Shari Creates

The Cincinnati Summary

Posted on: August 13, 2010

Okay, I had the best of intentions to do this post earlier, but life keeps happening, you know?

All in all, Gabby and I really enjoyed our trip to Cincinnati, and are definitely planning on going back. We rated everything in smileys, because they were easiest to scribble on the address notes.ย  So, X( was non-existent; ๐Ÿ˜ฆย  / ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ๐Ÿ˜ฆ / ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ๐Ÿ˜ฆ was disappointing, lame, and/or a waste of time;ย  ๐Ÿ˜ was not impressive or just okay;ย  ๐Ÿ™‚ / ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ / ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ were varying assessments of good, great, and excellent.

The hotel was the Blue Ash Crown Plaza, which we rated ๐Ÿ˜ – the room was average, the neighbors were noisy, the bedding was white with a few noticeable spots that didn’t get bleached out.ย  Blue Ash itself was ๐Ÿ™‚ :), they had some very nice features, and some lovely flowers and landscaping.

Izzy’s Deli on Smiley Ave – ๐Ÿ™‚ – for more specific comments, see the Day One post.

Torrid at the Tri-County Mall was ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ – I forgot to mention that the two women working there were terrific, both friendly and helpful.ย  Seriously, I cannot say enough good things about our experience there!

Nail Perfection at the Tri-County Mall was ๐Ÿ˜ – It was both Gabby and my first time with the manicure, and my first pedicure, and I am not inclined to do it again.ย  I hear that the cuticle removal process is always painful, but have been fighting hangnails ever since.ย  This may even end up being a ๐Ÿ˜ฆ , butย  I did not want to take out a dislike for the process overall on the specific location (if that makes sense…)

The Melting Pot was ๐Ÿ™‚ย  – We agreed that since it was a long dinner, it would make a good first date place, giving you plenty of time to talk while cooking each part of dinner.ย  We definitely want to try fondue again.

On the second day, we discovered that our GPS did not work well in downtown Cincinnati, which made finding the places we were looking for a real challenge.ย  Also, there was a Cincinnati Reds game, so traffic was a mess.ย  The GPS also had been set to love highways, and would take us quite far out of the way to use them.

We had a late breakfast at First Watch on Montgomery Road, which was ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ – the food was really good, the servers were friendly, and they were right next door to a Half Price Books, which was a total plus for the two of us.ย  I had a combo with scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, and truly fabulous, fried-to-perfection bacon.ย  Gabby had a turkey burger that was both moist and flavorful, so we were both happy with First Watch. We need one in Lafayette, as a matter of fact.ย  Half Price Books was, of course, a delight.

Sheer Necessities Lingerie was our next stop, and it was ๐Ÿ˜ฆ / ๐Ÿ˜ – they did have some variety in the sizes, as advertised, butย  the alternative section was a disappointment – very few shoes, none that we saw in larger sizes (I’m an 11, so was looking forward to finding some sexy shoes for bigger feet); the wigs we saw were mostly on mannequins.

Our plan was to go to Graeter’s for ice cream on our way downtown, but the one we went past was in a sketchy neighborhood, so we decided to wait and find a different one.

We went to Tower Place Mall – ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ๐Ÿ˜ฆ – looking for Midnight Muse – X( – and had to pay $10 to park for what turned out to be 30 minutes.ย  The Tower Place Mall was architecturally beautiful, but very bare.ย  There was an art deco court area, which was truly lovely, but there were no stores that we were interested in.ย  Partially, this was my fault – I knew there was a chance the Midnight Muse would have closed, despite having an accessible website too, but I figured that there would be other stores in a downtown mall that we would be interested in.ย  I remember a martini bar, a TJ Maxx, a Victoria’s Secret, and a few miscellaneous small businesses; but mostly, it was empty.

Back at the car, we decided ice cream was necessary, so we found an address in a Downtown Cincinnati map we had picked up at the Mall – but between the GPS, the traffic, and whatever else, we could not find the Graeter’s store.ย  Okay, time to rethink.ย  The GPS suggested another Graeter’s across the river in Newport, Kentucky.ย  We drove there – and there was bare dirt, a closed Kroger gas station, and construction on a Target store. Hmmm… well, while we were in that area, we checked out Hofbrรคuhaus (a German brew house we were planning on having dinner at) and the Funny Bone (a comedy club we were planning on going to.)ย  Okay, both look good and were easy to find, but now we are on a quest for ice cream.ย  There was a Graeter’s near the Tri-County Mall, and we had discussed going to Dave & Buster’s too, so we headed back to that part of town – with a stop at a gas station.ย  Unfortunately, the gas nozzle did not kick off when the tank was full, and sprayed gas on my shoes! Not much spilled, just a few ounces, and I reported the nozzle problem to the gas station attendants, but we had to crack the windows due to the reek of gasoline.

Finally, we arrived at Grater’s Ice Cream onย  Princeton-Glendale Road.ย  Jennifer Crusie has said it is the best ice cream in the world, and we decided it was well worth all the hassle to get there and finally have some – ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ !ย  The two people working the counter were competing to give us samples of the flavors they considered the best, and all of them were very good.ย  Also, since it was my birthday, I got a free scoop, which was a delightful surprise.ย  The ice cream was rich, and smooth, and creamy, and just thoroughly wonderful.

We ran across the street to a Big Lots (which was huge) and got me a replacement pair of shoes – yes, I am now the proud (?) owner of a third pair of Crocs.ย  They were cheap, and they fit – plus, they are red with big fake jewels on the side, so I will be very glamorous in my garden now.

I had never heard of Dave & Buster’s, but Gabby had heard it was a grown up version of Chuckie Cheese, so we went there next.ย  The food reviews were negative across the board, but we were there for the games, and had a great time – as well as almost making ‘Commisioner’ on the Police Trainer game. We gave it ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ and would totally go again – and this time, we WILL beat that game, lol.

We had somewhat lost track of time by this point, and it was around seven pm – so we drove back to Newport to go to the German restaurant.ย  The parking attendant told us that the wait was so long, they were no longer promising that the people arriving would be able to have dinner, so we thanked him and left.

The Mongomery Inn was rated the best overall restaurant on the Best of Cincinnati website, so we went to the one on Montgomery Road, which was near our hotel.ย  Our waitress was a funky, sassy woman who was a pleasure to interact with, and took great care of us.ย  Gabby got a rib and chicken combo with macaroni and cheese; I ordered a combo plate (ribs, brisket, and pulled pork) with onion straws.ย  They also served a wonderful sourdough bread, and when the food arrived it was in huge servings!ย  The ribs were perfect, fall off the bone tender, and the sauce was a great balance of smoky, sweet, and tangy.ย  The chicken was excellent, and the pulled pork was very tasty.ย  My brisket was thin sliced – almost like bacon – and then slightly fried.ย  I had never had brisket done that way, and it was very good, also.ย  We could have fed at least three more people off the two plates we ordered, and it was very sad that the hotel did not have a microwave and fridge so we could take home the remainder.ย  My birthday dessert was a marvelous shortbread strawberry shortcake, with Graeter’s vanilla ice cream. Overall, ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ even though I spent all night feeling like I was pregnant with a meat baby…

Sunday morning, we checked out of the hotel and headed back to First Watch – but the wait was about 90 minutes.ย  We ended up at Frisch’s Big Boy, where they had a breakfast buffet.ย  The food was ๐Ÿ™‚ but the waiter was ๐Ÿ˜ – he never refilled our drinks, despite having to walk past us multiple times, and we were unable to catch his attention.ย  Still, we had a good breakfast, and took pictures with the Big Boy statue; then we got in the car to head home.

On the drive home, we realized that not once had either of us been disappointed that we were in Cincinnati instead of at RWA Nationals in Florida.ย  So, the trip was an overall success, a great way to spend a long weekend and celebrate my 37th birthday, and I look forward to future trips with Gabby, who is a terrific friend and wonderful road trip partner!ย  And maybe next year we will get to go to Nationals.


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