file under: projects issue 9 could sabotage

The Cincinnati Streetcar is something I truly believe in. Like all things it has its fair share of risk, but to me the bigger risk is to do nothing.

The other larger rail programs going on around the country echo that sentiment- and along with the Cincinnati Streetcar, those programs are put at risk by Issue 9.

We have an opportunity here - to help build up a LONG NEEDED system of rail transportation in this country, to create jobs, to help grow neighborhoods and cities serviced by these systems. To help people find alternative commute routes, to help reduce pollution and our use of fossil fuels.

Issue 9 aims to stop progress under the guise of 'saving tax dollars' - the originators of this, COAST, are a group of ignorant suburbanites who claim they are out to prevent wasteful spending. I don't even think most of the members of this group LIVE in Hamilton county, yet somehow they felt it was their obligation to butt into our affairs and put their issue on our ballot, a ballot most of the members can't even vote on.

Issue 9 is poison and will damage this city for years to come. It will most likely kill the streetcar, along with any hope of development and prosperity along it's lines. It will cause public votes on transportation projects that are time sensitive and critical to our safety, even if they're federally funded- and could quite possibly cause us to lose any chance of being a stop along these new rail lines. The language of this ballot is vague, misleading and could cripple this city.

COAST as a group has no support, and there's a lot of backlash against Issue 9, hopefully enough to vote it down with a huge majority. To me this shouldn't even be on the ballot and COAST should be prosecuted for fraud. They perpetrated a series of lies and through misleading language they managed to get their signatures. As a group they've yet to garner a single endorsement from any prominent individual or organization, in fact the city and most groups in town oppose them. I also fail to understand how a group that has no clear majority of residents in the affected county can screw with our system so much. Maybe we should get an issue on the ballot address that!

On top of this, the group is also now protesting Hamilton county ballot issue 7 that would help fund libraries, as if their ignorance hasn't already gained them enemies. Please read the Cincinnati Blog article about this, it's truly mind blowing how stupid these people are. The simple fact is that COAST wants Cincinnati to fail and it's time for us to fight back.

COAST hates public libraries (via Cincinnati Blog)

Cincinnati Enquirer: COAST’s Anti-Rail Charter Amendment is a “Poison Pill” (via Metro | Cincinnati)

Big plans for 220mph trains could forever change the way Americans travel (via DVICE)

Cadillac Ranch = clunker

If you live in Cincinnati you may have already heard some Cadillac Ranch-bashing as a result of some serious party-foul action that went down during MidPoint Music Festival this past weekend. If you missed it (as I did because I was out of town), here's the gist from BuyCincy:

After hearing one band they were unhappy with, Cadillac Ranch pulled the plug on visiting Midpoint Music Festival bands scheduled to play Saturday night at his venue. After Cleveland's The Lighthouse and The Whaler finished their low-key 8pm set, Cadillac Ranch had enough and cancelled performances from bands that came to Cincinnati from New York, Louisville, and Nashville, citing lack of profit.

How embarrassing, to say the least. I find myself getting surprisingly defensive as one of our precious, awesome jewels (like MidPoint) is bullied by Big Restaurant. There is no excuse for behavior of this nature, and it's vindicating to notice that I'm not the only one up-in-arms. This has quickly become a media nightmare for at least this location of the chain-- there's even a Facebook page set up to encourage a boycott.

Hell, I'm in. One more excuse to Eat Local, amirite?

If you agree that this is unacceptable, might I recommend voting this location down on Urbanspoon?

Cadillac Ranch on Urbanspoon

Kentucky Symphony Orchestra; Devou Park

I've been in Chicago for most of a week, both for business and pleasure. Luckily, I am backlogged on Awesome Cincinnati Things. Huzzah!

In a previous post, I mentioned that Dan & I recently spent a weekend dog-sitting. The night after we took Tonks to Eden Park, we attended a Kentucky Symphony Orchestra performance at Devou Park. (...Which is actually in Kentucky. I'm counting it. "Greater Cincinnati Re-adventure" was a bit on the long side.)

The concert, part of their summer series, was boogie-themed and whimsical. There was a great turnout, with people in camp chairs sprawled all over the bandshell area and kids dancing in the grass. The weather was perfect again, despite a handful of aggressive bugs.

Devou Park has the best view of Cincinnati that I've ever experienced, but I'd never been to the park and bandshell areas before. The park has a lot more to offer than I'd seen before-- though if you're getting married, the building facing the river (Drees Pavilion†) is still the place to do it.

†Thing I just learned about Drees Pavilion: Drees built and donated the pavilion to commemorate its 75th anniversary. Now any money the Pavilion makes off of wedding fees and etc. go to the park. Swank!

the Cincinnati Streetcar (and beyond)

For my first post I'd like to post a bit about a topic that I belive is critical to the future of this city, but first I will introduce myself a bit.  My name is Dan and I've lived in Cincinnati most of my life, although I spent a few years in Louisville and Cleveland as well.  Erica and I started this blog to chronicle our adventures around town (and maybe more?) - and to help get the word out about eating and shopping local. Cincinnati is full of chain retailers and restaurants, but if you take some extra time there are some real amazing things to be found here. Erica's posts have covered a few that we've already visited, and over time we'll be adding more and more. 

The Streetcar

The big debate in town lately is the Streetcar, and more importantly Issue 9. To me these are two separate issues, mainly b/c of the future implications of issue 9, if it were to pass (which I hope is unlikely). There are valid reasons to support or protest the streetcar. It's a gamble and will either be an epic success and change the landscape forever in town, or it will fail and we will have wasted 200+ million. This is the risk of any major public funds project. I personally believe it will do amazing things for the communities along the line, and bring new life and opportunities to downtown. Not only will current projects in Clifton, OTR benefit, but I think it is critical for the success of The Banks projects.

Issue 9, however, is going to set the tone for years to come when it comes to transportation in this city. Originally billed as a way to force a public vote on the streetcar, the truth about it is is that will force public votes on ANY tax dollar expenditures on public transportation. This means any STATE and FEDERAL projects - IE: light rail, high speed rail, etc. In essence this issue could cause Cincinnati to be left out of these important regional projects. We could lose our branch of the proposed high speed rail links in the Midwest. I think the implications of that are FAR more serious than a gamble on a streetcar. We can recover from that, what we cannot recover from is the population and job loss that could come if Cincinnati is left out of major transportation projects linking the Midwest and beyond.

Fore more information about the above mentioned projects please check out these links. And please vote NO on Issue 9 in November!
Midwest High Speed Rail
CincyStreetcar Blog 
Google map of street car route
Vote Hamilton County

Soapbox: "Making Musical Cities"

"Events like MPMF, Taste of Cincinnati, and the Fountain Square summer concert series are all good examples that support local musicians. If there were some sort of organization to pull together bands, graphic artists, promoters, and small labels, to promote the city's music as a whole, I think it could be pretty big."

There's a nice piece in Soapbox about the burgeoning music scene in Cincinnati. Shout-outs to @allnightparty, @badveins and Project Mill, yea! Also a plug by my beloved @redkatblonde for locally-grown music in ads campaigns:

"In my experience, very few ad projects that require music have ever incorporated original local music or musicians. I think the main reason lies in the fact that businesses don't know how to necessarily find original local musicians, and therefore miss opportunities to use their music. If a company wants to connect their product or service to Cincinnati, and wants a true hometown feel, the most authentic thing they can do is use original local music in their productions," she says.

Cincinnati Art Museum

Part 1 of my friend Meredith's wedding took place at the Holy Cross-Immaculata Church in Mt. Adams. For her reception, we scooted over to Eden Park to visit the Cincinnati Art Museum.

According to the ol' Wikipedia, ours is one of the oldest art museums in the US. I did not know that.

Meredith's cocktail hour took place in a little courtyard within the museum grounds... which, with the falling dusk, was incredibly pretty.

Meredith made her rounds with a huge smile and a glass of white wine. As it grew darker there were candles and lanterns lit. Picturesque.
Ultimately we were ushered inside of the museum proper for the reception dinner. This picture doesn't really capture how beautiful the setup was, with the tall museum staircase and all the marble work. Everything looked sophisticated and... well, very Meredith.

I'll have to re-visit the art museum to give it a proper review; none of the exhibits were open, though Dan and I half hoped they'd let us mill around in there. This museum is one of the places in Cincinnati that I do visit about once a year, so I'm sure we'll be back in no time.

Cincinnati Art Museum website:

By the way: the Cincinnati Art Museum is free every day. Even the special exhibits, which is a recent development. No excuses not to check it out.

Holy Cross-Immaculata

Holy Cross-Immaculata is an exquisite Catholic church atop Mt. Adams. Dan and I were there for a wedding this past weekend-- I'd never been before.

The view, as you can see, is a stunning as you get in Cincinnati-- it's one of the highest points.

Thing I just learned about the church: "Archbishop John Baptist Purcell decided to build the church while praying during a severe storm at sea. He promised God that if he survived, he would build a church on the city's highest point."

But the most beautiful parts of just about any church are inside. Take a look at the ornate altar of the Immaculata.

And the very very most beautiful thing was the bride, my friend and coworker Meredith (who now needs to update her Twitter handle). In the next post: her gorgeous reception at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Holy Cross-Immaculata website:

Findlay Market: take two

Yes, I'm already repeating post topics! I just can't sing the praises of Findlay Market loudly enough.

I brought a crew this time: my brother Bradley, my friend Kate, Kate's mama Susan and the Dan-meister. Lunch was Priority 1, and I gorged myself on fresh-cooked pasta from Bouchard's. For $7, they give you any pasta you want with as many toppings as you can dream of and whichever sauce you desire. Pictured here: me with a face full of linguine with spinach, tomatoes and olive oil dressing. Dan had angel hair pasta with marinara, chicken and a half-dozen other ingredients. Delicioso.

There are a bunch of other lunch options if you're the mood-- Susan had a delicious-looking gyro and Bradley had some kind of pulled pork with spicy macaroni. Before my first visit, I hadn't really known you could eat at Findlay.

Of course I bought way too much food for one human to eat before it all goes horribly bad. Try reading these out loud without drooling:
--Roasted garlic & eggplant ravioli
--Italian abruzzese bread
--A slice of chai cake
--Chick pea salad
--Apple cider
--Red grapes

I've been dining like a queen lately.

Findlay Market website:

Clifton Comics & Games

One of the benefits of visiting Dan in Clifton is that he has a local comic book store, where I have none.

I've been to a good handful of comic book stores in my day, and this one may be my favorite so far-- even just based on the fact that someone talked to me, asked me if I was finding things, engaged in conversation with me.

I'm here to tell you that the entire clichéd "sole woman in the comic book store" situation is often true: there is almost the sound of a breath being drawn in, like everyone simultaneously sucked in their gut. I've never felt comfortable in comic book stores alone, no matter how much I buy or what geek trivia I lay down. I thought it'd be better walking into stores on the arm of a guy, but it rarely changes the feeling much. In fact, the proprietors/cashiers will usually talk to the guy I'm with, even if I'm the one trying to pay for something or ask a question. It can be a pretty horrible feeling.

At Clifton Comics, there's still a little bit of an awkward feeling right off the bat, but nothing you wouldn't expect when walking into a room full of geeks. This time when we visited I struck up a conversation with the proprietor (once he asked me if I needed help, WIN) and he was beyond helpful to me. I was asking for information on a card game I am learning to play, and he not only gave me suggestions on what to buy but threw in some starter decks for free. (I'm sure this is a common ploy to get people hooked, but hell, I was already trying to get hooked.)

And once again, I'm trying to "shop local." The cards I was buying-- as well as the Green Lantern books that Dan was buying and the board games and comic books we both buy-- could easily be found at Target or Amazon. But when you ask a Target clerk about their products, the most they can do is point to an aisle. They can't speak knowledgably, they won't hand you free product, and they definitely won't share your excitement about your new investment.

Clifton Comics & Games

Take the Cake

For the first few entries of Cincinnati Re-adventure, I'm going to be playing catch-up on the places I've been in the past month or so-- after I decided to reclaim Cincinnati, but before I considered starting a new blog for it.

However, today's entry is from the delicious lunch Dan and I had today, at my much-loved Take the Cake.

My first experience with Take the Cake came when I was looking for a dessert to bring to a party; Dan suggested Northside's local bakery, and the half-dozen cupcakes we ordered were fantastic. (The red velvet cupcakes went over particularly well.)

But Take the Cake serves lunch too, and the daily menus they post online make me salivate every time I read them. Today it was the "G-BLT" that lured me in ("G" = "guacamole"). I'm still drooling a little, and I've already eaten the damn thing. Dan had the chicken stew with buttermilk biscuits (I tried it-- warm and flavorful, very comfort food-y).

Naturally, you don't leave Take the Cake without one of their desserts. They have an entire case stocked with cakes, cupcakes and brownies, as well as plates of cookies and pies. Selection can be difficult. Dan tried the peanut butter brownie (which I'm happy to say has none of that fake PB taste) and I had a yellow cupcake with "Italian strawberry buttercream icing" which I would recommend to anyone, absolutely. Again, the icing has none of the artificial taste I've come to expect-- it tastes like the actual fruit, with a sharp twang and natural sweetness.

