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Mindy Trujillo

EXPERIENCE

Art on Vine

Two of my favorite events that truly celebrate this city that I love so much are City Flea and Art on Vine.  Both of these markets, held outdoors during the summer, feature the best of our city’s local artisans.  I wrote about City Flea awhile ago (link here), but I haven’t written about Art on Vine yet.  Time to fix that!  While City Flea is a curated urban flea market (lots of vintage goods and modern finds), Art on Vine focuses more on handmade items from local artisans.  It’s a monthly art show; it’s a way to meet and support Cincinnati artisans in a great location. 

Art on Vine at Fountain Square.

Art on Vine started in a parking lot on Vine Street in OTR with about 8 artists.  Since then, it has grown to feature over 70 local artists in spaces much bigger than a parking lot.  If you are at all about supporting small businesses, buying local, giving great gifts, and finding new treasures, this a place you have to check out.  Honestly, the talent in this city never ceases to amaze me.

Incredible artwork.

Be sure to follow Art on Vine on Facebook.

The location of Art on Vine changes throughout the year.  You can find out the schedule on their website.  I’ve attended at Fountain Square in the summer and Rhinegeist Brewery in the winter.  Both are unique!  You can find anything from paintings to jewelry to coasters to handbags to pottery (and so much more).  In addition to discovering new treasures, you can also grab some grub whether it be sold in a booth or a food truck. And, to make yourself feel even better about your purchases, Art on Vine gives to different (local) nonprofits each month. I love that!

Delicious.

Stop by Art on Vine this Sunday, August 5th from 12-6 at Fountain Square.  If you worry about finding a parking spot downtown, there are several garages close by.  In fact, I’ve always landed a spot in the garage directly underneath Fountain Square.  If you feel like taking a stroll after shopping, check out The Booksellers on Fountain Square for books, coffee, journals, and more.  And of course, there’s no shortage of great restaurants in that area as well!  Basically, I need you to open your calendars now and add Art on Vine to this weekend’s itinerary!

GO THERE (Art on Vine)!  TRY THAT (buying some locally handcrafted goods)!

EAT (out)

Hot Dogs! Yep, Hot Dogs!

It’s high summer and summer and hot dogs go hand in hand. And, it just so happens that July is National Hot Dog Month; in fact, today, July 26th, is National Chili Dog day! So, naturally, I had to go out exploring hot dogs in the Cincinnati area.  These franks are more gourmet than your typical backyard barbecue dogs (unless your barbecuer happens to be a master chef).  While we did taste a lot of great hot dogs on our own hot dog tour, for this post, I’m going to focus on three of my faves: Eli’s BBQ, Mr. Gene’s Dog House, and Piper’s Cafe.  

Eli’s BBQ (east side and OTR):

  • Locally owned and operated
  • Took me a long time to try a hot dog here because I love the ribs (but that hot dog is oh so good)
  • Dogs served on toasted buns
  • All beef dogs are topped with slaw, barbecue sauce, and pork chitlins
  • Great texture and taste; sinfully messy and gloriously good
  • Comes as an order of two
  • Can eat inside or sit outside under the big tent

Eli’s all-beef, flash fried dogs.

Mr. Gene’s Dog House (west side):

  • Another locally owned and operated business 
  • At 56 years it’s a west side staple
  • Walk up windows (eat in car or tables out back)
  • Hot dogs and sausages are sourced from Queen City (also local)
  • Love the Chicago-style dog fully loaded (onions, peppers, tomatoes, pickles)
  • Great Italian Sausage topped with sauteed onions and peppers
  • Super nice kick in the Hot Chili Cheese Mett

Mr. Gene’s Chicago-style dog.

Mr. Gene’s hot mett and Italian sausage.

Piper’s Cafe (northern KY):

  • Located in Covington (Mainstrasse)
  • Again, all beef hot dogs (uncured)
  • Walk up windows with tables outside for sitting
  • So many interesting choices (we kept going back for more)
  • Love the Reuben Dog because the sauerkraut has a nice crunch from the cook on the cabbage 
  • The Bat Masterson is the most interesting (sage, worcestershire sauce, and spicy mustard); has almost a wasabi taste; plus, dog split down middle and grilled open face
  • Chili dog is a Tex Mex kind of chili made with goetta and topped with white sharp cheddar (my fave chili dog for sure)

Piper’s Bat Masterson and Reuben dogs.

Piper’s chili dog.

I know many locals are die hard coney fans so I decided to stay away from talking about the typical Cincinnati cheese coney because everyone has their opinion about which restaurant is best!  Not originally from Cincinnati, I learned all too quickly about that great Cincinnati debate.  So, if you have a favorite place to get a gourmet hot dog, I’d love to hear about it! Or, if you’re like my dad and an all beef hot dog is a lunch time staple, what do you take on your dog?

GO THERE (Mr. Gene’s, Piper’s Cafe)!  TRY THAT (Chicago-style dog, Chili dog)!  

Piper's Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato