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Cincinnati Is Exciting

Thursday June 14, 2012

I used to think Cincinnati was boring. Everything everywhere else was so much better than it was here. Though there has been considerable improvements made in the last, say, five years to things in and around downtown and Over-the-Rhine, some of the things that make this town remarkable have been here for generations. So, I was wrong - and I bet you are, too.

How did I figure out this is a cool place? I started exploring. And going places. And checking out events and searching for hidden treasures. I also began re-visiting places I had not been in years or going to places, officials at these places say, mostly out-of-towners only visit, like Union Terminal's Cincinnati Museum Center, the Krohn Conservatory and the incredible Cincinnati Art Museum. I didn't even begin to touch on the many incredible events that happen all the time - something is going on somewhere every night of the week. Many of those events are tied to some other great gems in this town, like the Cincinnati Opera or the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Have you heard about our incredible live music scene? The music-buying public beyond Cincinnati knows. Maybe it's time you did, too.

It's all right here in our back yard -and, it seems, so few of us take advantage of it. What I and so many others have come to realize, for a town of this size, we have some mind-blowing offerings right here in good, 'ole Cincinnati. So, what's keeping you from getting out? Do you believe there is nothing going on in Cincinnati? Or is cornhole in your backyard with the people you met in grade school hit the maximum on your comfortable level? Or maybe nobody told you. Well, consider yourself informed. See you out on the town.

Pete Rose to make local appearance

Thursday June 14, 2012

I am not a sports guy. Despite this, growing up in Cincinnati meant loving the Cincinnati Reds.

Former Cincinnati Red and baseball great, Pete Rose. Photo © Kjunstorm.

So, on September 11, 1985, like most Cincinnatians, I was watching Pete Rose play baseball and waiting for his 4,192nd hit - the one that would break Ty Cobb's all-time hit record. Then it happened and the town erupted in utter joy.

A few years later, we discovered, Rose bet on baseball. He denied it, but the evidence was hard to deny. But we did, because Pete was one of us - born and raised a true Cincinnati legend.

Rose was later banned from baseball and entering the Hall of Fame. He remained cocky and defiant.

Speed up 25 years and something amazing happened. Pete admitted it. Finally. He bet on baseball. And was sorry.

As described by Cincinnati Enquirer's John Erardi, Rose had been roasted by former teammates. Then he took the podium and proceeded to give sobbing apology for what he did.

"I will never disrespect you again," Rose, now 70, said, according to the Enquirer. "I love the fans, I love the game of baseball, and I love Cincinnati baseball."

Pete gave us back something big with his apology. The night of his magical hit can once again be the special moment we all felt. Pete also let us become unstuck. He freed us from the burden he placed on us and we carried with him. It needed to happen and it was time. Thank you, Pete. We needed it probably as much as you did. Baseball, Pete - and the fans - got something back. It is high time to allow the next chapter of Pete's life be written. I can't wait to be there for it. And I'm not even a sports guy.

Pete will make an appearance locally (you can see him almost any time in Las Vegas, though) soon. On May 19 and for a mere $25, sit and watch the locally-produced (and darn interesting and well-done) movie "4,192: The Crowning of the Hit King" at the Belterra Casino (irony is great, isn't it?). The baseball great will give a talk afterward. For more information, call (812) 427-7777.

Photo courtesy of Kkunstorm.

Riverfest 2011

Friday September 2, 2011

Riverfest 2011

It may not feel like it today, considering the temperature will hover around 100 degrees, but summer will soon be over. In Cincinnati, the end of the season is marked with the P&G Riverfest celebration, held on Sunday of every Labor Day weekend. The festival gets started at noon Sunday and culminates with the Cincinnati Bell/WEBN fireworks at 9:05 There are bands playing at Sawyer Point all day long. Tip: Pack a lunch and go to Sawyer Point early to secure a good parking space and a spot to watch the fireworks. 

Here's the music lineup for this year's Riverfest:    

P&G Pavilion Stage

  • Noon-1:10 p.m.: Specyphi
  • 1:45-2:55 p.m.: Philosopher's Stone
  • 3:30-4:40 p.m.: Stash
  • 5:15-6:30 p.m. Dalton Street Gang
  • 7:10-8:30 p.m.: 8Kount

Lower Serpentine Wall Stage

  • Noon-1:10 p.m.: Livid
  • 1:45-2:55 p.m.: Big Rock Club
  • 3:30-4:40 p.m.: One Man Electrical Band
  • 5:15-6:30 p.m.: Calloused
  • 7:10-8:30 p.m.: Session 9

Newport Stage

  • Noon-1:30 p.m.: WEBN Simulcast
  • 1:30-2:30 p.m.: T Sly Trio
  • 3-4:30 p.m.: Kentucky 31
  • 5-6 p.m.: The Bluebirds
  • 6:30-9 p.m.: Dangerous Jim & the Rock n Roll All Stars
  • 9-10 pm.: WEBN Simulcast

For all the details on Riverfest, including parking information visit the WEBN website. More than 50,000 people attend Riverfest on Sawyer Point each year. Metromix has put together a great list of alternative places to watch the fireworks sans crowds. 

Photo of Riverfest courtesy of Cincinnati 365

Taqueria Yolandita

Wednesday August 24, 2011

Taquiera Yolandita

A few weeks ago, on my way to visit my mom's new digs on the west side, I passed a food truck parked outside a Mexican grocery store on Queen City Avenue. Last week, the truck had moved locations and was at a different Mexican store, closer to the I-75 entrance ramp. I was curious (and hungry) so I stopped to check it out. And I'm so glad I did.

Taqueria Yolandita serves tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tortas, carne asada - "y mucho mas," seven days a week. In a city now filled with food trucks serving up hit-or-miss creative takes on Mexican and other ethnic cuisines, Taqueria Yolandita offers Cincinnati a taste of authentic Mexican cuisine. Everything on the menu is $6 or $7.

My $6 chicken burrito was served open-faced and loaded with beans, Mexican cheese, rice, and wonderfully marinated chicken. It was topped with the traditional salsa and radishes. I couldn't eat the whole burrito (the portions are huge) in one sitting so my lunch doubled for dinner. 

Apparently, I'm not the first to discover Taqueria Yolandita. Both Polly Campbell, food writer at the Cincinnati Enquirer, and Donna Covert, the food writer Cincinnati Magazine, have written about this Queen City find. It's well worth the drive from anywhere in Cincinnati. Think La Mexicana - the tri-state's "go to" taqueria - if La Mexicana happened to be on wheels. 

Taqueria Yolandita can be found on Queen City Avenue near I-75. They don't have a website, so I've listed info here:

Hours: Monday-Wednesday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Thursday-Saturdays 10 a.m. - 8:30 p.m., Sundays, 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

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