Take the Cake is another one of my successes for my goal of supporting local business-- every time I eat at the café I come away wondering why I would eat at a Panera or a Bruegger's when this kind of place exists in my neighborhood. It's not just a matter of local economy-- the food actually tastes better, is made of better things, is locally grown and often organic... hell, you can watch it being made from scratch in the open kitchen behind the cash register. You walk away feeling better on all fronts.

Take the Cake
Online menu:

Northside Community:

Take the Cake on Urbanspoon

As You Like It; Eden Park

This is Tonks. (And Dan.) She's not mine. (He is.)

Tonks belongs to friends of Dan's. As I'm pretty desperate to have a dog of my own, I'd spent plenty of time beforehand planning a whole weekend of dog-friendly activities for Labor Day weekend, when we'd be Tonks-sitting.

The first one was a trip to the Seasongood Pavilion in Eden Park to see Cincinnati Outdoor Shakespeare's production of As You Like It. Unfortunately, as far as the production goes, I can't tell you much. The 3 of us sat way in the back of the pavilion, so as not to bother other theater-goers. (The precaution was completely unnecessary; Tonks was an angel.) I couldn't hear much of the production, and I spent most of our time there pulling sticks from Tonks' mouth or telling friendly children that yes, you can pet her and no, she won't bite your face off. As far as I know.

But the Seasongood Pavilion was lovely, as was all of Eden Park. We had incredible weather and a few of the trees had started to turn toward autumn.

We spent a little time with Tonks at Mirror Lake afterwards... or we would have, but she wasn't havin' it. She was well-behaved, quiet and friendly... but had zero interest in that ramp and the empty pool it led into. Guess I can't blame her.

Thing I just learned about Eden Park: it was designed by landscape architect Adolf Strauch,who also designed Cincinnati's Spring Grove Cemetery.

Dojo Gelato

First I must introduce the Dan. This is the boyfriend who has lured me out of my east-side suburb and into the light. He'll be writing here eventually... for now he's whipping me up a blog design.

Onto Dojo. Dojo Gelato is owned and operated by a former coworker of mine, Michael Christner. He has since pursued a dream and now all of Cincinnati benefits by having fantastic, locally-made gelato planted in Findlay Market.

Dojo hardly needs press from a blog on its third post-- it's gotten plenty of attention lately-- but I wanted to call it out as a special part of Findlay Market to me. Dojo really drove home the "support local commerce" idea-- I could see my money going to support someone I knew and cared about, and in turn helping our local economy and a market that brings so many parts of Cincinnati together.

Plus the gelato is delicious. Dan tried the dutch chocolate and I had orange fig; I also bought a pint of bourbon vanilla and a pint of brownies 'n' cream for a get-together I was attending. (Walking into a party carrying= gelato = win.) Each flavor has been delectable, and Michael rolls out new flavors constantly.

To keep up with Dojo Gelato, check out their:

Dojo Gelato on Urbanspoon

Findlay Market

To my great shame, I lived 25+ years without ever stepping foot in Findlay Market.

Findlay is Cincinnati's premier farmer's market, located in Over-the-Rhine and operating year-round. From what I'd been told, Saturday is The Day To Go.

Eating and shopping locally is of recent interest to me. I won't say I'm a diehard by any stretch of the imagination, but it's slowly becoming more and more important to me (especially as I find out how people actually manage it in this city). I saw right away how Findlay fits into that puzzle. You can get all of your main foodstuffs there-- not just the fruits and veggies I'm used to seeing at roadside vendor stands, but also every kind of meat and dessert and pasta and beer and you name it. (You can score some incredible gelato, too... but I'll give that its own post.)

This has all probably been very obvious to everyone but me, yes?

Deliciousness that I brought home: sweet potato gnocchi, Belgian waffles, basil garlic linguine, pear butter (crap, I need to eat that pear butter), fresh bread and basil, raspberry jam, green beans, grapes and raspberries.

You'd better believe I'll be back.

Cincinnati Re-adventure

I am Erica Minton, and I am burnt-the-eff-out of Cincinnati.

Was. Was burnt-the-eff-out.

I'm 26 and I've lived here all of my life-- even college only took me as far as Miami University (<1hr away). I felt that I'd done it all, seen it all, eaten it all, met 'em all.

Of course that wasn't true. While I'm living in a suburb I've definitely outgrown, the moment I really tried to piece together a social life I was inundated with options and opportunities that I'd been blind to before.

So I'm re-adventuring Cincinnati. This is the blog where I'll share my rekindled love for the Queen City, Porkopolis, the home of the first baseball team and chili that ain't chili.

As they say, don't trash the 'Nati. ...At least not until you've given it a fair shake.