Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bellevue Bistro

Bellevue Bistro
313 Fairfield Avenue
Bellevue, KY

Steve and I decided to get our walk on early one morning and ended up in the pleasant little Ohio River city of Bellevue. The city gets somewhat overshadowed by next door neighbor Newport, which is a shame because the funky little town has a lot going for it. There is an excellent (and affordably priced) day spa on the main drag, some groovy boutique shops and antique stores, a tea house, a homemade candy shop, a cake/cupcake shop, a Birkenstock-wearing veterinarian (hi Dr. Middleton!) and a nice selection of independent restaurants.

By the time we'd walked from our East Row home to Fairfield Avenue we'd worked up an appetite, and decided to visit the Bellevue Bistro for some breakfast. What we didn't realize until we were seated was that they only offer breakfast on weekends, and we were there mid-week. Oh well, not to worry - we decided that 10 a.m. wasn't too early to have lunch.

Bellevue Bistro

There is always something unique to look at in the sunny dining room, thanks to the talents of local photographers and artists. Artwork changes monthly and is reasonably priced. It is also fun to hunt for the Millennium Falcons that dot the cheery space - don't forget to check the ceiling fan!

The brightly lit dining room

The bistro lists several vegetarian sandwiches on their lunch menu. They include:
1.The Bistro Grill - fresh mozzarella, basil leaves and tomatoes grilled with house vinaigrette on ciabatta ($6.50)
2. Veggie Wrap - cheese, grilled vegetables, black beans and brown rice wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla, grilled and served with a sweet chili sauce and sour cream ($7.95)
3. Portobello Sandwich - red onions, fresh mozzarella, and red bell pepper, grilled with house vinaigrette on ciabatta ($7.25)
4. Veggie Burger - grilled and served with boursin cheese, tomato and sprouts on whole wheat ($6.95)

I opted for the veggie wrap and it was very tasty indeed. While there we discovered that they offer dinner service four nights per week (Wed-Sat) and so we stopped back a few weeks later to give it a try.

Veggie Wrap with a side of potato chips

Both of the vegetarian options on the dinner menu feature pasta: vegetable lasagna and Tuscan pasta. On the evening we visited my dinner decision was made for me because they were out of the lasagna. The menu doesn't give a clue to what ingredients are in each selection, and side dishes are not listed with the entrees. When we asked, our server had to go back to the kitchen to find out. At the time we thought it wasn't a very good sign that our waitress couldn't answer a simple question, but in retrospect, it's entirely possible that the kitchen was playing it by ear with whatever they had on hand.

Side salad

I say this because even after Steve was given a choice of potato - he chose mashed - his order arrived with roasted potatoes and apologies. I was told that the pasta came with a delicate wine sauce but moments before the pasta arrived the server came rushing over to inform me that the kitchen had opted for marinara instead. When the dish arrived it appeared that the sauce had been omitted altogether. Whew, talk about dry! It was also served on a steak fajita plate instead of a bowl or dish, which made for curious and careful eating, as various bits kept falling over the shallow sides and onto the table.

Tuscan pasta with roasted vegetables

The dish wasn't a complete waste however, because roasting intensifies the flavor and sweetness of root vegetables, and these could have easily stood alone. It's a shame they didn't. The shells simply cluttered it up.

Aside from the potato error, Steve had better luck with his pork fillet, which he found delightfully sweet due to the addition of roasted apples. The cut was a little more fatty than he would have liked, but overall not too bad.

Pacific rim pork loin with roasted potatoes and garlic asparagus

No meal is complete without dessert, and according to our server theirs are house made. We were told that the blackberry cobbler is a family recipe, so we decided to give it a try. It was a little doughier than I like, but the balance of tart and sweet was right on the money.

Blackberry cobbler with ice cream

While our meals were a little bit hit or miss, our experience was completely marred by the unprofessional behavior of two members of staff, who stood at the counter and really slagged off another co-worker with a peppering of expletives that could make a sailor blush. C'mon people, save the drama for the break room!

Bellevue Bistro on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme
2001 E. Dorothy Lane
Kettering, Ohio

Sure you can buy Krispy Kreme doughnuts at many area groceries, but unless you've had one right off the production line you haven’t tasted the magic. Seriously – there is a world of difference between the boxed variety on the supermarket shelves and the newly made bundles of bliss rolling out of the oven at the area’s closest franchise in Kettering.

Throw the calorie counter out the window, we're headed for Krispy Kreme!

I’m not much of a doughnut person myself, but one night a friend persuaded me to visit the little doughnut shop with her when we were coming back from Dayton, and she was absolutely giddy when she saw the round red neon "HOT NOW." Whenever this sign is lit, it means they are making their signature Original Glazed doughnuts. I was astonished at how busy the place was, but it only took one bite for me to understand the attraction. All their doughnuts are dangerously addictive, but none so much as a hot Original Glazed right off the line.

Have you ever taken a big fluffy piece of cotton candy, wadded it up into a ball, popped it in your gob and let it melt away to nothing? If you have, you've got some idea of what it's like biting into a hot Krispy Kreme Original Glazed doughnut. It simply dissolves on the tongue like a snowflake.

Magnetic pull too strong...cannot resist!

All their doughnuts are vegetarian - the only animal by-products used are eggs and dairy products like butter, milk, whey and yogurt. But before you go gleefully riding the sugar rush through an entire dozen, remember that they start at 200 calories each. Dude, buzz kill!

It's quiet at midday but just wait til they switch on the sign

In the meantime, other varieties roll out, like these crullers.

Since that first visit I've made a point of stopping by Krispy Kreme whenever I am in the Dayton area, but alas the little Original Glazed sugary wonders aren't always in production - the best time for them to be HOT NOW is early morning and late at night. According to the store manager, since the Cincinnati-area locations closed the number of U.C. students making the pilgrimage north for a late-night Krispy Kreme fix is substantial. I'm not surprised.

Krispy Kreme on Urbanspoon