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Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Boyfriend’s Excellent Summer Eating Adventure

(Ed. note: We have a guest blogger this summer, the ever-wonderful Boyfriend. )

A few weeks ago, Julie and I were having lunch at Habanero in Clifton when I was reminded of something I’ve believed for a long time: The country’s best cheap eats are often found close to college campuses.

This shouldn’t be surprising. College students love to eat out but don’t usually have much money. They don’t usually go for complex or sophisticated fare, but there will always be a market for feeding good food at bargain prices to college kids.

Though it has been more years since college than I’d like to admit, I well remember counting out change from my coin jar to finance a Saturday-night burger. Late-night pizza, the cost divvied up among five or six people in the dorm, was a staple back then, as I’m sure it continues to be for college kids today.

I attended a marginally accredited, mid-sized state university in a “college town” in the Deep South. And although, even in those days, there were plenty of fast-food chains available, my favorite places were the locally owned mom-and-pop joints. And what’s truly amazing is that most of them are still there. I still visit all of them from time to time, whenever I find myself in that part of the country. One place, I swear, serves the best wings and fried pickles I’ve ever eaten (and after a recent trip there, Julie concurs). Another serves an incredibly flavorful and juicy hamburger with a peppery ketchup-based sauce and the strongest onions I’ve ever eaten. Probably my favorite place had, among other things on an extensive menu, my all-time favorite char-grilled hamburger steak, smothered with a mountain of sautéed onions.

Or am I wrong? Is it possible that my long-ago favorites aren’t really all that great…that my taste buds are colored by nostalgia? It’s no matter, I suppose.

As a high school teacher, I have a fair amount of free time during the summer months, especially this summer. And as someone who feels a need always to be productive, I’ve decided to undertake a major summer-long project: Lunch.

And this is where I need your help.

What are your favorite food memories from college? I’d love to hear them. And, especially if you attended college within an hour’s drive or so from Cincinnati, I’d like to know what your favorite food haunts were. Give me the names of the restaurants, along with your favorite dishes at those places, and I hereby pledge to treat myself to lunch at least twice a week for the next two months, investigating and reviewing your recommendations.

(I didn’t say it was a noble or worthy project, just a major one.)

Please respond soon. I’m hungry.

22 comments:

Kelly said...

I have to confess - my eating experiences at Ohio State were mostly chain-oriented (fond memories of Chipotle, family would take me to The Cheesecake Factory or Champps when they were in town, etc.).

But if you find yourself in the Columbus area, I'd be very interested to know how Bento Go-Go turned out. The bento restaurant opened my senior year, and I think I only ever went there for "sake-tinis."

Also, El Vaquero is a true local gem.

The Boyfriend said...

Kelly--What a coincidence. Julie and I will be in Columbus in about three weeks. You've just given us our starting point for the trip. El Vaquero...Mexican, I'm presume?

JKNEPFLE said...

Adriatico's in clifton...you can get "The Bearcat (huge)" (that's what it says on the menu), which is a giant thick garlicky pizza. It's pretty awesome. One day a week it was like $14, which fed 3 of us for several days.

Julie said...

I sense I'll be eating his leftovers... but with Adriatico's, I don't mind!

My favorite college foods: Jimmy John's, Adriatico's, Pomodori's, Habanero, Sitwell's. I know you've done both Sit's and JJ's, but there's always room to repeat...

Cin Twin1 said...

At Clemson on Monday night Papa John's had a special where you could get a large one topping pizza for $5. I have not been to Cilantro yet, but I hear it has some bang for its buck.

Julie said...

Cilantro is great, but I can't get over the fact that it was in the old spot of Jerusalem Cafe, which had the best college food ever. Falafel, hummus, lentil soup-- as much as you could eat-- for $5-6. The woman who ran it got sick and they had to close, but man was it good.

Charles said...

Miami University grad checking (Dec '92--I was early...)

The really cool unique one was Chuck's. Chuck was a farmer who, as I understand it, came upon hard times. So, he got a trailer, and hauled it uptown on Thursday-Saturday nights between 11 PM and 2 AM. He served burgers (made of pork), seasoned fries, and other things. He got quite a following. He would serenade sweethearts, and had a heater in the winter (that eventually caused a fire). From this following, he got a catering business.

Unfortunately, I think he passed away a few years after I graduated. No more Chuck's.

For nostalgia, when my wife and I (we're a Miami Merger) head up to Oxford, we go to Bagel and Deli. Bagel sandwiches, which are steam-cooked and quite yummy. They are known for the ad hoc naming system. If you want give a particular combination a name, you make a sign, and they put it up. I would definitely try it.

The Boyfriend said...

jknepfle--Thanks for the suggestion. I hadn't heard of Adriatico's. Sounds right up my alley...garlicky.

Charles--That's sad about Chuck's. It's a terrific story. I'll bet those burgers were awesome. My favorite food group: Pork. Bagel and Deli sounds good. I've lived here for almost five years, and I've never been to Miami U. I think it's high time.

Julie said...

Hey, Boyfriend-- if you can hold off to a weekend, I'd totally go with you. Miami is a beautiful campus.

5chw4r7z said...

Well boyfriend, you found a way to blog, good job.
It may not be practical for you but one of my favorite eateries was The Beat Coffee House on Lincoln Ave just off the YSU campus.
The Beat
This says it was new in '01 which is untrue, it had just changed hands.
The coffee was always awesome as was the soup and sandwiches.

MrsMous said...

And boy, Yellow Springs needs all the revenue they can get now, too. So go there! But if you're in Cincinnati, don't forget Myra's. Cheap and yummy and always good, unless they are on vacation.

Melafina said...

Cilantro is my favorite. Everything is under $6.50. The meal sized soups are the best. I always get sate with vermicelli noodles and tofu. It's too big to eat for one meal, and it tastes great reheated.

Julie said...

MrsMous, is it just me, or are they ALWAYS on vacation?

The Boyfriend said...

5chw4r7z--I doubt that I'll get to Youngstown this summer, but The Beat sounds great. I love independent coffee places that do really good light fare.

mrsmous--I'd like to try Myra's. Julie says the place keeps odd hours. I'll check it out, though.

melafina--Cilantro is definitely on the list.

vudutu said...

I would second Myra's.

elizabeth said...

As a Wittenberg (Springfield, OH) grad, we used to make day trips up to Yellow Springs to eat at Ha Ha Pizza. Tons of unique toppings. Doesn't appear that they have a website, but if you Google it, reviews & info will pop up. My personal fav: the garlic pizza (full cloves of garlic)!

And then it's a must to visit Young's Jersey Dairy afterwords for ice cream. Ya just can't beat it!

The Boyfriend said...

Elizabeth--Julie and I visit Yellow Springs a couple of times a year. We'll definitely check out Ha-Ha. And I agree...ice cream is the perfect dessert after pizza.

Julie said...

Elizabeth-- Young's tiramisu gelato is to die for. That is all. :)

WestEnder said...

My college gal and I liked the Diner on Sycamore but it's gone now. We also liked the burgers at Rookwood Pottery which were named after local people/things (Idaburger, Erkenbreckerburger, Inclineburger, etc.). That restaurant is also gone.

We loved the Old Spaghetti Factory. Also gone. And Funky's Grill in the Kenwood Towne Centre. Gone.

Hurry up and go to Arthur's because if my hunch is right it'll be closing soon.

Julie said...

I loved Funky's potato soup. There's a "new" old spaghetti factory off of 275-- Forest Park-ish? I loved eating in the kilns at Rookwood Pottery. We have had drinks at Arthur's-- I think I may have had a meal there with a date once upon a time, don't remember-- but we'll have to try it.

Anonymous said...

La Bodega in oxford has a sandwich called The Dina....i recommend it on a croissant. Smoked turkey, provolone, sprouts, basil mayonnaise. La Bodega is owned by a Dean and Di, the orneriest mom and pop i've ever witnessed.

Anonymous said...

