Tag Archives: Coffee

Yelp’s Cincy Made and Taste of the NFL

So last week was probably the week I ate everything.  Seriously.  All the events centered around food seemed to take place all at one time.  I wanted to pop in and share some of the bites I tasted with you all.  But first, let’s remember balance.  Because last week I ate a lot of foods I don’t normally eat all the time.  But this week isn’t centered around food-focused events and I’m balancing out last weeks indulgences with lots of fresh, lighter fare in exchange for the pastries, donuts, and fried treats.

Yelp’s Cincy Made at Urbana Cafe


I was such a fan of this event.  This was a new to me coffee shop downtown and boy am I glad this event helped me discover it.  Yelp’s Cincy Made events are free to individuals with Yelp accounts and designed so you can get an inside look at all aspects of some really cool local businesses.  The space itself was really inviting but modern, and the exposed brick on the wall really added to the ambiance.


The coffee was amazing.  My espresso was bold and flavorful; not bitter but definitely strong.  The food here is the star of the show though.  It’s not just your average chocolate cookies and brownies at this coffee shop.  Pastry Chef Stephanie is formally trained and prior to joining team Urbana, she worked as a pastry chef in fine dining establishments.  This has led her to create some delicious and absolutely beautiful treats.  Let’s talk toast bar–probably one of the most unique things I tried at Urbana was the toast.  Stephanie comes up with different toast creations are they are as beautiful as they are tasty.  A close second to the toast for me was Stephanie’s chocolate lemon scone.  SO GOOD.

The Freestore Foodbank’s Taste of the NFL

 

Taste of the NFL is hands down my favorite volunteer event with the Freestore Foodbank (FSFB) every year.  Since I used to work at the FSFB, I always get invited to help with this high profile event.  The Cincinnati Bengals team up with local eateries for one giant fundraiser where attendees can get autographs from their favorite players and taste some of Cincinnati’s best dishes.  This year, per usual, was incredible.  Because I could spend days typing reviews of every single bite I tasted, I’ll share some highlights with you below.

Holtman’s 

Always a favorite of mine.  I’ve been obsessing over the simplicity of just a solid sprinkled donut recently.  Always hits the spot.

 Taste of Belgium
This fun play on chicken and waffles was the best thing I ate.  It was a deliciously dense waffle topped with pulled pork and mango chutney.

This short rib and bacon dish.  So good.
This bacon and pea dish wins the creativity award.  I have never tasted anything quite like it.
The Phoenix
I’ve never eaten anything catered by the Phoenix, but was super impressed with their lobster corn dog.  Nice and crisp outside and moist inside.

 Tom + Chee
You may know this local establishment from shark tank.  I know them for the grilled cheese donut.  It’s as heavenly as it sounds.

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5 Things Friday!

TGIF, Friends!  This week has been incredibly busy between deadlines at work, and evening commitments after work.  Some highlights for the week include Yelp’s Cincy Made at Urbana Cafe and volunteering (then indulging later) at my favorite Cincinnati fundraiser, Taste of the NFL.  I’ll have full recaps on both those events coming at ya next week but I thought I’d share 5 food and fitness tidbits from my week so you can get a glimpse of how I’ve managed to find balance amidst the chaos!

  1.  I made it two times to P/E class at the Blue Ash Recreation Center.  Every time I go, I realize how much I miss having the time to attend all 5 early AM classes.  Per usual, Andrew designed some killer workouts, and my hamstrings definitely felt it yesterday when I tried to run.   
  2. Taste of the NFL!  I love that I’m on the volunteer list for this event.  Not only do I get to support a great cause, but I get to taste some of Cincy’s best eats.  I think the last time I felt that full was Thanksgiving dinner.  Standouts for me were obviously the dishes that included donuts, but more to come on that next week 🙂   
  3. Yelp’s Cincy Made at Urbana Cafe was a winner in my book.  I love supporting local business, especially those with coffee, so learning the history behind the business and getting to taste some of their menu offerings was a real treat. 
  4. After a week of indulging, I was in major need of something green.  It’s rare that I crave kale–those who know me best know it’s not a favorite food of mine–but when I saw the kale salad in the cafe at work today, I knew it would hit the spot.  Paired this salad up with some hummus and wheat crackers.  Perfect satisfying, healthy lunch. 
  5. A patient told me yesterday, “God gave us taste buds for a reason.”  Couldn’t agree more.  Food is meant to be enjoyed and every now and then, we may have a week where we overindulge, but finding balance and getting back on track is the real key to staying on the healthy lifestyle wagon.

