“5 Course Interview” Erik Hoover

Love is an odd state. It’s so much more than just a feeling. It may start off as a feeling, but it never resolves to remain in that state. It’s usually ignited by one of your senses. Whether sight, smell, taste, touch, or hearing, that initial feeling must migrate to your will if it wishes to remain love. For example, you may fall in love with a certain city while on vacation. The beautiful sights, the sound of the ocean, the smell of flowers, the feel of fresh snow under foot. All of these things may spark a passion for this particular place. If you are truly in love with this destination you must choose to live there. The longer you stay the more you love your new home. You may have never known you loved gardening until you chose to actually live in such and such a town. Bird watching becomes something you surprisingly find an interest for now that you chose to live in your favorite place. Besides our love for each other, Spade and I have fallen in love with the food in the Mahoning Valley. As we to return to our favorite spots, we have found that we have a certain affinity for the people behind the food as well—which is why we created what we call the “5 Course Interview.” This is an opportunity for us to introduce and connect you to some of the amazing people that we have gotten the pleasure to meet along the way. In this episode we are excited to introduce you to Chef Erik Hoover. He is the man who has brought us one of the best BBQ joints this side of the Mississippi. We hope that you, like us, will fall in love with not only the amazing food but the stories and people behind it.

Enjoy!

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High Octane Coffee Co.

While muscle cars and macchiatos may not seem like a normal combination, we have found a place betwixt the two realms. Much like the Chronicles of Narnia, we have found a place that is a world between worlds. High Octane Coffee is a creation that is anything but common amongst the trendy coffee spots filled with dirty haired, bearded hipsters popping up. This is a place where people of all walks of life are welcome. We had the pleasure of entering this complex café recently and spending some time with owner Joe Sylvester.

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The Youngstown Flea

As summer approaches, there are always memories that flood my mind. Summer vacations at the beach without a care in the world. Adventures at the local park with sunset as the only destination. Long bike rides with no direction, just a desire to ride. The thrills of going to an amusement park. My favorite had to have been all the local festivals and fairs. I think I liked those best because I got to have fun with my friends and eat good food. With millennials slowly creeping towards middle age and a new generation succeeding the throne of young and exciting, I believe we have found the next summer memory maker. The Youngstown Flea will surely be a backdrop to lifelong memories for old and new generations alike. Continue reading

Lib’s Market

Well friends, it’s been a while since I’ve gotten the pleasure to talk to all of you. Time seems to be tight lately between softball practices, going to school, work—you know, just day-to-day things piling up. I must say though, I have truly missed having the opportunity to write and express myself to you all on here. That aside, Spade and I recently visited a place that we must tell you all about. Ben Ratner from Lib’s Market invited us down for brunch a couple of weekends ago and it was by far one of the greatest eating encounters we have had thus far.

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Brunch at Barrel33

On this episode of Jimmy and Spade we are going to take you to a local favorite of ours. It is a place we have recently grown very fond of and has been a great back drop for the creation of new memories. Barrel33 is a stone’s throw away from our humble abode in Howland, Ohio. You can find it on East Market in the Giant Eagle Plaza—very accessible location in the center of town. It has all the amenities of a swanky, small plate restaurant with the added bonus of being a wine and beer emporium. Barrel33 gives us that big city vibe right in our back yard. 

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Connections

Have you ever sat and had coffee with a friend while discussing some of life’s most intriguing questions? Have you ever spent time serving in a soup kitchen or enjoyed a family gathering around an array of delicious delicacies? Maybe you’ve had lunch with a new business partner and brainstormed innovative and exciting ideas. We all love the guy in the office that brings in donuts on Mondays when most of us don’t want to be there. There seems to be a certain nuance that food and drink bring to the human experience. Our existence here has many complex facets. One that I believe most of us may overlook or gloss by is the connection we share with other individuals on this planet. C.S. Lewis puts it like this, “Human beings look separate because you see them walking about separately. But then we are so made that we can see only the present moment. If we could see the past, then of course it would look different. For there was a time when every man was part of his mother, and (earlier still) part of his father as well, and when they were part of his grandparents. If you could see humanity spread out in time, as God sees is, it would look like one single growing thing—rather like a very complicated tree. Every individual would appear connected with every other.” How profound that it is time and space which constricts our view of humanity as a whole. One of the greatest adventures in life is realizing this misconception and reestablishing our connectivity to our fellow man.

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Ely’s

Have you ever walked into a place and just felt at ease, like the feeling of being at grandma’s house. Even though it may have been your first time at this new place, it felt like you had been there a million times. Even though you had never talked to anyone there before, it’s as if you had known them for a lifetime. Ely’s (pronounced Ae-lees) was one of these places. It has a certain je ne sais quoi about it. Ely’s is a vegan restaurant in Boardman on Western Reserve Road. It’s a small spot with a big heart. Walking through the front doors it’s as if you are walking into a magical realm of impossibilities, where anything could happen. Continue reading

Casa de Tacos

What is it that makes a restaurant, coffee shop or bakery exceptional? When you are deciding what to have for lunch or where to take your family on a Sunday afternoon, what comes to mind? I doubt you think to yourself,, “let’s take the kids here because they’ll love the aesthetic” or, “honey we have to try this new place because the layout really flows well”. While things like ambiance, customer service and special events are domineering thoughts, they are not the first to be discussed. We can say almost unanimously that we first think about the tastiness of the food when deciding where to go eat. The food is what brings us in and the experience is what keeps us coming back. Our search for the best food in town has brought us to a top notch taqueria, Norma’s Casa De Tacos. Continue reading

Orange Avocado

Have you ever driven past a business or seen a sign and just wondered…what in the world is that place? Orange Avocado was that place for me. I literally drove past it for weeks deliberating in my mind what it could possibly be. (A Mexican place perhaps? Or maybe they sell hybrid produce? Could it be one of those new age sip and paint places? They always have weird names. I bet I could make it my rap name though.) It wasn’t until Spade saw them on social media and brought me down there one day for a special treat that I was able to put all that analytical nonsense behind me. Orange Avocado is a cold pressed juicery on 224 in Boardman in the Creekside Plaza. If you haven’t been let on to this new trend we are here to tell you, take the dive in to fresh juices.

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Hometown Favorites

As cultural food gurus we always feel the need to find the newest, hottest places around. There’s something in us that yearns to try all of the latest and greatest dishes. I know for me there is a sense of adventure in trying something I’ve never had before or going somewhere I’ve never been. I love meeting new people and seeing new ideas. While being on the cutting edge of the food nation can be invigorating and exciting, I think there is a certain warm, fuzzy feeling you get from going to those spots that seem to render hometown hospitality. If you’ve lived in the Mahoning Valley for any amount of time, I’m sure you already have your favorite pizza spot or Italian restaurant. If there is one thing we do right around here it’s Italian cuisine. I will also say that there seems to be a growing group of long-standing restaurants that seem to think they don’t have to try as hard to gain customer loyalty. Whether its new generational ownership or just a general lackluster mentality for the business, no restaurant has the right to slip on quality of food or customer service. With that being said, we’d like to take you through a short tour of long-time local favorites that always bring a euphoric elation. These are go-to spots for us when we can’t make up our minds on where to eat. They’re our default places. They are places that have been open for generations, and being a Mahoning Valley native, they are places that began feeding my curiosity for cuisine.

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