In college, we ate a lot of Papa Dinos....now I can't bring myself to go in there. Really good pizza is Pomadori. Ambar India is the best Indian in town. And, Chicago Gyro! Other than this weekends' Greek Festival, that is the best gyro in town!! There used to be grinders subs...they're gone.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Boyfriend’s Excellent Summer Eating Adventure

(Ed. note: We have a guest blogger this summer, the ever-wonderful Boyfriend. )

A few weeks ago, Julie and I were having lunch at Habanero in Clifton when I was reminded of something I’ve believed for a long time: The country’s best cheap eats are often found close to college campuses.

This shouldn’t be surprising. College students love to eat out but don’t usually have much money. They don’t usually go for complex or sophisticated fare, but there will always be a market for feeding good food at bargain prices to college kids.

Though it has been more years since college than I’d like to admit, I well remember counting out change from my coin jar to finance a Saturday-night burger. Late-night pizza, the cost divvied up among five or six people in the dorm, was a staple back then, as I’m sure it continues to be for college kids today.

I attended a marginally accredited, mid-sized state university in a “college town” in the Deep South. And although, even in those days, there were plenty of fast-food chains available, my favorite places were the locally owned mom-and-pop joints. And what’s truly amazing is that most of them are still there. I still visit all of them from time to time, whenever I find myself in that part of the country. One place, I swear, serves the best wings and fried pickles I’ve ever eaten (and after a recent trip there, Julie concurs). Another serves an incredibly flavorful and juicy hamburger with a peppery ketchup-based sauce and the strongest onions I’ve ever eaten. Probably my favorite place had, among other things on an extensive menu, my all-time favorite char-grilled hamburger steak, smothered with a mountain of sautéed onions.

Or am I wrong? Is it possible that my long-ago favorites aren’t really all that great…that my taste buds are colored by nostalgia? It’s no matter, I suppose.

As a high school teacher, I have a fair amount of free time during the summer months, especially this summer. And as someone who feels a need always to be productive, I’ve decided to undertake a major summer-long project: Lunch.

And this is where I need your help.

What are your favorite food memories from college? I’d love to hear them. And, especially if you attended college within an hour’s drive or so from Cincinnati, I’d like to know what your favorite food haunts were. Give me the names of the restaurants, along with your favorite dishes at those places, and I hereby pledge to treat myself to lunch at least twice a week for the next two months, investigating and reviewing your recommendations.

(I didn’t say it was a noble or worthy project, just a major one.)

Please respond soon. I’m hungry.

22 comments:

Kelly said...

I have to confess - my eating experiences at Ohio State were mostly chain-oriented (fond memories of Chipotle, family would take me to The Cheesecake Factory or Champps when they were in town, etc.).

But if you find yourself in the Columbus area, I'd be very interested to know how Bento Go-Go turned out. The bento restaurant opened my senior year, and I think I only ever went there for "sake-tinis."

Also, El Vaquero is a true local gem.

The Boyfriend said...

Kelly--What a coincidence. Julie and I will be in Columbus in about three weeks. You've just given us our starting point for the trip. El Vaquero...Mexican, I'm presume?

JKNEPFLE said...

Adriatico's in clifton...you can get "The Bearcat (huge)" (that's what it says on the menu), which is a giant thick garlicky pizza. It's pretty awesome. One day a week it was like $14, which fed 3 of us for several days.

Julie said...

I sense I'll be eating his leftovers... but with Adriatico's, I don't mind!

My favorite college foods: Jimmy John's, Adriatico's, Pomodori's, Habanero, Sitwell's. I know you've done both Sit's and JJ's, but there's always room to repeat...

Cin Twin1 said...

At Clemson on Monday night Papa John's had a special where you could get a large one topping pizza for $5. I have not been to Cilantro yet, but I hear it has some bang for its buck.

Julie said...

Cilantro is great, but I can't get over the fact that it was in the old spot of Jerusalem Cafe, which had the best college food ever. Falafel, hummus, lentil soup-- as much as you could eat-- for $5-6. The woman who ran it got sick and they had to close, but man was it good.

Charles said...

Miami University grad checking (Dec '92--I was early...)

The really cool unique one was Chuck's. Chuck was a farmer who, as I understand it, came upon hard times. So, he got a trailer, and hauled it uptown on Thursday-Saturday nights between 11 PM and 2 AM. He served burgers (made of pork), seasoned fries, and other things. He got quite a following. He would serenade sweethearts, and had a heater in the winter (that eventually caused a fire). From this following, he got a catering business.

Unfortunately, I think he passed away a few years after I graduated. No more Chuck's.

For nostalgia, when my wife and I (we're a Miami Merger) head up to Oxford, we go to Bagel and Deli. Bagel sandwiches, which are steam-cooked and quite yummy. They are known for the ad hoc naming system. If you want give a particular combination a name, you make a sign, and they put it up. I would definitely try it.

The Boyfriend said...

jknepfle--Thanks for the suggestion. I hadn't heard of Adriatico's. Sounds right up my alley...garlicky.

Charles--That's sad about Chuck's. It's a terrific story. I'll bet those burgers were awesome. My favorite food group: Pork. Bagel and Deli sounds good. I've lived here for almost five years, and I've never been to Miami U. I think it's high time.

Julie said...

Hey, Boyfriend-- if you can hold off to a weekend, I'd totally go with you. Miami is a beautiful campus.

5chw4r7z said...

Well boyfriend, you found a way to blog, good job.
It may not be practical for you but one of my favorite eateries was The Beat Coffee House on Lincoln Ave just off the YSU campus.
The Beat
This says it was new in '01 which is untrue, it had just changed hands.
The coffee was always awesome as was the soup and sandwiches.

MrsMous said...

And boy, Yellow Springs needs all the revenue they can get now, too. So go there! But if you're in Cincinnati, don't forget Myra's. Cheap and yummy and always good, unless they are on vacation.

Melafina said...

Cilantro is my favorite. Everything is under $6.50. The meal sized soups are the best. I always get sate with vermicelli noodles and tofu. It's too big to eat for one meal, and it tastes great reheated.

Julie said...

MrsMous, is it just me, or are they ALWAYS on vacation?

The Boyfriend said...

5chw4r7z--I doubt that I'll get to Youngstown this summer, but The Beat sounds great. I love independent coffee places that do really good light fare.

mrsmous--I'd like to try Myra's. Julie says the place keeps odd hours. I'll check it out, though.

melafina--Cilantro is definitely on the list.

vudutu said...

I would second Myra's.

elizabeth said...

As a Wittenberg (Springfield, OH) grad, we used to make day trips up to Yellow Springs to eat at Ha Ha Pizza. Tons of unique toppings. Doesn't appear that they have a website, but if you Google it, reviews & info will pop up. My personal fav: the garlic pizza (full cloves of garlic)!

And then it's a must to visit Young's Jersey Dairy afterwords for ice cream. Ya just can't beat it!

The Boyfriend said...

Elizabeth--Julie and I visit Yellow Springs a couple of times a year. We'll definitely check out Ha-Ha. And I agree...ice cream is the perfect dessert after pizza.

Julie said...

Elizabeth-- Young's tiramisu gelato is to die for. That is all. :)

WestEnder said...

My college gal and I liked the Diner on Sycamore but it's gone now. We also liked the burgers at Rookwood Pottery which were named after local people/things (Idaburger, Erkenbreckerburger, Inclineburger, etc.). That restaurant is also gone.

We loved the Old Spaghetti Factory. Also gone. And Funky's Grill in the Kenwood Towne Centre. Gone.

Hurry up and go to Arthur's because if my hunch is right it'll be closing soon.

Julie said...

I loved Funky's potato soup. There's a "new" old spaghetti factory off of 275-- Forest Park-ish? I loved eating in the kilns at Rookwood Pottery. We have had drinks at Arthur's-- I think I may have had a meal there with a date once upon a time, don't remember-- but we'll have to try it.

Anonymous said...

La Bodega in oxford has a sandwich called The Dina....i recommend it on a croissant. Smoked turkey, provolone, sprouts, basil mayonnaise. La Bodega is owned by a Dean and Di, the orneriest mom and pop i've ever witnessed.

Anonymous said...

In college, we ate a lot of Papa Dinos....now I can't bring myself to go in there. Really good pizza is Pomadori. Ambar India is the best Indian in town. And, Chicago Gyro! Other than this weekends' Greek Festival, that is the best gyro in town!! There used to be grinders subs...they're gone.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Boyfriend’s Excellent Summer Eating Adventure

(Ed. note: We have a guest blogger this summer, the ever-wonderful Boyfriend. )

A few weeks ago, Julie and I were having lunch at Habanero in Clifton when I was reminded of something I’ve believed for a long time: The country’s best cheap eats are often found close to college campuses.

This shouldn’t be surprising. College students love to eat out but don’t usually have much money. They don’t usually go for complex or sophisticated fare, but there will always be a market for feeding good food at bargain prices to college kids.

Though it has been more years since college than I’d like to admit, I well remember counting out change from my coin jar to finance a Saturday-night burger. Late-night pizza, the cost divvied up among five or six people in the dorm, was a staple back then, as I’m sure it continues to be for college kids today.

I attended a marginally accredited, mid-sized state university in a “college town” in the Deep South. And although, even in those days, there were plenty of fast-food chains available, my favorite places were the locally owned mom-and-pop joints. And what’s truly amazing is that most of them are still there. I still visit all of them from time to time, whenever I find myself in that part of the country. One place, I swear, serves the best wings and fried pickles I’ve ever eaten (and after a recent trip there, Julie concurs). Another serves an incredibly flavorful and juicy hamburger with a peppery ketchup-based sauce and the strongest onions I’ve ever eaten. Probably my favorite place had, among other things on an extensive menu, my all-time favorite char-grilled hamburger steak, smothered with a mountain of sautéed onions.

Or am I wrong? Is it possible that my long-ago favorites aren’t really all that great…that my taste buds are colored by nostalgia? It’s no matter, I suppose.

As a high school teacher, I have a fair amount of free time during the summer months, especially this summer. And as someone who feels a need always to be productive, I’ve decided to undertake a major summer-long project: Lunch.

And this is where I need your help.

What are your favorite food memories from college? I’d love to hear them. And, especially if you attended college within an hour’s drive or so from Cincinnati, I’d like to know what your favorite food haunts were. Give me the names of the restaurants, along with your favorite dishes at those places, and I hereby pledge to treat myself to lunch at least twice a week for the next two months, investigating and reviewing your recommendations.

(I didn’t say it was a noble or worthy project, just a major one.)

Please respond soon. I’m hungry.

22 comments:

Kelly said...

I have to confess - my eating experiences at Ohio State were mostly chain-oriented (fond memories of Chipotle, family would take me to The Cheesecake Factory or Champps when they were in town, etc.).

But if you find yourself in the Columbus area, I'd be very interested to know how Bento Go-Go turned out. The bento restaurant opened my senior year, and I think I only ever went there for "sake-tinis."

Also, El Vaquero is a true local gem.

The Boyfriend said...

Kelly--What a coincidence. Julie and I will be in Columbus in about three weeks. You've just given us our starting point for the trip. El Vaquero...Mexican, I'm presume?

JKNEPFLE said...

Adriatico's in clifton...you can get "The Bearcat (huge)" (that's what it says on the menu), which is a giant thick garlicky pizza. It's pretty awesome. One day a week it was like $14, which fed 3 of us for several days.

Julie said...

I sense I'll be eating his leftovers... but with Adriatico's, I don't mind!

My favorite college foods: Jimmy John's, Adriatico's, Pomodori's, Habanero, Sitwell's. I know you've done both Sit's and JJ's, but there's always room to repeat...

Cin Twin1 said...

At Clemson on Monday night Papa John's had a special where you could get a large one topping pizza for $5. I have not been to Cilantro yet, but I hear it has some bang for its buck.

Julie said...

Cilantro is great, but I can't get over the fact that it was in the old spot of Jerusalem Cafe, which had the best college food ever. Falafel, hummus, lentil soup-- as much as you could eat-- for $5-6. The woman who ran it got sick and they had to close, but man was it good.

Charles said...

Miami University grad checking (Dec '92--I was early...)

The really cool unique one was Chuck's. Chuck was a farmer who, as I understand it, came upon hard times. So, he got a trailer, and hauled it uptown on Thursday-Saturday nights between 11 PM and 2 AM. He served burgers (made of pork), seasoned fries, and other things. He got quite a following. He would serenade sweethearts, and had a heater in the winter (that eventually caused a fire). From this following, he got a catering business.

