Archives for posts with tag: food

I like my job just fine, but you need a break from time to time and recently I decided to take a half day to relax a little before a big, scary Monday.  I still wanted to have my semi-monthly lunch date/Secretary therapy session with my friends Tina and Megan so after I was off the clock, we headed to Sake on Miller Lane in Vandalia.  I hadn’t been there since I was probably 13 or so and nothing had really changed, which was nice.  The place is still a lot of fun and I love how they don’t skip on anything even though it’s lunch.

We might need to work this place into our normal rotation of restaurants because after lunch at Sake, it really feels like you’ve been away for a while.  Without noticing it, they get you entertained, well fed, and out the door in plenty of time to get back to work (unless, of course, you took a half day).

Sake
7260 Miller Lane
Dayton, OH  45414
(937) 898-9834
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Below, my sister (Sad Robots) begins her guest blogging series entitled Lunch Downtown with her favorite lunch place, The Embassy.

Maybe you have jury duty. Or maybe you have to go to some lame corporate meeting. Or maybe you just have the genuine misfortune of having to work in Downtown Dayton. Either way, you’ll need some good lunch suggestions so you don’t end up at Uno’s.

I should explain that there are a ton of places to have lunch downtown, but I’m only going to recommend a few of them because I have stupidly high standards for eateries I would consider my favorites. For example, one requirement is that they have to know my name and greet me when I walk in. See, lunchtime competition is so fierce, that this is what you should expect from the service at these places. It’s the only way they can stay in business. The other qualifications are, of course, amazing food, good prices, and being able to get me in and out of there in a decent amount of time, so I’ll be commenting on the success of those three aspects of each place I review. I have several honorable mentions that do not meet all of these qualifications, but may meet some of them, and are definitely worth a try.

The Embassy

Note: The official name is “Moraine Embassy” even though it’s not in Moraine and no one calls it that. It’s usually just shortened to “Embassy” at my work.

The first lunch place I was introduced to when I got my job was The Embassy. I like to describe it as a fancy Waffle House with better food. So not Waffle House at all, really. It’s kind of a hole-in-the-wall place with a mix of nice and not-nice decor, with CRT televisions in the corners that always play the Weather Channel. There’s a full bar, too, even though it’s mostly a lunch place.

Food

I only go to The Embassy on Mondays and/or Fridays. Mondays are omelet day and Fridays are macaroni and cheese day. My usual routine is walking the block and a half from work to The Embassy on Friday, sit at the bar, order whatever the special is with macaroni and cheese, and watch the Weather Channel while listening to 90s alternative on my iPhone. It’s always very peaceful. My recommendation, of course, is to order the special. It is indeed always very special, kind of like Sunday dinner at your grandma’s house. The Embassy’s specialty is homestyle cooking of the Midwest, with a little bit of Hungarian food thrown in there for kicks (the restaurant is owned by Hungarians). If you’re not into whatever the special is, the sandwiches and salads that they have every day are good too. The best part is that if something on their menu doesn’t go over well, the servers will be the first to tell you that you probably shouldn’t order it. It is impossible to get a bad meal there (although I’ve never enjoyed their desserts, but that’s okay because usually the food is too filling to order dessert anyway).

Price

If you get the special, expect to spend around $10 for the whole meal including tip. If you get a sandwich or salad, it’ll probably be around $8.

Service

The flow of this restaurant is different from other sit-down places. Their priority is speed because everyone comes in on their lunch between meetings and calls and whatever else they have going on. The second (quite literally) you sit down, someone is at your table getting you water and asking what you want to order (because you either always get the same thing or you always get the special. You usually only have to go there a few times to get your order down). Don’t worry, they’re not trying to rush you, they’re trying to make sure that they are serving you on your schedule. They give you your bill with your food, which is always out in about five minutes. Generally, you can go there for a sit-down, homecooked meal and be back to work in a half hour.

In closing, The Embassy is the first place I recommend to everyone who has to eat lunch downtown. Most people haven’t heard of it. There’s no website where you can look at the menu (which is a piece of paper they make copies of every day and highlight), no Facebook page to like or Twitter to follow. The servers are all older than 50 and so are the owners. When you get back to work, you still smell like somebody’s grandma’s house (in a good way) and are just the perfect amount of full. It’s close to everything but hard to notice unless you’re looking for it, so try it out and enjoy your lunch!

