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Ruthai’s Thai Kitchen in Mt. Lookout

I’ve probably driven by Ruthai’s Thai Kitchen a thousand times.  I don’t know why I didn’t stop sooner.  Thankfully, I came to my senses one night when we were driving hungry; we made a last minute decision to finally stop!  Hallelujah, am I glad.

The restaurant is roomier inside than it appears.  It’s basically divided into two sections.  The first section includes more traditional style seating with low tables and oversized pillows.  I gotta say, I kind of enjoy taking my shoes off and getting cozy; I won’t swear to being graceful with the landing though!

Love the traditional seating!

A few years ago, when my sinuses were particularly a mess, I lived on Thai hot and sour soup.  It was the only thing I could taste.  I still love it because it’s aromatic and spicy.  It’s typically served with shrimp, but a veggie version is always available. Ruthai’s Hot and Sour Mushroom, for me, is a must.  It’s a gorgeously fragrant melody of fresh mushrooms, chili pepper, tomato, and spices in a lemongrass broth. The only other app I’ve tried so far is the Garlic Green Beans.  OK, let me clarify; the garlic green beans might not be an appetizer, but who says splitting a dinner dish can’t be the “start” a meal?  You might want to break the rules too because these beans are sautéed in the perfect amount of soy sauce, and are crisp and loaded with garlic.

Hot and Sour Mushroom Soup

Garlic Green Beans

We’ve ordered and enjoyed several dishes at Ruthai’s including the Shrimp Curry (pineapple, bell peppers, carrot, and snow peas in yellow curry and coconut milk) and the Pad Thai (thin rice noodles, bean sprouts, green onion, and Pad Thai sauce).  My favorite order so far is definitely the Vegetable Basil.  I turn it into Chicken Vegetable Basil because while I love all the veggies, I’m a meat-makes-everything-better kind of person.  I was told once that Thai food uses Holy Basil (like that’s the legit kind of basil . . . I googled it).  How appropriate since this dish is bright, comforting, layered, and light all at the same time.  I can smell the fresh basil before the plate hits the table.

Vegetable Basil + Chicken

Shrimp Curry

Last time I ate at Ruthai’s, a coworker came in with her husband and her in-laws.  Turns out, Ruthai’s is a pretty special place to them.  They had their first date at Ruthai’s and they got engaged at Ruthai’s.  I asked to take and include their picture in this post because . . . well . . . how cool is that?! (Congrats, Carly!) (Also, I’m sorry for bumping into your hubby when I not so gracefully got up from the floor!)

Family Meal! Celebrating! BYOB

I’ve been trying to name what it is I love so much about Thai.  I think it’s the depth of flavor: spicy, sour, sweet, herbaceous.  Ruthai’s Thai Kitchen gets that balance.   The menu is loaded with noodle dishes, seafood dishes, rice dishes, curry dishes, and sushi.  Maybe I shouldn’t be so happy that I “discovered” Ruthai’s because this is dangerous.  Deliciously dangerous.  Yep.  I’m gonna say it.  Here it goes.  Ruthai’s is my new favorite Thai place in the city.  Boom!

Buyer Beware: the spicy scale is mild, medium, hot, and Ruthai hot.  The medium is hot; perfectly hot.  If you go beyond the medium, keep your beverage close at hand!

Tip: Ruthai’s is BYOB so if you like an adult beverage with your meal, feel free to bring it with you.

GO THERE (Ruthai’s on Linwood Ave.)! TRY THAT (Thai Basil)!

Ruthai's Thai Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

EAT

You Scream, I Scream, We all Scream for (Soft Serve) Ice Cream

Summer is soft serve ice cream. Hot, long days beg for the light, airy texture that regular ice cream just can’t deliver. I mean, I’m never going to turn my nose up at a banana chip cone from Aglamesis or mint chip from, well, anywhere, but soft serve is special. This is a relationship born in childhood.   Most of my summers were spent in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin.  Fishing, swimming, and frequent trips to the Dairy Maid in Land O Lakes, Wisconsin.  Our home was a 20-minute drive from town and going to town was a treat.  The Dairy Maid (still there) was the place we loved taking family and friends.   All these years later, I would still argue that it’s THE ice cream to scream about!  But, is it really the ice cream that’s so wonderful or is it the memories?  I think it’s both.  Summer is my Aunt Ginny and her small turtle sundae.  It’s my mom and her mint milkshake.  It’s my own chocolate ice cream cone dipped in cherry.  Yes.  Summer is precious; summer is soft.

