Mashroots Mofongo Bar in College Hill

If you’ve ever been to Puerto Rico, you are probably familiar with Mofongo– a dish of fried plantains paired with meat. Unfortunately, I have not yet been to Puerto Rico, but would love to visit. In the meantime, I will just pretend to by hanging out at Mashroots in College Hill.

Mashroots started with a couple of friends wanting to bring the taste of Puerto Rico to the midwest. What began as a partnership with Findlay Market Kitchen, where they were able to develop their concept, is now a bright brick-and-mortar restaurant in College Hill. We’ve dined in and gotten carry out. It’s always delicious.

Opening in 2020, Mashroots is a Mofongo Bar. It’s a fast-casual and contemporary play on the popular Mofongo dish. When ordering, you start your bowl with a root of choice: plantain, yuca, sweet potato, or taro. I love the yuca. The root gets smashed to create a well for all the other goodness about to come. Next, you add meat: steak, pork, shrimp, or chicken. You can also do a vegetarian option with beans. I cannot tell you how each of these meats is cooked; however, I can tell you I’ve tried the pork and steak and the marinade for both is delicious and original. Next, you pick from veggie toppings and slaws finished with a variety of sauces. It’s filling, fresh, and full of flavor.

They also have some interesting sides like Empanadas, Plantain Cups (filled with meat, veggies, and sauce), Sweet Plantains, and Yuca Frita (better than french fries)! I’m always a fan of empanadas, but I also really like these Plantain Cups.

For dessert, don’t leave without trying sweets such as chocolate treats, coconut flan, and my favorite: passion fruit mousse. Mashroots serves desserts from all over Latin America. If you’re full, get a variety box for the road.

GO THERE (MashRoots)! TRY THAT (Build a bowl with yuca, pork, and avocado lime sauce; Passionate Fruit Mousse)!

Findlay Market: It’s Historic and Happening

Historic Findlay Market is, in my opinion, one of the coolest destinations for local food and artisan products! Right in the heart of Cincinnati, Findlay Market is this beautiful balance of old and new. Open Tuesday through Sunday, the market houses original vendors along with a growing number of new restaurants and businesses.  It’s absolutely one of my favorite spots in the entire city!

Findlay Market is the oldest continually running outdoor market in Ohio. It first opened in 1855 in the predominately German neighborhood of OTR. While quite a bit has changed over the years, it still has some of the original architectural details like the iron frame. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, Findlay is still very much alive and active.

For many years, Findlay has been the place to get all kinds of meat, spices, cheese, pickles, and fresh produce. It still is. Over time, more merchants opened! I found it interesting that some of the original vendors opened out of a longing for the taste of home. For example, Dean’s Meditteranean Imports, which happens to make our hands-down-most-favorite hummus, opened because Dean grew up in Lebanon and wanted access to some of the same foods and spices of home right here in Cincinnati.

Findlay has again been growing, both in the market and around it, which makes it a hub of activity. There are Artisan shops to buy things like pottery, purses, jewelry, fine teas, plants, and flowers. I don’t know why, but I just love seeing people walk around with fresh-cut flowers. It feels so urban! It’s like I’m living in New York City hitting up the local bodega. Shopping at Findlay makes this small-town girl feel cooler than she probably is!

Findlay Market is also a place to taste the flavors of the world. There are too many good places to name. Some of my favorites include Mashed Roots (Puerto Rican), The Arepa Place (Columbian), Mama Lo Hizo (Mexican), and Flavors of the Isle (Jamaican). You can find these foods both inside the market and lining the outside. I recommend trying a few different places and sharing!

Recently, the areas just outside of the market have been developing with everything from new restaurants to coffee shops; from pet spas to bakeries. You can find places like Goose and Elder, a Chef Salazar restaurant focusing on American comfort food, and Bee Haven, a shop featuring local honey, lip balms, lotions, and candles. There is a brand new Korean place, Kanji, that I have my eyes (and stomach) set on.

On the weekends there is often live music and other special events. Be sure to check out their calendar. If you’re worried about parking, there are a couple of lots on both sides and some street parking. One of the lots is right next to the Samual Adams Taproom! Truly, you could start your morning at the market and just spend the entire day eating, shopping, walking, and drinking.

Findlay Market is just one of the places you need to visit, then visit again. There is a Biergarten supported by local craft brewer Christian Moerlein where you can sit outside and enjoy a beverage (or two)! Maybe grab some delicious Dojo gelato or freshly baked goods. There are so many cool items at Findlay that you will not see anywhere else in the city . . . all in one location.

Tip: If there’s the slightest chance you might buy meat or cheese, bring a cooler bag! In fact, bring one just in case– and a shopping bag!

GO THERE (Findlay Market)! TRY THAT (leisurely shopping and dining)!