Esther Price Chocolates, Centerville OH

This is Marie, contributing an article about Esther Price chocolates. Esther Price is a company based in Dayton, OH, where we nearly moved in 2012. I went up there to visit for work a few times, and checked out a few restaurants. One of the things I looked for was chocolates, in part because I am a complete candyholic, and in part because one of the visits was in December, when my mind is on interesting gifts for people. Everyone I talked to about chocolates mentioned Esther Price, both with enjoyment and a considerable amount of hometown pride. Continue reading “Esther Price Chocolates, Centerville OH”

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Jungle Jim’s International Market, Fairfield OH

This is Marie, contributing an article about Jungle Jim’s, an international food store near Cincinnati. Our regular readers know that we aren’t just into restaurants, despite the overwhelming appearance of the posts here, but also enjoy cooking and eating interesting and exotic foods. We have watched the increasing availability of international foods with pleasure and excitement, but even so there are still some things hard to get. Whatever it is you want, Jungle Jim’s probably has it. So when Grant was looking for places to visit while I was up there for a business trip, this place just jumped out and shouted “Me! Pick me!” For goodness’ sake, a 6-acre store that offers guided tours? Gotta go there! Continue reading “Jungle Jim’s International Market, Fairfield OH”

Troy’s Cafe, West Chester OH

After the kids and I left Graeter’s, we had a real experience getting to our next destination, the Duke Energy Children’s Museum. I had printed directions to the museum from north of Cincinnati on I-75, and it didn’t occur to me that we’d be coming from I-71 and then going north. On the one hand, this is a good thing because there’s a great tunnel on 71, and it gave us more of an opportunity to see the city skyline, and I really love the way that they have the basketball and concert arena, the ballpark, and the football stadium all next to each other along the river. On the other hand, the exit that we needed for the museum center doesn’t exist going north. You can see the Cincinnati Museum Center complex from a long way off – just look for the Super Friends’ “Hall of Justice” west of the city – but not quite clearly how to get to it. Continue reading “Troy’s Cafe, West Chester OH”

Graeter’s, Cincinnati OH

Happily, for all the encroaching homogeneity in our culture, you don’t have to go very far to find a place where totally different ice creams are waging war for the hearts and minds of the locals. In southwestern Ohio, there are at least three very popular brands to choose from that don’t have any representation down in Georgia. These include Graeter’s, founded in 1870, Aglamesis, whose products are found in restaurants like Blue Ash Chili, and United Dairy Farmers, who have a chain of convenience stores and gas stations that also sell their ice creams in a parlor setting. I read about Graeter’s at Chopped Onion and at Roadfood.com (links below) and hoped that we’d have the chance to visit their Hyde Park store. Continue reading “Graeter’s, Cincinnati OH”

Blue Ash Chili, Cincinnati OH

We finished up in Miamisburg and made our way back to the hotel in Dayton, where the next order of business was doing something about this hunger-striking baby. He was not interested in eating or drinking anything until we got back to the room and he had some prime rambunctious time and, once Marie got back from work, he agreed to a bottle and some attention from her. We could tell that he was not feeling his best; separation anxiety and strange surroundings didn’t help much. We gave him a good break, food, and lots of love, packed and loaded the cars, checked out and made our way south. Continue reading “Blue Ash Chili, Cincinnati OH”

Hamburger Wagon, Miamisburg OH

Probably the most peculiar place that we visited on our trip to Ohio was the granddaddy of the modern food trucks. Almost one hundred years ago, on March 25, 1913, the small city of Miamisburg was among those that were flooded after four days of intense rain swelled the Great Miami River beyond capacity. This entire corridor that we visited on this trip – Piqua, Troy, Dayton, Miamisburg – all went underwater. During the cleanup efforts, a local fellow named Sherman “Cocky” Porter started making burgers in a skillet to feed the homeless and hungry during the long weeks of the refugee crisis. Continue reading “Hamburger Wagon, Miamisburg OH”

Maid-Rite, Greenville OH

Longtime readers know how I overplan our trips and leave with a ridiculous book of directions and maps. I was all set to hit the print button on November 28 when Serious Eats’ incredibly fun Hamburger Today blog had a “chain reaction” post about the midwestern Maid-Rite shops, which don’t quite sell hamburgers as much as they sell loose meat sandwiches. If you recall television’s Roseanne, she sold those in her diner. If you never watched Roseanne, you may recall the fascinating chapter about loose meat sandwiches, a.k.a. “canteens,” “charlie boys,” or “taverns,” in John T. Edge’s great book Hamburgers & Fries: An American Story. I certainly did, and abruptly put the second day’s itinerary on hold until I could see whether there was a Maid-Rite within driving distance of Dayton. There was, barely, forty-one miles northwest in Greenville, a town that’s just as close to Muncie, Indiana as it is Dayton. Well, that settled that. Directions were revised. Continue reading “Maid-Rite, Greenville OH”