Moraine Embassy
25 South Ludlow Street
Dayton, OH  45402

Having never been to the Greek Festival, I really didn’t know what to expect.  Maybe some food, maybe some dancing, Greek beer?  I don’t know.

What I found is that the Greek Festival = Food, and lots of it.  Unfortunately, aside from the amazing pastry, pretty much everything had meat in it so I couldn’t indulge in some of my favorites.  However, the Greek fries were wonderful and I’m still sort of kicking myself for not at least trying the baklava sundaes (I feared putting myself into a sugar coma).

My friend, Megan, and I took advantage of the beautiful weather and walked around the small festival a few times – we even went through the pastry line where she picked up a variety pack for her family (she’s so nice!  I, however, bought nothing for anyone but my selfish self).

The Greek Festival was neat, but didn’t have a lot for us.  At least I can pig out all year at the Greek Isle Deli Buffet Days (first Friday of each month from 4:00pm – 8:00pm).

As a huge fan of Belmont Party Supply, I was excited to hear that they would be opening a sandwich shop next door.  Stackers has a full menu of yummy sandwiches and wraps and I was happy to see that their sides (although deep fried) are at least fried in oil that hasn’t had meat in it.  They really seem committed to providing great-tasting vegetarian fare alongside their traditional sandwiches.

I ordered the Veggie Melt without the cheese (I call it a compromise with my diet) and it came with very delicious chips (I could only compromise myself into eating 2 before the guilt stopped me).

Stackers is carryout only, they don’t have any seating.  So my husband and I grabbed a six pack from next door at Belmont Party Supply and went home to eat.  It was a great night and I’m so glad Stackers turned out to be amazing!

Stackers Subs & Grub
2615 Smithville Road
Dayton, OH  45420

Well, another Heedfest has come and gone and I can say that after the 24 Day Challenge from Advocare, I lost 10 pounds!  I’m so happy with the results and recommend Advocare to anyone wanting to start a healthier lifestyle with a kick start in the right direction.  I didn’t reach my goal 100% but I’m confident with enough time, I could get back down to where I need to be.  Staying on program even gearing up for festivals you’ve been waiting for all year isn’t as hard as you would think, but I realize that I have a lot of practice with dietary restrictions because I’m a lacto-ovo-pesco-vegetarian (milk-egg-fish for all you non-Latin speaking people), so there have been plenty of times when I couldn’t eat anything at a gathering anyways.

And after the festival I lost an additional 2 pounds, bringing my total weight loss to 12 pounds!

Here is a list of the foods I miss the most now that I’ve changed my ways:

1.  Beer – I’ll admit, I haven’t completely given this up but I used to have more of it and I miss that.

2.  Cupcakes, Whoopie Pies, Cookies, Cake – basically any baked good.  I love cake more than any other dessert so it’s been tough not having an occasional cookie here and there.  I even made cookies the other day for a coworker and it took everything I had will power-wise to not eat one.

3.  Ice Cream & Fro Yo – Nothing can take the place of peanut butter chocolate chip ice cream or a big bowl of fro yo covered in almonds and strawberries.  Sigh.  Also, Pinkberry is my favorite fro yo but it’s only in NYC and Japan.

4.  Mac & Cheese – I love everything about macaroni and cheese, especially with lots of pepper.

5.  Slushies – These are low in fat but 100% sugar and ice.  I miss them so much, especially when the temperatures seem to be stuck around 100 degrees every day.

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I decided to try Advocare, and the cleanse was really challenging but very rewarding.  Now that it’s over I’ve really learned to appreciate the foods I eat more than ever.  It sort of got me to start thinking of food as fuel again, rather than purely entertainment, comfort, etc.  I’ve cut most of the sugar out of my diet and I rarely miss it.  However, there are many temptations and it can be hard at times to stick 100% to the plan.  The worst thing is the beautiful free goodies people bring in at work (see below) because work is stressful and I love to eat sweets and carb-heavy foods when I’m stressed.

At the 14 day mark, I had lost 6 pounds and some inches!  More importantly, I’m feeling a lot better, which makes it hard to find good excuses to avoid the gym anymore.  I notice, too, that I’m working harder at the gym probably because I’m feeling less icky and tired all the time.  I realized that it’s probably not normal for a 25-year-old to be so tired just from working and so forth.  More updates to follow!

I avoided starting an actual diet for a long time, but I realized a while ago that I don’t eat all that well.  An average week’s worth of dinners would include pizza, ravioli, pizza, spaghetti, mac and cheese, pizza, and going out.  Obviously some weeks were better than others and we did get some fresh food in there sometimes.  But almost every meal started with getting into the freezer, which I’ve learned to be a bad sign because it could mean most of what we eat was heavily processed and barely nutritious.

So a friend at work suggested Advocare and after some research, I signed up and ordered their 24-Day Challenge (more on this to follow in another post).  I started Sunday, June 10 so I spent Saturday, June 9 pigging out on all my favorites that I knew I would miss – cereal, bread, sugar, etc.

I went for an iced latte at Ghostlight Coffee and got to enjoy their new patio.  (The delicious whoopie pie from Thistle Confections that I devoured was not able to be photographed for obvious reasons.)

I finished out the night by enjoying a beer flight followed by an Oberon at Chappy’s Tap Room.  (Mac and cheese not able to be photographed – again, devoured.)

Starting Sunday, I started my new diet and after several days, I can tell you I really am feeling a lot better.  The junk I was eating way too often wasn’t helping me reach my weight loss goals because it made me feel icky and sluggish and tired all the time.  I’ll let you know how much weight I’ve lost as soon as I finish the cleanse portion of the 24-Day Challenge.

There are few places that make me quite so immediately happy as South Park Tavern.  Their food is awesome – they even have whole wheat pizza crust!  I love the beer selection, which changes constantly with all drafts written on a giant black board by the bar.  Their bottles and cans are well received because they sell some cheaper favorites people can’t always get at every bar (Schlitz, Old Style, etc.).  South Park Tavern frequently has live music, but if you’re not into the band, you could always enjoy the night air in their patio seating.  One of my favorite aspects of South Park is that the staff all seem to get along really well, which makes the whole vibe of the place very calm and friendly.  I swear, sometimes you walk into a restaurant and feel the tension immediately, whereas here you can walk in stressed and leave completely relaxed.

South Park Tavern
1301 Wayne Avenue
Dayton, OH  45410
937.586.9526

I really want to learn Spanish but I also really don’t want to spend time or money doing so (unrealistic desires are one of my more annoying qualities).  So on a recent trip to the library, I was delighted to find Lonely Planet’s Spanish Phrasebook & Dictionary – this tiny tome packs in a ton of essential Spanish for travelers.  The most I would ever get to use my knowledge on is one of the many amazing and authentic Mexican restaurants in the Greater Dayton Area.  Chains like El Toro, El Rancho Grande, La Piñata, etc. give the people of Dayton a great opportunity to appreciate another culture, and even if the servers all speak English, sometimes they don’t mind helping you make a fool of yourself attempting to speak their first language.

The only times I really feel that I need to know Spanish usually involve food.  Being someone who doesn’t eat meat can make it hard to order food at restaurants where you can’t always communicate 100% effectively (but keep in mind, I’m pretty sure if you said you were a vegetarian at Applebee’s, you’d get some blank stares in response as well).  Add to the mix any additional food restrictions and you might have to resort to charades.  To keep you from flailing around like a moron, here are some helpful phrases:

¿Tienen comida vegetariana?  Do you have vegetarian food?

No como carne roja.  I don’t eat red meat.

¿Tienen comida vegetariana restricta?  Do you have vegan food?

¿Me puede preparar una comida sin…?  Could you prepare a meal without…

huevo  eggs

pescado fish

caldo de carne meat

cerdo pork

aves poultry

Soy vegetariano/a.  I’m vegetarian

Estoy a regimen especial.  I’m on a special diet.