Coffee Cup Overflowing

I met with a friend yesterday morning at a new, independent coffee shop (my favorite kind) in the Bridgewater Falls area of Hamilton. It's called Coffee Cup Overflowing, and they've been open since February.
I had a cup of oatmeal and mug of coffee, and enjoyed both. They are connected to JoJo's Cupcakes, so their baked goods were appropriately tempting, though I survived. They seemed to be doing a good bit of business for a Thursday morning (I was there from about 8 a.m. to 9:40 or so), despite being a turn or two off the beaten path (they're sort of in front of Home Depot at Bridgewater, at 6544 Winford Avenue. I hope they thrive. Give them a try. 

Romeo and Juliet in the Park

Last Tuesday, the lovely Robin and I took in the free performance of Romeo and Juliet (ever heard of it?) at Oxford's uptown Martin Luther King Jr. park and amphitheater. The seven actors of the young company of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (which we have long loved and supported) presented the play in a contemporary setting (and a superhero theme for the costume ball scene). Their efforts were enthusiastic and entertaining, though the young leads (Kyle Brumley and Petrea Whittier) struggled at times, it seemed to me, to strike the right notes of gravitas and pathos (and probably several other Latin and Greek words, for all I know) for which their roles called. However, the weather and venue could not have been better--nor the company--and of course the guy who wrote the script did a darn good job. Whatever his name is (what's in a name, though...really?).

The Shakespeare in the Park performances of Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream continue through September 4. The schedule is here.

Family Retreat at Camp Wonderland (WI)

I had a marvelous time this past weekend at Camp Wonderland in Wisconsin, speaking at The Salvation Army Metro (Chicagoland) Division's Family Retreat. 
Upwards of five hundred wonderful people gathered for the event, which was extremely well-organized and well-executed by all who participated. My little contribution was far outshined by the enthusiastic worship, multi-lingual Scripture readings and prayers, testimonies, recognitions, presentation of new cadets, and a sacred dance piece on Sunday morning that just plain blessed my socks off. 
I got to reunite with several old (and boy, do I mean old!) friends like Major Joe Tamayo, from way back in the day, and make new friends that I hope and pray to see again often, and real soon. 

Warren County Fair, Lebanon, OH

It has taken me a couple weeks to post this brief summary of my first-ever visit to the Warren County Fair in Lebanon, Ohio, as I've been keeping even busier than my usual frenetic pace.
I attended at the behest of the lovely Robin, who (with some of her coworkers) spent a couple evenings that week "manning" the booth for her counseling agency, Access Counseling Services of Middletown. That's her on the left, of course, and her coworker Joanne.
I was surprised at how small the fair was. Though (as I said) I had not previously been to the Warren County Fair, I expected something on the order of the Butler County Fair (next door, where we live), to which I had taken a couple grandkids a couple years ago. But it was much smaller, in every way, I thought. 
Nonetheless, we had fun. I especially enjoyed seeing the prize-winning display (above) of an intact  ticket for Game 2 of the 1940 World Series, in which the Cincinnati Reds (everybody say, "Yea!") defeated the Detroit Tigers in seven games. 

The Schoolhouse Restaurant

While searching for a new and different restaurant to take the lovely Robin to celebrate her twenty-ninth birthday, I came across the Schoolhouse Restaurant in Camp Dennison, east of Cincinnati.
Camp Dennison is so named because it was a Civil War army camp and hospital. The schoolhouse, built in the early 1860s, was one of the first schools in the Midwest with a second story. It is a massive building surrounded by a broad expanse of lawn, and it functioned as a school for students through the eighth grade until 1952. 
The place still boasts a home-spun appeal, from the goats and geese roaming around out back to the family-style dining to the menu, with entrees like fried chicken, roast beef, meatloaf, and baked cod, accompanied by mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, freshly made coleslaw, tossed salad, and moist sweet cornbread--all served family style.
The menu is listed on the blackboard that occupies one full wall of the single dining room. The staff are efficient at getting people in, seated, and served. 

I seldom pass up the opportunity for fried chicken--thank GOD for chicken!--and this was no exception. Though it was not the best chicken I've had, the cornbread and mashed potatoes were excellent, and the roast beef entree that Robin and Aubrey ordered was enough to feed an army, appropriately enough. The raspberry cobbler a la mode I had for dessert was finestkind, too. 
We also snuck upstairs to see the second floor, complete with stage and balcony on three sides, that is used for performances and, of course, receptions, accommodating close to 100 people. 
Following dinner, we waddled to the General Store located behind the restaurant, and the grandkids paused to watch the animals penned alongside the store. We could have stayed longer, but the lovely Robin and I had a movie to get to in Mariemont, a favorite place of ours for date nights. 

The Schoolhouse Restaurant is located at 8031 Glendale Milford Road in Camp Dennison, Ohio.  



Tom+Chee

Tom+Chee (pronounced "Tom and Chee") is a restaurant chain started just six years ago by Trew Quackenbush, Corey Ward, and their wives, Jenn and Jenny. They couldn’t afford rented space or even a food truck, so they set up an awning next to the ice-skating rink on Cincinnati’s Fountain Square in late 2009, and started serving TOMato soup and grilled CHEEse sandwiches. Get it? Tom+Chee.
I'd never had Tom+Chee, but had heard great things about it, so on a recent date night with the lovely Robin (who loves tomato soup and grilled cheese), I decided to try it out.
The menu today includes more than twenty-five eclectic grilled cheese sandwiches, three versions of tomato soup daily, and a variety of specials, all made in-house. They even serve "vegan cheese" on request. From vegan cows, I'm guessing. 
I had the creamy tomato soup, and Swiss-and-mushroom-on-rye grilled sandwich. Robin had a cheese-and-ham-with-pickle sandwich and the chunky tomato soup. It was fresh and different and delicious. 

Nowadays, Tom+Chee has opened locations as far west in the USA as Colorado and as far north and east as Boston. I counted locations in sixteen states. 

It's good food with a sense of humor. I liked it. 

Grove City College, Grove City, PA

I had the joy and honor this past week of serving on the faculty of the St. Davids Christian Writers Conference, which was held on the campus of Grove City College in (what a strange coincidence) Grove City, Pennsylvania. I already blogged briefly (here) about the conference. So I thought I'd post a few photos of the beautiful campus. 
Grove ​City College was founded in 1876 (and remains today) as a Christian institution, historically affiliated with the Presbyterian Church but intentionally non-sectarian in its approach. The school has an enrollment of 2,500 students; the population of the city, located sixty miles north of Pittsburgh, is 8,000.
The buildings, grounds, and other features (such as the "Rainbow Bridge," above) are impressive and immaculate, and there was a clear and abiding affection for and pride in the school among the many alumni I met who participate in the St. Davids conference.
Most of the conference took place in the Hall of Arts and Letters ("HAL"), above, and our meals (except for the Saturday night banquet) were taken just across from HAL in the Breen Student Union. I was impressed from the first moment to the last. A beautiful place. Makes me wish I could've gone to school there.