Monday, August 31, 2009

Riverfest this weekend

Unless you've just recently moved to Cincinnati, you probably already know that Riverfest occurs the Sunday before labor day every year. There will be booths with food, drinks, and music on both sides of the Ohio River all day, leading up to the fireworks between the Big Mac bridge and the Roebling Suspension bridge at 9:05 pm.

The fireworks shoot off in synchronization with the music played on 102.7 WEBN, which is one of the main sponsors of Riverfest.

Also, the Rubber Duck Regatta will take place at 3 pm in the Ohio River. I didn't know about this event last year, but I've heard it's a really fun one to watch. The Rubber Duck Regatta is a fundraiser for the Freestore Foodbank where people can "buy" ducks, and a waterproof sticker is placed on the duck.

After selling tons of these ducks, all of them are thrown into the river and they race a quarter mile along the serpentine wall. One of the ducks will cross the finish line first, and whoever has a number matching the sticker wins a 2010 Honda Insight Hybrid. Ducks are $5 apiece or 6 for $25, and can be purchased following the link above.

The race should be really fun to watch, and gives a good excuse to get down to the riverfront and check it out way before the fireworks!

Sunday, August 30, 2009


I've noticed this really interesting car parked across the street from my apartment during the day. The license plate is "KITNBUS" and the car certainly matches the plate.

Next time I see the car when I am home I'll get some closer pictures.

Has anyone else seen the KittenBus around the city?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rumble at the River

Next Saturday (Sept 5), Miami of Ohio will play their season-opener at Paul Brown Stadium against Kentucky at noon. Gates will open at 10 am, and there will be a "Tailgate Town" set up on the Southeast corner of the plaza, also beginning at 10 am.

The game will also be head coach Mike Haywood's first game with Miami.

With UK an hour and a half away and Miami 45 minutes away, Paul Brown Stadium is a great meeting point for the game in a more populated setting. This, coupled with the fact that thousands of Miami alumni live in the Cincinnati area, should lead to a good atmosphere for an early season college football game.

Tickets in the lower seating area can be bought for $45, and in the upper seats for $35. For more information, visit

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thoughts about the streetcar

I was out of town in Seattle and Vancouver last week, and I spent a day touring Seattle with a friend who lives out there. I noticed streetcar lines running through the downtown area, and started asking her about it because of all the debate I read about with the streetcar here in Cincy.

She told me that it's only really used by tourists, and that there aren't very many cars that go along the actual cables. Another friend I talked to the next day also said that the streetcar is only used by tourists, independently confirming what I had observed and heard the day before.

I feel strongly that public transportation is important for a city, but this made me take a second look at the streetcar. At first it made me think that the streetcar may not be a very good idea after all, since maybe the people who lived in the city wouldn't use it too much. For the streetcar proposal as I see here, for the main streetcar route, I think it may be a concern. However, the extension to Kentucky would likely boost the ridership quite a bit, and just starting the project would be a lot of progress towards what would overall benefit the natives of Cincinnati in the long term.

Another thought came from this tourist-centric streetcar in Seattle though: A lot of the debate seems to be around how people who live here would use the streetcar, but the idea of tourism doesn't seem to be touched on as much.

I don't know of many people who plan a trip to visit Cincinnati just to visit the city. It's a lot more attractive to visit a city when you have more options for getting around then renting a car, and a lot of times, tourists are not too keen on buses. In the short term, the streetcar would give people downtown a chance to visit some of the attractions in Cincinnati much more easily, since it would connect downtown to Findlay Market, the Cincinnati Zoo, and UC.

I think the streetcar would definitely benefit those who live here with a new mode of transportation within the inner core of the city, but we shouldn't forget about the benefits it would give Cincinnati in terms of attracting those from outside the city.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Downtown Cincinnati Restaurant Week- Jeff Ruby's

Checked out Jeff Ruby's last night for their $35 3 course dinner deal as part of Downtown Cincinnati Restaurant Week. I had the caesar salad, 6 oz. steak, and NY cheesecake.

The salad was not what I had expected- it was 3 large leaves of lettuce covered lightly in dressing on a plate. Maybe that is the norm at upscale places, but I usually like salads cut up in a bowl. It still tasted good.

The steak was delicious, as was the cheesecake dessert. I did glance at the normal menu beforehand, though, and I don't really think the $35 charge for these courses is a deal of any kind. I didn't notice any steaks that were smaller than 12 oz. on the menu, and the 12 oz ones went for around $33, so maybe call the 6 oz. steak $20 (buy in bulk, it gets cheaper). The caesar salad was about 7, and I didn't see the cheesecake in a glance at the menu, but I imagine it couldn't be much more than $8. Add those up, you're at the $35 you paid for.

I have to say, I think Boi Na Braza gave a much better value for the week. But when you're a staple like Jeff Ruby's, I guess there's not a need to sell yourself in the same kind of way.

Regardless, looking forward to it next time! For now, it's back to frugal ways.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Restaurant Week- Boi Na Braza

I went to Boi Na Braza last night for the Downtown Cincinnati Restaurant Week deal. For $35, unlimited salad bar, unlimited cuts of meat from of 5 differerent kinds, and a dessert.