Unfortunately, I think he passed away a few years after I graduated. No more Chuck's.

For nostalgia, when my wife and I (we're a Miami Merger) head up to Oxford, we go to Bagel and Deli. Bagel sandwiches, which are steam-cooked and quite yummy. They are known for the ad hoc naming system. If you want give a particular combination a name, you make a sign, and they put it up. I would definitely try it.

The Boyfriend said...

jknepfle--Thanks for the suggestion. I hadn't heard of Adriatico's. Sounds right up my alley...garlicky.

Charles--That's sad about Chuck's. It's a terrific story. I'll bet those burgers were awesome. My favorite food group: Pork. Bagel and Deli sounds good. I've lived here for almost five years, and I've never been to Miami U. I think it's high time.

Julie said...

Hey, Boyfriend-- if you can hold off to a weekend, I'd totally go with you. Miami is a beautiful campus.

5chw4r7z said...

Well boyfriend, you found a way to blog, good job.
It may not be practical for you but one of my favorite eateries was The Beat Coffee House on Lincoln Ave just off the YSU campus.
The Beat
This says it was new in '01 which is untrue, it had just changed hands.
The coffee was always awesome as was the soup and sandwiches.

MrsMous said...

And boy, Yellow Springs needs all the revenue they can get now, too. So go there! But if you're in Cincinnati, don't forget Myra's. Cheap and yummy and always good, unless they are on vacation.

Melafina said...

Cilantro is my favorite. Everything is under $6.50. The meal sized soups are the best. I always get sate with vermicelli noodles and tofu. It's too big to eat for one meal, and it tastes great reheated.

Julie said...

MrsMous, is it just me, or are they ALWAYS on vacation?

The Boyfriend said...

5chw4r7z--I doubt that I'll get to Youngstown this summer, but The Beat sounds great. I love independent coffee places that do really good light fare.

mrsmous--I'd like to try Myra's. Julie says the place keeps odd hours. I'll check it out, though.

melafina--Cilantro is definitely on the list.

vudutu said...

I would second Myra's.

elizabeth said...

As a Wittenberg (Springfield, OH) grad, we used to make day trips up to Yellow Springs to eat at Ha Ha Pizza. Tons of unique toppings. Doesn't appear that they have a website, but if you Google it, reviews & info will pop up. My personal fav: the garlic pizza (full cloves of garlic)!

And then it's a must to visit Young's Jersey Dairy afterwords for ice cream. Ya just can't beat it!

The Boyfriend said...

Elizabeth--Julie and I visit Yellow Springs a couple of times a year. We'll definitely check out Ha-Ha. And I agree...ice cream is the perfect dessert after pizza.

Julie said...

Elizabeth-- Young's tiramisu gelato is to die for. That is all. :)

WestEnder said...

My college gal and I liked the Diner on Sycamore but it's gone now. We also liked the burgers at Rookwood Pottery which were named after local people/things (Idaburger, Erkenbreckerburger, Inclineburger, etc.). That restaurant is also gone.

We loved the Old Spaghetti Factory. Also gone. And Funky's Grill in the Kenwood Towne Centre. Gone.

Hurry up and go to Arthur's because if my hunch is right it'll be closing soon.

Julie said...

I loved Funky's potato soup. There's a "new" old spaghetti factory off of 275-- Forest Park-ish? I loved eating in the kilns at Rookwood Pottery. We have had drinks at Arthur's-- I think I may have had a meal there with a date once upon a time, don't remember-- but we'll have to try it.

Anonymous said...

La Bodega in oxford has a sandwich called The Dina....i recommend it on a croissant. Smoked turkey, provolone, sprouts, basil mayonnaise. La Bodega is owned by a Dean and Di, the orneriest mom and pop i've ever witnessed.

Anonymous said...

In college, we ate a lot of Papa Dinos....now I can't bring myself to go in there. Really good pizza is Pomadori. Ambar India is the best Indian in town. And, Chicago Gyro! Other than this weekends' Greek Festival, that is the best gyro in town!! There used to be grinders subs...they're gone.