Don’t Miss the Brunch at Temple Orange

As I’ve said before, I’ll go anywhere and do almost anything for a good brunch. Brunch is one of my favorite meals. I love a good mimosa, a bloody Mary bar, some eggs Benedict….

But I digress.

We recently brunched at the Temple Orange restaurant in Lantana, and I loved it. It lived up to the hype. Temple Orange is the signature restaurant of the Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa, a five-star hotel located just south of Palm Beach herself. At one time, the Ritz owned the property, but now it’s a part of a small line of boutique resorts.

Temple Orange turns into a delightful spot for Sunday brunch. A flat rate gets guests access to a plentiful buffet full of smoked salmon, pastries, humus, breakfast favorites, fresh fruit, omelets, and more. A small additional fee allows guests to experience a champagne and blood Mar bar–and I must say, that should be passed up by anyone. It’s too good.

Topping it all off, however is the view from Temple Orange. The restaurant lies in the middle of the resort, and gives guests a perfect view of the main pool, resort grounds, hotel rooms, and the ocean. It’s magical.

Put Temple Orange on your list. You won’t be disappointed.

After 60 Years in Business, You Learn a Few Tricks

Earlier this week, a local joint on the northern fringes of Cincinnati celebrated 60 years in business. Not bad, huh?

The Root Beer Stand has served hungry folks in Sharonville the same homemade root beer and chili since 1957. This is the kind of spot that does a few things–and does them very well. If you’re looking for root beer that tastes fresh and crisp, this is your spot. If you’re looking for a burger topped with cheddar cheese, nacho cheese, and bar-b-q, this is your spot. And, if you’re looking for a famous hot dog served with everything on it all at once, this is for sure your spot.

By the way, employees make gallons of fresh root beer every day at this joint. Every. Single. Day.

The folks in Sharonville love this restaurant. On any given day during the spring and summer, you’ll find it packed with folks enjoying a few twists on basic fast food. Many say The Root Beer Stand is synonymous with their neighborhood.

Which meant they didn’t let the drive-in’s 60th anniversary pass without a celebration. Not only did the city declare last Monday “Root Beer Stand” day, but city leaders and officials turned out with cupcakes for a root beer toast of 60 years service to the community.

Here’s to 60 more…

When Dive Bars are the Best Bars

img_4701-1Sometimes, you just want a cold one. Or a quick stop somewhere that isn’t about scene or a fancy drink menu. Sometimes, you’re just looking for a place with no frills.

And the dive bar does the trick.

Down the street and around the bend, we’re lucky to have one such spot. The Vogue has been serving up beers and quenching thirsts in Cincinnati’s Hartwell neighborhood since 1925, and I love it for that. The bar is tiny and spartan, but that’s part of the major appeal. It’s also located in a nondescript part of town anchored by a grocery store and a few other struggling businesses.

 People of all races and classes mix at the bar, and the staff doesn’t overcharge. Recently, my husband and I shared a beer and a margarita while watching March Madness.

We paid $6.50. Total.

The Vogue is fun. Unique. A mainstay. And always a good choice when you just want a change of scene. Bring cash, though, if you go. They don’t accept credit cards for payment.

Cincinnati’s Best Culinary Secret is 105-Years-Old

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The Queen City is in a bit of a renaissance right now, with many fabulous restaurants opening up all over town. So many great spots have debuted in the last three years that it is hard to keep up.

But that doesn’t mean the old isn’t great, too.

We recently dined at Scotti’s Italian, a small restaurant on Vine Street with a century of history in the city. We left asking, “Why haven’t we done this before?”

Places like this don’t come around every day. Immediately upon walking in, it is easy to feel transported to Italy. The charming décor features olive oil bottles across the ceiling, a hodgepodge of tile on the walls, low lighting, wine bottle candlelight, unique family artwork, and small tables that promote intimate dining.

The food is even better, and the menu might have the largest selection of pasta, veal, and Italian favorites in the city. I ordered mozzarella pasta, while my husband tried the breaded and stuffed loin of veal ala Guido. Both of our dishes came with minestrone soup, bread, and house salad. Our group also tired the spumoni for desert.

We’ll be back. You should go, too!

The Palm Beach Grill Serves Up Top Notch Smoked Salmon

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I love a good salmon. Especially a smoked one.

There’s just something about the savory and salty flavors that always draws me to it. I can’t resist. If I’m at a restaurant and it is on the menu, chances are–I’ll order it.

And recently, I had a smoked salmon that put all the others to shame.

The Palm Beach Grill is known as a ubiquitous gathering spot in Palm Beach, and it has served the community for the last few decades. A spot at the bar is tough to get on a Friday or Saturday night, and a reservation is even harder. Not only is this a fun place to people watch and socialize, it’s also a great spot for some delightful food.

And the smoked salmon here just might be the best I’ve ever tasted. I loved it so much, I had to take a photo of it. I had to write a blog post about it. I’ve spent the last few days dreaming about it.

In short, if you’re ever at this restaurant–order it!

The Circle Brunch Really IS That Good

It’s a long-standing fact: I love brunch.

It’s one of my favorite weekend traditions, and I’m always down for a bottomless mimosa, some eggs Benedict, waffles, and a Bloody Mary. I stay on the lookout for epic brunch spots in whatever city I visit.

One that I’ve always heard about is The Circle Brunch at The Breakers in Palm Beach. Now, we’ve vacationed on the island since 2011, but we’ve never made the leap and brunched at The Circle.

Why? Well, it is expensive. It comes with a price tag that is not for the faint of heart. We’ve talked it over a few times, and categorized it as something we’d do on a special occasion. Happily, that time came recently. Two friends came to visit us in Palm Beach, and we capped off the weekend with brunch for four.

And yes, The Circle really does put on the best brunch buffet I’ve ever tasted. You want it? It’s there. Sushi, caviar, waffles, a Bloody Mary bar, more deserts than you can shake a stick at, salmon, Nutella crepes, salads, fresh fruit, bottomless mimosas, and more. It’s a fantasy for the foodie. Really, I don’t know why I expected anything less. The Breakers does everything right. Even brunch.

If you’re ever in Palm Beach, don’t miss it!

College Hill Coffee Co.: Great Beans, Better Atmosphere

It’s no secret that I love coffee. A lot. I’m a writer by trade, so that’s almost a given. Writers drink coffee by the boatload, and I have an avowed addiction to Starbucks.

But I also appreciate those small little local joints, the places were the beans are handpicked, the décor is unique, and the coffee comes with a certain charm. In College Hill, a Cincinnati suburb, no one does that better than College Hill Coffee Company.

Tucked into the main drag, this café, coffee house, and gift shop delights immediately upon entry. This is the kind of place where a writer (like me) could sit for hours working on a manuscript and be perfectly content. Soft music plays overhead, guests can choose from a variety of seating, and the menu goes far beyond a delicious cup of java. Sandwiches, pastries, wine, beer, and desserts all make the list. To the side of the main checkout desk lies a few rows of off-beat shirts, accessories, jewelry, posters, and small gift items. Many of those have direct connections to Cincinnati.

Never been? Put the place on your list. You won’t be disappointed.