What are your taste buds planning to enjoy this weekend?  A new recipe?  A new restaurant?  A favorite food? 

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Weekdays Can Be Weekends Too

Happy Wednesday aka hump day, friends!  For me, Wednesdays are hands down the longest day of the week for me to power through, so I always love starting it out with a solid workout.  Per my usual Wednesday morning routine, I hit up Andrew’s P/E (power and endurance) class at the Blue Ash Recreation Center.  While it’s slightly out of the way for me now, this class is hands down one of my favorites and a great value at $6 dollars for a drop-in fee.  Plus, I used to be a regular back in 2014, where I attended 4-5 mornings a week!  So, it’s always a good time seeing some familiar faces :).  Andrew organized a killer workout this morning.  I think the hardest part was the third tabata we did–instead of the traditional 10 seconds of rest between rounds, we did wall sits.  Ooof!  Super challenging.  As always, loved the puns on the workout board and the high energy of class.  Can’t wait until next Wednesday!

  
I wanted to pop in today to tell you why I think treating your weekdays like weekends is a good thing.  That’s right.  The world we live in is incredibly fast paced, over-scheduled, and full of constant, non-stop activity.  My life is no exception to this.  Sometimes, this can lead our weekends to feel just as busy as weekdays and no time for relaxation with loved ones.  In an effort to try and be a more positive thinker, I’ve come to the realization that slowing down can be a good thing.  I read this post a few weeks back and realized what a great concept it described:  Making our weekdays feel more like the weekend.

  
I spend every day of my workweek looking forward to Saturday, my one guaranteed day off each week.  I look forward to taking my time in the morning, getting in a great workout, enjoying a delicious breakfast or brunch I might not normally indulge in (or have time for) during the week, and in general, moving slower.  Weekends are also great because they involve more mental relaxation and time spent with friends.  Weekends are also great for downtime.  I read this article from Scientific American recently, that describes why our brains need more downtime.  “Research reveals how mental breaks increase productivity, replenish attention, solidify memories, and encourage creativity.”  Mental breaks can look different for everyone.  For me sometimes it’s curling up with a good book.  Sometimes it’s eating a delicious meal outside and just enjoying the quiet and peacefulness.  Sometimes a mental break is a walk to grab coffee with a friend.  These mental breaks can lend towards productivity in the workplace, but can also allow us to have a clear head and positive attitude when it comes to making healthy lifestyle choices too.

  
While I can’t say I’ve discovered a true love for meditation, what I have found is that slowing down and allowing myself to enjoy activities I traditionally save for weekends has allowed me to think more clearly, positively and remain more productive and motivated to accomplish goals during the workweek–work goals, fitness goals and even health & nutrition goals.  I gave this idea a shot on Monday, because we all know Mondays can be tough, and it worked out really great.  From moving just a touch slower and making a real effort to incorporate things into my day that provided mental breaks from my work tasks, I was really able to end the day feeling positive and refreshed, even though I spent 9 of those hours at work.

  
In an effort to move slower, Monday started out sleeping in an extra 15 minutes until 5:30 AM.  While it seems silly, allowing myself the extra 15 minutes made a huge difference!  After waking up and enjoying my coffee with a dose of NBC news on the side, I did a 25 minute circuit in my apartment.  Normally, I wouldn’t have time for this, but I knew that working out helps me to clear my head and start the day on a positive foot, so I was happy to make time for some movement.  I did a few tabatas and EMOMs (every minute on the minute) and then made breakfast.  I have been craving bacon for weeks now, and it’s typically a weekend food for me, but since I was trying to have a “weekend” kinda mindset, I went with it.  Breakfast was soaked oats, fruit and extra crispy bacon.  This meal left me so, so happy.

