Bake Me Treats

It feels as though summer just began, yet as I look around I see leaves falling and pumpkin spice lattes hitting the menu board at the local big-box coffee shop. While this means summer festivals are wrapping up and backyard barbecues are coming to an end, there is a silver lining. First, it means that it’s time to bust out the boots, sweaters, and hoodies. (Which we all know we have been secretly waiting for.) Best of all, what this means is as we approach holiday season we also approach carb season. Whether its fond memories of baking with grandma or the smell of pizzelles on the weekends, there’s something about fall that just screams baked goods.

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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 “The Youngstown Flea”

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 “Ely’s”

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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Lime Tree: Valentine’s Small Plates

As true foodies and self proclaimed experts on local eateries, we feel we must encounter all types of gatherings surrounded by food in our travelogue. For our personal Valentine’s Day celebration we turned our sights towards a familiar friend. The Lime Tree hosted a small plate’s event that we cordially attended. For all of our friends out there that may be unfamiliar with this type of setting, let me break it down for you. It’s rather simple actually. The term small plates literally mean smaller portions with a multi-course fashion that are intended to be shared. The concept is that you choose a few dishes (from appetizers, entrees, and desserts) that all the parties at the table will enjoy. This is a great way to try new things that you might not generally encounter on an ordinary trip to your local spot. Some restaurants only serve small plates, however, this is not the case at the Lime Tree. On this encounter they had a unique menu for the evening that transcended cultural and regional boundaries. We enjoy endeavors like these because it allows us to push the thresholds of our palate.  Continue reading “Lime Tree: Valentine’s Small Plates”

Whipped by Aubrey

A couple of weeks ago Spade and I ventured to a local farmers market. This is always an enjoyable enterprise for us. I love going to all the different booths and meeting the local farmers and business owners. You are sure to find something unique at any local farmers market. However, the journey was meant to acquire some particular baked goods. Aubrey Gustovich is a local entrepreneur and pastry chef. She has been a long time friend of Spade’s, and I had the pleasure of making her acquaintance on this particular meeting. Aubrey is a passionate and exceptional sorcerer of baking. Her product line up is endearing and whimsical. Her baking could be equated to works of art. For this encounter she wielded her magical wand of pastry to create some fun, holiday themed treats. Continue reading “Whipped by Aubrey”

Philadelphia Candies

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching we find it only fitting to hit a few local chocolatiers these next two weeks. That being said, you can call us both Charlie because you will probably see a few mid-week short posts on some of Youngstown’s best chocolate spots. This week we hit a local favorite of ours, Philadelphia Candies. We visited the Boardman retail location, however, their epicenter is right up the road in Hermitage, PA. You can almost get lost in the array of sweet, umber treats. This is the benefit of encountering a helpful staff. They walked us through the assortment of chocolates and answered all of our questions. Probably the best part was that they let us sample some of the chocolate too. From my perspective, choosing that right assortment of chocolaty treats for your sweetie can be cumbersome. Have no fear at Philadelphia Candies though as they have something for everyone. What we loved most was that they had so many personalized, distinct treats. With chocolate renderings of hairdryers, musical instruments, Hello Kitty, golf clubs, and more, you are sure to find something unique for your special someone. Continue reading “Philadelphia Candies”