Roaming and eating our way through Columbus and beyond.

Eating in Butler County, Ohio

{by alicia} It’s been a busy summer.Here we are in mid-July but there are still plenty of opportunities to explore our fair state. I’ve bopped around Ohio checking out a vineyard in Canton, a castle up north (basically King’s Landing), and recently had the opportunity to visit Butler County. BC is located southwest of Columbus, right outside Cincinnati, and a quick hour and half drive away. Alexis and I were eager to play tourist since we weren’t familiar with the area and brought our husbands to share in the fun.

We crammed a lot into a weekend. Too much for one post, so I’ll focus on the food today! Our first mission was a leg of the Butler County Donut Trail. Yes, you heard correctly. There is a dedicated trail that leads you around to all the best donut shops in the area. Since we had limited time we visited three shops. We grabbed a map and Donut Trail Passport to get stamped at each location. For those of you who are hardcore, you’ll get a special prize if you get all 10 stamps.

First up was Kelly’s Bakery for a box of sugary deliciousness. Can you even? We couldn’t.

Everything was scrumptious, but my standouts were the fried croissant and chocolate donut filled with peanut butter cream. It was hard not to shovel everything into our faces, but we had two more stops and needed to pace ourselves!

Second stop: Mimi’s Donuts.

My husband was all about that German chocolate donut, but I fixated on the glazed donut holes. Sometimes simple is best, but don’t worry, there were plenty of interesting flavors to go around–like this blueberry lemon.

Our final stop on the trail was Jupiter Coffee & Donuts.

Now it’s time for me to yell about my favorite donut at Jupiter: LEMON MERINGUE.

Can we talk about this? A fluffy donut with gooey, zesty lemon filling and topped with soft and sweet meringue is the stuff of dreams. I hogged most of it. Trust me, you would do the same.

The donuts were worked off with a trip to Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, but more on that next post! Just know we did a lot of walking and were ready for lunch by the time it rolled around. Dai Trang Bistro is located in West Chester, Ohio and perfect for the adventurous foodie. The menu is a blend of Filipino, Vietnamese, and I even spotted some Korean up in there.

We ordered a couple appetizers to get us going. The crisp and flavorful lumpia (Filipino spring rolls) went quickly. We’re a greedy bunch.

Fortunately, I made everyone share a plate of musubi. The thought of “Spam sushi” might sound odd, but trust me when I say it’s a delight. The savory meat melds deliciously with the sticky rice, seaweed, and a sweet sauce tucked between the layers. Drool.

For the main event, we got a variety of entrees and sampled each others. My favorites were bulgogi (Korean marinated beef) and adobo chicken (in a soy and garlicky glaze). We got a bubble tea for fun. The bubble tea and drink menu is HUGE and has so many awesome flavors.

One would assume we didn’t have room for dessert. Well, we’re pretty good at eating, so we got some cereal-inspired smoothies to go. Who could resist? Alexis’ Fruity Pebbles concoction was legit, and my Cinnamon Toast Crunch was reminiscent of pumpkin pie. DELICIOUS I TELL YOU.

Dinner was at a new establishment in Middletown called Gracie’s. Imagine upscale comfort food in a relaxed atmosphere. The menu was to die. LOOK AT THIS.

Everything sounded sooo good we took forever to make decisions. Once we (eventually) got our order in, we settled back, and dug into the bread basket. They served the usual butter accompaniment and the added bonus of ham salad which the actual Gracie was known for.

More appetizers arrived. You know, FOR RESEARCH. The crispy pimiento cheese and charred Brussels vanished in an instant.

Mains arrived with fanfare. I bogarted the short rib mac ‘n cheese while everyone enjoyed burgers (that bacon jam, though) and the special steak of the night.

There’s always room for dessert, so we skipped off to The Cone for a little soft serve heaven. Alexis and I are OBSESSED with soft serve and were all over this. Look at this adorable place! The line can get intense, but they really hustle and we had our swirl cones in no time at all.

During our trip we also had the chance to check out Municipal Brew Works. Fine, it’s not food, but we did imbibe! It’s right by the riverfront and in an old SWAT building. Isn’t that bananas!? Our guide told us there’s an old jail upstairs. Not only is the building rad, but it’s located off the river and has a great patio. Plus, puppies are welcome to tag along with their humans!

We opted for flights since it’s the best way to get a taste of everything. I like lighter beers with a punch of flavor and the Blonde and Weiz filled that need.
Stuffed to the gills, we rolled ourselves back to the hotel for a quick rest. Before heading home in the morning, we ate a spot of brunch at High St. Cafe in Hamilton.

The cafe has eclectic decor (think old lunch boxes, antiques, and random C3POs) and you can actually purchase some of it! Something you’ll definitely want to purchase is the pancakes. We all got a side of them for a little sweet and savory action. On our table was plenty of hotcakes, coffee, breakfast burrito, eggs benedict, Italian toast, and traditional eggs and bacon. We killed our plates in usual fashion.

All of us walked away from this experience with a newfound appreciation for Ohio. There are so many gems sprinkled throughout the state, and Butler County is definitely one of them.

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Alicia

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