  
Later that day, I decided to take a work break and squeeze in a walk + coffee date with a friend instead of my traditional lunch break where I snack at my desk.  The sun was shining and there was a nice breeze.  It felt absolutely incredible to grab an iced latte and breathe in some fresh air.  It made all the difference in my day.  After work, I went straight to the park to meet up with my friend Mary for a run.  Normally, I probably wouldn’t go to a park on a weeknight, just for sake of time, but in an effort to incorporate more interesting and exciting activities into my day, I was excited to go see how the development of Summit Park was going.  We did 4 easy miles on the loop that surrounds the park before our good form running clinic that was meeting at the park later that evening.  Wandering and exploring the park prior to the clinic was a fun way to slow things down too!

 

unintentional twinning

  
 The day ended with the Bachelorette  premier + pizza with Mary.  Pizza is normally a weekend food for me, but in honor of treating Monday like the weekend, and JoJo, why not?

  
What did I learn from slowing down my Monday?  Well it didn’t impact my productivity negatively, and I ended the day feeling more refreshed, less stressed, and overall more positive about my week.  While slowing down every day isn’t a realistic goal for me, I will be making a more conscious effort to incorporate more positive activities into my days to make them more interesting and exciting.

  
Your turn, how would you make a Monday feel like the weekend?  What are your tips and tricks for slowing down?

 

 

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Missouri Weekend

Hi friends.  Happy Tuesday.  Just popping in here on this dreary Tuesday morning (so sick of the rain…who else is with me?!) to share some snapshots of my quick, weekend trip to Columbia, Missouri.  Myself and some of the fam went to see my younger brother graduate before he moves to Seattle.  Exciting stuff!

The drive from Cincinnati to the Columbia area took almost 9 hours.  I blame rush hour traffic in the St. Louis area.  Is St. Louis rush hour always the worst?!  The drive included plenty of packed road snacks (almonds, fruit + iced lattes) and a Panera stop for lunch.  Upon arrival to Columbia, it was dinner time.  Off to one of our favorites in Columbia, Broadway Brewery!  Broadway Brewery is located in the basement of a building so it’s very dark inside so unfortunately, no photos.  While I was 100% underwhelmed by their pre-selected graduation menu and did not enjoy my meal Friday, from a previous experience, I can report that their burgers are top notch and you can’t beat the beer.  I like their honey wheat.  Instead of food photos, here’s an attractive family photo at the restaurant.

  
The next day was a late wake up call.  After a morning workout and hotel breakfast, it was off to explore Columbia.  Coffee, scones and donuts?  Yes, please.  I was sad sour cream dunkers were the only type of donut Harold’s had left, but just goes to show in a college town, the hangover can motivate students to buy all the donuts at a local donut shop before lunch.

   
 Next up, a very early (like 3:30pm) dinner at Sophia’s before the graduation ceremony.  Sophia’s was good, not great.  In true Kaplan family fashion, we tried a bunch of stuff.  Started with an antipasti plate.  It had pita, cheese, fruit, and meat.  So tasty.

  
The ahi tuna pita flatbread was just okay.  The horseradish mayo was way too overwhelming for my taste buds.

  
My favorite was the pasta carbonara.

  

I was most confused by the grilled romaine.  Why is that a thing?

  
After or dinner (or linner–lunch + dinner, is that a real phrase?) we wandered the Mizzou campus for pre graduation photos.  Then, much needed coffee.  Then, a boring graduation ceremony.

  
The drive home was long so immediately after returning to Cincinnati, a run was in order.  5 miles with my friend Maria in the books.

  
Congrats to the grad!

Who else is traveling to graduation ceremonies this month?  Any healthy traveling tips you swear by?  Does anyone actually like grilled romaine salads?

 

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