The salad bar had quite the selection. A good variety of fresh cheeses, lots of vegetables besides just lettuce, and a few cooked side dishes like shitake mushrooms and mashed potatoes. It was one of the better salad bars I've seen, but you don't go to a Brazilian Steakhouse to fill up on salad. After a small sampling plate, I flipped the plastic market from red to green, indicating to the servers that I wanted meat. For the next 45 minutes, different pieces of chicken, lamb, filet mignon etc., some wrapped in bacon, was constantly ending up on our plates.

We were finally stuffed, our server, Uziel (I apologize if I spelled it wrong) came by to offer dessert. He recommended the papaya cream, because it tasted great and it "helped with digesting." We decided to at least try a spoon of the papaya cream since it was included in what we paid for.

Uziel was absolutely right- the papaya cream was amazing and it did help settle our stomachs after eating all that meat. We ate it at a relaxed pace while having a lively discussion with Uziel about the lack of public transportation in Cincinnati and differences between American and Brazilian culture.

It was a great night, and if you have the appetite, a good value. Uziel gave us each 2 $10 gift certificates to use when we come back some time as a parting gift. I think I heard that is pretty common practice at Boi Na Braza.

I meant to bring my camera and take a picture of all the cuts of meat on my plate, but I sadly left it at home. Insert a mental image of a plate of different delicious meats here.

One thing that surprised me was how empty the place was. Granted, we went at 9:00 on Tuesday night, but I had figured a lot of people would relish the opportunity to have all you can eat meat for $35. I'm not sure what the normal rate is for the place, so maybe it was not much of a deal. They usually have 15 different cuts of meat, but the 5 included for the restaurant week deal were plenty.

Off to Jeff Ruby's tonight!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Downtown Cincinnati Restaurant Week

Starting today thru Sunday (Aug 10-16) is Downtown Cincinnati Restaurant Week. 20 Downtown restaurants are offering either a three course dinner for $35, or two dinners for $35 at the cheaper restaurants. Click the link to see the list of restaurants.

As far as I can tell, there are one or a few choices for each of the appetizer, entree, and dessert for each of the 3 course restaurants.

I generally try to live somewhat frugally, so I still have not been to Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse in the year I have lived in Cincinnati. Now that it's just around the corner and this deal is going on, I'm taking this opportunity to check it out for the first time. I may try to go to one other restaurant this week as well.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Canoeing on the Little Miami

Friday afternoon I went on a 6 mile canoe trip down the Little Miami River. We started from Morgan's Canoe and Livery at Fort Ancient near Lebanon. Thanks to the heavy rain on Tuesday, the water level was pretty high and rocks weren't much of a problem. I went canoeing down a different 6 mile stretch of the Little Miami a few weeks ago with Scenic River Canoe, starting from Milford. It's amazing to me how you can drive 20 minutes from downtown of a major city and end up at a quiet river.

One of the canoers from yesterday brought a camera so I'm hoping to upload a few pictures once I get them from her.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


This weekend, Goettafest returns by the river at Newport on the Levee. I stumbled upon this last year when I was checking out Newport for the first time, and it was a pleasant surprise. It's a fun little niche festival for a local product, serving Goetta in a variety of different and creative ways.

If you haven't tried Goetta, I'd highly recommend checking out the festival. According to the goettafest website, Goetta is a "mixture of pork, beef, steel-cut (pinhead) oats, and seasonings. " The easiest thing to compare it to is a breakfast sausage, but it's not the same.


The purpose of this blog is to journal about the different things going on around Cincinnati, specifically the things I do. I'll explain why I chose to write this in a minute, but first some background about myself.

I grew up in Evanston, Ill, right next to Chicago. I'm definitely a city person, and that influence from Chicago is probably what drove me to live in downtown Cincinnati. I moved to Cincinnati in July 2008, soon after graduating from college, to start an engineering job. I lived in Oakley the first year, but was too busy to really go out and see much of the city.

Things have calmed down recently. I moved in with my girlfriend (also from Evanston, also a city person), and I've started to really explore Cincinnati and the surrounding area. I like what I've seen thus far, and there is still a lot to get to.

I hear a lot of people talk about how there is not much to do in Cincinnati and how downtown is devoid of life. One person I told I was moving downtown responded, "Just get your concealed weapon permit and you'll be all right."

These kinds of comments caused me to hesitate about the city, but Oakley felt too much like the suburbs and I had always wanted to live in the city, so I decided to try it anyway. I haven't regretted it.

Granted, downtown is not exactly bustling with people at 3 am on a normal weekend and it can be tough to find a place to eat on a Sunday (at least in my limited experience), but it's nothing like the impression I originally had.

I know what I'm doing here isn't exactly original- in fact some of the other blogs about Cincinnati and specifically downtown are part of my inspiration. There's a group of people who seem to have the same mentality as me, which I think can be summed up as follows: "Why do so many people think there is nothing going on in Cincinnati?"

I decided I should pitch in. What I'll be doing in this blog is chronicling the different places and events I visit. I'm doing it because my first year in the city, I had no idea about a lot of places to visit and different events going on, and many people I talk to don't know either. By keeping a record of my own experiences in and around the city, hopefully others will find out about some of the fun things going on, and hopefully some people will tell me about more things I may have missed!

So, if you have any suggestions of places to visit or events, please let me know and I'll try to get around to them. Otherwise, enjoy!