CMH Gourmand

Culinary Discovery & Misadventures in the Ice Cream Capital of the World (Columbus)

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  • Archives: August 2006 to Now

Southwest Ohio

There is a lot to do outside of Columbus – Dayton, Yellow Springs, and Beyond.

Christopher’s Restaurant
2318 East Dorothy Lane
Kettering, OH
937/299-0089
One of my favorites. Closed Sundays. A combination of vegetarian dishes and diner food are offered at respectable prices.

Dorothy Lane Market
Dorothy LaneMarket web site

This is a great gourmet market with a long tradition in the area. But for me it is about the Killer Brownies -
Killer Brownie

try one and you will understand.

Oakwood – location
2710 Far Hills Ave.
Dayton, Ohio 45419
Phone: (937) 299-3561
(866) 278-3561
Open 24 Hours

Other Locations:
Washington Square
Springboro – at Settler’s Walk

El Meson
903 E. Dixie Drive
West Carrollton, OH
937/859-8229

El Meson

An unexpected gem, in an unlikely place. The outside looks like a typical Tex-Mex eatery. Inside, expect exceptional, highly professional and knowledgeable service amid “fiesta” decor in a casual, comfortable atmosphere.

The menu changes every six weeks, taking diners on a grand tour of South American and Spanish cuisines with field trips to Central America, Mexico, Cuba, and more. The recipes will vary but the flavors remain vibrant and addictive. There are always tapas (30 or more to choose from), real sangria and an extensive wine list focused on wines from Argentina, Brazil and Spain. The flavors are always exotic ranging from Lake Victoria Perch to the tuber of choice of the southern continent, the yuca. Trying to make a decision from over 100 items can be a real test, so go in a group to share, but plan on reservations for the weekends, and even then, it can a bit of a wait.El Meson Bus

If you order one thing:

A Spanish Paella or a steak cooked on a 600 degree clay plate

(On the right – this is El Meson’s bus – they use this for special events and running to Mexico.)

Ester Price Candies
Ester Price Web Site

1709 Wayne Avenue
Dayton, OH 45410
Phone: 937/ 253-2121Great chocolate is available at the factory store. My personal favorite is the Dark Chocolate Nut Bark. They also have some superior no sugar added chocolates.

Giovanni’s Pizzeria e Ristorante Italino
215 West Main Street
Fairborn, OH
937/878-1611
Great pizza and food. The meatballs are exceptional.

The Pine Club
1926 Brown St.
Dayton, OH 45409
937/228-7463

The Pine Club web site

A Dayton tradition since 1947. One of the area’s favorite restaurants and considered among the best steak houses in Ohio. The food is fine, but the service truly stands out. Some staff have been there over twenty years, and they improve with age like fine wine. Open Monday to Saturday. Expect a long wait anytime. No Credit cards accepted.

Outside the Dayton metro area and a bit closer to Columbus.

Clifton Mill

Clifton Mill web site

Clifton Mill is famous for pancakes and one of the biggest Christmas light displays in Ohio. From Clifton you can cut over on State Route 343 to Yellow Springs.

Young’s Jersey Dairy
6880 Springfield-Xenia Rd. / Rt 68
Yellow Springs, 937/325-0629

Open all week, 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. (or later).
Young’s Dairy web site

Young’s Jersey Dairy is a family entertainment destination, which might have made P.T. Barnum a bit jealous. The cornucopia of attractions includes: a farm-themed eighteen hole miniature golf course, driving range, batting cages, farm animal petting area, full service restaurant at the Golden Jersey Inn, bakery, gift shop, large picnic area and a corn maze. There is another major attraction at Young’s – ice cream.

Young’s is famous for it’s Moovelous Milkshakes, which consist of two to five dips of rich French Vanilla. All of the standard flavors are available as well as some unique creations such as Cow Patty – chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips and other goodies mixed in. A new addition to the menu is Gelato!!!!!

The Village of Yellow Springs is less than a mile away.
Yellow Spings, Ohio web site

So what is there to do? Yellow Springs itself is a cool, hippyesque village of 4000 souls and hundreds of Antioch College students. Just wandering the streets and checking out the shops and the University can be a good time. There are several good restaurants in Yellow Springs.

Ha Ha Pizza
108 Xenia Ave
Cool vegetarian friendly place with great pizzas. There is a well-stocked salad bar, calzones, and really good whole-wheat crust and unusual pizza toppings.

Sunrise Café
259 Xenia Ave
Put on your Birkenstocks and hemp shirt for this place. This is a vegetarian and organic food lovers dream. Good food, good people and good karma

Winds Cafe and Bakery
215 Xenia Ave
The Winds is famous for it’s baked goods but also offers somewhat upscale cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere.

Ye Old Mill Tavern
230 Xenia Ave
Great place for a beer and a burger.

In addition to eating (I do other things….sometimes), I head to Yellow Springs for hiking and biking. I think the variety of hiking opportunities here rival those found in Hocking Hills. If I am pressed for time, my favorite short hike is the Clifton Gorge trail. This trail offers great scenery, some interesting historical and nature lore plaques along the path, plus an impressive view of water smashing through the narrow part of the gorge.

Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve
ODNR information for Clifton Gorge

Glen Helen Nature Preserve
The lowdown on Glen Helen – with a great photo

John Bryant State Park
ODNR information on John Bryant State Park

If you want to mix things up a little bit, then geek yourself out by adding a letterbox hunt to your hike. Letterboxing involves following a series of clues and directions to discover a small box in the woods with a stamp inside to prove you found it and a book to leave your name and a message behind for the next person. Just go to the Letterboxing site – www.letterboxing.org search for Ohio Letterboxing locations and print out some maps for the Yellow Springs area – you will discover all types of cools things off the beaten path.

Finally, if you would rather just relax and ride one- eighty miles, Yellow Springs is a hub for the Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail. You can walk, bike or roller blade on this trail all the way to Xenia or farther if you want to. If you do not want to pack your bike down with you, rent one at the Caboose Bike and Skate Shop right on the trail.

If you cannot find something to do in Yellow Springs you have a serious problem. Just don’t tell too many people how much fun you had. Yellow Springs has not been overrun yet and I would like to keep it that way.

4 Responses to “Southwest Ohio”

  1. T.J. Kennedy said

    I LOVW Y.S, but that’ll be our little secret. A good (& cheap & 50’s quirky) place to stay is the Springs Motel.

  2. Well said. I would be happy to read anything else you might contribute on this subject.

  3. Robert McPeek said

    How can you not include Jim’s Donuts in vandalia? OK, Vandalia is more west…. but Jim’s is the best. Open 24 hours and home of the pretzel donut. A glazed donut shaped like a pretzel. Only donuts and great coffee. Gotta go on our nations highway RT 40 in Vandalia.

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