Taste of Tapas, Blue Ash, & Timbits

I've found that I like the idea of tapas more than I actually end up enjoying them, but I headed out to Relish Modern Tapas on Friday just as excited as I usually am at the prospect of digging into tapas. They have a separate vegetarian menu, but there are also vegetarian options on their main menu. We ended up going with Wild Mushroom Risotto Spheres, Spinach Stuffed Wild Mushrooms, and a Spinach, Mushroom, and Goat Cheese Empanada. Portion sizes were fairly small, as is appropriate for tapas, so we had enough room for some delicious Tres Leches cake.  The meal also includes complimentary butter lace cookies.  Still I felt disappointed.  The spheres were $9 each and the stuffed mushrooms were $10 - I would rather half the price and the serving size so that you have the opportunity to try more dishes.  That said, the food was all very tasty and tastefully presented. 

So, with that, tapas kicked off this weekend of tasting. Saturday morning we were stuck waiting for the locksmith for quite some time - our keys don't open the connecting garage door for some reason - so breakfast was seriously delayed as I was hoping to eat at Findlay Market.  We've only been to this public market once before, and I am pretty sure we didn't buy a single thing. We definitely changed that this time around.

We stopped at Cake Rack Bakery after being lured in by their enticing display of pastries. I had a vegan lemon donut that was super yummy along with this mini-cheesecake. Good breakfast! 

We wandered around a while longer and ended up picking up a container of Summuh, artisan hummus. We went with Sister Mary Rosarita, Lemon Rosemary Hummus. We also got some Chicago-style kettle corn from Mama Made It. Delish! Our last stop at the Market was Mama Lo Hizo, which I just looked up and found that this means 'Mama Made It' in Spanish and is owned by the same person as the kettle corn place. I just had a veggie taco there - simple but super-tasty.      

After a little bit of shopping, we headed over to the Taste of Blue Ash. The weekend we moved here just happened to be the Taste of Cincinnati, so we were a little too busy to stop by. I was kind of bummed that we missed it, but I was happy to stop by the Blue Ash neighborhood and try some of the local food there.

We started with some absolutely delicious Salted Caramel Toffee Gelato from Alfio's. We munched on a veggie eggroll from Mecklenburg Gardens and this giant cream puff that I believe was from Puffins.    

Back at home for the evening, we mixed up some drinks, sampled our take-home fare from Findlay Market, and played some games.

And I finally tried the Lychee Japanese Soft Drink I had picked up the last time I was at Jungle Jim's. The lychee flavor was interesting - good, but hard to describe. The bottle has a unique shape and it is sealed with a marble that you push in to open.  Fun and tasty, LOL!  

On Sunday, we headed out for an early lunch at BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse.  This meal started out pleasantly enough - we had Crispy Fried Artichokes and Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms from their Snacks & Small Bites Menu. For our entree we decided to go with a Signature Deep Dish Pizza. When the pizza arrived, we seriously asked the waitress if this was the deep dish - we thought maybe they'd given us hand-tossed by mistake?  When I hear 'deep dish', I think Chicago-style, a la Giordanos. I'm talkin' serious cheese, flavorful sauce, and a hefty pie that's just brimming with toppings. The cheese here was sparse, the overall pizza was flat and disappointing, and there was hardly any sauce.  I ended up asking for a cup of sauce on the side so it wasn't like I was just eating bread.

To be fair, this is how BJ's describes their Signature Deep Dish, "A culinary masterpiece – pairing our flavorful, lightly sauced bakery crust pizza with BJ’s signature blend of five cheeses and unique combinations of toppings and flavors to inspire all of your senses." I don't know - the lightly-sauced part was accurate, but I still was expecting more. So, it's not meant to be Chicago-style, but it was just way too bread-y for my tastes and I needed more sauce, more cheese, more flavor.  

Blah, I needed a pick-me-up after that, so I decided to go to Tim Horton's for an Iced Capp Supreme, a blended coffee drink.  Tim Horton's is actually a Canadian restaurant known for its coffee and doughnuts. I'm not sure how far they've expanded in the US, but I think they are mostly in the northeast. I first tried them during the New England Road Trip in 2009, and we stopped whenever we saw another location throughout that trip. Good stuff!

I also picked up a small box of Timbits, AKA doughnut holes, and I thought the box was super-cute and the donuts weren't half-bad either. 
It was a fun weekend of small bites and (mostly) big flavor! 


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