When I dip you dip we dip!

So, since it’s summertime and I pretty much have never met an ice cream cone I didn’t like, my husband, based on the suggestions of readers, drove me around the greater Cincinnati area in search of the best soft serve.  What did I learn?  People are passionate about their favorite whippy dips and dairy stands.  But, does all soft serve taste the same?  Does it matter where the goodness comes from?  Yes!  Yes, my friends; it does.

Here are a few highlights from the places we visited:

  • Zip Dip in Cheviot- Homemade orange soft serve sherbet = creamsicle on a cone.  Cute seating area.  Well-landscaped.
  • Tucker’s Whippy Dip in Mason- Blackberry soft serve. Enough said.
  • Putz’s in Mt. Airy- Strong chocolate shake! Community gathering place.  Best straight up vanilla soft serve. Family operated since its opening in the 1930’s.
  • Dairy Whip in Loveland- Cute kid’s options.  Tons of sundae choices. Blueberry soft serve mimics Kings Island.
  • Trackside Treats in Anna, OH- Throwing this one in for my hometown family and friends.  Nice patio seating.  Super friendly service.  Easy drive-thru.  Offers rotating flavors of Dole Whip (nondairy and super fruity).
  • Dairy Corner in Newtown- Killer blue raspberry dip here!  Best yet (and I love my dips). If you don’t know what dip is, think magic shell.  It hardens against the cold ice cream; beware though because the ice cream melts fast, but it’s worth it!  This soft serve is lighter, icier, and thinner which I like!
  • Creamy Whip in Mt. Washington- Baked goods available.  Super duper creamy texture.  Loads of toppings! Generous ice cream portions.  Best cherry dip.  Friendly service. Indoor and outdoor seating. This one feels like an ice cream parlor!

Zip Dip.

This kind of line is common at Putz’s.

Ummm. Just look at these treats for kids at the Dairy Whip in Loveland.

This pic of my parents is precious! Enjoying soft serve from Trackside in Anna, OH.

Blue raspberry dip from the Dairy Corner in Newtown!

A friend favorite: a blizzard made with real cake from the Creamy Whip in Mt. Washington.

Now, the awards for best tasty treat go to:

  • Flubs in Hamilton- In addition to great soft serve, Flubs has soft serve Italian ice (dairy free) and homemade sherbet soft serve.  When we visited, the sherbet flavors were orange, blue raspberry, and fresh nectarine.  We tasted each and they were refreshing and delicious, but man that fresh nectarine was special!  My husband got chocolate soft serve topped with freshly made brownies (still warm) and a cherry on top.  It was the farthest drive, but this no-frills (no real sign even) Dairi-ette definitely stands out.
  • The Cone in West Chester- First of all, the ice cream stand is shaped like a cone!  Bonus points right there.  The cone has a huge variety of dips including toasted coconut, cake batter, peanut butter, and cotton candy.  It also has a game room, covered seating, and a quirky drive-thru.  If you don’t want regular soft-serve, the cone offers homemade sherbets and Italian ices (all soft serve).  The menu is huge . . . begging for another visit.

Fresh nectarine from the Flubbs.

Chocolate soft serve topped with freshly baked brownies from Flubbs.

My sister loved this strawberry and orange sherbet from The Cone.

Key lime and blue raspberry Italian ice from The Cone

I know I celebrate local places and don’t usually write about chains, but I have another strong memory associated with soft serve ice cream. This one is equally as sweet.  I remember helping my dad make homemade ice cream for family dinners and fish fries.  We brought out the wooden bucket, cranked it by hand, and my dad, sitting in his lawn chair, would dish it out by the bowl full.  He always topped that sweet, icy, homemade goodness with “chocolate dope”.  It’s because of this memory that I must mention Chick-fil-A’s ice dream cone; it’s the vanilla ice cream that takes me back home to those people and those meals that I miss so much!  

Ice dream from Chick-fil-A.

I know summer does not own ice cream, but it’s the time to celebrate our favorite little ice cream stands.  To make memories.  To gather.  To treat ourselves.  To stay up late.   To feel like a kid even if we aren’t so little anymore.  I’d love to hear more about your most coveted places and favorite treats!

Tip: Take cash; many free standing soft serve shops are cash only!

GO THERE (all the soft serve places)! TRY THAT (soft serve, sherbet, dips)! 

The Cone Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato