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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Recently we had the pleasure of spending some time with some dear friends of ours at Branch Street Coffee Roasters. They gave us the opportunity to attend one of their coffee tastings with full access. This was a public event that was free of charge. This occasion was in celebration of their recent achievement of a 94 rating from the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America). They are the first here in Youngstown to even be rated much less to receive a rating this high. This event allowed us to taste their award winning coffee with co-owner Matt Campbell and better understand all of the tasting notes of the aromatic java. This was a huge privilege for us and a great way to gain some coffee knowledge. We decided this would also be a perfect opportunity to ask Matt a few questions that have been on my mind. This will begin a new series for Spade and I that we are entitling “5 Course Interview”. The concept is that we will ask 5 questions that will take you deeper into the mind of a local owner or chef that better explains their specific trade or craft, just as you would go through 5 courses in a gourmet restaurant. Our hope is that this will be a bridge between owners and patrons. It allows the owner/chef to preach their message while also giving the patron a more personalized perspective you might not get in an ordinary dining setting. We hope you all enjoy getting to know Matt as much as we have.
Well folks, as your “sherpas up the mountain” of food enlightenment we have stumbled upon a beautiful diamond in the rough. If you have talked to anyone recently about new restaurants I am sure that the name Cockeye BBQ has come up in conversation. This is truly an oasis amongst the desolation of inner city blight. It evokes a whole new feeling to the term revitalization. You can find Cockeye’s in the most unlikely of places—on the west side of Warren, Ohio on Parkman Road. Growing up in Warren this area has become known more for its crime rate and desertion after the loss of our steel mills. In the expanse of closed businesses and disintegrating housing, the neon lights of Cockeye BBQ are sure to draw your attention as you stroll down the lanes of Warren’s west side.