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Dine in expectations, carry out surprise


New Carlisle’s 571 Grill and Draft House By Paula Johnson Photo: Loaded Potato Wedges at 571 Grill and Draft House; photo: Paula Johnson My cat, Cecil B. DeMeow (alright, ONE of my cats), doesn’t understand the element of surprise. Daily, he sits under the bird feeder wondering why there are no birds. I watched him, thinking […]

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Springboros outdoor oasis


Escape to Heather’s Coffee and Cafe By Paula Johnson Photo: Cheesecake at Heather’s; photo: Paula Johnson If you are looking for outdoor ambiance this summer, look no further than Springboro. Nestled in the lovely historic downtown shopping district is Heather’s Coffee and Cafe. Heather’s is located in one of the charming old houses lining Main […]

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Middletown’s meat mecca


Make pilgrimage to Combs BBQ Central By Paula Johnson Photo: Brisket Sandwich at Combs BBQ Central; photo: Paula Johnson Noted food philosopher and writer Michael Pollan spends a lot of time on BBQ in his Netflix documentary series Cooked, specifically a place in North Carolina where it’s not at all about the sauce. He recounts, […]

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The architect, the chocolatier


The wizard of Ghyslain Chocolate by Paula Johnson Photo: Key Lime Cheesecake at Ghyslain Chocolate Factory; photo: Paula Johnson “The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the same preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain.” —Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson had something there, especially in terms […]

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The bite’s better than the bar


Scruffy’s Hot Dogs: Chicago in Dayton by Paula Johnson Photo: The New York Dog (left) and the classic Chicago-style Scruffy Dog (right) at Scruffy’s; photo: Paula Johnson Walking into Scruffy’s Hot Dogs is like walking into a hot dog joint in the Windy City. You will seriously be checking Google to verify your location because there […]

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Wet and wild

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Sea Jax Tavern sets sail By Paula Johnson Photo: Grouper Fingers at Sea Jax Tavern; photo: Paula Johnson A name like Sea Jax has nautical theme written all over it, and nautical is what Kettering’s Sea Jax tavern delivers. A tavern-like interior with wood paneling, low lighting and booths, the walls are lined with nautical maps […]

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Bistro rulez


Boro Bistro reigns excellent By Paula Johnson We’ve all been there. You’re a mom with a stroller, and you are meeting up for lunch with two or three other moms. With Cadillac-sized strollers. And giant diaper bags. Because lunching with other moms in your same situation is key to surviving your baby’s babyhood. But you […]

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Song’s Sushi sings


Off the beaten path, Japanese and Korean dishes rule By Paula Johnson LA love After taking in the film “City of Gold,” a documentary about Pulitzer-Prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold, it was a given that I was going to eat somewhere. The film is basically Gold’s love letter to his city of Los Angeles […]

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Cinco de my oh my!


Pepito’s Mexican Restaurant sizzles By Paula Johnson Probably the worst day of the year to decide on the spur of the moment to eat at a Mexican restaurant would be Cinco De Mayo. It’s a celebration the entire nation of Mexico pretty much ignores but north of the border we all go loco for. Fortunately […]

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Vandalia’s Little York Tavern—Brews yes, Bites no. By Paula Johnson Little York Tavern & Pizza has a long history and a dedicated following. The building where it was originally located (Little York Road and North Dixie Drive) was constructed in 1835. The business began in that location in 1981 as a tavern serving drinks only. […]

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What’s in a name?


Authentic recipes at Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen By Paula Johnson So you go to a place called Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen, and all seems kosher (or whatever the Italian equivalent of that is). The music is right out of “Big Night,” the placemats boast facts encouraging a visit to Italy, the menu highlights all the things you […]

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Ottoman Empire Strikes Back!


Worth the trip: Sultan’s Mediterranean Cuisine (yup, in West Chester) By Paula Johnson When I got home from a late weekend lunch at Sultan’s Mediterranean Cuisine near Liberty Town Center in West Chester I immediately dug out my photo album with pictures of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, home of Turkish sultans for more than […]

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Springs awakening


Aleta’s Cafe: as Yellow Springs as it gets By Paula Johnson Spring in Yellow Springs has to be among the loveliest combinations of time and place there could be. On a brilliantly bright and cloudless day, still a little brisk, a stroll through the Springs was truly soul-renewing—as well as entertaining. Hipsters and hippies, the […]

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Lost at sea


Treasure Island Supper Club struggles to set sail By Paula Johnson In Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic 1883 novel, there be pirates, and swabbing of decks, and one legged seamen and parrots. General swashbuckling abounded, but no such excitement was found at a visit to the novel’s namesake Treasure Island Supper Club in Moraine. In business […]

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Hot mamma


Mamma DiSalvo’s: one spicy southern Italian adventure By Paula Johnson PIP (Palate In Progress) and I are Mamma DiSlavo’s veterans, having dined several times at this venerable Kettering favorite, open since 1979. If you’ve never been, Mamma’s is the sort of bustling casual red sauce emporium where the clientele and the staff know each other […]

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Duck, duck, ribs


All’s Well at The Wellington Grille By Paula Johnson PIP (Palate In Progress) and I found ourselves in Beavercreek on a Friday night with no place to go, when he remembered The Wellington Grille was nearby. “It’s been a while, but I remember the place as being pretty good,” he said. “Well, we’ll soon find […]

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The St. Vincent de Paul relief mission continues


  Gateway Shelter for Women and Families on W. Apple St is ready to help 24-hours a day.  By Tim […]

Mulling the merits of Merit Grill


Wide variety compromised by some puzzling choices The Merit Grill’s Carne Asada substituted sirloin for skirt steak, but the salsa, […]

Bread Baking Demystified

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The secrets to a delicious loaf of bread are in the details The process of properly kneading bread dough includes […]

It’s happening in Troy


Jazz vocalist Vanessa Rubin Music at The Troy-Hayner Center The Troy-Hayner Cultural Center is welcoming the arrival of spring with […]

A tradition of storytelling

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Shannon McNally at Newport’s Southgate House Revival Singer-songwriter Shannon McNally By Dave Gil de Rubio Songwriting has always had a […]