origin and destination, then clicking the transit icon. Route 90 will indicate a nearby METRO*Plus route.

If you live in Corryville, Avondale, Evanston, Norwood, Pleasant Ridge, Silverton, Deer Park, Sycamore Township, Over-the-Rhine, Xavier University, or University of Cincinnati:



Click the bus icon for transit times and directions on Google Maps. Feature is also available on the mobile app.
Route 90 indicates METRO*Plus stops.




To find your bus stop, look for one of these brand new, easy-to-find METRO*Plus bus shelters
or a traditional METRO*Plus street sign.



Pro Tip: Make sure you're getting on a southbound bus. The scroll at the top should read "Downtown." 
If your bus says "Kenwood," you're going in the wrong direction. Cross the street to stand at the correct bus stop.



Going to the parade before the game? 
METRO*Plus has a bus stop at Findlay Market and further south at Court & Walnut Street (two blocks from the "halfway point" where the parade turns from Central Parkway onto Race Street). If you want to arrive closer to the stadium, get off at Government Square, the transit hub, at 5th and Walnut Street. From there, you are only three short blocks from Great American Ballpark.



 


METRO*Plus only costs $1.75 to ride each way, which saves you plenty of money for some extra beers at the ball game. (Pro Tip: If you don't have bus pass, it's cash only. No change is dispensed.) Getting home is easy too. After the Reds game, walk to 6th and Main Streets at Government Square Area H bus stop. A digital screen will tell you when the next bus arrives.  If you're just Downtown for the parade, use Google Maps to find the closest METRO*Plus stop -- remember, it's labeled as Route 90.

And that's it!
For less than $4.00, you can enjoy Reds Opening Day festivities without the hassle of getting there.



March 30, 2014

THE SNACKIST: THE DURANT



CincyWhimsy is starting a new weekend segment: The Snackist.
Inspired by my friend who has a knack for whipping up simple, delicious snacks using random ingredients available in any household: Mike Moroski will be penning the articles as a guest contributor, and on occassion, I may share a favorite recipe too. Another bonus: following the recipe, Moroski will be chronicling his thoughts in a chapter series entitled: Foodie & Loathing, a nod to Hunter S. Thompson's book about experiencing the American Dream. Or in this case, the American Dream of snacking.

If you try our recipes, be sure to share your photo on the CincyWhimsy Facebook page and tag #TheSnackist on Twitter and Instagram. 
 
Do you have ideas for The Snackist? Leave a comment below!
 
 

The Durant

Named in honor of a former student at Purcell Marian High School, The Durant was created by a young lady who used to only eat the aforementioned snack for lunch (sometimes she just ate Frank’s Red Hot – even when she had other food.  She loved Frank’s).  It was only a matter of time before I, too, began eating my Doritos in a similar fashion.  I have perfected The Durant and am proud to share it with you – and to spread my student’s legacy to Snackists around the world.


 
Ingredients:
  • About an inch of crumblies left in the bottom of a bag of Doritos (for best results, the bag should be of the “Family Size” variety)
  • Frank’s Red Hot. It has to be Frank’s. Not that knock off junk, Tobasco, and definitely not sriracha

Tools:
  • 1 pair of scissors
  • 2 working hands with opposable thumbs (this becomes important later)
  • 1 spoon

Directions:
  1. Cut off all of the excess packaging from your Doritos bag. Leave about 3 inches on the bag per 1 inch portion of crumblies.
  2. With truncated Doritos bag in one hand, pick up bottle of Frank’s Red Hot in other hand. Pour a liberal (not politically) amount of Frank’s into the truncated bag of Doritos. Thoroughly cover the crumblies until you can no longer see them. Return Frank's Red Hot to the 'fridge.
  3. Pinch the bag closed, curl your palms below the bag, and begin to massage the Frank’s into the crumblies so the sauce is thoroughly mixed with the chips.
  4. Open bag to make sure the Frank’s Red Hot has been equally distributed. Pick up your spoon in your dominant hand.  Use the spoon to eat your Durant.  Eat until finished.

WARNING: This recipe will tempt you to throw out 75% of your Doritos when you buy a new bag simply so you can create The Durant.  Do NOT waste your Doritos. There are starving children in Africa, yes, but also in Cincinnati (50% of our kids are poor).





Foodie & Loathing, Ch. 1:

I am not a “Foodie.” I have never been a “Foodie,” nor do I plan on ever becoming one. In my honest opinion, I feel that a Frisch’s Big Boy combo meal, salad bar, and sweet tea is the best meal in America. Therefore, I have asked others to refer to me as a “Snackist,” a term with which I am far more comfortable than “foodie.”

Foodie & Loathing is an homage, perhaps, to my favorite journalist, Hunter S. Thompson, or maybe my reaction to the Dark Side of the Foodie Movement – those Foodies who define self-worth by being able to afford to eat out all the time and write about it.  I’m not sure; it’s one of the two.  

Unlike most Foodie blogs, my Snackist column will be written in the vein of the serial novel, a la Charles Dickens.  (Fun fact – Pip was a Snackist.  It is but one of the reasons that Estella teased him.)

Until next time, snack well, snack often, and snack creatively.

March 28, 2014

FISH FRY #3: NATIVITY SCHOOL

#FFFCincy Rating:

5 of 5 Fishies




Our third Friday Fish Fry was one everyone had been anticipating since last year: Nativity School in Pleasant Ridge. With two terrific reviews from fellow #FFFCincy members and Instagrams of the meals, we knew something special was in store.


Located just one block from Montgomery Road and Losantiville Avenue, a major intersection in the neighborhood, some of our group decided to take the METRO*Plus bus to the fry instead of battling rush hour traffic. We met up at Government Square after work and enjoyed a leisurely and scenic ride along the new route, which features limited stops for a faster journey. The best part: we were dropped off just steps from the front door of Nativity School.

 

Once inside, we were welcomed with some of the shortest queues in the history of fish fries. We walked right up to order and pay, and had a brief 10 minute wait to get our food.What did end up being gigantic were the portions, the taste, and the value for the meal.

Hand-breaded Haddock
 
Bountiful condiment table with all the fixins, including fresh lemons!


Claiming to have the best hand-breaded haddock in town, Nativity lived up to the hype. Perfectly crisp, evenly seasoned, and stuffed with moist, fluffy fish, the sandwich had me considering getting one more for the road. Be sure to jazz it up at the condiment table: fresh lemon and generous tartar sauce complimented the taste. 



Each of the side dishes looked outstanding, so of course, we had to try them all. Praises shall be sung to the mac n’ cheese, a homemade recipe baked full of cheddar goodness and topped with crunchy bread crumbs. The green beans also tasted from scratch like they had been simmering in the slowcooker all day. The sweet potato fries were a welcome change from regular fries, as was the coleslaw recipe, which had a tangy sauce garnished with horseradish.  



Nativity served up $3.00 local brews from MadTree Brewing, located around the corner off of Ridge Road. All three canned beverages were a hit around our table: Happy Amber-- an amber ale, Lift—a kolsch ale, and Sprye—a seasonal pale ale.   

 
Bourbon pecan pie bar




The evening was made complete by a bourbon pecan pie bar purchased from the eighth grade bake sale and a tableside serenade by a parishioner who played accordion. Ranking among my favorites, Nativity School is a must-visit fry during Lent.






Nativity School
5936 Ridge Ave, Cincinnati, Ohio 45213
513-458-6767
Fish Fry from 5:30pm-7:30pm Fridays through Lent
Cash only.




Follow our Friday Fish Fry adventures on Twitter: #FFFCincy